The Incoming Freshman’s Ultimate Guide To College

The Incoming Freshman's Ultimate Guide To College

August is always one of my favorite times of the year because it’s when college campuses get flooded by new, wide-eyed freshmen. No seriously, I remember when I was in their shoes and while it was crazy, it was also exciting. When I was an incoming freshman, I clawed through the internet in search of all the top notch college guides because, well, I didn’t have anyone who could tell me what to expect and what I should and shouldn’t do. So, I wanted to be sure that I went in at least kind of knowing what I had to do. I could just wing the rest. Since completing my freshman year four semesters ago, I learned so many things about college life, made a few mistakes, had even more amazing experiences, but also wished I had done a few things differently.

Make no mistake, your first year of college will hardly be perfect. But, you can still make it fun, awesome, and super fulfilling by learning a few tricks of the trade ahead of time. Here are some important things you should keep in mind for freshman year.

1. Be-friending people at orientation is a great start for making friends.

Be prepared for everyone to be super bubbly and extra friendly at orientation. Well, not everyone but nine times out of 10, the person you’re talking to will be ready to send you a friend request in a heartbeat. You might even be the person friend requesting everyone at your table. It’s a great way to start connecting with people. And when you get someone’s contact info, be sure to hit them up during the first week to grab lunch! Check out my 10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College for more tips.

2. EVERYONE is stressed out on move-in day.

Nope, you’re not the only one. Move-in day requires a lot of thinking ahead, but as a first year student moving in for the first time, it’s kind of hard to figure out what problems you might run into and how you can solve them ahead of time. Luckily, I’ve gone through move-in day not once, not twice, but three times and I have so many Tips For Making Move-In Day Less Stressful, and I can tell you that freaking out and biting the head off anyone who gets in your way is not one of them.

3. Your RAs make great friends.

I know some people may think that being friends with an RA is the middle school equivalent of eating lunch with the teacher, but it really does help to have an RA as a friend. They’ve been in your shoes and can give you advice, and they can help you with some of your housing needs and questions. Not to mention the fact that they’re extremely involved on campus and can score you some great roles in campus projects and programs.

4. Sometimes, the crazy roommates from the movies do exist!

Luckily, I’ve never had one but I’ve heard so many stories about roommates who threaten to put Nair in shampoo and poke holes in condoms with a sewing needle. Not every roommate is like that, obviously, but if you do have a conflict that leads to vindictive behavior, handle the situation immediately. I have two great roommate guides that you should check out: 5 Things To Do Before Meeting Your Roommate For The First Time and 7 Common Roommate Problems + How To Solve Them.

5. Living in a triple requires extra compromise.

Surprise! My experience in a triple wasn’t all pillow fights and late night giggling, but it was great to always have someone to talk to. You do have to make extra compromises so that everyone is as comfortable as possible. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. Your success in a triple will depend on the ability of you and your roommates to effectively communicate. Voice all of your concerns and make sure you’re being fair in return.

6. You really don’t need to bring your full wardrobe.

I promise, you don’t. My freshman year, I brought so many clothing items (and so many shoes) that I didn’t even wear. Honestly, you’ll likely end up wearing whatever’s comfortable most days, or whatever’s on top of the clothing pile on your chair (oops). I do, however, advise that you bring professional, business casual outfit options for any campus job or internship interviews, and even a cute dress for fancier campus events.

7. Instead of rolling your eyes at your loud hall mates, befriend them!

This is actually one thing I wish I had done differently. If your hall mates are blasting music at 1a.m., it’s easy to tell them to shut the hell up please turn it down when you’re friends with them. It doesn’t hurt to randomly pop in and introduce yourself. I have wanted to bake cookies for my hall mates for the longest time, but I always forgot. It would’ve been nice to get to know them, but I guess senior year is the year. Better late than never, right?

8. Take advantage of the deals in your dining halls.

Tuesday night tacos for $2? Hell yeah! Meal points go faster than you might think, so take advantage of those deals. Always see what they’re serving up. I know campus food is notorious for being crappy, but once in a while you find a dish you just can’t get enough of.

9. Weight gain in college is a real thing, just like weight gain at any other point of your life.

There’s a lot of info dismissing the freshman 15 as just a myth, and there’s a lot of info supporting its existence. Honestly, you can gain weight at any point of your life — not just your freshman year of college. The reasons for weight gain are often different, but for me it was because I indulged in all the new, sugary drinks I found on campus. It’s easy to succumb to a midnight meal of gummy worms and soda, so avoiding unhealthy weight gain definitely takes effort.

10. Research your professors before class starts.

I always do this so I know the best way to take notes in class. Usually, people will say things like, “this professor never uses the textbook” or “lecture slides are always posted before class.” This helps me decide how I’m going to get the most out of the class. P.S., I have a post on how to take notes in class that you should read!

The Incoming Freshman's Ultimate Guide To College

11. Join group chats for the classes you’re in.

This is a great way to get to know your classmates and avoid awkwardly asking the kid you never talk to for help with the homework when you don’t know what the heck you’re supposed to do. Check Facebook for any groups or even start a group chat yourself through Facebook Messenger or GroupMe.

12. Skipping a “super easy” intro class may be tempting.

I know, I know, you learned it all when you were in high school, but attendance is sometimes a big part of your grade. And, if the class is so easy, there should be no reason for you to not get an A, right? There are very few times when it’s acceptable to skip class, and this isn’t one of them. But you should check out my post on How To Skip Class Like A Pro for more tips.

13. Raising your GPA is harder than you might think.

Sad, but true. An A in a 3-credit class doesn’t carry the same weight as an A in a 4-credit class, and the 4-credit class is usually way harder. Numbers don’t define who you are, but keep in mind that you may want to maintain good academic standing for any scholarships, grad school applications, and honor societies you may think about joining in the future.

Related: 13 Tips For Getting A’s In Your Classes

14. All-nighters are SOMETIMES worth it.

Just like skipping class, all-nighters are not something you should do all the time. I’m a huge fan of getting 8+ hours of sleep but there were definitely a few times when I stayed up later than I normally would have, but was super productive and got all my work done, which in turn made it easier for me to handle any remaining tasks the next day. Don’t pull all-nighters often because it will mess up your sleep schedule and decrease your alertness during the day. And pull all-nighters for the right reason. If you’re just staying up to finish your video game, do yourself a favor and go to sleep. 

Related: Tips For Pulling An All-Nighter In College

15. Your inbox gets SUPER full.

Your school sends you dozens of emails every week, sometimes with super important things that you need to know right away. Make sure you read all of the emails because it’s easy to miss something, especially if you’re super busy. Go through your email at the end of every semester and completely clean out your inbox. Yeah, delete everything from the semester before to make room for the hundreds of new emails you’ll have next semester. It really helps reduce clutter and you’ll be able to breathe a little easier.

16. Don’t judge a club by its cover.

Some clubs and organizations may seem boring or like it’s not your thing, but give it a chance if you’re even remotely interested. Clubs and organizations are a great way to build your resume and climb to positions of authority. You don’t have to join 10 clubs, but I suggest joining one or two clubs you might really enjoy and sticking with them throughout college so you can get a position on the e-board. Showing how you bettered an organization as part of e-board can be super impressive on your resume.

17. You may not feel like attending club meetings after long days.

Joining a club is only one part of it. Actually attending the meetings is the hard part. I’m super guilty of just sticking my nose into my textbook to finish homework instead of going to club meetings, and I definitely wished that I had been more active in any organizations I signed up for. Treat it as a serious obligation instead of just another thing on your schedule.

18. Yes, college parties are a thing.

Parties go on pretty much every week, at least on my campus they do. I haven’t gone to a party yet, but I know lots of people who have great and also not-so-great times at them. Be a smart partier if you decide to go. If you have an 8a.m. class or interview the next day, don’t stay out past 2a.m. Be mindful of how much you drink and what you drink. If you don’t know what jungle juice is yet, you will. It’s literally a mixture of whatever alcohol is left over at a party. If you’re cringing right now at the thought of it, you should be.

19. Making time to hangout with friends will make your day much better.

I’m a meticulous planner and will schedule out my entire day from start to finish, but spontaneously hanging out with my friends have made my days less mundane and way more fun. Whether you’re complaining about a class together or driving off campus for a quick dinner, friends definitely make the experience so much better.

20. Laundry actually takes up a significant amount of time on the weekends.

You’d be surprised by how much planning laundry requires when you don’t have someone to do it for you. Sometimes you might have so much dirty laundry that you need to put in two separate loads. To help you out with the whole laundry on your own thing, I have post on How To Do Laundry In College that I highly recommend checking out.

Well, that was a super long post, but I really hope it helped you out! If you know someone who’s about to start college, feel free to share this with them!

What are your freshman year survival tips? 

My Experience At The Red Carpet Premiere Of Good Fortune: The John Paul DeJoria Story

red carpet premiere of good fortune

My Thursday nights are usually full of the clicking of keys on my laptop and the sound of me dying of laughter from watching one of my favorite TV shows, “Impractical Jokers.” But this past Thursday night was full of laughs, inspiration, painful heels, and a little bit of Patrón tequila *wink wink* I was lucky enough to have been invited to the Red Carpet World Premiere of “Good Fortune,” a documentary on the true rags to riches story of John Paul DeJoria. John Paul DeJoria is the co-founder of the salon-famous Paul Mitchell Systems (you’ll probably recognize their iconic black and white shampoo and conditioner bottles on the shelves of hair salons). He also went on to become the founder and CEO of Patrón tequila a.k.a. the $200 bottles on the top shelf. I don’t know about you, but I love a good “started from the bottom” story because it truly depicts the very lesson our parents, teachers, and bosses have drilled into our minds over and over again: hard work pays off. But John Paul not only worked hard. He also tackled challenges and went the extra mile with his heart on his sleeve. He, both literally and figuratively, proved that when you’re at the bottom, the only way you can go is up.

red carpet premiere of good fortune

I was lucky enough to be my best friend’s Carrie Bradshaw for the night, as I was able to bring her as a plus one (yay!) When we walked into the AMC Lowe’s on Lincoln Square (where the screening was taking place) we were immediately immersed in a bustling crowd of photographers taking photos of attendees at the red carpet. It was so spectacular and so surreal (and very, very hot!) We didn’t get the chance to take photos on the red carpet ourselves (hopefully next time!) but we still got some great photos at the screening. Escalators led upstairs to a much cooler area, and we received complimentary popcorn, water, and candy (yum!)

red carpet premiere of good fortune

You can probably already tell that I loved the movie so much (Psst! You can get it on DVD starting in August!) and I also thought the Q&A portion was super insightful. I had no idea that John Paul was on “Shark Tank” (my parents’ favorite show) and people asked him some fantastic questions. Afterward, everyone cleared out ASAP because the next portion of the evening was about to begin…The reception and after party!!!

red carpet premiere of good fortune

The reception and after party were held at Lincoln Square Steak, about five minutes or less from the theatre, except my GPS wanted to take me the long way, so a five-minute walk ended up being a 10-minute walk…in very painful 4.5-inch heels. Luckily, I brought flip flops to change into, so my feet were saved. When we got there, I felt like such a V.I.P. because my name was on the list and we were invited in. I got to enjoy a delicious cupcake in honor of the movie, talk to some really great people who told me that they admire my work right here on this ol’ blog, and I even got to take photos with J.P. himself! Not to mention the fact that my best friend and I accidentally stole the seat of an entrepreneur from “Shark Tank.” Oops.

red carpet premiere of good fortune

The night was topped off with a wonderful, and might I add, aesthetic, little goodie bag with Marula Oil shampoo and conditioner from the John Paul Mitchell Systems!!! The whole evening was so surreal and so worth the painful shoes and sleep-deprived brain at work the next morning. Of course, I love telling you all about the lessons I learned from my experiences, and I love giving you tips in case you find yourself in the same position, so here are some things I learned/tips for attending red carpet premieres.

1. BE POLITE! 

The person standing next to you in line for tequila could be the editor of one of your favorite magazines, or an entrepreneur on one of your favorite TV shows! Always, always, always be polite and smile no matter how hot and sweaty you are, no matter how many people just bumped into you within the time frame of two minutes, and no matter how many times you skillfully dodged splashes of alcohol on your dress. A positive attitude goes a really long way!

2. ATTEND THE AFTER PARTY, NO MATTER HOW LATE IT IS. 

I was surprised to see that it was already almost 10p.m. by the time the screening and Q&A were over. I actually told my parents I’d be home by 10:30 or 11p.m. and that so clearly wasn’t happening. But staying out longer was so worth it because the after party was so great! Of course, let your parents know if you’ll be out later than you said you would. There’s always an experience waiting for you; it’s your job to welcome it. Plus, if I hadn’t attended the party, I wouldn’t have been able to talk to great people, meet John Paul DeJoria, or try the tequila everyone is in love with.

3. ARRIVE AT LEAST 30 MINUTES BEFORE THE TIME ON YOUR INVITATION. 

If your invitation says to arrive by 8p.m., plan to arrive by 7:30p.m. at the absolute latest. In fact, in the future, I would arrive at least 40 minutes early to an event like this because there are so many people that it gets crowded quickly. Plus, it’s easier to enjoy the entire experience when you aren’t rushing to get there. If you have to wait five minutes for doors to open or for the red carpet to be set up for photos, waiting won’t kill you.

4. BRING COMFORTABLE SHOES TO CHANGE INTO. 

This was my savior that night and I am forever grateful to the person who invented flip flops. At first, I just wanted to be extra sophisticated and bring just a wristlet, but then I knew I wouldn’t walk in heels the whole night, so I decided to use a bag that was just big enough to snugly fit my flip-flops, and it was really worth it. This is especially important if you’re wearing brand new shoes you haven’t broken in yet.

5. SOME THINGS ARE REALLY WORTH WAITING FOR.   

My friend and I waited on line to meet J.P. for nearly 40 minutes because, well, everyone wanted to meet him! And it’s obvious why: he’s genuinely a caring, positive individual and he literally radiates inspiration. Of course, there were also friends and businessmen and businesswomen who were apparently his lifelong friends so I guess they had meet & greet priority. But when we were finally able to talk to him, I was so stunned all I could do was say my name and smile really big. Nevertheless, it was awesome and I will probably brag about it for the next year or so. #sorrynotsorry

 

This was such an amazing experience, and certainly one that I never expected to have! Maybe as the editor in chief of a magazine, but certainly not as a 21-year-old college girl, and I am so grateful to have been able to attend! I really hope that I can go out to more awesome events like these in the near future, and I hope that even more people will become familiar with John Paul DeJoria’s story because his story of hard work is also our story.

Thanks for reading! 

Natural 3D Mink Lashes Review + Tips For Applying False Lashes

Private Extensions Lab Natural 3D Mink Lashes

Thank you Private Label Extensions for sending me false lashes to try. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting brands that make Macarons & Mascara possible! 

 

This summer is unlike any summer vacation I’ve ever had before, because for the past month, I’ve been attending beauty events, meeting beauty writers from different magazines, and interning at a really well-known fashion and beauty site. So, naturally, I want to make sure that I look professional and very well-put together and, well, like I belong at a beauty magazine! Not gonna lie, it can feel kind of intimidating being surrounded by so many people who have mastered the art of winged liner, ultra matte lips, and fleeky eyebrows. And while the dress code at my internship is pretty chill, I still try to look as nice as possible.

Typically, I do foundation, eyeliner, mascara, and my favorite liquid lipstick. But sometimes I want to add a little extra flair to my everyday look. While I do have naturally long, curled eyelashes, I love kicking things up a notch by applying mascara to make my lashes look extra long and volumized. And while I like to think that I’m a pro at getting eyelashes so long they rub against my glasses, I always fall in love with the way false lashes look.

I recently tried the Private Label Extensions Natural 3D Mink Lashes in the styles “Milan” and “Bangkok” to really amp up my look, and, well, let’s just say I can’t stop loving them.

Private Extensions Lab Natural 3D Mink Lashes

In the past, I’ve purchased lashes that ended up being the same length as my natural eyelashes or shorter (ugh!). Obviously, there’s no real point to wearing them in that case, but as you can see, “Milan” (top) and “Bangkok” (bottom) are both very full-looking, so I had very high expectations for these lashes. By the way, these lashes are SUPER SOFT to the touch. It felt like I was holding feathers in my hand, which I liked because I felt like these lashes wouldn’t weigh down my eyelid the way lashes I’ve tried in the past have.

Private Extensions Lab Natural 3D Mink Lashes

Private Extensions Lab Natural 3D Mink Lashes

I applied “Milan” one morning for my internship and was blown away by how long and pretty they were. I definitely understand why spending a little money on really good false eyelashes is a good investment, especially because these lashes can be reused many times. While trying these lashes, I did reuse them both and I noticed that the band remained strong and didn’t get gross or weak after I removed them, which is really good since a destroyed band will prevent you from using false lashes. A definite win there.

Private Extensions Lab Natural 3D Mink Lashes

I was extra excited for “Bangkok” because I wore these babies to the red carpet world premiere of the movie Good Fortune this week (I’ll have a post all about my experience up soon!) and I have four words to describe them: LARGE, AND IN CHARGE. I felt like such a movie star when I put them on! “Bangkok” is clearly the more dramatic one of the two and certainly fit the occasion. Unfortunately, my photos from the movie premiere are very dark and you can’t see them too well, so I reapplied “Bangkok” the following day and took much better photos. I was shocked (in a good way!) at how dramatic they were when they were on my eyes. If you’re looking for a show-stopping look then I think “Bangkok” is literally the ultimate false eyelash for truly head-turning makeup.

Private Extensions Lab Natural 3D Mink Lashes

I know a lot of people have trouble with applying false eyelashes (been there!) so I wanted to throw in some of my tips for applying them. Of course, what works for me may not work for everyone, but I still wanted to fill y’all in in case you were interested in trying them out for yourselves (you know ya girl wouldn’t leave you hanging!)

1. INVEST IN REALLY GOOD EYELASH GLUE. 

Honestly, I have used really crappy eyelash glue, and I have used really great eyelash glue. It makes a huge difference! I try to avoid the squeezy tube ones because I feel like I always squeeze as hard as I can and either nothing comes out or I get too much out. I used eyelash glue from Kiss when applying these lashes and it worked really great. But talking about eyelash glue brings me to my next point…

2. MOVE QUICKLY, BUT CAREFULLY. 

Because, well, it’s glue. It will dry before you get the chance to apply the lashes and then they’ll just fall right off. This definitely takes practice — you likely won’t perfectly apply false lashes on the first try (and if you do, you must share this sorcery with the world). Just stay calm and make sure there are no distractions around you when you apply them.

3. DON’T USE TWEEZERS. 

I know, SHOCKER! Contrary to what my other makeup loving friends and YouTube beauty gurus have taught me, I actually found that simply applying false lashes with my bare hands works best for me. I find that I work faster and surprisingly more precisely when I do this, so I’m just going to stick with it. Tweezers make me nervous anyway, so it’s okay. But if using tweezers works for you, then by all means, stick with it.

Pro tip: If you already have long eyelashes insert the false lashes at an angle. My natural lashes sometimes get in the way when I apply fake eyelashes, so I have found that slightly angling my wrist when I go in with the false lashes helps me get them as close to my lash line as possible without making mistakes.

4. WASH YOUR HANDS IMMEDIATELY IF YOU GET GLUE ON THEM.

Those sticky fingers will make it extremely difficult to apply lashes to the other eye! Do yourself a favor and wash off with soap and water if you happen to get glue on your hands before handling the lashes (trust me on this one!)

5. APPLY THE LASHES TO MIDDLE OF YOUR LIDS FIRST, THEN SMOOTH OUT THE EDGES.  

This tip from beauty gurus definitely works. It’s much easier than trying to go from the outer corner to the inner corner of your eye. Whether you choose to go in with tweezers or be brave and use just your hands, this tip is golden.

What’s your favorite way to add a little extra glamour to your look? 

Related: 10 College Beauty Essentials 

Dealing With Dry Skin This Summer + Tips For Moisturized Skin

Summer has never really been my favorite season (I'm more of a fall kind of girl). Some days are too hot to do anything fun outside, I always get the most uneven tans, and my shirt is literally plastered to my back after walking two blocks. Too many times I have found myself pacing in front of my closet wondering what to wear to work or to a hangout with friends only to pick up my signature pair of black leggings and a flannel top, because showing a little leg is a bit tough when you're worried about people judging your dry skin. Let's be real here, if you were also blessed with parched skin like me, you probably know the feeling of eyes boring holes into your dry patches. And you probably also know the feeling of layering on all the best ~ultra moisturizing~ lotions you can get your hands on only to be left with your arms feeling greasy and heavy, and extra gross after sweating all day. I know most people think that dry skin is a problem associated with the cold winter season but the truth is that you can experience dry skin at any time of the year, and you shouldn't ignore it. My mom used to tell me that if I don't moisturize my skin properly, excessive dryness can lead to cracking and breaks in the skin, which sounds really painful. Definitely be aware of this if you have really dry skin! But because dry skin won't resolve itself, a solution that I found is the Curél® Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer. According to the directions, you shower as per usual and apply the moisturizer while your skin is still wet, then you towel dry as you normally would. I know, the idea of applying lotion to wet skin sounds really strange, but hear me out (and get ready to take notes on this super quick science lesson!) Your skin is like a sponge after you shower, so the skin cells expand to allow moisture to better penetrate into just-showered skin. They certainly didn't teach me that in my freshman year health science classes. And what's more is that Curél® Hydra Therapy is formulated with an Advanced Ceramide Complex. This either sounds really scary or really fancy, but I promise there's nothing scary about it! It's super good for your skin because ceramides are naturally present in the skin and when they're lost, your skin gets dry. So, this lotion works to replenish those moisture-rich building blocks. I showered as per usual, but instead of towel drying immediately, I reached for the Curél® Hydra Therapy. First off, holy WOW, it glided right on! I couldn't help but be in awe because I had never tried a moisturizer that has to be applied to wet skin. Most lotions give you a sticky feeling right off the bat, but this one made my skin instantly smooth and soft after just one use. Second, toweling your skin afterwards isn't as weird-feeling as you might think. And because the Curél® Hydra Therapy isn't greasy, putting my clothes on afterward was really easy (another pet peeve of mine when using other lotions is the fact that greasy, sticky skin makes putting your clothes on WAY harder than it needs to be!) I got instant dryness relief in no time. I even applied this to my extra dry areas like the backs of my elbows, and they felt MUCH softer after the first use. My skin was nice and hydrated and healthy-looking all day long, and I think I found a new summer favorite. Keeping it right next to my bathtub is also an excellent reminder to use it everyday, so I'll be sure to keep it in my dorm bathroom when I return to college in the fall. And because I want to make sure you really treat your skin right this summer, here are some of my favorite skin moisturizing tips. 1. Avoid scrubbing dry patches of skin. I know you think that exfoliating and scrubbing helps lift the dry, dead skin cells to promote healthier ones, but instead you'll be left with red, irritated skin, and your healing time will be lengthened. It's fine to use a very light exfoliator once a month or so, but anything harsh will damage your skin. 2. Pay extra attention to your elbows and knees. These areas are often neglected (guilty as charged) and get super parched, especially during the summer time. This can lead to really rough, ashy elbows. 3. Drink lots of water. As with most things dealing with the skin, you often have to start healing from within to really put yourself in a healthier position. Drinking water helps your body get rid of excess toxins. And while drinking eight glasses a day for three days straight won't deliver you a speedy radiant glow, it sets crucial building blocks for an overall healthier lifestyle. 4.  Moisturize your lips.  I wanted to throw this one in there because people forget about taking care of their lips so often, and it can lead to painful consequences. Moisturize your lips daily with your favorite lip balm. And if you don't have a favorite, find one. How do you combat dry skin in the summer? If you want to try the ~magic~ of Curél® Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer for yourself, pick up a bottle at your local Walmart in the lotions isle.  Related: 12 Skin Goals That Will Change Your Life

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EndYourDrySkin #WetSkinIsBestSkin #CollectiveBias

Summer has never really been my favorite season (I'm more of a fall kind of girl). Some days are too hot to do anything fun outside, I always get the most uneven tans, and my shirt is literally plastered to my back after walking two blocks. Too many times I have found myself pacing in front of my closet wondering what to wear to work or to a hangout with friends only to pick up my signature pair of black leggings and a flannel top, because showing a little leg is a bit tough when you're worried about people judging your dry skin. Let's be real here, if you were also blessed with parched skin like me, you probably know the feeling of eyes boring holes into your dry patches. And you probably also know the feeling of layering on all the best ~ultra moisturizing~ lotions you can get your hands on only to be left with your arms feeling greasy and heavy, and extra gross after sweating all day. I know most people think that dry skin is a problem associated with the cold winter season but the truth is that you can experience dry skin at any time of the year, and you shouldn't ignore it. My mom used to tell me that if I don't moisturize my skin properly, excessive dryness can lead to cracking and breaks in the skin, which sounds really painful. Definitely be aware of this if you have really dry skin! But because dry skin won't resolve itself, a solution that I found is the Curél® Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer. According to the directions, you shower as per usual and apply the moisturizer while your skin is still wet, then you towel dry as you normally would. I know, the idea of applying lotion to wet skin sounds really strange, but hear me out (and get ready to take notes on this super quick science lesson!) Your skin is like a sponge after you shower, so the skin cells expand to allow moisture to better penetrate into just-showered skin. They certainly didn't teach me that in my freshman year health science classes. And what's more is that Curél® Hydra Therapy is formulated with an Advanced Ceramide Complex. This either sounds really scary or really fancy, but I promise there's nothing scary about it! It's super good for your skin because ceramides are naturally present in the skin and when they're lost, your skin gets dry. So, this lotion works to replenish those moisture-rich building blocks. I showered as per usual, but instead of towel drying immediately, I reached for the Curél® Hydra Therapy. First off, holy WOW, it glided right on! I couldn't help but be in awe because I had never tried a moisturizer that has to be applied to wet skin. Most lotions give you a sticky feeling right off the bat, but this one made my skin instantly smooth and soft after just one use. Second, toweling your skin afterwards isn't as weird-feeling as you might think. And because the Curél® Hydra Therapy isn't greasy, putting my clothes on afterward was really easy (another pet peeve of mine when using other lotions is the fact that greasy, sticky skin makes putting your clothes on WAY harder than it needs to be!) I got instant dryness relief in no time. I even applied this to my extra dry areas like the backs of my elbows, and they felt MUCH softer after the first use. My skin was nice and hydrated and healthy-looking all day long, and I think I found a new summer favorite. Keeping it right next to my bathtub is also an excellent reminder to use it everyday, so I'll be sure to keep it in my dorm bathroom when I return to college in the fall. And because I want to make sure you really treat your skin right this summer, here are some of my favorite skin moisturizing tips. 1. Avoid scrubbing dry patches of skin. I know you think that exfoliating and scrubbing helps lift the dry, dead skin cells to promote healthier ones, but instead you'll be left with red, irritated skin, and your healing time will be lengthened. It's fine to use a very light exfoliator once a month or so, but anything harsh will damage your skin. 2. Pay extra attention to your elbows and knees. These areas are often neglected (guilty as charged) and get super parched, especially during the summer time. This can lead to really rough, ashy elbows. 3. Drink lots of water. As with most things dealing with the skin, you often have to start healing from within to really put yourself in a healthier position. Drinking water helps your body get rid of excess toxins. And while drinking eight glasses a day for three days straight won't deliver you a speedy radiant glow, it sets crucial building blocks for an overall healthier lifestyle. 4.  Moisturize your lips.  I wanted to throw this one in there because people forget about taking care of their lips so often, and it can lead to painful consequences. Moisturize your lips daily with your favorite lip balm. And if you don't have a favorite, find one. How do you combat dry skin in the summer? If you want to try the ~magic~ of Curél® Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer for yourself, pick up a bottle at your local Walmart in the lotions isle.  Related: 12 Skin Goals That Will Change Your Life

Summer has never really been my favorite season (I’m more of a fall kind of girl). Some days are too hot to do anything fun outside, I always get the most uneven tans, and my shirt is literally plastered to my back after walking two blocks. Too many times I have found myself pacing in front of my closet wondering what to wear to work or to a hangout with friends only to pick up my signature pair of black leggings and a flannel top, because showing a little leg is a bit tough when you’re worried about people judging your dry skin. Let’s be real here, if you were also blessed with parched skin like me, you probably know the feeling of eyes boring holes into your dry patches. And you probably also know the feeling of layering on all the best ~ultra moisturizing~ lotions you can get your hands on only to be left with your arms feeling greasy and heavy, and extra gross after sweating all day.

I know most people think that dry skin is a problem associated with the cold winter season but the truth is that you can experience dry skin at any time of the year, and you shouldn’t ignore it. My mom used to tell me that if I don’t moisturize my skin properly, excessive dryness can lead to cracking and breaks in the skin, which sounds really painful. Definitely be aware of this if you have really dry skin!

But because dry skin won’t resolve itself, a solution that I found is the Curél® Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer. According to the directions, you shower as per usual and apply the moisturizer while your skin is still wet, then you towel dry as you normally would. I know, the idea of applying lotion to wet skin sounds really strange, but hear me out (and get ready to take notes on this super quick science lesson!) Your skin is like a sponge after you shower, so the skin cells expand to allow moisture to better penetrate into just-showered skin. They certainly didn’t teach me that in my freshman year health science classes. And what’s more is that Curél® Hydra Therapy is formulated with an Advanced Ceramide Complex. This either sounds really scary or really fancy, but I promise there’s nothing scary about it! It’s super good for your skin because ceramides are naturally present in the skin and when they’re lost, your skin gets dry. So, this lotion works to replenish those moisture-rich building blocks.

Tips For Dealing With Dry Skin This Summer

Tips For Dealing With Dry Skin This Summer

I showered as per usual, but instead of towel drying immediately, I reached for the Curél® Hydra Therapy. First off, holy WOW, it glided right on! I couldn’t help but be in awe because I had never tried a moisturizer that has to be applied to wet skin. Most lotions give you a sticky feeling right off the bat, but this one made my skin instantly smooth and soft after just one use. Second, toweling your skin afterwards isn’t as weird-feeling as you might think. And because the Curél® Hydra Therapy isn’t greasy, putting my clothes on afterward was really easy (another pet peeve of mine when using other lotions is the fact that greasy, sticky skin makes putting your clothes on WAY harder than it needs to be!) I got instant dryness relief in no time.

Tips For Dealing With Dry Skin This Summer

I even applied this to my extra dry areas like the backs of my elbows, and they felt MUCH softer after the first use. My skin was nice and hydrated and healthy-looking all day long, and I think I found a new summer favorite. Keeping it right next to my bathtub is also an excellent reminder to use it everyday, so I’ll be sure to keep it in my dorm bathroom when I return to college in the fall. And because I want to make sure you really treat your skin right this summer, here are some of my favorite skin moisturizing tips.

1.  AVOID SCRUBBING DRY PATCHES OF SKIN.

I know you think that exfoliating and scrubbing helps lift the dry, dead skin cells to promote healthier ones, but instead you’ll be left with red, irritated skin, and your healing time will be lengthened. It’s fine to use a very light exfoliator once a month or so, but anything harsh will damage your skin.

2. PAY EXTRA ATTENTION TO YOUR ELBOWS AND KNEES. 

These areas are often neglected (guilty as charged) and get super parched, especially during the summer time. This can lead to really rough, ashy elbows.

3. DRINK LOTS OF WATER.

As with most things dealing with the skin, you often have to start healing from within to really put yourself in a healthier position. Drinking water helps your body get rid of excess toxins. And while drinking eight glasses a day for three days straight won’t deliver you a speedy radiant glow, it sets crucial building blocks for an overall healthier lifestyle.

4. MOISTURIZE YOUR LIPS.

I wanted to throw this one in there because people forget about taking care of their lips so often, and it can lead to painful consequences. Moisturize your lips daily with your favorite lip balm. And if you don’t have a favorite, find one.

How do you combat dry skin in the summer?

If you want to try the ~magic~ of Curél® Hydra Therapy Wet Skin Moisturizer for yourself, pick up a bottle at your local Walmart in the lotions isle. 

Tips For Dealing With Dry Skin This Summer

Related: 12 Skin Goals That Will Change Your Life

 

7 Common Roommate Problems + How To Solve Them

7 common roommate problems and solutions

You’ve probably seen movies or tv shows where there’s always that crazy roommate who throws loud parties, gets intimate with their, um, guest while you’re trying to study, and is basically just a rude, inconsiderate person. News flash: this is actually sometimes really accurate. Yep, you read that right. In the real-life college world, these kinds of roommates do exist, and these scenarios are known for stirring up trouble. Whether or not your issues with your roommate are that wild, they can still be very annoying and need resolutions as soon as possible. After all, no one comes to college to be a crappy roommate.

Let me tell you, I am no stranger to roommate problems. I have had so many ups and downs that I could probably write a book about them. And that doesn’t even include the terrible problems and experiences my friends went through. That could probably be a sequel. Roommate problems are to be avoided at all costs because they can add extra, unnecessary stress to your already hectic life. Plus, it’s super awks if the two of you are fighting and you have to sit in silence together and pretend the other doesn’t exist. Here are some issues that you hopefully won’t run into, but if you do I also included handy solutions!

By the way, be sure to check out my post on 5 Things To Do Before You Meet Your Roommate for more tips!

1. They always have guests over.

Bonus points if they’re always being obnoxiously loud. It’s fine to invite some friends to hangout, but if you find that you can no longer walk into your room without seeing Tom, Dick, and Harry taking over the already small space, it’s time to have a chat with your roomie. Passive aggressively storming out of the room and hoping someone will notice is not the answer.

Solution: Be straight up about the fact that your roommate’s visitors are inconveniencing you. Your roommate may not realize that you’re not okay with this, so you have to tell her (or him in case any guys are reading this). Say something like, “hey, would you mind not having so many people in next time? I have an exam I really need to study for and I’d love to do it here.”

2. They invade your space and touch your belongings without asking.

I know some roommate contracts have you say whether or not you’re okay with your roommate using certain items of yours, and if you are not okay with any of that, you should use the contract to discuss this with your roommate on day 1. It’s never okay for anyone to take your personal items without asking. And it can be extra frustrating if you personally aren’t the type of person to do that to someone else. This has always been a pet peeve of mine, and it honestly drives me crazy.

Solution: Be polite but stern. There’s no way of sugarcoating this so don’t even try to. Say something like, “I’d be happy to share my [item], but please don’t take it without asking me.” Keep in mind that some people are really used to sharing everything with their friends or siblings, so to them, borrowing your hair dryer may not be that big of a deal. Make sure they know that it bothers you so they can stop.

3. They don’t take out the trash.

While there is cleaning staff in the dorm rooms, they are not responsible for taking out the garbage in your room. I know that after late night study sessions and half-eaten breakfasts the garbage can really pile up. Trash makes the room smell and it attracts bugs and things you don’t want sleeping under the covers with you at night (did I gross you out?). One year, I had a suite mate who would pretty much be the only person filling up the garbage bin in the living room, yet she would want us to take turns throwing the trash out. I found it annoying to have to be the one tossing out gross leftovers and huge boxes when I wasn’t the one who put them there, so I simply started using my own trash bin. I told her that I no longer use the one in the living room, so it would be her responsibility to dump it. But if your roommate isn’t good about taking out the trash at all, that’s a worse problem…

Solution: Create a trash schedule with your roommate if you share one garbage bin. This way, they can’t try to be slick by worming their way out of taking out the trash (you won’t believe how many arguments arise from who’s turn it is to drag the bin down the hall to the nearest trash room). And if you each have your own garbage bin but your roommate just doesn’t take out their garbage or forgets, politely suggest they set a reminder on their phone to take the trash out on the same day every week.

4. They’re always making the room too cold or too hot.

Boy, do I have stories about this…The room temperature is vital for focusing on your studying. If it’s too hot or too cold you may not be able to concentrate and be productive. And it’s not fair to you to always have to leave the room every time your roommate decides to leave the window wide open in December.

Solution: If your roommate controls the window and always keeps it closed, bring a fan for your side of the room if you think it’s too hot. It’s okay to politely ask if your roommate would open the window from time to time, but don’t take it upon yourself to invade their side of the room to open the window. And if your roommate always keeps the room cold, unfortunately, space heaters aren’t allowed in dorm rooms, so this situation requires a little more communication. Try to reach a compromise; suggest that the window is closed at night when it’s colder than in the day.

5. They turn the lights on when you’re trying to sleep.

If you’re a heavy sleeper, this may not bother you. But if you aren’t and you find yourself awake many times because of it, you may find yourself feeling sleep deprived, and you’ll probably lowkey hate your roommate for it.

Solution: Speak up. Your roommate may be trying to study and they won’t know that it’s bothering you if you don’t say something. Ask your roommate to use a desk lamp so you can turn the room light off. Don’t think that you can just sit on your hands and power through a semester of this, because if you don’t say anything, sorry but you can’t really complain here.

6. They smoke inside the room.

I’m pretty certain that smoking inside of residence halls is not permitted on any college campus, and if caught, the consequences can be serious, but what do ya know — people do it anyway. It happens more often than you might think, and it can be really difficult to be in the room if your roommate smokes inside it, especially if you have asthma.

Solution: You can’t tell your roommate to “just quit smoking” — some people smoke because it relaxes them when they’re stressed. Instead, make your room a smoking-free zone. Tell your roommate that he or she can smoke outside in the open air, but not indoors in your tiny room. Be nice but be stern and straightforward.

7. A room for two becomes a room for three (with only two beds).

You’ve probably heard horror stories of roommate bringing in friends with benefits, boyfriends, or girlfriends and having them practically live in the room too. If you know your roommate’s boyfriend or girlfriend well, it’s a little less awkward but it can still get annoying if it happens too often. Let’s face it — sometimes you want the room to yourself and they’re always in there. Plus, a room meant for two just cannot effectively accommodate three.

Solution: Say something like, “Would you mind going to the living room with your boyfriend/girlfriend after such-and-such o’clock? I have an exam that I need to start studying for.” This way, you’re still letting them hang out and have their fun, but you get the room to yourself when you really need it. Keep in mind that maybe your roommate always has someone sleeping over because that person lives really far from campus and needs to be in class early. If anything, have a conversation about it with your roommate so you see where the other person is coming from.

What’s the best/worst/craziest roommate experience you’ve ever had? Let me know in the comments! 

5 Things You Can (And Should) Rent For College

5 Things You Can (And Should) Rent For College

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of CORT for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine. 

 

When I began my freshman year of college, I think I spent more money than I really needed to. I didn’t know too much about what to expect when I walked onto campus and into my dorm room, and I was always getting mixed information about what I really needed for college life. Let’s not try to sugarcoat it — college is already expensive enough and students can’t go spending money left and right! Obviously, there are some items that truly are great investments for college that you should splurge on (a laptop, a really sturdy backpack, shower shoes, etc.) but there are also some items that will definitely come in handy that you don’t need to splurge on and have stare at you in the face for the rest of your life. Okay, I’m being a little dramatic, but still.

Renting items is ideal if you don’t think you’ll need something after you graduate or for more than a semester or two. You’d be surprised by how tiny your room back home really is when you come back with a ton of things you bought for college and have nowhere to put them. I know some people prefer to just purchase the item and hold onto it forever or sell it back, but renting saves so much money, and it’s actually easier to do than you might think. So without further ado, here are some things that you should definitely try to rent for college.

1. Textbooks.

During my freshman year, I was studying health science and PURCHASED over $500 worth of textbooks. I’m now a JOURNALISM major and have no need for all those chemistry and biology textbooks taking up space under my desk at home. I could’ve saved hundreds of dollars if I had rented as many necessary books as possible, so that’s why I’m telling you to rent those back-breakers if you can. You could end up changing your major like I did and you won’t even need those books anymore. Also, there are some textbooks that are complete nonsense that you probably won’t ever need to refer back to for the rest of your life. In my three years of textbook experience, there has been ONE textbook that I actually could see myself using for the rest of my life.

If you have a sibling attending college who is studying the same thing as you, then buying your textbooks is a good option because you can just hand them down to your brother or sister. Be sure to check out my guide to buying textbooks for all of the sneaky textbook-buying tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years!

2. A car.

It’s no 10-pound chemistry textbook, so the decision to rent a car for college should be really carefully thought out. For the most part, it will depend on your personal circumstances. Will you travel back home often? Does going back home mean having to book a plane ticket? Do you have an off-campus job that’s kind of far away? A car definitely would have helped me out this past semester, because I had to travel to a lot of places to report on stories for my journalism class, but I simply can’t afford insurance right now so I just had to deal with it. Plus, if I’m being honest here, I don’t think I’d be fond of waking up early to shovel my car out of the snow in January. An alternative, however, would have been to rent a car (which I stupidly forgot that I could do until the semester was basically over). My campus offers a car rental service that gives students free membership for a year. Students don’t have to worry about gas money, and they just pay for the number of hours they plan to reserve the car for.

If you don’t want to have to bother your friends for rides and just need to be able to get around from time to time, consider renting a car for at least one year.

3. Any extra furniture.

We all probably lowkey lust after a Pinterest-esque room but that would probably burn holes in every pair of pants we own. Still, having a cozy place is nice for when you want to relax after a long day, or have a place for you and your friends to chill indoors when the weather is bad. Many off-campus apartments may not even come furnished, which can make things even more expensive. CORT Furniture Rental  is a convenient service that helps students get what they want for their rooms and takes it off their hands when they no longer need it. This is perfect if you’re attending a college really far from home and need a few things without the hassle of flying them over and then back home again. I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t have room in my parents’ house for furniture I only need during the semester. That’s why I have this storage ottoman that I bought freshman year serving as a little coffee table in the living room because I don’t have space for it in my bedroom!

5 Things You Can (And Should) Rent For College

Being able to rent furniture also comes in handy if you’ll be living in your first apartment (yay!) and don’t really have any furniture for it. CORT can help you turn a bland apartment into something that’s completely you by delivering rented sets. Plus, CORT is accessible to a large number of universities across the country, so you don’t have to worry about your school being left out! You can have a comfortable room with rented furniture from the day it arrives.

5 Things You Can (And Should) Rent For College

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Dorm Decor + Free Wall Art Printables!

4. A storage unit.

If you’re attending a college that’s hundreds or even thousands of miles away from your home, a storage unit can really come in handy for the next four years. Moving bulky items and boxes back and forth is expensive and tedious. If you don’t have the means to keep doing so, you’re better off finding some storage space near your campus. I have had friends who come from states across the country and ended up renting a unit because going back and forth would have been way too much trouble. Plus, some storage companies even offer student discounts, so do your research to find one that fits your needs. Obviously, you don’t need a storage unit if you live literally 30 minutes or even two hours away from campus, but if you’re going to college in another state or country, definitely keep this in mind.

5 Things You Can (And SHould) Rent For College

5. A mini fridge.

I know some people may say that you actually don’t need a mini fridge for college because you have meal points for campus dining on your ID card, but I say it depends on the person. Personally, I prefer eating my breakfast in my room, and that usually consists of yogurt or a smoothie, or cereal, which I definitely need to keep refrigerated. Buying my fridge was kind of stressful for me because I didn’t know how big of a fridge I needed, and sometimes they’d go on sale for a few days only to be expensive again. And thank goodness my dad drives an SUV with ample trunk space to carry ALL my move-in essentials (including the fridge) in one trip, because moving that thing from one place to another is HARD.

Now that I’m home for the summer, the fridge is chilling in my basement, unplugged until August. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it after college — sell it, perhaps, to someone willing to buy it with all the stickers I managed to paste on there over the years? If you can rent a mini fridge that’s compact, clean, and not super gross, definitely consider it. You won’t have to worry about what will happen to it after you graduate, and you won’t have to go through the hassle of driving it back and forth every year.

What do you recommend renting for college? 

 

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21 Things To Avoid Doing Your Freshman Year

For many people, freshman year of college is pretty much the year of the most regrets, and it’s easy to see why. You’re on a new campus surrounded by new people; there’s so much pressure to be as well-rounded as possible and make good on the “best four years of your life”; and you realize that cranky high school teachers don’t compare to college professors who clearly think that their class is the only class you take.

There are a ton of ups and downs (that definitely are NOT exclusive to freshman year, too) but college is what you make of it, and you have to be willing to try, and yada, yada, yada. Do yourself a favor and check out these 21 things to avoid doing at all costs so you can bypass some major college mistakes.

1. Holing up in your room all day.

I’m definitely guilty of having done this from time to time. Trust me, even if you’ve just created the coziest dorm room in the world, locking yourself in there isn’t always as fun as wandering around campus and seeing who you can meet. The social scene in college can be a little stressful if you’re shy about putting yourself out there, and I was so nervous about it that I refused to go to events or extracurriculars alone, which often led to me not going at all if none of my friends wanted to attend. Get out of your comfort zone and give it a shot!

2. Only sticking to one group of friends.

Honestly, a lot of times your first semester friend group won’t even make it with you to Spring Break. Don’t be surprised if the friends you meet during the first month aren’t still your friends by next semester. Sometimes there’s just a natural drift. That’s why you shouldn’t only latch onto one group. Go to events and mingle to meet new people. Talk to the cool people in class.

Related: 10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

3. Late night snacking on junk food.

I know the freedom of not having your parents around to yell at you when you dive into the fridge at 12a.m. can be so empowering, but don’t go crazy with the unhealthy treats in your campus dining hall — and trust me, there are A LOT of them! Too much junk food can lead to unhealthy habits and wasted meal points, which are super valuable and should be treated like gold in college.

4. Not getting to know your RA.

RA’s are the ultimate peer resource because while they have some authority in your residence hall and on campus, they’re students just like you. Stop by their rooms to chat for a few minutes a couple of times during the week. Add them on Facebook and say hi. You never know what opportunities they can help you out with.

5. Not getting to know the people in your hall.

It is entirely possible to get to know everyone who lives in your hall, you just have to put in a little effort. You never know what new friendships you can form, plus getting along with the people in your building can make your semester a whole lot more enjoyable. Go to building meetings and say hi to the people there. Socialize during RA events in the building. Even knock on your neighbor’s door just to say hey.

6. Starting a dorm room fire.

Unfortunately, some people bring items that are prohibited on campus, and accidentally start fires. There are judicial consequences for this, not to mention the fact that everyone in your building will hate you for reducing their belongings to ashes. Also, whatever you do, DO NOT push the popcorn button on the microwave when making popcorn! You WILL set off the fire alarm.

7. Partying a little too much.

Social party life is a huge part of almost any college you attend — even if your college isn’t on every list of major party schools. It’s nice to get dressed up and go out and have a good time, but you don’t have to go out every week. Plus, partying is expensive, so there’s that.

8. Skipping class because it’s “boring.”

I get that not everyone can appreciate the same topics being taught as one another because of different interests, but at least try to make the effort to attend. You’re hurting yourself by attending class a total of two times for the semester because come finals week, you won’t have any idea what to study for. But if you want to learn the right way to cut class, check out my Ultimate Guide To Skipping Class Like A Pro.

9. Sticking to a major you don’t love.

It hurts my heart when someone tells me they don’t love their major but don’t want to go through having to change it. I was in that very same boat from freshman year to sophomore year. I changed my major around six times until I finally settled on Journalism and Digital Arts. Get out of a major you despise early so you don’t feel like you’re behind. And don’t worry about what other people will think of you for changing it — you’re the one getting the degree and it should be something you love.

21 Things To Avoid Doing Your Freshman Year

Related: What To Do If You Want To Change Your Major

10. Losing your student ID or room key.

Your student ID is one of the most valuable possessions a student can have. On my campus, it’s how we get into our residence halls, pay for meals, get into free events, and even get discounts on purchases. As for your room key, losing it could mean having to pay hundreds of dollars to have it replaced. Be extra careful with them! Get a lanyard for your key and get a wallet case for your phone to store your ID (just don’t forget your phone!)

11. Plagiarism.

This is obvious for SO many reasons. If you got away with copying and pasting from Wikipedia when you were in high school, you certainly won’t get away with it in college. Professors have assignments submitted online so they can use software to search for instances of plagiarism. If you do cheat, you will be caught and the consequences will be severe.

12. Keeping fake friends.

You deserve friends who are as true and genuine as you are. Fake friends will only bring drama and agitation, and honestly you will NOT have time to babysit hurt feelings and gossip. Cut them off and move on.

13. Conflicts with your roommate.

It’s not a good idea to fight with the person who could potentially pour hair removal cream in your shampoo while you sleep. Getting along with your roommate will help your semester run so much more smoothly. Living with a stranger can be stressful, and getting along is sometimes easier said than done, but be welcoming and courteous, and also check out my post on things to do before you meet your new roommate to help you!

14. Not getting help if you need it.

Leave your ego in high school; there’s nothing wrong with not understanding the class material. And in college, there are so many resources to help you succeed no matter what your situation is. Letting your stubbornness take over can earn you a one-way ticket to failing the class.

15. Not taking a class you’re interested in.

If you have time in your schedule, take a class just for fun! Ever been curious about philosophy? Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn Greek. Is there a wine tasting class you’re dying to take (I wish!) Make it your mission to not graduate without having taken the one class you’ve always wanted to take.

16. Not considering study abroad or exchange programs.

Before junior year, I didn’t think studying abroad was an option for me. I had never traveled anywhere and didn’t really have a desire to. But then I got curious about seeing other parts of the world, and decided that this would be the year I did. My only regret is not studying abroad sooner! It’s honestly life-changing and you make so many memories and learn so many new things that actually stick with you because it’s like a hands-on experience times a hundred. Check out my posts on things to consider before you go abroad, and my post on how to be money smart while traveling.

21 Things To Avoid Doing Your Freshman Year

 

21 Things To Avoid Doing Your Freshman Year

17. Buying items not allowed in your dorm room.

Not only can you potentially start a fire in your room if the item is a fire hazard, but it’s simply just a waste of money to buy things you can’t even keep with you. There are also some items that are just plain unnecessary (like those wretched bed risers!!!) Do yourself a favor and check in with your campus housing office before you buy something you may not be allowed to have.

18. Overpacking for college.

Try to limit yourself to necessities when you move in because first, it makes things easier, and, second, over the course of the semester you’ll accumulate even more stuff in your room and you don’t want to drown in too much clothing and too many pairs of shoes.

Related: A College Girl’s Ultimate College Packing List + Free Printable!

19. Not checking in with your career center.

It’s actually never too late to start thinking about ways to get into the field you want to work in after graduation. Career centers can help you with pretty much all of your professional needs — resumes, cover letters, business cards, interview skills, what to wear, where to apply, how to accept or reject an offer — you name it. Pop in at some point your freshman year to at least get acquainted with the resources so you know what’s there when you need it.

20. Going home too often.

Missing your family is real, but you also don’t allow yourself to experience other aspects of campus life when you go home literally every weekend. Everyone is awkward/shy/energetic/excited-to-try-new-things freshman year, so you’re not the only one feeling antsy. Compromise and go home every other weekend in the beginning and see if that suits you.

21. Not getting involved on campus.

There are too many things going on in college for you to not be interested in something. Join a club or Greek organization; get an on-campus job; run for a residence hall council position; join an intramural sports team. It’s a great way to build your resume as a freshman, and you’ll make new friends. Also, don’t be afraid to let yourself try new things. This is probably one of the biggest college mistakes ever. You don’t have to try something that could put your life in danger, but every time you find yourself asking why, always ask why not.

Do you have any cool/crazy/funny stories from freshman year? Share them below! 

The Ultimate Guide To Skipping Class Like A Pro

the ultimate guide to skipping class like a pro

When I was in high school, I would never dream of skipping class. In fact, if there was a chance I’d have to miss a day of school for any reason, I’d get upset and cry because God forbid I didn’t get my perfect attendance award at the end of the year. I’m not super proud of the fact that I’ve skipped some college classes before, but I don’t regret the instances when I did. In college, you’ll likely find yourself faced with the decision of whether or not to skip a class, and sometimes that decision is really tough, especially if you’re a nerd like me and the mere thought of missing a day’s worth of lecture notes gives you heart palpitations.

But here are two things no one tells you about skipping class in college: First, it’s extremely easy to skip class. Your professors don’t patrol the hallways like your high school teachers do, and your parents aren’t making sure you leave your dorm room. You’d have to just be really unlucky to skip your 8a.m. bio lecture and then run into your professor on campus later in the day. Second, skipping class is a skill. Throwing your hands up and saying “I don’t feel like going to class today so I’m not gonna go” is too easy. So to help you out, I’ve basically compiled all my class-skipping advice and things you should consider right here in this one blog post.

Skip class if…

1. You’re really sick. 

Honestly, if you’re coughing up a lung and running a fever, don’t hold out hope that a dash of chicken soup will help you power through a day of long lectures and pop quizzes. Do yourself a favor and just stay home or stay in your dorm room so you can recover quicker. Check out my post on how to avoid getting sick in college for some tips because catching a cold is NOT fun.

2. You feel mentally drained or exhausted.

We’ll all likely feel this way at some point, and it’s important to note that if you feel this way it’s okay to miss class to recuperate. This is especially important if you’ve been running around all day. Use the hour that you’re skipping class to take a nap or do something for you to unwind.

3. You have an important interview or meeting during class time that couldn’t be rescheduled. 

Do you want a summer internship or brownie points from the professor? If I had to choose one, I’d take the internship without hesitation. But, you can actually have both in this situation. If you have to skip class for an interview for a position, let your professor know ahead of time if it’s a really small class and your absence will be noticeable.

4. You haven’t used any free skips yet. 

Some professors will allow you to skip up to three classes without your grade being penalized. I’m not saying you should become skip-happy and use all your free skips for no good reason. But if you have a few weeks of class left and you feel like you’re going to need to skip class at some point, you have these freebies as a cushion.

5. You will definitely drop the class within the next week. 

Only skip if you are 110% certain that you will never walk into the classroom again after a week. No need to waste time on it anymore. I actually did this for one class this past semester. I was actually on the waiting list for the class, but I still attended the first week because not going to the class even though you’re waitlisted is actually a bad idea. After that first week, I decided that it was just too much for me and I was already falling behind, so I decided that I can and will drop the class and transfer into a completely different one. I didn’t attend the next class and I dropped it the following day and moved on with my life.

the ultimate guide to skipping class like a pro

Don’t skip class if…

1. The weather is bad. 

Boo-hoo, it’s raining outside and you hate walking in the rain. You poor thing. Throw on your rainboots and grab an umbrella. If the weather in your area is bad enough, your class would be cancelled. If you’re a commuter and you don’t think you can make it to class safely from home, that’s a different story.

2. The weather is really nice outside. 

I know a lot of people love cutting class to soak up the sun, but fight every urge to do this. You’ll have your chance to be in the sunshine eventually. Just try to get through the next hour and a half of class without thinking about sunbathing in the grass.

3. You have an exam or presentation you’re unprepared for. 

A lot of colleges don’t allow you to make up exams, so getting a 50% is better than getting a zero. If you’re unprepared for your presentation, email your professor in advanced to let them know so they can plan material for the day or ask another student to present, and don’t just not show up. It’s way worse if you inconvenience your professor in this situation.

4. You hate waking up early. 

Tough turtles. Take a cold shower, have a cup of coffee, and get your ass out the door. Avoid taking early morning classes next semester. Take a look at my post on creating the perfect class schedule for tips. And if enrollment stresses you out, read my post on how you can make class enrollment less hectic.

5. There’s a class discussion and you didn’t do the reading. 

I know you may be thinking that there’s no way you’d be able to contribute if you didn’t read, but here’s a pro tip for that: Read whatever you can right before the class begins — if you can get just one page in, that’s fine. And just participate in the very beginning before everyone really delves into other parts of the reading. Boom. You give the illusion that you actually read when you didn’t. Another tip is asking a question in response to someone’s statement so you seem engaged, but be careful with this because you may be asked to give your own stance on the reading!

Extra pro tip: If the professor asks who didn’t do the reading, be honest and raise your hand. If they call on you randomly and you weren’t honest, you’re screwed.

6. You may be failing the class. 

Don’t torture yourself by missing out on opportunities to learn and help your grade. Going to class will allow you to ask any questions and get help from peers before it’s too late. Plus, if your grade in class is attendance based, DON’T throw away those points! It’s better to attend and tell the professor that you’re struggling than to not go and have to figure it out on your own later.

Related: How To Improve Your GPA For Next Semester

7. You’ve already used up a lot of free skips. 

Free skips are valuable in college and shouldn’t be wasted. If you’ve used up two out of the three and you still have two months of school left, I’d save the last one for an emergency if I were you.

8. You’re convinced you can do the material in your sleep. 

If that’s the case, you should use class time to further your knowledge by asking advanced questions or asking the professor to explore something related to the class that you’d like to learn more about. Plus, no one likes a cocky know-it-all.

9. Your class is starting a new chapter/topic.

Not being in class for fresh material is one of the worst things you could do. You’ll fall behind and it’ll be harder to take in next class’s lesson if you weren’t here for the intro.

10. You plan to ask the professor for a letter of recommendation. 

Definitely don’t skip! You need as many brownie points as you can, and you need to show that you’re committed to the class.

What to do if you plan on skipping class

1. Check the syllabus for the attendance policy. 

I mentioned before that some professors give you free skips. If you don’t remember if that’s a thing for your class, always check the syllabus. The syllabus will also tell you if there are any days when class isn’t being held, so you get a free skip anyway!

2. Email the professor ahead of time.

And if necessary, email them after class instead. Like, if you were sick and used the time to rest, when you wake up, tell the professor that you were ill and ask if there are any resources you could use to catch up on what you missed. They’ll love that you’re taking responsibility and taking their class seriously, and they’d be more willing to help you themselves.

3. Make sure someone in your class can fill you in. 

If you have a friend in the class who takes great notes, ask if you can borrow them for a night, or ask for a recap of the class. If you don’t have a friend in the class, this is a great reason to start getting to know the cutie who sits behind you.

Related: 10 Secrets For Making Friends In College

4. Don’t make up bull crap excuses. 

Never pretend you were in a car accident or you were ill. If you have to email your professor to give an excuse, don’t be too specific about your situation, or else they may think you’re lying!

5. Use your skipped class time wisely. 

Don’t skip class so you can watch the next episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Use the time that you would’ve been in class to get ahead or catch up on the homework assignments, study for an upcoming exam, or do an assignment you know you won’t have time to do the next day.

Related: 13 Tips For Getting A’s In Your Classes

What are your tips for smartly skipping class?

What has been your favorite and least favorite classes so far? Let me know!