Monday, February 21, 2011

Staying organized is the key to student success

By the end of February in an academic school year, a students stress level can be at an all time high, especially with all the midterms and final year end papers. With high stress levels, students become more over whelmed and forgetful, well at least this is how I get during stressful times in my school year! To help with remembering when all school assignments, papers, projects and tests are, it is always helpful to have a good planner to jot all your due dates in.

When choosing a planner for your school year, it is important to determine what your specific needs are. Here are a few of my requirements when it is time for me to choose a planner.

My key requirements for a good planner are:
Ø  It's dated. Don't settle for an undated organizer, it will only force you to lose time filling in the dates, or worse, make it too hard to use.
Ø  Has both monthly and weekly calendar. I like have an over view of each month to stay on track, but a weekly views keep me from getting too overwhelmed.
Ø  Has room for notes. A space for notes is essential addition to a personal planner as you can quickly write key points surrounding an assigned project or test.
Ø  Front or back folder flap. In my planner I prefer to have a place where I can put lose reminders, business cards or appointment cards into my planner where I can access them at anytime without loosing them.

Once you determine what key features your planner must have, it is now time to purchase the planner. Leading company in student organization, Mead, offers various planners for any student, their needs and grade level.

When you visit the student section of the company website, Mead has designed a quick survey that when finished, recommends products to meet each students specific needs. Whether you are looking to stay organized with schoolwork or extracurricular activities or to customize your planner to stand out from the rest, Mead planners will help you stay organized.

For more information on planners and other Mead products, please visit,

Until next week,

xo xo, your how to girl!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Even your dust bunnies are embarrassed by your messy house. Tips on keeping a students house from looking like a “student house”.

Besides doing homework, cleaning could probably be the most dreaded task of a student. You keep putting it off and as the weeks go by the dust bunnies begin to become larger and larger; they grow to a size where they can longer be ignored. Before you pull out the vacuum cleaner and start sulking, here are a few tips to make the time go by faster and even make it slightly more enjoyable.

According to house cleaning experts at Molly Maid Canada, they recommend organization and working together as the first key steps in the cleaning process. Molly Maid suggests that putting all out-of-place objects back where they belong will making cleaning easier, you are able to see the exact areas that need to be cleaned. Working together is the second part of their recommendations. Get your roommates together and assign tasks that each person will be responsible for on a daily or weekly basis. Click here to find an example house-cleaning chart that you can print out. On this chart, you and your housemates can assign and record cleaning tasks.

When outlining your own cleaning schedule it is important to determine what areas of your house will need to be cleaned on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Here list of example tasks to get you started.

ü  Wash your dishes. This is probably the most important task you and your roommates need to keep on top of. If you let the dishes pile up, this can be disgusting task down the road with stuck on and moldy food pieces.
ü  Casual picking up. As soon as you and your roommates come home from school, don’t just drop your bag, books and coats in one heap on the floor pick them up and put them where they belong. This will help with the organization of your house, speeding up your cleaning when the time comes.

ü  Clean the floors. This involves vacuuming/sweeping and washing all floor area. Keep you focus on high traffic areas like the kitchen, common areas and the bathroom; as crumbs, dust and pieces of food are more likely to be deposited in the carpet and grout.
ü  Dust. You can use a product such as a Swiffer, which makes it easy to go over all surface areas in your house quickly and easily.

ü  Clean out the refrigerator. Sometimes it feels like the refrigerator is a black hole and your food is never seen again. To make sure you and your roommates always know what is in your refrigerator, take the time to go through all the bottles, cans and Tupperware to make sure your food isn’t green and fuzzy.
ü  Vacuum your couch. Yes, lift up all the cushions and take the vacuum wand and clean it out. You never know what you will find.

To make sure you and your roommates cleaning experience is a little less painful; try putting on music or a movie in the background to distract you while you work.

I know house cleaning may seem like an endless job, but if you stick to these guidelines you might be able to stay on top of the housework and not end up on the next episode of Hoarders.

For more information and tips on house cleaning visit Molly Maid Canada.

xo xo, your how to girl!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Can I Have Fun on a Budget? Yes, you Can!

The city of St. Catharines has vibrant nightlife with dozens of bar options for students depending on your taste in music and atmosphere. This week I will be outlining how a budget conscious student can still enjoy a night out on the town without spending all your OSAP money in one night.

DISCLAIMER: Please drink responsibly and remember never to drink and drive.

First of all, getting to the bar. This can be an expense that adds up quickly, especially if you and your friends go out more than twice a week. Conveniently, with tuition at Brock University and Niagara College, each student is given a free bus pass that works with all Niagara transit buses. 

Taking the bus to the bar is the first way a savvy student can save a buck on their night out. Taking the number 16 bus, which leaves Brock University every half an hour after 7:30 p.m. until 11:30 p.m., drives down Glenridge Avenue to St. Paul Street past the nightclub district where the most desirable bars are located. For more information on times and stop locations for St. Catharines transit, visit

Once you have arrived downtown, deciding where to go will be the next challenge when trying to stick to your tight budget. Below is a list of some popular bars in St. Catharines that have nightly specials that appeal to students with lighter wallets than the average person.

As we all know, Thursday is the unofficial start of the weekend and why not start the weekend off right at Isaac’s. Isaac's Bar is Brock University’s campus pub and Thursday is student’s night. With a valid student card, there is no cover and Isaac’s offers $3.00 drinks and $3.00 shots. This is the perfect option for the budget conscious students looking to stay close to campus and still have a good time.

Also on a Thursday night, Kahunnaville/ London Arms is the place to be. Conveniently located in the Pen Centre, this bar features two different environments, a Top 40 club and an acoustic pub with a live band, which will satisfy anyone’s musical tastes. Thursday is also pub night for College and University students; cover is free until 11:00 p.m. with valid student ID. With $3.00 drinks and their famous “power hour” (dollar beers) from 10:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. Any student will recognize this bargain of a night out.

Are you looking for a stylist alternative for your night out on the town? Stella’s is your perfect solution. Located downtown St. Catharines on James Street, cover is free for ladies before 11:00 p.m. Once inside treat yourself to a $5.00 martini or $4.00 beer and dance the night away to the house and trance music of live DJ’s.

Located just off St. Paul Street, Level 3, more commonly know as L3, has three distinct levels for the entertainment of any partygoer. This bar boasts dancing, booths and a several pool tables along with $3.00 drinks and free cover. L3 is the spot to be on Saturday night.

Now savvy students, you are armed with a guide to save you money when you are out for a night on the town. You can now afford to do your laundry more than once a month!

xo xo, your how to girl!