10 Computer Shortcuts to Make Your Life Easier

Spending time on the computer is a reality of doing schoolwork. You spend many, many hours each week on computers completing assignments, sending emails, maybe binging a series or two, and creating projects. These shortcuts will help you save a little bit of time while you’re working — maybe you’ll even get to know your computer a little bit better!


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1. Send emojis from your computer

Sending emojis from a phone is pretty easy, but finding them on a computer can be more complicated. Use this command when you want to add a little fun to whatever you’re doing on your computer.

Apple: Control + Command + Spacebar

Windows: WIN + ; or WIN + . (period) 

2. Add a hyperlink

Hyperlinks are useful when you want to direct someone else to sources for an assignment, pages they need to read, forms they need to complete, or even videos you think are funny. They make your page look less cluttered, too, so learning these commands could certainly come in handy.

Apple: Command + K

PC: Ctrl + K

3. Print the current document

Learning the print command is incredibly useful and also very simple. Bonus tip: if you go to print options on your computer, you can also save a document as a PDF instead of printing it! When your document is a PDF, it can be easier to edit, add a signature to it, crop it, or make any other changes.

Apple: Command + P

PC: Ctrl + P

4. Add the degree symbol

Lab reports are a real pain when you have to constantly use special characters. Learning the shortcut for the degree (°) symbol should save you some time when working on those science assignments.

Apple: Option + Shift + 8

PC: Alt + 0176 or Alt + 248

5. Creating something new

If you need a new window, document, or version of whatever app you are using, this is the command for you! If you are working on a paper and need to open up another document, or you need to search for something on the Web but don’t want to disturb your current window, then use this simple shortcut.

Apple: Command + N

PC: Ctrl + N 

6. Search within a document or webpage

When you find yourself looking for a specific word or phrase within a webpage or document, the search command will be your best friend. It can save you tons of time by preventing you from searching line by line through a big jumble of text.

Apple: Command + F

PC: Ctrl + F 

7. Refresh the page

Sometimes pages don’t load properly or need to be updated to show new information. Use this shortcut instead of clicking on the address bar a million times and hoping that something magical happens.

Apple: Command + R

PC: Ctrl + F5

8. Close all current tabs

There is no better feeling than closing out all of your tabs after you’ve finished a long assignment that required a lot of research. If you use this command, you can exit out of all of your tabs with one quick motion!

Apple: Command + Shift + W

PC: Ctrl + Shift + W 

9. Screenshot a selected area

Taking a screenshot of your current activity on your computer can be very useful if you need to save something and reference it later. This command will let you not only take a screenshot, but also let you select the range of the screen that you want in the frame.

Apple: Command + Shift + 4

PC: WIN + Shift + S

10. Save your work

Nothing hurts more than losing an assignment on your computer because you forgot to save it. Instead of manually clicking FileSave every time you want to keep your current progress stored on your computer, get in the habit of using this shortcut. Its simplicity will make it harder for you to forget to save it!

Apple: Command + S

PC: Ctrl + S

Now that you’ve learned the ropes, try out these shortcuts the next time you have a writing assignment or just want to send a note to a friend online. You’ll thank yourself after you learn them, and you can even show off your computer skills to your friends as you become the new computer productivity expert.


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7 Books You Have to Read Over Summer Break

Summer break is the perfect time to catch up on pleasure reading. After all, the school year can be so exhausting with papers, projects, and tests that it can be almost impossible to add more to your reading load. Now that you have a break, it’s the perfect time to sit back, relax, and dive into one of these books below. For best results, grab your sunglasses and a cool glass of water and enjoy your summer reading outside in the summer breeze.


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1. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? By Maria Semple

This book is hilarious and heartwarming at once. It tells the story of a 15-year-old narrator, Bee, and her architect mother that turns up missing right before a family vacation to Antarctica. Soon to be made into a movie, this book is the perfect summer read. The story is told through a series of different artifacts, like emails or conversations, and you just won’t be able to put it down.

2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

You might have heard of this book from the its adaption into the hit TV series of the same name. The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian work that explores feminist themes like women’s independence. This would make for a great read in a group setting – after you all read the book, you can watch the show together and discuss which you preferred. 

3. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Often included on college required reading lists for incoming students, this book is a must for young people. The book’s style is that of a letter written to the author’s son about his experiences with racial conflict in America. The account is autobiographical, and it recounts Coates’s own personal history of his upbringing in Baltimore. This book has been heralded as one of the most important narratives about race in our time, and reading it is super insightful for a young person.

4. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett 

This book is pretty unexpected in a lot of ways: it tells the story of a group of high-profile businesspeople, diplomats, and an opera singer who are taken hostage by a group of young terrorists. Throughout the novel, some unexpected relationships form, and some of the characters even fall for each other. This exciting novel is full of subtle action, and it serves as a great beach or poolside read.

5. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

The Opposite of Loneliness is a compilation of short stories, poems, and non-fiction pieces by Marina Keegan that was published posthumously, as the author died only a few days after her graduation from Yale. The pieces are witty and strikingly capture what it’s like to be young and searching for love, a career, and meaning in life. This is a perfect book to read cover to cover and pass to a friend to share the experience. 

6. Less by Andrew Sean Greer

This 2018 winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction is a real gem – it explores topics like same-sex relationships, love, and getting older through the character of Arthur Less, a gay writer. Despite writing about rather serious themes, Greer finds a way to make the humor shine through the book, making it deeply human.

7. Becoming by Michelle Obama 

Becoming is former first lady’s memoir about her own upbringing and her journey to the White House. She tells her own personal history, gives details about her family, and describes the major transition of her husband winning the presidency. This book gives great insight into one of the most prominent figures of our time’s experiences in an intimate way.

By now, I bet you’re feeling the urge to crack open one of these amazing books! Now that the weather is great and your school work load is light, there’s no better time to get started on this list. To make things even better, share with friends and start your own book exchange. You’ll be so happy at the end of the summer when you look at all of the amazing books you’ve gotten to read.


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6 Books You Can Read and Compare to Their Movie Adaptations

When a story that starts in print shows up on screen, someone inevitably declares, “The book was better.” If you want to join the discussion, or just need extra inspiration to read something non-school related that’s longer than the text in an Instagram story, here are six film adaptations you can compare with the books that inspired them. Need to cite a book or a video? BibMe.org makes it easy! It’s an APA reference generator, MLA formatter, and Chicago citation generator all rolled into one tool!

The Outsiders (1983)

The Outsiders, written by teenager S.E. Hinton and originally published in 1967, shows that gangs and gun violence are nothing new in American society. It tells the story of two teen gangs in Tusla, the Greasers and the Socs, in a perpetual battle over class and social status that results in tragic consequences for both groups. The film adaptation directed by Francis Ford Coppola featured actors including Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, and Rob Lowe back when the middle-aged movie stars were hotties in their teens and twenties.

The Princess Bride (1987)

This film didn’t bring in the bucks at the box office, but has reached profitability — and cult classic status — since. Even if you’ve never seen the movie, it’s “inconceivable” that you aren’t familiar with at least a few famous lines from the script, written by the book’s author, William Goldman. Like that fractured fairy tale, the movie tells the story of Westley who, with the help of a Spanish swordsman and a giant from Greenland, rescues his true love Buttercup from the clutches of the evil Prince Humperdinck. If you watch, or rewatch, the film, you may recognize Buttercup (Robin Wright) as General Antiope from Wonder Woman. Bonus: the movie’s male lead, Carey Elwes, is set to join the cast of Stranger Things in its third season.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)

Most critics loved both the print and movie version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, possibly because the film was directed by the best-selling book’s author, Stephen Chbosky. On the page and onscreen, the story unfolds through a series of letters from Charlie, the wallflower of the title, and an anonymous friend. Over the course of his freshman year in high school, Charlie begins to unfold as well thanks to the help of two half-siblings, Patrick and Sam (Emma Watson in her first post-Potter role), who bring them into their quirky friend group. There, he falls in love and finally begins to feel a little love for himself.

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

While The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a coming-of-age love story, cancer is definitely a central character, especially considering that leads Hazel Graze and Augustus (Divergent stars Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort) meet at a cancer support group. Gus immediately turns on the charm, even though Hazel Grace is reluctant to embrace love and life due to her medical condition. But Gus turns a Make-A-Wish Foundation-type trip into a pilgrimage to Amsterdam with Hazel Grace to find her favorite author, eventually convincing her that life is worth living for however long it might last. A tear-jerker whether you read it or watch it.

Ready Player One (2018)

By 2045, the real world has become pretty unbearable, which is why most humans spend their time in the OASIS, a virtual universe populated by pop culture references from the 1980s. But control of the OASIS, and its deceased founder’s fortune, is up for grabs to anyone who can find an Easter egg he’s hidden somewhere in the world he created. Will well-funded egg hunters from Innovative Online Industries discover it and turn the OASIS into a money machine full of ads or will Wade Watts and his band of rebels find it first, keeping the virtual world a escapist oasis for everyone? The movie version of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline was directed by Steven Spielberg and is due out on DVD in late July.

The Hate U Give (2018)

This best-seller by Angie Thomas is a novel, but its serious subject matter comes straight from the nightly news. Starr Carter is the sole witness when her unarmed childhood best friend is fatally shot by a cop. That turning point breaks down barriers she’s built between her weekday world, an upscale private school, and the poverty-plagued neighborhood she calls home. The movie version of The Hate U Give is scheduled for release in October and stars Amandla Stenberg, who also landed the leading role in The Darkest Minds, another book-to-movie adaptation.    And, if you can’t wait to start binge-watching stories that started in print, here are five more book-to-screen selections available on Netflix right now:* *Subject to change. Please check Netflix for current movies available. 
  • Coraline
  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
  • The Kissing Booth
  • Anne With an E (Anne of Green Gables)
  • The Lovely Bones

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Bounce Back From a Bad Paper Grade

Nothing’s more frustrating than getting a bad grade on a paper, especially if you thought you nailed it until you saw the offending mark. But if you get a bad grade on a paper, there’s no need to write off the class itself—you can get your overall grade back up with a better performance on the next assignment. Try the tips here to help you bounce back from that bad grade!

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1. Don’t Panic

Remember: One bad grade doesn’t define you. It can be difficult to keep a level head after you receive an unfortunate mark, but it’s important to try your best. Take a minute to be upset, and feel free to vent to a friend or family member. However, make sure to take time to cool down so you don’t end up blowing up at your teacher or professor. Try to use that frustration as motivation to do better. Below are a few strategies you can use.

2. Read Over the Comments

If your professor or teacher left detailed comments on your paper, don’t ignore them. Read through all of the suggestions carefully so you can get an idea of what needs to be improved. Use those remarks to inform your future writing, and analyze whether there’s a common theme among all of your mistakes.

2. Talk to Your Instructor

Getting a bad mark on a paper can be frustrating, but you shouldn’t take out those frustrations on your teacher. Take the time to talk to your teacher and discuss what you did right, what you did wrong, and how you can improve. For subsequent essays, you could meet with your teacher or a teaching assistant in advance to come up with a game plan. If you’re intimidated to speak with your teacher, see if your college has a writing center. A writing center’s main purpose is to effectively help you work on your writing and papers.

3. Reflect Upon the Situation

Think back to when you initially wrote the paper, and figure out what went wrong. Did you spend an adequate amount of time on the essay? Did you try writing your paper with the TV blaring? Reflect upon how you ended up writing the essay you wrote, and try to figure out what you can do to improve the writing process.

4. Get Some Perspective

For a student who did especially well in high school, a C+ on a research paper might seem like a unsurmountable disappointment. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a C is average. Ask your instructor if there’s a curve for the class.

5. Have a Friend Read Over the Next Paper

While you should trust your own instincts when it comes to paper writing, it’s also helpful to have a pal in your class read over your paper before giving it to your instructor for review. If you have a friend who did well on the paper you bombed, ask them if you can read over what they wrote to get a better sense of what your instructor is looking for.

6. Pay Mind to Spelling and Grammar

Although spelling and grammar may seem relatively unimportant, they can make a big difference when it comes to your final paper grade. For your next paper, make sure to carefully comb through the essay, and make sure to at least run it through spell check before sending it off.
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Sweet and Spooky Superstition Origins

Whether you’re the logical type who only knocks on wood at front doors, or wary individual who wouldn’t dream of scheduling a job interview on Friday the 13th, Halloween is a time when superstitions take center stage. No matter where you are on the superstitious-versus-skeptical spectrum, these beliefs can teach us a lot about history and culture. So here’s a little Halloween history lesson on the origins of six of the most-common superstitions.


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Fear of Friday the 13th

Fridays make most of us go “Woo hoo!” since it’s the end of the school or work week. But, for those who suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia, Fridays are something to fear when they happen on the 13th day of the month.

Friday has long been considered bad luck because it is the day of the week Jesus died. In Britain and ancient Rome, Friday was also known as Hangman’s Day because it was usually when prisoners sentenced to death were hanged. Fear of the number 13, or triskaidekaphobia, can likewise be associated with Christianity because Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest at the Last Supper. Numerologists also say 13 gets a bad rap because it falls directly after 12, which is considered a complete number—there are 12 months in a year, 12 signs in the zodiac, 12 numerals on a clock, etcetera. So the number 13 is beyond complete, which is freaky, especially when it falls on a Friday.

It’s Bad Luck to Walk Under a Ladder

How can something so average be so intimidating? It’s scary enough to make most of us walk around—and not under—a ladder without even realizing it. Well, it all started in Egypt.

In ancient Egypt, the triangle—the shape formed by a ladder leaning against a wall—was considered sacred because it represented the trinity of the gods. So traipsing  through the triangle was blasphemous. Later, Christians adopted the superstition, applying it to the Holy Trinity. And because there was a ladder propped against Jesus’ cross, they equated a leaning ladder with betrayal and death.

Walking under a ladder is also thought to be bad luck because it resembles a gallows. In fact, criminals sentenced to death in 17th century England were forced to walk under a ladder on their way to the hangman. Finally, there are perfectly practical reasons for not strolling under a ladder, which could hold a handyman and heavy tools or wet brushes and buckets of paint.

A Black Cat Crossing Your Path Brings Bad Luck

This superstition seems to also have roots in ancient Egyptian culture, where people revered cats of every color and actually thought a black cat crossing your path was a harbinger of good luck to come. But black felines fell out of favor in the Middle Ages, when many thought the animals served as “familiars” of witches or were witches in cats’ clothing—certainly not something you’d want to cross. Puritans brought the belief to America, where black cats and witches are still seen as partners in Halloween decorations and Hollywood productions.

Knocking on Wood Helps Ward Off Bad Luck

“I haven’t failed a test this semester, knock on wood.”

“Yes! I found the perfect study spot no one else knows about yet, knock on wood.”

These days, we knock on wood after talking about some fortunate event or circumstance to keep their good luck going. The origins of this practice date back to a time when trees were worshipped or mythologized in many cultures. For instance, pagans in Europe practiced noisy rituals in the forest to chase evil spirits away and to keep those spirits from catching wind of good luck and turning it sour. Other tree worshippers laid their hands on a tree when asking for a favor from the gods that lived inside it or to give thanks for a run of good fortune. Over time, these superstitions have evolved into knocking on any wooden surface to keep bad luck at bay.

Finding a Four-Leaf Clover Is Good Luck

The common clover has long been seen as a sign of good things to come, with the Celts viewing it as a symbol of spring and rebirth. Later, Saint Patrick used it as a visual to explain the balance between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit while converting people to Christianity across Ireland.

But the more rare four-leaf clover has an equally storied history. Druids, who were the educated class among ancient Celts, believed carrying one allowed them to spot demons and ward off evil spirits. Some even believe that Eve carried a four-leaf clover from the Garden of Eden when she left. So people who find a four-leaf clover today are carrying a little piece of paradise in their pockets.   

Breaking a Mirror Brings Seven Years of Bad Luck

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, are you bad luck after all?”

Sure, sharp shards of glass are dangerous, but why do some people believe breaking a mirror will bring bad luck long after the glass is swept away? The origin of the superstition dates back to the days when people thought mirrors provided a reflection of not just physical features, but your soul. So if you broke a mirror, you’d also do damage to yourself. Though seven is considered a significant and often lucky number in many cultures, it’s bad luck in this case because the Romans believed a person’s health ran in seven-year cycles. Therefore, it would take that long for your soul to repair itself and help you shed your shattered luck.

So if you plan to attend a Halloween party this year, be careful not to break any mirrors while donning your costume. If you do, maybe you should keep an eye out for four-leaf clovers to help turn your luck around.


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