Successful gift giving: Avoid these top 10 worst Christmas gifts

What to do with your worst Christmas presents. (Credit: Jeff Edney)

What to do with your worst Christmas presents. (Credit: Jeff Edney)

It’s that time again. What to give Aunt Sally, Cousin Bob or your dorm roommate? They’re probably thinking exactly the same thing about you. College students are notoriously low on cash, but you shouldn’t succumb to silly or cliché gifts. With a little effort, you can discover what will make your family and friends smile when they open your gift.

First, try to find an appropriate gift

The best thing to do is to match the person with the right gift, rather than getting something useless or inappropriate. How do you find the right gift? Alan Henry in “How can I give a good gift without being cliché?” on a Lifehacker.com December 3, 2012 post suggests some harmless stalking: “Check out what they’ve said on Facebook or Twitter. Read more

Health tips for the holiday season—how to avoid getting sick

Germs are a constant threat in college settings so it's wise to make sure you're taking care of yourself.

Germs are a constant threat in college settings so it’s wise to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.

You know you need to get that flu shot. And you try to sneeze into your elbow and wash your hands regularly. But are there other things you can be doing so illness passes you by this holiday season? Read on to learn more about some health tips—from exercise to nutrition to prevention—for how to avoid getting sick this winter. 

The basics

Life in college moves pretty fast. You certainly can’t afford to miss too much class time due to illness, but you also don’t want to come down with something during your precious winter vacation. Read more

Test taking tips for final exams: How not to fail

Planning ahead for final exam prep can ease stress and help you sleep better once finals arrive.

Planning ahead for final exam prep can ease stress and help you sleep better once finals arrive.

It’s final exam time again. You know what you’re supposed to do and what you’re not supposed to do. Don’t forget your test taking tips, practice good study habits, get some sleep and exercise. If you don’t want to fail all your final exams, disappoint your parents, waste your tuition money and become a bum, here are some study tips for college and a list of what not to do.

Don’t ignore the teacher. If you find some material confusing, get a consultation from the teacher; he or she is there to help. The important information you need to understand thoroughly shouldn’t be a mystery to you at this stage. Read more

Healthy eating tips to keep a balanced diet during the holidays

Following a balanced diet during the holidays certainly helps prevent overeating. (Courtesy of Lifedics)

Following a balanced diet during the holidays certainly helps prevent overeating. (Courtesy of Lifedics)

The holidays at year’s end are the most challenging time of the year for maintaining a balanced diet. But a few healthy eating tips can go a long way in helping you to make the right food choices. It could be mom’s home cooking or your own concoction whipped up on a hot plate in your dorm room. Whatever your challenge, it’s still possible to stay healthy while enjoying the festivities of the season.

Keep a balanced diet

Traditional American Thanksgiving fare is a mixture of the healthy with the dangerous. Squash and yams are chock full of vitamins and fiber. Read more

College life on campus during Thanksgiving break

Taking part in community events is one way to spend your time over Thanksgiving break.

Taking part in community events is one way to spend your time over Thanksgiving break.

So you’re stuck on campus during the three- to five-day Thanksgiving break. What to do? You could clean your dorm room or serve Thanksgiving dinner to international students. Or you could give back to your community by volunteering your time you’ll get that warm fuzzy feeling of helping someone less fortunate and gain a better perspective on your fellow man.

Volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner. This can be on campus or in your community. Many colleges host a Thanksgiving dinner for students who stay on campus during the holiday. Volunteer to serve food or clean up afterwards. Or the local church or community center in your town might serve dinner. See if you can volunteer there. Read more

Student health: How to protect yourself from meningitis

Meningitis is common on college campuses due to crowded dorms and busy cafeteria settings. (Courtesy of Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Meningitis is common on college campuses due to crowded dorms and busy cafeteria settings. (Courtesy of Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Since March, Princeton University has seen seven cases of bacterial meningitis. What’s notable about the Princeton cases is that they are the rare strain B. Meningitis, which can arise in crowded dorm rooms on college campuses. Living and eating in close proximity, such as in college dorms, help spread the disease. Here is some information on meningitis, the risks for contracting it and tips for prevention. Also ask your student health center for information.

Causes and risks of meningitis

Meningitis, the inflammation of the membranes around your brain and spinal cord, is caused by a viral infection or a bacterial infection, the latter of which is the more serious form. Read more

Gluten-free recipes and tips for your Thanksgiving dinner menu

Your Thanksgiving meals can still taste delicious even when recipes are made to be gluten-free. (Courtesy of Ongjulian)

Your Thanksgiving meals can still taste delicious even when recipes are made to be gluten-free. (Courtesy of Ongjulian)

Thanksgiving may be over a week away but it’s a good time to start thinking about your Thanksgiving dinner menu. This is especially true if you’re going to need gluten-free recipes. The good news is that there are plenty of tasty gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes that will make your dinner a success. Let’s take a look at the possibilities.

Gluten-free Thanksgiving

A good place to start if you are unfamiliar with the gluten-free lifestyle is at the site GlutenFreeGirl.com where Shauna James Ahern shares her vast knowledge about gluten-free cooking. Read more

Thanksgiving dinner on campus for international students

Credit: Michelle S. Kim, University Communications at UCIrvine

Credit: Michelle S. Kim, University Communications at UCIrvine

The Thanksgiving holiday is coming up soon. Classes get out, vacation week starts and everyone packs up to go home. But international students and those who live far away might not be able to travel home over the break. No fear. College life doesn’t end with the holiday. There are many ways to have a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner in the company of others: attend a campus sponsored dinner, visit a local family, cook dinner in your dorm rooms or make a restaurant reservation. Read more

How to go green on campus—environmental ideas for college students

Being environmentally responsible even while in college is easier than one might think.

Being environmentally responsible even while in college is easier than one might think.

College life is all about studying, meeting new people, having some fun, figuring out who you are and … recycling? Well, while how to go green on campus may not be what first springs to mind for college students, there are a lot of environmental ideas they can incorporate into their university life. Whether you consider yourself a caped crusader for the environment or not, read on for some simple ways you can make a difference to the planet without breaking the bank.

On the cheap

Think that to go green you have to spend a lot of, well, green? Not so fast. Environmental ideas for college students don’t have to deplete your bank account. Read more

Seasonal farmers’ market offers whole foods for student health

Buying fresh produce locally is not only easy on the wallet, but the fresh food is also great for your health.

Buying fresh produce locally is not only easy on the wallet, but the fresh food is also great for your health.

This is the season for apples, homemade breads, pumpkin pie and artisan cheese. Get them all at your local farmers’ markets, which are springing up this fall and winter to feature a bounty of foods. College life doesn’t have to be bland and full of processed foods. Good student health means plenty of fruits, vegetables and fresh whole foods. Buy some fresh veggies, bread and apple cider at the farmers’ market, bring them home to your dorm rooms and have an indoor picnic on the floor. Read more