The Ultimate Study Abroad Packing List

study abroad packing list

So you decided to take the plunge: you applied to study abroad and you got accepted! This is definitely an exciting moment, but getting prepared to go abroad can also be quite nerve-racking. There are so many things you must prepare for before you study abroad, and honestly, it can feel pretty overwhelming. If you were already nervous about packing to go away for college, this is like twice as insane because you’re going to be in another country (unless you were already going away to college in another country. In this case, you probably already experienced all the insane nervousness).

As I’m packing to go on my study abroad trip in a few days, I want to triple check and then quadruple check that I remembered everything. So I’ve basically been researching all the things I need to take with me. My professor also emailed my group a packing list for the country we’re going to, and I’ve been thinking a lot about which items I personally need while I’m abroad. So I created this ultimate list of all the things you need to pack for your study abroad adventure to take some of the stress out of your packing! I think that sometimes people overpack and then they’re in trouble on the return flight because they purchased a bunch of gifts and things from the other country to bring back for family and friends, so they end up with overstuffed, overweight luggage and they have to pay extra money because of it. So without further ado, here’s what you should pack!

Clothes: 

  • 3 pairs of pants
  • Sweaters/t-shirts (as you see fit)
  • Pajama tops + bottoms
  • Camis/tank tops
  • Underwear (enough underwear)
  • Bras
  • Socks
  • 2 party/formal outfits
  • Stockings
  • 1 pair of tights
  • Weatherproof/all-weather jacket
  • Waterproof boots
  • Sneakers
  • 1 pair of flip-flops + shower shoes
  • 1 pair of fancy shoes (flats, heels, etc.)
  • Touchscreen gloves
  • A hat and scarf

Hygiene/Toiletries: 

  • Face wash
  • Toothbrush + toothpaste + toothbrush holder
  • Face towel
  • Bath towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Shampoo + conditioner + body wash (in travel bottles)
  • Razor
  • Pads/underwear liners
  • Comb + brush
  • Dry shampoo
  • Hair ties
  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Makeup

School supplies: 

  • Tablet
  • Notebook
  • Pens + pencils
  • Textbook(s)
  • Journal

Electronics: 

  • Plug + voltage adapters
  • Chargers for phone/tablet/laptop
  • Earbuds
  • Camera + SD Card
  • Portable charger

Medical: 

  • Travel Tylenol
  • Allergy medicine
  • Prescription medicine
  • Band-aids
  • Q-tips
  • Eyeglasses/contacts

Miscellaneous: 

  • Tide-to-Go pen
  • Wristlet/crossbody
  • Umbrella (unless an umbrella is no use against the weather)

Don’t leave without: 

  • Passport + passport holder (Visa if needed)
  • Boarding pass
  • Exchanged currency
  • State ID
  • School ID
  • Debit/Credit card
  • Insurance card
  • Emailed copies of important documents

Notice how I mentioned a “weatherproof” jacket and “waterproof” boots. I think people tend to go crazy with jackets and shoes and things — they spend money and use up space on different jackets for different weather changes, whereas buying one jacket that’s good for rain, snow, wind and even has a lighter detachable inner jacket is a much better investment. You don’t need to pack a raincoat, a winter jacket, and a spring jacket when you can get one jacket that does it all. This is the North Face 3-in-1 waterproof jacket that I bought for my trip to Ireland. I was told that bringing an umbrella is optional because they don’t stand a chance against the rain in Ireland, so I made sure I bought something that would keep me dry and warm.

If you’re only going away for a mini session (3-4 weeks) avoid bringing nail polish and nail polish remover. Nail polish remover is flammable (whether or not it contains acetone) and the TSA prohibits flammable liquids. Get a mani before you leave for trip and hope that it lasts! Also, I highly doubt you’d even want to stay inside and paint your nails when you could be exploring the city, meeting locals, and making memories. For a list of what you can and can’t bring on flights, check out the TSA’s website here.

Related Posts: 9 Things You Must Consider Before You Leave For Study Abroad, The Collegiate’s Ultimate College Packing List, 13 Things Not Allowed In Dorm Rooms + What To Bring Instead 

What’s on your study abroad packing list? 

 

 

10 Tips For Surviving Winter Classes

10 tips for surviving winter classes

College winter break can usually be summed up by one of three things: you worked, you took a winter class, or you Netflixed everyday. A good chunk of students usually take a winter class during the winter term to catch up in their degree program, complete a curriculum requirement, or boost their GPA, or even for all of the above. My first time taking a winter class was after I had finally declared myself as a Journalism major and I needed to catch up in the program because I was almost a year behind. Let me tell you, taking even one winter class makes a HUGE difference if you’re behind in your program. Yes, it was pretty costly because I had to pay for winter housing (ya girl cannot drive two hours both ways four days a week in crappy weather) but it was still worth it.

Most people think, “oh, a three-week class? This’ll be the easiest A I’ve ever gotten!” Well, not necessarily… Winter classes often move at a much faster pace because you need to learn at least 12 weeks of material in three weeks. Also, the class time is MUCH longer EVERYDAY. Usually, you’ll have class for three hours a day, four days a week. It can get pretty mind numbing after a while. And if your class starts at 8am, good luck… If you’ve never taken a winter class before, here are some things to be wary of if you truly want to do well and finish in one piece.

1. Go to bed early.

If you think having an 8am class twice a week during the fall semester is bad, wait till you have it four times a week in the winter. Make sure you get to bed early so you don’t wake up late and arrive to class late. Even if your class starts later in the day, you still want to be well-rested because the classes go on for at least three hours (that’s how mine was) and I really don’t recommend struggling to keep your eyes open in this situation. One of the cool things about staying on campus during intersession is that there isn’t much going on at this time on campus — no parties, no friends trying to get you to go to the club, no annoying people down the hall blasting music until all hours of the morning. So, there are far fewer distractions to keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.

2. Bring water and a snack to class.

You’re definitely going to get hungry, especially if you didn’t have time to grab a bite before leaving for class. This is especially important if you’re commuting to your winter class because you likely wouldn’t pay for a meal plan for the winter session (I know I wouldn’t if I were a commuter) so bringing a snack from home will help you stay alert during class. I used to pack a banana and granola bar into my backpack before leaving my room and they always came in handy!

Related: How To Survive Back-to-Back Classes (With No Breaks In Between!)

3. Use your break to stretch your legs.

You get a 15-20 minute break halfway through, so that’s nice. Use this break to get up and walk around because you’ll definitely get tired of being glued to the same spot for the entirety of the class. You definitely want to do this if you find it difficult to sit still during a lecture that lasts one hour and 30 minutes. Walk to the water fountain; step outside for a quick breath of fresh air. This is also the perfect time to have that granola bar you packed.

4. Work on homework assignments immediately.

Everything is sped up and you do get homework assignments just like you would if the class were held during a regular semester. You definitely get much less time to complete the assignments because your professor is trying to get you through so much material, so make sure you keep your head in the game and finish all of your assignments in a timely manner. You really can’t afford to miss one. As soon as you’re given an assignment, begin thinking about what you’ll need to do in order to prepare for it and/or complete it. The great thing about winter classes is that you’re only taking one class (winter session is usually limited to three or four credits), so you don’t have any other class assignments to get in your way. In other words, there’s no excuse to slack on the homework. You’re going to work extremely hard during winter session, so don’t let your guard down!

5. Get to know the people in your class.

I met some of my closest friends during my winter class. A lot of the classes will have fewer than 100 and even fewer than 50 people. My class had around 10 students, so it was very easy to know everyone by the end of the week. Having a buddy to share the misery with makes things a whole lot better, so don’t be shy! Winter classes are also great for making connections with professors because they’re more likely to give you individual attention when they have fewer students to lecture to. Their office hours may be out of whack, but that doesn’t mean you can’t approach them before or after class, or even during your break. Your professor will really get to know you and your skills, which can be really good if you want to reach out to them later in your college career for a letter of recommendation or something.

6. Stay engaged during class.

It’s going to be very easy to feel like falling asleep in class. It’s cold af outside; you’re already bundled up in a warm, cozy sweater; you have a piping hot cup of coffee right in front of you. So why not just close your eyes for 20 minutes? Oh, because if you do you’ll basically miss a day’s worth of notes. Missing important details definitely isn’t on the syllabus. This is also why it’s important to get as much sleep as you can for this class. Stay awake by drinking water frequently, chewing gum, and raising your hand in class to occasionally answer or ask a question. For some reason, when you actually answer questions in class, the time seems to just fly by. Maybe because you don’t have to sit there worrying that the professor will randomly call on you because you haven’t spoken in a while. I don’t know, I could be wrong. Making a new friend in class may also motivate you to keep each other awake.

7. Dress in layers.

There were some days when the classroom was insanely warm and other days when it was freezing cold. This also applies to the regular semester, too, because we all have that one classroom where we simply can’t win with just a long sleeve, or just a sweater. Layering is your best bet at staying comfortable. If you’ve gotten this far in the post, you probably know by now that the class is really long so you need to make sure you aren’t freezing or burning up for three hours straight.

8. Have money on hand.

I was required to have a meal plan for the winter session because I lived on campus and, honestly, there weren’t many dining halls open so I was basically buying a sandwich and a banana everyday for lunch and dinner. During the winter session, you likely won’t have all the dining halls open and operating — just one, maybe two if you’re lucky — so you’ll likely get tired of eating the same thing over and over again. If you bring some money with you, you can order take out and have some leftovers for a couple of nights. This also comes in handy when the weather gets really bad and you don’t want to leave your room.

9. Have your cold weather essentials.

This can include touch screen gloves (my favorite essential!), cold medicine, and other things that you think you might need. You wouldn’t pack a parka to go to the desert, so make sure you’re bringing all the right stuff to survive the harsh weather. I won’t discuss this too much here because I have a blog post about winter essentials that you can check out.

10. Be a smart textbook buyer.

Last, but certainly not least, this is one you really have to watch out for. You don’t have a month to decide whether or not it’s worth getting a textbook for your class, so you really have to be on your toes for this. Talk to people who have taken the class during the winter session and see if and how often they used the textbook. A lot of times, the textbooks are used heavily because the winter session is so short and professors might direct you to the textbook for anything that can’t be covered in class. But I know spending money on textbooks is a major drag, so I have a post on how to buy textbooks in college. This past semester, I only spent $15 on textbooks! Crazy, right?

Have you ever taken a class during winter session? What are your survival tips? 

 

10 Things I Learned From One Year Of Blogging

lessons learned from one year of blogging

It’s my one year blogiversary! It has OFFICIALLY been one year since I created Macarons & Mascara and wow, just wow. I have gone through some great things (and not-so-great things) with this blog in the last 12 months, and I feel so proud to have come so far. I got thousands of pageviews, got to work with amazing brands for sponsored opportunities, recently ran an awesome giveaway in partnership with one of my favorite makeup companies, and got well on my way to building a strong social media following for my work.

To celebrate my blog’s new ~maturity~ I’m sharing 10 lessons I learned in the last 12 months, and also my goals that I have for my blog for 2017. Since 2017 is literally just a few days away, I guess we’ll call my goals my Blog Resolutions (let’s pretend for a minute that the name actually sounds cool and witty).

1. It takes a village to raise a blog.

Being part of a community of other bloggers is extremely important for growth. You need people with more experience who can give you advice — from what camera is a good investment, to how you can deal with a blogging slump. And when you get more experienced, you’ll be giving advice to newer bloggers. I think that far too often, and not even just in blogging, we make the mistake of treating our acquaintances as competition because maybe they’re doing really well for themselves and we don’t want to take away from our own success. I’m lucky enough to be part of an amazing group called the InfluenceHer Collective, and I’ve been able to interact with so many different bloggers from different places and with different experiences and perspectives, and the support we give each other is incredible and has definitely contributed to me reaching my goals.

2. Your blog is like your baby.

You created it so you need to take good care of it! I have been through some terrifying moments with my blog this past year but I managed to be a good blog mom and fix it and make sure it’s all better. Seriously, when there’s something wrong with your website, no matter how big or small, it’s all you can think about until you resolve the problem. There have been times when I sat in class while chatting online with tech support and trying to take notes because I couldn’t carry on and pretend I was okay knowing that my blog wasn’t the way it should be. It takes care and patience, which brings me to my next point…

3. It’s not just about writing.

Writing and taking photos is a small part of it. Being able to understand and write HTML code has definitely made life with a blog much easier, and having a knack for designing graphics and working with photos is definitely very helpful. There are different components to running a website that you’re responsible for when you’re self-hosted and you have to make sure that all your ducks are always in a row. ALWAYS.

4. I love photography.

When I first started this blog, I used to design titles over free stock photos and used that as my featured image for my blog posts. But then I wanted to do something more personal that would contribute to my brand, so I decided to start taking my own photos and designing titles over those. Doing this has improved my photography skills greatly, and it has trained my eye for what looks good in a photo. Not to mention, my Instagram has never looked better! Blogging showed me that photography is my secret love I never knew existed. Now, I can spend hours on photoshoots (and money gathering props) because I love it so much.

5. Social media is a pain in the ass but I love it.

Fun fact about me: prior to Fall 2015, I had absolutely no social media accounts. None. Not even a personal Facebook. When I decided I wanted a career in writing, I began creating social media accounts, and when I started my blog, I began using social media to grow a following. Oh sweet Jesus…what a JOURNEY. Social media has been the best of times and the worst of times. I used to get so pissed off when I’d spend weeks just trying to attract five new followers on Twitter only to lose 10 over-freaking-night! It was the most annoying thing! How do you even have time to keep up with it all??? But then I started creating social media strategies that fit my lifestyle and my goals and I started attracting more people to my accounts. I still have a long way to go, but I think I’m off to a good start. Social media has also connected me with other ideas and other fun blog posts. Honestly, the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is probably scroll through Twitter looking for things to read.

6. Setting goals is a huge factor in success.

It pushes you to always do better than you did before. I set monthly goals and I take some time to evaluate each of them in detail at the end of every month. I figure out what works and what doesn’t and how I can make them better and attain next month’s goals. I like having a set pathway that can lead me to my goals, so this really helps. It has also been instrumental with school, too, because I set goals for things I want to accomplish in my classes, extracurriculars, etc. I love setting goals so much that I designed my very own blogging binder to keep me on track in 2017.

7. It looks really awesome on a resume.

Stating that I run and have grown a website is the cherry on top of my resume. It looks great because it shows that you are self-motivated, influential, and passionate about a career in online media (if you want a career in online media). I used to actually forget that I can put this on a resume. During one interview I had, the woman interviewing me actually told me that I should have it there! Needless to say, I never made that mistake again.

8. It’s a great confidence booster.

Not gonna lie, I feel pretty darn awesome walking around knowing that I’m a blogger on campus. While I don’t broadcast it to the entire campus, some of my professors and a lot of my classmates know and read my work regularly. I can even go to my professors’ office hours and have a conversation with them about my blogging! One of my professors even told the dean at our School of Journalism and we had a meeting all about my work and I gave him a business card. I can’t remember the last time I felt so confident in something about myself. Having people tell you that they love your work and that you’re doing an amazing thing definitely builds confidence. And while people on campus stare at me weirdly when I pose for pictures, my friends and I always have a good laugh about it later.

9. It’s better to take your time and do things properly the first time.

There have been times when I really rushed to take a blog photo just because I wanted to publish the post as quickly as possible instead of waiting for the next day, and I usually feel bittersweet about it. Sweet: I got a post with awesome information up when I wanted to. Bitter: I could’ve taken a much better picture if I had more time. It’s always the small things that get under our skin. Sometimes people tell me that no one notices the small things that are wrong, but the thing is that I notice what’s wrong with my post. I hate the feeling of knowing I could’ve done better, so taking my time is much better than wanting to redo the whole thing in the end.

10. I’ll probably be blogging for many more years to come.

Yep, I definitely love blogging so much, and I don’t want things to end after I graduate. I’ll probably rebrand and shift from being a college blog to a career and lifestyle blog or a mostly beauty and style blog. Or maybe even just a blog for adults — who knows! It doesn’t have to end when my college career ends.

This was my first ever post on this blog — do you remember it? Be sure to check out 5 TV Shows To Cozy Up To This Winter!

Blog Resolutions

1. Work on growing my newsletter.

Newsletters are cool because they let you communicate with readers in a more personal way (My newsletter is pretty awesome, by the way, and you should totally subscribe!). I’m finally starting to pay more attention to it and actually send out weekly messages to my subscribers, and it’s a lot of fun. I feel that growing my list will help me reach more people, so this is definitely a goal of mine.

2. Master Pinterest (and other social media).

Pinterest has been very useful for me these last six months in terms of growing my blog and getting more eyes on my work. Pinterest has helped me get over 20,000 views and thousands of shares on ONE SINGLE POST ALONE and that’s pretty awesome. I really want to be able to do that again on more posts, so in 2017 I’m setting out to become the ultimate Pinterest master. But of course, I also want to increase my following on my other social media as well. While Pinterest is a huge driver of success for many bloggers, I think that at the end of the day all of your social media working together is what helps you become really successful and reach your goals.

3. Buy a REALLY awesome DSLR.

I have fallen in major love with cameras. I like to sometimes think that the camera is only as good as the person using it, but sometimes there’s only so much you can do with an iphone camera. I do have a Nikon Coolpix L340 and while I do get super pretty HD-looking photos from using it, I would still like a more advanced camera for taking blog photos and Instagram photos so I can keep my skills sharp. I’m currently deciding between the Nikon D5300 and the D7200 but can’t decide!

4. Give out more business cards.

Last year, I made business cards for my blog and they really came in handy. I went to conferences and events and met guest lecturers at my school, and I handed them business cards. It felt so nice saying, “can I leave my business card with you?” because they always looked slightly surprised but also excited to exchange the information. You can sit in on hundreds of lectures given by the top professionals in your field, but if you don’t make the effort to establish a connection and use them as a resource, you’re not going to learn as much as you could have. Despite this, I still have a lot of business cards that I’m itching to get rid of (mostly so I can design new ones with my ~new~ and super pretty blog logo that you’ll see in 2017!). Basically, I’m going to be on the lookout for more exclusive blogger and college girl events that I can bring my business cards to.

Related: 19 Things I Learned From My First NYC Conference

5. Get my blog logo printed on stuff.

I feel like getting your logo printed on stuff is a huge personal celebration of your progress and hard work and I really want to do this! Slapping a sticker with your logo on your laptop is like seeing your name on a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (I’m assuming). I really want to get my logo printed as a sticker for my laptop and maybe even on a shirt or baseball cap or something else.

6. Monetize my blog more.

So, clearly, spending more money in 2017 is a goal of mine. I hope to be able to pay for those business cards, fancy cameras, and blog merchandise with money I make from blogging. In 2016 (mostly the later half) I made some nice pocket change through sponsored posts and advertising, but I hope to turn my pocket change into money bags, or something like that. Of course, making money wasn’t my reason for starting my blog, but it would be great to get paid for doing what I love, so I really want to find more ways to make some serious cash from my blog.

7. Keep writing two blog posts per week.

At the beginning of the year, I was basically posting whenever I could, which usually resulted in me going a week and a half in between posts. I wasn’t posting nearly as frequently as I would have liked to and my page views weren’t off to a bangin’ start because I hardly gave my blog enough attention. But then, I started setting publishing goals and took things up to one post per week and then to two posts per week. I maintained that schedule even during my busy fall semester (yay me!) so I hope to keep it up going forward. Since it’s winter break, I’m probably going to try to write three posts per week because I have so much I want to say before the semester starts up again!

8. Make more blogging buddies.

This year, I met some cool bloggers who are doing the same things that I’m doing and it was such a cool experience. Working on posts and engaging with them online has been so much fun and I hope to expand my circle of blogging gal pals. While each of our successes pushes the others to continue to do better, I don’t see them as competition — and that says a lot considering I’ve always been a really competitive person! I see them as friends and colleagues who can provide help and support. I love reading and commenting on their blog posts and I love all of our ideas. I want to see more of that, so I hope to meet more people who are doing the same thing as me.

9. Reach 100,000 monthly page views.

This is a HUGE goal of mine because it shows that you’re able to build something up so high from scratch. To be honest, reaching any page view goal shows that you’re able to make progress. I remember earlier in the year when I had finally received my first 1,000 page views, my goal for next month was to double that and reach 2,000. I ended up hitting 4,000. Reaching your goals — no matter how “big” or “small” — is HUGE. Reaching 10,000 page views may seem like a dream right now, but once you get there, you’re going to give yourself a pat on the back, eat a cupcake to celebrate, and set a goal for 15,000 or even 20,000 next time. And if you ever had any doubt that your blog wouldn’t be as big as some of the others, I really hope this tidbit gave you the motivation to keep pushing forward!

I hope you enjoyed reading tidbits of my blogging journey and my goals for 2017. Thanks so much for helping me get here! 

 

Last Minute Gift Idea: DIY Cupcake Bath Bombs

diy cupcake bath bombs

I’m not gonna lie, the holiday season can be pretty hectic. And finding last minute gifts for friends, co-workers, and second cousins twice removed just adds on to the craziness. If a surprise gift exchange at your job has you worried with no idea what to get people, here’s a ~yummy~ idea that you can DIY right in your kitchen: cupcake bath bombs! Bath bombs have become super popular this year because they’re so aesthetically pleasing, they smell good, and they turn your bath water bright colors (and anything that magically turns things pink and purple is already awesome).

So basically, I have a slightly last minute gift exchange and had no idea what to get people, but after scrolling through Pinterest and finding bath bomb recipes, I decided to make some of my own to give as gifts. I found this “recipe” for cupcake bath bombs on Trending With Tori‘s YouTube channel and followed the instructions. Here’s what you’ll need:

  •  1 cup baking soda
  •  1/2 cup citric acid
  •  1/2 cup corn starch
  •  1/2 cup epsom salts
  •  2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  •  3/4 teaspoon water
  •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  1 teaspoon almond extract
  •  4 drops of neon gel food coloring

These ingredients are for making the bath bomb part that will dissolve when you put it in water. You probably already have most of these items at home. I didn’t have citric acid or epsom salt lying around so I ran out to the grocery store to buy them. For the frosting part of the cupcake bath bomb, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

So I kinda messed up…For some reason I thought that meringue powder was royal icing powder (which I already had at home) and I used royal icing for the frosting instead! No wonder my frosting turned out slightly goopy! In any case, it still dried well and they look great, so it’s okay.

diy cupcake bath bombs

I didn’t take photos of me in the process of making the bath bombs because I literally made them last night and didn’t have really good lighting. The first thing you’re going to do is get a large bowl, ideally one that you don’t use to cook things in. Gather all of your dry ingredients and mix them together with a plastic fork to evenly distribute them. Put this bowl aside and in another bowl, combine your coconut oil, water, vanilla and almond extracts, and food coloring of your choice. It doesn’t have to be specifically gel based — you can use whatever food coloring you have on hand.

So this part is where you’re going to want to take things slow but work quickly…if that makes sense…You’re going to add the coconut oil mixture one tablespoon at a time to your dry mixture. After each addition, mix thoroughly. Adding the wet ingredients little by little prevents the baking soda from completely reacting with the liquids. You want the texture of your mixture to become something like wet sand, but not too damp or too dry. I ended up using up all of my coconut oil mixture.

Prepare a cupcake baking tray by lining the holes with cling wrap. If you have silicone cupcake liners, they would work so well and make the bath bombs look even more like cupcakes. I didn’t have them so I just used cling wrap over my tray. Fill the molds and remember to press down very firmly. This mixture made exactly 10 bath bombs.

diy cupcake bath bombs

Let them sit out for around 30 minutes. I got hungry and had to grab a snack, so I let them sit out for about 45 minutes. To make the frosting, add the meringue powder and warm water to a bowl and mix it with an electric mixer until it becomes white and foamy. This took around 3-4 minutes of mixing for me. Add powdered sugar until the mixture is stiff and you can pipe it with decorating tips. I actually ended up using closer to three cups of powdered sugar in total, but maybe that’s because I didn’t use meringue powder…

Next, I piped the frosting onto the “cupcakes” using a resealable bag and a decorating tip. Be sure to add the sprinkles right after piping because they start drying fast! Boom, now you have adorable cupcake bath bombs that you DIY’d! I can’t wait to give these as gifts because they’re super pretty. Don’t forget to check out my Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for great gift ideas for everyone in your life!

What are your last minute gift ideas? 

 

Holiday Makeup Look + GIVEAWAY!

Thank you Essence for sending me products for this post and giveaway. All opinions and words are mine alone. Thanks for supporting brands that make Macarons & Mascara possible!

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is looking at all the pretty holiday makeup looks that surface Instagram, YouTube, and makeup blogs. They’re always so pretty and so holiday-ready! I know sometimes people get intimidated to try the looks they see from their favorite makeup gurus because they think that the looks are too hard to achieve, or they “can never do that.” I’m no genius with makeup (though, I like to think my eyeliner wings speak for themselves) but I do have a look I’d like to share that’s so perfect for holiday gatherings, ringing in the new year, and celebrating with friends. And the best part is you can kick it up a notch or keep it toned down depending on the event or what you’re feeling that day!

holiday makeup look

To start off, I did my usual foundation routine, which consists of my Revlon Photoready foundation in the shade “Medium Beige,” my Colorstay concealer (also from Revlon) in “Medium,” and my Colorstay pressed powder in “Medium.” I like a full coverage because my breakouts just ~love~ leaving me little scars and marks to remember them by. Sheesh, so clingy! 

Once I finished my face, I got started on the eyes. I know some people like to do their eye makeup before doing their foundation because it’ll prevent any eyeshadow dust from ruining the foundation, but I just prefer moving on to the eyes afterward. You can do whatever you’re most comfortable with. If you’re wearing this look out to a party or event, prime your lids so everything stays put. I use $1 eyelid primer from Elf and it works great. I used white eyeshadow from my L.A. Colors Matte palette as sort of a “base” for the rest of the eyeshadow. I’ve come to love doing this because I find that it helps the other shades I put on top stand out more. For my transition shade, which I used in my crease, I used a warm, brownish shade from the same palette. I know the holidays are meant for going a little wild, but I like to play it safe by using a soft shade in my crease rather than a more dramatic one. This way, if I screw up the look it won’t be too noticeable!

I wanted to give my brow bone a little highlight, so I used the shade “Coral Me Maybe…” from Essence’s The Velvets line. It’s a gorgeous soft pink shade that feels super smooth. This shade is also super perfect for the inner corners of your eyes if you want to add an extra brightness. Even if you party all night, you’ll still look wide awake!

Holiday Makeup Look

For my lids, I used the Essence Metal Glam eyeshadow in “Chocolate Jewelry” (yummy!). This is a GORGEOUS shade that must make an appearance at every holiday event. I love that the tone is very warm and earthy, but it’s also really jazzed up with a metallic texture — definitely gives new meaning to the term sparkly-eyed. You can add as little or as much of this as you want to really glam things up, either way, it’ll be show-stopping!

holiday makeup look

holiday makeup look

Ah, I love these two shades together!

Next, I just did my usual, everyday winged eyeliner. I know lots of people use liquid eyeliner for a winged look, but liquid eyeliner just doesn’t seem to get along with me very well, so I use cream/gel eyeliner instead. The one I use is from Elf and I’ve been using it for nearly two years now. I always get questions about what it’s like using gel eyeliner and, honestly, it takes some getting used to because you have to play around with the brush, find a technique that works for you, make sure you don’t have too much or too little product on the brush, and whatnot. But practice does make perfect (or at least selfie-worthy) — I’ve been practicing with gel eyeliner since I was a sophomore in high school and I’m now a junior in college!

After that, I applied my mascara for a really flared out look for extra ~glam~. I use Urban Decay’s Perversion mascara. Then it was time for me to do my lips. Since I really wanted to look Christmas-y, I opted for a bright, red lip. I lined my lips using Essence Longlasting Lipliner in “Ready For Red.” I don’t use lipliners, like, ever but this one seriously has me questioning that choice — it’s SO great! The tip allows you to make really precise strokes, and it literally GLIDES on. The formula is so smooth and so non-drying. I couldn’t stop at just using this product to line my lips, so I decided to fill them in with the lipliner, too and it was so pretty!

holiday makeup look

If you want a glossier pout, add some lip gloss over your lipliner. I used the Essence Beauty Balm lip gloss in “Heartbreaker” — really great name because I felt so ~badass~ wearing it! This gloss is the definition of red hot. It contains shea butter, so it nourishes your lips and keeps them hydrated even while you mingle with the friends you haven’t seen for six months, or eat too much holiday chicken. I also really love that it’s not heavy on the lips and not sticky, either.

If bright, red lips aren’t your thing, opt for a softer lip. The Essence Liquid Lipstick in “Make A Statement” is a perfect subtle pinky rose. It definitely goes so great with this look, too. The liquid lipstick is really pigmented and gives non-sticky shine so you can look dazzling without feeling like your lips are doused in cooking oil. This is definitely one of the prettiest liquid lipsticks I’ve ever tried.

Another great lippie for this look would be the Essence Longlasting Lipstick in “Coral Calling.” This really is a gorgeous coral color that has some pretty pink hues in it. Just like the other lip products, this one is super pigmented and goes on so smoothly. I kept it on for about six hours and it still looked great, so that’s a definite plus! Here are swatches of each of the lip products I just talked about.

holiday makeup look

holiday makeup look

holiday makeup look

Voila! An easy-to-do makeup look for the holidays! Now, let’s get to the giveaway…

holiday makeup look

Macarons & Mascara is turning one in FIVE DAYS, and I’m pretty darn excited about it! So to celebrate the blog reaching its big milestone, I’ve partnered with Essence for this fabulous holiday giveaway. You can win ALL of the Essence makeup products used in this holiday look as well as the liquid lipstick and longlasting lipstick! Entering is super easy.

  1. Head over to Instagram and “like” this photo.
  2. Make sure you’re following me (@xoitzjazz) and Essence (@essencemakeup) on Instagram.
  3. Last, tag a friend in the comments section of the photo.

The giveaway will close on Thursday (12/22) at 11:59pm. I will randomly pick a winner and announce then name on Instagram the following morning. Good luck!

Which of these products is your favorite? 

 

What To Do If You Want To Change Your Major

6 Things To Do If You Want To Change Your Major

Throughout the course of my three years of college, I’ve changed my major around half a dozen times. I’ve gone through thinking I know what I want to do, making a plan for that career, looking into classes for my schedule, and then deciding that I don’t want to do it anymore more times than anyone’s probably willing to listen to me babble on about. It’s usually at the end of the semester that most people decide they want to change their major because by then, they have gotten a taste of a few classes for their current major and they’re in the process of deciding whether that taste is bitter or sweet. If you’re like me and you love feeling in control of everything, then feeling uncertain of your current major probably feels slightly troubling and even stressful. Plus, not knowing what you want to study anymore doesn’t really make for a great conversation at the dinner table with your parents… Fortunately, here’s how you can handle this in an organized and composed manner.

1. Ask yourself: Why do you want to change your major?

I don’t think that simply disliking one class or disliking one professor is enough to force someone out of a major. Disliking half the classes in the program, however, is another story. Every class is a lot of work, but the part of you that enjoys doing it is what makes it worth it. If you aren’t good at a subject, this may also be a reason to change your major. I started my freshman year as a Health Science major on the pre-med track because I thought I excelled at science and would be successful studying for a profession in health care. Turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. I did decently in Chemistry, survived two semesters of math, struggled through two semesters of chem lab, and completely screwed up biology. I simply wasn’t as good at science and math as I thought I was and that made me miserable, but that’s okay. I feel like a lot of pressure on changing your major comes from the way your peers might perceive you for doing so. My school focuses heavily on math, science, engineering, and computer science, and it’s pretty easy to think that you’ll be considered “less smart” because non-science majors are “easy.” I say, give ’em the finger and move on. Your major isn’t supposed to ~impress~ anyone. Also, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN “EASY” MAJOR. Likewise, don’t feel like you need to switch to a major that’s considered more “prestigious” at your school. Bottom line, make sure you’re changing your major for the right reason.

2. Look for a major that shares some classes/pre-requisites with your current major.

One concern a lot of people have when trying to change their major is that they’ll basically be starting from scratch again. Looking into majors that also require one or two classes that you’ve already taken is a good way to not feel like you’re completely starting over. Maybe you took an intro level history course as per your school’s curriculum requirement and you want to start studying history. This is a good starting point when looking to change your major. But sometimes, we might make a change that’s COMPLETELY different and we have no choice but to start from scratch. This was totally the case with me when I declared journalism as my absolutely final major, but I’m glad I made the switch because (and this is going to sound totally sappy) I’m studying something I love.

Related: How To Create The Perfect Class Schedule

3. Talk to people who are studying what you’re thinking of studying.

Ask them what they learn in the classes they’re taking, how they plan to use the major after graduation, etc. Of course, you probably shouldn’t let your decision ride on just one person’s thoughts so try to talk to as many people as you can to get an idea of what you can expect and see if this is a major you’re still interested in studying. Be on the lookout for ice cream socials and other events designed to get people in the major together. If you can attend, this is the perfect place to talk to multiple people!

Related: 10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

4. If you aren’t sure about another major, declare it as a minor first.

I always tell people to dip their toes in it first by declaring it as a minor if they’re REALLY interested in the subject. From there, you can declare it as a major later on if you really want to, and you’ll already have a good chunk of the major completed. When I was in high school, I used to think that your minor HAD to be related to your major, but that’s not the case at all. You can be a Biology major and a Spanish minor; a Journalism major and an Art minor — I love that there are so many combinations!

5. Don’t compare your progress with anyone else’s.

This is super important when deciding that you want to change your major. Depending on when you decide to change your major and how much of the program you have to complete, you may be a bit behind. You may not be able to graduate in the time that you initially wanted to. You may also find that you need to take a winter or summer class to “catch up.” Let me tell you, even just one three-week class over the winter can make a huge difference, especially if it’s a pre-requisite for a lot of other future classes. Thinking about how ~that~ person is a sophomore taking 300-level classes, and how ~that other person~ is going to graduate early is only going to harm your progress. Focus on YOU and what YOU need to do.

6. Make an appointment with your advisor.

If you don’t yet know what major you want to switch to, see your advisor. He or she can talk you through what major might be a great fit for you. If you know what major you want to switch to, see the advisor of that department. They can determine which classes you can take over the winter or summer intersessions, if you need them. Advisors are really great for helping you see both the big picture and the little ones within the big one. They can tell you exactly which classes to take every semester until you graduate, and they can help you plan the best way to help you accommodate any minors or double majors, and other things that might come up. If you only decide to do one thing on this list, it has to be seeing an advisor! If you aren’t sure what questions to ask an advisor when you see one, here are some for you to jot down:

  • Will I need to take a summer/winter class?
  • Which classes in the program are available during the summer/winter?
  • Are online classes available?
  • Will I still be able to graduate in the time I expected?
  • Are there any joint-degree programs available for this major?
  • Does this major require any concentrations that I should be aware of?
  • Is it possible for me to take pre-requisite classes as co-requisites with other classes?

That last one is my favorite question to ask my advisor because it helps me take as many classes as I can each semester. Of course, I always consider whether or not I can handle the course load before I do it. Another thing to consider discussing with your advisor would be waitlists. If there are closed classes that you need to take, make sure you can either get on the waiting list or have your advisor throw you in.

What are you studying in college? Have you ever changed your major? 

 

9 Things You Must Consider Before You Leave For Study Abroad

9 things to consider before studying abroad

I’m studying abroad in Ireland this winter (yay!!!) and it’s going to be my first time traveling outside of the country since I was four years old, and I’m pretty darn excited. I’ve heard so many things about how life-changing study abroad is and how it’s “the experience every college student should have.” You’ve probably heard the same spiel that I have. I recently had my study abroad orientation at school and we covered so many things that I didn’t even think I’d have to think about while abroad. Honestly, the only things I prepared for prior to orientation were purchasing my ticket, converting the currency, and buying some travel essentials. If you’re studying abroad in another country in the near (or far) future, DON’T even so much as pack a suitcase without considering these things.

1. Your health insurance while abroad.

I got that “oh crap” feeling the moment the presentation turned to health insurance because guess whose mind insurance never even crossed…My school puts study abroad students on a special health insurance plan because accidents can happen and you need to know how much and what costs your insurance will cover. The plan makes it easy for us to report and check claims from our phones, and we can also find other services this way. Ask your school’s study abroad office if they offer an insurance plan that you can be put on.

2. Can you get your prescription medication in the country you’re traveling to?

One important thing to note is that while you’re abroad, you should not be changing anything in your routine. Some people who travel abroad during intersession think that it’s okay to not take their medicine because it’s “only three weeks.” Make sure you bring your medication and also see if you’re able to get it in the country you’re traveling to in case you lose it or something. This website called the Drug Translation Guide is great for figuring this out. Your medication may also come under a different name and dosage, so figure this out before you board a plane.

3. Your passport expiration date.

Did you know that if your passport expires within six months of your return date to the United States, you may not be able to get back into the country? Yeah, neither did I. I’m not travel expert, but this may be an important detail to take into account.

4. Currency conversions and payment options while abroad. 

Converting your currency is a huge thing to consider before traveling — how will you pay for meals and other things you’re going to purchase? You can convert your currency at your bank, but be aware that you may actually have to order the conversion in advanced, and the rate may change daily depending on your bank. Also inquire about any conversion fees. You definitely don’t want to just pick yourself up two days before your departure and go to the bank to try to convert your money. Another thing to consider would be whether or not you can use your debit card or any other cards while abroad. Be sure to find out which cards are accepted in that country. Leave yourself with enough time to consider money matters for your trip.

5. Packing a voltage and plug adapter. 

My heart practically fell when they told us not to bring straighteners on the trip because using a U.S. flat iron in Europe could practically set a floor on fire. Even with an adapter. The current isn’t the same in every country, so make sure you know what items you need in order to be able to use certain electronic devices. Essentially, you need a voltage adapter for anything that heats up — hair dryers, curling irons, and computers if they don’t have a built-in voltage adapter. This is probably one of the biggest items (besides your passport) that you can’t get away with not bringing with you. If you have any doubts, ask your study abroad office what electrical items are and aren’t allowed in the country you’re visiting.

6. The other country’s social etiquette. 

Another really surprising part of orientation came when we were discussing the social do’s and don’ts while abroad. What may be appropriate behavior and attire in your country may not be appropriate in another country. The professor my group has been traveling with has been taking students to Ireland for many years now, and is of Irish decent herself, so she was able to tell us a lot about what to expect and what not to wear. Let me tell you, I probably would have packed a couple of clothing items that I wouldn’t have been able to wear if she hadn’t told us otherwise. Getting a feel for the country’s social norms can really help you decide what to pack and what to leave at home, so do your research! Also research what gestures are considered rude in the other country. A peace sign with your fingers may be cute in your country, but in another country it can be highly offensive.

7. Alcohol. 

We were told that with a lot of students, alcohol consumption nearly doubled while they were abroad. This can do with the drinking age being different in another country, and everyone else around you may be drinking so you might think “why not?” I know that talking about alcohol isn’t all that fun and I like to talk about fun stuff, but it’s still something to be aware of. Make sure you continue to do what you need to do in order to look out for yourself and keep yourself safe.

8. Class materials such as textbooks. 

It is still STUDY abroad, aka you’re not on vacation and you still have classes to take and probably homework to do. Find out what things you’ll be expected to bring for class time. The only things I’m required to have are a textbook and a journal for documenting the trip, but make sure you know in advanced if you must order the textbook or if you can rent it or get it from your school’s bookstore.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Buying Textbooks In College

9. Preserving the memories you make. 

Do you plan to bring a fancy DSLR? Will you just stick to using your phone? Do you want to have instant prints using an instant camera? Consider how you’re going to take photos while you’re away. I hope to purchase an instant camera from FUJIFILM before I leave so I can have adorable, tiny prints for my travel journal, so definitely let me know of any good deals on an Instax mini! Preserving memories isn’t just limited to taking photos. You can also start a free blog, a vlog on YouTube, a scrapbook, or a journal, to name a few.

What other things should you do before leaving for study abroad? 

The Collegiate’s Ultimate Winter Bucket List

The Collegiate's Ultimate Winter Bucket List

Thirty-degree weather? Check. Heavy coats, gloves, hats, and scarves? Check. Cup of hot chocolate to warm your hands while you walk to class/work because you forgot your gloves? Check. Winter is basically here — fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you feel about the cold. I totally wanted to create a fall bucket list earlier this semester but then I got caught up in other blog posts and class work and all that other fun stuff, so I’m making it up by creating a super fun winter bucket list! Bucket lists usually motivate me to get things to done that I really want to do, and they’re a great way to organize ideas for fun outings and activities. If you’re intent on not spending your winter recess with Netflix and a blanket (as amazing as that sounds) add these ideas to your bucket list.

1. Make a gingerbread house.

Not only do gingerbread houses look cute on Instagram, but they also make for a cute girl’s night or family activity. This is a holiday tradition you can’t pass up, and there are so many ways to get creative with it. I suggest looking up gingerbread house decoration ideas on Pinterest. But if you don’t have the patience or the architectural skill to build a gingerbread house, you can never go wrong with holiday cookies! Just the other night my friend and I baked literally mountains of cookies in the midst of finals week!

2. Have a secret santa exchange with friends.

I have always been a fan of secret santa exchanges because you don’t have to buy a gift for every single person in your friend group, which means you can save a lot of money and put more focus and thought into one gift for one person. Of course, what usually happens is we all get that one big gift that our giftee really wants and then we get something small for everyone else in the group, like homemade cookies in treat bags or tiny bundles from Bath & Body Works. This is a super fun exchange and you can even make it into an event with dinner and hot cocoa.

P.S., if you need gift ideas for EVERYONE in your life, be sure to check out my Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide!

3. Have a winter-themed photoshoot.

Over the past year, I have really come to love taking pictures of things — college events, my food, selfies, nothing in particular — and I often grab my suite mate or my camera savvy bestie and take photos of me outside doing things to use for blog posts (like the one below!). Photos are really fun ways to look back on the things you’ve done, so this is a great idea for your bucket list. Get your friends and grab someone’s phone and get creative. There’s also a lot of photoshoot inspo to be found on Pinterest.

4. Send holiday cards to friends.

Travel back in time to when email didn’t exist and a text message was basically like a dream. Sending holiday cards feels so much more personal than a quick text message. I’m not shitting on text messages (they’re still really thoughtful) but if you want to go the extra mile and show your friends and family that you’re thinking about them, invest in a pack of holiday cards and fill each of them with your favorite memories from the last year, things you love the most about them, etc. I have never sent holiday cards to people but this year I really want to. My relationship with stationery went from love to obsession in a few months time, so this is a great excuse for me to purchase cute cards, pens, envelopes and embossing tools that I don’t actually need.

5. Have a hot cocoa night with family or friends.

Seeing as this is a winter bucket list, something related to hot cocoa has to be on here. Or maybe it’s because I recently got a new Keurig and have been making peppermint hot cocoa in my room everyday for the last few weeks…Anyway, hot cocoa making is the perfect indoor activity on a dreadful day. This would be a great time to sit down in front of the tv with family and just chat and enjoy each other’s company. I know I won’t have much face time with my family this winter recess because I’ll be off to Europe to study abroad as soon as January begins and I’m coming back two days before the start of my spring semester. And of course, I also want to have as many hang outs with friends — old and new — before I leave, so this one is definitely on my bucket list.

6.Have a good, long talk about college, your relationship  status, and other awkward things with your parents. 

Well, this is probably inevitable, but maybe hot cocoa will make it less awkward (see above). Your parents and family members will ask questions about your last couple of months of school, so you might as well get it out of the way. If the person you’re dating is not a topic of conversation you’d like to have, some other ideas include the classes you’re taking next semester, how far along you are in your degree program, which professors were the absolute worst this semester, and how many all-nighters you pulled (a little sympathy is nice sometimes).

7. Discover a new place to eat in your area. 

This could be a cafe, restaurant, deli — anything, really. While I do have some favorites that I wouldn’t mind revisiting over and over again, I also love trying out new places to get food. I usually look to Instagram and websites like Cosmopolitan and Popsugar to tell me which New York City eateries are dishing out the hottest new Instagram food craze, then I make it my mission to go out and try it for myself. If anyone knows any must-visit eateries in New York City, do let me know in the comments! I’d love to visit them this winter!

8. Pet a reindeer.

My reasoning behind this one is simply that I just really want to pet a reindeer. Honestly, I’m not even sure if there are even farms or places where you can pet reindeer. I’m not even sure it’s safe to pet reindeer, as they’re probably really sensitive animals and you wouldn’t want to scare them. I’m not a reindeer expert, but that would be my guess. I do know, however, that you can pet tons of cute kitties in New York City thanks to the cat cafe! It’s called Meow Parlour and it has been on my bucket list all semester! But if you manage to get to pet a reindeer, though, you should totally take a picture and tag me on Instagram so I can cry tears of joy and be jealous at the same time.

9. Learn how to crochet.

I’ve been crocheting for maybe five or six years now and it’s definitely one of my favorite pastimes during winter. I always feel so inspired (and motivated) to crochet warm beanies, scarves, and headbands to wear out. Once you’re in the zone, it’s so easy to crochet for hours on end while you sit in front of the tv. So cozy (and a bit addicting!). Did I mention that crocheted items also make beautiful gifts for friends and family?

10. Reflect on your semester.

This is a very college thing that everyone should do at some point before they return for the spring semester. Reflecting on your semester allows you to see where your strong points were, where your weaknesses were, where you ended up by the end of the semester, and where you want to be by the end of the next one. It is essential to setting new goals because how do you know what to aim for if you don’t know where you stand? In order to have a fruitful reflection, I suggest getting a small journal to record your thoughts on your semester. You can even turn it into some type of bullet journal to make it prettier and more fun to look at. I know it’s easy to just want to put the semester behind you (I’m not even home yet and I already want to put this semester behind me) but taking time to think about things can help you be on top of your game next semester and avoid making any mistakes that were made during this one.

11. Check up on your bank account and other financials.

This may not be very fun — especially if you ran out of meal points during the semester — but, like the previous point, it’s definitely an essential. I’ll admit that throughout the semester, even though I said I would be diligent about my financial tracker and my expense tracker — I certainly wasn’t. In fact, I completely forgot I had made one. So I like to save the winter break for cleaning up and reorganizing myself financially. Plus, if I need to run to my bank for any reason, I have enough time to take care of everything because I’m at home.

Related: 13 Tips For Saving Money In College

12. Ride a ferry boat.

I rode a ferry for the first time last winter and personally, I thought it was magical. I had never been on a boat before so the feeling of gliding over water, the wind in your hair, and the seagulls swooping overhead was so cool and surreal. Like, it literally gave me life. I know that not many people would see it that way, but if you’ve never traveled over water before, use this winter to do so. Of course, the cold weather isn’t ideal for standing on deck with the seagulls (I learned that the hard way) but nevertheless, it’s still pretty fun. You can read all about my experience on the Staten Island Ferry here.

13. Go to an animal shelter and keep the animals company. 

Socializing animals is a fun way to spend the day. Many of them are happy to be petted and played with (if the shelter allows you to take them out of the cages and hold them — ask first!!!). By the way, this is a super cute and unique date idea for the winter time! Making your furry friends happy is always so heart warming. Always make sure you call up your local shelter first to see if you’re allowed to come in and pet the animals or bring them treats.

14. Go on a carriage ride. 

Last but not least, add a carriage ride to your list. This may not be a super unique thing to do during the winter because literally everyone and their mother is going to want to try to take a stroll through the city by horse drawn carriage in the spirit of the holidays, but it’s certainly worth doing if you haven’t done it yet. This is definitely on my winter list alongside going on a bus tour around the city.

What’s on your winter bucket list? 

How To Study For A Class You Don’t Pay Attention In

How To Study For A Class You Don't Pay Attention In

Everyone has that one class that they haven’t really been paying attention in. Maybe it’s super boring and you can’t help but zone out or do something…less boring, like check your email or something. Maybe you use this class to catch up on work from other classes. No matter, finals week is coming up and you’re stuck choosing between momentarily getting your shit together to salvage as much of your grade as possible and pretty much giving up. It ain’t over till it’s over, so trying to salvage the grade sounds pretty appetizing. Especially since you may have the ghosts of semesters past clawing at your door for not paying attention — or is that just regret? If you aren’t even sure where to start prepping for your final, consider doing these things.

1. Form a study group.

The easiest way to obtain information that you’re missing is to collaborate with others who might be able to fill in the blanks. Notice the keyword here is collaborate. Don’t come into a study group empty-handed with nothing to contribute; the other people in the group will definitely be annoyed that you’re basically just there to mooch off of the notes they’ve been taking and not offer anything of your own.

2. Study the main themes outlined on the syllabus.

Seriously, syllabi are sometimes the only things that can help you keep it together and get organized. If you really don’t know where to start studying, refer back to the syllabus. It’ll give you a general idea of what you should look at. You can even use it as a checklist for when you complete each topic.

3. Round up whatever notes you did take in class.

This will be handy if you decide to start a study group. Plus, keeping the notes you did record could help you remember anything else you might’ve heard the professor mention, even if you were taking BuzzFeed quizzes while the professor was lecturing. This is definitely a good start and probably the second thing you should automatically do when studying for anything (the first being to look at the syllabus). For more study tips, be sure to check out my post on How To Have A Productive Library Study Session.

4. Go to the TA’s office hours while you still can.

The TA isn’t as intimidating because they’ll judge you less than the professor will for not knowing the material. It sounds harsh but professors totally keep track of who has their shit together and who doesn’t, and some of them are just more willing to go the extra mile for students who pay attention and make the effort rather than the ones who don’t (can you blame them, though?). TAs are students just like you, so they’ll be less harsh when filling you in. But do them a favor and make their job easier by coming prepared with at least a couple of specific questions about the material.

5. Practice problems that could be on the test.

This is great if you’re in a chemistry, math, or other science-y, math-y class. Usually, professors post previous exams online as study aids so this is definitely a good way to prepare for what’s to come. And if you swear up and down that you can’t solve a single problem on the previous exams, bring the test to your TA’s office hours and go over it with him or her.

6. Go to tutoring.

If you don’t want to constantly bother your TA, go to tutoring instead. Tutoring is also a good way to get one-on-one attention; if your TA is really popular, you can bet that everyone and their mother will be trying to go to office hours for the final push. So if you’re really behind consider scheduling an appointment with an on-campus tutor.

7. Review your previous exams.

This is a good way to reiterate the material that was taught over the course of the semester. Reviewing your own exams will also give you a sense on which topics were crystal clear and which ones you still need to work on. If you come across a question or topic that you struggled with on the exam, put a star next to it so you can review it with the TA or tutor, or ask if anyone in your study group arrived at the right answer.

8. Figure what you don’t know and learn it.

What it really comes down to is solidifying the stuff you kinda know and attacking what you don’t. You have more or less one week (a couple of days if you’re unlucky) to learn a semester’s worth of material, so you can’t afford to waste too much time on the concepts that you’re kind of good at.

What are your tips for studying for a class you don’t pay attention in? 

Related post: How To Finish The Semester Strong, The Ultimate Study Session Playlist

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