Full- vs. Part-Time College: Which Is Right for You?

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A major decision when you start college is choosing between full- and part-time study. Enrolling as a part-time student will mean you have more time available for other activities, whereas full-time students spend more time in classes and dedicate a large amount of the rest of their time to studying. To figure out what would be right for you, it’s important to compare the advantages of both options.

Advantages of Full-Time College

The main benefit of studying full time is that you’ll graduate earlier, which means you’ll be able to start working in your desired field sooner. Whereas you may be able to find a related job now, it’s likely that your dream job requires a credential. Another advantage is that there will be a greater range of scholarships available to you if you maintain full-time status. If you’re awarded one of these scholarships, you may significantly reduce how much you pay in tuition. Finally, being a full-time student may be a requirement for your family to receive certain tax breaks, which would save you even more money.

Advantages of Part-Time College

An obvious advantage of being a part-time student is you’ll have a flexible schedule. You can create a class schedule that works for you, perhaps by having a couple classes a day or by packing a few classes into the same days and keeping the rest of the week free for other activities. This will increase your availability for work — and with a decent job, you could earn enough to pay for your tuition and other expenses while you’re still studying, meaning you graduate without debt. For this reason, studying part time can be a good option for students who receive a good job offer or are unable to receive any substantial scholarships.

Combining the Two Options

There’s no reason why you can’t switch between being a full-time student and a part-time student. For instance, you may like to take an opportunity one semester that means you’ll be unable to study full time (such as a research position, internship, or volunteer work). You could also end up becoming a part-time student if you find that one of your classes is particularly challenging and you need a lower workload or if you decide to drop a couple classes after it’s too late to sign up for others instead. On the flip side, you could decide to take just a few semesters full time to push your graduation date forward.

Full- and part-time students alike find it more comfortable to live off campus. Look for housing that’s near campus, has great amenities, and will provide you with your own bedroom. For Brock off-campus housing that meets all these criteria, there’s Foundry Lofts. Our student community is a 10-minute walk from campus and features spacious apartments with either four or five private bedrooms. On site, we have restaurants, a study zone, a games room, a fitness centre, and much more. Contact us to join the waitlist to secure a unit as soon as one becomes available.

daughter kissing mom when moving out

Practical Move-In Day Tips for Student Apartments

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Moving out of your parents’ home and heading off to university is exciting — but it also requires a great deal of preparation. You’ll need to make sure that you bring the right things, arrive at an appropriate time of day, and recruit someone to help you carry your belongings. Here are a few things to do to ensure move-in day goes smoothly.

1. Decide What to Pack

Create a list of everything you’ll need to take with you. Base this on what you know about your apartment — for instance, its size, whether it’s furnished or unfurnished, and what exactly is included. To make sure you don’t forget anything essential, use the list your school provides, search for packing lists online, or ask friends what they’re taking.

2. Figure Out What to Leave Behind

Just as important as making sure you bring everything you need is leaving behind the things you don’t need. If you’re going home between semesters, you should leave behind any clothing you won’t use this season. In addition, decide what you can purchase when you arrive, such as stationery, cleaning supplies, and groceries. Add these to a shopping list and head to a nearby store soon after you move in.

3. Reach Out to Your Roommates

Your roommates may be your friends or they could be people your student housing has assigned you to share with. In either case, it’s worth setting up a group chat where you can coordinate your move-ins.

One thing to talk about is what each of you will bring to the apartment. For instance, you’ll be able to share between you things like a coffee maker, microwave, and vacuum cleaner, meaning it doesn’t make sense to bring more than one. You should also decide when each of you will move into the apartment. If all of you will be arriving on the same day, at least make sure you come at different times — as all of you trying to move your belongings in at once could be a challenge. Bear in mind that it may take you a couple hours to finish moving in, especially if you’re bringing furniture.

4. Bring Help

Ask a parent, sibling, or friend to come with you on move-in day to help you carry your belongings. Don’t bring too many people, as this will mean you have less space in the car for your possessions and may even make carrying belongings into your apartment more difficult. However, do make sure you have enough helping hands to carry heavy items.

5. Avoid Boxes

The problem with boxes is they create a large amount of waste that you need to find a way to dispose of. Storage bins are much more practical, as you can use them to keep your apartment tidy once you’ve moved in. Plus, they make moving out easier — whether that’s when you find better housing or after you graduate.

Before you even start thinking about move-in day, you need to have accommodation lined up. The most convenient, comfortable, and affordable type of accommodation is student rentals. St. Catharines students can find off-campus housing at Foundry Lofts. You’ll have your own room in either a furnished or unfurnished apartment with three or four roommates. You’ll also be able to meet other students in places like the games room, fitness facilities, movie theatre, and fireside lounge. Join the waitlist to be the first to hear when a space opens up.

homesick student watching a train

How to Handle Homesickness When You Go to College

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Heading off to college is a time of mixed emotions. You’re likely to be excited about starting this next chapter of your life, but you’ll also miss the family and friends you’re leaving behind. This often leads to homesickness — and it can hit you unexpectedly. Luckily, there are several things you can do to cope.

1. Recognize That You’re Feeling Homesick

The first step is to recognize that what you’re experiencing is homesickness. It may manifest itself as grief or feelings of loss — after all, you’ve lost your sense of belonging, familiar places and people, and the comfort that comes from having a regular routine. Although you may not realize it, you’ll be craving stability, predictability, and consistency. For this reason, homesickness may strike particularly hard at certain times of the day, such as when you’re usually engaged in a particular activity.

The good news is that homesickness is not a clinical diagnosis. It tends to be short lived — and it’s within your power to overcome it.

2. Start New Rituals

To regain a sense of security and regularity, it helps to begin establishing new routines. You can do these routines alone or with friends, but they should start almost as soon as you wake up and end right before you go to bed. If there are certain times of the year when you find that homesickness returns (such as around a particular holiday), create new traditions or share ones from home with your roommates.

3. Prepare Your Favourite Meals

It’s comforting to eat meals like those you often have with your family. Ask your parents for recipes and learn to prepare these dishes yourself. Cooking will be a useful skill to have all your life, as you’ll be able to whip up your favourite foods whenever you’re feeling low.

4. Explore Your Surroundings

Making your new home familiar will also help reduce homesickness. Learn where to find various places on campus and search for interesting spots around your college town, such as parks, coffee shops, and hiking trails.

5. Chat with Friends and Family

Arrange to have regular calls with friends from your hometown and family members. Friends who are attending other universities will also be feeling homesick, meaning they’ll benefit from a chat just as much as you.

6. Make New Friends

Try to resist the urge to rely heavily on people back home, though — it’s also important to start making new friends. Attend events, join clubs, and volunteer to expand your social circle and meet people with similar interests.

7. Talk About Your Feelings

Since your friends are likely going through the same, don’t be afraid to talk about your homesickness. You may also have siblings who have already been through the experience who can give you advice about what worked for them.

8. Reach Out for Support

If homesickness causes your anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues to worsen, reach out for support from a professional. Your college likely has counselling services available to students.

You’ll suffer less from homesickness if you find an apartment that you love. Most people find it uncomfortable living on campus due to the limited privacy and cramped space, but having your own room in student housing can lead to a great college experience. An alternative to Niagara College residence is Foundry Lofts. You’ll be able to meet and hang out with other students in places like the games room, movie theatre, and fireside lounge or you can relax on your own in your spacious bedroom and living room. Contact us to join the waitlist.

student getting tutoring

10 On-Campus Resources to Be Aware Of

By News

Your classes are just one educational resource you’ll receive at university. To improve your understanding of material, enhance your academic skills, and prepare for your graduation, there are a number of other resources on campus that you should be taking advantage of.

1. Tutoring

Never feel that you must struggle with a difficult class alone. If you need extra support to understand the material or apply the skills you’re learning, a tutor could be just what you need. Ask about tutoring services on campus to find the most cost-effective options. You may even be able to choose between one-on-one tutoring and group sessions.

2. Careers Support

It’s worth thinking about what you want to do after you finish university a while before your graduation date approaches. Head to the careers centre on campus to discuss your options. You can also use the services to search for openings, fine tune your resume, and ace interviews — for jobs or internships now and after you graduate.

3. Writing Centre

Most universities offer academic services to help students with their writing skills. You can find support for writing all kinds of papers, starting with creating an outline and ending with proofreading your work before you submit it. Students who are nearing the end of their degrees tend to find the writing centre particularly useful for preparing their thesis or research project, as it can be difficult to know where to begin, how to structure the different sections, and how to fit everything together.

4. Academic Advisors

Whenever you have a question about your education, turn to the academic advisory team. Advisors can help you with things like creating an appropriate class schedule, dropping a class, switching majors, and meeting your academic goals.

5. Office Hours with Professors

Your professors are another top source for academic advice. They can help you with doubts and questions related to a specific class — all you need to do is pay them a visit during office hours. Plus, office hours are a great way to connect to your professors on a deeper level, which could be useful if you’re looking to pursue research in a similar field or you just want to start building your professional network.

6. Financial Aid Office

It’s possible that your financial situation will change during your time at university. Besides, it’s always worth seeing if you qualify for new scholarships and grants to save money. Visit the financial aid office if you ever want information about what support you qualify for or to manage your current loans.

7. Library

Even though you can gain a vast amount of information online, your campus library can be important during your time at university. It’s somewhere you can focus on your studies in peace, collaborate on a group project, or ask librarians to help you locate the information you need to complete a paper.

8. Sport Facilities

If you’re not an athlete yourself, you may have neglected the sports facilities on campus. This means you could be missing out on the opportunity to use the gym or attend fitness classes to get in shape, stay healthy, and reduce stress.

9. Mental Health Services

Many universities offer counselling services at low prices to help students manage their mental health, cope with negative emotions, and deal with anxieties. You’ll likely also have access to hotlines you can call if you want confidential support or need to talk to someone during a crisis.

10. IT Department

If you’re unsure about how to perform a particular IT task or your computer suffers a crash, reach out to the IT department. Someone will likely be able to help you over the phone to resolve the issue.

Another way to receive great resources that enhance the student experience is to live in student housing. For Brock University off-campus housing, there’s no better option than Foundry Lofts. In addition to your private bedroom in a suite, you’ll have access to onsite amenities like a study zone and fitness centre. Join the waitlist to be the first to hear when a space opens up.

7 Reasons to Move Off Campus

By News

Living on campus is often the default when you start college — but most students quickly realize that it’s far from ideal. Typically, staying in a dorm means sharing a small room with a stranger (and other areas of your housing with a large number of students), adhering to strict rules, and being stuck with a meal plan. If you’re wondering whether you should move off campus, the answer is probably yes for a few main reasons.

1. Save Money

Even though you don’t receive much more than a simple room when you live on campus, dorms tend to be much more expensive than renting your own apartment. This is because you’re paying extra to be close to your classes and to receive meals. As a result, though, more of your budget goes to housing and less to enjoying student life. You can find housing to fit virtually any budget when you live off campus. To spend as little as possible, find an apartment where utilities are included and that has many bedrooms to split costs with a large number of roommates.

2. Choose Your Neighbourhood

Proximity to classes does have its advantages, particularly if you’re taking many morning classes. However, there’s often no need to live on campus — you’ll find it’s just as convenient to be a short commute away. The added advantage is that you are able to choose from a variety of neighbourhoods to find somewhere safe and close to the kinds of services you want, whether that’s grocery stores, restaurants, nightlife, or your part-time job.

3. More Freedom

You likely started college with ideas about how much freedom and independence you would have, only to find out that living on campus can often resemble being at your parents’ house. There are many rules to follow, including periods of quiet during the lead-up to exams and perhaps even a curfew. There are far fewer rules when you live off campus — you just need to be respectful of your neighbours and keep the apartment in good condition to avoid losing your security deposit.

4. Great Amenities

College dorms are scarce in terms of amenities. For instance, you usually don’t have more than a mini fridge and a microwave. In off-campus housing, a full-size kitchen is standard. Plus, you’ll share a bathroom with far fewer people. Some buildings even have extra perks, including a gym, study areas, and lounges where you can meet other residents.

5. The Option to Have a Car

It can be difficult to have your own car when you live on campus. Often, there are no reserved spaces, which is a big problem when there’s insufficient parking for everyone. When you live off campus, you may be able to request a space on site or at least find parking nearby.

6. Privacy and Personal Space

Many students find making the adjustment to being around other people almost all the time quite exhausting. Plus, your personal space is extremely limited. Moving off campus will allow you to maintain an active social life, but you can also spend time alone whenever you choose.

7. Stay Over the Summer

It may be more convenient to continue living in your college town over the summer, such as if you want to take summer classes, continue working, or find an internship nearby. You’ll likely need to find off-campus housing if you want to do any of these things, as dorms tend to shut for the summer. In fact, even if you want to spend all or some of your summer at your parents’ home, it will be more comfortable to leave most of your belongings behind to avoid another big move in the fall.

You can find Niagara College student housing at Foundry Lofts. Receive your own bedroom in a spacious suite equipped with stainless steel appliances. In addition, you’ll have access to exclusive amenities, including fitness facilities, a games room, and a movie theatre. Sign a lease now to take advantage of the lowest rates of the year.

How Much Will You Need to Spend on College Supplies?

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To work out a budget for your time at college, you need to know how much you’re likely to spend on supplies. Whereas this depends on a variety of factors, including where you’ll be studying, your major, and where you purchase supplies, it is possible to make a reasonably accurate estimate.

What Supplies Will You Need?

Tuition accounts for around one-third of college-related costs, housing about 40 percent, and food about 15 percent. After this, your biggest expense is likely to be course materials. The supplies you’ll need include textbooks, lab books, notebooks, and stationery. Depending on what classes you take, you may also need things like a calculator, art supplies, and specialist software — you can find out what expenses you’ll incur by reading more about your class requirements. All this adds up to an average of about $800 per year.

However, costs do vary quite considerably for students taking different majors. Typically, though, the most expensive majors in terms of course materials are business, criminology, and psychology. In contrast, the least expensive majors are computer science, math, and music.

Other Expenses

Many college students already have a laptop when they start classes. If you don’t (or if your laptop lacks the capabilities you need for your classes), this will be another expense. You can purchase a basic laptop for a few hundred dollars, but if you need a particular model, you may need to spend up to a couple thousand dollars.

How to Reduce Costs

Whatever supplies you need, there are strategies you can use to reduce costs.

Buy Second Hand

Usually, there’s no need to buy new books. Since students who have completed a class often have no more use for their books, there tend to be many second-hand course materials available for purchase at the end of the semester. As well as buying from students at your college, you can find used books for sale online.

Rent Your Books

An alternative to purchasing books is to rent them. Just make sure you won’t need to refer to a book later and that you can keep it in good condition.

Use Your College Computer Lab

If you’re struggling to afford a laptop, software, or tech equipment, you may be able to find what you need at your college computer lab. Often, the equipment is available to use 24 hours a day.

Avoid Wasting Supplies

Prevent the need to purchase all new stationery and notebooks each year by keeping everything organized. If you need to move out of your housing at the end of the year, pack up your supplies to reuse them instead of throwing them out.

Pick Up Items from Free Bins

It’s common for colleges to set up free bins at the end of the year. Here, students can dispose of items like stationery and clothing that others may want.

You’ll also spend less if you live in off-campus housing rather than in a dorm. An alternative to Niagara College residence is Foundry Lofts. We have four- and five-bedroom suites available, both furnished and unfurnished. Book an in-person or virtual tour to check out the facilities.

Should You Take Night Classes?

By News

While night classes are most popular with students who also have a full-time job, they’re actually open to everyone. Whether there’s a class you’d like to take that’s happening at night, you’re considering taking night classes just for the experience, or you’d like to free up some time during the day, it’s important to know the pros and cons before coming to a decision.

Pro: Hear Different Perspectives

Since it’s mainly mature students who take night classes, you’ll hear completely different viewpoints. This can lead to engaging discussions in the classroom and can enrich group projects. Since some students may already have jobs in a related field, you’ll also gain insights into what it’s like to work in particular industries.

Con: A Restricted Social Life

Mature students and others working full time will often be less available to socialize. Plus, your classes may take place at the same time as other activities on campus, meaning you could miss out on some other opportunities.

Pro: Free Up Your Schedule

When taking classes at night, it’s up to you how to use your time during the day. It can be particularly useful to study: doing homework right before a night class can be helpful for remembering more details, meaning you’ll be able to participate more in class. It can also be useful for reminding you that you need to ask the professor any questions you may have. Alternatively, night classes could increase your availability for shifts, which will mean you’re able to work more hours and increase your income.

Con: Reduced Access to Campus Services

Services like the financial aid office, careers services, writing centre, and perhaps even dining and the campus library may only be open during the day. If you’re taking night classes to be able to work, you may need to request time off to access these services.

Pro: Expand Your Network

You’re likely to meet students at night classes whom you would otherwise never have met. This is great for developing a network of people who could be useful contacts after you graduate. In addition, you’ll often find that adjunct professors are teaching night classes. They often come from more diverse backgrounds than tenured professors and may have more real-world experience.

Con: Long Hours

Combining night classes with morning and afternoon classes can lead to long days. You’ll need to be disciplined enough to ensure you use your time between classes productively and avoid distractions like social media. If you want to take just night classes for the chance to work during the day, you may find that you become exhausted, which will make it more difficult to concentrate in class.

If you do decide to take night classes, it will be extra important to live near campus. For Brock off-campus living, there’s Foundry Lofts. At just one kilometre from campus, it’s a 10-minute walk, six minutes by bike, and three minutes by bus. Plus, you’ll have a range of great amenities on site, including a fitness centre, study lounge, and in-suite washer and dryer. Apply now to secure a unit for next semester.

What to Look For in a Summer Internship

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All sorts of companies offer students the chance to take summer internships. If you know exactly what you’d like to do after you graduate or what company you’d like to work for, it may be obvious what type of internship is right for you. However, if you’re still exploring your options, it can be particularly difficult to know what to look for. Whatever your goals, there are certain characteristics you should always search for in an internship.

1. Something That Will Strengthen Your Resume

Think about what kind of internship you would like to be able to list on your resume when applying for jobs and talking to potential employers at a careers fair. The experience should gain you relevant skills that mean you’re better qualified for the kind of position you want after you graduate.

2. The Chance to Explore Your Options

Depending on how well defined your career goals are, you may like to find an internship in a particular role or just in a certain industry. You may like to search for something that resembles your dream job or discover one of several possibilities for after you graduate. Whatever you pick, make sure your internship gives you plenty of opportunities to work on real projects and gives you a taste of what it would be like to work permanently in a similar position.

3. Great Contacts

Internships can sometimes lead to full-time jobs in the organization after you graduate. However, even if you decide to look elsewhere for work, the internship should provide you with useful contacts in the industry. These people may be able to recommend you other opportunities, provide you with references, or even become your mentors. To gain the most valuable contacts possible, search for internships where you’ll be in direct contact with executives at the company.

4. An Enjoyable Experience

Ideally, you’ll enjoy your internship. The type of work you’ll be doing will have a big impact, but you should also search for an organization that has a positive work culture where other people enjoy their jobs. This can have benefits beyond providing you with a great experience over the summer: it will also show you what the world of work can be like and help you make better decisions about what you’re willing to settle for later in life.

5. Work You Care About

The internship will be more meaningful to you — and look more impressive when you’re applying for jobs — if you work on projects that have an impact in the real world. Often, the best way to find out what the internship is likely to involve is to research what work interns did in previous years.

A final consideration is where you’ll live during your summer internship. Many students choose to stay near their university and find an apartment where they can continue to live when the fall semester starts. For Brock University off-campus housing, there’s Foundry Lofts. You’ll be able to stay connected with WiFi throughout the building, relax in your private bedroom in your spacious suite, and meet other students in places like the TV lounge, game room, and movie theatre. Apply now while there are still a few places left.

12 Quick & Easy Gifts for Your Friends’ Graduation

By News

If some of your friends will be graduating soon, you need to start thinking about gifts. You want something special, but you also need to stay within your budget — especially if several friends will be graduating at the same time. The good news is you have plenty of options for gifts you can pick up easily for a decent price.

1. A Candle

A scented candle is great as a personalized gift, as you can choose different fragrances for each friend according to their preferences. Your friends will be able to burn the candles when they move into their new homes — and think of you.

2. A Mirror

Another option that doubles up well as a housewarming present is a mirror. Mirrors are less expensive than other decor, and you can find ones with trendy frames or in interesting shapes to suit your friends’ tastes.

3. A Planner

For friends who need to improve their organizational skills, there’s no better gift than a planner. They can also use the planner to make a note of the goals they want to achieve after graduating.

4. Hydrating Masks

Encourage your friends to take some time to relax after all that hard work by gifting them a couple hydrating face masks. This could be just what they need to feel prepared for an interview or the first day at a new job.

5. A Long-Lasting Tote Bag

Most tote bags are not made to last: you use them a few times and they start to tear or look tattered. One that’s both durable and stylish makes a great gift.

6. A Photo Album

Give your friends somewhere to store memories of their time at university with a photo album. You could even start the album with a few polaroids or prints of your own.

7. A Journal

If you have friends who love to journal — or would like to start — gift them an attractive notebook where they can jot down their thoughts. This will feel much more special than using a spiral notebook.

8. Sunglasses

You can never have too many shades! Pick out some that will allow your friends to graduate in style.

9. A Desk Organizer

Any friend who will be working a desk job can benefit from an organizer. It’s ideal for keeping clutter in check.

10. A Personalized Mug

Mugs are inexpensive and can make totally unique gifts. Find a service that allows you to print your own design and choose something different for each friend. For instance, you could use an inside joke, a few words of motivation, or a favourite photo from your time at university.

11. A Coffee Tumbler

For friends who need to drink their coffee on the go, a tumbler could be a better option than a mug. Search for a tumbler with a meaningful design, such as something related to the city where you’re studying or perhaps your university logo.

12. A Graduation Card

If you’re particularly strapped for cash and you have a large number of friends you want to congratulate, a card could be enough. Spend one weekend creating handmade cards for each friend or order some funny cards.
Another way to save money while you’re at university is to move into off-campus student housing. St. Catharines students have Foundry Lofts. Our apartments provide you with a comfortable place to live in a great location at an affordable price. Sign a lease now to secure our lowest rates.

Simple Student Decorating Ideas to Try

By News

When you move into your new student apartment, it can take a while for the space to feel like it’s your own. This is especially likely to be the case if you’ve lived in the same house with your family for several years and had the chance to accumulate many things that express your personality. To start feeling at home at university sooner, try some of these simple decorating tips.

1. A Peg Board

If you find that your desk quickly becomes cluttered, a peg board may be a better alternative than shelves. You can hang up all sorts of small items within easy reach — it’s convenient and it adds to the aesthetics of your room.

2. Fairy Lights

Create ambience without making your room too bright with fairy lights. These are ideal to use with a desk lamp while studying, or on their own when you want to relax, listen to music, or hang out with friends.

3. LED Strips

You may prefer to use LED strips instead of fairy lights. They come in various colours as well as white and produce a completely different effect. For the best results, install them around the edge of a board.

4. A Star Projector

One more option for lighting is to set up a star projector. This is particularly ideal for your bedroom, as it will help you relax in the evening and fall asleep more easily.

5. Posters

Bare walls always look boring. Posters are an inexpensive way to display your interests and add some colour. You could find posters of your favourite albums, movies, or TV shows or even just with a design you like.

6. An Area Rug

Keep the floor warm and make it more visually appealing with an area rug. As long as the rug complements the rest of your decor reasonably well, you can use this as a chance to be adventurous: go bright, fluffy, or contemporary.

7. A Tapestry

You can be even more vibrant than with a rug by hanging a tapestry on your wall. Find a design you love and instantly transform the room.

8. Indoor Plants

Freshen the air in your apartment with a few indoor plants. It’s best to find some low-maintenance plants that will be easy to keep alive, especially if you’ve never cared for plants before.

9. Thrift Store Decor

Pick up some unique items for your apartment by checking out local thrift stores and garage sales. This is great for giving the space a vintage theme.

10. Photo Collages

Print out some of your best photos and stick them together as a collage. You may like to use pictures of friends from high school, hobbies, pets, or something else that reminds you of home.

Of course, you’ll only be able to make your apartment inviting if you find comfortable student housing in the first place. Living on campus means sharing a cramped space you can barely call your own — a better option is to find a student rental. St. Catharine’s students have Foundry Lofts, which has several types of furnished and unfurnished suites to choose from. Contact us now for a lease before all the units are taken.