How To Build A Better: Soup

Whether a chilled cucumber number in the summer or a steaming chicken noodle in the winter, there’s a soup for every season. And it’s wonderfully forgiving to prepare. While the box or canned varieties are endless and increasingly impressive in both flavour and nutritional value, the student cook shouldn’t overlook homemade soups. What dish has study time built into its method? With some soups requiring up to 45 minutes to an hour’s worth of simmering, it’s the perfect block of time to review notes or finish an essay outline. Wherever you source your recipes from, consider the following tips for the ultimate homemade soup.

soup bowls

Size matters

Soup is best when prepared in big batches. It’s part of its appeal. However, before you go doubling, tripling or even quadrupling your favourite tomato soup recipe, ensure you have the right sized equipment for the job. If your diet is already 50% pasta, you’re likely already the owner of a big stockpot with a hopefully solid bottom and lid. No saucepan will ever suffice. Likewise invest in some quality Tupperware. The larger varieties can hold up to a week’s worth of soup, while the smaller are perfect for freezing individual portions for future meals. (Just don’t forget to let your soup cool completely at room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.)

Sweat it out

Every homemade soup starts by sweating vegetables (or in fancy food-speak, aromatics) in either oil or butter. Typically some combination of onion, carrot, celery or leek, they form the base of any flavourful soup. (The more soups you prepare, you’ll develop your vegetables and fat of choice.) As a result, never skip this step. In fact it’s the one point in the preparation when your full attention should be on the contents of your pot. A minute or two lost to your Facebook newsfeed and your finely diced onion will turn into a crisp, bitter mess. Give this component the respect it deserves. In this case, burnt is never better.

Stock up

If aromatics are the heart of any soup, stock is its skeleton. Like homemade soup, homemade stock isn’t hard. And it’s worth the effort (which isn’t much to begin with). Now, fair, real, chef-level stock, perfectly clear and clean in flavour, takes years of experience. However, something more “rustic” won’t disappoint. Got leftover bones from a roast chicken? Toss into your stockpot, cover with water, season, bring to a boil and leave to simmer for a simple chicken stock. For the veggie variety, sweat some aromatics before adding whatever leftover vegetable scraps you’d otherwise throw into the compost, add seasoning and herbs and, again, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer. Unlike stock cubes or box stock, you can control how much salt you add and personal it to your tastes.

Smooth or chunky

After you’ve gone to the trouble to consider the preceding points, don’t ruin your soup by leaving it uncomfortably chunky or blending to baby food-like thick. Sadly, it’s usually not until you’re a few bites in, you’ll know whether or not you chose the right consistency. Thankfully, you can save your soup. For something too chunky, partially puree for the best of both worlds. If too thick, loosen by stirring in leftover stock and adjusting the seasoning.

5 Ways To Exercise In The Cold

The great outdoors isn’t always so great. In fact, during winter, it’s just plain cold. And maybe icy. And slushy. And snowy. However, for those who prefer to break a sweat on the pavement rather than on the treadmill, there’s no need to retreat indoors for exercise. With a little creativity and the proper dress, you can workout outside just as you would any other time of year.

When it comes to clothing, wear moisture-wicking layers. As you adjust to outdoor winter exercise, you’ll gain an understanding for just how many layers your body needs to stay warm, but not overheated. Always properly protect extremities like your nose, ears and fingers. And if going outside early in the morning, later in the afternoon or evening, accessorize with something reflective, stick to well-lit areas and watch out for drivers.

Now perfectly outfitted in your winter workout get-up, give the following activities a go because no one wants to be cooped up indoors all winter long.

 Five ways to exercise in the cold

Walk or run

There’s nothing quite like a winter walk or run to refresh your mind and body. Invest in a pair of ice or snow grips to access otherwise frustrating walking or running spots. If you’re not ready to commit, it may take a couple of outings before you discover clear and safe routes. Asthmatic? Be sure to pack your puffer—the cold air can prove problematic. A warm-up before and cool down after a walk and especially a run are essential in wintertime. Start with some dynamic stretches and end with sustained stretches (as well as a lighter paced jog for a run).

Grab a ball

As long as the courts are clear and unlocked, there’s no reason you can’t play tennis or basketball during the winter months. They’ll certainly be clear of other humans! Source out willing teammates and you could start a new tradition. For something simpler (and with less rules), try a game of catch as an active way to catch up with a friend.

Hit the ice

Whether indoors or outdoors, skating is one of the most affordable and accessible winter sports. You don’t even need a pair of skates—public rinks often offer rentals, but do check in advance. If you’re a newbie and skating at a busy rink, bring along a helmet as well and maybe a buddy to lean on and keep you upright. (Although falling is certainly allowed.)  

Discover a winter sport

Why not try a sport available only a few months a year? If you have the means (and snow) to, make a day of downhill or cross-country skiing. Check out your local curling club for a game of logic and hip opening. (Those low lunges, right?) Although no bobsled, tobogganing is the ideal winter activity for any thrill-seeker. If you’re the more cautious type, snowshoeing is both hilarious and surprisingly strenuous.

Shovel snow

While not an official sport, shovelling snow is both helpful, burns calories and strengthens your core and shoulders (particularly if you’ve had a heavy snowfall). Be sure to keep your knees bent and engage your core to save your lower back from suffering. Likewise keep your shoulders relaxed and away from your ears when dumping shovelfuls overhead.

 

Seventeen gift ideas for your roommates

If your Christmas shopping list wasn’t already overextended, did you consider your roommates? They may not be your best friends, but there’s nothing like a thoughtful gift to send everyone into the New Year in good spirits. Whether you’ve got one or ten, it’s possible to both please and come in on budget. It can be difficult to buy for someone you don’t cry on the floor to after a bad break-up or misbehave alongside on a Friday night. Give yourself credit though. You do live with the person—you see what they eat, drink and wash themselves with. And they too are a student. You both require certain supplies and necessities to navigate college life.

However, it isn’t the time for passive aggressive gifts like dish soap for that roommate who never washes their dishes or a timer for the other whose indulgent showers upset your morning routine. If your relationship is strained, better a card or nothing. Who needs unnecessary drama this holiday season?  Especially in your own house. The following gift ideas are for roomies whose presence (or even absence) makes for a hopefully comfortable living situation. Acknowledge this and express your thanks.

Friends presenting gifts each other in bedroom

In the bathroom

Ignoring the times you took a glug of their mouthwash or a squirt of their shampoo without asking, do a snoop of your roommates’ toiletries. Buy them each a back-up of one of them. Hair and oral hygiene products are best (and aren’t likely to prove controversial). Otherwise you could buy one pack of toilet paper per roommate in the house. While a communal item, who doesn’t appreciate a healthy supply of TP? Finally, speaking of shared items, consider a new bathmat, hand towels or shower curtain if your current is in rough condition. Your roommates should appreciate the upgrade. It’ll refresh your bathroom without the handy work.

In the kitchen

For most young adults, food is always a welcome gift idea. Again, like in the bathroom, some detective skills are required. Check out their cupboards and designated refrigerator space and note their junk food of choice. And buy as much of their guilty food pleasure as your budget allows. If they drink, conduct an investigation of their favourite beverage (assuming they don’t have expensive tastes). Otherwise a gift card to your local grocery, beer or wine store should do the trick. (I don’t care what others say, gift cards are always welcome in my opinion.) For your not so chef-savy roommate consider a meal plan top-up. They’ll think of you every time they sip their mid-morning coffee.

In the bedroom

As sexy as it sounds, when it comes to the bedroom, I’m thinking more towards school and sleeping supplies. Assuming they own a printer, buy them a stack of printer paper or if you’re a big spender, even ink. (So sexy, right?) Or if they still handwrite notes, try some new pens, pencils and lined paper. Maybe it’s the mom in me, but when it comes to sleeping there’s nothing like a new set of pillowcases to help with some restful shuteye. Likewise for a truly cosy blanket or pair of woolly socks. Because as much as students struggle to fit it in, we love our sleep.

Three perfect midnight meals for your next all-nighter

What better way to refresh and distract yourself during an all-nighter than a midnight meal? When you should be knee-deep in twentieth-century Russian history or the migration patterns of geese, instead take an hour or two to whip up a ridiculous meatloaf or master your meringue game. Maybe your exam mark will suffer, but who cares when your meatloaf turns out both moist and structurally sound or you achieve perfect stiff peaks? For the not-so culinary ambitious, here’s what to cook as you reach existential crisis mode around 3:34 am and need sustenance ASAP. Don’t worry about how to break your failing grade to your parents or how much you actually hate your major now three years in. Just stuff your face as the sun rises and your academic career slowly dies.

all-nighter recipes

Pizza Breakfast Sandwich

  • 2 strips bacon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 slices of leftover pizza, room temperature
  • hot sauce, pizza dipping sauce or both
  • fresh chives, finely chopped (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Method
  1.     Place the bacon on a frying pan and set over medium heat. Cook the bacon to your desired crispness before flipping to the opposite side to finish. Once cooked, set aside on a plate lined with paper towel. DO NOT WIPE DOWN THE PAN.
  2.     Crack the eggs into the leftover bacon fat, frying until the white turns opaque. Flip and cook for a further 30 seconds for a runny yolk or upwards of one minute for a fully cooked yolk. Give it a prod to check for doneness—the squishier the more runny. Just don’t burst it!
  3.     Drop a few drops of hot sauce and smear a dollop of pizza sauce over one slice of pizza. Add bacon and eggs. Top with chives and season with salt and pepper before finishing with the second slice of pizza.

Microwave S’mores

  • 6 graham cracker cookies
  • 3 big squares good-quality chocolate bar
  • 3 jumbo marshmallows
Method
  1.     Place three graham cracker cookies on a microwavable plate. Top with the one square of chocolate and one marshmallow per cookie.
  2.     Microwave at 15-second intervals until the chocolate is melty and marshmallow softened.
  3.     Finish with the three remaining graham cracker cookies.

“Take Your Lactose Pill” Mashed Potatoes

  • 2 lbs russet potatoes, chopped into chunks and (if you’re fussy) peeled
  • 3 tbsp butter, diced
  • heavy (35%) cream
  • ricotta cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • grated cheddar cheese
Method
  1.     Place the potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil, before covering and reducing heat to medium. Boil for 20 to 40 minutes or until very tender.
  2.     Drain the potatoes and return to the pot. Add the butter while the potatoes are still hot. Once the butter is slightly melted, add enough cream and ricotta to reach desired texture, mashing continuously. Finish with salt, pepper and cheddar cheese.

How to arm yourself (and your diet) for flu season

Apparently the experts still don’t fully understand why the flu season peaks in winter. (They don’t even know why we have a flu season!) However, possible theories include the following:

  • Increased time spent indoors and on transit with closed windows and shared air.
  • Weakened immune systems given increased darkness and cold outdoor temperatures.
  • The laws of thermodynamics: colder, drier climate and the launch of Starbuck’s latest holiday drinks in winter allow the flu virus to thrive versus in the heat and humidity and lack of holiday drinks in summer.

Okay, I lie. Your Peppermint Mocha doesn’t play a role in the existence of the flu season. It doesn’t even arm you against it. (Although that fact shouldn’t stop you from drinking it.) Here’s how to combat the mysterious flu season and rise above your classmates, vomit-, ache- and fever-free during the winter months.

How to arm yourself (and your diet) for flu season

Suck it up and vaccinate

Needles are scary, I get it. So are world politics, job interviews, first dates and new roommates. Toughen up, friends, especially my younger, elderly, pregnant and asthma, respiratory- or cardiovascular disease-ridden friends. The flu shot is available at pharmacies, clinics, on campus or in workplaces. That said there are folks out there with severe allergies to the vaccine or its ingredients—even an allergy to eggs could prove a problem. If you think this is your case, consult with a doctor beforehand.

Wash those hands and hack into your elbow

It’s a waste of time, right? It doesn’t make a difference, right? Who can really tell, right? Well, wait into your buried under a pile of dirty tissues and incapable of holding down more than unbuttered toast. Laver up, baby, and run your hands under warm water for fifteen-seconds as regularly as possible. As for your coughs, nobody wants those. Not even your hands. Cough into your elbow, a tissue or the face of your worst enemy.

Leave your barfy friends to suffer alone

Compassion and empathy are beautiful things. However, when your best friend is bent over the toilet, stay away. Send your love and support via Facebook or Snapchat. While they’re sick, you don’t need their company or their flu. Let the hangouts resume after the recovery. Likewise, if you’re the barfy friend. Your friends and colleagues like the healthy you. Don’t bother them until you’re not contiguous.

Eat all the sweet potatoes

When it comes to prepping your diet against the flu, immune-boosting eats are key. We’re talking Vitamin A-, C- and E-rich foods. Pack your diet (before the sickness strikes) with such flu fighters as sweet potatoes, garlic, red peppers, carrots, almonds, salmon, mushrooms and even dark chocolate. And, yes, it’s not some urban myth: chicken noodle soup is good for the (flu-avoiding) soul.

And drink all the ginger

When it comes to beverages, load up on the tea and water. Take a page from traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda, combining boiling water with ½ teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and ground coriander and ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger. For something a little less harsh in taste, take fresh ginger root and slice off the rough exterior, cut into ¼-inch slices, place in a mug and top with hot water, a squeeze of lemon and drop of honey. And while chicken noodle soup does the job, don’t neglect the benefits other broths for a savoury drink.

Five methods to combat SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. We welcome the snow, early setting sun—perfect for early evening cocoa on the couch—and sadness. While we may wish “Joy to the World” this season, we could feel something quite the opposite inside.

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a form of depression bought on by a change in season. Given winter’s shorter days, the decreased exposure to sunlight can lower your levels of serotonin and melatonin, a neurotransmitter and hormone respectively both essential to sleep. As a result, this decrease can upset your circadian rhythm, “a 24-hour internal clock that…cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals” as defined by the National Sleep Foundation. Symptoms of SAD include unexplained lack of motivation or focus, sadness (naturally given its acronym), irritability, difficulty sleeping and changes in appetite perhaps leading to weight gain or loss. Unlike other types of depression, symptoms arrive and disappear at the same respective points each year; they’re consistent. And, yes, although commonly associated with the winter months, for some, it can arrive in the spring or early summer.

Five methods to combat SAD

Like stress as discussed in our recent post, SAD can be difficult to self-diagnose and consultation with a health professional is recommended, particularly if the symptoms heighten or result in drug or alcohol abuse or suicidal thoughts. Here are five ways to fight symptoms of SAD and hopefully mitigate continuous outcries of “Bah Humbug!”

Get outside and get active

If the sun won’t come to you, go after it. (Despite, how it sounds, I’m not doling out “reach for the stars”-type philosophical advice.) Bundle up (i.e. toughen up) and take a long walk outside. If wintry treks aren’t your scene, check out outdoor holiday festivities from now through to the end of December or window shop along your favourite shopping strips.

Get “lit”

Light therapy (or phototherapy) is a thing. (Check out this season of HBO’s Broad City for how not to do light therapy.) Although research on the treatment is limited, regular exposure to a light box within the first few hours of waking can assist with symptoms bought on by SAD. As in with any investment—we’re talking upwards of $100 here—do your research before splurging.

Get chill

Yes, mediation, among all its other benefits also can help with the winter blues. While there are resources online—check out Mindful magazine’s website for recorded guided meditations—often a class provides both the guidance and space to allow you truly unwind. If your college campus doesn’t offer classes, look into local yoga studios.

Get away

While expensive that Reading Week trip may be just what you need. Aim for simplicity—don’t pack your days with excursions—and travel alone or with friends you trust will keep any possible drama to a minimum. Sometimes all we need for the ultimate tropical vacation is a good beach read and an ice-cold drink.

Get talking

Perhaps the simplest and cheapest (although not necessarily the easiest) form of treatment against SAD is conversation. Make an appointment with your family doctor or at the campus clinic to discuss your feelings. Otherwise start with friends and family. When we share our struggles (with the right sounding board), the support can prove tenfold.

Coffee for dummies (types of coffee from macchiato to cortado defined)

If it doesn’t include a shot or two of espresso and isn’t enjoyed in a dimly lit, “quirky” café full of hipsters and unexplained objects, it ain’t coffee. So much for Frappuccinos then, huh?  In honour of Cappuccino Day this month, let’s give thanks to real coffee. (Well, real in the eyes intense, yet sad philosophy majors turned failed actors turned latte artists.) Memorize these definitions and you’ll never embarrass yourself in an independent café again.

coffee for dummies

Espresso

Number of espresso shots: one for single or two for a double (If you need more than two shots, you should probably just take a nap.)

Ratio of water to espresso: n/a

Ratio of milk to espresso: n/a

Ratio of foam to espresso:  n/a

Best enjoyed: Straight or with a sprinkle of sugar in one go standing at the counter or collapsed in your chair after a heavy meal.

Americano

Number of espresso shots: typically one or two for a double

Ratio of water to espresso: 1:1 (Increase the amount of water to espresso for a long or decrease for a short Americano.)

Ratio of milk to espresso: a splash if desired

Ratio of foam to espresso: n/a

Best enjoyed: Choose an Americano over your traditional drip coffee for a more sophisticated, yet still plain start to your day.

Flat White

Number of espresso shots: one

Ratio of water to espresso: n/a

Ratio of milk to espresso: 2:1 (milk textured and hotter than a latte or cortado)

Ratio of foam to espresso: n/a

Best enjoyed: Order for your morning coffee break—just be sure to never confuse it with its Spanish cousin, the Cortado (see below).

Cortado

Number of espresso shots: one

Ratio of water to espresso: n/a

Ratio of milk to espresso: 2:1 (milk smoother and cooler than a latte or flat white)

Ratio of foam to espresso: n/a

Best enjoyed: Order for your morning coffee break—just be sure to never confuse it with its Australian cousin, a Flat White (see above).

Latte

Number of espresso shots: typically one or two for a double

Ratio of water to espresso: n/a

Ratio of milk to espresso: 2:1

Ratio of foam to espresso: a dollop of foam to finish

Best enjoyed: Drink on coffee dates. While, it’s no tea, it should provide helpful sip breaks for at least the first fifteen minutes—better longevity than most espresso-based drinks. Annoy your barista (but increase its longevity) by ordering it “extra hot”.

Cappuccino

Number of espresso shots: typically one or two for a double

Ratio of water to espresso: n/a

Ratio of milk to espresso: 1:1

Ratio of foam to espresso: 1:1

Best enjoyed: Have a cappuccino when you hit that 4 pm low alongside a buttery croissant, crisp biscotti or moist muffin. Make it more indulgent with a spoonful of sugar or a dusting of cinnamon or chocolate. Never ask for skim or 1% milk in place of the higher percentage varieties. The fat content is necessary for perfect foam.

Mochaccino

Number of espresso shots: typically one or two for a double

Ratio of water to espresso: n/a

Ratio of milk to espresso: 1:1 (chocolate milk)

Ratio of foam to espresso: 1:1

Best enjoyed: Have a mochaccino when you hit that 5 pm low (and your cappuccino hasn’t hit the spot). Whatever you eat with it, it better include chocolate.

Macchiato

Number of espresso shots: typically one or two for a double

Ratio of water to espresso: n/a

Ratio of milk to espresso: n/a

Ratio of foam to espresso: a dollop of foam to finish

Best enjoyed: Go for a macchiato when you’re undecided between the caffeine hit of an espresso or the smooth foam of a cappuccino. It’s the best of both worlds. And it’s the most likely to impress the hottie sitting at the neighboring table.

different-types-of-coffee-infograph

3 recipes from 1 pumpkin

Don’t limit pumpkins to jack o’lanterns! The brightly colored squash lends itself (each and every part of itself) to the nose-to-tail approach. Or in this case skin-to-seed. Here are three recipes that incorporate the entire pumpkin minus the stalk.

…although it could make for a nice centerpiece on your dining room table.

Three recipes for one pumpkin

Choose a pie or sugar pumpkin, the smaller, deeper orange in color variety. Not only a more manageable size to breakdown, they also deliver better on flavor and structural integrity than their carve-able counterpart. Pie or sugar pumpkins are found in the produce aisle of most grocery stores.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • 1 pie or sugar pumpkin
  • smoked paprika, cinnamon, or spice of choice (either savoury or sweet)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Cut the pumpkin down the middle and scoop the seeds and attached stringy flesh into a bowl of water. Set aside the rest of the pumpkin for the puree recipe below.
  3. Work the seeds between your hands, removing them from the stringy flesh. (Patience is key!) Once cleaned thoroughly dry the seeds using a cloth or paper towels. Drain the stringy flesh and set aside for the puree recipe below.
  4. Sprinkle the seeds on a lined baking sheet and toss with enough smoked paprika, salt, pepper and olive oil to evenly coat them.
  5. Prepare the first two steps of the puree below.
  6. Bake on the top rack (with the wedges for the puree on the bottom rack) until lightly browned (approximately 15 to 20 minutes), stirring occasionally throughout baking without opening the oven too wide for too long and allowing the temperature to drop.
  7. Enjoy as a snack or as a textual additional to other dishes like the Triple Pumpkin Salad below.

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

  • 1 pie or sugar pumpkin, seeds and stringy flesh removed
  • smoked paprika, cinnamon, or spice of choice (either savoury or sweet)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil

Method

  1. Slice the pumpkin into 1-inch wedges, removing the stalk. Lay the wedges on a lined baking sheet, rind side down, and season with enough smoked paprika, salt, pepper and olive oil to evenly coat them.
  2. Bake on the bottom rack (with the seeds on the top rack) until a fork easily pierces through the flesh (approximately 45 to 60 minutes).
  3. Once baked, allow to cool before pureeing half the wedges with the stringy flesh saved from the seed recipe above until smooth in a food processor, blender or piece-by-piece with a hand blender, adding more seasoning as desired. Set aside the remaining wedges for the salad recipe below.
  4. Enjoy as a snack or use as you would applesauce in oatmeal, smoothies, baked goods or salad dressing like in the Triple Pumpkin Salad below.

Triple Pumpkin Salad

  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • mustard
  • pumpkin puree
  • salt
  • pepper
  • red onion, finely diced
  • brown rice, cooked
  • kale, leaves roughly and stalks finely chopped
  • corn, canned, frozen or cut off the cob
  • pumpkin seeds
  • pumpkin wedges, chopped into bite-sized pieces

Method

  1. Make the dressing. Whisk together a 2:1 ratio of oil and vinegar with a teaspoon (or more!) of mustard and puree and a sprinkle of salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. Add the onion, rice, kale, corn, seeds and wedges to the bowl and, using your hands, mix until thoroughly dressed. Use your own judgement adding as much or as little of each ingredient according to personal taste and depending on the amount of desired servings.
  3. Allow to sit for a minute or two in order for the kale to absorb the dressing and serve.

5 Apps To Help You Survive This Semester

by Hannah Lank

A new semester is upon us and with it comes many changes and many returns. Whether you’re returning to university to hammer out another year, or about to experience your first-ever semester, we can all use a little extra help managing life for the next eight months. Cue your smartphone and my top five favorite apps. Get downloading and find solace in their abilities.

Cropped image of student sitting on the ground and working on laptop

Boost Mobile Ordering

Okay, yes, this is our own app, but we’re not shy about sharing how awesome it is. Time equals money, and most students are short on both. So if you’re going to spend your money, why not also save time? Got an 8 am class and want a coffee beforehand? Order on Boost as you’re leaving your residence, and it’ll be waiting for you when you arrive on campus. 

Mint

Although we hate to admit it, it’s important to stay on top of our finances including when our credit card bills are due, where our money is going and what our overall financial health looks like. Thankfully, Mint, a secure financial app, covers all three bases and more. As students, we have a LOT of expenses: tuition, books, coffee, ramen… And they add up quickly! Mint tracks your credit card spending and organizes it into different categories (i.e. restaurants, entertainment, laundry, etc), even notifying you when you’ve exceeded your budget in one. It tracks your cash flow (income vs. expenses) and investments, suggesting how to improve your overall spending habits.

Blackboard

Most institutions use Blackboard to share assignments, syllabi and announcements from classes with students. (If your institution doesn’t use Blackboard, they likely use a similar platform that also has its own mobile app.) When on your phone, you can check your prof’s office hours on the go, remind yourself of upcoming assignments, or post questions to discussion boards the second they pop into your head. You’ll also get notifications when your prof posts an announcement, upcoming assignment, or new grade.

NYTimes

Hear me out on this one—no, it may not seem to be directly school-related, but it’s too easy to become absorbed in the bubble of student life. Although I’ve specified the New York Times’ app, download the equivalent of any news source. You don’t have to ever open it even—although reading articles about what’s up in the world is definitely not a bad thing. Instead allow it to notify you about major world events, so you won’t be completely in the dark. Eventually you may find yourself scrolling through it versus your Facebook or Twitter feeds. Don’t forget there’s a whole world outside of school, and it matters too.

Flashcards+

When your life is practically studying, it helps to include a variety of different methods to trigger your memory reflexes. Although you could take the time to hand write keywords and definitions out on cue cards, Flashcards+ saves you time and paper. And you’ll never have to worry about leaving them behind on the bus. The app even offers a shuffling option so you don’t memorize the order of the flashcards instead of what’s actually written on them. Convenient? I think so!

How To Build Your Resume This Semester

Yeah, yeah, you’re barely on top of your academics let alone your social life, so why toss professional development into the mix? Aside from the additional lines on your resume, it provides mental breaks from those pesky academic burdens. As always, balance is key. It shouldn’t necessarily turn into a justifiable form of procrastination. And nor should school hinder your ability to commit to a job or volunteer opportunity. When in balance though and given the right circumstances, resume building expands your social circle, introducing you to communities you perhaps wouldn’t encounter otherwise, and offers perspective. Here’s how to effectively search out these opportunities, fleshing out your resume and likely scooping up a few references along the way.

Student work process concept. Young woman working university project with generic design laptop

Work, work, work, work, work, work

They’re the meat and potatoes of any resume: current and previous jobs. However, don’t overthink ‘em. Illustrious internships sound delightful, but aren’t always possible. And there’s no reason to turn your nose up at retail, hospitality, administrative or more labour-intensive positions either on- or off-campus. Whatever the environment, there are skill sets to develop, which you can then list on your resume or share in a job interview. Keep your eyes open for help wanted signs, check out the classified section of your local paper or classified sites and pay a visit to your campus careers centre.

Give a hand

Too often the victim of either overthinking or undervaluing, volunteer experience is as worthwhile as previous employment. Yes, campus clubs, societies and other branches of student life departments occasionally organize one-off or limited volunteer opportunities, but, unlike jobs, I recommend searching exclusively off-campus. (Although you don’t necessarily have to stray outside your neighbourhood.) In this case, you can tailor your search to your interests or areas you wish to learn more about (not what some university administrator chooses for you). Select an organization that respects its volunteers, offers long-term opportunities and shares similar values. Most not-for-profits have volunteer programs. And even if not advertised, e-mail them. No one likes to turn down free help.

Certify this

Aside from the skills you gain through employment and volunteering, consider certifications or skills-based courses outside your academics. (It doesn’t mean more essays. I promise.) First aid and CPR and other health-related certifications are often requirements for volunteer positions and jobs. Depending on your level of tech-savvy, there’s no harm in (finally) learning how to navigate Microsoft Excel or Photoshop. And you don’t need to major in French to boost your fluency. Track down conversation groups, one-on-one tutors or community classes. In the case of any certification or course, Google is your best friend.  

And the award goes to…

Beyond the glamour of a paper certificate or awkward employee of the month mug shot, awards are the perfect buttons to a resume. Whether they’ve heard or it or not, awards show potential employers you’ve demonstrated a level of commitment and excellence worthy of recognition. Now, of course, they should never serve as a form of motivation. Keep your eyes open for applications with requirements that match your experience and skill set and visit your student awards or scholarship department for further assistance.