Affordable Places to Shop During College

Conestoga College - Jasmine Marinelli
Jasmine – 1st year Public Relations student at Conestoga College

College comes with lots of positives but it can become expensive. Especially when you have to start paying for books, car insurance, phone bills, tuition as well as basic necessities. However, there are a few stores I know, that have helped me save a lot of money during my first year at Conestoga.

Plato’s Closet I’m a clothes gal, I obsess over clothes and have a huge wardrobe that consists of clothes I hardly wear. That’s a “me” problem, but I’m sure a lot of you like fashion. Going to the mall can be super expensive. Instead of going to the mall now, I occasionally shop at Plato’s Closet.

Plato’s Closet is a barely used clothing store that consists of the styles that are most popular. You can buy brand name jeans, t-shirts, purses, shoes, jewelry, accessories and even perfume and makeup for 50%-70% off! The best thing about Plato’s Closet is that you can sell your clothes to them as well! Plato’s is super affordable and won’t burn a hole in your wallet… unless you let it.

Wal-Mart – Honestly, what store is more affordable than Wal-Mart? I bet you can’t really think of one, because I know I can’t. You can buy anything and everything at Wal-Mart. But I shop for specific things at Wal-Mart. Mostly beauty products, writing utensils, snacks and necessities for my room (hangers, laundry baskets, picture frames). Wal-Mart’s prices are unreal, and you get to price match as well.

Beauty products like makeup, soap, shampoo/conditioner and facial cleansers are far cheaper than if you were to go to other stores. There are sales that go on weekly that can save you a bunch of money. As for writing utensils and school necessities, I buy all of mine here. Pen’s, paper and binders are what I have recently purchased from Wal-Mart, and they did not break my bank account. So, I definitely suggest taking a look around Wal-Mart if you’re someone that enjoys deals.

Dollarama – Dollarama is the most affordable store on this list. A dollar for a pack of six pens… and yes, they do last longer than a few weeks. Just because things are a dollar, doesn’t mean they are terrible quality. I mean, they aren’t the best quality but they do the job well. I probably visit Dollarama once every two weeks. You can’t get more affordable than a dollar to two dollars for items.

At Dollarama normally I get hair elastics, white board markers (for my Conestoga calendar), snacks, containers to hold my makeup brushes, cards, sticky notes, dog treats… really anything! Dollarama has anything you want to buy there for clearly a super cheap price. What’s also pretty cool about Dollarama is that you see items that you don’t even see in a regular department store. If you’re working on a project, or presentation I definitely suggest going to Dollarama. They have all the project tools you might be looking for, as well as coloured cue cards – which I am obsessed with. So, I definitely suggest shopping there if you want to stay within your budget, and shop for affordable school necessities.

There are probably many other stores that are super affordable for students in college. However, these are just one’s that I catch myself at. Especially when my bank account is not where it should be, and I have crazy expenses that have to be paid. Take a look at these stores and tell me what YOU think!

By: Jasmine Marinelli

How to Prevent Gaining the “Freshman 15”

Conestoga College - Jasmine Marinelli
Jasmine – 1st year Public Relations student at Conestoga College, documenting her 1st year at college

Before we begin, I just wanted to tell you that, a little bit of weight gain is not bad. People consider the Freshman 15 to be a turning point. Just a little bit of stress eating, and having too much fun might cause some weight gain. However, there are many other reasons you could start gaining weight in college. But, we are going to be talking about how to prevent it.

College is really stressful, especially your first year since everything is fairly new. However, your first year is a lot of fun… especially when there are dorm parties on the weekend, and if you’re of age there are bars to go to. It’s really easy to get off track and start ignoring your health. However, there are so many ways to prevent you from gaining the weight.

I am a victim of the Freshman 15, so my advice would be good to listen to haha.

Drink Water. Water is great for you, there is really nothing better. Water boosts your metabolism and cleanses your body of waste. Water is not only good for helping to lose weight, it is also good for many other things, such as: improving skin complexion, reducing acne, preventing cramps, boosting your immune system and relieving fatigue.

The average person should consume at least 8 glasses per day. So, bring a water bottle to school, there are many water stations around the college so you can fill up there. You can actually can get a water bottle at the dollar store that is big enough to contain 8 cups. Water will definitely help prevent weight increase, especially if you drink enough of it every day.

Eat Healthy. This is one of the most important things to do, and will do wonders for reducing the risk of the Freshman 15. Don’t get me wrong a Big Mac is a wonderful dinner, chips and ice cream taste delicious with a 2,000 word essay. But, they are obviously not good for your body. If you make poor eating choices, your body will start to suffer. Stress eating is one of the main weight gain. If eating helps you stop stressing then try changing what you eat into something healthier.

There are lots of great choices in our café, but some might not be the healthiest (Smokes Poutinerie, Pizza Pizza), if you’re looking for something healthy try Subway, or the stir fry station. Unhealthy food tastes good, if it didn’t no one would eat it. But unhealthy food is not good for you, so if you’re worried about the Freshman 15, don’t eat unhealthy.

Leave Some Room for Exercising. Another basic prevention of gaining weight is exercising. There are many ways to exercise and Conestoga gives you lots of options to help do so. The Rec Centre is a great place to exercise. There is a gym upstairs, as well as a track. You can also go to Zumba and fitness classes to help you exercise. If the gym isn’t your thing then go for a walk or a jog outside, maybe even once a day. This will help burn a few calories and help you lose weight. If you start to plan your walks/runs and make it into a routine you will become healthier, and your body will definitely be happy.

The Freshman 15 is not something everyone has to worry about nor is it a bad thing, like I stated. But your health is something that should be monitored. Being healthy is great, and feeling good about yourself is great as well. You don’t need to necessarily take my advice but the Freshman 15 is out there, so let’s prevent him from making you his next target.

By: Jasmine Marinelli

5 Apps Every College Student Needs to Have


Throughout my past couple of months in college I have used a lot of apps to help me during the semester. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are 5 important apps that every student at Conestoga should have on their smartphone.

The first one is:

  1. Twitter

Twitter is definitely an app that I suggest every College student should have. Conestoga has great twitter accounts that update you on what’s going on around school, potential opportunities and events. More specifically the Twitter handles I find the most useful are: @ThinkConestoga @ConestogaC and @CStudentsInc. I also use Twitter to connect with people in my class, send tweets directly to them, use it as a reference and for my own personal entertainment. You can follow non-school related accounts as well, such as your favourite celebrities, handles that tweet things about your interests, funny gif accounts etc. Overall Twitter is a great app.

  1. Apple Music /Spotify

If you’re looking for unlimited music of any kind I strongly suggest investing in an Apple Music or Spotify. Both apps are essential for those who like to listen to music and study. They are also well priced because we get student discounts! Instead of $10/month we can get it for $5/month. On Apple Music and Spotify you can download any genre of music that you’d like to listen to. If you don’t know what you’d like to listen to but are in some type of mood; both apps give you playlists with songs specifically for your mood. So, if you’re feeling happy, you can go through the “happy” playlist and listen to songs that match your mood.

  1. Facebook

Trust me, I know what you’re thinking… Who uses Facebook anymore? It may not be someone’s number one app to go onto but I have found it to be very useful during college. I use Facebook for a variety of things. I specifically use Facebook as a way to connect with people in my program. We have our own BPR Facebook group that allows each of us to get in contact with one another. I also have used Facebook to join the Conestoga ‘just accepted’ page so that I can see updates and important events posted on there. When it was the beginning of the semester and I didn’t want to pay a lot of money for books I joined a Conestoga’s used book page and bought a couple textbooks from upper year students to save money. Facebook is one of my go-to apps and definitely one I recommend to any college student.

  1. GasBuddy

Let’s talk about gas… Gas is getting so expensive I can hardly afford it. I have a Costco membership but I don’t always have the time to take a trip to their gas station. Trying to find good deals is hard because you never know which gas station is cheaper. I use the app GasBuddy to help me find the best deals on gas. It automatically tracks your location and tells you the best prices for gas that are closest to you. You can also report prices and write reviews on gas stations to earn points for the app. Once you’ve earned enough points you’re able to enter yourself in draws to win $100 in gas! After finding out about GasBuddy I never get ripped off on gas prices.

  1. Tim Hortons

Keeping this short and sweet. The Tim Hortons mobile app is something you need in your life if you go to Conestoga. This app allows you to order your food and drinks wherever, whenever, as long as you have loaded money onto it. No more having to wait in 20-30 minute lines before class. You can basically skip the line using the mobile order, and that is super essential, especially if it’s a morning class.

How to Survive an Early Morning Class

Conestoga College - Jasmine Marinelli
Jasmine – 1st year Public Relations student at Conestoga College

The first thing you have to realize about college is your school schedule could be something you love, or something you don’t love, at all. There could be a mixture of late classes, early classes or free days! And who doesn’t like free days?

Unfortunately, you can be stuck with a bunch of early classes that clash with your sleep schedule. Believe me, I know… I have two classes this semester that run from 8am until 11am.

At first it was really hard for me to get used to waking up at 6am, preparing myself for the day, and driving to school when it is still dark out. I often forgot something at home because my alarm didn’t go off and I was late, or I wasn’t able to drink my morning coffee and was grumpy. These are all things I felt a month into first semester when I had my early Monday class. I got the hang of waking up and learning how to survive them by doing various things…

You can’t wake up early on your own, especially if you’re not used to it. Make sure you set an alarm almost two hours before your class. The reason I say two hours is because it gives you time to prepare yourself mentally, and physically for class. If you take a bit longer to get ready or if you need time to drive there, it is crucial you are up early. If you start to realize you’re a heavy sleeper and end up sleeping through your alarm. Why not add another one? Ten minutes after your first. For example, what I normally do is add five different alarm times. One at 5:45, one at 6:00, and then the rest in between 6:00 and 6:30. I have never slept through another alarm again.

Fully wake yourself up. I know getting out of your warm, soft, comfy bed is hard in the morning. Particularly, around this season because everything around you feel’s so cold. The best thing to do is get out of bed and quickly run to the shower. A nice hot shower will immediately wake you up. If that is something that doesn’t wake you up then try music. Have your stereo on in your room, and listen to some upbeat pop, or hip hop to help get your day started. Lastly, if you’re a coffee person like I am, and absolutely need it to help you feel alive and awake. Make yourself a coffee, and if you woke up and have some time to spare… take a trip to Conestoga’s on-site Tim Hortons! There’s nothing a good coffee can’t fix.

Lastly, prepare yourself. This is applied to many different, situations because preparing yourself benefits you in many different ways. Make sure you pack your bag the night before, print off any papers that are needed the night before and finish up any last minute homework. You don’t want to feel rushed in the morning especially that early. So, preparing yourself the night before will help alleviate any feeling of being rushed. Partially because you know that you completed everything you needed to the night before.  Feeling rushed can lead to all sorts of things… the most common thing is forgetting something important. Now that is something you don’t want to do, because then it adds stress and unnecessary actions can take place after (driving all the way home to get that one thing you forgot, showing up to class without it, being late, stress).

I can proudly say that I’m able to survive a morning class, without stress and being tired. If you follow these steps and create a routine for yourself you will be able to as well. Good Luck!

By: Jasmine Marinelli




5 Pieces of Advice for New Students at Conestoga

Conestoga College - Jasmine Marinelli
Jasmine – 1st year Public Relations student at Conestoga College

Congratulations! Welcome to Conestoga College! You must be really excited… I know I was when I started in September ’17.

I know exactly how it feels stepping into your class for the first time, sitting beside someone you don’t know, preparing yourself for class to start. Don’t fret, Conestoga is the school for you; why else did you choose it?

Let me tell you, it’s okay to be nervous your first day. I learned that it’s every new student’s first day, so you’re never alone. It’s intimidating having a bunch of upper year student’s roaming around the halls, talking to their friends, and looking like they know exactly what they’re doing

The first piece of advice I’m going to give you is breathe. Take a few deep breaths and just relax. Like I said you’re in the same boat as everyone else, you are not alone. Regardless how long your class is you’ll start to warm up to it and things will feel more comfortable. Once you tackle your first classes your second classes will be much easier.

The second piece of advice I will give you is to: ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Especially when it comes to navigating around the college. If you don’t know where your class is use the upper year students as an advantage. They most likely will be able to guide you in the right direction. There are also many open services around campus that can also help you out with whatever you need.

The third piece of advice I’m going to give you is: pay attention. Any of your professors for your first classes will give you an introduction to the course, and introduce themselves during that period. You will be given your instructional plan, specific and important due dates so you have to make sure you record them in an agenda, on your phone, or whatever works best for you to remember. Paying attention is key because you wouldn’t want to come unprepared for your next class.

The fourth piece of advice I’m going to give you is: talk to fellow classmates. It’s always nice to get to know the other people in your classes. Exchange numbers or social media handles so you can get in touch with them outside of just school. Talking to people is the first step to making friends. Friends make college even more fun especially if they are in some of your classes. It’s never a bad thing to make conversation with others.

The last and final fifth piece of advice I’m going to give you is: make a good first impression. This is an important piece of advice. If it’s your first time attending a class that means there are a set of first impressions you have to make. How you can make a good first impression is, arriving to class 5-10 minutes early, put your phone away, mentally and physically prepare yourself, be awake and alert, and make sure you have all the tools needed for your first class.

It’s scary stepping into a new school. It’s like a whole new world for you and believe me, I’ve been there, done that and survived it all. I have faith that you can do. You’re a condor now, set goals and explore new opportunities. You got this.

Welcome Condor!

By: Jasmine Marinelli


Looking Back at 2017: My First Semester at Conestoga College

Conestoga College - Jasmine Marinelli
Jasmine – 1st year Public Relations student at Conestoga College

It’s sad having to say goodbye to 2017, but exciting to start a new one. Saying goodbye to all of the memories is hard, whether they were good or bad, will be hard. But I can finally say, that I have survived my very first semester of college. No, it wasn’t the easiest, but it was a great experience.

In September I was scared to be honest, excited but scared. It was like I was at the top in grade 12 at my school, familiar with everything, in my prime and then I had to start all over again. I felt like I was the new kid in school, the niner, starting from the beginning. Not knowing where my classes were, being late because I was lost, parking in the furthest parking lot that wasn’t even my assigned parking lot… nevertheless September was a stepping stone for where I am now.

Now, I can proudly say that the blue parking lot is my designated one. I’m always five minutes early to my classes, and I don’t have to read off my schedule to find them. Yay for not being a college dummy anymore! I made lots of friends in my program throughout September, some that will be staying with me for the next four years of my life… and counting.

I joined the school’s soccer team and made even more friends. Being involved in an extra-curricular activity was one of the reasons why I enjoyed my first semester so much. Without being on the team I wouldn’t have met so many new people that play a huge role in my life now. Playing soccer helped me learn how to balance my time efficiently, and juggle all of the new things that have starting to begin in my life. Our 2017 Conestoga women’s soccer team won five games in our season, which hasn’t happened in twelve years. Now that is something I am very proud to be apart of.

At the beginning of the semester I was not accustomed to the heavy workload that was being thrown at me. Especially the difference of high school marking and college marking. I started off receiving marks in the low seventies – which is not something I was used to. But as I started to get familiar with my courses, my marks started to improve and I started to feel more motivated to get better grades. There were countless all-nighters, cramming assignments in, and lots of stress but I can still say it was a great year for academics; and I am finishing off the year with an eighty average – which was my goal.

My schedule from first semester is probably the best schedule I have had for school. Partially because I had Friday’s off. It was nice being able to have an extra day to add to my work schedule. However, I used Friday mornings to my advantage and was able to get a lot of my assignments handed in early, and my homework finished all in one day. I finally learned how to stop procrastinating and get my work done in 2017. It may not be a huge accomplishment to you guys reading but boy was that something I have never been good at.

First semester was a wild ride. It was filled with many ups and downs, memorable experiences and many opportunities to better myself in 2018. My progression from September to now is very visible. I am not the same unexperienced college girl I was in September… I am now a semi-experienced college girl who is ready to tackle on my second semester of college.

I’m truly excited to see what 2018 has in store for me, and I’m going to make sure it is my best year yet.

By: Jasmine Marinelli