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Housing Options

Dorm rooms can get noisy, making study difficult, and there's always someone who wants to talk to you late into the night. On the other hand, it is easy to make friends, and living in the dorms gives you the comfort of being surrounded by people and activity so far from home, perhaps for the first time. After freshman year, however, you may feel that the extra independence and relative quiet of your own apartment is worth the additional expense. There are several choices for finding an apartment or share rentals beyond, such as and

Before you sign a rental contract, note the main elements of the length of the contract, and what conditions must be met for your security deposit to be returned. Further, find out if you can sub-lease your apartment legally. To force landlords to make necessary repairs, like fixing a broken toilet or water pipes, you may be entitled to hold off paying rent until the utilities are working again. If necessary, you can contact free legal aid at your school's student services office. Be forewarned, renting a cheap place in a bad neighborhood to save money is often a 'bad bargain' in the long-run. The money you save on rent will be offset by hidden costs like stress, and concern about break-ins, theft, or personal safety.

If you decide to rush a frat or join a sorority, there are several factors you should take into account, before you get overwhelmed by the attention they are giving you. The brothers (or sisters) have their own agenda, and need to fill up the house with a new pledge class every year. Look at the clothes everyone is wearing, and their shoes in fact. Are these the same clothes and shoes that you always wear? How do people talk? Is everyone rich? Nobody wants to feel left out, and you may find yourself spending more time on fitting in than concentrating on your grades. Alternatively, if you do fit in, the frats and sororities can be a great place to spend your college career, making life-long friendships.

Finally, if you arrive on campus as a freshman without a hotel booking in advance, you'll need to find short-term housing, and fast. You can stay in a weekly or monthly motel, at least temporarily, while you look for a better option. Make new friends if you can, like in the hours-long line outside the financial aid office, and ask to sleep on their couch, or on their floor in a sleeping bag. Hey, several layers of cardboard or a big piece of foam can make the floor seem pretty comfy in an emergency. However, even if you're a brave soul, resist the temptation to sleep outside, or in your car or van, as that can lead to depression, and might be dangerous if you're parked in the wrong neighborhood.


Finances & Making Money

There are creative ways to make extra money while going to college. You don't need to start a moving company like "Starving Students" did, growing into a large business, with all the attendant details involved. There are small money-makers that you can put together in your spare time, like holding garage sales, hauling stuff with a pick-up truck or van, or even tutoring kids in math and English, at $30/hour with a few solid references. Beyond that, there are flea markets, and online marketplaces like eBay, where you can list items for sale on your own virtual storefront. I don't mean just selling junk you have lying around, but actually working eBay like a business, selling items you'd bought at self-storage auctions or local garage sales. Consider investing your earnings like Warren Buffet, buying stocks cheaply when everyone thinks it's time to sell.

Don't dismiss these ideas, as they are simple and easy to get started with. Some people are making a good income on eBay while you're eating pasta. To buy items to sell, try auctions or second hand stores like The Salvation Army. In larger cities, the warehouse for the Salvation Army holds a dirt-cheap auction every weekday at 8:30am, right at the loading dock. If you'd prefer, you can print business cards offering your services as a tutor, massage therapist, or house cleaner. Charge whatever you think the market would bear, like $35/hour for house cleaning, and only clean rich people's homes.

In the summer, you can make a good income selling food at festivals and concerts. For just the cost of a grill, and parking, you can make grilled cheese sandwiches in the parking lot of most outdoor concerts. The police are more concerned with violence and security in general than checking if some kid has a license to sell sandwiches. Besides, you're on private property, so you're not really on their radar in the first place. If you buy drinks wholesale, you can make a good profit selling them on the side. While the music is playing, most people will go to the show, but that's a great time to count your cash, and get ready for the rush, when everyone is hungry afterwards. If you are good at making things, you can sell handicrafts at a second table.

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Health Insurance

When you purchase a health insurance policy, shop online for rate quotes, coverage limits, and complaint information, indicating the reputation of the insurance company underwriting your policy. Don't rely solely on the advice of insurance agents, as they're paid on a commission basis. The most expensive plan may not offer the best quality of care, and the cheapest health plan may not cover the benefits you need. How much are the monthly premiums, and is there a deductible that you must pay out of pocket, in the case of treatment? Is there a hospital, physician, and pharmacy network that the policy limits you to, and if you need to choose a new primary care physician, are there enough doctors in your area that are accepting new patients? What health care services does the policy cover, and what is excluded?

Fill out the health insurance application accurately, because if you knowingly provide incorrect or incomplete information, especially about a pre-existing condition, your coverage can be cancelled later when you most need it. Make certain that your new policy contains the deductible you have selected, the amount of insurance coverage purchased, the full name of the insurance company, as well as the effective date and expiration. Never sign a partially blank form or pages with wording that you do not fully understand. Keep a copy of all signed insurance documents in a safe place, as your signed insurance policy is a legal contract establishing your rights and the insurance company's liability in the case of a claim.

Health Insurance Coverage

Health insurance policyYour health insurance policy only pays for services that are medically necessary, such as hospital care, visits to your primary care doctor and specialist procedures, like emergency and urgent care, occupational therapy, pregnancy, and required surgery. It also covers lab tests and diagnostic services, like x-rays, ultrasound, and mammograms, as well as preventive and routine care, like vaccines, checkups, mental health care including therapy for autism, and some home care, such as rehabilitation after a hospital stay. Many health insurance policies will cover diabetes supplies. Beginning in 2014, policy coverage will extend to prescription drugs, substance abuse treatment, and oral and vision care for children.

Preventive care helps doctors catch health problems early, with a better chance of successful treatment. Blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol tests, cancer screenings, vaccines, and child screening may be covered without any out-of-pocket cost. This means that even if you haven't met your deductible yet, you don't have to pay for preventive care. Choose a primary care physician or pediatrician that you trust, and freely seek a second opinion about a diagnosis or treatment, even changing doctors during treatment if you are not satisfied with the quality of care you are receiving. If English isn't your first language, you have the right to use an interpreter. It is your responsibility to understand the risks and benefits of your treatment. Ask questions and educate yourself before undergoing any serious treatment plan, such as a surgical operation. Protect your health information, by obtaining a copy of your medical records, and checking them for accuracy.

Read your health plan's 'summary of benefits' to learn what is covered and what is excluded. Health insurance only pays for care that is medically necessary, which is defined in your health insurance policy. Your insurance plan may not pay for experimental procedures or investigational testing, but if you have a serious illness and would like further treatment, you can ask for an independent medical review. While you need to get pre-approval from your health plan for some kinds of care, you do not need pre-approval for emergency care, such as admittance to the emergency room, emergency medical technician care, or ambulance service from the scene of an accident.

Insurance Claims

If have to file a health insurance claim against a hospital or physician for errors committed in your case, or worse file a medical malpractice lawsuit, document the facts of your case as soon as is practical. To be prepared, collect your records in one place, such as a file cabinet or desk drawer, so a family member can retrieve them in the case of an emergency. Time counts in an insurance claim, and valuable information and documentation may be lost if you don't take action when it counts.
Keep a copy of your insurance policy, noting coverage impacting your claim.
Obtain your medical and hospital records, and get a notarized copy made.
Specify alleged misconduct or neglect if involved.
Get a copy of medical services performed, and lab tests done.
Consult other physicians and specialists, for testing and evaluation.
Keep records of the progress in the settlement of your claim.
Print out emails and save all correspondence for your records.
Attach all supporting documents as an index.
Insurance companies have attorneys on their payroll whose job is to limit the liability of the insurance company in the settlement of claims. You may be offered a settlement by your insurer initially, but you don't need to accept it. You'd be better off consulting your own attorney, as medical malpractice lawyers will accept new cases on a contingency basis. That means that you pay nothing up front, and that the legal fees will be deducted from your settlement only if the lawyer wins the case.

While attorney fees are high, ranging from 25% of your insurance settlement to an astounding 44% of the total claim, a competent attorney can win you a much larger settlement than you'd be able to negotiate yourself. In most instances, the case will never go to court, as the insurance company's main interest is to limit their payouts, and they don't want to run up expensive legal fees in a protracted court case. Not only can you sue for actual damages, such as personal injury and loss of income, but you are also eligible to receive money for related damages, such as the assignment of punitive damages if neglect was involved.


Diets & Nutrition

Stay away from all fried foods, including potato chips and other processed snacks. No more sodas, no more diet sodas, no more sodas. Forget loading up on white bread or potatos, and let's include some exercise as part of your daily diet. If you walk in the sun for 20 minutes every morning or afternoon, you not only fight depression and laziness, but the walk itself will do you good. To lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to eat less food. The key is to add the types of food that keep you feeling satisfied and full, without packing on the pounds.

If you want to lose weight without feeling hungry all the time, start eating 'rabbit foods' that are high in fiber. You've seen them in the supermarket, just sitting there in the fruits and vegetables section, calling out to you to eat them. Just say their names for now. "Lettuce, carrot, cucumber, celery, the names themselves sound like a diet itching to happen. High-fiber foods take a long time to digest, which means you'll feel full longer. There's nothing magic about it, but the weight-loss results are amazing. Enjoy whole fruits like strawberries, apples, oranges, berries, nectarines, plums, leafy salads, and green veggies of all kinds. Select beans like black beans, lentils, split peas, pinto beans, and chickpeas. Add them to soups, salads, and entrees, or enjoy them as a hearty dish of their own. Try high-fiber cereal, oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat or multigrain bread, bran muffins, or air-popped popcorn.

The high water and fiber content in most fruits and vegetables makes them hard to overeat. Start by skipping the high-sugar, processed cereal into your morning meal, to make room in your tummy for some blueberries, strawberries, and sliced bananas. Replace one of the eggs and some of the cheese in your omelet with vegetables. Try tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, spinach, or bell peppers. Swap out some of the meat and cheese in your sandwich with healthier veggie choices such as lettuce, tomatoes, sprouts, cucumbers, and avocado. Instead of a high-calorie snack, such as chips and dip, try baby carrots with hummus, or crunching on an apple. Even dishes such as pasta and stir-fries can be diet-friendly if they're less heavy on the noodles and more focused on vegetables. Veggies can be delicious and full of flavor when you dress them with herbs and spices or a little olive oil or cheese.

Your weight loss efforts will succeed or fail based largely on your food environment. Start the day with breakfast. Serve yourself smaller portions. One easy way to control portion size is by using small plates, bowls, and cups. Cook your own meals, and you control what goes in to the recipe. Restaurant and packaged foods generally contain a lot more sodium, fat, and calories than home-cooked meals. Don't shop for groceries when you're hungry. Create a shopping list and stick to it, and be especially careful to avoid foods at the ends of the aisles and along the checkout stands, where grocers tend to sell high-calorie snack and convenience foods.

Soft drinks including soda, energy drinks, and coffee drinks, are a huge source of calories in many poor diets. One can of soda contains between 10-12 teaspoons of sugar and around 150 calories, so a few soft drinks can quickly add up to a good portion of your daily calorie intake. Switching to diet soda isn't the answer either. Studies suggest that it triggers sugar cravings and contributes to weight gain. Instead, try switching to water with lemon, unsweetened iced tea, or carbonated water with a splash of juice.

In addition to your food and eating-related choices, you can also support your weight loss and dieting efforts by making healthy lifestyle choices. Get plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep has been shown to have a direct link to hunger, overeating, and weight gain. Exhaustion also impairs your judgment, which can lead to poor food choices. Aim for around 8 hours of quality sleep a night. Get plenty of exercise. Exercise is a dieter's best friend. It not only burns calories, but can actually improve your resting metabolism. No time for a long workout? Research shows that three 10-minute spurts of exercise per day are just as good as one 30-minute workout. Drink more water. You can easily reduce your daily calorie intake by replacing soda, alcohol, or coffee with water. Thirst can also be confused with hunger, so by drinking water, you may avoid consuming extra calories, plus it will help you break down food more easily.

Student Health

The following is a listing of pages from the US NIH Library of Medicine, outlining common disease symptoms and treatment options.

Chlamydia Infections
Cold Sores
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Diabetes Type 1
Diabetes Type 2
Dietary Supplements
Ear Infections
Eye Infections
First Aid
Fungal Infections
Genital Herpes
Genital Warts
Gum Disease
Herbal Medicine
HIV Infection
Indoor Air Pollution
Lactose Intolerance
Lead Poisoning
Lung Cancer
Motion Sickness
MRI Scans
Muscle Cramps
Nose Injuries
Oxygen Therapy
Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac
Premenstrual Syndrome
Quitting Smoking
Rotator Cuff Injuries
Sickle Cell Anemia
Skin Infections
Spider Bites
Tick Bites
Tinea Infections
Tonsils and Adenoids
Viral Infections
Weight Loss Surgery
Yeast Infections

        source: NIH National Library of Medicine


Love & Relationships

Men in love show more activity in the visual part of the brain, while women in love show more activity in the part of the brain that governs memory. Biological scientists speculate that men have to size up a woman visually to see how well she may bear babies, while women have to observe and remember aspects of man's behavior to determine if he would be an adequate provider. Men and women are biologically wired to express love in different ways. Women often feel loved when talking face to face with their partner, while men often feel closer to their partners when they work, play, or talk side by side. In an experiment, strangers of the opposite sex were together for 90 minutes where they talked about intimate details of their lives, and stared into each other's eyes. Many felt a deep attraction for each other, and two couples married within six months. The longer and more deliberate a courtship, the better the prospects for a long marriage. On the other hand, people who have intense romances are more likely to divorce after a few years.

Romantic love typically lasts just over one calendar year, perhaps because the brain cannot maintain a state of romantic bliss. As romantic love dwindles, a more stable love sets in. To remain in love for a lifetime, therapists advise couples to listen actively, ask questions about feelings, and stay physically fit. Men are more likely to be flexible in their romantic choices, but when they want to marry and have kids, they become pickier about basic qualities. If a man meets a woman in a dangerous situation, such as on a trembling bridge, he is more likely to fall in love with her than if he met her in a normal setting, such as in an office. Girls are more likely to fall in love if they are looking for adventure, craving to leave home, are lonely, displaced in a foreign country, or passing into a new stage of life. Women around the world are more likely to fall in love with partners with ambition, education, wealth, respect, status, and a sense of humor. Women also prefer distinctive cheekbones and a strong jawbone, which are linked to testosterone levels.

Relationship Management

If you find yourself getting into frequent arguments over nothing, you may need to work on your anger-management skills. Big fights often happen over something small, like dishes left unwashed, piling up in the sink, but there's usually a bigger issue burning beneath the blow-up. Before your emotions take control, ask yourself, "What am I really angry about?" Identifying the real source of frustration will help you communicate your feelings, and work towards a resolution. Once you're able to recognize early warning signs, and anticipate your trigger-points, you can take action. First of all, take a deep breath, and better still, take several more deep breaths. Deep, slow breathing helps counter rising tension levels. The key is to breathe deeply from the abdomen, getting as much fresh air as quickly as possible into your lungs. Slowly count to ten. Then take a final deep breath again, before going back to your argument with a calmer mind.

It's okay to be upset at someone, but if you don't fight fair, the relationship will quickly break down. Make the relationship your priority, not winning the argument. Be respectful of your partner's viewpoint. Focus on the present. Rather than looking to the past and assigning blame, focus on what you can do in the present to solve the problem. Choose your battles. Conflicts can be draining, so consider whether the issue is really worth all that time and energy you're putting in. Be willing to forgive, and realize that resolving conflict is pretty much impossible if you're simply unwilling or unable to forgive. If that's the case, know when to let something go, and agree to disagree, rather than breaking up over trivial matters that have blown out of proportion. It takes two people to keep an argument going, and while you can't control anger directly, you sure can control how you respond to it. Set clear boundaries about what you will and will not tolerate, and stick to your limits.

Signs of Depression

Get up off the couch or your bed, and get outdoors. I don't want to hear excuses, just follow the instructions. Fresh air and exercise can't be discounted. Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms. It's important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life's normal lows. But the more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they've lasted, the more likely it is that you're dealing with depression. Rates of depression in women are twice as high as they are in men. This is due in part to hormonal factors, particularly when it comes to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), postpartum depression, and peri-menopausal depression. As for signs and symptoms, women are more likely than men to experience pronounced feelings of guilt, sleep excessively, overeat, and gain weight.


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Used Cars - Buying Guide

Buying a used car is a major investment. Whether you are buying a car on payments, leasing a car, or purchasing a used car outright, many of the same principles apply. Here are some tips from a mechanic on how to check the condition of a used car. Some of the basic systems to check are the steering, tires, brakes, ignition, engine, transmission, and body. The steering wheel shouldn't have more than one inch of free play, before the wheels start to grip the road. Even an inch to the left or right is considered kind of loose. Try to take your hand off the wheel for a moment when going straight ahead. Does the car keep on track, or does it start to veer left or right? If it drifts, that's the alignment, or uneven tire wear. The tires should be wearing evenly across the tread face, and not be cracked on the sidewalls.

To test the brakes, just tap the brakes at speed, and see if there's any noise or a spongy feel to the pedal, which indicates either air in the brake lines, or leaks. Does the car start right up when you turn the key? If not, it could be the battery is low, or worse, a short in the charging system. Don't believe the salesperson who says it has been sitting a while, and the battery just needs a charge. The engine is easy to test also. Just find a hill, and try to accelerate up it. Or, if no hills are available, start from a standing stop, and stomp on the gas pedal. An owner who won't let you do that doesn't really want to sell the car, or is afraid of the smoke or backfire noise that results from incorrect ignition timing, valve wear or ring problems, deep within the engine. How does the car shift through the gears? Is it smooth, or do you feel a "clunk" as it shifts? That could mean an expensive transmission repair not too far down the road.

Finally, open the engine oil filler cap and look at the engine. Is it clean? Also, what do you feel when you rub the engine oil between your fingers? It should be smooth, and not gritty, even if it is a black color. With the car running, put your hand over the exhaust pipe. Does the exhaust come out steadily, or is it irregular? A jumpy exhaust, or smoke of any color coming out, can indicate engine problems such as a worn timing belt, or rings. If a car starts right up, sounds great, speeds up a hill, and has tight steering, that's a great start. One of the best bets you can make when buying a used car is to take it to your local mechanic, who will do a used car check-up for you, at a reasonable cost. If you are buying a new car, read the warranty carefully, and understand just what it does and does not include.

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On our pages, you can find career training and listings of engineering jobs, updated hourly. This website is not affiliated with any educational institution, and all trademarks are exclusive property of the respective owners. College Inspector is the work of a group of Thai students in Bangkok, using info from the US Department of Education, Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). If any stats are incorrect, please contact us with the right data.

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