Networking 101: How To Survive Networking Events As A College Student

Networking 101: How To Survive Networking Events As A College Student

I love, love, love networking events. It’s a chance to meet new people, learn more about the jobs and industries that might interest you, and get fed for free (who doesn’t love free food??). I know the idea of talking to dozens of people in the hopes that you’ll meet someone who may be giving you a job or recommending you to someone in the future can seem really daunting, and super exhausting, but it has become increasingly important. While you probably already have an awesome resume and cover letter, there are obvious pros to having an arsenal of contacts when you’re out in the job market. I used to think that you needed years and years of experience in order to build up your contact list, but don’t be surprised to know that there are actually some college students out there who haven’t even left the nest yet, and already have almost a hundred business cards, and tons of personal emails from figures in their desired industry. In fact, you should aim to be one of those students, and I’m here to help you out.

I’m not a networking expert, but I was once a super shy student who would have cringed at the thought of being confined to a space where I have to wear a name tag and talk about myself. Now, especially as of late, I’m practically on the hunt for events where I can do exactly that. As long as I have the time and means to get to the location, you’ll probably see me there. This summer has been huge for me, professionally. I’ve already attended so many events, and I still have a lot more to visit before going back to school. I definitely don’t claim to be perfect at networking. In fact, every time I return home from an event, I do a little self-reflecting on what went great, what didn’t go so great, and what I can do in the future. And today, friends, I’m here to share those findings with you. Use these tips at your next networking event to seriously get the most out of your experience!

1. Come dressed to impress. 

I know this sounds really small and kind of stupid, but trust me, this will make such a difference in your confidence levels. As much as I love sneakers and a cozy sweatshirt, I know that sporting them to a professional event will make me less likely to want to talk to the people who look super dressed up, and I’ll just feel out of place. So, yes, get dressed up for networking events. If you aren’t sure how dressed up you should be, you can never go wrong with a simple dress, flats, and statement necklace. My other favorite is a button down with leggings and nice heels. Pro tip: make sure your shoes are comfortable. Last night, I attended an event in the most painful heels ever (I didn’t know they’d hurt so much!) and I was slightly less inclined to stand in one place for long and talk to people.

2. Go alone. 

The best way to meet new people is to just attend the event by yourself. As comfortable as it may be to bring friends you already know and love, you’ll end up just sticking by their side the whole time, and you’ll hardly meet anyone new. You’re there to get out of your comfort zone, after all. I know standing around awkwardly by yourself definitely isn’t fun, but you’re more likely to get the most out of the event when you’re alone.

3. Just jump into conversations. 

This is how you make sure you aren’t awkwardly standing by yourself the whole event. When I attend events by myself, I typically try to grab a drink first, and then I look around for the nearest group of chatting people, and bam—I just join their conversation. Literally just walk right up to them and introduce yourself. You’ll be wearing a name tag, but it’s just common courtesy. They won’t kick you out of their group, and they won’t sneer and turn away like a group of mean girls from high school. They probably did the exact same thing you just did! The drink just gives me something to sip on if the conversation dwindles or if I don’t know what else to say, but this is why you should try to join a group: there will always be someone talking, so you don’t have to worry about awkward silences. So, you really don’t have to worry about this if you don’t think of yourself as super extroverted (trust me, I’m not either).

4. Approach professionals with specific questions. 

There will probably be some type of presentation where you’re introduced to a few really successful people in the industry, or people with jobs you might like to have in the future. This will take a little bit of assertiveness, but after the presentation, try to speak with them. If you have to wait in line for three minutes of their time, that’s the perfect opportunity to think of specific questions to ask them. Nothing is more awkward (and more of a waste of time) than approaching them and just saying, “Hi! My name is Jasmin. Nice to meet you! Thanks so much for being here!” and then smiling for God knows how long. Say something along the lines of, “Hi! My name is Jasmin, I’m so glad I was able to hear you speak. I really wanted to ask you about such and such.” Ah, much better! They won’t remember Jasmin who grinned like an idiot for two whole minutes, but they might remember Jasmin who asked a really engaging, insightful question.

5. Target professionals who were in your position not too long ago. 

They’re the best people to talk to because they were in your shoes probably just two or three years ago (maybe even last year!) so they know exactly what you’re going through, and they truly want to help you. They’re way more likely to stand and talk with you longer, and they may have more time to really connect with you than, say, the CEO of your favorite company would. If this person currently has a position at a company that you want in the future, ask them for tips on applying, and if there’s anything they recommend including.

6. Don’t leave until you talk to them.

Be a little stubborn here. I know it’s been a really long day, you have a slight headache, and your feet hurt from trudging around in heels, but if there’s someone who can seriously help you and who you really want to talk to, don’t leave without getting a word with them. You’ll just kick yourself later for not saying hi. I promise you can leave as soon as you get to talk to them.

7. Pick the brains of other students who intern where you’d like to intern. 

This is the best way to receive insider information on the company you’d like to work with. But don’t only ask what a typical day is like, or what their favorite project is. Get to the juicy stuff like, “what do you recommend putting on your application,” “what should I expect from the application process,” and “is there anyone you work with who I can connect with as well?”

Related: 12 Tips For Getting A Summer Internship

8. Give out business cards.

Business cards always look super impressive, but when you’re a college student dishing them out, it’s like you’re basically the Beyoncé in the room. Everyone you just spoke to is excited to take one, their jaws drop to the floor, and their eyes are practically tearing up at how badass you are with your deets printed on a card. I highly recommend printing business cards with basic info like your full name, email, phone number, and social media (if you have professional accounts! DON’T give your potential future boss an Instagram handle to an account full of your Spring Break photos). I printed 100 cards for just $10 from Vistaprint. It’s been almost one year, and I have just 40 cards left! Here’s an example of what I always say when I want to give someone my card:

“I’d really love to connect with you and ask for more insight. Could I leave my business card with you?”

Find out how to say goodbye to awkward networking experiences!

If you don’t have business cards, don’t fret! Ask if you could exchange email addresses or friend requests on Facebook with the person you’re talking to. Last night, I went to an event organized by Twitter, so everyone was exchanging Twitter handles and following each other. That works!

9. If they tell you they “aren’t good with business cards”…

Of all the times I’ve popped my go-to can-I-leave-my-business-card question, I’ve gotten ONE SINGLE PERSON who actually said NO because they “aren’t good with keeping business cards.” That’s totally fine, because maybe they feel they’ll just lose your card and won’t be able to contact you; it happens. If they say this, obviously don’t convince them to take it. Just ask if you can exchange emails, Twitter handles, LinkedIn profiles, whatever!

10. Say goodbye to the people you met before you leave. 

This is something I’d actually like to start doing in order to improve my networking game. Mind you, this will probably only work if the event is small enough for you to actually find the people you met. But it can’t hurt to try. Going back to quickly say goodbye, and that you really enjoyed talking to them will make them remember you more because, frankly, no one else really cares enough to let other people know when they’re leaving.

11. Leave with an invitation to coffee or brunch. 

I usually meet one or two people that I really connected with, and got to hang with for most of the event, so when we part ways I always say that we should message each other for coffee before we head back to school. Letting them know that they are free to hit you up any time is super important because it’ll allow you to stay in touch. After all, connections are only good if you actually use them. This person could become a true friend, a significant other (love at first email!), a future co-worker, or even a future employer. But don’t just say it; actually make plans with them. If it’s been a few weeks and they haven’t messaged you, message them and ask if they’d like to meet up. It’s on them if they ignore you or say they’re busy.

What are your tips for surviving networking events? What’s your favorite event to attend?

 

School Supplies You Actually Need For College

School Supplies You Actually Need For College

I love back to school season because of all the cute school supplies and the thrill of opening up a fresh pack of colorful gel pens. Can you blame me? But I’ve always been a chronic over-buyer when it comes to supplies, and that’s really not good. Plus, the supplies list that schools send out usually list extra items that you really don’t need. I know there’s security in feeling over-prepared, but I promise you will not need a binder for every single class—this coming from the girl who used to actually buy an entire binder for every class! You may not even use some of the things you thought you were going to use, and you’ll end up spending more money than necessary.

If you’re about to begin your first year of college and are unsure of what school supplies you actually need, then here are my suggestions! (P.S., don’t forget to check out my post on the 13 Items That Are A Complete Waste Of Money!)

1. One binder.

When I was in high school and middle school, a small binder for each class was actually expected most of the time, because our teachers wanted us to divide up the sections for class notes, homework, quizzes/exams, and projects. So basically, one class got an entire binder full of looseleaf. On any given day, I’d have at least three binders in my backpack for whatever classes I had. But in college, that’s totally unnecessary. Especially if you prefer to type all your notes as opposed to writing them. I think one 1.5-inch binder is perfect for organizing handouts, exams, and other papers for class. I use a binder for keeping track of all of my syllabi, so I know exactly where they are when I need to refer back to them. That being said, one item I’ve kept with me from high school is my 3-hole hole puncher. Whenever I need to add hole-less papers to my binder, it’s easy to just punch some holes.

You can use divider tabs to separate the papers in your binder for each class. This way, you can keep all your papers from your history class in one section, all the papers from your math class together, and so on.

2. Notebooks for at least half of your classes.

If you’re like me and take the best notes when you’re typing on a laptop, purchasing notebooks may be a little tricky. It’s good to keep notebooks around regardless, but I don’t see the point in buying notebooks for every single class when I’ll just use my laptop instead. However, there are some classes that you’ll have where you simply cannot type your notes. Take math class, for example. It would take an insanely long time for you to type all those formulas and solve equations. So using pen and paper is clearly the most efficient way to take notes. Same goes for physics or chemistry class. For some classes, you may not know which form of note-taking is better until you actually start the class. So, it doesn’t hurt to buy two notebooks for college (you likely won’t take more than four classes your first semester).

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Note-Taking In College

3. At least 2-3 folders.

You could probably feed all the hungry college students on campus with the amount of papers you’ll accumulate (if they ate paper). Gone are the days of folding up homework worksheets and sticking them in between the pages in your notebook. I keep one folder just for any papers related to administrative matters (my degree progress reports, any bursar or registrar documents, etc.) because every single one of those is important and I’d hate to lose one. I usually put small handouts and extra looseleaf for class in my other folders. It just makes organization way easier. Of course, use your best judgment and your class schedule to really decide how many folders you’ll need.

4. A pencil case, and pens and pencils.

I personally love using mechanical pencils and colorful pens because college lecture halls don’t come equipped with pencil sharpeners, so you don’t have to worry about sharpening mechanical pencils. While colorful pens help many people—myself included—learn better, you’re definitely okay simply purchasing black and blue ink pens, because those are standard for many things, and apparently more professional than purple ink. Your pencil case should be big enough to fit some pens and pencils, one or two highlighters, and a few other necessities. I used to use a plastic pencil box because I loved having all of my colored pens and highlighters on hand (yep, every one of them), but I ended up not even carrying my pencil box to class after a while because it got annoying.

5. A planner.

Planners are God’s gift to unorganized and forgetful college students everywhere. They’re seriously amazing for keeping assignments and obligations in check. I don’t know what I would have done all those years if I didn’t have a planner by my side. I literally write down EVERYTHING in my planner, and it helps me stay focused. Plus, it makes me look super busy when I sit in the library and write feverishly in it. Invest in a planner that has exactly what you need in it. If you like something colorful and adorable, I highly suggest the Happy Planner. I recently did a review on the ClassTracker Planner, so be sure to check out my thoughts on that!

6. A stapler. 

Believe it or not, you sometimes still have to hand in physical papers and homework assignments in college. I personally relish those instances because, let’s face it, if your school’s wi-fi is notoriously crappy, hell hath no fury like that of a sleep-deprived college student trying desperately to submit an online assignment at the last minute. A mini stapler is absolutely perfect because you can keep it inside your pencil case so you always have it with you. Alternatively, paper clips are really great supplies to keep on hand. You can get a pack of super cute ones for just $1 at Target. Ah, you gotta love Target.

7. A USB thumb drive. 

Invest in something that you can store files on once in a while. In college, a lot of space on your laptop gets taken up by 20-page papers and lecture slide downloads. You don’t need an expensive thumb drive—just something small that you can keep in your backpack or desk drawer just in case you reach the point where you’ll need to move some important documents to make space on your laptop.

8. A pair of scissors. 

You’d e surprised by how often you’ll need a pair of scissors in college. In fact, scissors and tape are two supplies that students often forget to bring to college. It’s always the little things…You won’t really need to carry them around in your backpack everyday, but they’e good to keep in the desk drawer in your dorm room. You probably already have a bunch of scissors lying around at home, so you don’t even need to buy another pair for college.

9. Sticky notes. 

They’re really great for creating quick to-do lists and marking your place in textbooks while studying. They don’t take up much space, so it’s easy to carry them around with you. And, if you buy them in packs of three, you can leave two sticky note pads in your desk drawer and one in your backpack.

If you’re starting your first year of college, what’s the biggest question on your mind? 

If you’re returning for the new semester, what’s your favorite must-have supply item? 

5 Tips For Staying On Top Of Assignments + ClassTracker Planner Review

How To Stay On Top Of Your Class Assignments

I received a free ClassTracker Planner mentioned in this post. All opinions are 100% mine.

 

Let’s talk about assignments. I’m pretty sure that every task or obligation related to class I’ve ever had to complete usually involved me complaining about it ad nauseam, but this time, friends, I’m actually here to share some valuable advice with you when it comes to getting your crap done.

In college, assignments can pile up much faster than you might expect. Do your calculus homework suddenly becomes do your calculus homework, read chapters 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 for English class, and write an 8-page extra credit paper to save yourself from flunking. Before you know it, you’re consuming way too many gummy worms and way too much coffee trying to finish everything in time. Unfortunately, there will rarely be a time when you have very little to nothing on your plate, so I’ve come up with these tips to help you manage your tasks a little easier. Plus, I’m sharing a review of one of the most well-known academic planners for students, the ClassTracker Planner, so stick around to hear (read?) my thoughts!

1. Use down time in between classes to work on assignments.

You don’t have to wait until your day is done and you’re back in your dorm room to start cracking open a book. If you’re ever bored during your two-hour break between classes, or if none of your friends are free to hang out then, grab some lunch and sit down with your homework. This is how I get the majority of my work done most of the time. I bring whatever materials I’ll need, and in between classes, I go to my favorite study spot and get right down to it. It makes me feel like I can breathe a little easier even if I only manage to complete one assignment. That’s one less assignment to worry about later on. Plus, in the time that you would’ve spent doing the assignment at night, you can now go out to dinner with friends or attend a club meeting.

2. Get the quick and easy assignments out of the way first.

I like doing the easy stuff first so I don’t feel like I need to rush through the longer, more in-depth assignments. Plus, this is a good way to stay motivated to keep bowling through assignments because you’ll actually be able to cross things off your to-do list. And, honestly, a lot of times it’s the small assignments like these that we often forget about and then have to b.s. at the last possible minute. When you sit down to do homework, always ask yourself: which of these assignments can I finish in an hour or less? And that’s probably the assignment you should tackle first.

3. Pay attention to due dates.

Most professors don’t offer credit for late or missed assignments, so make sure you manage those dates. Set reminders on your phone or laptop if you have to. Write down the due dates on sticky notes and tape them to every wall in your dorm room—whatever works. Not staying on top of important dates is the easiest way for your work load to fall apart. Keeping due dates in mind can also help you prioritize assignments, so you’ll know what you need to get done the earliest, and what you can afford to keep on the back burner for a little while longer.

4. Read your professor’s emails.

Believe it or not, your professors actually don’t sit at home and decide to pull an email from their behinds for craps and giggles. Read those messages in their entirety because they’ll contain information regarding any changing deadlines or assignment expectations that you’ll really need to know. Avoid starring them for later, because chances are you’ll forget you even put a star next to them and you won’t ever read them.

5. Don’t think you’ll “just remember” it.

I’m super guilty of having done this in the past, and it usually comes back to bite me. Never trust that you’ll simply remember which chapters the professor wants you to review for an upcoming exam, or the due date of your next project. Write them all down! This also goes for the small things, like running errands, that you tell yourself you’ll remember and then five minutes later you forget. Planners are the perfect way for you to organize all this information. They’re also way better than grabbing a scrap of looseleaf from your bag and scribbling down reminders. Make sure you invest in one for the school year. And speaking of planners…

How To Stay On Top Of Your Class Assignments

I promised I’d share my thoughts on the ClassTracker Planner I recently received, and here they are! As you probably already know, I’m obsessed with planners and organization, and love being able to easily plan things out. And, the coming of a new semester just makes me extra excited for all that. The ClassTracker Planner is meant to be a clean and simple planner that makes organization easy. I chose the color “Teal” to match the aesthetic of my dorm room and most of my school supplies. The planner is very slim, which means it won’t take up much space in your already-heavy backpack. Previously, I had been using the Happy Planner, which I love to death because of how colorful and inspirational and quirky it is, but it is a bit bulky and often added a little extra weight on my shoulders.

How To Stay On Top Of Your Class Assignments

The planner I received covers the academic school year for August 2017 to May 2018, and when you flip open the pages, there are three charts for you to write out your semesterly schedule. I like that there are three schedule charts instead of just two because some colleges actually have more than two semesters. Mine doesn’t, but this would be very helpful for the people whose colleges do. There’s also a section for writing down your goals. I divided that box into three columns so I could divide up my goals between different semesters. I added another term just in cade I decide to study abroad again this winter! I personally love setting goals because they help me stay focused and help me understand what steps I need to take in order to get where I want to be. Check out my Fall 2017 goals post if you’re curious about what the rest of my goals are!

How To Stay On Top Of Your Class Assignments

Another thing I’m obsessed with is calendars, so I was glad to see the next page incorporated into the planner. I like actually being able to see any events, appointments, and due dates organized in squares next to each other because I’m more of a visual person and this helps me better gauge how much time I have before something important is coming up. As you can see, my August calendar is rather empty right now (I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say that again in the coming months, though). And, you can feel free to use the extra space on the sides to jot down any reminders for the month, quotes to keep you going, or even just add fun stickers to the side to really make this planner yours.

How To Stay On Top Of Your Class Assignments

The last section of the planner I’m going to share with you is the week by week section where you can actually jot down daily homework assignments and to-do lists. In my previous planner, this section was just seven columns across the page with space to just toss everything in, so I like how these columns are actually organized by assignments, things to remember, activities, and upcoming quizzes/exams. And, in the corner, there’s a section to create a small to-do list. I think this makes it super easy to organize everything you’re tackling that day so you won’t forget a thing.

If the ClassTracker Planner sounds like the answer to all of your college organization prayers, check out their site for more details and to purchase one for yourself (let me know what color you order!)

What are your tips for staying on top of assignments in college? 

How To Choose The Right Major

How To Choose The Perfect Major In College

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now (well, hello again!) you probably know that I changed my major like six times over the course of three semesters. It was annoying and sometimes tiring, but admittedly exciting to get to dip my toe into other fields. But every twist and turn has led me to the field I’m studying today: Journalism. Sure, I wish I had somehow known that I’d be a Journalism major from the beginning so I could’ve saved myself from struggling through classes I hated, but I guess sometimes you have to stumble a little before you get it right.

In high school, you don’t learn how to choose the right major, unfortunately. And while there is no magical formula where you plug in x and out pops your perfect major, there are some things for you to consider in order to make the decision a lot easier.

First thing’s first…

Don’t pick a major just because all of your friends picked it, or because you think you’ll be thought of as “less smart” for choosing something else. Someone else might suck terribly at something you’re really good at, and vice versa. There will be a lot of people on campus who bash majors that they think are “easy.” If you ever find yourself in a situation where someone is crapping all over your major, you should either ignore them or tell them where they can stick their opinion. Yeah, I went there.

Oh, and another thing…Can we all agree once and for all that there is NO SUCH THING as an “easy” major???? Thanks. Now, onto the tips for choosing the perfect major!

1. Consider your hobbies and interests.

Do you love sports and have always been interested in healthcare? Maybe you’d like a career in sports medicine. Make a list of all of your hobbies or interests if you have absolutely no idea where you should start. For me, I’ve always loved writing, and I love reading magazines and doing all things beauty, so I want to have a career as a writer in the magazine industry. Remember to consider clubs or organizations you were part of in high school, and things you like to do in your free time.

2. Think about what you’re good at. 

I’m absolutely horrendous at math, so I have no idea what possessed me to think that I’d be good at economics. If you’re really good at getting people to listen to you on Twitter or Instagram, consider a career as a social media coordinator for your favorite company. If you took your high school robotics team to championships, consider something in the computer science field. And if you swear up and down that you absolutely aren’t good at anything, keep looking! Everyone’s good at something. 

3. Do you want to have the chance to travel? 

Lifestyle is an important aspect to consider when deciding on a major, because different fields foster different schedules. While there are many other important factors to consider, the opportunity to travel is a huge one that many people think of first. A doctor may not travel to five different countries over the course of a year, but a journalist, especially a foreign correspondent, most likely would. If traveling while working is important to you, be sure to consider which fields allow this type of mobility so you have an idea as to what you should study.

Related: How To Travel Cheaply In Your 20’s

4. Consider whether you want a set work schedule or a more unpredictable one.

I know nothing’s set in stone, and we don’t hold the crystal ball to our futures, but thinking about how you’d like to work is another important lifestyle factor that can help you decide on a major. Maybe you like the rush of being pulled away at a moment’s notice to do something incredible. Or maybe you prefer having a set, 9-5 so you can make time for other obligations. Or maybe you like the idea of being your own boss and setting your own work schedule.

5. Make a list of things you hate.

I know this sounds strange, like why would you need to be reminded that you hate something…but this can help you rule out majors that right off the bat are not right for you. Do you hate art and drawing because you were never good at it yourself? You probably wouldn’t want to study it then. If you hate math and science (like me) stay away from any major that says applied math, statistics, finance, the science of anything, and most things ending in -ology. If you hate dogs and cats (hard to believe, but there are in fact people who dislike animals) I doubt you’d be happy as a veterinarian.

6. Do you want the opportunity to work on something  you’re passionate about?

Most people have causes that they’re passionate about—social work, animal rights, environmental issues, etc. And using those passions can help you settle on your perfect major. Don’t be afraid to really dig deep. And it doesn’t hurt to talk to an advisor. They know the school’s programs inside and out, and can tell you if there’s a major that suits your passions.

7. Look into potential careers in the field. 

This was my favorite thing to do in high school when it came to thinking about what my major would be. I’d research careers that I could have if I studied a certain field, and if it sounded good to me, I’d pick it. If you want to study computer science, look at the various options for jobs and see if there are any that click with you. Same goes for if you want to study marketing or history or english. However, don’t think that the options Google lists out for you are what’s set in stone. Nowadays, you never know where you could end up! My class once went on a trip to BuzzFeed’s New York City headquarters (Yes, BuzzFeed) and we met a guy who works on those addicting to watch Tasty videos but he didn’t even major in Journalism or Video Editing or anything—he was an Engineering major!! Crazy, right?

8. Consider shadowing a professional. 

This is a great way to figure out if you’d truly enjoy a career in a certain field. Can you wake up every morning and put a smile on your face when you walk into your place of work, ready to take on your challenges? Hands-on experience will tell. It gives you the opportunity to see a day in the life of a professional. Maybe after you shadow a marine biologist you realize that this isn’t the field for you. It’s okay—it’ll save you a ton of time and energy.

9. Get an internship or take a summer workshop.

I know you’re thinking that you haven’t had any relevant experience so you can’t possibly get an internship, but on the contrary, there are so many opportunities in various fields opening up for high school graduates and underclassmen. You just have to be willing to do some research and email a few people. Interning is a great way for you to get an inside look at the industry you want to be part of. If you can make it through the summer and come out loving every minute of what you did, maybe you should consider studying for that career.

Related: 10 Questions To Ask Before You Begin An Internship

10. Research your college’s programs.

A quick Google search of your college’s majors should give you a list of all the degree programs. There’s nothing wrong with running your finger down the list and stopping at the names that jump out at you. Click on those programs and read more about them. Find out what the classes will be like and what the program will focus on. Is there room to adopt a concentration or specific track within the program? Is there the opportunity for independent study? Also feel free to ask your advisor these questions.

11. Ask upperclassmen for insight. 

Thanks to social media, it’s easier than ever to grab someone’s attention and get them to talk to you. If you exchanged names with the senior Biology major who stood behind you in line for mac and cheese, shoot them a friend request and pick their brains for insight into the program and what they want as a career. I know a lot of people are selfish and don’t want to help others, but if you’re lucky enough to meet someone who would love to see you succeed even though they have no idea who you are and don’t owe you anything, hold onto them as a mentor.

12. If you aren’t sure, add a minor first. 

Minors are safe because if you later on decide that you want to adopt the field as a major, you’ve at least already completed a nice chunk of the courses because you added it as a minor first. And contrary to what we all thought in high school, your major and minor DO NOT have to be related! While having your major and minor as closely related as possible is a prudent move, having a minor that has nothing to do with your main field of study can help you become a little more well-rounded. Plus, it’s another way to explore other interests. You may be the only Psychology major with a Dance minor on campus, but who cares as long as you enjoy them both!

What are you studying in college? What are your tips for picking a major? 

Related: How To Make Class Enrollment Less Stressful

 

 

The Ultimate Guide To Cleaning Your Dorm Room

The Ultimate Guide To Cleaning Your Dorm Room

When you’re super busy balancing classwork, a job or internship, and your social life, cleaning up after yourself can be easily pushed to the back of your mind. I’ll do it later tonight becomes I’ll make time on Saturday. And at that point it’s best to just stop lying to yourself; your room will be messy for about another week or so, possibly till the end of the semester.

In all honesty, I hate cleaning my room. I can’t really recall a time when I was absolutely thrilled to clean anything, really. But, having an already clean room is extremely helpful when you’re moving out at the end of the semester because you’ll have much less trash to sort through. Plus, you never know when you’ll have a surprise visitor. So, here are some tips to help you get organized and get cleaning — plus, stick around till the end of the post to download a free copy of my dorm cleaning schedule!

Daily Tasks

Make your bed.

Your roommate probably doesn’t want to see pillows strewn all over the place. Make a habit out of smoothing out your comforter and fluffing your pillows every morning before leaving for class. Bonus tip: if you have an early morning class, make your bed as soon as you wake up so you aren’t tempted to crawl back under the covers and hit snooze!

Wash any dirty dishes.

We’re probably all guilty of leaving cereal bowls with milk still in them out to rot for at least a week before finally deciding to wash them (oops). Take care of dirty dishes as soon as you have them. They start to smell awful, and the longer you wait, the harder they are to clean.

Dispose of unwanted or unfinished food.

I’ve gotten into the habit of throwing my unwanted food or food containers from the dining hall in the trash room in the hallway instead of throwing them in the garbage can in my room. This unfinished food can attract bugs, and can make the room smell terrible. So, if you’ve had enough of the mac and cheese from the dining hall, get rid of it ASAP, and don’t leave it to melt under the heat of your un-air conditioned room.

Throw dirty clothes in your laundry bag.

Keywords: In. Your. Laundry. Bag. I’m super guilty of throwing sweat-soaked workout shirts on my bed or on the back of my chair because I’m too lazy to pull out my laundry bag and throw them in there. Don’t be like me. This adds to clutter, which gets really annoying when you can’t find what you’re looking for. If you’re absolutely sure you can’t wear a pair of pants one more time before you sentence it to the washing machine, do yourself a favor and put it where the other dirty clothes are.

Weekly Tasks

Clean up the clothes pile on your desk chair.

We all have that desk chair that becomes Mt. Neverest when we’re too lazy to put our clothes away. It’s really aggravating to have to move the clothing pile to your bed when you want to sit at your desk, and then move the pile back to the chair when you want your bed. Make sure you take the time to put your clothes where they’re supposed to be instead of letting them pile up.

Get rid of expired food.

Have you ever kept bread way past its expiration date? Yeah, it’s not pretty…Toss anything that’s no good as soon as you realize it’s gone bad. Check expiration dates weekly, so if something’s about to spoil soon, you can at least finish it off so your money doesn’t go to waste. Also, because I love cooking, I created a post on Tips For Cooking Meals In College that you might love!

Do laundry.

I’d say laundry is best done every other week instead of every week. It gives you a chance to build up a load that’s really worthy of your $1.50 (if your school makes you pay for your own laundry). Because laundry can literally take up half the day, be sure to plan your schedule accordingly, and figure out when the best times for doing laundry are.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Doing Laundry In College

Take out the trash.

You’d be surprised by how quickly you can accumulate trash in a week in college. If you fill up the garbage can, you must take the garbage out. It’s as simple as that, yet you won’t believe how many people just let the crap pile up as though the trash can will grow wings and take itself out. Living in a space that’s full of trash is really annoying and can get super gross. Too much trash can also cause roommate problems if you aren’t careful. Create a trash schedule if you need to—just make sure it’s taken care of weekly.

Clean off your desk.

Clear out any papers, wrappers, and tissues. Your desk can accumulate a lot of dust, so make sure you’re wiping it down. Freeing this surface from dust and germs will also ensure that you avoid getting sick. Be sure to clean off any other surfaces that you’re frequently touching, as well.

Related: How To Avoid Getting Sick In College

Vacuum the carpet.

For the sake of all that is allergy-free, VACUUM REGULARLY. I vacuum my dorm room once every couple of months when things get really dusty and annoying, and half the time I’m sneezing up a storm. Cleaning your carpet regularly can help you avoid all that. Since dorm rooms are notoriously tiny, it’ll probably take you just five minutes to go through the entire space if you’re vacuuming weekly.

Monthly Tasks

Wash your bedding.

Whether you prefer washing your pillowcases and sheets at the beginning of the month of the end, pick a day or weekend to be your designated bedding-washing day (I really tried to come up with a better name. Sorry). You can even throw them in with a light clothing load so you don’t have to snag extra machines.

Go through your closet.

The weather can change drastically in a month if you go to school in a region that experiences all four seasons. Make sure everything in your closet is suitable for the suddenly chilly November weather, or the insanely hot May weather. Put away anything you likely won’t be wearing for a while. Also, re-fold any clothing you just stuffed inside your drawers. This will make it so much easier to find what you’re looking for in the mornings.

Wipe down windows.

If you live in a campus apartment, you might want to make cleaning the windows a monthly task. You might be surprised by how quickly they can get dirty. Just pass a window wipe over the glass and you’re done!

Clean out your mini fridge.

Get rid of anything that smells bad, and anything growing mold. Also, get rid of anything you thought you’d eat but didn’t so it doesn’t go bad (give it to a friend who might like it).

If you made it this far, thanks so much for reading! Click on the image below or click here to download your free, printable dorm cleaning schedule. Happy cleaning!

The Ultimate Dorm Cleaning Schedule

What are your tips for keeping your dorm room clean? 

Guide To Dorm Shopping: 13 Things That Are A Waste Of Money

Guide To Dorm Shopping: Things To Not Buy For College

Tis the season for lengthy dorm packing lists and shopping guides that detail every unnecessary thing you don’t need for dorm life. Bonus points if it specifies the exact isle in Target to find the item in. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE shopping at Target, but I don’t love spending extra money on items I’ll end up not needing for college because I faithfully trusted those annoying shopping lists universities swear by. In case you couldn’t already tell, that’s exactly what happened to me when I was preparing for my freshman year of college.

I know it can be hard to really figure out exactly what you need, but you’re probably better off putting questionable items on hold until you can get the expert advice of an RA on campus, or until you actually move in and see for yourself what items work for you. But if you’re as excited about dorm shopping as I am, you probably can’t wait to pull into the store parking lot and shop everything college. To help you make things a little easier, I’ve created a list of items that you absolutely, positively do not need to buy for life in the dorms because they’re simply a waste of money.

1. A printer.

Not only would you have to purchase a printer, but you’d also have to continuously buy paper and ink (super expensive!) and that’s definitely not something you’d want to be bothered with. Honestly, using the printers in your school’s library isn’t that bad. Yes, there are long lines of people printing out textbooks (ppst! Check out my money-saving tips for buying textbooks!) but at least you won’t have to cough up $40+ every time you run out of ink. Plus, there are definitely printers all over campus, so you won’t have to keep your fingers crossed the line in the library runs smoothly so you can make your 8a.m.

2. A floor lamp.

I promise you, your dorm living room and bedroom will have ceiling lights — you don’t need a floor lamp. Plus, I know octopus lamps (the admittedly aesthetic floor lamps with several shades and bulbs) aren’t allowed at most colleges because they’re considered a fire hazard. A floor lamp won’t really do anything for you, except help you get on your RA’s nerves.

Related: 13 Things Not Allowed In Dorm Rooms + What To Bring Instead

3. Bed risers.

I made the mistake of buying bed risers, and when I got on campus, I saw that the bed frames were adjustable, so I didn’t even need them! A lot of colleges have beds that can be raised without risers, so check with your university first. Bonus tip: if you made the mistake of purchasing bed risers before moving in like I did, RETURN THEM ASAP so you can get your money back!

4. A bedside caddy.

Chances are, your desk will be close enough to your bed that you can just lean over and grab whatever you need — no caddy needed. And if it isn’t, you can probably just rearrange things to be more comfortable.

5. Board games.

You honestly probably won’t even have time to play board games in college! And if you do have some time to kill, you’d probably prefer to go to a campus event, party, or the gym. If you really want to play board games with friends, you can borrow some from your RA’s office. They usually have a wide variety to choose from, and you won’t have to worry about storing it when you’re done.

6. Any over-the-door organizer of any kind.

I know of so many over-the-door shoe organizers that everyone and their mother says you need, but honestly, you probably wouldn’t even need that many shoes in college. Plus, you can literally just store your shoes under your bed and save the space behind your door for a mirror or something. Don’t get me started with those collapsable hanging shoe organizers that “save space” by hanging from your closet. They actually take up more space than necessary.

7. An ironing board and iron.

How many shirts do you think will really need ironing during your college career? Maybe you’ll have a few business casual campus events, but I don’t think an iron and ironing board are justified even then. You likely won’t even have time to whip them out if you’re running late for an 8a.m. interview, and some colleges don’t allow irons that don’t come equipped with an automatic shut-off. Keep your professional clothing pieces wrinkle-free by not folding them into a corner of your drawer. If you want to put your mind at ease, though, I packed a cute, mini steamer my freshman year, and have had it since. It’s compact enough to be stored anywhere, and all I have to do is add water, turn it on, and steam my shirt — super easy to use, and it didn’t cost much at all!

8. Extra storage containers.

Okay, a couple of storage containers for things like extra towels, utensils, and personal items is understandable. And I know everyone has different necessities, but if you’re lining your closet shelves with lots of huge containers of stuff while you also have under the bed storage, there’s a possibility that you’re packing too much stuff. Before I started college, I looked at a zillion dorm room tours on YouTube to get an idea of how I should store things in my room. This gave me an idea of how many containers I’ll actually need, so I avoided buying too many.

Related: The College Girl’s Ultimate Packing List

 

9. Hair tool organizer.

I adore my Nume Magic Wand, 19mm curling wand, and straightener, but I really don’t think they need an organizer all for themselves. I just keep them in a drawer along with other hair care items, and it works really well. And if you don’t use straighteners, curling wands, or hair dryers, then you probably wouldn’t consider a hair tool organizer anyway!

10. A bath rug.

Most colleges provide bath rugs. Or rather, the residential hall staff supplies bathrooms with rugs. I would check with the residence hall first so you don’t waste money, and if they don’t provide rugs in suite-style bathrooms, then you can start considering if you want to bring one or not (they are helpful in avoiding slips after a shower).

11. Light bulbs.

Spare light bulbs are great if you’re moving into an apartment, but for dorm room life they’re totally unnecessary. If a light in your room goes out, file a work order or tell your RA and you can have someone come by and fix it for you. Be sure to familiarize yourself with dorm room maintenance policies so you know what to do if you ever need anything fixed.

12. Curtains.

I know, I know, the curtains in your residence hall are plain, dingy, and not your aesthetic at all, but unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about it. Most colleges forbid students from changing the curtains because the ones provided are fireproof. This is understandable as a fire safety concern, but if you want, there are other ways to make your dorm room feel cozy and less bland — just check out my guide to dorm decor!

13. A safe.

WHY. EVEN. What could an 18-year-old college student possibly have that requires extra guarding in a safe? I know we all have some important items that we want to keep extra safe (passport, credit cards, emergency money, etc.) but you really don’t need to invest in a safe right now. Opt for a small lockbox instead. It’s big enough to store important documents and things, and small enough to fit comfortably in a corner of your drawer.

What items would you recommend not buying for college? 

Picked By Jasmin: June Favorites

June Favorites

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first in a series that I will hopefully commit to for all eternity. Today, I present Picked by Jasmin, a new thing I’m doing at the end of every month where I basically tell you all about products that I love to death that I either purchased or received. In the past, I have tried doing what I called “kiss lists,” a roundup of beauty products for that month that I loved (check my May Kiss List from a million years ago to see what I’m talking about). And I didn’t really like doing it because there were some months that I really didn’t have too many beauty favorites, and then there was the issue where I forgot to write my next kiss list… Also, I just got bored with it. But I still love sharing my thoughts on products with you because maybe you tried the same thing and loved it just as much as I did. Or, maybe you didn’t like something but I can offer you a new way of making the most of it. Or, maybe I’m not a fan of something and you can give me suggestions. You get the idea.

So, instead of just doing a bunch of beauty products every month with swatches and photos of lipstick tubes arranged in different ways, I’m actually going to branch out to include any fashion and lifestyle products or services I’m loving as well. I’m super excited for this because I always feel like I’m trying a ton of new things across those categories, and I have so much to say about them! So, without further ado, here are the items that were picked by Jasmin this month.

Beauty

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Firming Moisturizer

Sooooooo I have medium-tan skin and in the summertime, I tend to get even tanner, which wouldn’t be so annoying if I didn’t have the weirdest tan lines from my clothing choices. My school had a regatta event on a particularly hot day, but I hadn’t packed any shorts because first, I don’t own any cute pairs, and second, it had been brick city for the last couple of weeks in May and I didn’t think the day would near 90. Alas, it did, and I wore super light capri yoga leggings outside. Long story short, I got sharp AF tan lines straight across my calves, and whenever I wore skirts or dresses I could feel the awkward smiles directed at them.

I had an event coming up for which I would surely wear a dress and be surrounded by tons of flashing cameras and I wanted my legs to be ONE uniform shade. Now, I had never used any type of tanning lotion or skintone enhancing lotion, so I wasn’t so sure if the Natural Glow Moisturizer would even work. But Walmart had a tube for medium to tan skin, and it promised to make the legs look firmer by decreasing the look of cellulite. Seeing as it couldn’t hurt to make my thunder thighs look like they bring a little less thunder, I decided to give it a shot. I was really impressed with the results I got! The lotion works gradually, but you start seeing your skintone become a little more tan in just a few days. And, obviously, a lotion won’t cut three inches from your thighs, but I did see less cellulite around my chunkier areas. I was amazed that it actually worked, but I do recommend using the lotion daily for best results. I’d also say that the best use for this product is to even out any harsh tan lines — not to give yourself a full-body Cancun glow.

Pretty Woman Nail Polish Limited Edition Summer Collection “Mermaid Kisses”

June Favorite Pretty Woman Limited Edition Summer Collection

Even though my soul is as dark as my leggings, I live for the mermaid trend that’s been swimming through Instagram for who knows how long. So, when I was approached with the opportunity to try out a select duo from the collection, I was absolutely ecstatic. Here’s how these polishes work: Each shade comes as a duo of one pantone color and one chrome color. You apply the pantone polish first, and after it’s dry, you apply the chrome polish over it for that mermaid flair.

I received the “Mermaid Kisses” duo, which is a shade of light blue and I fell in love! I applied it for an outing to a Brooklyn coffee shop that makes the famous geode and mermaid lattes (mermaid overload!!!!). I really love that I can spice up a manicure with just two coats of polish (I only applied one coat of pantone and one coat of chrome) so I think this will definitely be that go-to polish for when I really want pretty nails but don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to fancy nail art.

Fashion

Chunky black suede heels

After I received an invitation to the Red Carpet Premiere of the movie Good Fortune, I realized that some aspects of my inner middle school tomboy had still remained with me through the years, and I basically had NO cute pairs of formal heels. Seeing as I couldn’t show up in my $7 H&M flip flops, I went shopping for a cute pair of heels that could work for the event, and found these at JCPenney. I fell in love as soon as I saw them because I just really love chunky heels because I think they give more support than heels the thickness of pencils (though, those are pretty cute too). It fit perfectly and matched my dress. Though they were very painful to walk in after being in them for a movie premiere and an after party, I brought those $7 flip flops with me to change into and my feet were fine. While I certainly wouldn’t casually wear these around campus, I’m definitely keeping them around for any future fancy events.

Quay Australia High Tea Sunglasses

June Beauty Favorites Quay Australia High Tea Sunglasses

I have an irrational obsession with sunglasses and it’s no secret. A person shouldn’t need 12 pairs of sunglasses, yet I find a reason to keep growing my collection. I received these sunglasses from my internship (perks of being a beauty and fashion intern!) and I’ve worn them ever since. Orange is my summer color obsession because I was immediately drawn to the color of these glasses, plus I’ve been daydreaming about orange-red lipstick for the last month now. While I’m known for hoarding sunglasses like it’s my job, I’m also known for breaking sunglasses like it’s my side hustle. I think I just need a really good sunglasses case and, finally, I’ll stop fishing out broken glasses from the bottom of my backpack. In any case, I’m taking extremely good care of these sunnies. I looked into Quay Australia more and I’m really loving their Cat Eye collection (sweet and sassy, just like me!) But the High Tea sunglasses are definitely one of the prettiest shades I’ve ever worn.

Books

“Binge” by Tyler Oakley

June Favorites Binge By Tyler Oakley

I’ll admit that since summer break began for me, reading hasn’t totally been my priority. Most days it’s simply making it out of the house in time to catch the 8a.m. bus lest I have a 30-minute wait. But when I went to a bookstore in Times Square literally five days ago, I was browsing the shelves and as soon as I saw the name Tyler Oakley printed on the cover, I snatched that book from its place.

You may not already know this, but I EFFING LOVE TYLER OAKLEY. He’s hilarious and sassy on YouTube, and his videos are too darn entertaining. Plus, we have the same birthday, so there’s no way I could not like him. “Binge” has been out for a while, but this was my first time reading it, and I finished it in two days! Each chapter recounts memories — the good, the bad, the horrifying, the sexy –from Tyler’s life so far. Plus there are also some hilarious chapters, like Tyler’s definitive ranking of the Disney princes (nope, prince charming ain’t number one!) and his If-I-Were-Beyonce-For-A-Day bucketlist. This was such a great read, especially since i love hearing peoples’ personal stories, and because (not to sound like a crazy fangirl here) but Tyler’s writing voice is very much like my own in the sense that we write the way we’d talk to friends. Plus, he’s really uncensored. I love this, and I appreciate this, so I’m definitely looking forward to his future works.

Related: How To Make Time For Reading Books In College

Lifestyle

The Bagel Shop in Brooklyn

This shop is deadass called The Bagel Shop — I’m really not trying to be generic like saying “the perfume store in Forest Hills,” or “the pizza place in Manhattan.” I’ve been aware of the rainbow bagel trend since it first became a thing, but up until last week had never actually tried a rainbow bagel. Well, I took a trip to Brooklyn, found the shop, and ate bagels to my heart’s content. I’m kidding. I didn’t do that. Well, I did the find the shop in Brooklyn but I had one bagel (super delicious) then left the shop to go to a 99 cent store but then walked back into the shop and ordered two more for the road.

I got a red, white, and blue bagel in honor of Independence Day and got the cannoli cream cheese as a spread. They have so many spreads that it’s so hard to choose one. While they have sweet spreads like the cannoli and cookie dough cream cheese, they also have savory ones like buffalo chicken and spinach. The bagels are slightly sweeter than the traditional bagel, and they have sprinkles on top. I loved these bagels so much that I’d be crazy enough to drive down to Brooklyn every week to stock up on bagels if I had a car. And a lot of money.

What products have you been loving lately?