How I Landed An Editorial Beauty & Fashion Internship In NYC

How To Land An Editorial Beauty And Fashion Internship In NYC

You guys, WHERE did the summer go??? It feels like just a few weeks ago I was walking into the lobby of an 11th floor office to begin my second editorial internship. And now, here I am: sitting in my campus Starbucks procrastinating starting tonight’s homework. For the last three months, I’ve been an editorial intern on the beauty team at StyleCaster, a super fun, intelligent online magazine for women. This internship has given me so much, and is definitely responsible for all my crazy cool VIP-status Insta and Snapchat stories! Last summer, I wrote a post about the Things I Learned From My First Editorial Internship, so this summer I thought I’d focus more on how I got this awesome position. If you want a career in beauty or fashion digital media, you’ve come to the right blog post, my friend. I’m going to share what the application process was like, how I prepared for it, my favorite moments, and where you should look if you want to find similar positions. Sooo, without dragging this intro on for longer than it needs to be, let’s get into the good stuff…

The application process…

I found the editorial internship listing on a wonderfully handy website called Ed2010. This is probably the best website ever for students pursuing a career in the magazine and digital media industry because new internships, full-time jobs, and freelance positions get posted frequently and you’re very likely to find something that catches your eye. Ed2010 is an all-around very informative site as well because they post articles about how editors and employees at your favorite companies got to where they are, so it’s really cool. I’m done raving about Ed2010 now, but keep the site in your back pocket (or the notes section of your phone).

So I found the listing and decided to apply, especially because they only required a resume and at that point in April I was already waist-deep in cover letters. I wrote up a message and sent the resume to the email address listed and waited. Note that it’s super important to follow ALL of the directions a listing gives when you’re applying for a position. For this, I had to include the subject line that they specified. This is the first test to make sure that as an intern you’ll be able to follow directions. My next piece of advice when applying is to be respectful in your email! This is the editor’s first impression of you, so show that you’re interested, can follow directions, and are polite. If you write a very asshole-ish message or just don’t sound respectful, the person reading the email will be very put off by your attitude (trust me on this, guys. Towards the end of my internship, I helped the team go through emails from new applicants and you really don’t want to sound rude!).

About 10 days later, I received a response from the editor asking me to complete an edit test. If you’ve never taken an edit test, beware. Even if you read a website page by page daily, they can still be quite tough. I think that the idea of not knowing if your ideas are good enough is what makes edit tests so daunting. It feels like you’re sealing your fate as soon as you hit ‘send’ on that email. I’ll talk more about preparing for edit tests later, but needless to say, the editor loved my ideas and we scheduled a phone call. During the call, I really felt like I connected to the editor and to the position—it sounded perfect for me! The editor emailed me later that day to extend the offer to me and I accepted. Admittedly, I was a bit nervous to accept it because the offer came so early—this might sound strange, but it was still April and there were so many listings still going up. I was scared to commit to one position because I wasn’t sure if even better positions would arise in the coming weeks. I know, I know, the security of having an internship pinned down before the semester is even close to over sounds like a dream. I decided that StyleCaster would be the best place for me to learn, grow, and gain experience, so I accepted.

What I did to nail the application process…

I know this is the part most people really care about, and I’m excited to tell you exactly what I did to prepare for everything that was thrown my way! First and foremost, I made sure my resume was ready. I ensured that it was up to date and neat, and truly reflected how qualified I was for the position. I know that sounds arrogant but I like to think that it doesn’t matter how many internships you have; if you can’t use them to show how much of an asset you’d be to the team you want to join, you can kiss the position goodbye. Oh, you were an intern at Cosmopolitan? That’s cool but what did you learn there that you can bring here? That’s what you have to show employers. I absolutely don’t profess to know everything about resumes, but I’m just tryin’ to help you out as much as I can. 😉

Related: 5 Tips For Joining Clubs To Boost Your Resume

Here are some things you should try to have on your resume if you want a fashion or beauty-related editorial internship:

  • Prior editorial experience. If you’re applying for an editorial internship, you must have editorial experience already listed. Either that or at least be able to show that you have experience writing for a school magazine, personal blog that you consistently post to, or experience as a regular contributor at a site. It doesn’t matter how many fashion shows you’ve worked at, or how many designers you interned for; your chances of making it to the next round may be slim if there’s no writing experience listed on your resume.
  • An eye-catching decorative element. No, don’t go overboard with funky borders and unreadable but fancy-looking fonts. Having something subtle that still catches the editor’s eye will show them that you have personality and style, and they’ll remember your application. I always use a simple pink line towards the top of my resume in between my contact information and my related experience. It’s subtle but pretty, doesn’t take up much space on my resume, and serves a function. Figure out what you want to do to give your resume some flair—write your name in pink, or shade a box for your contact info blue.
  • A passion project. This is generally good for any field you apply for a position in, but if you have a blog, YouTube channel, non-profit you created, etc., include that on your resume. Show that you have something to do even if you don’t get the position. Many times, your passion project can help you be an asset to the team because it gives you experience and a perspective that they might be looking for. If you started a service that gives free bartending lessons to college students, that gives you a significant upperhand if you’re applying to be a food and drink reporter at a publication (strange example but I’ve actually seen something very similar happen!).

Related: The College Student’s Ultimate Guide To Resume-Writing

And then came my *favorite* part of the process: the edit test…While I won’t say what specific questions were asked on the test, I will say that all edit tests usually just serve to see if you’re capable of writing in the voice of the publication you want to work at, and if you’re good at coming up with ideas they didn’t already publish. Here’s how I usually approach edit tests:

  • I glance over it as soon as I get it, then put it away. I don’t tackle edit tests straight away. Never. I like to give it a once over to see how long it is and how (tough? demanding? hard?) the prompts are before I do anything. This helps me plan my time since I also have school and other stuff on my plate. Also, pay attention to the deadline. It can range anywhere from a few days to a week.
  • I closely follow all of the company’s content. I scour. Every. Single. Relevant piece of content to really take note of any aspects of their style I’ve never noticed before and inspire any ideas. Hopefully you already read the site’s content, but this time when you read it, look at it differently: how do they begin their articles? What’s the tone? Do they use profanity and to what extent? Asking yourself these questions will help you think of better ideas for your test. I do this for a day or so, depending on when the test is due.
  • I answer all of the “easiest” questions first. I say “easiest” because are edit tests ever really easy? No, absolutely not. But there are usually some questions that I can get through in very little time, so I do those first so I can really sit on my answers for the harder ones.
  • I jot down ideas for the tougher prompts. When it comes to these questions, I usually have a ton of ideas that I think could be good, but I can only pick my best three or four, and how do I even know for sure that they’re my best?? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to this, and I just rely on my gut to pick the top ideas. It is what it is.
  • I submit it! I mean, if you have 10 minutes left to submit your edit test, there’s nothing else you can really do about it, right? Between you and me, I actually almost didn’t submit my StyleCaster edit test! I had only gotten through half of the test and I only had one day left to complete it, and I was so bogged down and stressed from school assignments that I felt like I just couldn’t keep trying on this test. I was thinking of emailing the editor and saying thank you for the opportunity but you need not waste anymore time on me, but then I chilled for a night and returned to my test with ideas that actually didn’t suck, and I got it in!

I mentioned that I also had a phone call with the editor after I passed the edit test, and that went really well. It wasn’t really an “interview” per se but I did have to answer some questions to prove that I was truly a good fit for the position. My best pieces of advice for dealing with phone calls with the hiring team would be to make yourself available and find a quiet spot. Respect the editor’s time and understand that they won’t jump through hoops to secure a 15-minute phone call with you. Also, be prepared with questions for the end! It’s a red flag to employers if you don’t have any questions.

My favorites moments…

1. Meeting Charlotte Tilbury!

How To Land A Beauty And Fashion Internship In NYC

I got to attend the most glamorous product sneak peak ever for the Charlotte Tilbury makeup brand because it was all Hollywood themed. Professional makeup artists fawned over my sharp AF eyeliner wings, I got to keep an eyeshadow palette that wasn’t even in stores yet, and I met the genius woman behind the brand herself! So cool!

2. The hotel rooftop party and Tipsy Scoop ice cream.

How To Land A Beauty And Fashion Internship In NYC

A Dyson hair event I attended was located on the third floor rooftop of a hotel and there was a pool. I was blown away, and not just because it had been quite windy in the city earlier. I felt like such an adult mingling with other beauty magazine writers over a cup of alcohol-infused ice cream. Everything was so beautiful, and I got to meet celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin!

3. Eating popsicles in the office.

One of my favorite parts was definitely when companies sent beauty products to the office because we were also responsible for maintaining the beauty closet (which is INSANE) and that meant that we were free to try whatever products we wanted. So one day, a company sent us popsicles in a container of dry ice and we were all just so excited. They were frozen af because my tongue nearly got stuck to one, but they were so delicious and refreshing.

So, how do you find these internships???

  • Check Ed2010 frequently. Seriously, if you want a magazine or digital media internship you NEED Ed2010 in your life. I check Ed2010 as often as I check Facebook and Twitter, so I’m always up to date on what’s getting posted.
  • Check in with your previous internship. Reach out to your past employer and see if they’re looking for interns again this year. If you’ve never had an internship, ask your professors for any recommendations. They ought to know someone who can send an application your way, or at the very least they know somebody who knows somebody.
  • Google search. Simply using the right keywords in a search can give you options. Search for things like “magazine summer internship” or “nyc magazine internship.” You can also turn on the option to receive emails when new jobs related to your search get posted! I started doing this recently and I feel like such a job insider! Check out my Tips For Getting A Summer Internship for more useful info.
  • Check LinkedIn. That’s another thing I check like it’s Facebook. Download the LinkedIn app for your phone so you can check out jobs and connections on the go. Be tenacious about your search and don’t give up after looking at the first two pages, because when you’re an intern you have to be determined to slay. Every. Single. Task—no excuses!

So that’s basically how I got my editorial internship at a beauty and fashion site! It has been an extremely valuable experience, and I’m insanely glad I got the opportunity to work with such a strong team. I really hope these tips help you find an editorial internship if that’s what you’re looking for. And if you have any specific questions, drop them below or feel free to email me at heyimjasmin@gmail.com. I love hearing from y’all! 🙂

What was your favorite internship experience? Never had an internship—what’s your dream company? 

Macarons & Mascara Signature

How To Prepare For Early Morning Classes In College

How To Prepare For Early Morning Classes

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

How To Prepare For Early Morning Classes

Y’all, we need to seriously have a conversation about those dreaded sleep-shortening, alarm-clock-spamming 8a.m. classes because, let me tell you, I’ve had 8.m. classes since my freshman year and they were basically the bane of my existence. Even though I was very used to waking up early because that’s what I did in high school, it was still difficult to deal with early morning classes because when you live on campus, there are so many things going on, and you may not have control over all of them. Even if you commute to campus, you’ll have a lot going on!

The biggest issue I (and most other students) have with early morning classes—you know, besides waking up for them—is being able to complete my morning routine before running out the door so I can feel confident and alert for the entire day. I mean, if you wake up at 7:40 for an 8a.m. class, you might not be able to take that long, hot shower, blow dry your hair, stand in front of the closet for ages to pick the perfect outfit, eat breakfast, and still make it to class in time.

I know, I know, that sounds super stressful. Buuut, through a ton of trial and error, times of accidentally sleeping in, and moments of getting up and at ’em with a smile, I’ve come up with the best ways to prepare for early morning college classes so you can saunter through the lecture hall feeling fresh and ready for the day, and not feeling like you’d much rather go back to bed. Plus, I’m going to share deets on how you can use three of my favorite products (shown below) to get morning-class-ready (psst! You can hover over the images to purchase the products—pretty cool, huh?).

The night before…

1. Shower, and get to bed as early as possible.

I usually shower in the morning, but last semester when my schedule got insanely busy and I started sleeping later and later, I found great value in showering the night before an early morning class. If you’re going to bed really late, shower at night so you can save yourself an extra half hour of sleep in the morning—you’ll still feel fresh and clean, and less tired! Better yet, indulge in an invigorating body wash when you shower to boost your mood and relax. The Neutrogena® Body Clear® Body Wash – Pink Grapefruit is absolutely delicious smelling and really pampers the skin while you shower, so you don’t have to do any extra work to treat yourself (because let’s face it, you totally deserve it!). If you do decide to shower in the morning instead of at night, the pink grapefruit scent is so insanely uplifting, you’ll feel so relaxed that you’ll probably forget the dread of 8a.m. classes.

How To Prepare For Early Morning Classes

Now I, like many others, have had my share of bacne (back acne) so I know what it’s like to not feel confident enough to wear cute spaghetti straps in public (and God forbid  your crush sits behind you in lecture!). But obvs, there’s no time for worrying about how to treat that because hello, early morning English class. So, the Salicylic Acid paired with MicroClear® Technology (sound familiar?) takes care of that for you. And if you want something that’s oil-free and leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth, this is the body wash for you.

2. Lay out your outfit.

I used to do this in high school so I wouldn’t have to think about what I wanted to wear in the morning, and it saved me SO much time. I still do this because I know myself well enough to know that I will stand in front of my closet for 20 minutes just figuring out what I want to wear—trying on outfits and changing my mind constantly, and that takes up way too much precious time. Check the weather the night before so you have an idea of what would be appropriate. Lay everything out on the back of your desk chair, so when you wake up, you can just pull on your clothes and be ready to go without even batting a fabulous eyelash.

3. Pack your backpack with the day’s essentials.

I always tell myself to remember to put certain books and materials in my backpack for class the next day, except I’m usually too lazy or too tired to do it the night before but I’m so confident I’ll remember in the morning. Guess what I almost always forget to do…

Remembering to pack your bag in advanced will save you so much struggle in the morning, especially if you forget something crucial and have to turn back and go get it. You guys, learn from my mistakes and don’t be lazy!

Related: 9 Must-Have School Supplies You Actually Need For College

In the morning…

4. Wake yourself up by simply washing your face.

Throw some water on your face to get the sleep out of your eyes! I’m a huge skincare buff because I’ve struggled with my skin for years, so washing my face in the morning is non-negotiable for me. Using the Clean & Clear® Morning Burst® Facial Cleanser has greatly improved the look of my skin by fighting off breakouts, so I don’t need to worry about taking extra time to apply any acne creams before class (phew!). And you guys, IT SMELLS SO GOOD. It has a beautiful citrus scent that makes you feel like you’re biting into a fruit salad, and if this doesn’t wake you up, I don’t know what will! It’s packed with Vitamin C and Ginseng (how exotic!) to leave your skin feeling fresh. And there are these super tiny BURSTING BEADS® that really get deep into your pores to clean your skin. So basically it’s a win-win-win.

How To Prepare For Early Morning Classes

I wet my face thoroughly after brushing my teeth, and then I use just one pump because a little goes a long way. I really appreciate that this bottle is a pump because I can get product out with literally just one hand, and it’s mess-free. As I worked the product in, it left a cooling sensation on my face, which I really enjoyed because it made me feel more awake—perfect for getting you energized to pay attention in class! Definitely give it a go if you’ve never tried it before, especially since at Target, you can buy one Clean & Clear® product and get the second one for 25% off.

How To Prepare For Early Morning Classes

Related: The Collegiate’s Ultimate Guide To Skin Care

5. Have a bottle of ice cold water, not coffee.

Iced water is the first thing I drink every morning, and it really helps re-hydrate me, and because it’s so cold, it also wakes me up. I know you may be tempted to reach for a cup of coffee, but consider water first. Heck, take the bottle with you and sip on your way to class. Have the coffee afterward if you want. And lots of people don’t know this but coffee always takes 2-3 hours to kick in after you drink it, so you actually don’t feel instantly awake!

6. Shorten your makeup routine by using multi-purpose makeup.

I know layering on products in the morning can be super annoying and time consuming because you have to wait for each product to dry completely before applying the next, and when you’ve got an 8a.m. that you’re already late for, you just don’t want to deal with that. But if you’re like me and refuse to leave the room without a poreless face and gigantic lashes, consider makeup that can kill two birds with one stone. And if those two birds go by the names of breakouts and foundation, you’re actually in luck.

How To Prepare For Early Morning Classes

The Neutrogena® SkinClearing Mineral Powder fights your breakouts using that same wonderful MicroClear® Technology, and it gives you enough coverage for the smooth makeup look beauty junkies crave. Basically, you’re taking care of zits and your love for makeup with just one product—no waiting for anything to dry, so you can get out of the room quicker! And between you and me, this powder is oil-free (anyone else have really oily skin???) and it unclogs your pores to prevent future breakouts!

I got mine in the shade Natural Biege 60, and it suits my skin tone perfectly. The coverage is buildable enough that I can easily hide any acne marks, so I would definitely feel comfortable using this alone (and I DON’T say this about every powder I try!!!). So if breakouts concern you, this product is perfect for getting you out the door and to your class presentations with confidence! In case you were wondering, I got all of these products at Target (God bless that place), and if you stop in this weekend Thursday-Sunday, you can get 20% off your Neutrogena® Cosmetics products (YASSS!). And if you’re a fan of skincare products, you can grab a $5 gift card when you buy ~3~ Neutrogena® facial skincare products.

7. Eat breakfast!

Come on, guys—it’s the most important meal of the day! I know in college you likely won’t make a luxurious continental breakfast out of your dorm room, but one trick that has help keep me fueled in the morning is preparing my breakfast ahead of time for the entire week and freezing it. So all I need to do is heat it up and enjoy! It’s basically meal prepping but just for breakfast, so breakfast prepping! Try it out with your favorite breakfast burrito—you’ll thank yourself when you’re in class and your stomach isn’t yelling at you.

I hope these tips will help you conquer those morning classes! And to help you conquer your bank account, save money at Target with great August deals on Neutrogena® cosmetics by downloading CARTWHEEL for your phone. Be sure to snag 20% off Neutrogena® Cosmetics every weekend in August, Thursday-Sunday, on the app!

How To Prepare For Early Morning Classes

What are your tips for early morning class prep? Did you have a class you actually enjoyed waking up early for? 

Macarons & Mascara Signature

 

This post is sponsored by CLEAN & CLEAR® and NEUTROGENA®. I only recommend products I use personally and believe my followers will also enjoy! Some of the products mentioned were provided by CLEAN & CLEAR® and NEUTROGENA® for this review

How To Use OneNote In Microsoft Office 365 To Take Better Notes In Class

With the start of the fall semester, it’s just about time to say goodbye to the days of gluing your eyes to your TV screen, and say hello to the mornings, afternoons, and evenings of gluing your eyes to your laptop screen to take notes in a panicked frenzy. I’m going to be straight with you right off the bat: You MUST take notes if you want to do well in class—no matter what class it is (yes, even the super easy ones). Ugh, I know, the truth isn’t pretty. And you may not always feel at your best when you’re sitting in class after not having slept the night before, or not having eaten breakfast or lunch. Fortunately, note-taking is no longer as gut-wrenching as watching your hand fall off from trying to scribble everything on paper as quickly as you can before the professor moves on to the next slide.

Over the years, I’ve toyed with so many different ways of taking notes in a variety of classes (math, economics, chemistry, bio, journalism, English—you name it). One of my earliest blog posts on my Tips For Good Note-taking did really well, and I recently received a request for this post, so I’m insanely excited to deliver on my promise and bring you the best ways for using Microsoft Office 365 Student (more specifically, OneNote) to up your note-taking game. My school gives us a free subscription to the software (thank you, thank you, thank you!), and I know most other colleges give students free access to different programs, so before you drop any money on new software, check with your school’s IT department. This post focuses mostly on how to get the most out of OneNote, since I found OneNote to have the most useful features for students in the Office 365 program, and I’m pretty sure OneNote has practically become the supreme ruler of college note-taking in recent years. So if you have Microsoft Office 365 Student or just OneNote, let’s get into the tips for using it to your note-taking advantage, shall we?

1. Record audio from the lecture using OneNote.

If you’re the type of person who prefers to listen to a lecture over and over again, this is insanely helpful for you. You can easily record audio for lecture using OneNote, so you’ll always have pieces of info you might’ve missed if you couldn’t type fast enough or if your mind just wasn’t in class at the time. For me, I had a class that was insanely long, and it was always at the end of a hectic day, so whenever I just felt drained I’d start recording audio (at the time it was on my phone) and I typed whatever notes I managed to catch, so I’d go back to the lecture recording when I felt better and I’d fill in all the blanks. It was super helpful and helped me avoid being social in class and trying to buddy up with someone to help me fill in the notes (we all have those moments, right?). Here’s how to access the audio recording tool:

Open up OneNote > Insert > Record Audio

2. Record a video of parts of the lecture that you can watch over and over.

Okay, I know the whole ‘can you video tape a lecture?’ thing is debatable, but I think there are some instances where recording a video during class is more beneficial than actually writing notes, and it can have a positive impact on your understanding of the material. If you’re sitting in a math class and you don’t understand how the professor solves a particular problem, taking a video of them actually going through the problem from start to finish can be a huge help, because you’ll be able to catch small things that you might not have caught if you were focused on copying from the board. You can access the record video feature the same way you access the record audio tool.

Word of caution: if you aren’t sure if you’re allowed to video tape anything in the class, ask your professor! Explain that you would use it solely for supplemental purposes, that way you won’t get in any possible trouble. It’s always super important to know your professor’s class policy, and simply checking your syllabus can give you info on that (By the way, I have a post on Everything You Should Do During Syllabus Week For A Better Semester).

3. Use OneNote to create “notebooks” for each of your classes.

This is more of an organization tip, but I believe that being properly organized is one really good step towards taking better notes in class. OneNote helps you create virtual notebooks where you can take notes and all that good stuff. It’s a cute idea because it helps you feel like you’re actually writing notes in one of those good, old composition notebooks. It’s way better than just opening up a new document and saving it at any random location on your computer—your desktop? Your documents? A recent folder you visited?—and then not being able to find it later when you need it.

4. Draw graphs and charts to supplement your notes.

Okay, one major disadvantage to using a laptop if you’re a visual learner (like me!) is that you can’t really draw out charts and doodles that the professor comes up with to help you learn the material. Thus, you have to either scramble for a piece of scrap paper in your backpack to catch the doodle, or snap a blurry photo on your phone, which you’ll probably forget about. You can actually DRAW things really quickly and easily using OneNote, so you’ll have your illustrations paired perfectly with your typed notes.

How To Use Microsoft Office 365 To Take Better Class Notes

As you can see, I just quickly scrawled something relevant to my journalism classes to show you an example of how advantageous this tool is, but I know your drawings are going to be so much better than mine. 😉 This is super helpful if you like using your laptop for taking notes in, say, your chemistry class, but the charts always have you returning to pen and paper. Here’s how you can access the drawing tool:

Open up OneNote > Draw > Pen

(this is also where you can find the highlighter and eraser tools to color code portions of your drawing)

5. Instead of hyperlinking supplemental web pages, save them directly to OneNote.

This is actually a cool feature I recently learned about (even though it’s actually been out for a while) and HOLY WOW it is insanely useful! Hyperlinking websites the professor shows you during lecture is super useful because you’ll probably forget the site name if you don’t jot it down. But this tool does you one better…it basically clips the web page and places it right into your notes. So when you go over the lecture, instead of clicking on a link, you have the web page clip right there in front of you. Think of it as scrapbooking but for class notes. This one is a bit trickier to get right, so bear with me here:

Open up a web page you want to clip > File > Print > Send to OneNote 

After you do this, it will send the web page to an “unfiled” or unlabeled section of OneNote, but to get around this, you can type in the name of a specific notebook or section for the page to be sent to. 

6. Use Yammer to collaborate on notes.

Yammer is an app in Office 365 that allows you to join and create groups with other students where you can collaborate, ask questions, and share answers. It’s basically like Facebook but for Microsoft Office. Or, it’s like GroupMe but not on your phone. Use Yammer between your classmates as a way to share notes if someone misses something. Collaborating is an often-overlooked way to strengthen your notes, so don’t be shy!

I hope you found this post useful! I’ve definitely discovered more and more about OneNote over the years that have been helpful for taking notes in class. And, as always, if you want to see a specific post on Macarons & Mascara, hit me up! I love hearing from y’all and I want to make my posts as useful as possible. Email me at heyimjasmin@gmail.com, message me on Facebook, Instagram, or Tweet to me.

What are your insider tips for taking good notes in class?

Macarons & Mascara Signature

8 Cheap Ways To Save Space + Keep Your Dorm Room Organized

8 Cheap Ways To Save Space And Organize Your College Dorm Room

Successfully moving into your dorm room is only one small piece of the college student-adulting pie, and, personally, I hate the part that comes after…

Because your clothes, shoes, and bedding won’t unpack themselves (remember that episode of Jimmy Neutron where he put microchips inside pants so they’d fold themselves???) you’re going to have to start organizing ASAP. College dorm rooms are notoriously tiny, and it doesn’t help that back to school catalogs think that colleges have the luxury of affording students tiny palaces for rooms—seriously, I don’t know what dorm room can actually fit all the crap they brainwash us into bringing! Which is why my freshman year of college, I watched upwards of about 30 different “How I Organize My Dorm Room” videos on YouTube to get an idea of how to really optimize the small space I have.

Fast forward three, almost four, years and past a lot of trial and error, and I think I’ve finally pinned down the absolute best, and my favorite, ways to save space while keeping my room looking neat. And trust me, I know you may not want to spend a ton of money buying organizing containers and bins for every little thing—I certainly didn’t—so that’s why I’m highlighting the cheapest ways to save space in your dorm. And to really help you prep for this most exciting time of year, I’m also going to talk about my favorite ways to keep my dorm room organized, whether you’re living in a triple, double, or the coveted single!

Cheap ways to save space…

1. Hang your jewelry using adhesive hooks.

Using Command Hooks is by far my FAVORITE way to store items to save space. They don’t require hammering anything into the wall, so you won’t damage anything, and they remove cleanly (as someone who once ripped paint off the wall because I didn’t know how to properly remove a Command Hook, I can attest to the fact that taking your time when removing the adhesive makes such a difference!).

Last year, I bought small hooks and stuck them to my wall in a cute pattern. Then, I hung my bracelets and necklaces from them, and it not only looked super cute, it also helped me avoid having to bring a jewelry organizer to school. I was able to see everything I had at once so I could easily choose what I wanted to wear, and putting them back at the end of the day was a breeze. Command Hooks don’t cost much, and they usually come in packs.

Pro tip: buy larger Command Hooks and hang your purses and handbags on them!

2. Tape your power strip to the side of your desk.

During my first two years of college, my surge protector was literally all over the place, and it was always in my way. I’d sometimes trip over it, or get other cords tangled around it because I figured the floor was as good a place as any other for leaving it. Then, last year my dad suggested I use some double-sided mounting tape to secure it to the side of my desk, and it was the easiest hack ever! It makes it easy for me to plug things in from the comfort of my bed, I don’t trip over anything, and mounting tape doesn’t cost much, and you’ll certainly have enough left over for next year.

3. Push small furniture items under the bed when you’re not using them.

I love cute little storage ottomans and other pieces of furniture, but if you aren’t using them as frequently as you thought you would, push them under your bed to keep them out of your way. Having them in the middle of the room, or by the door can hinder your ability to move around freely, and it might annoy your roommate. If you aren’t sure if you’ll really use a piece of furniture, save money by renting instead of buying. Check out my post on Items You Can (And Should) Rent In College for more details.

4. Buy an over-the-door mirror.

I know not everyone feels they need an over-the-door mirror (though they are really useful when you want to check your outfit before you leave but your suite mate is in the bathroom) but if you do choose to invest in a full-length mirror, buy one that can easily be hung over your door so you don’t have it propped up against a wall where you can easily trip over a corner and break it (or your roommate could trip over it and break it!). They usually cost around $20, and they’re even cheaper when they go on sale, so keep an eye out for that.

5. Get a desk lamp that doubles as a pencil holder.

My school provides us with desks that already have a light built into them, so I’ve never had to purchase a desk lamp, but if you’re going to, save yourself from making two purchases by getting a lamp that’s also a pencil holder. I’ve always thought those were really cool, and a smart asset to any college student’s academic wishlist. You can put extra pencils, pens, highlighters, paperclips, sticky notes, and more into the storage compartments. Plus, most of these lamps also include a place for you to charge your phone. Pretty spiffy if you ask me.

6. Store items on top of your mini fridge.

If you bring a fridge or microwave to school, make use of the space on top! Get a plastic container and put cereal boxes, granola bars, and other food items in it for easy access. You can find the containers for super cheap at a dollar store, so it’s definitely a win.

7. Use thumbtacks to hang items from your cork board.

The desks that my school provides us with also come with a built-in cork board type material, so we can use push-pins and thumbtacks to hang things on it. This is also a great place for any accessories such as sunglasses, watches, and rings. If you don’t have a desk mirror, use it to hang a hand-held mirror.

8. Don’t bring items that are prohibited in dorm rooms!

This is by far the easiest and cheapest way to save space: simply DON’T purchase any items you aren’t allowed to have! Always check with your school if you’re unsure of whether or not you can have a certain item in your dorm room. I can name at least 10 items that aren’t allowed in my school’s dorm rooms without even thinking. If you’re caught with these items, they’ll be taken away until someone can bring them home for you. Read my post on 13 Things Not Allowed In Your Dorm Room + What To Bring Instead for details on some common prohibited items (and their totally UNprohibited substitutes).

How I organize my room…

I use magazine holders for notebooks.

I love love love magazine holders because they provide easy access to important books and papers (and, yes, my magazines) while also adding an extra flair to my desk. They keep things tidy because Lord knows that without them, I would probably just stack my books anyhow on my desk.

I use plastic bins to organize my supplies in my desk drawer. 

This has been one of my favorite desk organization hacks since freshman year! I was tripled my first year and had to share a desk with one of my roommates, so instead of having all of our markers and highlighters rolling around and getting lost, I started using small, plastic bins to hold small items and it worked! I could usually by two or three for $1, so it was super cheap. If you love DIY and have the materials on hand, I also suggest creating your own desk organizers using cereal boxes and decorative tape, or gift wrap.

Related: 13 Smart Money-Saving Tips For College

I store shoes under my bed. 

There’s no reason for your shoes to be thrown all over the room, and if you have a roommate or two, it would be even more annoying if they started doing the same thing, and you wouldn’t want that now would you? I keep my shoes under my bed because it’s easy to get to them and they stay out of the way. Another good place for shoes would be storing them on the shelf in your closet. I never purchased a shoe rack because I couldn’t imagine having space for one when I was tripled.

Some other things I keep under my bed are my mini fridge, plastic containers for storage, and an umbrella.

I keep my laundry bag in my closet. 

It’s kind of the same idea as the shoes; the goal is just to keep the laundry bag out of the way. I used to hang my bag on the back of my door handle and it was super annoying! You can also put this under your bed.

I never put any items in my walking space. 

I always try to keep the main walking area as clean as possible. Can you imagine tripping over someone else’s crap every time you want to leave the room, or having to practically jump over boxes and shoes? This is especially important if you have a roommate, because I always like to think that the walking space doesn’t belong to any one person. Be careful, or you could run into problems with your roomie!

Related: 7 Common Roommate Problems + How To Solve Them

I usually have most of my decor on my wall. 

I know everyone wants a Zoey 101-esque dorm room, but that’s TV and TV loves exaggerating shit. Avoid the octopus lamps and other floor lamps because they take up space and likely aren’t even allowed in your room; if you have a bad dust allergy, avoid bringing in decorative rugs. For dorm decor, I usually tape cute art prints to the wall and use decorative tape to create “picture frames.” It’s so cute and so easy, and doesn’t take up space at all. Check out my Guide To Dorm Decor for more decorating tips.

What are your favorite ways to save space in your dorm? Which of these tips is your favorite?

Macarons & Mascara Signature

Informational Interviews: What They Are, Why They’re Important & How To Rock Yours

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (welcome back! :D) you probably already know that I study journalism and one of my biggest career dreams is to work for the biggest digital media sites out there (Well, hello there, BuzzFeed and INSIDER). The thing is, competition is tough and I can basically get in line behind all the other twenty-somethings graduating in a year who also want to work for the biggest digital media sites out there. While experience is extremely important, you’ll gain an advantage by getting to know some of the people who work in the industry you want to break into, and what better way to do this than to ask for an informational interview??

Honestly, I have never even heard of the term “informational interview” until this summer. I was lucky enough to have been able to score one recently with a writer I was introduced to at HerConference, and I learned so much from her! It was such a great experience that I wanted to share it with you and give you tips for meeting your favorite writers and editors. So let’s get right into the world of informational interviews.

P.S., while you don’t have to study journalism and media to have an informational interview, please note that this post will focus on informational interviews from the perspective of a journalism major (a.k.a. me), so tailor any examples here to better suit your field of study. 🙂 

First thing’s first: What exactly are “informational interviews”???

“Informational interview” is a super professional term for a coffee meeting between you and your favorite writer, editor, or freelancer from whom you receive career and industry advice. I prefer to call them coffee dates, but the meetings don’t even have to involve coffee; if you both love tea, it could be a tea date, or if you’re feeling bold, you might invite him or her to a pub for drinks (only do this after you get the job you want to say thanks for the advice!)

The editorial assistant I met with was a panelist at the conference attended, and she made some points that I really wanted to learn more about. Luckily, she is friends with a co-worker of mine, and he was able to give me her email address, so when I messaged her for a meeting, she agreed! The tips she gave me were fantastic, and will definitely help me become a stronger writer for future sites I write for.

No, you don’t have to bring your resume and cover letter because this is NOT a job interview. As a matter of fact, you’ll be the one asking questions, so make sure you’ve got good ones. Don’t ask anything that you can easily Google the answer to. If you’re nervous, start off by asking your “interviewee” how they got to their current position, and just go with your natural curiosity.

How do you organize an informational interview? 

Like I said, I organized my first meeting through a co-worker giving me contact information and telling the editorial assistant to expect my message. Using your connections is one way to go about setting up a coffee date with someone you’d really love advice from, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask! Your colleagues and bosses were in your position at one time, so I’d imagine they’d love to help you in any way that they can. You might have to do some LinkedIn research to find any of your co-workers’ connections who have had jobs at any of the places you want to work at. When you find someone, see if your colleague can message their connection to expect your email. This is way better than just having them give you an email and then keeping your fingers crossed that it’ll get a response.

Another way of getting an informational interview is the infamous cold email (another phrase I hadn’t heard of until recently). Basically, you look someone up, find their email address, and you just go for it! You usually won’t have any common connections, which can make cold emails seem intimidating at first, but honestly, what’s the worst that can happen—they might say they’re too busy, or they might ignore you. Either way, it doesn’t cost you anything to try.

Lastly, you may meet some influential people in your desired industry at networking events. But this requires that you actually look for and attend networking events, meet someone you’d love advice from, and actually get their contact info so you can email them. It can be difficult because literally everyone and their mother will likely want to get in two minutes with an Editor or Social Media Director, but if you need tips, I’ve got a post all about How To Survive Networking Events. Once you get their email, message them as soon as you can and ask for a meeting. But no matter which method you choose to organize a meeting, you have to make sure that editor, writer, or social media manager actually says yes…

Get them to say yes: how do you give them a reason to meet you?

“Hi, so-and-so! My name is Jasmin and I’m a student and writer at XYZ. I love your work on ABC Magazine, and it’s my dream to work there. I would love to meet you for coffee in the city when you’re free.” 

That’s a pretty decent example of what you should NOT send to someone you want to meet for coffee! Why should this person care enough to meet you for a couple of iced chai lattes in a noisy, packed coffee shop in Manhattan instead of leaving the office to go home, eat a fancy steak dinner, and dip their toes in a warm bubble bath? Simply put, just saying you love their work and want to meet them isn’t enough.

Yes, it’s a good idea to say that you enjoy reading their work (as long as that’s actually the case!) but they don’t want to attend a coffee meeting where they’re being fangirled over because that’s just a waste of their time. Try to be as specific as possible about why you’d like to meet with them. Did they mention something specific in a particular article that you’d like to hear more about? Did they recently receive a promotion and you want to know more about how they got their position? Great, say that! This will help them prepare what to talk about so they help make the most of your time together, and having a focused topic of conversation will help you think of focused questions to ask. This is called giving them a reason to meet you. And, without this handy tool under your belt, be prepared to receive an “I’m too busy” or be ignored altogether.

But why are informational interviews so important???

I know, I know, I’ve been going on and on about the do’s and don’ts of informational interviews, and I didn’t even mention how extremely useful they are! Let me start off with the most obvious benefit to informational interviews: making new connections! By the end of the meeting, you should walk away with a new professional email, and, if you’re lucky, a cell phone number. But I always like to say that the connections you make are only meaningful if you actually use them! Don’t just tuck this well-earned email address into the back pocket of your favorite skinny jeans and forget all about it; shoot them an email or text the following day to thank them for their time. Send them a card during the holidays, and email them for their birthday. Don’t reach out to them only when you’re about to apply for a position. If you keep in touch regularly, they would certainly keep you in mind for internships, full-time positions, and anything else their company is working on.

Another reason why you should ask for an informational interview is because you get the chance to access insider information on your favorite company or website. I mean, hell-o, you get to sit in front of experts in the field and have their full, undivided attention to ask them any career-related question you want the answers to. Not only that, but you also get to hear about what steps this person took to get where they are now. IN. FULL. DETAIL. I love hearing other peoples’ stories because they’re always so encouraging, and give me great ideas on what my next move should be. Also, don’t forget to talk about the small stuff and ask your interviewee about themselves.

Those were the obvious reasons why informational interviews are so important, but here’s one that most people forget about even though it’s probably the most important: You will ALWAYS learn something. Even if you thought the conversation was so boring you were tearing up from all the yawns you were holding back, you will definitely be able to take something valuable away from the experience. It could be a clue as to what your next steps should be, or where you should look for your next internship, so pay attention!

So, how do you rock this meeting???

1. Dress nicely. 

You don’t have to dress like you’re attending a business meeting, but you also shouldn’t bust into the cafe wearing short shorts and a crop top. Aim to just look put-together. For my meeting, I wore a dress and flats because it helped me avoid overthinking my outfit. It helps to think about what you would wear to your internship (MORE: 6 Super Cute Pairs Of Shoes You Need For Your Summer Internship)

2. Arrive early.

Something my broadcast professor always told the class was: If you’re on time, you’re late. Plan ahead so that you arrive at the cafe or meeting place with enough time to get yourself settled in before the person you’re meeting arrives. Try to have the drinks ready when he or she arrives. Pro tip: let them pick the cafe and ask them what their favorite thing to get from the menu is.

3. Come prepared with at least 4-5 questions.

One of my editors told us interns a story about the worst coffee meeting experience she’s ever been invited to. Long story short, the girl who asked her to the meeting didn’t have any questions ready and basically just expected her to sit down and start talking. Needless to say, that was a complete waste of her (the editor’s) valuable time, and this is probably the WORST thing you could do at an informational interview. You should go with your natural curiosity during the meeting, but also prepare some questions so at the very least, you have something to start with, something to ask if you sense a lull in the conversation, and something thought-provoking to end with.

4. Ask what they suggest you do moving forward.

Always try to ask how the advice can be applied to you. Say something like, “what kind of experience do you think I should try to add to my resume in the near future?” (P.S., check out my Guide To Resume-Writing and my post on How To Join Clubs To Boost Your Resume!) This shows that you care about staying active and gaining as much industry experience as possible. Who knows, they might even answer with a swift, “you should consider applying to this recently opened position at my company.” *wink, wink*

5. Don’t whip out your resume.

Be aware that some professionals actually really enjoy sitting down to meet with curious college students and young graduates, so don’t ruin the fun by pulling out your resume. You aren’t there to interview for potential openings at the company, and the person you’re meeting certainly isn’t prepared to interview you. If anything, this could annoy them, and they may not want to keep in touch with you. If you’re particularly eager to share your resume, ask if you could email them a copy to get their thoughts on how to properly leverage your experience.

6. Be yourself and have fun! 

Informational interviews are seriously fun and exciting because you never know what you’ll find out, and you might really click with the person you’re meeting. Pretend you’re meeting up with an old friend if you’re nervous. Just relax and enjoy the experience!

So yeah, there you go! I know this isn’t my usual post style but I was practically bouncing off the walls because I was so excited to talk about how informational interviews can be such a worthwhile experience. I hope these tips help you feel confident when you ask for an informational interview in the future!

Have you ever been on an informational coffee date? What are your tips?

How To Thrive In Small Classes As An Introvert, Or If You’re Really Shy

Large college lecture halls that accommodate 300+ students are what some college goers dream of. There’s no pressure to sit up front under the professor’s nose, no one will really notice if you fall asleep in the back, and you’re way less likely to get caught doing work for other classes. But, not all college classrooms are big enough to house a tiny village, which means that at some point you may be forced to sit in a high school-esque room with a mere 20 other students where the professor can actually see your face.

You’ve probably heard by now that in college, you can’t get away with not speaking up, and if you’re shy or introverted, that kinda sounds like a nightmare. Ya girl knows EXACTLY what it’s like to have that nervous sweat roll down your back when the professor warningly announces that they’re going to pick someone randomly to answer a question. And then your face gets so hot and so red that you swear you’re going to pass out in your seat at any moment—oh yeah, I’ve been there more times than I can count. It takes a lot of internal convincing for me to finally decide to raise my hand and answer or ask a question in front of the class. Unfortunately, some professors make class participation a huge part of your overall grade. You likely won’t get A’s in class if that’s the case. And while grades don’t define who you are, your academic success may be important down the line when applying to grad school or joining honor societies and programs.

Keep in mind that there is no special set of strategies designed specifically for introverts and shy people that will magically help them succeed in class. But these are some things that you should pay keen attention to in order to thrive in class if you’re shy about speaking up! Seriously, guys, I’m so excited to share this post with you—I thought of it while eating dinner and promptly put down a spoonful of mashed potatoes and scooted my chair back to lock myself in my room until this post was finished! So before I explode from the excitement, here are tips for being seriously successful in small, participation-heavy classrooms when participation isn’t a strength of yours.

1. Make a friend in class.

You don’t need to be the life of your class party of 30—just have even one friend in there with you who you can sit with, talk to, help each other out, and exchange confused looks when you have no idea what the hell is going on. Before I really started making any J-school friends, I remember how uncomfortable it felt to sit in a room where it seemed like everyone had a friend but me. It’s really important to have one or two reliable friends in the class if you aren’t going to speak up much because they can help you answer the questions you might not have asked in class. And, having a friend with you makes anything mundane so much more enjoyable. Find someone who seems cool and sit next to them every class. You’ll eventually start talking a little and exchange numbers. Read my 10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College!

2. Email the professor when you don’t understand something.

I know a lot of people who are afraid of sending emails to professors regardless of whether they’re introverted or extroverted, and if this is a fear of yours, you NEED to get over it if you want to do well. Professors always ask if people have questions in class, but some of them can be quite asshole-ish and dismiss perfectly valid questions as “stupid” which makes students less likely to want to even raise their hand in the first place! If you’re nervous about asking for clarification in front of your classmates, email the professor as soon as class is over to get answers. You may think you’re bothering him or her, but that’s kind of what they’re here for. You’ll get help, and your professor will see that you obviously care enough to reach out (easy participation points!)

3. Go to your professor’s office hours.

I took this English class last fall, and the professor was absolutely terrifying. She’s a sweet woman when you get to know her and when she sees that you care about the class, but I was honestly too scared to raise my hand in that class. The worst part of it was that I knew that was killing my participation grade, so when she offered easy points to anyone who visited her office hours to review their exam grade, I signed up immediately. Don’t hesitate to visit your professor if you don’t talk much in class. It can help you get full credit for participation, and your professor will get to know you better and understand where you come from. Plus, bonding with professors is important if you plan to ask for a recommendation letter. Be sure to read your syllabus to know your professor’s policy on office hours—do you just walk in, or do you need an appointment?

4. Create a good connection with the TA.

If you’re shy about talking to the professor, talk to the TA if your class has one! TA’s are like the bridge between the professors and students, plus they’ve already taken the class and did well in it, so they can give you the insider tips on how to get those A’s for days. As a former TA, I personally loved it when students—whether they talked a lot in class or not—approached me for advice or with questions about the class. It made me feel useful and trusted, and I could tell that it really made a difference for students. Don’t wait until the end of the semester to email your TA to ask for help; go up to them after class and introduce yourself, or ask if they’d be willing to get lunch with you to go over your mid-semester project idea.

5. Take impeccable notes.

If you’re not going to get on those class participation points, you better damn well make sure you have incredible notes to help you ace exams later on! I’m not going to talk about this too much because I have a blog post all about how to take good notes in class, but be sure to leverage your listening and observational skills in this situation.

What’s the one class you had that made you nervous to speak up? 

5 Tips For Joining Clubs To Boost Your Resume

5 tips for joining clubs and extracurriculars to boost your resume in college as a freshman

There’s nothing I love talking about more than ways to get involved on campus. Well, actually, I love talking about blogging and planning just a teeny bit more, but joining clubs is such an important part of the college experience that I’m super excited to give you the deets on all things extracurricular. Let me start off by dropping some crazy news on you: When I was a first semester freshman, I didn’t join any clubs on campus. Nada. Nothing. Zero. Bupkis. My second semester freshman year, I signed up for like five clubs of interest that I knew I’d love, but only remained committed to one…which I quit two semesters later.

So, why should you listen to what I have to say about joining clubs that kick ass on any resume?? Well, because eventually, I realized a few important things, and I got my extracurriculars in order by joining one amazing organization on my campus that brings together a ton of great girls who love to write, and not only did I stay committed to this club, but I also received the opportunity to become part of the E-board last semester! But it doesn’t stop there; I used my experiences with this club to apply for a much bigger position on the national team and actually got picked!!!! That club, in case you were wondering, is my school’s chapter of Her Campus (you might’ve heard of it) and I’m now a News Blogger on their national team. Yay! Yay! Yay! 

But I promise, I didn’t tell you that to toot my own horn; I included that story because it’s an example of how I used a club that I joined to elevate my resume and become a more competitive applicant for a position I wanted. As a college freshman, you may not have much experience listed on your resume. Hell, you may not even have a resume! But joining clubs is one of the best ways you can start building one. So, without making this intro any longer than it needs to be, here are tips for joining clubs to actually make your resume look good.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Resume-Writing + Examples

1. Don’t join a bunch of clubs. 

No, seriously! I know everyone in college will tell you to fill your weeknights with as many clubs as you can so you can make friends and explore more interests, but you actually don’t need to join that many. I think it’s way more effective to just join one or even two clubs that you can eventually move up to E-board positions in. Keeping track of a ton of clubs can be so exhausting, but if you pour your time into just one club you really love, you’ll make friends, have a bunch of new experiences, and dedicate more time to playing a bigger role in the organization. Being able to show that you’re an organized team leader always looks impressive. And, if you can relate the position to what you want to do, that’s even better. You might be studying public relations or marketing, so saying that you’ve gained knowledge of promoting social media accounts and analyzing an audience as the social media director of the culinary club is really important experience.

2. Join professional sororities and pre-professional clubs and orgs. 

If you’re like my high school self and think that Greek Life is all about partying and drinking, think again! There are some professional fraternities and sororities on college campuses all over the country, so joining one is a great way to get involved with Greek Life while also adding to your resume. They’re often co-ed and referred to as “frats” so guys and girls can share skill-enhancing experiences. I’m not part of one because, unfortunately, there is no journalism co-ed frat on my campus *sad face* but I know lots of people who are part of Business frats, Engineering sororities, and more, and they love all the opportunities and career advice they’re given.

Pre-professional, non-Greek clubs are also a great way to connect with other students who want to do the same thing as you. If you’re pre-law, join the pre-law society; if you’re on the pre-dental track, see if your campus has a pre-dental society. These orgs are great resources if you’re just starting out and need guidance and tips, and you’ll get so many different opportunities to participate in exclusive programs offered in partnership between your university and outside groups, which you’ll definitely be able to brag about in your cover letter or during an interview.

3. Join campus media. 

I know what you’re thinking: “Ummm, but I’m not going to be a Journalism major…” Well, you don’t have to be to join your school newspaper or magazine. There are roles other than news writing that are essential in campus media. If you want to build a photography career, volunteer to be the newspaper’s photographer. You’ll get excellent experience photographing campus events for stories. If you’re interested in computer science or design, join the media crew as a site director or designer so you can get hands on experience maintaining and designing a website. No task is too small.

4. Become a campus ambassador. 

Nowadays, there are campus ambassadors for so many companies—PINK, Yik Yak (remember this fun app?), and more. Being a campus ambassador is a great way to build experience in marketing and PR for a company you already love, or a new company you’ll start loving. It shows initiative and helps you build connections with brands outside of your campus. Campus ambassador isn’t exactly a club, but it’s an active presence on campus, and you usually have to recruit and organize other students from your school to join your team. So it’s kind of like a club in a way. Whatever you want to call it, it really looks great on your resume when you’re just starting out.

5. Start a club yourself. 

If your campus doesn’t offer anything you’re in love with, create something! The club doesn’t even have to be related to your major, it can be something you really enjoy doing. Maybe you love dessert and watching those food videos on Facebook. Create a club centered around baking and sweet treats. It shows initiative and self-discipline since you’ll be in charge of growing everything from the ground up. Not to mention the leadership, organizational, and communication skills you’ll build from it. I was the founding editor in chief of my school’s chapter of the Odyssey when I had no journalism or writing experience whatsoever because I had just changed my major. The Odyssey was at the top of my resume for every internship I applied to, and I always had so much to say about it during interviews. It was a ton of work, but I grew so much from it and turned it into something I could be really proud of.

What are your tips for joining resume-boosting clubs?

Check out my post on Cover Letter Mistakes That WON’T Get You An Interview!

7 Smart Things To Do During Syllabus Week For A Better Semester

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now about the infamous college syllabus week. And if you haven’t, it’s basically the first week of the semester when you get to go over the future class material, meet your TA, and basically scope out the class to see if you’ll actually like it or if you’ll just give up and decide to settle for a C one month in. If syllabus week sounds too good to be true, you’re damn right it is! You may be really tempted to just chill during syllabus week because nothing serious is really happening in class yet, but that, my friends, is your first mistake.

I’ll be the first to admit that during my first ever freshman year syllabus week, I took the lack of work for granted and didn’t use my time (or my syllabus) wisely at all. Don’t forget to do these TK things during syllabus week to get your semester started on the right foot!

1. Print all of your syllabi and keep them in your binder.

Your professors spend hours creating your syllabi for a reason! Contrary to what so many people think, your syllabus is choc full of important quiz and exam dates, project and paper due dates, and the outline of everything you’re going to be studying for the semester. Most times, the syllabus also includes all of your homework assignments for the semester, so it’s definitely not something you want to lose! I know lots of professors post their syllabus online, but it’s so much easier to have a physical copy that you can highlight and annotate whenever you please. Plus, sometimes professors make changes to the syllabus over the course of the semester, and those changes may not be reflected in the online version. In my post on must-have school supplies, I talked about how I use a binder to organize all of my syllabus handouts, and I seriously stand by this because, you guys, it makes it a helluva lot easier to avoid that mini heart attack during finals week when you need a handout you received at the beginning of the semester!

2. Mark down all quiz, exam, and project due dates.

So, umm, sorry to tell you this but you’re going to have to actually read your syllabus after you print it out. I know, they can be so hefty sometimes, but think of it as an excuse to visit the school cafe and indulge in an over-priced iced coffee while you get some light reading done. Be aware of all of your semester’s exams and projects for every class ahead of time. I cannot tell you how many mini heart attacks I could’ve stopped myself from having every time I realized that I had a paper due in just two short weeks, or that the project I didn’t know I had was due soon. I highly recommend investing in a dry-erase calendar that you can hang on your wall, or a planner with monthly calendars so you can easily write down those dates and stay on top of your game at the beginning of every month. I really like the Happy Planner and the ClassTracker planner, which I wrote a review on.

Related: 11 Tips For Conquering Group Projects

3. Talk to your TA or Professor about the class expectations.

Syllabus week is prime opportunity for you to get to know your class TA, get your professor to know who you are, and figure out if you’ll really be up for the class you signed up for. If you’re like me and dislike surprises, knowing the extent to which you’ll be expected to work will be instrumental in helping you avoid any curve balls that might be thrown your way. I know it’s important to challenge yourself every once in a while, but if there’s a chance that at some point you’ll be expected to do something that you really can’t do for whatever reason, it’s important to know that in the beginning when you can jump ship rather than mid-semester when dropping the class could negatively impact your transcript.

Shoot your TA an email and ask if you can discuss the class over lunch or dinner. You’ll feel a little less awkward considering they’re a student just like you! Also use this as an opportunity to get the inside scoop on how to get on your professor’s good side. Visit your professor’s office hours to get to know him or her, too. Make sure you check your *ahem* syllabus to find out if you need to email them for an appointment first!

4. Rearrange your schedule as needed.

Even though everyone and their mother will be trying to change their schedule and advising offices and the admin office will be flooded with students trying to get out of one class and into another, syllabus week is my favorite time to change my schedule. It’s better, in my opinion, to get it out of the way before you have a ton of assignments on your plate and completely forget. Plus, it’s so easy for the class drop deadline to slip right past you when you’re busy! Use this week as an opportunity to add more classes, drop a class, or completely re-vamp your semester schedule. Check out my post on creating the perfect class schedule for more useful tips!

5. Talk to your classmates.

It can be insanely easy to just chill by yourself in a corner of the lecture hall for an entire semester (been there, done that!) but that makes it way harder to find additional resources (a.k.a. your lovely classmates) when you need them. Plus, you could be missing out on an opportunity to make new friends if you always keep to yourself. I was that person for a long time, and looking back, there were so many cool people that I’ll probably never get to know because I didn’t make the move to sit next to them and introduce myself from week one.

Your classmates will always have something to offer you. Always remember: if you’re the smartest person in the room, find another room! Don’t think anyone is beneath you, and don’t think you can’t learn from someone else because you feel more experienced. It’s totally okay to start up a conversation with whoever you happen to be sitting next to in class. In fact, that’s how I made some of my closest friends. Try asking a question about the homework before class starts, and if the conversation keeps going, ask that person if they’re free and want to go for lunch.

6. Find shortcuts to and from class.

Okay, I’m going to get a little salty here because I did NOT do this my entire first semester and was SO FREAKIN’ mad because of all the time I could’ve saved. I’m the kind of person who sometimes prefers to keep doing things I’m comfortable with—I will always walk the same way to work or to the grocery store because it’s familiar and I don’t have to think about it. This can set you back if the familiar way also happens to be the longest way—especially if you’re already running late for class! I love that you can easily use syllabus week to scope out all the best shortcuts to any point on campus without looking lost because it’s literally the first week of school; EVERYONE’S lost.

7. Find your textbooks for as cheap as possible.

One of the biggest mistakes you could make in college is buying your textbooks before your classes start. Granted, it’s not the biggest mistake, but it is super annoying to realize that you just spent $500 on your textbooks when you could’ve spent half of that if you had put in the work to swerve your school bookstore and go through rental sites. Start looking for your textbooks after you had the first class so you’ll know if it’s worth getting one. Also, your professor might straight up tell you not to get the book, or may suggest where to find a copy for free.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Buying Textbooks In College

What’s your plan for succeeding this semester? 

Be sure to check out my post on How To Prepare For The First Week Of College for more useful tips!