Archive for March, 2009

How To: Freelance for Extra Cash

Need some extra cash but don’t have the time for a second job? Freelance work is a great way to plump up your wallet without the restrictions of 9-5 office time. Basically you work on a “project-only” basis on your own time–you can work from your dorm room in the middle of the night as long as you meet your deadline!

Here are a few sites you can check out to get started!
Elance connects small businesses with skilled workers (that’s you!), and even helps you manage the payment process. You can either post your skills and hope someone finds you, or search the job postings and apply for one yourself. Elance is a great option if you have skills in writing, translating, programming, graphic design, or even marketing.

You bid for jobs, so your pay will vary, but it could be as much as $500-$1,000.
Think you’re an expert about something? Write about it on Associated Content–you can submit an article about pretty much any subject, from how to improve your golf game to the top 76 movies everyone should see. You just need some expertise and at least 400 words. You might not get any cash, but if the editors like what you’ve written they’ll cut you a check!

Pays: Up to $2-$12 per article
Think your photos are good enough to earn you some cash? Sign up to be a seller at Stock Expert, a website that sells photo rights. You’ll have to apply and be approved to join their community, and they take a commission, but it is pretty easy–you just upload your photos, they get approved, and then you get paid each time one is downloaded.

Pays: 50% of download price

photo by woodsy

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3 comments March 27th, 2009

Dorm Zen: Have a (Teeny) Pet

When I lived at home, there were few things more rewarding than having my two dachshunds run to greet me when I walked in the door. I really missed them when I moved off to college, but clearly I couldn’t have a dog in the dorms. In fact, I couldn’t even have one when I moved off-campus to an apartment, because most complexes either don’t allow cats and dogs, or charge an extra fee for them.
What’s an animal lover to do?

Go Fish

In the middle of my sophomore year, our RAs introduced a big competition among all the on-campus apartments in our area–goldfish. The concept was simple: keep your fish alive the longest and you get a gift certificate for fish tacos (ironic!). I was pretty excited about the fish, and quickly took over the care of our golden friend Joanna.

The great thing is, after a little effort for the set up, there are some fish that are VERY easy to care for. And they have a very soothing, zen-like presence; watching them swim around is very relaxing (why do you think they show up in so many dental offices?!).

Which Fish?

For beginners, I’d recommend getting either a Goldfish or a Betta. They don’t require much space, and aside from a little feeding and the occasional water change, they are relatively self-sufficient. And pretty!

Note: Betta’s are the lowest maintenance as single fish, but if you get a Betta, only get one! They don’t play well with others.

The Proper Care and Feeding of Fish

Both Goldfish and Betas are very hardy fish, but they still require some care, so again, don’t get one if you don’t have the time (or will) to care for them. Also, keep in mind that the initial set up will take more effort than the day-to-day care of your fish.

Here is are a few great resources for basic Betta & Goldfish care:

photo by afranklin

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12 comments March 23rd, 2009

Productivity: Managing Your Time With RescueTime

In college (and after, too) time is precious. Think what you could do if you had an extra thirty minutes every day. You could study so you know the answers to three more mid-term questions, take time to cook something more exotic than Easy-Mac, or schedule in that gym class you’ve been wanting to take.

So guess what? You probably have that extra 30-minutes around, you just need to find out where it is.

Time Tracking

I’ve mentioned RescueTime before (in a post along with a lot of other tips about getting productive)–it is a free software that helps you keep track of what you do with all the time you spend on the computer. (And just so you know, I’m writing this because I think it’s cool–they haven’t contacted me or paid me or anything).

How it Works

RescueTime is built on the idea that we could all trim a little time off our computer usage (*cough*Facebook*cough*) to have more time to spend studying, watching American Idol, or talking to the cute guy/girl across the hall.

It’s a pretty basic setup, too. You install a piece of software, sign up for an account at, and then work as usual. RescueTime tracks what programs you use and sites you visit, and then graphs out your time for you in your online account. (If that seems to Big Brother for you, their privacy policy is here .)

In essence, the software helps you:

  • Track time spent in different applications & on websites,
  • Tag sites and apps,
  • Track your efficiency,
  • Set goals or limit the amount of time you spend using applications or on websites.

For example, if you want to limit your blog browsing to an hour, you can set a “goal” and RescueTime can alert you to your limit. The tag feature will allow you to tag certain sites and applications based on their use, like “Chem 6BL,” “goofing off,” “work,” and “social networking.”

I’ve just started using it, and I’m kind of exited to see how it goes. I’m sure I could spend a little less time facebooking and a little more time getting things done. 😉

image from Rescue Time

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6 comments March 19th, 2009

5 More Awesome Facebook Features

I know we just went over my top 5 Facebook Privacy Settings, but I wanted to write another quick post about Facebook because–TA DA!–Surviving College Life finally has a facebook fan page! Hooray!

So please +FAN the site , and feel free to post your ideas or requests for future posts on the fan site Wall. This site is all about you guys–I want to hear from you!

And now, on to the 5 more awesome settings…

1. Get LESS Info About Friends. I love Facebook gossip as much as the next girl, but I do have a few friends who seem to be changing their profile and updating their statuses incessantly. (I don’t need a play-by-play of each breath!) Happily, Facebook lets you ask to hear a little less from these peeps.

How To: At the top of your feed, click Options for News Feeds. At the bottom-right of the page, you’ll see Less About These Friends. Just enter in the names of the TMI addicts and you’re good to go. 🙂

2. Get MORE Info About Friends. Clearly, this is the flipside of the “less info” option, and it allows you to get more and more details about the people you care about most, like your new crush, your BFF, or your ex.

How To: At the top of your feed, click Options for News Feeds. At the bottom-left of the page, you’ll see More About These Friends. Enter their names, and voila! You’re done.

3. Make a Badge. Want to link to your profile from your blog or website? Facebook has a built-in badge maker so you can list your profile pic, contact info & etc. all with a handy link to your Facebook page.

How To: Go to your profile and scroll down to the bottom of the left-hand bar (the one with your profile pic in it). Click on Make a Badge. You can either use a template they already have, or create your own. Copy & paste the HTML they give you into a widget on your blog or a spot on your site.

4. Mobile Facebook. If you are a true Facebook-aholic, activate your phone-to-Facebook feature. It will send you txt notifications of friend requests, messages, wall posts, and status updates. Plus, it allows you to make status updates on the go, or upload photos and videos right from your phone.

How To: Go to Settings > Account Settings and select the Mobile tab. Enter your phone number and carrier, and activate it! (Remember that standard text fees will apply to this feature.)

5. Edit Application Settings. I hate getting spamy emails from the applications I’ve added to my facebook page–little did I know you can edit all those settings! Each application had different options, so you can go in and edit each app’s authority to post stories about how you’ve used it, when it can email you, etc. Hooray for less spam!

How To: Go to Settings > Application Settings and click the Edit Settings link beside the application. Choose the settings you want, and click Okay. Now pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Happy Facebooking, and remember to add Surviving College Life to your fandom list! 🙂

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2 comments March 13th, 2009

You Can Do It!: The 25/25 List

I love making lists. They keep me organized, on task, and in the moment. I also love making goals. In fact, I love it so much that I make a point of setting a big fat list of goals twice a year–once at New Years and once at my birthday.

The thing is, life is short. College goes by fast. And if you don’t know what you want to do, there’s no way you can get it done. So combining two of my favorite things into a list of goals is the natural next step to make sure time doesn’t get away from me. Plus, it’s fun.

The “25 Things” List

One of the best things I ever did for myself was the creation of a list I wrote my freshman year of college called “Things to To Do Before I Turn 25” (as 25 nears, though, I admit that I’ve let the number slip up to 30!). I knew there were some things I wanted to get done in my life, but for one reason or another, I hadn’t done them–so I decided to write them down and cross them off as I finished them.

Write Your List!

When you think of the things you most want to do, what comes to mind? Write these things down, and give yourself a deadline to achieve them. They can be big or small, easy or hard. For example, here are a few items from my list (which ended up having more than 25 things on it!):

2. Stand in falling snow
5. Do a self portrait
13. Speak French to someone who learned it in France
15. See New York
26. Drive a really expensive car
32. Crochet a scarf
35. Get married
37. Write a book

So basically, your list can be anything you want to do; from riding a horse to building a house, write down your real goals!

If you’re having trouble getting started, try borrowing other people’s goals. One of my friends wrote a blog entry about how she wanted to read the same number of books as she was years old every year, and I loved that idea so much that I added it to one of my yearly goal sets.

Make it Happen

Once you’ve written down your list, post it somewhere you’ll see it often. The whole “out of sight, out of mind” works both ways–if you see your list often, it will stay on your mind.

The next step, of course, is to stop putting things off. When you get the opportunity to do one of the things on your list, take it! I can’t tell you how good it feels to cross something off–and so I’ve actually managed to finish 22 of my 38 things!

photo by kakiw40

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6 comments March 10th, 2009

Weekend Project(s): Spring Clean Your Dorm Room

As hateful as it is, there comes a time when you have to break down and clean up, even when Mom’s not around to make you do it. You don’t want your room to be known around the building as “the room that the smell comes from.” That’s bad for your social life.

Never fear! If there is any kind of week-old food under your bed, a layer of dust on your shelves whiter than the snow outside, or a stack of notes from last semester still sitting on top of your TV, do I have some ideas for you.

Making it Less Painful

If you’re like most students, you probably don’t want to spend Friday night Q-tip cleaning your keyboard, so I’d suggest breaking down the whole “Spring Cleaning” process over a few weekends. Choose one or two tasks per weekend day, and when you get those done go out and enjoy the rest of your class-free time.

I’d also suggest that you (1) get some really high energy, fun music going and (2) give yourself a reward to look forward to, be it a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or an evening out with your sweetie. Don’t skip give in and skip out early, though, or the whole “reward” technique won’t do much for your cleaning skills.

The To-Do List

Here are a few suggestions for how to break down your clean-up process. Remember to add in cleaning other rooms if you live in an apartment (and get your roommates in on the action!). Thanks to Apartment Therapy for the inspiration.

  1. First Sweep. Pick up and put away all the junk that has accumulated over the past days, weeks, and months. Throw away old food. Make three piles of stuff you don’t need anymore (i.e. stuff from classes that are over): Garbage, Donate, and Sell. Then deal with those piles accordingly.
  2. The Bed. Pull everything off your bed–sheets, blankets, pillowcases, etc. and wash it. Remember, duvets and pillows themselves don’t get washed (just their covers do). Flip the mattress (so you don’t get a divet in the middle where you sleep). Remake the bed.
  3. The Floor. Pick up anything that doesn’t belong on the floor. Clean out the stuff under your bed. Vacuum everywhere, including the bottom of your closet, under your desk, and under your bed.
  4. Glass Surfaces. Clean windows, mirrors, etc. with a glass or all-purpose cleaner.
  5. Other Surfaces. Dust everything with dust on it–flat surfaces like tables and desks, picture frames, computer & TV screens and clean any other gunk off them. Wipe down things you touch a lot like light switches and remotes with a good cleaner.
  6. Window Shades. Vacuum or dust these–they get gross.
  7. Computer. Turn your computer off. Spray out the keyboard and any ports or fan vents with one of those compressed air cans to get any dust or crumbs out. Wipe your screen with a computer-safe cleaner.
  8. Other. If you live off campus, you should also deep clean the kitchen, bathroom, and living space. Let me know if you want to-do lists for those, too. (I know “want” is a strong word in this context, but you know what I mean!)

Now, get out there and get cleaning!

photo: Bedtime by ddrccl

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2 comments March 6th, 2009


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