How to Handle a Prolonged Absence at University

It may be necessary to take a prolonged absence from university if you suffer from illness, the stresses of your personal or family life mean it makes sense to take a break, or you need to spend some time working to pay for your education. University is more flexible than grade school, allowing you to take off even several semesters and return later. However, there are still a few things you need to do to ensure your absence has no negative consequences on your academics.

1. Keep Your University Informed

As soon as you know you’ll be absent for several weeks or more, inform your university. You may need to complete paperwork to stay enrolled on your program and keep the credit you’ve already earned. It’s also worth talking to an academic advisor about how your absence will impact you in the long term.

2. Find Out if You Can Take Online Classes

If you’re unable physically to attend university but you still have the capacity to study, you may be able to continue your education by taking online classes. Many universities are now taking a hybrid approach to learning, meaning that some of the classes required for your program could be available to take online. This could prevent you from failing further behind than necessary.

If studying online is not a possibility at your university, you may be able to take classes at another institution and transfer the credit. Just make sure you contact your university to check before you sign up for anything.

3. Stay in Touch with Classmates

Maintaining social relationships can help you feel connected to your university and make it easier to return after your absence. As well as staying in touch with the friends you already have, you could find out if there are any virtual study groups for the online classes you’re taking.

4. Reach Out for Support

It can be difficult to come to terms with being away from university for a long time, especially when your absence is due to circumstances out of your control. To cope through this period, it’s important to receive the support you need, such as counselling. Some students find it useful to join group programs with other people who are on a leave of absence. You should also focus on your self-care: make sure you sleep enough, eat a healthy diet, and continue with your hobbies.

5. Know When You’re Ready to Return

To make sure your return to university is permanent, it’s crucial that you only return when you’re ready. If you’re unsure, it may be worth writing a list of pros and cons. As you do, assess any emotional, financial, physical, and other factors in your decision. You could also come up with some indicators tailored to your situation that will tell you when you’re prepared to return.

When you do decide to return to university, you’ll need to find somewhere to live. Foundry Princess offers Queen’s University off-campus housing in a welcoming student community. With great features like private bedrooms, study rooms, and high-speed internet, you’ll find it much easier to catch up. Plus, when you need a break, you can head to our onsite fitness centre, BBQ courtyard, or outdoor swimming pool. Secure your spot while there are still units available.


6 of the Most Unconventional Majors to Consider

Choosing an unconventional major is a great option if none of the more traditional majors grab you. Plus, this can open up career possibilities you never even imagined. Many universities are expanding their offerings and now have at least a few unconventional choices to prepare students for a more diverse mix of employment options in the modern world of work. Here are a few to options to consider.

1. Astrobiology

You could be at the forefront of discovering life elsewhere in the universe if you choose to major in astrobiology. Learn about how life arose and evolved on Earth and how it could occur elsewhere. You’ll also consider how life can survive in other environments, often by using examples of organisms that have adapted to difficult conditions. This major is a top choice if you’re struggling to choose between astronomy and biology, as it will give you a balance of both.

2. Cultural Studies

If several liberal arts majors appeal to you, something interdisciplinary could be ideal. One great option is cultural studies, which will allow you to explore areas like race, ethnicity, gender, and class. There tends to be a focus on marginalized communities and groups, although it’s up to you where exactly you take this major — you can easily tailor it to your own interests and goals.

3. Adventure Education

Turn your passion for adventure sports into a college education by majoring in adventure education. You’ll be prepared to work with children and adults in a variety of settings as a leader and educator. The program itself will require you to go out into the wilderness and practise some of your favourite sports and activities. There will also be some classroom learning where you cover survival and technical skills and learn how to instruct participants while keeping everything fun.

4. Fermentation Sciences

Instead of majoring in chemistry, consider a degree in fermentation sciences. You’ll gain critical skills that allow you to find work in any fermentation-related industries, including breweries, distilleries, and the dairy sector. As well as the science behind fermentation, you’ll learn about sustainability, business practices, and biotechnology. This is also a great major to choose if you’re interested in continuing your education to a master’s or PhD program.

5. Comic Art

An unconventional way to study an artistic major is with comic art. You’ll improve your drawing skills and learn how to tell an effective story in a comic medium. Programs usually require you to take classes in publishing and electronic media as well, which will ensure you’ll be prepared to work as a comic book artist or cartoonist after you graduate.

6. Entertainment Engineering

There are many types of engineering majors to choose from, but one you may not have considered is entertainment engineering. You’ll start by taking regular engineering courses and then specialize in creating designs and building machines, structures, and systems for entertainment purposes. You may be able to specialize in an area like robotics, acoustics, or live entertainment.

Just because your major is unconventional doesn’t mean you won’t need to study hard. In fact, some of these majors are more challenging than more traditional options. For the ideal student accommodation, Kingston, Ontario, has Foundry Princess. Our student housing has furnished suites, a fitness centre, study rooms, and high-speed internet. Apply now for the floor plan you want.


The Most Popular Spring Break Destinations for 2022

With winter break coming to an end, now is the perfect time to start thinking about how you’ll spend your time off in the spring. There are many places you could go, but your friends will probably be most excited about joining you to one of the following destinations.

1. Cancun

If you’ve never been to Cancun, you’re missing out. It’s one of the top tourist spots in the world, thanks to its great beaches, weather, and activities. You can practise a variety of water sports during the day and hit the clubs at night. The ideal time to visit is while you’re still a college student.

2. Cabo San Lucas

At almost the other end of Mexico is Cabo San Lucas. You’ll have quite a different experience if you choose this city for your spring break destination. Although it’s less of a party town and more of a place to relax, it still has an active nightlife.

3. Miami

The major spring break destination in the U.S. has to be Miami. Every year, events take place to suit all tastes, including music at nightclubs and live concerts on the beach.

4. Fort Lauderdale

A second option in Florida is Fort Lauderdale, best known for its beaches and for being a cultural hub for art. Things to do include taking a gondola down the canals, shopping, and checking out the mansions and yachts of the millionaires who live in the city.

5. Punta Cana

If you decide to visit Punta Cana for spring break, you may like to stay in a resort. Some of the all-inclusive options are huge, catering to thousands of guests at any time (many of them college students during spring break). As well as relaxing by the pool and heading to the beach, you can take excursions to see more of the Dominican Republic during the day.

6. South Padre Island

A resort town in Texas, South Padre Island is among the best of the barrier islands. It’s the place to go if you love music, as you’ll be able to attend concerts and see DJs perform every day during spring break. Plus, with perfect weather and calm waters, there’s nothing more you could ask for from a spring break destination.

7. Freeport

A centre for tourism in the Bahamas is Freeport. It’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for anything from adventure to a relaxing vacation next to the beach.

8. Puerto Vallarta

An up-and-coming tourist destination in Mexico is Puerto Vallarta. More university students are discovering that this is a great choice due to the delicious food, high-quality hotels, and the famous boardwalk called El Malecón.

9. Playa Del Carmen

You can find the same white sands and great weather as in Cancun for a lower price by choosing Playa Del Carmen. It’s popular with backpackers and vacationers looking for an adventure as well as university students. The atmosphere is more laidback, and some of the beaches are more pristine.

Another thing to think about is where to live in 2022, especially if you want to move into new student housing. Kingston, Ontario, students continue to have fun year round when they live at Foundry Princess. The luxury off-campus residence has a rooftop patio with a swimming pool, clubhouse, fitness centre, and much more. Apply now for a lease.


6 Ways to Succeed in a New Semester

Each new semester is a chance to do better than the last. There are just a few things you need to do to ensure you succeed — here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Create a Schedule Ahead of Time

Start by outlining a schedule for the entire semester as soon as you have the dates for your big assignments, tests, and finals. You’ll likely want to tweak your schedule as you go along, but it should be useful for seeing when you need to begin preparing for something important. This will help you avoid leaving a project until the last minute and will ensure you spread out your time evenly when you have a few exams to prepare for.

2. Learn How to Study

There’s no single right way to study — what works for your friends may not work for you. It’s important to figure out what allows you to retain the most information and stay focused. This includes studying at the times of day when you’re most alert, choosing a location where you’re unlikely to become distracted, and figuring out how long you should study before you need a break.

3. Meet More Classmates

You may find it easier to study if you can talk about the material with other people, perhaps even as a study group. For this to be possible, you need to know at least one person in each of your classes. Put in the effort to reach out to someone and start establishing more connections.

4. Use Feedback

When you receive a disappointing grade, it’s normal to feel upset. However, you can actually use this experience as a valuable learning opportunity. Check exactly where you went wrong. Did you misunderstand the material? Fail to answer the question fully? If you’re unsure, ask your professor. Then, you’ll be able to use the feedback for future assignments and do much better.

There’s no need to wait until you’ve received a grade to reach out to your professors, though. Whenever you’re finding something difficult or even if you just want to make sure you do extra well on a project, pay your professor a visit. After all, that’s what their office hours are for.

5. Use Other Resources

Beyond classes and office hours, your university likely has many resources to offer you. Take full advantage of the materials in your campus library, try out the equipment in the labs, and sign up for workshops to develop study skills. If you’re struggling with any of your classes, consider receiving extra support from a tutor.

6. Participate in More Than Academics

Being successful at university is about more than just academics. Make this a time of your life to remember and gain valuable experiences by participating in extracurriculars. Join a club, organization, or sports team to meet other students and discover new passions.

To study hard, you need to be in control of your life. For many students, this means moving off campus into student rentals. Find apartments near Queen’s University at Foundry Princess. We provide you with everything you need to have a successful semester, including pure fibre internet, community study rooms, and an onsite Avenue C market. Apply for a room now while spaces are still available.


How to Get Your Student Apartment Storm Ready

Storms are an unfortunate reality of winter. If this is your first time living away from home, it’s likely that you never needed to worry about preparing for storms before, as this was something your parents took care of. Now that you’re living in a student apartment, though, it’s up to you to take steps to be ready for eventualities like a heavy snowfall and perhaps a power outage. Here are some ways to prepare.

1. Buy a Generator

If there’s any risk of an extended blackout in your apartment building, it’s worth having a generator. A small one should give you enough power to keep your phone and laptop charged and a lamp on, which will mean you’re able to read or study during the power outage.

2. Learn to Play Board Games

Another thing you can do when the power is out is play board games with your roommates. As well as buying a few games, make sure you read the instructions and even play a couple times beforehand.

3. Have Some Candles Ready

Candles allow you to illuminate your entire apartment for hours and don’t require any energy. Plus, they create a pleasant atmosphere — and the scented ones smell great.

4. Make Sure You’ll Stay Warm

Even an hour without power can mean you become quite cold. Stay warm with clothing you can layer up (including fuzzy socks) and some heavy blankets.

5. Salt Outdoor Areas

It’s best to salt walkways and driveways the night before any snow or sleet falls. This will prevent a buildup of ice and mean you’re able to leave your home safely in the morning.

6. Purchase a Snow Shovel

Salt isn’t enough to deal with a heavy snowfall. To prevent being snowed in, acquire a shovel as soon as possible — you never know when it could come in useful.

7. Store Extra Gas

If you have a car, try to keep your gas tank full over the winter in case of a gas shortage. It’s also worth storing some extra gas for your generator and snow blower, if you have one.

8. Stock Up on Food

You may be unable to leave your home and head to the grocery store during and after a storm. Make sure you have enough to eat by filling the cupboards with non-perishable food, including things that don’t require cooking. Bear in mind that there may be an increased demand for such food a couple days before a storm, as everyone else in your area will also be preparing. For this reason, it’s a good idea to add items to your grocery list even before any storm is approaching.

There’s no need to worry about clearing snow and salting walkways when you live at Foundry Princess. We have an onsite concierge and you can always submit maintenance requests when you live in one of our student rentals. Kingston students can also take advantage of the 24/7 Avenue C Market at Foundry Princess to pick up food and drink any time. Secure your spot in our student community while spaces are still available.


A Guide to Choosing a Science Major

Virtually all science majors are great choices, since there’s a high demand for graduates and a wide variety of jobs available. If you’re inquisitive, patient, and enjoy collaborating with others, a science major could be for you. Plus, since science is a broad area, you can choose anything from astronomy or geology to environmental science or neuroscience. The question is how to choose the right major for you — here are some questions that may help.

1. What Intrigues You?

When you study an area of science that you find interesting, you’ll have moments where you experience pure fascination. These moments will motivate you to continue studying even when the material is tough.

Think about what you enjoyed most in your high school classes and when discovering science outside of academics. Perhaps you can spend hours examining objects under the microscope, maybe you’re amazed by the origins of life, or it could be that you love finding solutions to problems.

2. What Kind of Career Would You Like?

Careers in science vary even more than college majors. Some jobs involve working behind a desk, such as when analyzing data or programming. Others mean you’ll spend most of your day in a lab, perhaps examining samples or conducting your own research. A career in ecology, however, could require a large amount of time working outdoors, and if you study animal behaviour, you’ll likely spend your day interacting directly with animals.

You should also think about what kind of schedule you’d like. Desk and lab jobs tend to keep to regular business hours, whereas field research could mean odd hours or even spending time away from home for days or weeks at a time. Furthermore, some majors lead to long-term employment, but studying something like zoology could mean you’re working on projects on a contract basis.

3. How Much Can You Expect to Earn After You Graduate?

It’s also helpful to think about what kind of income you’ll be able to make after you graduate. After all, you’re investing a large amount in your education. The best-paying careers tend to be in engineering (of all types) and computer science. Psychology and speech-language pathology are the lowest paying, but they can be the most rewarding for some people.

4. Where Do You Excel Academically?

All science majors involve some amount of math and statistics skills, but the extent to which you’ll need these and other skills will depend on the major. For example, biology also requires strong writing skills for reports, whereas there’s a greater emphasis on carrying out equations in chemistry. Think about your strengths and weaknesses and then find out what each major involves by looking at its required courses.

Be aware that choosing a science major won’t be an easy ride, even if you enjoy your subject and have always received good grades. A science major tends to require a large amount of studying, which means having somewhere you can focus. Instead of living on campus, it makes sense to search for rooms for rent. Kingston, Ontario, students have their own room in a suite, fast internet, access to group study rooms, and much more at Foundry Princess. Secure your spot now.


A Guide to Applying for Graduate Assistant Roles

Applying to be a graduate assistant is one of the best ways to gain funding for a master’s degree. A typical position will cover your tuition and pay you a stipend. Unfortunately, it’s by no means easy to land a position — a huge number of other students who need to find a way to pay for graduate school are trying to do the exact same thing. The good news is there are things you can do to improve your chances.

1. Don’t Wait Until the Deadline

Show universities how much you want the graduate assistant role by applying as early as you can. The likelihood is someone will read your application right after you submit it, which will mean the faculty will be thinking about you that much sooner.

2. Apply for Multiple Roles

There’s no reason why you should feel limited only to assistant roles in your department. There are often assistantships available unrelated to any major, such as in campus activities. If you’re able to put forth a strong argument as to why you’re suitable for a role, it could be yours. Plus, just thinking about how to frame your applications will give you practice at selling yourself — a skill you’ll need throughout your career.

3. Connect with Faculty Members

If you’re applying for a master’s program at the same university as you currently attend, you have the opportunity to be on close terms with everyone in the faculty. Start networking immediately: introduce yourself to faculty members and let them know your long-term study goals — these are the people who have a say in who receives the assistantship.

It’s a little more difficult to form relationships with faculty if you’re applying for a graduate program at a different university, but it’s still far from impossible. Reach out to professors and others involved in your program to discuss your interests and ask about their research.

4. Include a Cover Letter

If a cover letter is optional, always include one anyway. It’s difficult to explain the full extent of your experience with a resume alone and impossible to express how excited you are for the chance of landing a role. Ask someone with strong writing skills to check your cover letter — preferably someone who knows what departments are looking for in an assistantship candidate. If your university has a writing centre, this is a top choice.

5. Practise for the Interview

A shortlist of candidates will receive an invitation to an interview. Make sure your interview goes well by practicing your technique beforehand. Consider what kinds of questions the interview is likely to ask and come up with some answers. For instance, you’ll likely need to explain why you find the work interesting, what you’re passionate about, and (if the role involves assisting in research) what methodologies you’ll use.

Once you’ve been accepted for a graduate program (hopefully with an assistantship!), you’ll need somewhere to live. Being a graduate student and holding an assistant position will be much more challenging than working toward a bachelor’s degree, but you’ll find it easy to focus, work hard, and relax at Foundry Princess. Our Queen’s University off-campus housing provides you with a private bedroom in a suite and onsite amenities like a rooftop patio, swimming pool, and fitness centre. Join the waitlist to hear about available spaces before anyone else.


11 Gift Ideas for University Students to Put on Their Lists

When someone asks you what you want as a gift this year, don’t be stuck for what to say. Any of the following items you don’t already own should definitely be on your list.

1. Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Whether the place you live is noisy or you like to search for a change of scenery when you’re studying, noise-cancelling headphones are ideal. You’ll be able to block out external distractions even when you’re surrounded by other people.

2. Backpack

A backpack that’s comfortable enough to wear all day and has enough space for all your textbooks, laptop, and extras is a must-have. One with plenty of compartments to keep all your items organized is better still.

3. Coffee Maker

When you’re able to make coffee at home, you can cut out a big daily expense. The most cost-effective models are filter coffee makers, although K-Cup coffee makers can provide a fast and affordable method for brewing coffee when you use reusable pods.

4. Planner

Whether you struggle to stay organized or you enjoy setting goals and monitoring your progress toward them, a planner should be a necessity for the coming year. You’ll be able to use your planner to make a note of when assignments are due, create a daily schedule, and keep track of your to-dos.

5. Water Bottle

Make sure you stay hydrated by carrying a water bottle with you everywhere. An insulated flask is better still, as you can keep the coffee that you made in the morning with you.

6. Inflatable Chair

The problem with inviting a big group of friends over to your apartment is you may lack enough seating for everyone. An inflatable chair is an ideal solution, as it takes up virtually no space when not in use.

7. Bluetooth Speaker

A high-quality bluetooth speaker is much better for listening to music than your built-in laptop speakers. In fact, it’s practically essential for when you have friends over.

8. Mug Warmer

If you’re in the habit of forgetting about a hot beverage while studying and letting it go cold, a mug warmer is for you. It sits on your desk and keeps your coffee or tea warm until you’ve finished the whole mug.

9. Phone Mount

It’s common for your hand to start cramping after you’ve been holding your phone for a long period of time. Whether you’re watching videos or chatting with friends or family, a phone mount is the solution. There are models that come with a stand as well as those that clamp to your desk, table, or bed. Either also solves the problem of how to look at your phone while eating.

10. Fitness Tracker

If you want to be fitter and healthier next year, a fitness tracker needs to be on your list. Most models track physical activity, calories burned, sleep, heart rate, and more. Some even give you ideas for improving your habits and allow you to continuously set more ambitious goals.

11. Desk Organizer

It’s easy for a desk to become a mess when you have nowhere to put all your textbooks, notepads, cables, and stationery. A desk organizer will help you clean things up instantly and ensure your study space stays tidy.

Give yourself the gift of a better apartment next year by moving into Foundry Princess. Our Queen’s University student housing has everything you need to complete the college experience, including a fitness centre, BBQ courtyard, and group study rooms. Join our waitlist to secure a spot as soon as a space becomes available.


A Guide to Shopping for University on a Budget

University is expensive. In addition to paying for tuition, you need to buy all the things that will make your student apartment comfortable. The good news is it’s possible to find everything you need, even if you’re on a tight budget.

1. Stick to the Essentials

Create a list of everything you’ll need for college — and purchase only those things. It’s easy to make impulse buys when you’re excited about the prospect of leaving for university, but this could push you over your budget.

If you’re unsure about what counts as essential, search for packing lists online and assess what you’ll need. It’s also worth talking to students who are already at university about what they ended up needing and what they could have done without. Finally, talk to your roommates to find out what they’re bringing to avoid multiples of items you can share.

2. Shop in Stores Offering Student Discounts

Many stores offer discounts of at least 10 percent if you can show a student ID. You can use this for all sorts of purchases to see some big savings. Find out if a store provides a student discount before you even start looking at what it has to offer.

3. Avoid Products Marketed at Students

Some stores (particularly those that offer student discounts) may target some of their items as being for students. These items tend to be more expensive than products marketed toward the general public and have no real benefits. Bear this in mind and make sure you comparison shop to secure the best deals.

4. Consider Quality

Purchasing the cheapest items you find can backfire later when these products wear out and need replacing. If you’re unsure about what kind of quality to expect, read reviews. In addition, secondhand items that are still in good condition are often cheaper and more durable.

5. Choose Multipurpose Furniture

You can save money and prevent wasted space by purchasing furniture that serves more than one purpose. For instance, it makes sense to choose a coffee table and bedside table that comes with storage.

6. Borrow Items

Many items may become useless after you graduate, so it may be worthwhile to rent these things instead of purchasing them. The possibilities range from appliances like microwaves to textbooks.

7. Make Your Own Décor

Depending on your artistic abilities, there may be several types of décor you can make yourself. For instance, you can create artwork for your walls (this could be as simple as a photo collage, which is not difficult to do at all), sew some pillow cases, or decorate a box to keep your jewelry organized. You can also repurpose old furniture — often, a fresh coat of paint is all it needs.

8. Buy from Stores in Your College Town

Purchase as much as possible (especially big items) from stores near your student housing to avoid costly moving fees. If you buy from a big-name brand, you may be able to place an order to pick up the item from the store of your choice.

You can save even more money by searching for affordable student rentals. Kingston, Ontario, students can find a home at Foundry Princess. Choose between furnished and unfurnished suites with one to five bedrooms, according to your budget and preferences. Join our waitlist to be the first to hear when units become available.


Tips for Setting Goals for a New Semester

A new semester is a great time to start fresh and make improvements in your life. To succeed, though, you need to set goals. Since one of the most important aspects of being a student is gaining good grades, it makes sense to set several goals related to studying. When deciding on your goals, take into consideration a few things that are likely contributing to your bad study habits.

1. Class Attendance

Whereas many classes at university are technically optional, you’ll be missing out on a full education if you choose to skip them. If you try to teach yourself from your books, there’s a risk you could misunderstand something. Attending class, however, gives you the opportunity to get detailed explanations from your professors to help you fully understand the material. Stop seeing classes as optional and attend all of them, unless you have an excellent excuse.

2. Reviewing Your Notes

You take valuable notes when you attend class — or at least they could be valuable. It helps to check your notes soon after you write them, as some parts may be unclear and won’t make sense later. In addition, you should review your notes on a regular basis to remind yourself of the key points. That way, you won’t be relearning information when you study for an exam, but just reminding yourself of the fine details.

3. Required Readings

University is different from high school in several ways, including the emphasis on studying in your own time. You cannot expect to succeed if you just attend classes without first properly reading (rather than just skimming) the assigned readings. In addition, you should be familiar with what the readings cover long before the exam. Spend the period right before an exam reviewing your notes and revisiting any points you need to clarify, but not reading in depth.

4. Procrastination

Procrastination is an easy habit to fall into, but it’s one that should be avoided. Deadlines for assignments are often long, which can make it tempting to forget about them until a few days before the due date. However, you’ll never do your best work if you leave papers to the last minute. The same goes for studying for an exam: it’s much more difficult to retain information if you stay up all night rather than spreading out your studying over a longer period.

5. Enough Sleep

Even if you don’t procrastinate, you’ll retain less if you lack sleep. On weeknights, you need to have a bedtime to ensure you sleep between six and eight hours.

6. Your Study Spot

If you’re struggling to stay focused when you study, it could be because your study area is uncomfortable or full of distractions. It’s important to experiment with what works for you — some people focus better when they’re alone, while others perform better when they’re in a room with other people. Commit to finding a few places (perhaps the desk in your bedroom, the couch in your living room, the campus library, and a favourite coffee shop), since switching things up can help you retain more.

A goal for next semester unrelated to your studies should be to find better housing, such as by moving out of your dorm and into student rentals. Kingston students can live in luxury by moving to Foundry Princess. We have a broad range of amenities for students, such as group study rooms, a swimming pool, outdoor BBQ kitchens, and a fitness centre. Join our waitlist to be first in line for a suite when a spot opens up.