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woman in pink shopping

When to Start Shopping for University Supplies

By News

It may seem logical to start shopping for supplies as early as possible. After all, the lesson that you should avoid procrastination at all costs is drilled into you throughout university. Buying university supplies for the upcoming semester, though, is often the exception to this rule. It’s worth purchasing certain items in advance, but you’ll find that you gain much better deals on other types of products if you wait until the last minute.

Furnishings

If you’ll be living in a fully-furnished apartment, you won’t need to buy any furniture, which means big savings. However, you will still want some decor to make the place feel like home, such as an area rug, artwork for the walls, and throw pillows. The best time to shop for these is August, as stores tend to be offering great discounts on office and home supplies. Just avoid stores aimed specifically at students, as these are unlikely to have low prices.

Stationery

Wait until late August or even early September to restock on stationery. Stores begin discounting items as the school start date approaches. Having said that, you should avoid waiting too long, as supplies could run out and you’ll be left with the items no one else wants. Plus, stores will be dedicating less shelf space to back-to-school products and more to Halloween.

Textbooks

Only buy textbooks once your classes have begun and you’ve confirmed with your professor that you do need all the books on the reading list. Talk to students who took the class previously to see if you can purchase any secondhand books, search for used books online, and check book rental services. It’s a particularly good idea to leave renting books to the last possible minute, as you need to avoid a return date that’s a few weeks before your finals.

Clothing

If you want to save money, restrain yourself from buying clothes as soon as the stores switch from summer to fall apparel in August. By waiting until September or even October, you’ll find that prices are much more reasonable. You may also like to think ahead to winter and start picking up clothing for colder weather. Although clothing is cheapest at the end of the season, it’s still less expensive in October than it will be in November.

Tech

You may need some tech before the semester begins, but if it’s possible to wait a couple months before you upgrade your laptop, it’s worth buying later in the year, such as during the Black Friday sales. In fact, if you can hold off buying all your electronics, clothing, and footwear until November, you’ll see some considerable savings.

One thing you shouldn’t leave until the last minute is finding a student rental. Oshawa students can still move into Foundry 1805 in time for next semester. Our premier student housing allows you to hang out with other students in shared spaces and chill in your bedroom when you want to be alone. Apply now while immediate move-ins are still available.

afternoon beach landscape

6 Affordable Beach Trips for Students

By News

Taking a beach trip is a great way to destress after a tough semester — and there are countless options for beach vacations all over the world. Provided you have enough money for the flight (make sure you stay on the lookout for deals), the following destinations are quite affordable in terms of food, accommodation, and activities.

1. The Galapagos Islands

Since Ecuador is not a destination that may immediately come to mind, it’s a great place to go if you want something unique, inexpensive, and off the beaten track. The entire coast of Ecuador has great beaches, but the most exciting place to visit has to be the Galapagos Islands. Each island has something completely different to offer — not least the array of wildlife that lives there. In particular, the Galapagos Islands are a top option if you’re taking Spanish classes at university or you’re a zoology major.

2. San Juan

Another island destination is San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. The beaches are pristine and often not at all crowded. Plus, there’s a great party scene in the evenings. Since San Juan is a popular choice with students, there are plenty of options for hostels, where you can meet people from all over the world.

3. Panama City

There are many beaches you could visit in Florida, but one of the best is Panama City. Although temperatures are high, they’re not unbearably hot — besides, you’ll be cooling down in the water. You have various options for accommodation, although if you come with a group of friends, you’ll likely find vacation rentals to be a cost-effective option.

4. Bali

If you have enough for the airfare to reach Bali, you’ll find that it’s inexpensive once you arrive. The island offers many activities for tourists, including snorkeling and beach yoga, and there’s great food available at incredibly low prices.

5. Pogradec

For a European beach vacation, a place you may not have considered is Albania. The city of Pogradec has Lake Ohrid — unbeatable in terms of beauty. Its lakeside beaches are particularly popular with locals in the summer. However, the country also has stunning beaches all along its coast, some pebbled, others with pure sand. As more vacationers head to nearby Greece, Albania in general is a great choice if you’re looking to relax away from the crowds.

6. Riga
Another lesser-known beach destination in Europe is Riga in Latvia. The capital has much more to offer than just beaches — especially cultural spots, many of which are free to enter. Best of all, you won’t have to spend as much time as you would on a full-blown European vacation.

Return from your beach trip to comfortable housing that keeps you feeling motivated for the semester ahead. Leave OTU residence behind and move into the premier off-campus housing at Foundry 1805. Our rentals were designed with students in mind and feature everything you could want from a student apartment, including spacious rooms, free WiFi, and onsite laundry facilities. Book a tour to check out where you could be living when you’re back from your summer adventures.

Should You Live Off Campus Next Semester?

By News

It’s common to move straight into dorms when you start university, but many students end up living off campus. To decide if you should live off campus next semester, you’ll need to weigh up the pros and cons.

Pro: Rent Is Cheaper

Even though apartments are larger, you’ll have more personal space (including the option for your own bedroom), and you’ll share common areas like the kitchen and living room with fewer people, rent still tends to be less expensive in apartments than paying for a dorm room. This is especially likely to be the case when you add in the cost of a meal plan, which tends to either be a requirement of living in residence or a necessity due to the lack of access to a kitchen. You’ll find that you spend much less on groceries than you do on a meal plan. Plus, you’ll have the chance to prepare whatever dishes you like.

Con: Housing Costs Can Be Expensive

The difference in costs may not always be as great as they first appear. You need to bear in mind that you’ll pay more than just rent when you live off campus. Not all leases include the cost of utilities and internet, and you may need to purchase furniture. Plus, if you’re far from campus, you’ll need to pay for public transport costs and gas.

Pro: You’ll Be Independent

There are far fewer rules to follow when you live off campus. You can invite guests over whenever you want, you won’t need to tiptoe around during finals, and you’ll generally feel more independent.

Con: You’ll Have More Responsibilities

More freedom also means more responsibilities. It’s up to you to ensure that your entire apartment is clean, you buy enough groceries, and you prepare balanced meals. While this can feel like a disadvantage to living off campus, it will mean that you develop skills that will be useful in the real world.

Pro: You’ll Face Fewer Distractions

Other than during finals, dorms tend to be loud places. It’s even worse if your roommate is often bringing friends over or your own friends like to drop by unannounced. Apartments in off-campus housing are usually much quieter, which makes it easier to study or focus on projects and can lead you to become much more productive.

Con: You May Be Far from Other Students

If you rent a room in someone’s house, you won’t be living with any other students. Even if you rent an entire apartment with friends, you’ll still be around fewer people than you would be on campus. The exception is if you live in off-campus housing where all the residents in the building are students.

You can overcome the downsides of living off campus by finding the right student housing. Oshawa students who live at Foundry 1805 receive a fully-furnished suite with utilities and WiFi included in the rent. You’ll be within walking distance from campus and will benefit from services including housekeeping, courtesy patrol, and onsite management. Apply now while spaces are still available for next semester.

8 Ways to Strengthen Your Memory While Studying

By News

It’s frustrating to feel like you’re not remembering the information you’re studying. The good news is that you can strengthen your memory over time, which will help you retain knowledge for much longer. Many tactics involve making changes to your study routine, but they don’t require you to spend any extra time studying. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Pay Attention

You won’t just passively retain information — you need to pay attention while you’re learning. Whenever you’re studying, make sure you’re taking in what you’re reading. This means you need to turn off the TV, listen only to calming background music (if anything at all), and ask your roommates not to talk to you.

2. Never Cram

When preparing for a test, spread out studying over several weeks. If you try to cram, you’ll only be able to focus for the first hour or so, after which you’ll find it difficult to concentrate and you’ll retain very little.

3. Use Mnemonics

Find mnemonics that already exist or make up your own to remember key concepts. For example, it becomes much easier to remember that “oxidation is loss, reduction is gain” when you use the mnemonic OILRIG.

4. Use Visuals

If you’re struggling to remember details, it could be because how the process works is fuzzy in your mind. Watching videos can help, but you could also go a step further by creating your own visuals. For instance, you could draw a mind map or flowchart to show how ideas are linked.

5. Create Links with Existing Knowledge

Give new information meaning by thinking about how it relates to concepts you’ve already studied. This will instantly stop new knowledge from feeling unfamiliar and help it to fit into a framework you already understand.

6. Read Difficult Passages Aloud

If you’re struggling with a particularly difficult area of the materials, stop and read out loud. This will help you slow down to prevent skimming and give you the extra time you need to understand the information. Only when you fully understand the concepts will you be able to store them in your long-term memory.

7. Mix Things Up

Feeling frustrated or bored with your studies can make it harder to retain knowledge. The solution is to change your routine in some way. You could switch the order in which you study for different classes over the day, go somewhere like a coffee shop, park, or library to study, or come up with a new approach. For instance, you could start each day by reviewing whatever you covered the evening before.

8. Sleep Enough

Memory is closely linked to sleep. You’ll find it much easier to remember everything you learn if you consistently sleep enough. If you’re ever unable to get sufficient sleep, taking a nap can help — especially right after a class or study session.

You’ll find it almost impossible to strengthen your memory if you lack a place where you can study without distractions. Since it’s best if you can study at home, you may need to search for better rooms for rent. Oshawa students can receive a fully-furnished suite, complete with a desk and chair, at Foundry 1805. We even have suites with dedicated study areas available. Apply now to secure your spot!

How to Decline a Job or Internship That Isn’t the Right Fit

By News

It’s good practice to apply to several jobs or internships to ensure you do receive an offer. If you’re lucky enough to receive offers from several companies, you’ll need to turn down all the ones you don’t want. It could be that you landed your top choice, or perhaps you realized a position wasn’t right for you as you progressed through the interview process. Whatever the case, you’ll need to be considerate in informing employers that you’ll be declining the offer. By using tact and being timely in your reply, you can maintain a good relationship with the employer and keep open the possibility of working at the company in the future.

1. Thank the Employer

Start your response by thanking the employer for offering you the opportunity. The company will have dedicated a large amount of time to interviews and the decision-making process and then chose you over the other options. Make sure you acknowledge that you are grateful the employer held you in such high regard.

2. Make Your Intentions Clear

Above all, it needs to be clear that you’re declining the position. Not being direct wastes everyone’s time and ruins your chance to maintain a good relationship with the employer. Vague language may confuse the employer, who will need to message you back — and this will result in an uncomfortable situation for you both. Plus, it means you’ll delay the employer offering the position to someone else.

3. Recommend Someone Else

It’s possible that no one else the company interviewed was suitable and that the hiring manager will be conducting another round of interviews. If you know someone who would like the position, now’s your chance to make a recommendation.

Employers often appreciate this, as it gives them another candidate without them needing to advertise, and your friends or classmates will definitely be happy if you put in a good word for them — especially if one of them ends up with an offer.

4. Stay in Touch

Tell the employer that you want to stay in touch — and be true to your word, as maintaining a connection with the company could work in your favour. Set a reminder to send another email around six months from now. You could use the chance to highlight the fact that you’ve now gained experience and would be qualified for a more senior position. Alternatively, the job or internship you do accept may not turn out as you expected or your career goals could change.

5. Message Individuals at the Company

Your initial email will likely go to the hiring manager. However, if you met others at the company or there was anyone who helped you gain the interview in the first place, make sure you reach out to them as well. Thank them for their time and let them know you want to stay in touch. They may be able to let you know about other opportunities in the future, either at the same company or elsewhere.

Working a job or internship on top of your studies can be tiring, which is why it’s crucial you have a place that you can call home. An alternative OTU residence is Foundry 1805. You’ll have a room in a spacious suite along with great amenities, including a secure entrance, elevator access, study rooms, and onsite laundry facilities. Sign a lease now to secure your spot before you start working.

How Therapy Dogs Help Students Cope in Class

By News

Universities know that students often struggle to keep up with the demands of their studies due to high levels of stress. One solution many schools are now implementing is therapy dogs. The chance to pet an animal that will provide unconditional affection is helping students in several ways.

Reduce Stress

Before a big test, tensions often run high. Anxiety about the exam can make it difficult to study, leading to a vicious circle of stress and worry. One of the most effective ways to reduce stress is to spend time with a therapy dog.

In fact, students can benefit from therapy dogs when they’re stressed for any reason, including if they feel overwhelmed or they’re struggling to manage a heavy workload. One study found that levels of cortisol (the hormone linked to stress) decreased significantly after just 10 minutes with a therapy animal.

Dealing with Homesickness and Loneliness

Some students find it takes a long time to settle into university. It’s tough being surrounded by strangers and away from the people you’ve known all your life. Plus, you may not feel comfortable sharing your feelings with someone you barely know — but a dog is another matter. Physical contact and the chance to bond can help students feel less alone and even remove some of their inhibitions about developing close friendships with the people they meet.

A Stand-In for the Family Pet

A major reason for homesickness is often missing the family pet. Whereas therapy dogs can never be a replacement, they can be a great stand-in for students who may be unable to go home for several weeks or months at a time.

Free Therapy

Universities often provide some low-cost counselling services, but therapy dogs tend to be free to access for all students. Universities can choose from different programs to meet the needs of their students. Some programs are casual, with dogs coming onto campus a few times each semester. Students are typically able to spend up to an hour with a dog, either on their own or in a small group. Many universities go a step further and provide students with regular therapy: they’re assigned a particular dog and have regular sessions with the animal and handler.

Forget About Your Studies

In particular, students report enjoying time with therapy dogs because it’s an excuse to stop thinking about their studies. In addition, the sessions push them to schedule time in their day just to relax.

The even-better news is that the dogs seem to be just as positive about the experience. Many dog owners who participate in the programs say their pets are excited about going to campus — and are happier still when they arrive and start interacting with students.

Another way to destress is to live in more comfortable shared accommodation. Oshawa students can distance themselves from the hectic life on campus by moving into the student community at Foundry 1805. You’ll have a private space where you can relax on your own or hang out with new friends after a long day of classes. Apply now to secure the unit of your choice.

Should You Split Grocery & Household Supplies with Roommates?

By News

When you move into your student apartment, something you need to decide from the start is how you’ll divide costs for groceries and household items. There are a few ways to approach this — the important thing is you come to an agreement and the terms are clear to everyone.

Option 1: Each Buy Your Own Groceries

The simplest option is to buy all your own food and share nothing. This will help you stay within your budget and avoid surprises like running out of something you need for a meal or having nothing left in the kitchen you can eat due to your dietary restrictions. You’ll need to use a labelling system to ensure no one mistakes your food for theirs. Alternatively, you could assign each roommate a different shelf in the pantry or a section of the fridge — and you’ll also need to make sure visitors are aware of this system.

The main downside to this option is you’ll need to buy small quantities, rather than bulk, to avoid food waste. However, nothing is stopping you from asking your roommates if they want things you’re unable to use by the expiration date.

Option 2: Split Everything

The other extreme is to split everything with your roommates. This tends to work best when your roommates are your friends and you all have similar tastes. You’ll need to agree to a weekly budget and create a shopping list. Check discounts by using a grocery app to stretch your money as far as possible.

You’ll then need to decide how you’ll do the actual shopping. You could all go together, but this will mean finding a time when you’re all available. It likely makes more sense to add grocery shopping to your chores and have a different person or pair of roommates go each week.

There are several benefits to splitting everything, including that you’ll be able to cook meals to eat together, you’ll never have disputes about someone eating something that belonged to another roommate, and you’ll have just one set of cleaning products. However, you may end up spending more with this option, especially if one of your roommates eats more than the rest of you or someone frequently has guests over who also eat your food. Plus, it will mean you’re contributing to food you barely eat (or may not eat at all). For these reasons, it tends to be the least fair option.

Option 3: Split Some Things

Your final option may seem like the most complicated, but university students often find it’s the one that works best. Each of you will buy the food you want for your own meals and snacks to stay within your personal budgets. You’ll do your own grocery shopping whenever it suits you. However, everyone will contribute to common items (such as condiments) to avoid having multiples. You could even use this method just for cleaning supplies and other household items but buy all your own food, if you prefer.

Figuring out groceries is just one concern when you have roommates: even splitting rent and utilities can be problematic if someone in your household is prone to paying late. When you live at Foundry 1805, however, you’ll receive an individual lease, with utilities included in the price of the rent. Our alternative to OTU residence gives you the full student experience without all the downsides of living on campus. Apply now to take advantage of our promotions.

Life Skills You Can Develop During University

By News

Earning your degree is only one thing you’ll gain from your time at university: you’ll also learn life skills that will help you throughout your career. These are particularly useful right after you graduate, as they’ll make your resume stand out even when you’re up against candidates with experience.

1. Teamwork

Few jobs require you to work in isolation. Most likely, you’ll need to collaborate with others at least on occasion. It’s important that everyone pulls their weight and contributes to optimize the final results. During your time at university, you may gain practice for these kinds of situations by working on group assignments and through your participation in extracurriculars, such as student organizations and team sports.

2. Time Management

The freedom you experience at university will teach you how to organize your time better. You’ll need to create a balanced schedule that allows you to fit a social life and other responsibilities around your classes and due dates. You may even start using new tools to help you with time management, such as a planner and reminders.

3. Digital Literacy

The more general and industry-specific software you know how to use, the better. Some job posts may ask for experience using particular software, whereas other employers will just want to see that you’re a fast learner. At university, you’ll also improve existing digital literacy skills, such as typing, researching online, and assessing the validity of information.

4. Communication

All the assignments you complete at university will involve communication. Often, this will be written communication, but you may also improve your verbal communication skills, particularly if you give oral presentations, participate in discussions, or need to talk with other students when preparing group work.

5. Networking

If you’ve been socializing at university, you’ve been networking. You can demonstrate that you’re particularly capable by taking advantage of additional opportunities, such as study abroad programs, conferences, internships, and volunteering. As well as using these to enhance your employability, networking skills may lead to jobs that you would otherwise never have known about.

6. Creativity

You can demonstrate your creative skills in more ways than taking a creative major. For one thing, even majors that are not conventionally creative tend to have their creative side. For instance, you may need to come up with original solutions to problems. You can also choose electives that push you to learn a new skill, such as painting, screenwriting, or performing arts. Alternatively, you could develop your creativity outside the classroom, like in a club or by running your own business.

7. Leadership

Learning leadership skills will allow you to progress in your career to manage others or become the head of a team. Sign up for a leadership or management class or develop your skills by holding a position in student government, an organization, or a club.

To succeed in all aspects of university, you need a comfortable place to call home. Find a room for rent in Oshawa near OTU at Foundry 1805. Living independently will teach you even more valuable skills — but, at the same time, you’ll have all the benefits of a student community. Apply now to secure the floor plan you want with early bird pricing.

How to Beat a Cold or Flu as a Student

By News

Staying fit at university will help you cope better with stress, improve your focus, and promote good health for the rest of your life. Even though it may feel like your schedule is already full, you should be able to make time for fitness. Just make sure you’re gaining the most from your workouts by practicing the following tips.

1. Combine Cardio, Strength, and Stretching

A fitness routine needs a balance of cardio and strength training, plus some stretching to maintain your flexibility. You may like to stretch after every workout or dedicate a couple days to flexibility exercises.

Cardio is crucial because it increases your heart rate, which keeps your heart and lungs healthy. It’s also useful for increasing your metabolism, helping you maintain an ideal weight, and improving energy levels, mood, and sleep. You should fit a minimum of two and a half hours of moderate cardio exercise into your weekly routine, such as low-impact aerobics, dancing, or cycling. Alternatively, do at least one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise like uphill biking or hiking.

Strength training is what builds your muscles and endurance, helping to keep your bones, ligaments, and tendons strong. Again, this is useful for weight management, but it can also prevent chronic illness and reduce the risk of injury. You should fit at least two sessions of strength training into your weekly routine and make sure you work all the muscle groups of the body.

2. Use Campus Facilities

Paying for a gym membership is expensive — even with a student discount. The good news is it’s often unnecessary because your campus likely has great facilities you can use, such as gym equipment, a track, and maybe even a pool. If you need more motivation, find out if your university holds fitness classes. You may be able to join them virtually from home.

3. Exercise at Home

There’s no need to wait for live fitness classes to exercise at home. You can find countless results for routines by searching on YouTube or downloading a fitness app. Both are great ways to try out different types of workouts and find what resonates with you. Start with routines that don’t require any equipment and then purchase whatever you need when you’ve figured out what you enjoy most.

4. Stick to a Schedule

Unless you create a workout schedule, you may find it difficult to meet your fitness goals. Block out time each day on your calendar for exercise, specifying what kind of workout you’ll do — this will help ensure you strike the right balance and don’t neglect any muscle groups.

5. Pair Up with a Fitness Buddy

Hold yourself accountable by working out with someone else. You can agree to attend the same classes, go to the campus fitness centre at the same time, or practise at-home routines together. When you have a fitness buddy, you’ll be letting down more than just yourself if you fail to go to your workouts.

6. Move More

It’s better for your body if you’re constantly active than if you just exercise once and remain sedentary for the rest of the day. Simple things you can do to increase how much you move include walking to campus and biking longer distances, taking the stairs, playing sports on the weekend, and going for a walk when you need a break from studying.

Since it’s more comfortable to exercise at home when you have your own space, it’s worth searching for rooms for rent. Oshawa students who live at Foundry 1805 all receive a spacious bedroom in a suite with free WiFi. Plus, the community is walking distance from campus, allowing you to fit in some extra exercise every day. Apply now to take advantage of our promotions.

6 Fitness Tips for University Students

By News

Staying fit at university will help you cope better with stress, improve your focus, and promote good health for the rest of your life. Even though it may feel like your schedule is already full, you should be able to make time for fitness. Just make sure you’re gaining the most from your workouts by practicing the following tips.

1. Combine Cardio, Strength, and Stretching

A fitness routine needs a balance of cardio and strength training, plus some stretching to maintain your flexibility. You may like to stretch after every workout or dedicate a couple days to flexibility exercises.

Cardio is crucial because it increases your heart rate, which keeps your heart and lungs healthy. It’s also useful for increasing your metabolism, helping you maintain an ideal weight, and improving energy levels, mood, and sleep. You should fit a minimum of two and a half hours of moderate cardio exercise into your weekly routine, such as low-impact aerobics, dancing, or cycling. Alternatively, do at least one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise like uphill biking or hiking.

Strength training is what builds your muscles and endurance, helping to keep your bones, ligaments, and tendons strong. Again, this is useful for weight management, but it can also prevent chronic illness and reduce the risk of injury. You should fit at least two sessions of strength training into your weekly routine and make sure you work all the muscle groups of the body.

2. Use Campus Facilities

Paying for a gym membership is expensive — even with a student discount. The good news is it’s often unnecessary because your campus likely has great facilities you can use, such as gym equipment, a track, and maybe even a pool. If you need more motivation, find out if your university holds fitness classes. You may be able to join them virtually from home.

3. Exercise at Home

There’s no need to wait for live fitness classes to exercise at home. You can find countless results for routines by searching on YouTube or downloading a fitness app. Both are great ways to try out different types of workouts and find what resonates with you. Start with routines that don’t require any equipment and then purchase whatever you need when you’ve figured out what you enjoy most.

4. Stick to a Schedule

Unless you create a workout schedule, you may find it difficult to meet your fitness goals. Block out time each day on your calendar for exercise, specifying what kind of workout you’ll do — this will help ensure you strike the right balance and don’t neglect any muscle groups.

5. Pair Up with a Fitness Buddy

Hold yourself accountable by working out with someone else. You can agree to attend the same classes, go to the campus fitness centre at the same time, or practise at-home routines together. When you have a fitness buddy, you’ll be letting down more than just yourself if you fail to go to your workouts.

6. Move More

It’s better for your body if you’re constantly active than if you just exercise once and remain sedentary for the rest of the day. Simple things you can do to increase how much you move include walking to campus and biking longer distances, taking the stairs, playing sports on the weekend, and going for a walk when you need a break from studying.

Since it’s more comfortable to exercise at home when you have your own space, it’s worth searching for rooms for rent. Oshawa students who live at Foundry 1805 all receive a spacious bedroom in a suite with free WiFi.

Plus, the community is walking distance from campus, allowing you to fit in some extra exercise every day. Apply now to take advantage of our promotions.