21 Things I Want To Do Before I’m 22

You guys, I’m 21 today!!! And with that, I must say, YIKES, I’M 21 TODAY! I’m getting closer and closer to life as a grown ass job-working, bill-paying adult, but before that happens I wanted to make sure that I live my college life to the fullest so I graduate with no regrets (at least no more regrets).

So in the spirit of being 21, I decided to make a list of things I want to do before this time next year. I know that a year can fly by really quickly (p.s., check out my post on things I learned from one year of blogging!) and I hate setting goals and then realizing in the end that I didn’t reach them, but if there’s anything I’ve learned so far in 2017, it’s that some things aren’t always as far-fetched as they seem. I’m not saying that dreaming about flying like a bird will help you grow wings and fly, but I am saying that with enough planning and effort, you can get what you want eventually instead of wondering what could have been. I’m rambling now. I’m getting old; I’ll probably be 22 by the time I finish this introduction.

Alright, now I’m done. Check out my list and let me know if you have any similar aspirations!

1. Travel to California.

Ever since I returned from my study abroad trip to Ireland, I’ve been very travel crazy. Who am I kidding, I’ve been travel crazy even before I got on that plane! I’ve been dreaming about traveling to Cali for a really long time now. I know it’s “just another state” but I’m excited to experience the media industry there since that’s where some of my job aspirations lie, and also possibly meet a celebrity! I’ve even been looking into interning in California this semester at a media company, but I know this will be very expensive since I don’t have relatives or friends who reside in Cali and I’ll likely have to pay for university housing if I actually get an opportunity there. But I’m willing to bet my birthday cake that there’s a possibility if I look hard enough, so that’s what I’m going to keep doing.

Also, my badass best friend got an internship with a Cali-based company for the summer so we’re hoping to travel there together this summer and hang out a week before her internship starts. So maybe I’ll get to see San Fran after all!

2. Intern at a well-known company.

While we’re still talking about summer plans, this is one of my hopes for the three months before the fall semester. I had a fantastic editorial internship last summer at a company that was already kind of big but has gotten EVEN bigger over the last six months. One day, my cousin messaged me a link to one of their Facebook beauty videos and I felt super proud telling her that I actually used to work there! I hope to be able to do this again this summer.

3. Publish a book.

Or at least already be in the process of publishing a book. I have wanted to be an author since I was in middle school and wrote my first shitty novel. But no time like the present, right? I didn’t do as much writing as I would’ve liked to have done during my spring break, but that’s already in the past. I enjoy writing both fiction and self-help type of things, so maybe my first book will be one of those (PLOT TWIST: my first book will be BOTH. *gasp* No, let’s not).

4. Attend College Fashion Week.

I was SO upset when I couldn’t attend CFW this past fall, but this year, I’m READY FOR IT. Her Campus organizes it every year, and, let’s be real, any HC event is full of glamour, free stuff and general awesomeness, so you can bet your strawberry daiquiri I’ll make every effort to be there. I think CFW is such an empowering event because the models are REAL college girls who come from so many different backgrounds and are unique in their own way, so I’m really excited for the chance to go this fall.

5. Have a photoshoot on the beach.

My first time actually walking on a beach was when I was in Ireland and went to Inch Beach. It was cold as hell, if hell were to freeze over, but it was still really cool. My group didn’t stay on the beach long, but the next time I go to any beach, I intend to go prepared for a day of fun photo-taking (and actual sunlight).

6. Take a spontaneous trip somewhere.

I wanted to do this for my spring break this year with my best friend. My plan was to basically call her up and be like, “dude, what’re you doing this spring break? Nothing? Let’s go on a train ride to South Carolina!” Unfortunately for us, our spring breaks didn’t overlap so no spontaneous train trip happened. I’m gonna be on the look out for spontaneous travel opportunities over the next year, because why not?

7. Work with more brands on my blog and social media.

I really love learning about new brands and sharing them with y’all, so I definitely hope to work with more brands this year. I have already gotten to work with amazing ones like Clarisonic and Essence makeup, and I had so much fun while doing it!

8. Make a scrapbook.

I have been thinking about this for a while now but never actually made a move to go out and buy scrapbook materials. Oops. Now’s as good a time as any to start, I suppose. It would be nice to have something to look back at cherish.

9. Start a YouTube channel.

I promised myself I’d start a YouTube channel in 2017 and I still have yet to do it! I love watching videos and I also love shooting and editing videos. I’ll be damned if I don’t post even ONE video on YouTube by March of next year. Space and time for filming and editing are my biggest obstacles this semester, but hopefully I can make something work.

10. Get blog merch.

I want to get my blog logo printed on stickers, baseball caps, shirts and basically other cute things. It’s shameless self promotion and I want to have something symbolic of how far I’ve come with Macarons & Mascara.

11. Buy a pair of really expensive sunglasses.

I’m not extra, I promise. But I really love Kate Spade and I’ve been eyeing their sunglasses for a really long time now. I’ve become more of a invest-in-one-really-high-quality-thing kind of person instead of a buy-a-ton-of-cute-things-for-cheap kind of person, and expensive sunglasses are definitely on my list. It’s much better to buy one good thing that can last you a really long time than to spend less money on a low-quality item that you KNOW is low-quality and will have to be replaced in a few months.

12. Learn how to swim.

If it ain’t an inflatable swimming pool, I’ll probably drown in it. Yeah, I don’t know how to swim, which is probably a skill everyone should possess. But luckily, the swimming pool at my school is supposedly opening up next semester, and one of my friends is a part-time swim teacher and has promised to teach me how to swim even if she has to drag me to the pool everyday, so I feel blessed.

13. Get a tattoo. 

This has been on my list probably since I was in high school. I love tattoos and I love looking at other peoples’ tattoos and hearing about what it means to them. I also have a kind of low pain tolerance, so I don’t know what’s going to happen there, but hopefully I’ll be less of a chicken this year and just go for it.

14. Take a bartending class. 

My college offers bartending classes to students where we can earn a certificate by the end of the semester. I think this is pretty cool even if I might not get a part-time job as a barista. It’s something interesting so why not!

15. Take myself on a date. 

I feel awkward when I’m out somewhere by myself so I want to work on getting over that. I keep looking up articles on places to take yourself on a date and I’ve been seeing some really cool stuff (including taking yourself on a trip to Iceland!!!) Maybe travel is in the stars for me.

16. Become better at makeup. 

I love makeup and have so much of it. I really hope to be able to take the time perfect techniques for eye makeup so I can do pretty looks for events and special occasions.

17. Donate clothes I no longer wear. 

I have too many items in my closet that I haven’t touched in years and seeing it all sitting there annoys me because I know that there’s probably someone else who could put the clothes to good use. It’s probably going to take a while, but I want to do a thorough cleaning of my closet. I think this is definitely the year I finally get up and actually do it.

18. Be featured in a magazine. 

I’ve imagined seeing myself in a magazine (and maybe even on the COVER) since I was a little girl. It’s probably far-fetched but a girl can dream!

19. Win a lot of money on those scratch off games. 

I’m obsessed with scratch off game cards. Especially the $1 ones so I can buy a bunch of them at once. I’ve one money off of them several times before but nothing to really brag about. It would be cool to win like $500 or $1,000 from a scratch off game, so fingers crossed!

20. Create the ultimate dorm room. 

My dorm decor game has gradually gotten stronger over the years. I’ve been building a more and more comfortable and efficient dorm room by simply organizing things differently and getting the right decor for my aesthetic. Hopefully, my senior year will bless me with the genius idea for a dorm room that will make everyone else cry.

21. Keep blogging! 

Heck, I sure hope that a year from now I’ll still be doing what I’m doing at this very moment! Blogging is so much fun and I’ve been able to connect with so many other people who share that interest with me.

Here’s to being 21! 

10 Tips For Surviving Room Selection

10 tips for surviving room selection

I have never had a stress-free room selection process. Something has ALWAYS gone wrong for me and I have never gotten to live in the dorm rooms on campus I truly wanted to live in. And before you say where you live on campus next year doesn’t matter, it TOTALLY matters. At my school, the quad or even the building you live in can basically dictate how you should schedule your day. My quad is one of the furthest ones from the main plaza where classes are, and because my campus is so big, it usually takes me around 15 to 20 minutes to walk to class in the morning. In other words, I have to move my ass (and no sleeping in!) so I’m not late. I also have to make sure I don’t forget anything important in my room because then I have to choose between a) miserably going through the day without it or b) risk being late for my next class to burst my calves wide open trying to walk back to my room for it. And, unfortunately for me, I have forgotten things in my room many times. But enough about my dorm room that’s so far from civilization (you’ll hear more about it in my upcoming post on dealing with a dorm room far from your classes). Let’s get back to room selection…

A lot of colleges make room selection a “lottery process” which means everyone is given a specific date and time or number for selecting a room and all hell breaks loose. Room selection is known as that time of year when you know who your true friends are — I have seen it actually destroy friendships! I rarely encounter anyone who doesn’t have at least one crazy room selection story to tell. So if this is your first year participating in room selection, or you’ve gone through it before but still want tips on survival from the ~queen~ of shitty room selection experiences, you’ve come to the right place.

1. Think about what’s most important to you.

For some people, living in a building where every suite has a kitchen for cooking is a priority. For others, being able to have a single room is most important. Use your preferences to narrow down your choices. It will make room selection much easier. It also doesn’t hurt to try talking to a few people who already live in the buildings you’re considering so you can get their input on whether or not it’s worth it.

2. Make sure you have no holds on your school account.

You CANNOT participate in room selection if you owe your school any payments for anything. This could be from parking tickets, study abroad fees, any application fees that are missing, etc. Check your account to make sure there are no holds, and if you see a hold that you are unfamiliar with, go to your school’s admin office ASAP to figure it out and have it removed.

3. Form a group EARLY.

Sometimes you need a “full” group (usually at least four people) to fill a suite, so make sure you get everyone gathered ahead of time. Make sure your group consists of people you get along with because you’ll be sharing the space with them for a whole year. This would also be a good time to tell your soon-to-be roommate and suite mates what they can expect from you, and if anyone has any rules or conditions that they need to set, this would be a good time to tell everyone. This way, if someone doesn’t agree they still have the time to find another group if the condition will really be that big of a deal to them.

4. Don’t double dip.

Don’t promise to be part of one group and then also promise to be part of another group. I know a lot of people don’t like saying no to others, but double dipping will cause confusion and screw you over, and some people will be really mad at you for flaking later on. It’s better to be honest and say you already have a group you’re considering. When you’re offered a spot in a group you don’t want to be in, saying things like, “that would be cool,” or, “hmmm, we’ll see,” or, “yeah, maybe,” is a HUGE no because you aren’t explicitly saying that you’re interested or not interested. No one likes mixed messages.

10 tips for surviving room selection

5. Post on social media to find roommates.

If you don’t have a group to go through room selection with, post on any class pages on social media to find one. People do it all the time, especially if your school is big on class pages. Invite any interested people to send you a private message, or leave your email. Just be aware that there’s no time to drag your feet with this. These roommate arrangements tend to move quickly because people want the security of knowing they have at least one other person to help them pick a room. Once you guys start messaging, ask if you can meet up sometime soon to get to know each other a bit more and talk about any likes or dislikes. Exchange all information necessary for the process (usually their full name and student ID number) and decide who has the best lottery time for getting you into the room you want.

6. Be a little selfish.

Not everyone ends up getting their #1 choice but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try. Don’t let anyone convince you to abandon what you really want for something else (unless all the rooms have already been filled). It’s okay to be a little selfish and say you really don’t want to live where your friends want to live, and as long as you don’t expect them to get up and follow you to the dorm of your choice, there should be no hard feelings.

7. Have a backup plan and a backup plan for your backup plan.

Things don’t always go as planned — I should know! If your first choice fills up before you can pick it, immediately move to your second choice without hesitation. If you’re picking with a group, your backups should be discussed in advanced so you don’t have to panic to get in contact with one another to re-assess and come up with a plan B. Also have a backup plan for your backup plan because those can fail too. During last year’s room selection, not only did my group’s backup plan #1 fall through, but our backup plans #2 and #3 were failures as well!

8. Don’t sleep in on your selection day.

One person in the group is usually the one who selects the room for everyone else. If this is you and your selection time is in the morning hours, PLEASE don’t sleep in! If you miss your time, you kind of just screwed you and everyone else out of the room you wanted. One year, when I was picking my classes for next semester, I woke up EXACTLY ONE MINUTE AFTER my scheduled time. I never jumped out of bed so fast in my life!

Related: How To Get 8+ Hours Of Sleep In College

9. Make sure you have a good Wifi connection.

At my school, everything is done online, so a strong Wifi connection is a must! If you know the Wifi is always spotty in your room, you might have to leave to go somewhere else when picking a spot. Go outside in your pajamas for five minutes if you have to; you don’t want to risk getting screwed by a spotty connection.

10. Breathe.

At this point you successfully got into the room you wanted, got into your backup plan, or got really unlucky and have to live in the part of campus you like the least. If the latter happens, inquire about room swaps early on, or try to power through it for at least a semester. The good news is you made it through room selection (hopefully) as unscathed as possible and you have housing for next semester!

What are your room selection survival tips?

10 Of The Cutest Must-Have Spring Accessories

10 Of The Cutest Must-Have Spring Accessories

My favorite thing about the changing of any season is the changing of the cute outfits and accessories that get sold in the stories (and having gorgeous new scenery for photoshoots). Spring is extra fun because floral prints and pastels basically get vomited on everything and the changing weather makes it possible for you to show it all off. At least I hope so…these past few years have given us here in the northeast snow in April, so I don’t know. Untimely precipitation aside, I’ve compiled a list of the 10 cutest accessories that you NEED to have in a special place in your closet this spring. Many of these items can go with almost anything, so you’ll never run out of cute outfit ideas for class, brunch, a picnic with friends, or photoshoots.

1. Elastic flower crown — $12

Flower crowns have been my thing since high school. I’ve always been so attracted to the feeling of enchantment and innocence that flower crowns embody. I spent months staring in awe at the models online rocking flower crowns before I decided that enough was enough and I needed one in my life. Flower crowns are perfect for when you’re running late and don’t know what to do with your bedhead. They jazz up your look without being too over-the-top, and you probably won’t be able to buy just one! You don’t have to pick one with GIGANTIC flowers on the elastic; the one pictured above is very subtle but still very spring-worthy. 

2. Floral headwrap/headband — $8

If you aren’t a fan of flower crowns, try floral print headbands instead. They’re still really cute and playful but won’t draw as much attention as a flower crown. They also add a flirty element to any outfit, so you might find yourself reaching for it when prepping for a picnic on the grass with your crush or boyfriend or girlfriend. The hairstyle I return to my room at night with is often not the one I left with in the morning, so I always like carrying a headband in my backpack to make last minute hairstyles in the bathroom before class easier.

3. This puppy crossbody bag — $13

I adore funky purses and crossbody bags, and that’s really saying something because I’m really not a purse and handbag kinda gal; if I can do without having to carry a bag on my shoulder, I’m good. But honestly, every girl needs a cute crossbody for something. They’re great for when you don’t need space for a ton of items — just the essentials like your phone, wallet, and lipstick — and when you want your hands to be free. Be bold and get your hands on something adorable and out of the ordinary. I have seen some really cute ones, like a pineapple crossbody from Kate Spade, but this puppy one is my favorite! Who can say no to that face???

4. An eyelash scarf — $24

Thankfully, there are no real human eyelashes involved in this scarf, but the wispiness gives it a really pretty effect that’s perfect for a spring look. The scarf is lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about sweat rolling down your neck while you wear it. Even though it can sometimes be windy or chilly, you really don’t need to stock up on scarves for the spring, so I recommend investing in one spring scarf you absolutely adore and just wearing it whenever it fits your fancy.

5. A statement ring — $38

Heaven knows I can’t be me without my rings. Ask my parents about my relationship with rings and they’ll roll their eyes and tell you they don’t know where to begin. Just take my word for it: I. FREAKIN’. LOVE. RINGS. You can definitely wear three different and be super fancy, but you can also wear one big statement ring that fits all the glamour. Got an evening best friend date and want to accessorize? This is perfect. Just want some hand candy for going to class on a nice day? You’ll gobble up the compliments you’ll get about your ring.

6. Sunglasses — $35

Sunglasses are another one of my obsessions. I personally believe that you can never go wrong with having a nice pair for those days when the sun has made it a personal mission to blind you. Shades with really colorful lenses are a fun way to get in the spirit of spring.

7. Bracelet-watch set — $30

Curating the perfect set of arm candy takes time and sometimes a lot of money, so buy a bracelet set that takes care of that for you. I adore sets like these because everything fits together nicely and can really make your look stand out. I hate not wearing watches because it’s so much easier to just look at your wrist for the time than to dig inside your backpack or jacket pocket for your phone (because a shallow pocket suddenly becomes two-feet deep when you really need something in there). There are so many cute spring collections that you can choose from!

8. A fun hair scrunchie — $6

These hair scrunchies that have those little bunny ear things on them are so simple yet so cute and can add a little flair and flirt to any ponytail. I remember when a lot of people started thinking that these big, poofy hair scrunchies were so “elementary school.” Get a pretty patterned one that’ll make all the girls jealous. Pro tip: get a scrunchie in your school’s color so you can support your school’s sports teams from head to toe.

9. A skinny belt — $20

Belts are the perfect accessory for accentuating your waistline and adding dimension to an outfit. I love the way skinny belts look when worn on top of shift dresses or baggy tops. Because it’s spring, dresses and other items made from light, flowy material are in, so you’ll see lots of these.

10. Cute patterned stockings — $6

Because it can still get chilly during the springtime, stockings are a closet staple if you’re going to wear dresses or skirts. Fishnet stockings may not be appropriate for a job interview, but they can look really cute with an edgy skirt. I don’t wear dresses or skirts much but I always make sure I have one pair of skin color stockings (for professional things) and one pair of really cute sheer stockings with a dot pattern on them for when I actually decide to put on a dress. Patterned leggings can add texture to your outfit and are especially cute if you’re wearing a solid colored dress or skirt.

What are your must-have accessories for the spring?

Related: 8 Travel Makeup Tips + Beauty Essentials For Travel

6 Terrible Cover Letter Mistakes To Stop Making

Every time I write a new cover letter, I find myself saying, “Damn, I wish I had known this before I sent my previous cover letter.” I hate saying that. Cover letters can be really tricky to write, especially if it’s your first time writing one and I hate seeing other people make the same mistakes that I have made, which is why I decided to write this post (and basically start this blog). In my internship search experience (last year + this year), I have written three types of cover letters:

  • One that got me an interview, and eventually, the position
  • One that got me just an interview
  • One that got me nothing

I am NOT a hiring team expert; I’m just a college kid like you looking for my bit of summer experience before I venture out into the real world. In other words, I, like you, still do not have the *perfect* cover letter writing formula that will get you an interview every time. But in the meantime, I do have some mistakes to share that I sure as hell will never make again — and mistakes that you’d want to hear about before it’s too late.

1. Don’t try to be overly funny.

I know you have a wonderful personality full of sarcasm, puns, and a love for cat sweaters (a.k.a. all of my favorite things) but don’t try too hard to be funny. If you’re pursuing an internship at a fun, vibrant company, you’ll feel like you need to express a bit of your personality there. I get this struggle, but I personally feel like it’s much better (and safer) to convey your passion for the company and its mission than to convey how good (you think) you are at cracking jokes while sounding professional. Being funny works if your joke is actually funny. There are some things that sound way better when you say it rather than write it. Show off your personality some other way. Remember that a hiring team will spend about 30 seconds looking at your cover letter; you don’t want those 30 seconds to be spent trying to figure out your joke.

2. Don’t basically re-write your resume.

Related: A College Student’s Ultimate Guide To Resume-Writing — With Examples!

I was warned against this many times. If you’re going to restate everything in your resume in your cover letter then what’s even the point of a resume? Your cover letter should hit on points that your resume doesn’t. Are you currently undertaking a huge multimedia project as video production assistant for your school’s athletics department? Did you hit huge goals during your time as contributing editor for your school magazine? Good, say that. If you did something that relates perfectly to the job you’re applying to, use your cover letter to briefly talk about it. This brings me to my next point…

3. Don’t be vague — show, don’t tell.

Don’t tell a hiring manager that you are good at time management. SHOW them. Were you able to balance seven classes, a part-time job, and your positions as student body president and writing center tutor? Awesome. These are details that show an employer that you’re an asset by providing specific examples. I didn’t back up lots of my claims in past cover letters, but I know to do that now thanks to advice from one of my professors.

6 Cover Letter Mistakes To Stop Making

4. Stop sending cover letters without getting a second opinion.

Go to a professor you trust or your school’s career center. And if your friends are master cover letter writers, go to them, too. Other people can usually catch things that you yourself can’t. Don’t be afraid of asking questions for clarification — it’s better to completely understand the mistake than to pretend you do and make it again later. Because people can be really busy and you don’t want to annoy them, you’ll have to plan ahead. If your deadline is Tuesday at noon, don’t email your cover letter to your best friend at midnight on Monday because that doesn’t give them a lot of time to read and edit. If anything, they’re probably already cranky from having to study for an upcoming test and not getting enough sleep. Do you really want someone who’s cranky editing your cover letter when it’s past their bedtime? Probably not.

5. Stop not sending your cover letter in the BODY of an email.

I recently found out about this tip and I’m SO MAD I didn’t hear about it before I sent out three cover letters as email attachments. If you send your cover letter as the body of an email rather than as an attachment, it ensures your cover letter gets read. And I don’t mean saying:


My name is such and such and I’m applying for the position of blah, blah, blah. Below, you will find my cover letter. 

(begin cover letter)

Nope. I mean having your cover letter BE the email. It sounds kind of bold but it’s also pretty smart. What better way to make a potential employer read your cover letter? Of course, company instructions trump blog tips, so if the hiring team explicitly says send your cover letter and resume as email attachments, then do what they say. You could have written the world’s greatest cover letter but if you don’t follow instructions, you WILL be rejected.

6. Saying: Dear Sir/Madam

If you’ve written a few cover letters already, you probably know to never, ever address a cover letter like this. This is cover letter suicide. Do some expert digging and try to find the name of the hiring manager who will read your application material. It helps to know a bit about other positions at the company because sometimes there is a specific position that handles internships and you won’t even know it. Hint: If you’re applying for a position at a magazine, that position would be editorial assistant. It’s different for every company in every field, so make sure you do your research. If you can’t find the name of the person to address the cover letter to, you can say: Dear Hiring Team. It’s much better than “Sir/Madam” and a HELLUVA lot better than “To Whom It May Concern.”

What cover letter mistakes have you made and what are your tips? 

The 8 Best Apps For College Students

I’m going to be blunt here and say that as college students, a good chunk of our lives resides on our phones. There, I said it. And I’m not necessarily talking about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’m talking about the last minute (and enviable) email from your professor about class being cancelled, the room number for your advisor’s meeting that you jotted down super fast in the notes section of your phone, or your bank’s app so you can make sure you’re still a broke college student but not quite a broke college student. Phone apps make it easier for us to tackle the daily high’s and low’s and in-between’s. I’m constantly trying out new apps for various things and deleting the ones that don’t work for me. I definitely have my favorites that I don’t even remember how long ago I started using — I just know that my life wouldn’t be the same without them — and I have a few new ones that I’m starting to use every single day. So I wanted to create a post on the eight apps that I think are the best for college life.

This post doesn’t include any apps that are specifically to help you study for an exam, mostly because I think that the way you study depends a lot on the class you’re taking and I don’t think there’s any one app that can help you study the best for EVERY, or even most, classes out there (and also because I haven’t used a study app for my classes for a very long time). Definitely let me know if you’ve used any of these apps!

1. Google Drive/Google Doc

I am truly obsessed with Google Drive. I use it to take ALL of my notes for every class because I love that everything saves automatically, so I don’t have to worry about losing my hours of hard work if I forgot to save the document. I also love having the convenience of being able to open up my work on any computer or device. I’d also create study guides in there so before an exam, I could just study from my phone while I wait in the hallway rather than having a million pieces of paper around me trying to study. If you need to edit documents, however, you definitely need to download Google Doc. This is great for on-the-go editing, especially when you’re in college and super busy.

Related: The Confused College Student’s Guide To Good Note-Taking

2. Google Calendar

Google Calendar is probably my favorite app for managing my time. I like writing out to-do lists and I also love being able to see what events or assignments are coming up on an actual calendar, but I also love receiving reminders about those events. When I’m on the go, iced latte in hand and two-ton backpack on my shoulders, I don’t have time to stop and whip out my planner (as beautiful as it is) to check what I have to do next. So Google Calendar is perfect for when I have obligations that are back to back and very little to no break in between. I set reminders for 10 minutes in advanced, and I make them as detailed as possible — building, room number, etc. — so I don’t have to go digging for those details in emails or pieces of paper. Sometimes staying on top of your obligations really just comes down to remembering you have them. I highly recommend giving Google Calendar a shot for organizing your daily life.

Related: How To Create An Effective Study Schedule

3. Square Cash

Square Cash is an app that literally all my friends have been talking about. When we go out to dinner, do fundraisers, or do other things where exchanging money is involved, my conversations usually go something like this:

Me: “Can you take cash?”

Friend: “I don’t have any change. Just send it to me on Square Cash. Do you have it downloaded?”

Me: “No…” *insert awkward half-smile here*.

Yeah, that’s basically how it goes. So I finally decided to download Square Cash because I realized that more often than not, college students use debit or credit cards to pay for things (I know, what a SHOCKER!!!) and some people don’t really exchange physical cash anymore. If everyone’s out to dinner and one friend decides to pick up the tab with his or her card, everyone decides to pay him or her back through Square Cash. It’s as simple as that because the app connects to your bank account. This app is also free, so that’s an extra reason to get on it!

Related: How To Be Money Smart While Studying Abroad

4. GroupMe

I don’t know if GroupMe is big on your campus but it’s HUGE on mine. Almost every club or organization uses it as a messaging tool for their group events/meetings. It’s also perfect for contacting your teammates for class projects. When I studied abroad in Ireland, there were 32 other students with me (which is a fairly large group) so in an effort to get to know each other better, ask important questions about assignments and excursions, and plan activities on our free days, we started a GroupMe and it was extremely easy to relay messages to the entire group. Slack is another messaging app that’s used by some companies and organizations for communication. I use Slack at my current internship and it comes as a downloadable app for your desktop or laptop, so it’s extra convenient.

Related: 11 Tips For Conquering Group Projects

The 8 Best Free Phone Apps For College Students

5. Sleep Cycle

Recently, I’ve been feeling very tired in the mornings. Although I end class late most days, I do work in between classes so I can still get to sleep early enough for my 8a.m. classes. So I’m pretty confused as to why my eyes feel so tired and why I still feel exhausted sometimes. I read about Sleep Cycle online and it’s an app that analyzes your sleep patterns and finds the appropriate time to wake you up (when you aren’t in deep sleep). I downloaded the app and you have to select a time frame that you would like to be woken up between. Because I’d want to wake up for my 8a.m. class, I’d select the 5:50a.m.–6:20a.m. time frame (I like being able to eat breakfast in my room and shower in the morning, and I have a pretty long walk from my dorm room to my class). I plan to use the app for an entire week to see how it compares to waking up to my regular phone alarm, but I just wanted to put this one out there in case anyone has heard of it or used it before.

Related: How To Get 8+ Hours Of Sleep In College

6. Pandora

It sounds weird to say that you need a music app for college, but I’m putting this on here because I think that music is such a huge part of our generation (and any generation, really). Listening to music is great while studying or working out, and Pandora is great for creating stations that you like to listen to and also discovering new songs you might be into. Sometimes when I’m playing a song from my station, a random song in the same genre as my station will come on and I usually like what I hear so I’ll ‘like’ the song so that Pandora will keep playing similar songs for me.

Related: The Ultimate Study Session Playlist

7. News app — CNN, BuzzFeed, etc.

What better way to stay current than to download a news app so you can read the news! You’ll get notifications when they publish the most relevant or biggest stories of the day. Yes, I know you can just use the apple news app, too, but if you want to read the news from the more than one source so you know as much about the story you’re following as possible, downloading apps is the easiest way to do that. The apps are free in the app store (yay!). So you can catch up on all the latest news while you wait in line for your iced mocha at Starbucks.

8.  Your school’s app

Download any and all apps that your college makes available to you; I promise you, they WILL come in handy. And if you don’t want to download all of your school’s apps, at least download the ones that have to do with safety. My college has a few apps for keeping students safe, especially when they’re walking back to their dorm rooms late at night, and I know other colleges do the same thing. Another really useful app my school has is its campus transit app. My campus is really big and we always have over six different buses running throughout various points of campus. The app lets me know when a certain bus will arrive at a certain stop, so if it’s winter and freezing outside, I can plan ahead to arrive about two to three minutes before the bus is expected to be there so I’m not waiting out in the cold for too long.

Do you use any of the apps on this list? What other apps have you found to be useful? 

5 Simple Ways To Make More Time For Reading Books

5 simple ways to make time for reading books

Eight out of 10 college students will tell you that when they were younger, they could finish an entire book in, like, a day. Don’t quote me on that. That’s 100% a statistic that I made up for drama. But a lot of people I’ve talked to about reading have shared that experience and I think that it’s very important. I, too, was one of those fast readers who would much rather stick her nose inside a good book instead of good middle school gossip. Over the years, I lost that passion for reading so much so that when people asked me what my favorite past time was or what hobbies I had, I stopped including reading. When I got to college it was even worse because I got very wrapped up in the change of pace of college academics freshman year. As the college years go on, people tend to get busier and busier because they’re taking more advanced classes, getting jobs or internships and generally trying to get more involved. I can say without a doubt that this semester is by far the busiest semester I’ve had, yet this is also the semester that I’ve been reading the most books since coming to college.

I can go on and on about how important it is to keep reading, and how it can benefit your academic career, but I’m pretty sure I’ve written at least one article somewhere about this already. One thing I will say, however, is if you’re really into writing and you hope to someday become an author, you MUST read books. You pick up a lot about style and what makes a good story when you actually read them. I have hopes of publishing a few (or more) books in my lifetime, so reading is definitely something I need to stay on top of. I also have some book recommendations that I might end up doing an entire blog post on in the near future, so let me know what you think about that post idea! Without further ado, because I think this intro is getting kind of longwinded, here are my ways for making more time for reading in college.

1. Make reading the last thing you do before you go to sleep. 

This is one of the biggest things I started doing and it honestly feels so refreshing to not have a phone screen be the last thing I see before I go to sleep. Basically, if you would normally be on your phone for about an hour before falling asleep, use that hour to read a chapter or two of whatever book you started. Get in your pajamas, take off your makeup and dive under the covers with your book. I’m actually trying to get a small book light so I don’t have to keep the lights on too long for my roommate if I want to read (so if you’re worried about bothering your roommate with the light, this is also a good idea for you).

2. Always carry a book in your backpack. 

This is the second best thing I started doing and it’s been really helpful for getting me to continue reading — even when I think I won’t have time. I like doing work during any free time I have in between my classes, but sometimes it can be hard to focus because my mind just isn’t into it at the moment. When this happens, I like to take 30-40 minutes to continue reading where I left off so I can start focusing on something. I go to my favorite work spot on campus, find a comfy chair, order a drink, put on my smart looking glasses, and start reading. I usually find that it’s much easier to transition into homework when I do this.

3. Create an account on Goodreads. 

I used to have a Goodreads account when I was in seventh grade because my teacher made us create one. My friends and I used it beyond the classroom and would share books with each other and make recommendations, and add things to our lists. After middle school, I stopped using Goodreads but this year I remembered that it existed, so I started using it again. It’s really cool because you can set reading challenges for yourself, keep track of books you read, books you want to read, and books you are currently reading. My goal is to read 100 books in 2017, so just simply having this goal is motivating me to keep reading. Creating a Goodreads account won’t make you suddenly clear three hours a day in your schedule for reading, but it will be that little reminder telling you to keep going.

4. Join a book club on campus (or create one!) 

I find it interesting how much progress you can make on one task when that’s all you can focus on for an hour. If you go to a book reading club, you’ll spend the hour reading your book. You can get pretty far in, depending on the book. If you didn’t attend the club or don’t have one on campus, chances are you’d fill that club meeting time with some other activity. Find out if your campus has one of these clubs, and if not, try to start one for yourself. It could even be a non-official “club” that’s basically a group of people coming together in a dining hall or outside on the grass.

5. Read before doing homework to get yourself focused. 

This ties into carrying a book with you, so I won’t go into too much detail here. But try to take as much time as you need to get focused before delving into homework assignments or study sessions. You won’t be able to retain much of what you study if you’re unfocused, anyway, so you might as well use the time to do something productive. If you have time to scroll through your entire Facebook newsfeed (TWICE!!!) you probably have time to read a chapter in a book.

What’s your current favorite book?