7 Kitchen Tips for Cooking at University

At university, you may have limited time, equipment, and funds to prepare meals, but you still need to keep your diet balanced and your tastebuds interested. Here are a few things you can do to improve your meals, even in the face of these limitations.

1. Use Your Coffee Maker for More Than Just Coffee

Whenever you need boiling water, turn to your coffee maker. You can prepare the carafe to prepare the classic ramen as well as oatmeal, rice, boiled eggs, vegetables, and much more. You can also reheat meat, fish, and other items on the bottom plate by wrapping foods in aluminum foil.

2. Save Some Ramen Flavouring for Other Meals

Every time you cook ramen, save a little of the flavouring packet. Just around an eighth of a teaspoon is enough to season dishes like pasta and eggs.

3. Toast Dry Ramen to Replace Crackers

One more way college students can use ramen is to fry the dry noodles on the stove. This can be a good substitute for crackers. Make your ramen crackers more interesting by adding some seasonings or sauces.

4. Allow Toasted Sandwiches to Cool Down Before Packing

A toasted sandwich can be the perfect meal to eat on the go, but if the bread becomes soggy, it’s quite unpleasant to eat. The solution is to allow your sandwich to cool down a bit before you put it in a sealed container. Otherwise, the steam will build up inside the container and then condensate into water when it touches the surfaces. The bread absorbs the water and turns soggy. If your toasted sandwich is cool when you pack it, however, you’ll avoid this problem entirely.

5. Substitute Butter and Oil with Mayonnaise

If you have something you want to fry but you’ve run out of butter and oil, turn to mayonnaise. It has enough grease that the food won’t stick to the pan and it adds some flavour.

6. Save Your Orange Peel

There are various ways you can use orange peel, rather than just throwing it out. For instance, you can make fruity tea by boiling orange peel in water for about two minutes. Sweeten the beverage with honey or sugar and add some spices to give it some extra flavour.

Another option is to use orange peel (or any citrus fruit peel, for that matter) as a deodorizer for your garbage disposal. Do this whenever you begin to notice unpleasant smells.

7. Add Fun Patterns to Baked Goods and Desserts

You can instantly make desserts more visually interesting by adding a fun design. Add swirls and lines with objects you already have, like toothpicks and forks. This is a great idea if you’re baking a batch of cookies to share with friends.

There’s no reason to be restricted to the basic facilities you receive in dorms — you can always move into an independent apartment. A top alternative to Niagara College residence is Foundry Lofts. Our suites all have large kitchens, fitted with stainless steel appliances, where you can prepare a wide range of meals. Book a tour to see all the apartments and onsite amenities.


How to Master the Art of Writing the Perfect Cover Letter

A skill you may not learn in any of your classes is how to write the perfect cover letter. Nevertheless, it’s a skill you’ll definitely need at some point — immediately if you’re applying for part-time jobs, later during your time at college if you want an internship, or once you graduate and enter the workforce. Although your qualifications and experience are crucial, it’s your cover letter that will ultimately determine whether an employer offers you an interview. Writing one may seem intimidating, but it’s actually quite straightforward if you approach it the right way. Here are some tips to guide you.

1. Choose the Right Font

Your favourite font can give your letter a personal touch, but there’s a risk it could distract away from your message or be more difficult to read than a classic choice. If you’re unsure, go with a safe option like Times New Roman.

2. Address Your Letter Appropriately

Find out the employer’s full name — you can search on the company website, on LinkedIn, or even ask a receptionist at the company. In addition, include the company’s address to emphasize that you’ve personalized your cover letter and not just sent the same one out with multiple applications. Finally, double-check all your spelling, especially the employer’s name.

3. Begin with a Formal Salutation

Open the letter with “Dear [title] [surname].” If you’re unsure about the employer’s title, a Google search or asking someone at the company is the solution once again. It’s particularly important to ask about pronouns when someone has a gender-neutral name, as misgendering the employer will certainly ruin your chances of an interview.

4. State the Purpose of the Letter

Your first sentence should state the purpose of your cover letter, even if it’s attached to your resume. Mention what position you’re applying for and where you saw it advertised. If there’s a reference number, include that — the company may have a large number of positions open at the same time.

5. Introduce Yourself

Provide a brief introduction to mention where you’re studying, your major, and any relevant qualifications you have. The first paragraph should be a brief summary to enable your employer to decide whether to keep reading.

In subsequent paragraphs, talk about your experience and skills in more detail. Pick out some qualities from the job description and provide real examples of how you meet the requirements. Avoid just naming characteristics without providing any evidence to back up your claims.

6. Explain Why You Want the Position

Specify why you want to work at the company, such as by explaining how it will help you meet your career goals. For instance, you could talk about the company’s mission or culture — you can find this kind of information on the “About” page of the company website.

7. Include Your Contact Information

Make it as easy as possible for the employer to contact you for an interview. Mention when you’re available for an interview and include a date when you’ll reach out if you haven’t heard back.

You may be able to avoid the need for a part-time job if you cut down on some of your expenses while at college, such as by finding a more affordable apartment. For Niagara College student housing, there’s Foundry Lofts. Choose between four- and five-bedroom floor plans to suit your personal preferences and budget. Apply now to secure a room at our lowest rates.


Affordable Ways to Decorate Your Student Apartment This Holiday

It’s common to start missing home as the holidays approach. To lift your spirits, take a break from preparing for finals and decorate your student apartment. You can achieve impressive results without spending much at all. Here’s some inspiration to get you started.

1. String Up Fairy Lights

Fairy lights are ideal for creating a warm atmosphere in your apartment after dark. You can string them up in all sorts of places, including around your bed, along the walls, and on the ceiling.

2. Put Reusable Stickers on Your Windows

Reusable stickers won’t leave a mark on your windows and will give your neighbours a glimpse of your holiday decorations. If you add some to the window in your bedroom they’ll be the first thing you see when you wake up and draw the curtains.

3. Scatter Fake Snow

Just a small amount of fake snow is enough to enhance the winter theme throughout your apartment. Scatter it on windowsills and along shelves where you have other decorations.

4. Set Up a Mini Tree

A full-size, real Christmas tree may be too expensive, but an artificial mini tree could be within your budget. Set it up in the living room where it will welcome guests and collaborate with your roommates to cover it in decorations.

5. Hang Christmas Tree Balls

Simple ornaments like Christmas tree balls are inexpensive and can instantly transform your space. If you buy them in bulk, you’ll have plenty to hang on your tree as well as around your apartment.

6. Make Snowflakes

You only need paper and scissors to make snowflakes. Hang them around your apartment with string or tape them to a wall. Creating some with roommates can be a fun activity to decorate your apartment together.

7. Holiday Cards

Make a display of all the holiday cards you receive. You could purchase a card holder to hang them on the wall or set them up on the coffee table in your living room.

8. Throw Pillows

Find some throw pillows with a festive theme for your couch or bed. If you already have plenty of throw pillows, buy just the covers.

9. Block Letters

Having a set of block letters is always fun. You can use them to create a seasonal message now and change to something else later.

10. Stockings

Hang a stocking for yourself and each of your roommates in the living room. Before you leave for winter break, you may like to all drop a few treats inside each stocking for each other.

No matter how much you decorate a dorm room, it’s unlikely to ever feel like home. Now is the perfect time to think about where you would prefer to live in the new year and start searching for student rentals. St. Catharines students can find modern apartments at Foundry Lofts. Not only will you receive your own bedroom in a spacious suite, you’ll also be able to take advantage of our onsite parking, movie theatre, fitness centre, and outdoor courtyard. Apply today before all the rooms are taken.


4 Strategies for Setting Boundaries with Your Roommate

Making the adjustment to living with a roommate can be a new experience for many students. Even if you turn out to be great friends, you’ll likely have different ideas about how you expect to share your living space. To avoid stepping on each other’s toes, it’s important to set boundaries. Here are some strategies to try.

1. Avoid Doing Too Much Together

When you start university, your roommate may be the only person you know. You may like to go to events on campus together just to avoid going alone. However, as you start meeting new people — in classes, at clubs, and just around campus — it’s important to spend less time with your roommate and have your own hobbies and friends, too. Otherwise, you may end up struggling to make a wider circle of friends.

2. Decide on Rules for Guests

Discuss how comfortable you are having guests over to the apartment, including significant others. You may decide to set a limit to the number of guests and only have visitors on certain days at certain times. This will ensure the apartment is quiet enough for you to study during the rest of the week. You should also consider other implications of frequent visitors — for instance, they may use shared food and supplies and you’ll likely need to clean the apartment after any large gatherings.

Since you and your roommate may have quite different ideas about guests, you’ll need to be willing to compromise. The important thing is to arrive at a set of rules you can both agree on.

3. Talk If You’re Unhappy About Something

No roommate will ever be perfect — that’s something you’ll just have to accept. However, if your roommate is crossing boundaries, you need to address the issue as soon as possible. Expecting your roommate to just know you’re annoyed is unlikely to change anything and will only lead to resentment. For example, if your roommate is breaking any rules you set together, not doing a fair share of the chores, or being too loud when you’re trying to sleep, talk about it and figure out how you can come to some sort of resolution.

4. Own Up to Your Mistakes

It’s just as likely you’ll annoy your roommate as it is that your roommate will annoy you. When you make a mistake, own up to it, apologize, and commit to doing better next time. Being mature will develop trust and mean your roommate is much more likely to yield to your requests.

You can avoid many problems with roommates by having your own bedroom. As this is rarely an option on campus, you’ll need to search for an independent apartment. Foundry Lofts offers Brock off-campus living for students who want to experience having roommates without the discomfort of sharing all their personal space. Our apartments have four or five bedrooms, two bathrooms, and large communal living areas. You’ll also be able to meet more students in the games room, movie theatre, fireside lounge, and fitness centre. Apply now to secure a lease.


4 Challenges Students Face When Writing Papers & How to Overcome Them

You may feel like you’re the only one struggling when you see your peers handing in assignments early, never requesting extensions, and taking paper writing in their stride. The truth is, though, that many students find writing papers to be one of the most difficult aspects of college. In particular, there are a few challenges that can make finishing a paper a nightmare — but the good news is there are ways to overcome all of them.

1. Poor Time Management

When a professor assigns you a paper, it’s common to underestimate how much time you’ll need to write it. If you’ve been attending all your classes and studying hard, the question may seem quite straightforward. As a result, you may put off getting started to spend more time with your friends or to attend events on campus.

However, once you sit down to write the paper, it’s likely you’ll find it takes significantly more time than you were expecting. This can easily lead to disaster. Luckily, there’s an easy fix: start working on your paper almost immediately. There’s no disadvantage to finishing early, and the end result will be much better.

2. Writer’s Block

Of course, you could start working on the assignment when you have plenty of time to spare only to find that you’re unable to think of anything to say. This tends to happen when you’re overthinking the paper — it becomes this huge, important thing in your mind, whereas it’s actually just one more college assignment. Reminding yourself that it’s not such a big deal can help. If the due date is still far in the future, you can afford to just jot down some ideas for now. You may be pleasantly surprised to find these ideas quickly become fully formed and you make decent progress almost immediately.

3. A Lack of Literature

Another issue may be that you’re struggling to find literature from credible sources to support your arguments or to provide the facts and statistics you need. Improving your time management can help with this: by starting early, you’ll be able to spend longer searching for appropriate literature. If you remain stuck, remember that the librarians on campus are there to help you. It may be that you’re not using the right keywords or you’re dismissing something that would meet your needs. Whatever the problem, a librarian can help.

4. Drifting from the Question

It’s easy to become distracted by an interesting fact or idea you encounter while researching your paper and end up taking the assignment in a completely new direction. However, if you fail to answer the question, your grade will suffer. This is especially likely to happen when you’re new to writing long papers — you’ll learn how to stay on track as you gain more experience. For now, though, the best way to overcome this challenge is to regularly return to the question and think about whether what you’re writing is relevant.

Possibly the most important factor when it comes to writing papers is having somewhere quiet where you can work undisturbed. You can find just what you’re looking for at Foundry Lofts. Our alternative to Niagara College residence provides you with a private bedroom in a fully-furnished apartment with just three or four roommates. If you need a change of scenery, you can also head to one of our private study spaces. Book a tour to check out all the great facilities.


How to Become a Better Negotiator

One thing you may not learn at university is how to negotiate. However, this is a skill that is often crucial throughout life, particularly when you enter the workforce. For instance, you may need to negotiate to gain good terms of employment or your job could involve negotiating with clients or vendors. Negotiating skills may also come in useful now, such as if you want to secure a better deal on a purchase or snag an interesting role on a group project at university. Learn how to negotiate better by following these tips.

1. Prepare in Advance

Whenever you know you’re going to be in a situation where you’ll need to negotiate, come up with a strategy ahead of time. Determine what outcome you’re hoping to achieve, where you’d be willing to compromise, and how you’ll make your case. Finally, consider how the other person could answer and how you, in turn, will respond.

2. Figure Out Alternatives

Think about what you’ll do if the other person denies your request. You should have ideas for alternatives you can ask for instead. Another option could be to find what you want from another source.

3. Take Things Slowly

When you’re anxious, it’s normal to rush through a negotiation — but this is unlikely to lead to a good outcome. Instead, deliver your argument calmly, take the time to listen to the response, and, if you don’t receive the answer you wanted, give yourself time to consider any counteroffer.

4. Value Yourself

It’s impossible to negotiate well if you lack self-confidence. Believe in yourself: if what you’re asking for is reasonable, you should feel that you deserve what you’re requesting. In fact, you may like to start the negotiation by asking for slightly more than you think you deserve — just in case the other person values you more highly than you do yourself!

5. Make the Deal Worthwhile

Instead of simply asking for what you want, explain why the deal would be beneficial to the other person. If you’re unsure about what you could offer in return, ask.

6. Accept a Refusal Graciously

If the person you’re negotiating with refuses your request and has nothing you’re willing to accept as an alternative, you may need to concede that what you want is not going to be possible. When it’s clear that this is the case, the best thing to do is move on — begging and pleading will only lead to resentment. Learn from the experience and consider how you could approach a similar negotiation in the future differently to see better results.

One occasion when students often feel the need to negotiate is securing a lease on rooms for rent. St Catharines students, however, are in luck — you can find affordable housing at Foundry Lofts. Our leases are all inclusive, meaning the rent covers furnishings, utilities, and internet. Plus, we have a wide range of excellent amenities to sweeten the deal, including a movie theatre, onsite parking, a fitness centre, and an outdoor courtyard. Book your tour now.