Tips for beating insomnia

July 30th, 2014 by

iStock_000015201389SmallLast night, I couldn’t sleep. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t slow my mind and close my eyes. It got me thinking about the many times this had happened to me before a big day. Insomnia can be killer when you’ve got something important to do in the morning! So, I decided to share with you some tips for beating insomnia.

• Create a routine. I know how hard it can be to function on a regular sleep schedule when you’ve got irregular hours, but try your best. Even on days when you can sleep in, try to go to bed and wake up at around the same time. Creating a routine helps your body learn when it’s time to rest.

• Ditch the coffee. Or at least plan your coffee consumption strategically. It’s best to consume your caffeinated indulgences early in the day, before 2 p.m. I can speak personally to this one — I recently slashed my coffee intake in half, and it’s had a huge effect on my sleep schedule.

• Get some exercise. Even just going for a walk later in the day can help relieve some of the stress and tension you’ve built up. Try to get in some exercise after work or classes, but before you eat dinner or start your homework. You’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

• Relax before bed. This is a tough one for me. Try your best not to bring your laptop or phone into bed with you. Instead, read a book or listen to some relaxing music. As fun as they are to use, our electronics are distracting and create extra stress when we’re trying to decompress. Put them away.

• Release your worries. Insomnia is often caused by worry, especially when it comes before a big day. Let go of your worries by taking some time to work through them. Call someone and talk about your concerns, or get out a piece of paper and write about them. Once you’ve done this, you can relax a little bit more.

Short naps can help make up for lost time when you’ve battled insomnia, but it’s best to try and eliminate the problem altogether. Do you ever have trouble falling asleep? How do you find ways to relax and de-stress?

Nicole-blogWritten by Nicole Milano. Nicole is a writer and yoga instructor from Rochester, N.Y., as well as a freelance writer for NextStepU. Read more from her at The Everyday Yogi and tweet her @nicolemariemil.

> For more about college life, go to


Tuesday Tour Day — University of Pittsburgh at Bradford

July 29th, 2014 by

pro-bradford-06Today we’re focusing on University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, based in Bradford, Pa. Pitt-Bradford is for students who want to earn a world-renowned degree in a personalized, supportive, and friendly environment. Students can choose from more than 40 majors and 50 minors, concentrations and programs, many of which offer unique opportunities for study both in the classroom and beyond.

Classes are small, giving students the opportunity to world closely with professors and seek one-on-one guidance. Pitt-Bradford also offers world-class internships and research opportunities to students, taking them beyond the classroom. The school’s robust Career Services Office and informal alumni network make this possible. Outside the classroom, students are encouraged to participate in a friendly residence life environment and many athletic, recreational, and cultural activities.

Pitt-Bradford works hard to make its degrees affordable for students. More than 94 percent of students receive financial aid. During the 2012-2013 academic year, the average financial aid award was $17,489 for in-state students and $19,500 for out-of-state students. For this reason among others, The Princeton Review named Pitt-Bradford one of the 150 Best Value Colleges in 2012.

Because Pitt-Bradford is part of the University of Pittsburgh system, students graduate with the prestigious University of Pittsburgh degree, which is recognized all over the world. Offering a large-school degree with a small-school experience is key in achieving Pitt-Bradford’s mission of rising above expectations and taking students beyond.

> For more information about the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, visit


Meet Our Friend Monday — Hannah Morgan of

July 28th, 2014 by

Hannah MorganFor all of you recent grads or soon-to-be grads, you know that today’s career landscape is highly intimidating. How do you navigate a job search with ease, and ultimately success? We talked with our friend Hannah Morgan, founder and CEO of to get some tips on making the task a little bit easier.

NextStepU: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your career.

Hannah Morgan: I’ve dedicated my career to finding diverse ways of helping job seekers. I used to work in Human Resources, and eventually ended up working for a national outplacement firm. At that job, I trained job seekers. That’s what I love doing — helping job seekers understand how to be successful. Currently, I’m the owner of I also work at the Simon School of Business, advising part-time students. My book, The Infographic Resumé, is coming out in August.

NSU: How can students who are still in school best prepare themselves for career success?

HM: One of the things I regularly advocate to students is to get involved in campus activities. Whether it’s Greek life, student government, or whatever — they need to be involved in activities that give them the opportunity to work in leadership roles and understand how organizations function. It’s the closest they can get to having a job without actually working. Students should also be thinking about getting work experience or an internship. It can sometimes take effort to find an internship or summer job, but they need real-life work experience. Companies and employers value real-life work experience over college education.

NSU: What are some of the best resources out there for those who are looking for work?

HM: Depending on where they are geographically, job seekers should be looking for a networking group or a job club to become affiliated with, especially if they haven’t job searched before. When you get together with a bunch of job seekers, you learn how interviews work. You get to hear about experiences other people have had. Every city has these networking groups. It’s a great way to sponge in a lot of information in a short amount of time.

NSU: If you could only give one piece of advice to a job seeker, what would it be?

HM: Make sure a company knows how hiring you would benefit them. A company doesn’t care about where you went to school, or what degrees you have. They care about what value you will bring to their company, department, and team. When interacting with a company, make sure you position yourself in a way that somebody would eagerly respond to. Talk about your experience in terms that would benefit the company.

> Want to get more advice from Hannah Morgan? If you’re in the Rochester, N.Y. area, you can partake in one of her personalized career preparatory classes at the NextStepU Center in Victor, N.Y. Find out more at


Freebie Friday — Studio C

July 25th, 2014 by


Time to think about going back to school! For those of you still in high school, we know you’ll do amazing things this year. If you are on your way to college, this will be the experience of a lifetime. Most importantly, no matter where you are headed in the fall, you’ll need to be prepared.

We’ve joined up with Studio C this week to share with you two great bags perfect for high school or college.

The Hot to Trot Micro Tote is the perfect combination of black and white with coral on the inside. Stylishly protects your tablet and tote your valuables with this collection that’s sleek, sophisticated and playful all at the same time. This tote protects your tablet with up to a 10” display and also carries your valuables. The padded tablet pocket has a snap closure and two slip pockets perfect for your cell phone and other small accessories. The outside is water-resistant and has a metal clasp to keep it closed.

The Black Tutti Messenger Bag is fun and colorful — perfect for school, work or the gym! It has an adjustable, padded shoulder strap and can hold a laptop with up to a 14” display. This bag has interior pockets for pens, small notepads and accessories. Two additional zipper pockets on the inside can store valuables, such as money and credit cards. Convenient outer zipper pockets store items for easy reach.

We wouldn’t blame you for heading straight to the Studio C site and purchasing either one of these bags immediately, but if you have some patience, you can also try to win one! Enter below in the Rafflecopter app for your chance to win one of these bags.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Enter the Studio C Giveaway before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 7/31/14. Two winners will be chosen shortly afterward and announced before 8/8/14. Each winner must respond to the email he or she receives in order to claim his or her prize. Any prize winner not responding by 9/8/14 will forfeit his/her prize. Entries will only be accepted through the Rafflecopter application and before the deadline date.



Prepping for college move-in day

July 24th, 2014 by

iStock_000021337330LargeTo all the recent high school graduates who are college bound, congratulations! You’ve worked hard, and now you get to reap the benefits. By now, you’ve chosen a school and you’ve got move-in day on your calendar. What’s next? Aside from enjoying your summer, there are a few things you should be thinking about to prep for the fall.

• Learn the layout of your dorm room. If you’re living on campus, you should be getting your housing assignment relatively soon. Get to know where you’ll be living! Before I moved in to my dorm room at Syracuse University, I took a trip to campus and visited the hall. It was helpful to know the layout of my dorm room before buying a ton of stuff. If visiting isn’t an option, look online or call housing to see if you can view a floor plan.

• Contact your roommate. Have you been assigned a random roommate? Social media makes it easy to get to know your roomie in advance. Send him/her a quick message introducing yourself. Many people even choose to meet up with their future roommates before move-in day. It can be helpful to learn a bit about each other’s personalities prior to living together.

• Shop around early. Most stores are already running “back-to-school” specials. Take advantage of them early! In college, I was a big fan of the last-minute Target run on move-in day. While this was certainly a fun ritual, I often got stuck with very few options for bedding and décor. Part of the fun of living in a dorm room is making it your own. Maximize your capacity to do so by shopping around early.

• Start packing. No, I’m not kidding. For most of you, move-in is a little over a month away. Don’t be like me and wait until the last minute to stuff your clothes into boxes. Start packing now! By getting a head start, you’ll be able to more clearly determine what you’ll need and what can stay home. Plus, it’s a lot less taxing to pack a little bit each day rather than staying up until 3 a.m. the night before. Trust me — my brother and I both did it, all four years.

Do you have any specific questions about how to prep for the big day? Let us know!

Nicole-blogWritten by Nicole Milano. Nicole is a writer and yoga instructor from Rochester, N.Y., as well as a freelance writer for NextStepU. Read more from her at The Everyday Yogi and tweet her @nicolemariemil.

> For more about college life, go to


Colorful college dorm ideas

July 23rd, 2014 by

Studio C Senior Designer, Liz Diller shares some tips and her favorite color combinations for 2014 college dorm room decorating:

“Your dorm room will be your home away from home, so make it comfy – make it special – but most of all, make it express who you are! Color and design play a big part in our lives, and it’s important to love the space you will be living in for the next nine months!  Take time to think about what vibe you want in your new space. I don’t think you want to spend all-nighters cramming in the beige walled library – and I’m pretty sure you won’t be allowed to paint your dorm room hot pink – so get out there and find things to fill your space with happiness. Create an environment that will help you study, relax, and also of the utmost importance – have fun!

Take a look at my top three color combinations for 2014 dorm room decorating. I hope you will find some inspiration for creating your space!”

natural scholar




natural scholar_final




natural scholar


> To add a little more color to your life, shop the Studio C website for planners, totes, bags, sleeves and cases for your accessories and mobile devices. 

StudioC-blog-bio1Written by Liz Diller. She is a senior designer at Studio C.

Read more from Studio C on their blog, Inside Our Heart.


Tuesday Tour Day — Troy University

July 22nd, 2014 by

Troy profile 2014Today we’re highlighting Troy University, based in Troy, Alabama. Troy University is a public university that was founded in 1887. TROY serves both traditional students and adult learners through its network of locations and robust online offerings. The school operates four campuses in its home state of Alabama, as well as locations in seven states and five other countries.

Students at TROY can pursue degrees at the associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels in fields like nursing, business, education, and more. TROY offers in-class, online, or hybrid options to best suit each student’s needs. These options help equip students to make the transition from the classroom to careers. An active honors program rewards high-achieving students and fosters critical thinking, intellectual development, and social responsibility.

Approximately 7,500 students attend TROY’s residential campus in Troy, Alabama. TROY’s home campus provides on-campus living options, and more than 100 student organizations to get involved in. The University has an active Greek community, many musical ensembles, and numerous service and professional organizations. TROY Trojans compete in Division I of the NCAA as members of the Sun Belt conference.

TROY offers a variety of financial aid options to families who apply for financial assistance. The University encourages all students to consider completing the application process so that they understand the options available to them. Financial aid specialists are available to assist with the process and answer questions. TROY is committed to providing exceptional service to its students and their families, regardless of background.

> For more information about Troy University, visit



Major Monday — Art Therapy

July 21st, 2014 by

colored pencilDo you possess artistic talent and a passion for helping others? If so, consider majoring in art therapy. As an art therapy major, you’ll learn how to use artistic activities to treat patients with mental, emotional, developmental, or physical problems. Prepare to study drawing and other art forms, art therapy history and theory, and art therapy techniques. These courses will prepare you to assess patient needs and design a program of art therapy treatment that meets those needs.

According to the College Board, this major is typically offered at the bachelor’s degree level. You’ll study a variety of artistic techniques including painting, drawing, sculpture, and more. This may require you to spend long hours in the studio working on projects. Your courses will also include studies of human behavior, including psychobiology, abnormal psychology, and psychology ethics. In order to prepare for your future career, you may be required to complete an internship working with patients or at a clinic.

What to know before you apply
Many art therapy programs will require you to create and showcase your artwork. Be prepared to devote a lot of time to your artistic projects. You’ll also want to get to know the faculty in your program. Are they practicing art therapists? Professors who are or have been active in the field will be able to provide valuable insight for your future career. Finally, investigate what kinds of internship opportunities will be available to you. Art therapists work with a wide variety of patients using many different techniques. See that you’ll be able to pursue an internship that fits with the kind of work you want to do.

Colleges offering related fields of study
Mount Mary University: Milwaukee, Wisc.
Springfield College: Springfield, Mass.
Mercyhurst University: Erie, Penn.

After graduation, you’ll be able to apply what you’ve learned in a clinical setting, with private clients in their homes, or as part of a program. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, recreational therapists earned a median pay of $45,520 per year in 2013.

> For more career and major info, visit



Freebie Friday — Fodeez Frames

July 18th, 2014 by


It’s graduation time! The school year has come to a close and grad parties are hitting your schedule. For those of you looking for gift ideas for the grad (or if you’re a grad making a wish list), we have some ideas for you.

Fodeez Frames are a must-have for the college student’s dorm. These display frames work on all smooth surfaces and can be reused hundreds of times. Unlike other display frames, Fodeez have a clear film to protect photos and also work great with dry erase markers. The frames are available in many colors and sizes and work great for college students who can’t use push pins or certain types of tape on dorm room wall.

You can customize Fodeez Frames with school colors, place them on a laptop or notebook, tablets and more. There are several inexpensive value packs to make the most of your back to school dollars. And every purchase of Fodeez Frames helps the company to donate a Fodeez Frame to a child with an extended hospital stay.

Now you have a chance to win your own Fodeez Frames! Four lucky winners will get a $25 gift card to to shop online for your own frames. Choose for yourself or give it as a gift! Use the Rafflecopter app below to enter for your chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No purchase necessary. Enter the Fodeez Frames Giveaway before 11:59 p.m. (ET) on 7/24/14. Four winners will be chosen shortly afterward and announced before 8/1/14.  Each winner must respond to the email he or she receives in order to claim his or her prize. Any prize winner not responding by 9/1/14 will forfeit his/her prize. Entries will only be accepted through the Rafflecopter application and before the deadline date.



#SoNotOkay stand against bullying

July 17th, 2014 by

Thomas Nelson Nancy RueAccording to bestselling author Nancy Rue, one out of every four students is bullied, and 85 percent of those situations never receive intervention.

Her new book “So Not Okay” addresses bullying from the perspective of the bystander. It teaches invaluable lessons about self-worth and true friendship. Rue is now asking you, your parents and your teachers to take a stand against bullying and join the #SoNotOkay movement.

‟This movement is about solving the problem of bullying from the inside out,” Nancy says, ‟and that’s going to take all of us coming together!”

Here’s how you can make a difference:
• Use the #SoNotOkay hashtag to promote your stand against mean girls
• Change your profile pictures to one of the images we have created on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
• Post one of the So Not Okay memes on Instagram or take a selfie of holding your pledge card.
• Sign one of the So Not Okay commitment cards with your friends.
• Print and sign the Code for Respecting the Dignity of Every Human Being, just like the girls in the book.
• Print and carry tribelet cards.
• Download the So Not Okay phone screen wallpapers.
• Get your own So Not Okay stickers for those who join the movement (while supplies last).

Visit to join the movement.
Follow Nancy on Twitter: @NNRue