The Top 10 Graduation Gifts of 2015

By Hayley Irvin

Graduation is a time to celebrate both our past accomplishments and the potential of the future. For many graduates, eight weeks is all that separates them from the end of high school and beginning of college. Help your graduate to prepare for the future by gifting them something that will useful now and in the future. Here are the top ten graduation gifts of 2015:
(Editor’s Note: Since it’s almost December, these also make great gifts for high school or college students during the holiday season!)

Wondering what gifts to get your high school graduate?

Wondering what gifts to get your graduate? (Photo courtesy of Emily Orpin via Flickr)

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Auto Maintenance Basics Every College Student Should Know

Guest Post

You looked forward to the freedom that moving away to college represented, but you didn’t consider how many sacrifices you’d also have to make in the name of independence. Grocery shopping, laundry and taking care of your own auto maintenance were all things that you had completely taken for granted. While this newfound freedom is totally worth all of the extra responsibilities, there’s a learning curve to it all.

Here are the auto maintenance basics you need to know to prevent getting stranded on the roadside and keep your vehicle running well.

car maintenance for college students

Taking your car to college? Here’s what you should know.

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Update on The Secrets of Top Students: First Translation!

I’m excited to announce that my book, The Secrets of Top Students: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Acing High School and College, is now available in Chinese!  It’s being sold in Taiwan and you can find it here.  According to Google Translate, the title is “Gifted students do not stay up late! To get into elite precision Learning: time management, note and sit secret.”  I’m sure in Chinese it sounds a little more elegant.

The Secrets of Top Students in Chinese!

The Secrets of Top Students in Chinese!

In other news, my book is now available on the Staples website.

I’d also like to thank The Study Dude for highlighting my book in The Voice Magazine.

How to Embrace College Culture As a Long Distance Learner

Guest Post

Thirty years ago, the thought that people could someday experience higher education schooling on a personal computer without ever stepping foot in a physical class room would have been unfathomable. It has been transformative in a time when cost and convenience are both matters which would otherwise inhibit one’s ability to access education.

However, some might argue that a great part of the experience can be lost in translation. Many people who attend online universities tend to be uninterested, or feel out-of-touch, with college culture since these people tend to be later-in-life students or have limitations in regards to physical access to an institution – and that’s okay.

But for those who want the social and cultural experiences of college from the comforts of a strictly online education, it can be difficult to do without extracurricular activities on your schedule. If you are unable to attend school at a physical campus and you would like to be more involved in the college lifestyle, here are four ways to do that from a distance.

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Yes, It’s Possible. Decorate Your Dorm Room on a Budget

By Stephen Collins

When headed off to college for the first time, there’s nothing more exciting and scary than getting your very first dorm room. Moving away from home, meeting and making new friends, even possibly sharing your living space with a roommate; all of these things can make a huge impact on your college life. But, the unfortunate truth is that most college freshman don’t have a huge budget for anything beyond school supplies and basic necessities. So, the question becomes, how can you decorate your new living quarters on a budget?

dorm room

Rearrange

It may sound small, but doing something as simple as changing the arrangement of the current furniture can have a huge impact on the room. Dorm furniture is usually pretty sparse, so moving things into a non-standard layout can both mix things up and create a unique flair and unexpected space. For example, try pushing beds against the walls instead of sticking into the middle of the room to make extra floor space.

Multitask

Dorm rooms aren’t known for their space. One of the best ways to overcome this deficiency is to make sure that nothing in your living area is just one thing. The back sides of doors make great storage spaces as do the spaces below beds. Companies like DormCo specialize in making the most of all the space in your dorm closet with items like hangers and shelf liners. For additional storage in the corner or under the bed, Dorm Trunks has a variety of trunks that can provide storage, security and—with a little design and creativity—additional seating.

Accessorize

Nothing is more boring that white walls, bare windows and plain floors. Consider mixing things up with a unique rug from Dorm Rugs. Add posters, pictures or easy-to-remove wallpaper to cover plain walls. Or, pick up custom blinds from The Shade Store to add add a personal flair to your windows. These also can provide lighting control and privacy for you and any possible roommates.

Personalize

Finding little ways to personalize your living space can add some style while continuously re-energizing you as you face the everyday struggles of college life. Custom bulletin boards from The Container Store can be regularly updated with your dreams and goals or pictures from home to keep you focused when times get difficult. And, for that additional little touch, consider putting a message board on the outside of your door for fun communication with all of your neighbors.

Illuminate

Lighting can make a huge difference on the personality of your dorm and doesn’t have to take a bite out of your wallet. Using Christmas lanterns and lights can highlight various wall decorations or add a unique flair to your ceiling and furniture. Plus, companies like IKEA have a huge selection of inexpensive lamps to fit every style and room decoration.

Whatever you do, keep it uniquely you. You are going to be living in this space, so make sure it is somewhere you want to go at the end of the day.

About the Author: Stephen Collins was born in Phoenix, Arizona and has spent most of his life in the Southwestern United States, playing among the cowboys and aliens. This admitted lover of sci-fi and fantasy developed a passion for the written word early in life and began writing at a young age, mostly for the thrill and joy of the experience. He is currently working on his second book while continuing to weave his wordsmithing magic as a freelance writer.


Heading off to college?  Give yourself the gift of good grades with The Secrets of Top Students!