Tag Archives: university

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!

Advertisements

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

packing graphic

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

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

roommate graphic

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

Advice for College Freshmen Part 1: Do’s and Don’ts of Freshman Year

dos and dont graphic

Self explanatory title so let’s get this show on the road.

DO: everything in your power to meet people. The first weeks of school are all about meeting people and making friends. Say hello to the people on your hall as you move in. Keep your door open while you unpack. Go to a club fair and meet people with similar interests. You don’t have to be best friends with every person you meet (or even talk to them two weeks from then), but you’ll never meet new people if you don’t start somewhere. And everyone is doing the same thing. Everyone is trying to meet new people. You are not alone.

DON’T: go home. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT go home for during the first few weeks of classes. You may get overwhelmed and running home for a night or two may seem like the best decision, but don’t do it. You need that time to learn and grow and get comfortable. Also, the first few weeks of the semester (especially the weekends) are when everyone is being social and making friends. If you leave during that time you’ll inevitably be missing out on the most important social time of the year and may find yourself being among your peers.

DO: keep up with your parents. There are several reasons this is important. For one, if you don’t there is a large chance that they will stalk you down and text/call you multiple times a day and you don’t want to be that kid who is constantly talking to their mom and dad. Secondly, they are your parents. There is a good chance that they are paying for your education, and even if they are not they raised you and took care of you for 18 years and you just should. Kay? Kay.

DON’T: spend all of your time with the same person. Whether it is your roommate or best friend or SO, doesn’t matter. Do not spend all of your time with one person. You’re missing out on meeting new people and it is likely that that person will make friends even if you don’t and you’ll get left in the dust.

However, DO: befriend your friend’s friends. I can’t even tell you how many friends I have made through my roommate and visa versa. Mutual friends are fantastic because you probably have similar interests/personalities if you have a lot of mutual friends.

DON’T: think you have to have everything figured out. You have four years (and even after graduation honestly) to figure out who and where you want to be. Don’t rush it. Don’t freak out. You don’t need to know your major from day one, take some classes and test the waters and see what you like. Give it time for everything to fall into place. The transition to college is hard enough, don’t put extra expectations and pressure on yourself.

DO: try something new. Go to a club fair. Join a club or intermural sports. Even if it is something you have never done before. Try. It’s a great way to get involved, stay active and meet people.

DO: use the ‘free’ resources on campus. They’re not actually free because you pay for them through tuition and fees, but use all of the ‘free’ resources that your university provides while you are a student. This includes everything from career services, to healthcare to sporting events. These are incredible gifts and get your most for your money by using them during your time as a student.

DO: prioritize your education. The amount of overstimulation during your first year is overwhelming, but remember to prioritize your education over all of the extra stuff. That’s what you’re there for. That’s what you’re paying for. Don’t set yourself up for a bad experience from the get-go. As my dad always says, “you’re paying the same amount as everyone else, but if you do it right you can get 10x the value they do.”

Most importantly,

DO: have fun

But DON’T: go crazy. Of course college is a time for breaking out of your shell and finding yourself, but take it from a pro, you’re not going to find yourself (or at least not your real self) at the bottom of a bottle. Drink, have fun, be merry, but be smart and take care of yourself. Do not disregard your values. Don’t change who you are. Be you, grow, blossom, be amazing. That’s what it is all about.

 

to be honest i think i may have to do a whole other dos and don’ts post because there are so many

COMING SOON: How to Deal with Roommates (aka How to Be a Good Roommate)

 

college girl’s guide to finding an internship

We have all been told that internships are an important part of our educational experience. They are a sort of rite of passage between student life and working life that can look great on a resume, but also provide incredible experiences and can be an important tool in figuring out what you want to do in the future. However, while internships can provide great means to establish connections, find mentors and collect skills in your field, they are not easily come by.

Finding the perfect internship can be stressful and confusing, but it is so important to find an internship that fits your personality, goals, educational interests and schedule. Make sure you consider your interests, qualifications and availability when looking for internships and consider some of these other tips as well:

  • Have an appropriate resume: you will not get any internship if you have a bad resume. Bad can mean several things: it is unprofessional, you have spelling errors, it looks like a child wrote it, it has the wrong information and so on. It is worth spending hours to make your resume acceptable to send to companies and businesses; your resume is the first thing a hiring manager will see and it will be all they have to make an initial judgment on (and that initial judgment is the difference between getting an email or interview and getting your resume thrown in the trash). People judge the person by the resume. Be very, very careful. That being said, here are some resources for creating a good resume:
      • Most colleges have a writing center or online resources to help students create resumes. They can help you sort through relevant information, format and edit your resume.
      • Use basic, simple, and easy to read texts. Don’t use fancy texts because they are “pretty” or “cute.” Just, no.
      • Also, don’t go color happy. It’s not professional. It doesn’t give off the right vibe. It makes your resume stand out for all of the wrong reasons.
      • That being said, you want your resume to stand out for the right reasons. Make it look nice. Make sure it is appealing to the eyes. Make sure it flows and looks good on paper and is easy to read and follow.
      • Be sure the information is right/relevant/important. Your resume should have your education (college and high school while you’re still in college, you don’t need you high school information if you’re graduated from college). Put relevant experience; clubs, groups, sports, extracurriculars.
      • Only include high school information if you are a freshman or sophomore in high school. After that, drop it and stick to more recent, relevant information. This includes jobs and awards.
      • Use action words. Stick with action-oriented words to describe your experiences and in job descriptions.
      • There is so much important information for writing resumes. If you’re making your resume all on your own, be sure to refer to various sources to find all the information about fonts, colors, information etc.
      • Some sources I like include this and this
  • Cover Letters: I hate cover letters. I hate cover letters. I really, really hate cover letters. In most cases I use the body of an email (with my resume attached) as a pseudo cover letter. My advice with cover letters is to have all of the important information, but be brief. People want to read a cover letter to know a little about you and why you’re interested, but they don’t want to be overbearing and boring (snoooooozeeeeee). There are several important pieces to a cover letter:
      • Your name, school, major, what you’re looking for etc: Basic important information about yourself and what you are looking for. What time frame are you looking for a job during? How much time are you willing to dedicate? All of that good stuff.
      • Where you found the job posting: there are a couple of aspects to this. Did you find it on a website? Say so. Are you just reaching out to a company to see if they have any positions? Say that. Just acknowledge where you are coming from.
      • What skills do you think you could bring? What relevant skills do you have? Read the posting specifically, are there any qualifications they specifically asked for that you should acknowledge? If so, do it.
      • Why are you interested? This is beyond “I need something to put on my resume.” Never, ever, ever write that. You should be interested because you want to gain skills and expand your education and learn from others and all of that jazz.
      • I always end my letters with something along the lines of “I look forward to hearing you soon.” Make it obvious that you are waiting for a response.
      • SAY THANK YOU: dear goodness, say thank you. Be polite. Thank them for their time and consideration. Have manners, people.
      • Give your contact information: email, linkedin, phone number etc.
      • Attach your resume (if in email): so many times I have been so close to sending a cover letter without a resume attached….so, so close.
  • Find somewhere to actually apply: by now you’re probably thinking “wow Kristin, this is great, but where the heck to I even find somewhere to apply?!?!” Fear not, young grasshopper. There are several places/ways to find internships to apply to.
      • Does your school have career services/websites/listservs? Get on that. A lot of times those postings are from people who are looking for students specifically from your school (because it rocks and you rock for going there) or from a specific major. Look out for that information and use those resources while you have them.
      • Internships.com: put in location, major, time period and any other relevant information. The site will produce lists and you can input more search options. Click on the listings and see if you qualify and you can send your resume and cover letter straight from the site.
      • Internmatch.com: *****same as above
      • Other websites such as craigslist and monster can be places to look as well.
      • Look into specific companies/places you are interested in working: if there are specific places you are interested in working for OR you just think it may be a good place to reach out, go ahead and send an email with your resume and cover letter. I have two internships this summer and I found both by sending emails out of the blue. It works people (cough especially if you’re willing to be unpaid cough…more on that later).
      • Use who you know: your aunts, uncles, parent’s friends, neighbor, the mom you used to babysit for. Use the connections that you have. Reach out to people and test the waters. Don’t hesitate to ask people for help if you think they have applicable information. But be smart, don’t ask someone who isn’t reliable or hates you or anything like that.
  • You honestly really need to be willing to work for free: it is really hard to find paid internships, but so many companies are willing to provide incredible opportunities for students who can work for free. Yeah, getting paid would be nice, but the experience is worth more than a minimum wage paycheck.
  • Always send a follow up email after an interview: Once you have your kick-ass resume, send a fabulous cover-letter, land that coveted interview and rock that as well, make sure you send a follow-up email to the people you interviewed with. Thank them for their time and information and express how interested you are in the job. This is lesson #1 I learned from my dad when applying for jobs and it definitely puts you ahead of any other candidates (and reminds them about you even after you’re gone).

Finding an internship can be crazy, hectic and (lets be honest) kind of scary, but so totally worth it when you score an amazing internship and get to spend your summer or semester learning crazy cool things about jobs you wish you had for real.

The opportunities are endless, go out and find them.

 

internship graphic

 

k