7 Common Roommate Problems + How To Solve Them

7 common roommate problems and solutions

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

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

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

1. They always have guests over.

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

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

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

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

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

3. They don’t take out the trash.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. They smoke inside the room.

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Improve Your GPA For Next Semester

how to improve your GPA for next semester

So the semester’s finally over and you seem to have made it through in one piece — until you crumble at the sight of your new GPA…maybe this wasn’t your best semester yet (it’s OK, things happen) but instead of kicking yourself in the ass over and over for it, you need to get ready to give your average the comeback you know it can make.

Whoever said college is easy was without a doubt lying and I’d like to smack them across the face. Whether you’re studying biochemistry, engineering, history, journalism, psychology, or others, you WILL have at least one difficult semester. You may not do as well as you would have liked to, and while grades aren’t everything, there are still some pros to maintaining a good GPA such as:

  • Being able to rush sororities/fraternities
  • Scholarship qualifications
  • Study abroad applications
  • Membership in honor societies
  • Postgraduate education (med school, law school, etc.)

Take it from someone who once had a horrible semester and received a D in a class that brought down her average — it can be difficult to rebuild those numbers. But I didn’t say it was impossible. The glorious thing is that you don’t even have to wait until next semester to start improving those numbers; if you’re on summer break (or winter break if you’re reading this in December) you have a treasure trove of resources to give your GPA a makeover.

1. Set a reasonable goal.

If you currently have a 2.9, no way in hell will your GPA be a 3.7 by the end of next semester! Understand that making huge leaps of improvement will take time. This is somewhat because the credits for your classes will be weighted differently. For example, a 4-credit class account for more of your GPA than a 2-credit or 3-credit class. So if you get an A in your 4-credit class, you’ll be in a really good position for doing well that semester. But if you get a C in said class, you might not be satisfied with what you see, even if you get a few A’s in 3-credit classes.

Setting reasonable goals makes it easier for you to define your progress, which in turn can help you continue to reach your desired GPA. If you currently have a 2.9, aiming for a 3.0 or a 3.1 is pretty reasonable. 

2. Speak to an academic advisor.

More likely than not, they can tell you what classes you should take if you want to start making progress with improving your grades. They can make recommendations that fit you if you actually go see them. I know you’re super busy, but making some time even just once per semester to sit down with an advisor can make a huge difference. In the past, I have had advisors give me suggestions about the best class sequences for me so I don’t overwork myself. They’re actually a valuable college resource that often gets overlooked.

3. Take a summer class. 

If you can afford it, taking a summer class or two is a good start for improving your GPA. You’ll still be taking classes applicable to your major or school’s curriculum, and it’ll help boost your GPA if you do really well in them. I know people get annoyed when their average is boosted from like a 3.0 to a 3.09 after one summer class, but every decimal counts. If you’re feeling adventurous, try taking your summer class in another country by studying abroad! I have a bunch of blog posts all about studying abroad that you can check out, but my favorite one is probably things to consider before you leave.

And if you’re considering taking a class during the winter session, I also have a post for surviving those, which you can read by clicking here.

How To Improve Your GPA For Next Semester

 4. Take a summer class at another university. 

This is like the ~pro tip~ version of the one above. Sometimes, universities in your neighborhood offer the same course you need to take for less money AND the course itself may be easier. This is good to keep in mind because, first off, summer classes are intense because you typically have six weeks to learn five months’ worth of material and get tested on it. Second, if your college is notorious for making classes more difficult than they need to be, this is a good way to still earn credits for the class while boosting your GPA. Always check with your college first to make sure the credits will transfer AND be calculated into your average.

5. Consider changing your major. 

I am in no way condoning giving up and quitting (all the time) but maybe the reason you didn’t do so well is because you weren’t studying something that you’re actually good at. I was actually in this boat and I’m so happy I changed my major — I suck at science and math, but I’m a beast at writing (if I do say so myself). I wanted to go to med school and be a doctor, but chem lab and bio were kicking my ass, and I was sick of doing just okay in my classes even though I worked so hard in them. I ended up realizing that the field just wasn’t for me and that writing was my calling, and I’d be truly happy as a writer. Maybe you’d make a terrible Business major, but a great Environmental Science major. Explore your college’s degree programs and see what stands out. 

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

6. Change up your study habits. 

Maybe studying from midnight to 4a.m. didn’t do the trick for you. Perhaps actually sleeping during those hours and studying in the morning until class will actually help you more. It can sometimes take a while to figure out what study habits work best for you, but if after a semester of skimming chapters in textbooks didn’t help you, then try a more proactive approach like creating outlines or flashcards. You’ll perform better on exams when you know what habits work for you.

Related: How To Create An Effective Study Schedule, How To Have A Productive Library Study Session

7. Get a summer internship. 

A lot of college degree programs may require you to have an internship that you can receive college credit for. This in turn gives you a grade of “Satisfactory” on your transcript and depending on the college you attend, it could give your average a little nudge. Plus, during an internship you tend to learn things that you don’t always learn in a classroom setting. This is knowledge that you can bring to your homework assignments and exams, so don’t overlook the power of being an intern. 

8. Move forward. 

Life goes on whether you decide to cry about your GPA or do something about it. If you spend your time wallowing in your sorrows you won’t have enough time to make progress.

What are your tips for improving your GPA?

10 Tips For Surviving Winter Classes

10 tips for surviving winter classes

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

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

1. Go to bed early.

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

2. Bring water and a snack to class.

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

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

3. Use your break to stretch your legs.

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

4. Work on homework assignments immediately.

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

5. Get to know the people in your class.

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

6. Stay engaged during class.

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

7. Dress in layers.

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

8. Have money on hand.

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

9. Have your cold weather essentials.

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

10. Be a smart textbook buyer.

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

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

 

How To Finish The Semester Strong

how to finish the semester strong

Winter is coming. That means your fall semester is ending (by the way, I just started watching Game of Thrones and I’m obsessed! Can you tell?). One thing every college student knows too well is that the semester can be a roller coaster ride — often with more valleys than peaks. But getting stuck in that valley really sucks and that’s definitely NOT where you want to be at the end of the semester! Being stuck there means that you might be making trade offs that won’t benefit your academic career: you decide to not study for your bio exam because you’re in the mood to go out that night; you decide that a class isn’t important because you haven’t been attending all semester so what’s the point in showing up now; you’re just too exhausted from working hard all semester only to not be performing as well as you had hoped. We’ve all been there at some point!

Despite this, remember that it’s still not terribly late to make a few adjustments to get back on track. Those final strides can really make a huge difference, after all, so don’t ignore them.

1. Review your handy, dandy syllabus.

Syllabi are pretty easy to forget about, but taking a second look at them will help you see how far the material has gone and re-group. It will also tell you when your next paper, quiz, or exam will be so you can start preparing.

2. See your adviser to prepare for next semester.

One of the worst ways to end the current semester is by being unsure of the next one. Be sure to see your adviser about classes you should take next semester, how far along you are in your major’s program, and if you’re still on track to graduate in the time you had wanted to. Don’t think that you can do it all by yourself and get away with not visiting your adviser even once; classes could be added or removed from your degree program.

3. Get back into using your planner.

If you aren’t a fan of planners, get back into whatever method you used to keep yourself organized — to do lists, writing on a calendar, app on your phone. And if you never used any of these methods, consider adopting one, especially if not doing anything hasn’t been helping your organization. Let’s be real, there are just too many assignments and obligations to keep track of with just your brain.

Be sure to check out my tips for getting organized in college!

4. Stop zoning out in class.

When you’re already exhausted, it’s easy to think about how great a quick nap would feel, or dream about the wonders of a cup of coffee. But unless the anatomy of your pumpkin spice latte will be on your next exam, it’s best you pay attention in class. I’m super guilty of having a short attention span, so I like to sip from a cold water bottle during class to keep me refreshed and alert.

5. Go to your professor’s office hours.

One of my professors gives us participation points for going to her office hours, and to be honest, I’ve been leaving those points on the table all semester! Going to your professor’s office hours can help you understand anything you’re struggling with, and your professor can guide you down the right path with your homework assignments. School work doesn’t have to be a lonely struggle.

6. Make it a point to improve on your previous test score.

Change up your study habits; study with a classmate. Find some way to do better on your next exam if you haven’t been receiving the grades you were hoping for. It can be easy to get stuck in the mentality that those curves will save your grade, but sometimes they aren’t enough. Treat every class as though there are no curves at all so you can push yourself to do as well as you can.

Related: How To Have A Productive Library Study Session 

7. If you haven’t been taking notes all semester, start!

Really though??? I may be totally wrong about this, but I don’t think there exists a college class where you can sit there twiddling your thumbs and make it out alive and with a really good grade. Grades aren’t everything, but they’re pretty important. You may need to obtain a certain grade in a class before you can advance in your program, so that’s an important thing to be aware of. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of my guide to good note-taking for some killer tips!

8. Start working on any unhealthy sleeping habits.

A great way to finish strong is to move toward becoming well rested and thus, less exhausted. If you’ve been average six hours of sleep over the course of two days, you’ve definitely got to do better than that. Don’t sacrifice your well being to half-ass a study guide or drool over obnoxiously long readings every night. You’re a human, not a robot. Take a look at my post on how to get 8+ hours of sleep to find out how to do the seemingly impossible even with a packed schedule!

9. Don’t get sick!

I know it can happen to anyone at any time, but coming down with the flu can really make you miserable, and you need to be on top of your game! If you haven’t gotten sick this semester yet, congrats — I’m with ya there. But be sure to go the extra mile to really make sure you don’t get sick at the worst possible time of the semester. Doing something as simple as wiping down workout equipment at the gym before you use it can really make a difference. For more tips like this one, check out my post on how to avoid getting sick in college.

10. Set weekly goals.

Stay on top of your progress and always be on the lookout for things you can improve on. If you’ve been getting five hours of sleep every night this week, next week try to go for six hours of sleep every night; if you procrastinated on two assignments last week, make it your goal to only procrastinate one (or none! Baby steps!). The best thing about goals is that they can be whatever you feel like you need to work on, and you can go at your own pace!

What are your tips for finishing the semester on a high note? 

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How To Get At Least 8 Hours Of Sleep In College

how to get 8+ hours of sleep in college

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you probably now that I’m an avid believer in adequate sleep. Actually, no, that’s an understatement — there are no actual words that can describe my intense love for those blessed eight hours. I know lots of people hail coffee as the ultimate way to survive the daily grind that is college but, really, it isn’t. Your best friend is sleep! It’s very unhealthy to go to bed at 3a.m. to wake up at 7a.m. I know that getting at least eight hours of sleep every night is WAY easier said than done (cuz assignments, studying, extracurriculars and maybe a party or two here and there), so I’m going to share with you my tips for sleeping well.

Btw, I’m totally NOT a sleep expert. I’m just a college gal who may or may not have kind of, sort of mastered the art of a good night’s sleep. I hope…

1. Stop squandering your time during the day. 

I’m not saying that you should be studying every time you get a moment to catch your breath, but spend some of your free time during the day productively. This way, you’ll have less to do in the evening and at night. Hint: it really helps to start utilizing organizational methods so that you know what assignments should be completed, and can allow yourself enough time to do them. Check out my guide to getting organized for tips on how to do that!

2. Avoid drinking coffee at night. 

If you know that coffee will keep you wide awake for the next four hours, avoid it all together. I know, sometimes a caramel macchiatto from Starbucks is just so tempting, especially when you feel like you just need a tiny boost to keep you up for just another two hours. Try drinking iced water to wash away any sluggishness you might be feeling. It really wakes you up without keeping you up half the night. And if you’re really itching to head to SBUX, their Cool Lime Refresher is just so, well, refreshing and won’t have you up until all hours of the morning.

3. Stop forcing yourself to stay up late to do work. 

Heavy eyelids, decreased attention span, and long, drawn-out yawns that come every 30 seconds are my cue to close the books and get ready for bed. If I don’t finish assignment, I add it to tomorrow’s to-do list. Besides, trying to study when I’m clearly unfocused will not result in my retaining the material. As long as you’ve managed your time properly, you should be able to hold off on assignments when you’re too tired to do them and still finish them on time.

4. Gradually go to bed a little earlier. 

If you normally go to bed around 3a.m., you probably won’t be successful in going to bed at 10p.m. Try to go to bed an hour earlier every couple of days, or even one week at a time to ease you into a new schedule of sleeping earlier. For me, going to bed and falling asleep by 11:30p.m. is normal and comfortable. I’ve even been able to fall asleep as early as 10:30p.m., which is pretty rare for a lot of students!

5. Eliminate anything that could hinder you from falling asleep. 

If you could watch videos on Facebook for hours and hours, put your phone away when you go to bed. If your suite mate or roommate is playing music so loudly you can’t hear yourself count sheep, ask them politely to turn it down. You’ve made it this far, don’t let anything distract from your goal of getting some shut-eye!

6. Empty your bladder before bed. 

I have been in the situation where I’m too lazy to use the bathroom before I go to bed and then I end up waking up in the middle of the night because I just REALLY have to pee and would probably wet the bed if I just ignored it and went back to sleep. Sometimes, you may not fall back asleep right away when you wake up in the middle of the night, so make sure you do what you can to minimize the likelihood that you’ll wake up in a few short hours.

7. Establish a sleep routine. 

Have a set time when you wake up and go to bed every day and night. This might take some practice, but eventually your body will get used to it and you’ll be able to wake up around your desired time without having to really set an alarm. This is also a good way to practice not sleeping in. As hard as it may be to actually lug myself out of bed in the morning (especially during the winter when I don’t want to leave my warm bed!!!) I like getting up early before my classes start so that I can take my time and get ready for class (my eyeliner wings won’t sharpen themselves!) and do any work that I have to do.

8. Don’t go out every single night. 

Every night doesn’t have to be a party night. Take comfort in spending some time alone in your room. This is the perfect way for you to relax a little before you hit the hay by giving yourself a mini spa night, or squeezing in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. If you go out, you might not return until very, very late and you definitely don’t want to turn that into a habit.

9. Make your bed as comfortable as possible. 

You won’t get much sleep if there are cookie crumbs all over your sheets because you love snacking in bed. You might also find it hard to sleep with clothing strewn all over your bed. Keep your bed as a place for sleeping only. If you have back problems or just can’t sleep on a hard mattress, invest in a mattress pad/topper to make it much softer. If your head is too low with just one pillow, stack a second one on top of it. These small changes can make a huge difference!

I really hope these tips help you build a more adequate sleep schedule because college is rough and one of your best weapons against the ups and downs of college life is proper sleep!

What are your tips for getting proper sleep in college? 

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The Ultimate Guide To Organizing Your Life In College

how to get organized in college

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by May Designs. As always, all thoughts and opinions are completely my own, I’d never lie to ya! 

Whoever said college was easy is a big liar and I’d like to high-five their face with a chair. It’s not necessarily always the academic part of college that makes things difficult — it’s the balancing other aspects of your life with the academic part that really gets us every time. As a fairly ambitious collegiate, I can say that without a doubt, it gets difficult to organize your duties and plan your time when you’re looking out for your school work, job, extracurriculars, social life, and even your personal life too!

The good news is that when that…rather large…slice of life gets a little crazy, getting into the habit of staying organized can really help you digest things a little easier. Like, you’ll actually be able to breathe a little! This is definitely one of my favorite posts because first, I can go on and on about organization for hours (but don’t worry, I won’t chat your ear off this time!) and second, I love an opportunity to just organize myself and lay everything out right in front of me so that I never feel like I’m blindly running through college (and tripping and falling on my face in the process!).

1. Hang a dry-erase calendar on your wall and look at it every. Single. Day. 

But don’t put it directly above the head-side of your bed because it might fall off and give you a good midnight surprise! My terrible attempts at being funny aside, keeping a calendar in sight in your room can help you plan ahead — appointments, campus events, meetings, parties, due dates of homework assignments, etc. I like using colorful dry erase markers to make my calendar look a little prettier and more exciting so that way I actually enjoy looking at it! Because of this, my calendar is also a great piece of dorm room decor for me, so now you have even more of a reason for buying one. But remember to always refer back to it so that you stay aware of important dates that are approaching.

2. Create a to-do list on your phone. 

I’m an avid user of to-do lists, especially when I list things out in the exact order that I want to complete them in. All you need is a pen and paper and you can feel the sweet victory of crossing things out on your list after completing them. Ah, what a wonderful feeling it is! While I usually write lists in my planner, I have really taken to writing lists in the Notes application on my phone because I always have it in my hand so it’s easy for me to take a quick peak while I’m on my way to class if I forgot what other things I needed to do that day. Sometimes I have those days where I even need to list the fact that I have to go to class just so I can look at everything collectively! Yeah, it happens, we have those moments.

3. Make homework one of your priorities. 

Not gonna lie, I’d much rather go through a season of Gossip Girl than a chapter in a textbook, but homework is a necessary evil. You should probably do it. Correction: you must do it. Turning in homework assignments can be the difference between an A- and an A, or a C- and a C, so don’t squander those points! You’ll be super upset with yourself if you put it off for the last possible minute and have to stay up until all hours of the morning to complete it. Keep homework assignments near the top of your to-do list. I like to make sure I finish at least one big upcoming homework assignment before I hang out with friends. Plus, hanging out with people is a good study/homework break!

4. Use a journal to keep track of your fitness goals. 

May Designs Notebook

Like I said, college organization isn’t just about the schoolwork. If you have some fitness goals you’d like to achieve, keeping a journal is a great way to not just keep track of them, but to also motivate you to keep at it! The one above is from May Designs and it’s not only super gorgeous but it helps me keep track of my meals and snacks, and daily water consumption, and I can leave myself notes in case I think of something like a nutritious recipe I want to try out, or if I want to reflect on the day.

How To Get Organized In College

Organization in college

On the first page of the book, you can write out your goals to remind you of why you’re working out and eating healthy. For me, it’s because I’m asthmatic and my freshman year of college was my first time having an asthma attack in more than five years. Looking back, I think it might’ve been because of my weight gain (Freshman 15 doesn’t play games!). So I’m determined to shed some weight and put myself back in a healthier position so that I don’t suffer through another asthma attack like that.

How To Get Organized In College

But inspirational story aside, I am very much in love with this journal and I also love that you can really personalize it to make it your own (who doesn’t love monogrammed things????). I have my name on it and let me tell you, it took me DAYS to finally settle on a design and monogram style because there are so many designs to choose from and they are so beautiful!!! And if freedom with your book’s cover isn’t enough, you can also choose what your inside pages look like. I chose for mine to be the fitness journal, but you can also choose weekly and daily agendas, a prayer journal, budget planner (hint, hint if you love saving money in college!), and more. I received the ‘Classic Book’ which is 5” x 8” and contains 80 pages.

5. Set up a routine for calling your parents. 

Crap happens and before we know it, we’re forgetting to call our parents, who would probably love to hear from us even just once a week! Keeping up with your family can be a bit crazy when you already feel like you barely have time to eat and breathe, but planning a time to call mom and dad and adding it to your schedule will ensure you don’t forget to do it. If Saturday mornings before you start the day work for you, then make that your day and time for phoning home. It’s nice to hear our parents’ voices when we’re miles away from home, plus, they’re great people to rant to when everything about everything is seriously irritating you!

6. Speak to advisors for advice on your classes. 

But don’t just see your advisor one time at the beginning of the semester; try to meet with him or her at least two or three times throughout the semester so that you’re still in the loop of everything you need to do for your degree, and so that they’re still in the loop of your career goals. They can’t help you properly if you don’t tell them what’s changing for you. You don’t have to figure out this sort of stuff all by yourself!

7. Wake up at the same time everyday. 

I adore the days when I can sleep in a little, but to be fair, sleeping in for me is waking up at 9:30 in the morning, so maybe I’m not really an expert on that! Waking up around the same time everyday will help you get approximately the same amount of sleep every night (assuming you’ll be going to bed around the same time as well). This allows you to have some type of consistency with your schedule, and even if you wake up at 7a.m. when your first class doesn’t start until 1p.m., you’ll be more likely to use all that time to be productive; go to the gym, do some homework, go to work, make time for appointments, etc.

8. Keep track of all the jobs and internships you apply to. 

Sometimes I apply to a position and then a week later when I continue my search, I happen upon the same opportunity and think, “whoa, this is totally up my alley, I should apply!” and then it finally hits me that I already applied…That, my friends, is Jasmin’s forgetfulness at its finest. Be sure to keep track of all these opportunities — even the ones you get rejected from or aren’t qualified for — so that you don’t forget that you already looked into them. I like to simply organize them in a Word document as though I’m writing an outline. So helpful for referring back to!

Btw, be sure to check out my guide to resume-writing for some pretty top notch tips (if I do say so myself!) on how to stand out and write a pretty freaking good resume!

9. If your current shift at your job doesn’t work too well anymore, look into changing it. 

I know that’s sometimes easier said than done because managers often need to consider other factors before giving you the thumbs up to change your shift, but it’s worth an inquiry. If your shift in the campus library ends at 4:50p.m. and then you have a three-hour class at 5p.m. and therefore no time to eat a meal and catch a breath, consider switching your shift to a time in your schedule that works better for you. When everything in your schedule is literally back-to-back, it can get hard to, well, survive. Make life a little easier by working this out.

10. Set specific days for doing your laundry, and cleaning up your room.

Don’t succumb to wearing the same pair of underwear four days in a row because you forgot to do laundry. Also, don’t get into the habit of not cleaning up after yourself in your room because dorm rooms are smaller than we sometimes think they’re going to be, which means living in filth and untidiness won’t give you a comfortable college lifestyle and you might be less productive. Remember to take care of yourself while away at college. Add these chores to your handy-dandy weekly calendar so you don’t forget!

What are your college organization tips? 

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10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

how to make new friends in college

Social life can play a big part in your college experience, whether you want to believe it or not. You don’t need to be the most popular kid on campus, and let’s be real, that contest has “cliche high school food pyramid movie” written all over it. I like surrounding myself with people because I find that I enjoy all my experiences more (yes, even studying!!) when I have friends with me. I know, it feels like forever since we had to introduce ourselves to new people, and actually get to know someone, so it may feel like you’re a little lost (a.k.a. me almost my entire first semester!!!!!).

There is no concrete “method” for making new friends in college guaranteed — you won’t make one little change and then end up with 50 new friends in a few days. But you can try doing a few different things to get to know some new people and possibly become friends with them.

1. Don’t hole up in your room all day long.

I made this horrible mistake for my first few months as a college freshman, and I honestly regret it. I didn’t know how to talk to people or how to make new friends since I haven’t had to get to know new people since high school. I was also too comfortable with the two friends I did have, so if they didn’t want to go to an event that I wanted to go to, I just decided that I should stay in because I didn’t know how to do things by myself. Eventually, I realized that that kind of attitude was holding me back from getting to know people, so I started going to events, taking up recreational classes, and thus began making new, amazing friends! Moral of the story: unless your dorm room has some magical gravitational pull that just attracts potential new friends without even trying, don’t hide in there all semester.

2. Get to know your roommate.

Your roommate could end up being your first new college friend, so don’t squander any potential opportunities to become friends with them. Get to know a little bit about where they’re from, what their major is and why they’re interested in the field, and other cool details. There’s so much you can bond over with your roommate. And if you live in a suite, the more the merrier! You’ll have the opportunity to get to know even more people. If you live in corridor-style accommodations, it might be even easier for you to get to know all the people on your floor because you’ll be sharing a bathroom with them and will be able to see them almost everyday. Did you check out my post on what to do before you meet your roommate? It could really help you avoid any potential conflicts with them!

3. Remain committed to the clubs you join.

It’s really easy to just sign your name and email on a sheet of paper for a club at the club fair, but don’t attend three meetings for the entire semester and then stop going to meetings; you won’t actually be able to enjoy the club and you’ll definitely miss out on getting to know a group of great people. Pre-professional clubs on campus are a great way to meet people who have similar career goals as you. You’ll definitely be able to help each other out and become great friends. Also consider joining Greek Life. Not every organization will be for you or have the same values as you, so don’t let some digging around deter you from joining something that can really change your life.

4. Small classes are the best for making new friends.

I say this because it may be a little difficult to do this if your class is in a lecture hall with 300+ people, but if you have even one college class that’s really small it’ll be really easy to make casual conversation with a classmate. In my Italian class, the professor makes us do textbook exercises in small groups, so this is the perfect way for me to talk to my classmates and get to know some of them. I actually already made a new friend this semester from that class! You don’t do group work in large lecture halls. You’re lucky if the professor puts a problem on the board and asks you to turn to your neighbor and discuss it for a minute, but that rarely happens. All of my journalism classes are really small (under 20 people) so it’s a great way for me to get to know people. Also, small classes usually begin with some type of icebreaker or with the professor asking for everyone to introduce themselves, so at the very least you’ll know everyone’s names.

5. You might only get one chance to add them on social media and get their phone number!

The other night, my floor had a meeting so we can all socialize and get to know one another and I met some really cool people, except I forgot to ask them if they had Facebook accounts so we could connect with each other. And I couldn’t find them on Facebook myself because I didn’t even know their last names. Oops. If you speak to someone and they seem cool and you guys get along, don’t forget to ask for their social media or even ask for their number. Asking for someone’s number isn’t as terrifying as it seems (if you remember to do it, unlike me!!!). When I was a freshman I was always surprised by how quick the people I met were to ask for my number. It showed me that there’s no harm in wanting to text someone one day to grab lunch or to go to an event. This also made me more likely to ask someone else for their number because you may not miraculously run into them again.

7. Actually message them to go grab some food or hang out.

After you get their number, don’t forget to actually use it, especially if the two of you really hit it off! One day I decided to take a Zumba class at the rec center on campus and I met a cool girl there. We exchanged numbers and the following week I messaged her to see if she was planning to go to Zumba again, and lucky for me it was a yes. From then on we met up and walked to the rec center together and we’ve been doing that for three semesters! Sometimes all it takes is that one text to start a real friendship. Even if you aren’t usually the kind of person to reach out to ask someone you just met to hang out, give it a try and see where it goes. I have already learned from experience that it’s rare to have incredible experiences if you keep staying in your comfort zone; besides, college is a lot about trying new things!

8. The first few months of school are the least awkward time to meet new people.

I say this because during the first maybe two or three months, everyone wants to get to know everyone; people don’t really have their “groups” formed yet; and people are generally the most friendly at this time when the course load hasn’t yet spurred the urgency to stop hanging out with people and start getting down to business (ah, what a rush that is). I’m not saying that it’s *ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN* to try to make friends after the first three months of school, or worse yet, if you do try to make friends afterward *ABSOLUTELY NO ONE WILL TALK TO YOU*, but you might feel a little awkward trying to meet new people then. I know I definitely felt like it was ‘too late’ for me to meet new people and I wasn’t really motivated to try, which can really hold you back from, you know, trying. This is definitely going to sound cheesy, but it’s never ‘too late’ to try anything! The only thing holding you back is yourself.

9. Make a good first impression by just being yourself!

Don’t act like someone you aren’t just to fit in; it simply isn’t you and you owe it to yourself to make friends who love the real you, not someone they want you to be. Sometimes I’m weird, like really, really weird; I tend to babble on and on, my eyes tear up when I start talking about something I’m really passionate about, and I can laugh nonstop like a hyena when I find something really funny. But, hey, that’s just me. I usually have those moments where I meet someone new and I just let my whole self out and then realize that there’s a chance they’re thinking that I’m really weird, but it’s okay; if they welcome my weirdness it means they genuinely like the person that I am. Plus, some people can just tell that you have a great character, so don’t hide that!

10. Don’t be afraid of cutting off people who aren’t genuine friends.

I certainly don’t go to college for drama so if I smell it brewing or if I think the person I’m talking to is two-faced or just not genuine, I stop talking to them because I don’t need to hang with that crowd. You owe it to yourself to stay committed to your personal values, so don’t feel like you have to stay friends with someone if you don’t like their attitude. Making the right friends is just as important as making friends!

What are your tips for making new friends in college? 

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6 Things To Do To Make Your Mornings More Exciting

how to make your mornings more exciting

Sidenote: The cupcakes in my photo have absolutely NOTHING to do with boring morning routines. I just thought it was a really pretty, fun picture on my camera roll so I decided to use it for this post! Aren’t they delicious? Anyways…

Sometimes I hate waking up early in the morning. Correction: I hate getting out of my nice, warm bed early in the morning. Waking up at 7a.m. to get ready for class can be such a mundane routine, and the list of things I’d much rather be doing goes on and on! Despite the drawl occurrence, I have found a few ways to actually make getting out of bed in the morning much cooler. No, seriously! I actually like, and maybe even look forward to, waking up early just because of a few small changes I’ve been making for a while now.

So you’re probably wondering what *magical* things I do to make some of the most boring morning activities surprisingly appealing. Sadly, there’s no actual unicorn magic involved here. But you can use your cool college student powers (that was totally the most bogus thing I’ve ever made up, and so to quit while I’m still ahead I’m just going to cut to the tips now!).

1. Play music while you shower.

Instead of listening to the water trickle from the showerhead in the morning, I like to listen to some Beyonce, Pitbull, and some of my other favorite artists. It really just makes me happier and makes me feel more lively and ready to take on the day. Plus, I also use the songs as a way to tell approximately how much time I’ve spent showering. I adore really long showers, but I can’t spend a lot of time showering because I have class to get to. Plus, it’s inconsiderate because my suite mates would need to get ready to start their days as well and I wouldn’t want to hog the bathroom. Each song I listen to is approximately three minutes long so I make sure that I don’t stay in the shower for longer than three songs. Btw, you don’t have to pay money for music — just use Pandora or another free music service! My post on how to save money in college has even more tips for not completely ruining your bank account in college!

2. Wash your face with a really nice smelling facial cleanser.

There are so many delicious smelling facial cleansers now from brands like Neutrogena and Olay. They all smell so yummy that it makes me so happy to use them in the morning! It even improves my mood if I wasn’t feeling so great before. Maybe the nice smells release endorphins in your brain or something (this is why I’m not a science major!). I currently use a facial cleanser from Neutrogena® for acne because it was recommended by my dermatologist and, unfortunately, it doesn’t have any distinct, beautiful smell (*sad face*) but I have tried the grapefruit line from Neutrogena® and the the Morning Burst® line from Clean & Clear® and both are heavenly!! A good facial wash is also one of the things I mentioned in my college beauty essentials post because it’s such an easy way to clean your face and get totally refreshed in the morning before class. What’s your favorite facial wash right now? I’d love to hear what you guys are using! 

3. Create a breakfast tradition.

Is there one specific place on campus you just love eating breakfast at? If you can, make it a habit to go there and order your favorite breakfast items to start the day right and satisfyingly. Don’t succumb to the bad habit of not leaving yourself enough time in the morning to have an actual meal — this can actually ruin your day because you’ll be hungry and in a miserable mood. My favorite place to have breakfast is at my school’s Starbucks because I love ordering an iced green tea latte with an everything bagel with cream cheese. Perfecto! Another breakfast “tradition” you can do is simply having “pancake day” with your roommate or suite mates. Your group can get together and make and enjoy pancakes together. Plus, this is a great way to bond and get to know each other better. You’ll definitely look forward to these food-filled mornings!

4. Walk to class with friends. 

If someone who lives on your floor in the residence hall is also in your first class of the day, introduce yourself and walk to class with them. Walking across campus by yourself is really boring and not very fun. Having someone to talk to can really lift your spirits and make you feel really good about going to class — even if it’s at eight in the morning! Plus, having a friend to sit with in class can also make the class itself more enjoyable — especially when you have to sit through six straight hours of lectures all day long!

Also, if your schedule is nauseatingly long and tiring this semester, be sure to check out my post on how to survive back-to-back classes.

5. Change up your hairstyle regularly. 

I don’t know about you but my *super diverse* lookbook for hairstyles consists of my hair let down or in a really simple ponytail. Clearly, I’m super creative when it comes to styling my hair. Taking a little extra time to have fun with your hair in the morning can really make you feel more excited to go out and start the day so everyone can see how cool your hair looks and compliment you (compliments are always nice to hear, haha!). Plus, you get something pretty to show off on Instagram! I actually would like to start varying my hairstyles more to make things a little more fun. There are so many interesting ways to add a little pizzazz to a simple bun, braid, or ponytail and I’d definitely like to start trying them out!

6. Do ANYTHING that’s a little out of the ordinary for you! 

Go for a quick jog before you start class. Do some yoga in your room to loosen up before you start the day. Go to the most peaceful spot on campus and just sit there and chill for a few moments — do ANYTHING that you wouldn’t normally do! Changing things up a bit can be really exciting, especially if you initially think you won’t like the change but you end up loving it. Personally, I think I might try to do some yoga in the morning because I feel like yoga is very out of my element; the movements are slow, controlled, and graceful, but I’m used to very fast-paced workouts so this would be an extremely interesting change for me. I might end up liking it and I may decide to include it permanently in my daily routine!

What’s your favorite way to spend the morning? Also, I’m looking for new hairstyle ideas! Let me know in the comments if you have any! 

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13 Things Not Allowed In Your Dorm Room + What To Bring Instead

13 Things Not Allowed In Your Dorm Room + What To Bring Instead

So it’s the summertime and one of the most exciting things about it is getting to go out and buy things for your soon-to-be awesome college dorm room! But more important than the fuzzy purple rug you’re going to have on the floor, or the TV and and gaming system you need to bring is the list of items you can’t have in the room. Paying attention to prohibited items can really save you money when dorm shopping, and it can save you from getting written up during room checks! 

Of course, while most colleges have some standard prohibited items that they can agree on, there are still some items that may be permissible at one college that aren’t at another, so definitely please keep your specific college in mind. In any case, here’s a list of items that aren’t allowed in dorm rooms and what you can bring instead!

1. Candles 

I know you want to add a little ambiance to the bland room, but it is entirely possible to get caught up in your daily life and forget to put out the candle. Unattended burning candles can start big dorm fires, which is why these are prohibited items.

Instead, bring string lights. String lights are an easy way to spice up your corner without going overboard. They’re really cute and can make the room look and feel just as cozy as it would with a candle. Keep in mind that some (but not all) universities also prohibit string lights — check with your RA or housing office to find out if the rules also ban string lights. If you can’t have string lights, you can hang paper lanterns (without bulbs in them). They won’t emit any light (so it’s dorm-friendly) and they’ll still make the room feel warm and friendly.

2. A space heater 

I’ve had the experiences of dealing with very cold dorm rooms *shudder* during the winter. Unfortunately, if the rooms don’t come equipped with their own thermostats, there’s nothing you can do about the lack of heat other than file a report with an RHD or maintenance. Never bring a space heater if your college prohibits it because it can be knocked over and start a fire.

Instead, bring a thermal blanket. Thermals are relatively inexpensive and are great alternatives for keeping warm. It’s not a space heater but at least it’s also not a big, puffy winter jacket that you have to wear indoors. 

3. An iron

Irons are super useful for straightening out the wrinkles in the button down you need to wear for an interview in the morning, but most colleges don’t allow irons in the dorm rooms because of the possibility that a user might forget to to shut it off and pretty much accidentally burn down the room. To combat this, some colleges actually allow irons that have an automatic shut off feature.

Instead, bring a mini steamer. Irons are clunky anyway. Mini steamers are really easy to use (I used one during my freshman year). All you have to do is fill it up with water, plug it in and wait for it to heat up, and run the steamer up and down the garment to get the wrinkles out. Yes, steam can burn you if you aren’t careful, but at least it won’t set your room on fire! *thumbs up* 

4. Dumbbells & weights 

In college, it can sometimes be difficult to find time to hit the gym for a workout, and having some equipment on hand so that you can squeeze in a workout while you binge-watch Supernatural in the comfort of your room is a great idea. Unfortunately, dumbbells and weights and some other strength training equipment aren’t allowed in most dorm rooms. 

Instead, bring a yoga mat. You can still work toward some of your fitness goals without weights. You can use your yoga mat to get in your daily round of push-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts, and other exercises. 

5. An air conditioner

The only way you can really have an A.C. in your dorm room is if your room comes with one already installed. Believe me, I know how wonderful air conditioning can be in a hot, stuffy dorm room in August. The good news is that even without air conditioning, you don’t have to put up with the heat until winter!

Instead, bring a fan. Even a small desk fan is really helpful! In fact, it’s easier to make space in an already crowded room for a small fan than a big one. Plus, the majority of the semester is during months where air conditioning isn’t really needed — August, parts of September, and, if you’re lucky, right before the semester ends in May are the only times when it’s a bit uncomfortable in a hot room. 

6. Live plants or flowers 

It may be your dream to decorate your future apartment with flowers, plants, and small, live trees, but this isn’t your apartment. Plants can be nice for therapeutic purposes, and for adding some aesthetic to a room (I’m actually considering getting little succulents for my dorm room next year!) I’m not completely sure why live plants wouldn’t be allowed (mess from the dirt? desire to keep nature outdoors? if they catch on fire they’ll burn like there’s no tomorrow?) but you probably shouldn’t have them no matter how home-y it’d make your space feel.

Instead, bring fake plants. They may not seem as therapeutic as the real ones, but if you’re just looking to make your room more attractive then you can easily do that using fake foliage. If you need live plants for therapeutic purposes, however, you can notify the housing office on campus so that you can be allowed to have live plants.  

7. Hoverboards 

Hoverboards have been banned in places beyond the college campus — restaurants, city streets, etc. They seemed like a cool, new way to get around, but they’re also really dangerous because of the fire hazard they pose. You’ve probably heard horror stories about Hoverboard chargers exploding or the product catching on fire; it’s a no wonder why they’ve been banned in some dorms.

Instead, bring a regular skateboard, or even a bicycle. Hoverboards are really just another way to easily get from point A to point B without walking, and you can do that with a regular skateboard (that doesn’t need to be re-charged!) or a bicycle (which will actually give you some exercise!) Some residence halls don’t allow you to store your bike inside your room, but you can lock usually lock them up in racks outside the building. 

13 Things Not Allowed In Your Dorm Room + What To Bring Instead

8. Nails/screws for the wall

Nails are super helpful for hanging pretty picture frames and other things. As much as you might try to think of your room as your second home, that excuse won’t fly with an RHD. You aren’t allowed to damage the walls in any way because other students will live in that room after you. It might be nice if dorm rooms came with pre-installed hooks or nails so that students and parents don’t feel inclined to take a hammer to it to hang a mirror or something, but until that happens you’ll need to put the hammer and nails away.

Instead, bring Command Hooks. They’re like temporary hooks on the wall for holding up important things — bathrobes, bath towels, jackets, scarves — without leaving holes in any walls. The one caveat I’d give when dealing with these hooks is to be very careful when removing them. There’s a little tab at the bottom for you to pull the adhesive out and remove the hook cleanly, but if you pull too hard and rip the adhesive, the hook will actually get stuck on the wall! 

9. Wallpaper & decals

These are affordable ways to make your space cuter, but wallpaper isn’t allowed in many dorm rooms because they tend to peel off the paint from the walls. The university will bill you for damaging the room, and that’ the last thing you’d want to have to deal with!

Instead, bring personal photos and posters to decorate the walls with. You can easily put these up with painter’s tape (which won’t damage walls) and it’ll come off easily. Another fun way to dress up the walls of your dorm is to print out fun or inspirational quotes and tape those to the walls. You can use decorative tape to create pretty borders around them too! 

10. Toasters, electric frying pans, microwaves

Toast in the morning sounds great, especially when you really want to do your best to have a filling breakfast before you start your day. Toasters and the like aren’t allowed because, like most of the stuff on this list, they can start a fire if they are left plugged in, turned on, and forgotten. I know people try to bring their own microwaves and toasters because they don’t want to go downstairs to use the communal kitchen, and I’ve seen people try to get away with some other prohibited items on this list, but this is a rule you DEFINITELY DON’T want to mess with.

Instead, bring a regular frying pan. You can go down to the kitchen and fry anything that needs to be fried or toasted, and you don’t even have to worry about getting caught for having something you’re not supposed to have. Just make sure you always turn off the stove before leaving the kitchen. As for the microwave, just use the one in the communal kitchen. It honestly isn’t that much work to walk downstairs or use an elevator.

BTW…I’ve also got some pretty awesome tips for cooking in college that will definitely save you so much time and grief!

11. Alcohol

Alcohol is prohibited if you’re under the age of 21. Some colleges even have designated residence halls that are substance free (I’ve lived in a substance free dorm for the past two years). These rules are so strict that they don’t even allow alcohol paraphernalia as decoration in the rooms.

Instead, bring soda, juice, sparkling water, or other non-alcoholic beverages. Just stock your mini fridge some of your favorite everyday beverages. I promise, you won’t get written up for having soda in your room! 

12. Plug-in air fresheners 

A nice-smelling room is great to walk into, but little plug-in air fresheners can actually cause big fires, and that’s not great to walk into. Hence, the reason why they aren’t allowed in dorm rooms.

Instead, bring a regular can of air freshener, or even one of those solid air fresheners. I’ve used a solid air freshener in my dorm room before and it kept the room smelling fresh until all the solid was melted. You don’t even need to remember to spray anything because it does all the work for you! Just throw it out when it’s all melted.

13. Water bed 

I mean, the only reason you might want a waterbed is if you plan on having guests over in your room during the semester, but even so, waterbeds are difficult to maintain and can pop or leak in the room, which leaves a huge cleanup duty for the cleaning staff in the building.

Instead, bring a sleeping bag. This might not be the same as sleeping in a bed, but at least you don’t have to worry about your sleeping bag springing a leak. They’re really easy to store and carry — you can even take it with you if you plan on sleeping over at a friend’s dorm for the night. Plus, you’ll definitely be able to allow your guests to use it, and you don’t have to worry about it taking up any space in the dorm. 

From one college goer to another, navigating dorm room policies can be a bit sticky, so I really hope you found this list of alternatives helpful.

What other dorm room alternatives do you have? 

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12 Tips For Getting A Summer Internship

Summer is upon us, and for many college students that means searching for internships, getting a summer job, taking a summer class to catch up or stay ahead, and a whole spiel of things that college kids typically do during the summer vacation. This summer, I’m going to be a lifestyle intern at an amazing content platform, and I can’t wait to start! Now, getting my position was no easy feat, and I completely understand the struggles of getting summer positions like these. I put a lot of work and energy into landing this position every step of the way and I’m proud to say that my hard work has paid off.

Since I’m a survivor, I’ll tell you exactly how I got my first internship. Keep in mind that I do not claim that these if you use these tips you will sure as hell land your internship; I’m just telling you what I did and how/why it worked for me. What I’m about to tell you are exactly what the title says they are — tips, a.k.a. helpful pointers. That being said, I still hope many of you will use these tips as helpful insight, and if you do use them and they help you land an internship then YAY, I’m really happy for you! Anyway, let’s get started, shall we?

  1. Begin your search AEAP — As Early As Possible! I started looking for summer internship opportunities in January 2016. Now, you might think this is ridiculously early, but there were a few companies that required application submission as early as January 31st. I shit you not. So being aware of really early deadlines will ensure that you aren’t missing out on the game, and that you get the chance to take your shot. Besides, wouldn’t it suck to know that you missed out on a potential opportunity all because you missed the deadline?
  2. Keep track of everything. I made organized lists of internships I was interested in, internships I had applied to, internships I couldn’t apply to (severely unqualified, needed someone to start immediately, etc.), internships I got rejected from, and internships I got accepted to. This was to keep my thinking clear and organized, because as a college student who hadn’t even scratched the surface of 20 years on this earth, I had a lot of school work and extracurricular work to do, and just a lot of other stuff going on. Internship hunting is very tedious, so you need as clear of a mind as you can get. Keeping track of everything this way really helped because sometimes I would find an opportunity, realize that I couldn’t apply because I was unqualified, find it again in a few weeks and then remember that I already covered why I couldn’t apply a few weeks ago.
  3. Don’t be afraid to send an email. You’d be surprised by how many people my age are afraid to send a quick email. I’m typically fearless when it comes to inquiries and getting information, so typing out a quick email asking a future employer if a position is still available really doesn’t phase me at all. You won’t always find deadlines listed for internships, so you need to be able to respectfully and effortlessly ask if the position is still available, or if the company has positions at all. I found myself doing this a lot, and sometimes they reply while sometimes they don’t. The idea is that you need to at least try because you never know!
  4. Think about what you want. That sounds really vague, doesn’t it? So one of my priorities when finding an internship was whether or not I’d be able to get paid for it. Hear me out. I have never had a paying job (tried really hard in the past to no avail) and to me it would’ve been really nice to have an opportunity that allows me to make a little cash that I can start saving for grad school, or use for my study abroad trip. So I considered paid opportunities first. Now, I’ve heard many times that one should take whatever comes his or her way when looking for experience, but one should still consider his or her personal preferences, too. You should never completely rule out an opportunity because it isn’t exactly what you want, but still don’t be afraid to take a chance on something that’s exactly what you dream it to be.
  5. Don’t be scared if your resume is longer than one page. I tried so hard to squeeze everything I’ve done in college onto one page for my resume. I even used size nine Times New Roman at some point because I felt I had so much involvement and experience to showcase, and I wanted it all to fit on one page because I thought employers would get bored with a long resume. If anything, employers will be annoyed if they have to read super tiny words on a page. It’s not the end of the world if your resume creeps onto the second page. But if you want a way to cut out unnecessary length to your resume…
  6. Keep your resume format simple. I probably could have added a few small decorative elements, listed my experience in a fancy way and all that, but truthfully a lot of those embellishments just take up space on an already busy resume. Sometimes, simple things are the way to go. This will also let you pay more attention to the quality of your resume.
  7. Really consider everything that should be on your resume. I kept on having to go back and add things to my resume because I somehow forgot to state all the websites I’ve been published on (even though I was only published just once on some), or the fact that I have some experience as a Snapstory content creator, or even the fact that I own my own website! This is major for someone looking to go into the magazine industry, and it was a major screw up on my part. I was actually told during a phone interview for a position that I really should have stated on my resume that I own a blog. Sit down and really think about everything that’s relevant to your work experience. If you’re having trouble distinguishing between what you should and shouldn’t include on a resume, seek help from the career center at your school, or even ask a supervisor what the best way to display your piece of experience on a resume is.
  8. Make your cover letter stand out. In a positive way, of course. In my cover letter, I used the first paragraph, the intro paragraph, as a way to be lighthearted and a little funny while still leading my potential employer to my main goal: why they should hire me as an intern. They say that employers only spend about 60 seconds on your material, so give them material that they wouldn’t want to forget; give them something that’ll make them smile, or even chuckle. I like to think that doing this will buy me an extra 2o seconds.
  9. Discuss the organization by name in your cover letter. You really shouldn’t send out a generic cover letter to 20 different employers. This definitely shows that you don’t care about each company enough to add some extra effort, so why should those companies hire you? Yeah, I had to go back and tailor my cover letters to every specific opportunity I applied to, and yes, I have multiple cover letters saved on my laptop, but at least doing this will make you a lot more likely to actually receive an interview.
  10. Really do your research about the company. This comes in handy with your cover letter because you should be able to demonstrate why you feel you’re a good match for that company, but it also comes in handy during interviews. I have been asked so many times about content from each platform, so of course I made damn sure I read a lot of the content from each platform. You will likely be asked about the company’s current work, so you better start doing some research. Familiarizing myself with the content was also really good because it helped me really see if I’d fit in well with the culture of each unique platform. I can’t report about celebrity lives for every single piece of content, so I would never try to take an opportunity with a platform that does just that. It just isn’t my style and it’s not what I’m good at. On the other hand, I love platforms that look at multiple lifestyle aspects, even with the occasional piece about a celebrity. You won’t be able to thrive in every single environment, so make sure you know which ones you might be most successful in.
  11. Keep up to date about current topics. Especially if you’re looking for an internship in some sort of journalistic industry. Even scrolling through Twitter the morning of an interview for breaking news, the latest overnight trend, or the most recent viral video that has society up in arms can drastically improve your chances of getting the position. You never know when you might be able to insert that piece of newfound knowledge.
  12. Don’t be difficult — make time for a phone interview. Yes, you’re a student and you have a lot going on, but don’t expect to not change a single thing in your calendar and still have a prompt phone interview. Your interviewer is way busier, so you might find that they only have two possible times to speak with you out of an entire week. Sure, you might’ve wanted Wednesday from 1-2pm for yourself so you can hit the gym, or catch another episode of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, but you might also really want that interview, too. For me, scheduling interviews as promptly as possible was really beneficial because as an on-campus leader it can sometimes be hard to tell when a task will arise that you need to pay extra time and attention to. The more quickly you’re able to schedule an interview, the better; even the near future can be unpredictable.

Hope you’ve made it this far! This is just part one of a two-part series (I have SO MUCH to share with y’all!) I don’t want this post to be obnoxiously lengthy, so stay tuned for part two where I’ll get more in depth about the interview portion and some things toward the end of your application process.

How did you score your first internship? 

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The Confused College Student’s Guide to Good Note-taking (Part 2)

So now you know which method of note-taking will survive the abyss that is your lecture hall of knowledge. Congratulations. But if you’re not yet sure how to select the fittest method of in-class note-taking for each of your classes, be sure to check out my previous post. As I was saying, so now you know that annotating lecture slides is your go-to note-taking method for that chemistry class, or typing your notes on your laptop is the best way to keep up during a history lecture. Now we have to take things one step further to ensure that you’re grabbing all the important info (a.k.a. stuff that will be on your exams) you need.

You rarely (if at all) get anywhere in life by cutting corners — looking for the easy way out, trying to skip the hard stuff. But when taking notes in class, sometimes you might want to trim the fat off of some edges. I’m pretty much talking about finding ways to make your note-taking easier, which includes learning how to write quickly and efficiently to ensure that you record only what’s important — that unnecessary fat can really weigh you down! So here’s how you can ensure you’re only writing down the necessary information:

Throw capitalization to the wind. You know how it’s just the law of basic grammar to capitalize the names of people, important places, states, etc.? Sometimes when I’m typing my notes I do this instinctively, but sometimes my fingers fumble on the keys when trying to hold the shift key and press a letter. This may sound stupid to you but it does happen and it does waste some time. Your notes are only for you — you aren’t submitting them for an essay contest! You don’t need to get caught up with capitalizing names of people, cities and the like. 

What comma? Punctuation marks such as commas and semi colons are not crucial when it comes to note-taking. You’ll still understand your sentence without a semi colon, so doing away with this kind of punctuation doesn’t take anything away from your lecture notes. 

Use ur abbreviations! Put your texting skills to good use in the classroom! Okay, actually, some people write out full sentences when they text, contrary to what many think, but that’s a story for another time. You’ve probably heard this ad nauseum at any school you’ve ever been to, but truthfully, abbreviating really does save you a lot of time when writing. Sometimes I instinctively write out full words when I could have used an abbreviation that would save me less time so I could focus on writing down other important points. 

Arrows are more than adorable boho print. I like incorporating simple arrows (like this one –>) into my notes to show cause and effect relationships. It’s way easier than writing, “and this lead to the downfall of…” #timesaver. 

Focus on points that demonstrate change. Demonstrating change over time, especially if you’re in a history class or other liberal arts class, is very important for exams and essays. I have a Professor who likes to give a lot of biographical information, which is cool and all (I totally want to know where George Washington got the majority of his teeth from) but I’m not going to write an essay about that! Looking for points that demonstrate change is a good filter to use when trying to figure out what to write down. 

List equations in the margin. If you’re in a math class or chemistry class or some other class I find horrid (because I hate math) then you’ll be working with a ton of equations. Making a list in the margin of your paper specifically for equations will help you single them all out so you don’t have to keep writing them down every time the professor presents a problem with them. This saves time like you will not believe! 

These few points are rather simple, but super useful! They’re great ways to effectively cut corners without taking away from your learning experience, and I’ve definitely found them to be extremely useful! Do you have any other methods for ‘trimming the fat’ from your lecture notes? Let me know in the comments!