A Student’s Guide to a Stress-Free Holiday Break

By News

Although most students look forward to the holiday break, it can be a time of stress for others. Returning to your family home after many months and finding a way to fill the time can lead to anxiety. To have a stress-free break, there are a few things that may help, depending on the reason for your anxiety.

Set Goals for the Holiday Break

Your time at university is often so packed with activities that you barely have time to breathe. It can be quite a shock to go from this to nothing. Initially, all the free time may come as a relief. After a few days, though, it may feel just as overwhelming (if not more so) than having a full schedule.

To overcome this problem, set goals of what you’d like to achieve over the holiday break. This will mean there’s always something you can do. Your list may include visiting certain friends and relatives, books you want to read, your exercise goals, and art projects you want to complete. You could even search for an opportunity to volunteer for a cause that matters to you — this will look great on your resume.

Find Seasonal Work

If you lack enough money for gifts or even to just feel comfortable meeting friends, a solution could be to find a seasonal job. This is also another solution to give you something to do. Contact your old workplace or ask local businesses if they need an extra pair of hands — it’s common for companies to need more help this time of year. Alternatively, you could reach out to parents in your area to ask if they need a babysitter while they’re out at parties or events.

Avoid Family Conflict

It can be particularly difficult seeing college friends excited about going home when you have a strained relationship with your own family. Anticipate potential problems in advance and create a strategy to deal with them. For instance, if you tend to have arguments with your parents, think about what discussions are likely to arise and what would be the best way to deal with them.

In addition, figure out some coping mechanisms. These could include leaving the house when tensions are high and going for a walk or to see a friend. Having an activity like a seasonal job or volunteer position could be useful for keeping you out of the house more. However, if you do need to stay at home, practise some breathing exercises in advance or think about whether there’s a friend you can text and vent to.

Lastly, reward yourself whenever you do effectively deal with stressful family situations. Choose an activity that either relaxes you or helps you let off steam soon afterward.

If you’d prefer to stay at university over the holidays to avoid some stress (and perhaps continue working at your part-time job), that’s always an option, too. However, it’s lonely being on campus when almost everyone else has left — you’ll be much more comfortable in Queen’s off-campus housing. Students who live at Foundry Mack are just a 10-minute walk from campus and they receive a spacious apartment with modern appliances and pure fibre internet. Join our waitlist to secure your place in time for the next holiday season.

fall pumpkins

Fun Fall Activities for Students on a Budget

By News

Fall is a time of year almost everyone looks forward to. The weather is still pleasant enough to spend time outdoors and there are many activities happening. If you’re a student on a budget, though, you may feel that everything is too expensive and that you’re missing out on chances to have a social life. In fact, there are plenty of low-cost activities in the fall that your friends will be excited to try out with you.

1. Haunted Attractions

A staple of Halloween is haunted houses. Some of these may be pricey, but it’s often possible to receive a student discount on certain nights. Not only does this make the haunted house much more affordable, it also means the attraction will be full of other university students seeking thrills, which is extra fun.

2. Movie Night

Another classic way to spend Halloween is to watch scary movies with friends. All you need is a TV, the login for a streaming account, and some tasty treats. In fact, this idea works throughout the fall — just with regular movies instead of exclusively scary ones.

3. Corn Mazes and Hayrides

If you hate being scared but you still want to participate in the Halloween fun, a corn maze or hayride may be a better choice for you. Corn mazes are always great exercise (especially if you get lost for hours!), whereas a hayride allows you to enjoy the changing fall colours. Plus, these are two more options that may offer student discounts, and admission tends to include other fun activities.

4. Fruit Picking

Farms that offer corn mazes and hayrides often give you the chance to pick fruit like apples and pears. You’ll also be able to purchase some fall vegetables to take home and prepare into dishes that remind you of your childhood.

5. Pumpkin Patches

One thing you definitely need to pick is a pumpkin. After each of your friends has chosen the perfect pumpkin, take them back with you and have a carving party to see who can come up with the best or most original design. Be sure to keep all the pulp and seeds — you can use the flesh in all sorts of recipes, whereas roasted seeds are a delicious snack.

6. Sports Games

If any of your friends are college athletes, show your support by attending their games. Alternatively, you could host a watch party for a big sporting event in your apartment. It’s a great way to spend the afternoon and the perfect excuse to invite friends over.

7. Hot Chocolate in the Park

If you’re looking for first date ideas that are perfect for fall, nothing beats hot chocolate in the park. Prepare a flask at home or head to a café beforehand. You can then take a stroll in the park and get to know your date. This is also a great activity if you just want to chat to a friend and need a change of scenery or want to enjoy the fall leaves.

8. Bonfires

Another outdoor activity that’s perfect with hot chocolate is a bonfire. Bring marshmallows to roast as well and some blankets to stay warm. You’ll find that conversation flows when you’re all comfortable around a fire.

Fun activities are only one of your expenses as a student — you’ll also need somewhere to live. Since on-campus housing is expensive, a better option is to search for affordable accommodation. Kingston, Ontario, has Foundry Mack: student housing with amazing amenities at a price you can afford. Join our waitlist to be first in line for a lease.

How to Manage a Heavy Workload in University

By News

You may be surprised when you start university at just how heavy your workload is. If you’re also trying to manage other commitments (such as a part-time job, extracurriculars, or even just an active social life), you could find that you struggle to fit everything into your schedule. However, just managing your time better can go a long way toward helping you cope.

Here are some strategies to consider.

1. Skim Readings Whenever Possible

Instead of reading every text in depth, skim them to find the important parts. If you own the books, you can highlight sections and return later to read them in more depth. Alternatively, you could mark pages with sticky notes or write down page numbers in your notes.

2. Develop a Shorthand for Note-Taking

Taking notes is essential, but it can be time consuming, even if you write or type fast. Spend less time on note-taking by summarizing just the key information, and avoid writing in full sentences. To shorten your notes further, use abbreviations, acronyms, and symbols — just make sure you’ll understand what you meant later. To avoid confusion, consider creating a reference key.

3. Reduce Distractions

Tell the people you live with not to disturb you at certain times of the day to fully focus on your studies. Turn off push notifications on your phone and fight the urge to check social media or do anything unrelated to your schoolwork. Whenever possible, you may even like to turn off the internet on your laptop.

4. Ask for More Flexibility from Your Job

If you have a part-time job, talk to your employer about your difficulties balancing work and studies to see if you can come to an arrangement for a more reasonable schedule. You may be able to receive certain hours off or reduce the length of your shifts to free up more time for your studies. In addition, it may be possible to receive time off when you have a big assignment due or right before an important test, provided you tell your employer in advance.

5. Study Fewer Credits Each Semester

It’s tempting to try and graduate as early as possible, but you’ll only be hurting your grades and making yourself stressed if you take on more classes than you can handle. If you try all the above and you’re still struggling to cope with the heavy workload, the solution is to take one or two less courses. There may still be time to drop a class without consequences. Otherwise, you’ll need to use this semester as a learning experience and take less next time.

If you’re unsure what you can handle, talk to an academic advisor about which courses have the lightest and heaviest workloads. Together, you can determine when would be the best time to take your required classes and which electives are likely to best suit your schedule.

You’ll find it much easier to manage a heavy workload if you have a place where you can study in peace. For this reason, many university students move out of dorms after their first year and into apartments. If you’re looking for rooms for rent in Kingston, Ontario, there’s Foundry Mack.

You’ll gain the full university experience by living in a student community, but you’ll also have your own private bedroom. Join our waitlist to be the first to hear when a suite becomes available.