Monday, August 15, 2016

A Little Guide: The First Day of College

So now you've survived move in day, you've started to meet people, but there is still that big, daunting thing on the horizon...actually starting college. It's so nerve wracking! What do you bring? What do you wear? Do you talk to the person sitting next to you? What the heck is a syllabus? 
What to know for your first day of college!

We have all been there. You, little freshman, are not alone. I have been through 2 (3 on Wednesday!) first days of college and I get those nerves every year! There is something about starting a new year of school, getting a fresh start that is both exciting and terrifying. But through my experience, I can help you out a little bit, so here are some tips to help you survive the first day.

// download your campus app //

These days, every college has an app. It's your best friend. If you haven't downloaded it yet, you should. It can tell you your schedule, where every building on campus is, even what the options for lunch are in the dining hall. Download it now. The map is the best thing ever. If you're too nervous to ask for help (I was), instead of wandering around campus clueless, you can just appear like you're looking at your phone while you're realizing that your next class is across campus and starts in 5 minutes.

// have a general idea of where your classes are //

On your schedule, it should tell you where each class is located. Pull out your handy dandy campus app and look at where those buildings are in relation to your dorm and to each other. It'll make your life so much easier.

upperclassman tip #1: If you are entirely lost and can't figure out where you are, ask someone for help. Upperclassmen will understand, we've all been there.

// take a screenshot of your schedule //

I am the kind of person who checks my schedule for the time and location of my class until mid-September. It can be a pain to try to log onto the course scheduling website 10 times a day, so make it easier by taking a screenshot of your schedule on your phone. That way it is readily available for you to check a million times on the first day.

// don't buy the textbook if you haven't heard from the professor //

One of my professors for this semester has already emailed the class letting us know what material we need to have for the first day. This is not usually the case. If you have not gotten any sort of email or announcement from your professor, wait to buy the book. They'll let you know the first day what you need 

upperclassman tip #2: a lot of courses require online components that have an e-book so you don't need to pay $500 for something you won't use

// the campus bookstore is a last resort //

Without fail the campus bookstore is usually the most expensive place to buy your books. Once you find out what books you need, search book exchange Facebook pages - upperclassmen trying to make a few bucks and get rid of their old books, Amazon, Chegg, and other discount book sites. I like to compare prices at a bunch of different websites before I decide on one.

upperclassman tip #3: unless it is a book for a class in your major, consider renting - it's usually the cheapest option

// wait on buying school supplies //

On the first day, bring a notebook, pens, your laptop, your planner, and maybe a folder. You never know if professors will require something specific, so I find that it is best to wait until after the first day of class. The first day will also help you feel out the professor and the class and you can decide from there if you need a separate notebook for the class or can combine a couple classes into one notebook.

// print off the syllabus for each class //

Some professors may not post their syllabus until after the first class and others may hand out hard copies, but I find it easiest to make sure you have the syllabus handy. I use my syllabi frequently for reference during the semester so I always like to have one on hand.

// look nice //

Yes, it is college and you can wear whatever the heck you want, but still put in some effort. The people you're in class with or seeing on campus could be your new best friends or maybe your future spouse, so don't look like a slob. You don't need to be glammed out, but make a good first impression. I also see dressing well for class as a way to show respect to your professor. They made it their life's work to teach annoying college students (professors are saints), the least you can do is show them some respect by looking like you're taking college seriously.

// wear comfortable shoes //

Last year I got horrible blisters on the first day because I wore new shoes and had classes all across campus. Avoid the pain, wear shoes you have already broken in.

// start making friends //

I really like to have a friend in each class I'm in. The older I get, the more likely it is that there is someone I already know in my class, but that isn't always the case. Talk to the person sitting next to you and start getting to know them. You may not be best friends, but they might be willing to share notes when you miss class because you're sick. It's so easy to feel isolated in college, but you really have to put yourself out there. Everyone else is in the same situation and just as nervous as you. Smile and introduce yourself. You may have just met your future bridesmaid.

// don't take it too seriously //

You won't have a test the first day, you're not being graded yet, it is okay to relax. This is your only true first day of college. Enjoy it! You're an adult for the first time, you're in a completely new place where you don't have to be anything other than exactly who you are. Relish in it. Times like this are very rare.

Wishing you the best first day of college!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

College Packing Tips

This weekend I am leaving to head back to school for my junior year of college! That's totally crazy! Heading back each year presents new challenges and experiences and can end up being pretty stressful. I remember freaking out before starting freshman year about how I was going to pack everything. I had collected to much stuff and didn't know how it would all fit in my mom's car. 

Packing up for college is a big job, but there's no reason to stress out over it! Here are my tips to make the trip as smooth as possible!

// leave clothes on the hangers //

Now you may be thinking that it would be easier to pack everything into suitcases, but those big suitcases take up a ton of room in the car and aren't as easy to squish around as clothes on the hanger. If you haven't already gotten slimline felt hangers, go pick some up. Trust me they will save your small closet. Once all of your in season (ones you will be wearing right away) clothes are on the new hangers, bundle them up in bunches of 15-20. Keep all the hangers together with hair ties or  rubber bands, then slip the bundle into a trash bag, securing the opening of the bag around the top of the hanger. This will save space in the car and make move in day so much easier!

// use spacebags //

This mainly applies to those of you who may be moving far away and won't be able to come home to switch out clothes. I packed all my heavy winter gear into spacebags and vacummed the air out to save space in the car. Then all you have to do when you get to school is store the bags until it's cold enough to pull the clothes out.

// wait to buy big items //

I talked about this a lot in this post, but you really don't need to have everything before you leave. You don't know exactly how the room will be laid out or how much space you'll have so wait to get bigger items like furniture and storage pieces.

// pack inside of other items for your room //

The key to packing for college is packing unconventionally. Big boxes and suitcases just take up space. I bet you have items for your dorm that you can pack items in instead. My freshman year I bought two canvas hampers (one I use for dirty laundry, the other for spare bedding and towels), when I moved, I had them packed full of my towels, sheets, and other bedding.

// pack an overnight bag //

If your trip is going to happen over several days, it'll be easier if you don't have to dig through bags to find a pair of pj's and your toothbrush. Make sure to leave out things you'll need on your trip and for move in day - pajamas, clothes for traveling and to wear on move in day, toiletries, etc. Keep it in an easily accessible place in the car (i.e. not under all of your bedding) so that you can easily pull it out when you stop for the night.

Do you have any other tips for packing for college? I would love to hear them!

Monday, August 1, 2016

July Top 10!

Just like that the summer is over, August is upon us and in less than a week I will be back in Clemson to get ready for my junior year of college. I have loved getting to spend this summer at home, it is truly what I needed. With another month gone, it's time for another Top 10!

1 // I turned 20 this month! I didn't have very high expectations for my 20th birthday, after all it just starts the countdown to 21. It ended up being such a great birthday. My family celebrates every birthday with cinnamon rolls for breakfast. My older brother and some of his friends happened to be in town so they joined us for breakfast. I got to spend the morning and early afternoon lounging in my PJs before going to an early dinner with my parents, little brother, and grandmother at a great pizza place in San Antonio. Cake and presents happened at my grandma's house after. Embarrassing story, I wanted a Boomerang of me blowing out my candles, but my little brother didn't know how to work it so we relit the candles and we still didn't get it to work! On the way home I was able to celebrate with blogging buddies by participating in the #bloggingcollege chat - that chat even inspired my letter to my freshman self. Once we got home, my mom and I packed up quickly before heading to Waco to go to Magnolia Market on Monday. It was a great birthday and I'm so thankful for my family for making it so special.

2 // I tried a few new beauty products this month after going a little overboard on a trip to Ulta. The first was CoverGirl The Super Sizer Fibers mascara. It's a little tricky to work with at first, but it gets better after a day or so. It takes a couple coats to get the full effect, which is pretty normal. Wait a few seconds in between coats; I usually apply a coat then put one on the other eye, once I'm done with my second eye, the first is dry enough for a second coat. I also saw a tip on Influenster that recommended rotating the wand as you apply - this definitely helps distribute the fibers for added length and volume.

3 // I also tried out the Maybelline Color Jolt liquid lipstick in Berry Naughty. It is my new favorite lip product! My favorite makeup item is lipstick so this is saying something. It dries down pretty matte and really doesn't move throughout the day. I want them in every single color!

4 // The last thing from my Ulta trip that I loved was a self tanner. Let me start by saying that I am pale, very very pale. I am perfectly fine with my pale skin, but sometimes you just want a little bit of color on your skin, without the risk of skin cancer. Enter the St. Moriz Instant Self-Tanning Mousse in Medium. I was so worried that it was going to turn me orange, but since the mousse is green based, it looks so natural. Like it took my mom a full day to notice. I just put it on after I've showered and shaved, right before bed, and in the morning I have a nice little tan. It doesn't stay a super long time, but that really doesn't bother me since I wanted something to give me a little bit of color when I want it. Oh and it's $13! Can't beat that.

5 // I have realized lately that my style is changing from more structured and preppy to more comfortable and laid back. Of course, I still love preppy style, but I'm getting more into pieces that can be dressed up or down and just feel more comfortable. I have been living in this boyfriend tee and a few others that I found on clearance at Old Navy. Old Navy is always a favorite of mine and they're in the middle of back to school sales so definitely check out their sale sections.

6 // In July I have been obsessed with two TV shows. It started off with Arrow, a CW series about a hooded vigilante, who happens to be a billionaire, who has returned home to avenge his father's death and keep his city safe. Highly, highly recommend! After just the first season you will want to be Felicity Smoak and marry Oliver Queen. The Flash is the other CW show I have been loving. It explains the beginnings and life of the superhero, The Flash (who was my favorite when I was little). It ties into Arrow so I recommend switching between the first season of the Flash and third season of Arrow. I really love superheroes and think these shows are great! Plus it's something that your brother and/or boyfriend would be willing to watch with you.

7 // Another show I love is, of course, The Bachelorette! The season finale is tonight and I am SO pumped to watch it. I think the show is way overdramatic and all engineered by the producers, but it's just so entertaining. I don't really care who wins either way (my favorites were Luke and Chase). Honestly I don't like Jordan or Robby and think Jojo would be better off without them, but that's just my opinion. I love watching the show because it's bonding time with my mom (we watch together) and my older sister, who I text my commentary to. It's light and mindless and I'm addicted. Oh and Bachelor in Paradise starts tomorrow. It's probably my favorite of the series, so excited.

8 // I recently rediscovered one of my all time favorite movies, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It's so funny! There is something about 90's rom coms that just never gets old. I haven't seen the sequel that came out in the last year, but after rewatching the original, I would love to. The first is just so cute and heartwarming, perfectly light fluffy movie when you need something happy to watch.

9 // The only song I've really liked this month is 80's Mercedes by Maren Morris. I don't know why I like it so much. The lyrics aren't the best and are kind of cheesy, but the tune is so catchy! I want to sing along every single time it comes on the radio. A friend told me Maren Morris' whole album, Hero, is great so I definitely plan to listen to it soon.

10 // August may just be the craziest month of my life. I will be moving back to Clemson, starting my junior year, participating in recruitment with my sorority, welcoming new members at the bid day I'm planning (so, so, so much still to do). I can't wait to be a junior and I have high hopes for this year. The first few months are just going to be a little nuts. Hopefully with the help of my lovely boyfriend and my new Emily Ley Simplified Planner, I will be able to keep it all together.

Wishing you a lovely August,