Graduate Student Taxes

It’s tax time here in the U.S. Figuring out how much your taxes will be is a headache for many, including grad students. Each semester seems to bring a different set of circumstances.

Earlier in the semester I went to a seminar held by the university to help domestic grad students¬†navigate their taxes. I think it helped me to understand the nuances a bit. I use tax software to get the job done since it’s proven to be more efficient and more accurate than me sitting down with my 1040. But it’s always nice to understand what’s going on inside that black box of TurboTax¬†or whatever you might be using.

Of course, I don’t have to tell you that I’m no tax expert and claim no responsibility if things go wrong on your taxes. But hopefully this information will help other grad students unsure about how to maximize their tax benefits.
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Switzerland On a Budget

A few weeks ago I went to an evening class at my local REI about how to plan a budget trip to Switzerland. I don’t have plans to visit Switzerland in the foreseeable future, but I sometimes like to go to these sorts of events for inspiration and to pick up travel tips.

I highly recommend checking out the calendar at your local REI to see what kinds of things they’re offering — many of the classes are free and typically range from local hiking trails to international travel tips to planning for a backpacking trip. They also offer paid weekend courses on such things as bike maintenance and wilderness first aid.

Anyway, I thought I’d share the best budget tips I learned, for my own future reference and in case any one else has visions of Switzerland in their future.

natgeo-switzerland

National Geographic

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The List

The last few years have certainly been good to me. In fact, I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a lot of interesting experiences over the course of my life. But over time I’ve found that the memories fade and it can be hard to remember the highlights as they sink into the past.

To combat this effect (and provide a pick-me-up when I feel like I’m in a rut), a few years ago I started keeping a list of highlights of each year.  For each month, I list cool things that I’ve done or plan to do, from traveling to hosting visitors to big accomplishments. Basically anything that’s worth having a reminder about to rekindle the memories.

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