Category Archives: college

Advice for College Freshmen Part IV: 10 Things No One Tells You about College

10thigns

  1. Relationships are not easy: trying to date in college? Good luck with that. Finding the balance between school, fun and self-care is hard enough. Not saying it impossible to be in a thriving relationship in college, I’m just saying it’s not as easy as the movies make it seem.
  2. Your entire life revolves around school: I should rephrase….your entire life revolves around school, if you want to do well. You will have so much fun in college, but school is always in the back of your mind. You live on campus (or near campus), you plan your social calendar, meals and extra curriculars around classes and studying. School is a job and it will take up most of your time.
  3. You will learn every little thing about people you spend the most time with: I could probably name my roommates top 10 least favorite foods, the last 5 things she ordered from the internet and how much money she has in her bank account. Living with people and spending enormous amounts of time with them means learning a lot about them. This can bring you closer to someone, but be wary that it will also lead to annoyance and conflict; spending too much time with people makes them annoying sometimes. Just be patient and kind to people, always, it will pass.
  4. Not everyone will study as hard as you do: Take your education into your own hands and figure out how you need to do things to succeed. Just because your friend studies for two hours and then goes to a frat party the night before an exam doesn’t mean you should. On the other side of that, don’t study 10 hours if you’re prepared. Figure out how to find that sweet spot for preparedness (this comes with practice).
  5. College does not mean everyone is super smart: there is always that kid in class who asks too many questions about an assignment or asks a question that the professor just answered. It’s annoying, but it’s life.
  6. You’re not actually independent: Going to college is not an excuse to disconnect from your parents. Chances are they are paying for your education, food and housing. You’re still dependent on them, sorry.
  7. You will want to go home: People who tell you they have never once gotten homesick at school are full of shit crap. No way. No way. 99% of the time I’m homesick it’s not because I miss home per se, but because something happened at school and I just need to get away from that environment, but it’s still homesickness. When this happens, make plans to go home, a weekend away can do wonders. But don’t get in a habit of it.
  8. If you want to do well in school, you can’t party all the time: Going out once a week or so is totally normal and necessary for sanity, but if you go out every night you’ll be tired and hungover and will have wasted time you may need for work/studying. It will catch up with you.
  9. Partying really isn’t that fun: Yes, being with friends and meeting new people is fun, but partying can be hot and sweaty and creepy and end poorly to the point where you regret going in the first place. Don’t have expectations that are too high.
  10. Meal plans rock! People who complain about dining halls are stupid. Dining halls rock! AT my school there are always basics like sandwiches and salads along with a rotating menu. The key is to be creative! Mix and match pieces from different areas of the dining hall and you can make a kickass meal. My favorites? Rice with beans and lettuce and cheese from the salad bar, or get a tortilla from a sandwich station and shredded cheese from the salad bar and make a quesadilla on a Panini maker. The possibilities are endless. Watch what other people do and steal their ideas.

 

Do you have any advice for incoming college freshmen? Comment below and let me know!

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Advice for College Freshmen Part III: 15 Things You Need to Bring

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You have list after list of the many things you need to purchase before you head off to university in August. But there are several things no one ever thinks to tell you to add to your boxes. Here’s a list of 15 things you won’t think to bring, but need to:

  1. Umbrella: I never thought about purchasing an umbrella. It wasn’t until one of the families I babysat for in high school gave me one as a graduation gift that it even crossed my mind. Walking across campus in the rain is a pain, but unavoidable. Make sure you’re prepared with an umbrella and rain jacket.
  2. Toilet Paper: some dorms provide toilet paper, some don’t. At my school the big dorms have staff who clean your bathroom and provide toilet paper, but the smaller ones do not. Go to your school’s housing website and find out which is the case for you.
  3. Cleaning supplies: Once again, rules differ by school and dorm, make sure you check so you don’t get stuck in a gross situation.
  4. Fans: Most schools by now should have air conditioning units in all dorms, but unfortunately I don’t think that is the case. If you’re going to a school with hot summers and springs and no air conditioning, it is worth investing in a fan to have in your room so you don’t die of heat stroke.
  5. Shower shoes: especially if you are in a hall style bathroom. You don’t want all that gross-ness on your feet. Suite style bathrooms are a little less gross because there are fewer people using it, but it is still a good idea. I recommend those cheap flip flops that places like Old Navy sell for $3 during the summer.
  6. Command strips: I swear by command strips. These things are incredible. Buy hooks to put in your closet and hang bags and scarves. Buy Velcro strips to hang picture frames on your walls. Command strips make it easy to make your temporary room feel like home. That being said, be careful. Some styles of strips are harder to get off and if you apply to walls (as opposed to brick or concrete), they may tear the paint off and leave a bunch of little missing-paint circles that you try to tape back on and then have to have your Dad spackle over during finals week so you don’t get paid hundreds of dollars to fix it…not saying that happened or anything….but here’s a picture of what it may have looked like if it did….photo
  7. School supplies: obviously you’ll need notebooks and pens, but you’ll also need things like staples, paper clips, rubber bands (we used hair ties as rubber bands for the entirety of freshman year…..), markers, tape etc. You probably didn’t think about these things because they are always at your disposal at home, once you get to school you’re on your own
  8. Surge protectors: First of all, its just a good thing to have to protect your stuff. Secondly, there are only so many outlets in that little room and this will help you plug in all of your gadgets.
  9. Brita Pitcher: CLEAN WATER, YAY! This probably sounds ridiculous, but if you don’t have some way to filter your water you’ll be drinking most of it from your bathroom faucet and if you’re a germaphobe like me, this just lessens the anxiety.
  10. First aid stuff: similarly to the school supplies, this is stuff you take for granted because it was always laying around at home. Don’t forget to pack things like Band-Aids, Neosporin and ibuprofen.
  11. Ethernet cord: Does your dorm have wifi? Does your dorm have good wifi? If you’re not sure, buy an ethernet cord to keep in your room. Keep it hooked into the wall outlet and plug it into your laptop if your connection goes out or becomes slow. It’ll save you from wanting to throw your laptop at a wall at 11:52pm when you have a paper due at midnight and the internet connection has gone MIA. Check and see if your school provides cords, too. I got on when I picked my laptop up.
  12. Extra laundry baskets: extra laundry baskets are great because you can use them for pretty much anything. I had two in my closet, one for dirty clothes and one for shoes, and then we used another to collect our recycling. These are easy fixes to a lot of problems, and they’re pretty cheap (I think target puts their dorm ones on sale in August for about $2).
  13. Lint Roller: for some reason you never need a lint roller until you don’t have one.
  14. Ziploc bags: so so so useful. You never know when you’re going to need a Ziploc bag.
  15. Stain remover: food. Makeup. Tooth paste. Ink. Alcohol. You’re going to spill things on every article of clothing that you own. DO NOT WASH YOUR CLOTHES WITH STAINS ON THEM; you’ll dry the stains into the fabric. Apply stain remover before washing any clothes that you have dripped on.

Have your own advice for incoming freshmen? Comment below and let me know!

 

until next time

k

Book Review: Under the Never Sky Series

My favorite thing about summer is that I actually have time to read books. From August until May school takes up 120 percent of my time, but in the three months in between, all those books that have been stacking up on my shelf and lists are fair game. I started this summer by reading another book by my favorite author (not branching out) and re-reading one of my favorite series (Divergent, again…not branching out). Then I came upon a list of books recommended for people who enjoy books such as the Hunger Games and Divergent so I decided to try it out.  Here is my review of the Under the Never Sky series:

Title: Under the Never Sky

          Through the Ever Night

          Into the Still Blue

Author: Veronica Rossi

Genre: young adult, sci-fi, romance, fantasy, dystopia

 under never sky graphic

Summary: Under the Never Sky tells the story of 17-year-old Aria after she has been exiled from Reverie, here secluded and partly virtual home. This punishment is almost certain death, outside of her enclosed city is a wasteland inhabited by brutal, barbaric tribes and terrible storms. She is on her deathbed when she meets Perry, her only chance for survival. Despite his hesitation, they both realize they need each other to get what they want and survive. Aria and Perry must learn how to work together to survive.

Review: This book started out really slow for me. I really love this style of book, but for some reason I had a hard time getting into this story at first. Dystopian style novels tend to start out kind of slow because the author spends so much time explaining the setting and context for the story. However, once I got passed the first 50 or so pages, the story picked up greatly.

I fell in love with the characters. They are rough, yet charming; unreal, yet engaging and believable. You have your traditional: we hate each other, but we need each other to survive story line—-which can set kind of old and predictable, but the characters were so well written that I really didn’t mind. Aria- the confused, scared yet strong female lead. Perry- the gentle and passionate giant. Roar (possibly my favorite of all)- the deeply sensitive and spunky sidekick best friend. They are all interesting, well-developed and well rounded. That being said, I almost think that the first novel was my least favorite character wise. They introduce a lot of little characters, but it isn’t until you get into the second and third novels that you really fall in love with them. I think this goes back to the author having to spend so much time creating and explaining the environment that the books take place in.

Once I finished the first book, I immediately headed to the library to find the other two. Then finished them both within a week. The character’s blossom, the story lines are engaging and continue to be action packed and the love-story (spoiler, but not really because predictable) becomes complicated and deep.

This series was a surprise for me. I went into hoping it would be interesting enough for me to finish, and that I wouldn’t feel like I had wasted my time. Boy, did I win out on that bet!

I recommend this book to anyone who likes the young adult, dystopian-style, romance-yet action packed novels. Very, very similar style to The Hunger Games and Divergent series’, if those are up your alley. It may be a little hard to start, but give it time and you will likely fall in love!

4.5/5 stars.

Advice for College Freshmen Part II: How to Be a Good Roommate

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Whether you are rooming with your best friend or some rando you got matched with, roommate situations can be difficult and confusing. You can start off on the right foot by establishing important rules and boundaries from day one. Here are some things to consider in any roommate situation:

Set boundaries and be honest about what you want: You’re going to be sharing a room with this person for the next 9 months; this just means that you need to set some boundaries. This includes things such as food, clothes, space and time. Will you share food? Clothes? Can they go into your stuff if they need to borrow something while you’re gone? Are there specific time you can and can’t use the TV? Do you plan to study in your room or at the library? You don’t need to have 100% of this figured out, it will come with time, but you do need to consider where you stand and what you want. However, you do need to consider the important things immediately because you’ll fall into a routine and you need to respect that it is as much their room as it is yours.

Be willing to share, but not everything: I’m pretty sure it would be impossible to live in the same room with someone for a year and not share things. That’s just weird. You definitely don’t have to share every single thing you own, but you need to establish some rules as to what you can and can’t borrow. My roommate and I have some very basic but important sharing rules:

  • Food can be shared, but be respectful. If it’s their favorite food ever ever ever, proceed with caution (like if you eat my roommate’s red sour patch kids….you may want to sleep with one eye open). Also, don’t finish their food. That’s just cruel.
  • Share clothes, but ask first. More than likely you’re going to need/want to borrow a shirt or dress or something of your roommates, just establish rules about what and when they can take and if they always need to ask.
  • School supplies are pretty much fair game. The way I see it, if it’s going to help you be a better student and achieve your academic goals then please take something out of my desk (I’m talking about paper clips and staplers and stuff, but this is important stuff y’all!)

There are plenty of other things you could need to share (DVDs, chargers etc), just be sure to discuss the rules as they come up.

Have communication skills: FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD IN THIS WORLD, COMMUNICATE. Passive-aggressivity is not the way to go in a roommate situation. If there is something they repeatedly do that is bothering you, nicely bring it up. If you need to address something that isn’t working or a rule that needs to change, do it. Don’t sulk around getting all pent-up with anger because you’re too petty to bring it up. Just do it. You’ll thank yourself later.

Set some ground rules: more rules, yay! Here I’m talking more about rules for having people over and doing work and watching TV and all of that jazz. You’re inevitably going to have a time when you have people come to stay for a night or weekend. Your roommate deserves advance notice in this situation. They don’t necessarily have to make other plans to be gone (you are in no way entitled to kick your roommate out of the room for an extended amount of time, it is as much their room as yours), but they deserve time to make any plans they need or want and prepare. It’s also important to establish rules about the use of TV and music in the room. I personally do most of my studying and homework in my room, as does my roommate. Therefore, we don’t really want the TV on in the middle of the afternoon. Some people prefer to work outside of their room so they may not care if their roommate watches Ellen everyday at 4pm. It all depends on personal preference, just be sure to talk it out.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Have respect for the person who shares the same room with you. It’s just basic courtesy.

Do your part: You will have to clean and do chores. Share the burden. Freshman year we made a chore chart for our room, we rotated taking the trash out and washing the dishes and then jointly cleaned the room/bathroom about once a month. DO NOT put all of those duties on your roommate (they will hate you). DO NOT not do chores (it’s gross and smells and it’s just not a good idea). If you’re having problems with getting your roommate to do equal work, talk about it (or make a chore chart and nicely force it upon them!).

Find something to bond over: living with a roommate can be awkward and weird at first. Find something you have in common and bond over it. My roommate and I bonded over a mutual love of Taylor Swift and then continued to bond over TV shows and musicians and other things. Try to find something you have in common and cultivate a relationship with that in mind. Your roommate can be an amazing rock and confidant in your life. Try new things together. Try something they like. Keep an open relationship because it will benefit you in the future.

Help them out: if your roommate is struggling with something, whether it is time-management or course load or being homesick: help them out. Let them know you are there and help in any way you can. Moving away from home is not easy and everyone struggles in his or her own way. Be there for them, roommates stick together.

 

All this being said, I have the best roommate in the world. We met on a roommate matching website through our university and clicked instantly and we have been insanely lucky to have bonded and connected in the way we did and maintain such a strong relationship (she’s the Cristina to my Meredith and I had to write that in here because she said she would kill me if I didn’t include a Grey’s reference). Also, sorry not sorry here is a nice montage of our faces.

rommate collage

However, I do realize that this is not the case for all people. In the event that you end up with a not-so-great roommate these rules still apply. You obviously don’t need to spend extra time with them, but you still need to set boundaries and establish rules and communicate your needs. Mutual respect is rule numero uno for roommate situations and if you can make that a rule of thumb in your dorm, your roommate may not turn out to be so bad!

 

Always remember: it is as much their space as it is yours.

 

Until next time!

k

ANNOUNCING…………

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It all happens in the blink of an eye. You make one of the biggest decisions of your life at 17 or 18 years old: where are you going to spend the next four years of your life?

The decision isn’t easy, there are many factors involved, but that’s a whole other post. If you’re reading this, you’ve already made the big decision….CONGRATS (insert 30 second dance party).

Now. While you’re probably acting all cocky and macho because you’re one badass who is totally ready for all the college-y things in your future…you’re probably actually scared as hell.

And to an extent…you should be. You’re moving out of your parents home. You’re going to be in charge of your own education, wellness and all of that jazz. It’s new, it’s big, it’s scary, but the first thing I want to tell you is: you’re ready.

The scariest part of college is that everything seems unknown.  Maybe you’re worried about making friends or how hard classes will be or how to live with a roommate. There are probably a million scenarios running through your head. And when you’re worried or anxious, what helps more than a stranger on the Internet telling you what do?

But on the real, I am really looking forward to my first multi-part segment on advice for college freshmen (ahhhhhhhh wooooooooooo).

I have several posts planned for the next couple of weeks that will dish out pieces of advice I have accumulated in my two years of college. Hopefully some part of this information can reach someone and give him or her some reassurance or help or advice in any way.

Check back in the next couple of days for the first post: Do’s and Don’ts of Freshman year.

Can’t wait for all the nostalgia and excitement, because TBH I wish I could be a freshman forever….(YOU CAN’T MAKE ME GRADUATE…YOU CAN’T).

K. I’m tired and I need to stop typing now. bye.