Sunday, December 8, 2013

No More Ramen! Healthy Food on a Budget

The phrase “starving college student” is often thrown around as a joke, but with the cost of living these days being a starving college student has become a reality for many.  It’s easy to use a limited budget as an excuse to eat unhealthy foods because they are cheaper, but there are many alternatives and avenues one can take in order to eat healthy food on a budget.  Here are some tips!

Buy one or two extra canned or dry food items every time you shop.  This will help to build your pantry, and will prove to be helpful when money becomes extra tight.  It’s a safe way to plan for the future, and will allow you slightly more freedom to buy quality foods when your pantry is stocked.

Be aware of the dirty dozen.  Buying organic fruits and vegetables can be a huge drain on your wallet, but should be balanced with the understanding that the pesticides that reside on fruits and vegetables we eat can be harmful!  Here is a link to a website that lets you know which fruits and vegetables to only buy organic (the dirty dozen), and which ones don’t matter as much.

Grow some of your own. Seeds are cheap and easy to buy, and growing lettuce or basil on a windowsill takes little skill and a lot of patience.  It’s worth it to save the few extra dollars that you will once your small garden takes root.  In addition to this, check out the local farmers markets.  There is the student led Organic Vegetable Project that has a station on the Chico State campus every Wednesday afternoon, and the Chico farmer’s market is every Saturday morning. 

Pack a lunch!  Carrying snacks around with you all day helps to keep you accountable to buying meals, drinks, or snacks while on the go.  Plan on having at least one smaller meal per day, as this will help save you money as well.

Bad health is more expensive than good food in the long run.  Do what you can with the resources you have, and stick with it!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Get Involved this Holiday Season

The arrival of the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to give back to your community and the people you are surrounded by daily.  There are many opportunities that are available, from donating food to local food drives to supporting the organization of Toys for Tots.  To help you get started, I've listed some sites below to make it easy to get involved!

Opportunities at Chico State:
The Annual Giving Tree Program has kicked off for 2013!  The Giving Tree program has been a part of the Chico community for more than 20 years and is designed to promote the spirit of giving, community service and gratitude at CSU Chico during the winter season and throughout the year.  Everyone in the campus community is encouraged to participate!  And it's easy!

1)  Simply take a Gift Tag with a Child's Name and Age off of one of the Giving Trees located on campus.

2)  Purchase an appropriate gift for that child*

3)  Return the gift, UNwrapped with the original Gift Tag attached to it to one of the Drop boxes located on campus or to the CADEC office in SSC 180.

*The Giving Tree (CADEC) will donate your gift to the child at Stepping Stones or Northern Valley Teen Parent Program that you selected!
*Trees are Located:  BMU Lobby, SSC Lobby, CCLC, Sutter Dining, Student Health Center and CADEC
*Gift Drop Boxes Located:  BMU Lobby, SSC Lobby and Sutter Dining

Donate clothes, food, or toiletries to The Jesus Center:

Donate food to The Esplanade House:

Donate food to North State Food Bank:

Donate blood through Blood Source:

Donate toys through Toys for Tots:

The holiday season is a time of joy and giving, but it’s easy to get caught up in the materialistic aspect of this season.  I challenge you to get out and give back, and I know you will be glad you did.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Student Learning Center is your friend

It’s that time of the semester where finals are right around the corner. We are all stressing and we have to admit, we might need some help studying. A good way to prepare for a test would be group study sessions with friends or people in the same class as you. Being able to go over the material with others can help you prepare for a test. A good tip would be by quizzing each other or making flashcards. Another great way to study would be the student-learning center on campus. The Student Learning Center provides group study sessions and tutoring in subjects you know you are having difficulties in. This can be located in SSC 340 and anybody there at the front desk will be willing to help. They can work around your schedule and make sure you have time to get your studies in. You don’t have to feel like you can’t do it. One other great thing is that students like yourself tutor you. You don’t have to feel intimidated or scared because they are people just like you and understand your difficulties because they had the same problem as you at one point.    

We know that studying is a hard thing to do. Sometimes we aren’t really dedicated to it or just tend to procrastinate. By attending these group sessions or tutoring it can boost your confidence about the class and test. It always feels good going into a test you know you prepared for and studied hard for, but we also know how it feel to sit there and feel absolutely hopeless and have no clue what you are doing. So, the student-learning center is just another one of our resources that we may or may not be aware of and need to be put to use. We are paying for it.

By: Erick

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hey, I'm broke!

The Envelope System-A Creative and Practical Way to Manage Money

College is a difficult season for the piggy bank.  Not only are we as students figuring out how to live well on our own, but suddenly there are all sorts of expenses and bills to be paid that we never knew about before, and this isn’t even stepping into the realm of the large sum of money that goes towards paying for college itself.  It’s easy to take the credit card and swipe away when making purchases, but that isn’t financially healthy in the long run, and will eventually cause a great deal of hardship and stress.  The envelope system is a simple and flexible money-managing technique developed by Dr. Dave Ramsey that, when properly applied, proves to successfully ease one’s financial difficulties. 
The main premise of the envelope system is to work within one’s earnings.  Each envelope represents a certain amount of money each month that you want to put towards a certain category.  You can have as many categories as you want, and any amount can be put towards each separate category, but you must never budget over your earned income for each month.  For example, one simple envelope system could have the categories of Food, Rent, Gas, Bills, Spending Money, and Savings.  Each of these categories is one envelope.  If I make $500 a month, $100 could go in the envelope category of Food, $250 could go in the envelope category of Rent, $50 could go in the envelope category of Gas, $50 could go in the envelope category of Bills, $25 could go in the envelope category of Spending Money, and $25 could go in the envelope category of Savings.  The amounts, of course, could be changed to fit any budget, and would depend on the rent and average bills each month. You are only allowed that amount of money to spend on the certain category, and once that money is gone you cannot “borrow” money from elsewhere but rather must be frugal and wait until the next paycheck. It is also important to make sure that one envelope category is Savings, and a great amount to start saving each month is at least 10% of your earned income.  Make sure that when implementing the envelope system that you keep a record of all transactions, purchases, bills paid, and paychecks earned.  Keeping receipts helps with the maintenance of this record, and not only will you most likely be surprised by where your money is going, but keeping a solid record helps to provide a perspective of how each paycheck is being spent, and can help you understand what to cut out of your budget if need be.
It’s true, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all system for managing money, and one system will work for one person while another system will work for another person.  Do find what works for you, and give it time.  Getting used to any new system, especially one that deals with something as heavy and important as finances, can be difficult and time-consuming at first.  I want to challenge you to try it, and give it a few months before quitting in order to grasp a full understanding of how the system works and if it will work well for you. 
For further information and tips on the envelope system, visit “Dave Ramsey’s Envelope System” at

By: Tiana

Monday, November 18, 2013

Surviving the Season of Midterms

It’s that time of year!  As the leaves carpet the streets and department stores decorate for the holidays two months in advance, it’s time to prepare for the upcoming midterms that usually hit all in the same week before break.  Facing midterms, especially multiple midterms, can seem daunting but there are a few tips to remember that will help you survive this season of chaos! 

First off, study with others.
  Oftentimes, studying can be made slightly more enjoyable when you have one or two friends with you that can help keep you accountable to staying on track.  This tip is only helpful if you study with people that will religiously study with you rather than distract you from the task at hand. 

Find a spot to study that you’re comfortable in.  This could be at a kitchen table at home, in the library, or at a coffee shop.  Don’t be afraid to switch it up and try studying in different environments.  You may just find the perfect spot for you!

Studying is made infinitely harder without a balance of eating healthily, exercising, and sleeping.   Get rid of the late-night junk food and substitute it for healthy fruits and vegetables-your body will thank you for this!  Make sure you get some exercise in addition to this; go to the gym, take a walk, or play soccer with friends.  Lastly, SLEEP!  Even though it can be tempting to give up precious hours of sleep to cram in more study time, getting in those REM cycles will help you perform well on your tests.  Studies show that going over test materials before you go to sleep is extremely effective because your brain continues to go over the material while you sleep; try this out!

Remember your resources.  There is the tutoring center on campus in the SLC that has drop-in appointments for most math classes as well as writing, and appointments with class-specific tutors can still be made right now!  In addition to this, use your classmates and the knowledge that they have, and don’t be afraid to attend your professor’s office hours-every professor has mandatory weekly office hours.

Make sure that you give yourself time to release stress.  Whether this is through exercise, grabbing coffee with a friend for an hour, taking a walk, or sitting in the hot tub at the WREC, make sure that you incorporate something that works for you.  Don’t get consumed in the chaos of midterms, and look forward to the week break ahead!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Scholarships: Do They Still Exist in College?!

Apply Now!

Scholarships were abundantly pouring down upon us when we were seniors in high school, and then seemed to disappear once we got in college.  Are there scholarships available for college students, or are scholarships something you only apply for while in high school? 

Although not as well known or broadcasted as high school scholarships, thousands of college scholarships go unclaimed each year because no one takes the time to apply for them, thinking that the competition is too high or that there just aren’t any out there!

The trick to applying for scholarships starts from knowing your strengths and finding ones that cater to those strengths.  Half of the process of applying for scholarships is searching for them.  Be patient!  There are many websites online designed specifically to help you personally find scholarships, even matching them to what you are involved in, what your major is in school, and whether you should apply for a merit scholarship depending on your GPA.

There are scholarships out there for everyone; it just takes some time to find them!  There are several on-campus resources that aid in finding scholarships, starting at the Chico State Financial Aid and Scholarship Office.  Chico State offers several scholarships that one can apply for online, and the application opens online October 17 and is due by December 15.  The Financial Aid and Scholarship Office website also has a link under the tab of  Scholarships>CSU, Chico Scholarships to a list of external scholarships, which are scholarships offered outside of Chico State, as well as information of what to do when you receive an external scholarship. 

Many students don't qualify for other types of financial aid so they don't fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  A little known fact is that students who don't fill out a FAFSA application, will not be considered for need based scholarships.  This is huge if you are self-supporting or if your family isn't able to provide much help.  Fill out that FAFSA whether you believe you qualify or not, it will open up opportunities for many more scholarships.

Scholarships can go with financial aid, and the more you apply for the greater chance you will have in receiving an award.  Don’t miss out on extra money to help you get through college; use your time wisely and apply for scholarships this semester!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

PALS Can Be Your Pals

As a peer advisor I can say that we aren’t just students who volunteer to help the Liberal Studies Advising Office, but people you can trust. Many people fear going to an advisor for help because they are embarrassed to ask stupid questions or sometimes too scared to talk about their personal experiences. 

I have had a couple of liberal study majors tell me they prefer to talk to us, the peer advisor, when it comes to their school work or feelings. Advisors are viewed as professional who can’t compare to a younger student. It feels good to know that you have certain students that only go to meet you. This sometimes turns into a friendship where only you and that person will understand. You have become someone dear and caring to them, someone they can trust when it comes to school problems or personal problems. 

It gives us as peer advisors a good feeling to know that you mean something to someone that you barely knew at one point. We want more students to come with this mentality. We want students to trust us in anything because we are all human and know what it feels like to stress out and be scared in many types of situations. We can be more than just peer advisors to students, but we can also be your friends. As peer advisors our role isn’t to just help students academically, but we are to help students in any way. We are a shoulder that you can lean on.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dorms Are the Answer

In our colleges today many students face depression or sadness due to the lack of meeting new people and not really having any friends. Yeah, we have other students in our classes that we talk to, but not really outside of class. Sometimes it’s nice to have friends outside of class, to be able to talk to and just hang out with. 

Many freshmen coming into universities face being alone and having no friends. This soon turns into a serious issue where students want to drop out, move back home, or change schools. I can speak with experience when I say things like this are an issue. I had a friend who hated coming to school because other than me she had no friends. She would talk to other students from classes but that was it, never really anything serious. So this lead her into depression and started to skip class and eventually dropped out because she felt lonely. I was wondered what could be a solution to a problem like this because I am positive that there are other students with the same problem. 

I believe that students should live on campus their freshmen year, only because this way they are able to meet new people and have some support later on down the road. This allows students to experience the college life on the right track. They can experience things with new friends and not feel alone. The new students have something to look forward to their first year and eventually make lifelong relationships with new people. 

My freshman year, I lived in the University Village and I can say it made a big difference in my first year as a student. I was matched up with six other roommates. Living with six other students gives you a sense of comfort and ease. Those roommates ended up being my first friends here in Chico State. You can see the results in the students when they are faced with a new experience and get to face it with six other people. I believe that living on campus is an amazing thing for first year students, so they can get their foot on the right track by not feeling lonely and able to break out and have fun their first year. 

If you are feeling lonely, remember there are lots of people here to support you.  Stop by the Liberal Studies office and talk with one of the PALS.  If you'd like to talk with someone professional, we have some wonderful counselors at Chico State and our PALS will even go with you the first time. Check out their website.