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A Guide to Cleaning Your Student Living Space

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No matter how busy you are, you do need to keep your living space at university clean. This will be good for your mental and physical health, prevent arguments with roommates, and mean you’re always able to find what you’re looking for. Here are some tips to maintain a tidy space.

1. Clean Before You Move In

Before you start unpacking, disinfect surfaces, door handles, and light switches. Clean the floors, and spray the room with your favourite air freshener to make your new home smell welcoming.

2. Keep Clutter Under Control

Assign every one of your possessions a place in your apartment. When clutter starts building up, put items back where they belong.

3. Do Basic Cleaning Tasks Daily and Weekly

You’ll find it much easier to keep your apartment clean if you do certain tasks every day. This should include making your bed, washing dishes, and generally tidying up. On a weekly basis, throw out expired food, do your laundry, and sort out any papers you’ve accumulated from your classes. All these activities only take a few minutes and will save you from needing to dedicate a large amount of time to cleaning in the future.

4. Create a Cleaning Schedule

Share cleaning tasks for common areas among roommates by writing down what each of you needs to do and putting it into a schedule. Being able to hold someone accountable should ensure that all the cleaning gets done and you avoid disputes. Make sure you include vacuuming or sweeping and mopping, taking out the trash, dusting, and washing the windows.

5. Organize a Thorough Clean at the End of Each Semester

The best time for a deep clean is at the end of each semester. If you’re going to your parents’ home for the break, this will mean you return to a clean apartment that puts you in the right frame of mind at the beginning of the new semester. Even if you’ll be staying in your apartment, it’s a good idea to organize a thorough clean. You can coordinate with your roommates to turn it into a regular event. Use the chance to clean all the appliances, including the fridge, oven, cooktop, microwave, and coffee maker. After you’ve emptied the trash, wash the cans. It’s also worth moving furniture to vacuum underneath. In your own room, you may like to completely empty your closet to vacuum the floor.

It’s easier to keep your home clean when you at least have your own bedroom. This means moving out of on-campus housing and into student apartments. Oshawa students can rent a flat or townhouse suite at Foundry Simcoe. You’ll have an ensuite bathroom and you’ll only share the living room and kitchen with two or four other students. Plus, monthly housing is available to reduce the amount of cleaning you need to do yourself. Sign up now to take advantage of the lowest rate of the year.

The Downsides of Cramming for Finals

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Whether you’re unorganized or you just don’t know how to effectively prepare for your finals, you may find that you end up cramming the day before a big test. Unfortunately, this is a bad idea for a number of reasons — including the following.

1. You’ll Soon Forget the Information

You may be able to retain the facts long enough to pass the exam, but most of the information will never enter your long-term memory. Whereas this is less of an issue for general education courses, it’s a problem for material related to your major. It could mean you struggle with later classes, at grad school, or in your career.

2. It’s Ineffective

It’s impossible to concentrate for long periods of time — and cramming usually involves spending many hours studying without a break. After the first hour of cramming (or often less), your attention will start to wane and you’ll no longer be absorbing the information. At this point, you’ll just be wasting your time.

However, if you spread out your study time, every minute you spend preparing for finals will be time well spent.

3. It’s Tiresome

Whereas it’s true that studying for finals is far from the most fun part of the university experience, it shouldn’t be something you hate. If you leave studying until the last minute, you’ll need to cover the same material until you’re sick of it. However, switching from preparing for one exam to another will keep your mind engaged.

4. Your Stress Levels Will Rise

Cramming tends to make students anxious and stressed. This leads to nausea, loss of appetite, and forgetfulness — which just adds to your anxiety. You may find that your mind goes blank on some questions and you worry about the answers you do give. This stress may persist after the test and can impact your performance on other finals or even mean you stay feeling anxious until you receive your results.

5. You’ll Be Exhausted

If cramming means you only sleep for a few hours before the exam, you’ll likely be too tired to concentrate. This will slow you down and make it more difficult to process questions, especially when the wording is not exactly what you expected.

6. Your Test Scores Will Be Lower

Students who cram usually have lower test scores than those who start preparing weeks before their finals. Since crammers are less familiar with the material, it takes them longer to figure out what the question is asking and how to answer. This is particularly problematic for essay questions, as you need to know how to pull together different pieces of information. However, you’re also likely to score lower on multiple-choice tests, since there’s a higher risk you’ll run out of time.

To gain top grades on your finals, you need to start preparing early and use the time you have available wisely. If you want to be able to concentrate on your studies without distractions, it makes sense to search for rooms for rent.

Oshawa students should look no further than Foundry Simcoe. You’ll receive a private bedroom and an en suite bathroom in an apartment with two or four roommates. Apply now to take advantage of our early bird pricing.

3 Steps to Take Before Graduating to Ensure Career Success

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It’s easy to become so involved in your studies that you almost forget graduation is just around the corner. You likely have a few last assignments to complete, and it’s reasonable that these are taking up the vast majority of your time. Plus, you need to say goodbye to all the things you’ll miss about university, including your friends, your favourite hangout spots on campus, and the places you love around the city.

However, you do need to make sure that you’re prepared for life after graduation. Although the hard work will be over soon in one regard, the next chapter of your life is about to begin — and that will bring its own set of challenges. In particular, there are a few things you need to do to find success in this early stage of your career.

1. Let Everyone Know That You’re Graduating

Make sure everyone you know is aware that your graduation date is coming up. Even people you think have no connections in the field you want to enter could surprise you. Tell your extended family, friends, coworkers at your part-time job, manager from your internship, and professors. Also let them know exactly what kind of career you’re looking to pursue. They may be able to put you in contact with the right people for an opportunity that you’d never have found on your own.

2. Start Actively Networking

As well as relying on others, engage in your own networking. Since so much is online these days, there’s no need to travel to in-person events — you can find plenty of opportunities to network virtually. In addition, it’s worth scheduling some one-on-one meetings with people who may be able to give you advice or put you in contact with potential employers. In particular, talk to someone at the job centre at your university, your professors, and faculty members. Remember that you are just one of many students and, unless you make the effort to stay front of mind, even your favourite professors may forget about you.

3. Search for Opportunities on LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn profile is like an online resume that anyone can see. Add everyone you know as a connection to expand your network, including all your friends and classmates. They may be able to connect you to someone useful. You may also like to follow companies that you’d like to work for, just to express an interest. Next, fine tune your profile by uploading a professional headshot, a summary of what you’re looking to achieve, and details of your experience — at university and elsewhere. Finally, you could even start searching for jobs to apply for before you graduate.

Your last few months at university are the most important ones of all. Make them your best yet by moving into the welcoming student community at Foundry Simcoe. Our alternative to Ontario Tech University residence provides you with a comfortable suite equipped with high-speed internet and modern appliances, including a washer and dryer in your unit. Contact us now for an immediate move-in.

Why Now Is the Right Time to Get Outdoors

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To take full advantage of your time at university, you should have plenty of fun adventures. Many students say after they’ve graduated that they regret not spending more time outdoors. Now is the ideal time to discover new places and try new activities, especially since you may not have the same opportunities later. There are several reasons why this is the case.

1. You Have Long Breaks

When you start working, you may only be able to take a few days off a year, whereas at university you have a couple weeks over the winter and spring plus a much longer break for the summer. Even if you have other commitments, such as a seasonal job or internship, or you want to spend time with your family, you should be able to find the time for some outdoor trips.

Many students use their breaks to travel abroad. This opens up even more opportunities, including snowboarding, skiing, and water sports. Plus, you can find hiking trails almost anywhere you go — these are great ways to enjoy the fresh air and take in some scenery.

2. It’s a Great Way to Fill That Free Time

There’s no need to wait until you’re on a break from university to head outdoors. If you manage your time well, you can study just on weekdays, leaving weekends free to spend with friends. You could explore the nearby area, practise sports, or find programs to learn useful survival skills, such as first aid, building a shelter to stay warm, and starting a campfire. It will be easier to do all this now than when you’re older and have responsibilities like childcare.

3. You’ll Destress

It’s not just important to use your free time productively because you’ll have more fun — spending time outdoors will help you relax and get rid of all that pent up stress. Staying active is obviously great for your physical health, but it’s also one of the best ways to improve your mental health. This will mean you’re able to return to your studies with a clear mind and you’ll be more likely to avoid burnout.

4. Activities Are Less Expensive with Student Discounts

It may also be more difficult to experiment with outdoor activities later because prices will increase. Student discounts can be significant, covering everything from transport to equipment and instruction. If you look out for discounts, you may even be able to purchase equipment that is usually prohibitively expensive for a good price.

You’ll need a home base from which you can start your outdoor adventures and return after a long day or extended trip. Your best option is to find a student rental. Oshawa students can receive a suite at Foundry Simcoe, complete with a private bedroom and spacious living room where you can plan your next excursion with friends or roommates. Plus, there are great places nearby for various outdoor activities, including Niagara Park and Kedron Dells Golf Club. Apply for a suite now and you may still be able to grab a unit with a balcony before they’re all gone.

Why It’s OK If You’re a Night Owl at College

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Productivity advice often talks about starting the day early and immediately jumping into tasks that require high focus while you have the most energy. But what if you’re a night owl? Just the idea of getting up early likely makes you want to cringe. The good news is night owls often thrive at college, not least because you can set your schedule to be active later in the day.

1. Focus in the Evenings

Many students try to study in the evenings just because it’s convenient. If you’re a night owl, this is actually the best time of day for you to study, as it’s when you have the most energy. Choosing to study when you feel energized means you’ll retain more of what you’re learning and produce better work. To use this to your advantage, do your homework right after class while everything is still fresh in your mind.

2. Avoid Interruptions

Studying at night also has the advantage of providing you with a quieter environment. You’re much less likely to face distractions, such as a friend dropping by, a roommate needing to ask you something, or even your phone constantly buzzing with notifications.

3. Choose Afternoon and Night Classes

If you know you’ll struggle with morning classes, avoid them. You could even opt for night classes and leave the day free for other activities. Since both afternoon and night classes tend to fill up later than morning classes, you should find you also have more choice.

4. Lead an Active Social Life

Plenty of the student experience has nothing to do with academics. Parties, events, and some extracurriculars take place in the evening and at night. Morning people may be too exhausted to take full advantage, whereas you will be fully alert. This puts you in a prime position to have fun and build real connections.

5. Take Risks

Studies have found that night owls are more likely to take risks. This is also an indication that you’re cut out to be an entrepreneur. Many students start their first business at college to make an income without holding a traditional job — it’s definitely something worth considering.

6. Benefit from Your Creativity

Another common characteristic of night owls is creativity. You’ll likely do well if you’re taking a creative major, but you may also like to consider choosing some creative electives to see where your skills could take you.

7. Succeed at Academics

Finally, night owls often score high on inductive reasoning tests, which are good indications of general intelligence. This is why night owls often succeed academically — although they find it easier to perform well when exams are not scheduled for the early morning.

A risk of living on campus is you may be paired with a morning person and find that your routines disturb each other’s sleep. An option for Durham College off-campus housing is Foundry Simcoe. You’ll be living with a community of students right near campus, but you’ll have your own room in a suite or townhouse. Sign a lease now and, even as a night owl, you can take advantage of our early bird pricing.

How to Become a Better Paper Writer

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It’s common to receive poor grades at college simply because you struggle to write good papers. You may have a good grasp of the material but find it difficult to express yourself in writing. If this is happening to you, here are a few things you can do to improve.

1. Understand the Assignment

Before you start working on your paper, make sure you know what you’re trying to achieve. Reread the question a few times, highlighting the key words and jotting down some ideas. Check how long the assignment needs to be, whether you are restricted to using particular sources, and if there are other criteria you need to meet.

2. Introduce and Develop Your Argument

Instead of writing down everything you know about the topic, figure out what argument you want to make. Use the first paragraph to introduce the argument and subsequent paragraphs to expand on each point. Tie everything together in the conclusion — this final paragraph shouldn’t include any new information; it should just summarize what you’ve already covered.

3. Avoid Plagiarism

If you commit plagiarism, you will get caught and the consequences could be severe. Universities have sophisticated plagiarism software that reveal if you’ve copied chunks of text from another student, or even if you’ve just used the occasional sentence you found in another source. Software can also detect if you’ve made minor changes to word order or used synonyms.

Remember that it’s also plagiarism if you copy something but add a reference to the source. You should only include quotes when this is necessary for the assignment. Otherwise, put information into your own words.

4. Be Concise

Cut unnecessary adjectives, adverbs, and other filler words and think about how to make your sentences more concise. This will gain you points for style. If you’re struggling to meet the word count, adding fluff won’t help. It’s likely that you’ve neglected some important points. Go back to the assignment instructions and figure out what you’ve missed.

5. Stick to Simple Language

Your professors are not interested in your expansive vocabulary — they want to see that you understand the material and can express the ideas in your own way. A paper is no place to try out new words you’ve recently learned, unless they relate to the topic. There’s too big a risk that you’ll misuse a term, which will lead to a weaker paper.

6. Proofread Your Paper at a Later Date

Come back to your paper an hour or more after you’ve finished — it’s better still if you wait a full day. This will help you see your writing in a new light, meaning any areas for improvement and typos will be more obvious. Make sure to proofread your paper several times before you decide it’s finished. It can also help if you read it out loud to check the flow.

7. Ask for Support

If you’re still having trouble writing papers, use the academic services at your university. For instance, you may be able to receive writing support or find a tutor who can read your papers and give you tips on how to improve.

Even when you follow all the above tips, you’ll struggle to write great papers if you’re unable to focus at home. Your best course of action is to leave your on-campus housing and search for apartments for rent. North Oshawa has fully-furnished suites, designed with the student lifestyle in mind, at Foundry Simcoe. Apply now while there are still spaces available.

Why All Students Should Have a Study Buddy

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Studying can be a lonely activity, but it doesn’t have to be — all you need is a study buddy. In fact, everyone should have a study buddy for the following benefits.

1. Never Forget an Important Date

Many students find the jump from high school to college particularly challenging because no one is checking up on them. Your professors are less likely to keep reminding you of an upcoming test or project. If you tend to be forgetful, you could miss a due date and end up receiving a failing grade. However, it’s less likely that two of you will forget, especially if you’re preparing for the quiz or assignment together.

2. Quiz Each Other

Flashcards are a great tool for making sure that you’re clear about key facts and concepts, but it’s more engaging when someone else quizzes you. Plus, when you and your study buddy each come up with your own flash cards, you’ll have twice as many questions, which reduces the risk of overlooking something crucial.

3. Proofread Your Papers

Before you hand in a paper, you can ask your study buddy to take a look and give you feedback. This is a great chance to proofread your work and eliminate any typos you hadn’t noticed, but also talk about things like whether your calculations seem correct, whether you’ve fully answered the question, and if your argument flows well.

4. Research Together

You’ll find information for your assignments twice as fast when you work together and share the results of your searches. In addition, you’ll likely use different methods, which will increase the richness of the results.

5. Improve Your Motivation

You’re much less likely to procrastinate studying when you’ve agreed to a session with a partner. Plus, you should find that you look forward to studying more, since it will also be a chance to socialize.

6. Look at Problems in New Ways

It’s common for one person to find a section of the material difficult whereas someone else may understand it immediately. Explaining concepts to each other does more than help the other person: it’s a great way to solidify your own understanding. Alternatively, you may be able to share resources you’ve found that help explain ideas in a new way.

7. Share Notes and Materials

If you need to miss class one day, you can rely on your study buddy to keep you up to speed. In fact, you should consider sharing notes on days when you both attend — just to ensure you picked up on all the key information. Furthermore, if you ever turn up to class only to realize you’ve forgotten a notepad or for your last pen to run out of ink, you’ll have someone who can lend you whatever you need.

You’ll need to have somewhere to study with your partner. Your student apartment is a great option, especially if you have your own room and you live near campus. You’ll have both of these things when you live at Foundry Simcoe. Our Durham College student housing gives you a room in a suite at a student community near campus. Apply now for an immediate move-in or to take advantage of our early bird pricing.

How to Discover Your True Passion in College

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Your true passion is not something you choose — it naturally occurs when you develop strong feelings for an interest after some time of exploring your options. While there are students who start university already knowing where their true passions lie, many are still figuring it out. In fact, college is the perfect time for this because it’s a period of self-discovery. Here’s how to channel your inner passions and discover what motivates you.

1. Explore Your Interests

Although your interests may not develop into your true passion, there’s a good chance they’ll lead you in the right direction. Consider what you like best about your interests and where else you could find these qualities. Search for opportunities in extracurriculars, volunteer work, and electives to see where they take you.

2. Keep Trying

It can take many years to arrive at a true passion — much more than the time you’ll be at college. Enjoy the process: never stop trying new things and learning more about yourself. Even if you end up disliking something, it will teach you an important lesson about what’s right for you. Just make sure you never dismiss something too quickly or for the wrong reasons.

3. Overcome Challenges in the Way

You may have an idea of where your passion lies but feel like there are impossible barriers in your way. Unfortunately, there will always be aspects about your passion that you find difficult. Don’t let these become significant enough to give up — instead, find ways to overcome these challenges.

For instance, if you want to study a major that requires a certain skill you struggle with, ask for extra help. Find a tutor, attend workshops at college, or read books that look at the subject in a new way. All this effort will be worthwhile if it allows you to fully embrace a potential passion.

4. Don’t Let Anyone Stamp on Your Dreams

Reaching the point when you’re able to start coming up with ideas about what you’d like to do after you graduate and possible career options is exciting. However, not everyone may share your enthusiasm. Don’t let these people drag you down — you should never give up on a passion because someone else is envious or because the field is dominated by people who don’t look like you.

Instead, listen to those who have your best interests at heart and who know what they’re talking about, such as your career development advisor. You should find that these people give you support and advice to tackle obstacles rather than telling you to pick another path. You only have one life, and it’s important to spend it doing something you love.

Students often find it easier to allow their interests to develop into passions when they have more freedom, but this can be difficult when you live on campus. It’s much easier when you’re fully independent, which is possible when you’re living in student apartments. Oshawa students can find fully-furnished, modern housing at Foundry Simcoe. Sign a lease now to benefit from our early bird pricing.

A Winter Bucket List for College Student

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There are so many things you should do while you’re a college student — it’s essential to make a list to ensure you don’t forget anything. To avoid an extra-long bucket list, it helps to split your ideas up into different themes. One idea is to create a bucket list just for the winter, which should include at least the following.

1. Decorate Your Student Apartment

If this is your first year away from home, it’s likely the first time you’ve been in charge of the decorations. Collaborate with your roommates or just decorate your bedroom with things like a tree, a greeting card display, and homemade ornaments.

2. Go Ice Skating with Friends

Head to the nearest ice rink or frozen lake with your friends to skate. If you’ve never skated before, you should find that you get the hang of it after you try a few times.

3. Hold a Christmas Movie Marathon

On an evening when it’s too cold to venture out, invite a couple of friends over to watch Christmas classics. Ask everyone to bring their pajamas and prepare some hot chocolate to turn the night into a slumber party to remember.

4. Make a Snowman

After a heavy snowfall, head outside with friends to build a snowman. You could even form teams and compete to see who can make the best or most original snow sculpture.

5. Have a Snowball Fight

Whether spontaneous or planned in advance, a snowball fight is a must for every college student. If you do this on the same day as you build snowmen, you can hide behind your snow figures for protection or to ambush the other students.

6. Head to the Hills for a Sledding Day

For a longer day out in the snow, go on a sledding excursion. This works best somewhere with plenty of reasonably steep hills. You may be able to pick up a sled in a thrift store or you can make your own out of something like a cookie sheet, a lid to a storage container, or even a piece of cardboard wrapped in a trash bag.

7. Send Handwritten Cards

Go beyond simply signing your greetings cards and write each recipient a personalized note. Include a few updates about your life and let recipients know that you’re thinking of them. Send these cards to your close friends from high school, relatives, and anyone else important in your life.

8. Do a Homemade Gift Exchange

Holiday shopping can mean you exceed your budget for the month on gifts alone. Save money and give something more meaningful with homemade gifts. You could even organize a Secret Santa or White Elephant where everyone makes gifts instead of buying things.

9. Bake a Gingerbread House

A gingerbread house looks impressive and is not actually too difficult — provided you have some patience! You just need to cut the gingerbread to the right shape, glue the pieces together with royal icing, and then decorate the house with the candy of your choice.

10. Give Something Back

Give more than gifts over the holidays by volunteering your time. Find a cause that you care about and that needs support this time of year. For instance, you could offer to feed animals or walk dogs at an animal shelter, pay the residents of an assisted living facility a visit, or serve food at a homeless shelter.

11. Reflect on Your Year

It’s easy to become so focused on the future and on setting new year’s resolutions that you neglect to acknowledge what you’ve already achieved. Consider the goals you had at the beginning of the year and the progress you’ve made toward them. Think about what challenges you overcame, what you managed to do that you never imagined would be possible, and what you’ve learned — beyond just academics.

Many of the activities above are much more fun if you have a great student apartment. For Durham College off-campus housing, there’s Foundry Simcoe. Your spacious suite with a private bedroom will be a great place to hang out with friends. Apply now for an immediate move-in or to take advantage of our early bird pricing.

10 Budgeting Tips for Students

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Temptations abound in college, which can make it difficult to stick to a budget. However, you’ll thank yourself later if you do, as you’ll consistently make your money last to the end of the month and may even be able to start paying off your student loans. Plus, learning how to budget now will set you up for financial success in the future.

Here are some simple yet effective ways to keep your spending in check.

1. Use a Budgeting App

Budgeting used to be complicated. It required making spreadsheets and updating them regularly to reflect your purchases. Now, though, there are countless apps to choose from that will make your life easier. They show you where your money is going to help you to improve your spending habits.

2. Make Full Credit Card Payments

Credit card debt has some of the highest interest rates. If you already have some debt, pay as much as you possibly can each month until it’s gone. Then, make sure you only spend within your means going forward to avoid accumulating any debt again.

3. Apply for a Cash-Back Credit Card

If you’re being responsible with your credit card — meaning you have no debt and you’re spending within your means — it’s worth applying for a card that offers cash back. This means that every time you spend, you’ll earn money or other rewards.

4. Buy with Student Discounts

Many businesses offer student discounts, including subscription services when you sign up with a student email. It’s worth choosing brands that offer such deals, as you can end up saving a significant amount.

5. Search for Coupons

Another way to take advantage of deals is to use coupons. After all, it doesn’t make sense to pay full price when a discount is available. Always do an internet search to look for discount codes before you place an order for anything expensive.

6. Cook Your Own Meals

It’s almost always cheaper to cook than to eat out — plus, it helps you stick to a healthier diet. There’s no need for cooking to be time consuming or difficult. If you’re not used to preparing food, start with simple recipes to learn the basics and consider making enough for a couple meals at a time.

7. Write a Shopping List

If you head to the grocery store without a list, there’s always a risk you’ll waste your money on food you never end up eating. Consider what you’ll eat over the upcoming week and make sure you have the ingredients for just these meals and for some healthy snacks.

8. Find Free Ways to Have Fun

Maintaining an active social life on a budget can seem like a challenge, but it’s more than possible when you attend free events. You should be able to find events on campus virtually every week — they’re also a great way to expand your social circle.

9. Quit Smoking

Smoking is an expensive habit. Even if you find it difficult to quit now, it will be much more difficult if you wait until you’re older. Plus, every week you continue smoking is more money wasted. To incentivize yourself, you could designate all the money that would go to cigarettes or vaping to your fun budget.
10. Spend in Cash

Withdraw the amount you assign in your budget to non-essentials and make sure you only spend that cash. Reserve credit cards for just necessary expenses.

A final way to save money is to find affordable student housing. For off-campus Ontario Tech University residence, you have Foundry Simcoe. The suites are modern and fully furnished, meaning there’s no need to worry about extra expenses like furniture. Apply now while there are still a few spaces left and you can move in immediately.