How To Spend Money Responsibly In College

This year has been pretty big for me financially and while I’m excited about all the super adult changes that have been happening, I’m also lowkey scared. I’ve been making more money blogging this year, I got a small part-time job on campus, I got my first credit card, and (unfortunately) I have more expenses. Not gonna lie, it’s pretty overwhelming and I’ve been trying to start better spending habits, because if I can’t be financially responsible now when I don’t have as many expenses on my plate, I’m probably going to be a mess when I have to worry about rent, groceries, and bills.

I think that everyone says that saving money is really hard, but honestly spending it responsibly is even harder. Unless you’ve mastered the art of pulling stacks of green out of the air, you’re probably going to find yourself torn between buying the things you want and need and pretending like it’s not the end of the world if you don’t shell out the cash for a new laptop to replace your fried one. Kinda hurts, doesn’t it?

See also: How To Be Money-Smart When Studying Abroad

I know lots of people will probably tell you that the best way to make this pain hurt a little less is to be more conscious of your spending, but that’s way easier said than done. So here are some things that I generally try to keep in mind when trying to be more mindful of how I spend money.

1. Avoid eating out frequently. 

Especially if you have a campus meal plan! I know dining hall food isn’t always very appetizing and sometimes you get tired of eating the same thing, but ordering pizza or Chinese food every week means you’re spending money that you wouldn’t have had to spend if you just cooked what you have or used your meal plan on campus.

2. You don’t need to party or buy alcohol because everyone else is doing it. 

Going out can be really tempting when everyone else wants to, but it’s also costly. Do what’s best for your budget, not what’s best for someone else’s boredom. Going out every week will definitely kill your wallet, especially when you also have to factor in transportation costs.

3. If you see something you think you really, really want…just wait. 

I am SO guilty of always seeing something that I think I need ASAP but then not caring about it two weeks later. Before you splurge on that limited edition eyeshadow palette or that expensive jacket you don’t know what to pair with, give it some time. If you find yourself still dreaming about the item, it’s safe to say that you’re good purchasing it.

4. Use student discounts when you make purchases. 

There are so many sites and services that are happy to give students money off on purchases—you just need to find them! I wrote a post about a service called UNiDAYS, which is perfect for saving money on your favorite brands, so be sure to check that out.

5. Splurge once in a while. 

It’s totally okay to splurge; just make sure you really want it. I usually try to put some money off to the side specifically for the items I want to splurge on. I really like the idea of saving money with a specific purchase goal in mind, so when I actually use the money I don’t feel bad because I had planned on using it in the first place.

6. Get rid of any subscriptions you’re paying for but not using.

I hear people talk about subscriptions and memberships that they pay for but don’t use far too often and it honestly makes me cringe. I understand the logic behind it—you think you’ll actually use it because you’re paying extra money for it—but when you find that you’re literally just throwing money out the window on something you aren’t using, you should seriously just consider canceling. It’s a waste of your hard-earned cash, and to be completely blunt, if you really wanted it you’d be using it.

7. Make note of what you spend your money on. 

But don’t be like me and say you’re going to write everything down and then not (oops). Just be aware of what you’re spending money on if you’re using a credit card. This way, if you see an unfamiliar charge on your bill, you can address it. If you don’t want to get a physical notebook for this, just create a simple Google spreadsheet.

8. Don’t abuse your credit card. 

Honestly, I was excited for my first credit card but also kind of stingy about making purchases. Like, I debated using my card for the first time on a purchase that was credit card only because I was so nervous to use it after all the stories of crazy interest rates and all that. Make card purchases that you know for a fact you can pay off completely when your bill arrives. If you only pay the minimum amount on your bill, that’s when you accrue the dreaded interest. So while you may feel powerful with a credit card in your possession, don’t go overboard!

9. Always be aware of the amount of money you have left. 

This is pretty self-explanatory but one of the best ways to be smart about how you spend money is to always know how much you have. This will help you decide if you really want to go out tonight, or if you can really afford the handbag you’ve been eyeing.

10. Be a smart textbook shopper. 

My freshman year, I spent $500 on textbooks because I bought them all brand new and didn’t open my eyes to a beautiful thing called borrowing from the library. Being smart about where and how (and if) you buy textbooks can help you save so much money. I won’t go into too much detail because I have a full post on How To Save Money In College, but make sure you exhaust all other options before buying a book brand new or even used.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Buying Textbooks In College

11. Purchase your needs before your wants. 

I mean, it’s pretty clear what’s more important here. If you dropped your laptop and need to repair it so you can turn in assignments then you should obviously make that a priority.

12. Travel as cost effectively as possible. 

If you can walk, walk. it’ll save you bus fare, a train ticket, gas money—whatever. Always consider all of your travel options before you decide what to do. Transportation fare adds up very quickly over time, after all. For one of my reporting classes, I often have to travel off campus and while I’ve been taking the train a lot, I think it may be more cost effective for me to rent a car and drive to where I need to be. So, I’m probably going to just start doing that instead. So that means no more spending $30+ on round-trip train tickets!

What are your tips for responsible money-spending? 

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8 Organizational Tips To Conquer Your Job Search

Confession: As I’m sitting here at Starbucks in the company of a venti iced white chocolate mocha and a bagel with about two bites left, I’m lowkey freaking out over the fact that in the coming months, my job search game is about to be upped ten-fold. Hell, maybe even one-hundred-fold. The point is that the job search, internship search, whatever-professional-position search is gonna get crazy for every graduating senior. And with a 20-credit schedule, club e-board meetings, and a part-time job, you may not even have time to think about how stressed you already are with the job hunt.

In the past, I’ve given tips on landing an internship—also pretty stressful. So this time I want to focus on keeping yourself organized when on the prowl because, not gonna lie, if an unpolished resume or typo-filled cover letter doesn’t screw you over, an unorganized mind will.

Yep, it’s true and it’s just as painful as it sounds. Maybe you’re not going to get the position at one of your favorite companies even though you’re uber qualified because you missed the deadline in the heat of preparing for other things. Or maybe you just couldn’t remember if you submitted the cover letter but decided to give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Or perhaps you’re bound to accidentally submit an incomplete application with all the pressure from class you’ve been under lately. It can happen and you don’t want it to happen to you. 

I’m still working toward gaining complete control over my organization for jobs and internships, but I really want to share what I’m going to do. So if you’re pretty much in the same boat and want to finally get your shit together, read on.

1. Make a list of all of the companies you want to work for.

List out all of your dream companies and companies you admire. It’s important to have an idea of the environment you’d like to see yourself in so you know where to start and you’re not just blindly throwing cover letters left and right. Even if you don’t think you’re experienced enough to work at your dream company, 1) don’t sell yourself short, and 2) you never know. Put this list into a spreadsheet if you really want to up your organization game. I actually keep a folder on Google Drive specifically for organizing all things jobs and internships, so consider keeping your list here.

2. Find out the deadline for every single company.

Sometimes, you’ll find a job listing that explicitly states the deadline. Other times, you’ll have to do some digging. You can find out deadlines by reaching out directly to the hiring manager, tweeting to the company, or even just searching for the same company and position on another job search site to see if they included additional information elsewhere. Deadlines help you set goals. If you know an application is due in three weeks, you’ll budget your time so you work on your resume one week, your cover letter the other week, and still have time to polish it off during the final week. That’s just an example, but work on your applications the way you want to. Just don’t put yourself in a position where you couldn’t make a submission because you missed the deadline.

3. Think about location—can you narrow down a specific geographic area you’re looking to work in?

It really helps if you already know which state or country you’d like to work in, especially if it’s not in your home state or country. Now, actually packing up your life and moving there is a whole other process, but we’re not worrying about that right now. Personally, I’d like to apply to places in L.A., San Francisco, Boston, and Manhattan. This helps you narrow your search so you’re not as overwhelmed.

4. Be aware that you may have to submit more than just a cover letter and resume.

if you thought writing cover letters for internships were annoying (me!), wait until you have to submit references, and create additional content specifically for the application process. You’re gonna wish it were as simple as resume and cover letter. If this is the case, make sure you’re aware of the application materials ahead of time to allow yourself enough of an opportunity to get them all together. Don’t take a chance on saving any part of your application for the last minute because of course this is when everything that could go wrong will.

Related: 6 Cover Letter Mistakes That Won’t Get You An Interview

5. Gather a list of references.

Create a separate document or spreadsheet where you can keep track of any references you may need. Know who you’re going to reach out to, and record the date you reached out to them, whether or not they responded, and if they have already sent your recommendation letter to the company that requested one. Look to former bosses, professors, and anyone else who knows your work well for recommendation letters. Reach out and ask if you could list them as a reference. And if you haven’t spoken to them in a while, now’s a good time to reach out and say hi, or invite them out to coffee. I actually wrote a post on what it was like to go on a coffee date with an editorial assistant so I could pick her brain about the industry, so if the idea of getting coffee with a professional seems daunting, check out my post for advice.

Related: How To Survive Networking Events As A College Student

6. Keep all your work samples in one place.

This is one of those things that I have yet to get around to doing but I know is a must! Make sure you keep all of your professional work wrapped up in a neat little bow so you’re not scrambling to submit clips the night before the application is due. Since I want a job at online magazines and media sites, I’m going to have to put together a professional portfolio website with all of my best samples of published work. But in the meantime, I’m going to keep a list of links to articles I’d want to use as samples, so I have them ready. Pro tip: save any online work as a PDF file, because links can get broken and for whatever reason, a post might get taken down, so you want to make sure you have evidence of the work you did.

7. Create a color code system.

Whoa, what??? I know, this sounds super hardcore, but it doesn’t have to be! I love using different colors to show progress. So if I get rejected from a position, I’ll highlight that entire row in my spreadsheet in light red, or simply write ‘rejected’ in red next to it. It’s easier on the eyes and you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at with just a quick glance.

8. Mark off the positions you finished applying to.

Use your color coding system for this too! As soon as you hit ‘submit’ go back to your spreadsheet and put a check next to the position, do the strikethrough line, highlight it in green—whatever you need to do to show that you successfully completed your application and you don’t have to worry about it anymore. This way, you won’t have to second guess yourself on whether or not you did indeed make a submission.

I hope these tips help during such a stressful, chaotic time!

How do you stay organized for the job search? What’s your dream job like? Let me know in the comments! 

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How To Balance Class Work, A Job & Your Social Life In College

How To Balance School, Work, and Social Life in College

Oh man, I seriously feel like I haven’t had the time for us to have one of our little heart-to-heart advice things that I do here because this semester is CRAZY. Holy hell, it’s INSANE for me right now, and I’m sure you’re really feelin’ the weight of yours, too. Which is why I was inspired to write this post.

This semester is unlike anything I’ve had before because I have more commitments now, more classes, and I’ve really stepped up in some roles. I’m taking seven classes (which I don’t recommend doing!), I got a small part-time job on campus cuz ya girl needs that cash flow, I’ve moved up to an e-board position for a club I’ve been part of for two years now, I’m taking a bartending class for a certification, and I’m assisting with the sports broadcast on my campus. Oh, and I’m also on the brink of creating my YouTube channel and blogging, even though I haven’t been sticking to my usual blogging schedule as of late (I promise I’m still here!!!). So a lot of people get surprised when they see me Snapchatting from the gym and they ask me how I even have time for all that.

Not gonna lie, it took me a few weeks to stop staying up till 3a.m. to do homework, and to finally feel less overwhelmed even though the amount of work I’ve been getting isn’t getting lighter anytime soon. I really believe that a huge chunk of success and feeling happy in college is due in part to effectively balancing all of your obligations, so I’m sharing what I’ve been doing to manage all the hats I wear. It can be so easy to feel like you aren’t paying enough attention to your school work, or like you’re missing out on all the fun stuff your friends are doing because you just have so much on your plate. If you’ve got a crazy semester and you aren’t quite sure how to balance everything, read on to find out!

Related: 11 Things To Do When You Feel Overwhelmed In College

1. Make use of your weekends as much as you can.

It’s totally fine to have a lazy, unproductive day once in a while, and Saturdays and Sundays are perfect for that. But you’d be surprised by how much more chill your weekdays get when you finish all or most of your assignments during the weekend. The assignments in each of my class feel like mini projects because they require so much time, attention, and iced coffee, so I know that the weekends are my best bet for planning their completion and, well, completing them!

Plan everything out ahead of time in your planner so you know what needs to get done (if you don’t have one yet, check out my thoughts on the ClassTracker Planner!). The list might be daunting, but if you use the weekend to tackle them, you won’t have to lose sleep doing the assignments during the week.

Related: How To Create An Effective Study Schedule

2. Grab dinner with friends and use that time to socialize.

I mean, you have to eat at some point so you might as well turn dinner into hangout time for you and your friends. I know your schedules won’t always match up but even if you’re able to eat dinner together twice a week or three times a week, you’ll still get in some much-needed squad time. It doesn’t even have to be a meal—sign up for a fitness class together; join a club together; study together.

Related: 10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

3. Be open to change.

I’m a meticulous planner, but I’ve definitely come to realize that—in the words of former Seventeen EIC Ann Shoket—life is messy and you need to embrace the mess. I know that planning things out can help you stay on top of your schedule, but don’t try to plan your day out down to the last minute because it will only stress you out if things don’t go the way you needed them to go. Have a general idea of what you’re doing during the day, but be flexible enough to go with the flow if things don’t work out.

4. Don’t save things for the last minute.

This goes with what I was saying before about getting all your shit done over the weekend. If you wait until the day before an assignment is due before you actually start it, you’re likely going to hole yourself up in your room until you finish, and you’re going to stress and won’t be able to take care of any other obligations you have.

5. Get in the habit of waking up early.

I know no one wants to ever have to do that but if you’ve ever had an 8a.m. class or work an early morning shift, you’re already familiar with the absolute *joy* of waking up at the ass crack of dawn. Actually, this is what I started doing in order to get my workouts in! On days I know I won’t have time to go to the gym at night, I wake up two hours before my first class and I work out. It’s honestly more refreshing and I actually don’t feel tired during the day! I shower afterward, so I’m really awake and I reward myself by dressing extra cute and doing my makeup a little extra nice.

If you think you need more hours in the day, just try waking up earlier to better accommodate your schedule. You might find that it’s the perfect time for you to study, or hit the gym, or pick up on that passion project you’ve had to step away from. You don’t have to be up at 5a.m. to do things; start small.

Related: How To Prepare For Early Morning College Classes

6. Set reminders for yourself.

I like scheduling my obligations into my phone as I make plans so I don’t forget anything. Gotta FaceTime your best friend at 5p.m.? Have a study group at 4:30 that you can’t miss? Schedule them in case you forget! I like setting my reminders for 20 minutes beforehand so that in the event that I do forget, at least I have some time to recover from the initial surprise and re-plan if needed.

7. Do work in between classes, if you can.

When my classes were really spaced out, this was my ultimate secret to almost never pulling all-nighters, but now that I have almost no time in between, I can’t really do that. But if you can manage to complete a few assignments while you wait for your next class, you’ll have more time at night to go out, attend club meetings, work, and even just have some chill time.

8. If you can’t take on more, DON’T.

This is the time when everyone and their mother wants you to join their club, or apply for their thing, or pick up an extra hour at work. Biting off more than you can chew will make it more difficult for you to keep up with everything else going on for you. I so badly wanted to also be a writing tutor this semester, and I even applied for the position but didn’t get picked and honestly it worked out for the better because I don’t even know when I’d have the time to tutor! Remember that you also don’t need to fill in every single gap in your schedule. Try to leave a free hour or two that you can use to relax if you really need it!

9. Be honest about your schedule.

So yeah, this goes hand in hand with my last point…to avoid piling on your plate, you have to be honest about what you can and can’t do. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t know how to say no to people and it always comes back to bite me in the ass when I’m suddenly overwhelmed because I have so much going on—ugh! Just because you’re free when someone asks if you’re free doesn’t mean you have to use that time to do what they want you to do. Maybe you’d like that time to unwind and treat yourself. Or maybe you want to reserve that time to hang out with a friend or special someone. Simply say that your schedule is really packed and you can fit anything else in—even if they swear on their mother’s father’s aunt’s cousin’s uncle’s grave that it won’t take up much time at all.

10. Only take on the meaningful obligations.

Something I’ve definitely come to realize is that it’s better to have one or two big obligations that make a significant impact for you than to have a bunch of small things here and there that you can hardly talk about. Sure, the small things might be fun and nice, but if you’re spending so much time and energy on those obligations and you can’t really use them to help yourself down the line, it might be time to walk away. Focus one one or two things that you can really put your attention into. You’ll get more out of the experience because you won’t be running your energy levels dry on five different things! If you feel like you need to drop culinary club and the math society to have an internship geared toward your desired career, it’s probably better to just do the internship.

Related: How I Landed An Editorial Beauty + Fashion Internship In NYC

I want to hear how your semester is going so far! What’s your favorite part of the week and what’s your least favorite? 

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10 Habits That Will Make You Happier In College

A question that college students often ask is: how do you stay happy in college when there’s so many things going on? The short answer is, well, it’s hard. When you’ve got projects and papers due every other week and assignments flying at you at full speed, it can be pretty easy to always feel like you’re drowning. Not to mention the fact that you’ve got to balance all this with your other passions. I’m sitting on a train to the city as I’m typing this, and let me tell you, I can go on and on about the fact that there needs to be way more hours in the day. But simply put, it’s super easy to feel totally drained in college and you’re not the only one. 

The long (and honestly much more encouraging) answer to this age-old question is actually what I’m going to be outlining in this post. Over the years, I’ve found that adopting certain habits have actually helped me keep my head above water and feel overall much more satisfied with my college experiences. And since this is, without a doubt, going to be my toughest semester yet and the toughest for many other people, I decided to share those habits with you. Read on to find out what they are! 

1. Learning how to have experiences on your own.

Everything is better with company. Correction: Some things are better with company. Sometimes it’s much more relaxing and fulfilling to swallow your pride and go to that festival by yourself, or attend that event on campus alone—yes, even if you think you’re going to look awkward as hell by yourself. The truth is that your friends won’t always be there to help you have fun, so you need to learn how to make your own fun! Trust me, it’ll pay off and you might actually enjoy taking yourself on these little excursions by yourself.

Related: 12 Ways To Enjoy The Summer With Friends

2. Making more time for friends.

I know, I literally just said you have to learn how to be by yourself, but that doesn’t mean you should totally exile your friends from the kingdom that is your hectic college schedule. I used to put my schedule ahead of hanging out with friends because in my mind, it was more alleviating to just get shit done. But then this would lead to me feeling very unsatisfied even after I’ve finished everything. So I always feel so much better studying and working in the company of close friends. It’s nice to know that there’s someone with you even when you have the worst assignments ever. Plus, you’re still getting your work done! If you’re really busy, you can also make time for friends by suggesting you eat dinner together on certain days, or planning trips to the gym together.

Related: 10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

3. Taking chances more often.

Sticking to the same routine is familiar and comfortable, but sometimes it also gets boring. Make a habit of shaking things up once in a while, because how many surprises do we really get in life? Whether it’s applying to study abroad when you’ve never left the country before, or trying out a new fitness class you’ve never heard of, the thrill of a new experience can really boost your mood and help you stay wonderfully curious. 😉 Again, it doesn’t have to be a major gamble on your life or anything; just go for the small things, even if it’s just changing up your Starbucks order every Monday or something.

4. Starting a relaxation routine.

OH. EM. GEE. Seriously, if you can’t remember the last time you had a moment of chill time, it’s probably time for you to have some chill time stat!!! I know, easier said than done. But it’s important to at least have a go-to relaxation routine that you can jump into when you’re feeling super stressed. I’m still trying to nail my ultimate routine, but part of it definitely includes cooling under eye masks and lots and lots of Beyoncé. You don’t need a three-hour routine, either. Even just having an hour to yourself to get your head together can make such a difference. Get in the habit of doing this regularly.

5. Stop seeing your peers as competition.

Ugh, seriously, constantly plotting ways to stay two steps ahead of Tom, Dick, and Harry so you can be the best in the class is SO. EFFING. EXHAUSTING and so not worth your energy! I seriously hate seeing classmates prefer to tear each other down and try to be slick with each other instead of helping one another out! Yes, someday you very well may be competing for the same job or internship, but right now you’re colleagues. So instead of using your energy to remain a lone wolf and avoid helping your classmates, form a study group or group chat for internship links or something. Quid pro quo, my friend, quid pro quo. If you really need help, or if you’re looking for connections, your classmates might just be the ones to help you there.

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

6. Stop thinking you always have to be the best.

I know many of us are used to the fame and prestige that comes with being known as the smartest kid in high school, or he best karate student in the dojo, but you don’t always have to be numero uno. Everyone falters and fails, and you’re no less smart or less talented when you do. It takes a lot of energy to be envious of someone for understanding something you don’t, or for picking up a skill faster than you can. Do yourself a favor and let it go. In fact, use it as an opportunity to be-friend that person and ask for tips or advice. You’ll have more energy to be happy when you’re not constantly trying to outdo your “rival.”

7. Learning to be happy for other peoples’ successes.

You’d want your friends and peers to be happy for you when you have a major victory, so learn how to not be insanely jealous if someone you know gets an internship you wanted, or when your friend gets their dream job and you have nothing. Dwelling on what other people have will make you miserable, and your time is much better spent thinking about what you can do to further your own goals while taking the time to celebrate accomplishments with friends.

8. Dressing up for class once in a while. 

No, there is nothing wrong with dressing up for class a few times a week; there doesn’t need to be a special occasion for you to whip out your prettiest crop top and cutest ankle booties. Dressing up can seriously boost your mood, even when you have class until 10pm without a break and a slew of meetings afterward.

Related: How To Dress Stylishly And Professionally On A College Budget

9. Developing a good relationship with at least one professor.

When I was in middle school, I used to have that one teacher who I could randomly visit during lunch or during trips to the bathroom just to talk about my progress in school and how I’m doing. In high school, I had the same thing. And now, college is no different. It’s really nice to have someone who could offer you a new perspective, someone on the inside who’s been through all this already who isn’t your mom or dad. Don’t get me wrong, I still tell my parents everything, but having a professor you trust can really put you on the path to success. They will go the extra mile to make you more comfortable in the program and address any goals and give you advice for the future. Get to know your professors during syllabus week and see which ones you click with the best.

10. Complaining less.

Honestly, I’m still working on this, but I think I’ve gotten better at it over the years! I usually complain as a means of venting to people, but it’s also really important to recognize when complaining is actually stressing you out more, or causing you to make a bigger deal out of something than necessary. Plus, complaining can affect your friends if it gets to the point where they feel like they rarely hear a good experience come out of your mouth. Try journaling if you feel like you need to get your thoughts out. Or complain to your parents because I think they want nothing more than to squash your fears and stress. I’ve also been trying to look for the positive in everything, even when things don’t work for me, so that usually helps me feel better about any situations!

Hope you guys liked this post and you’ll give these tips a try!

What are your tips for having a happier college experience? 

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6 Fashion Accessories To Pack For Your Next Trip Abroad

6 Fashion Accessories You Actually Need To Pack For Travel

This is a sponsored post in partnership with StudentUniverse and Her Campus Media. All words and opinions are my own.

 

This year is the year that my travel senses were tingling, and not even just tingling—they were. FLARING. UP. I traveled to Ireland on a study abroad trip in January (which was super expensive, but I’ll get into that later). It was my first travel experience, so naturally, I tried to prepare myself as much as possible by reading a ton of blog posts about clothes and things to pack for travel. But it wasn’t until after the trip was over that I actually realized the importance of some of the things I did bring, and some of the things I failed to bring. Which brings me to this post…

I feel like fashion accessories are things that people often overlook because 1) they think it’ll just add unnecessary weight to their luggage and 2) they tell themselves they can just buy whatever they didn’t bring pack when they go to malls or boutiques abroad. So that’s why I’m here to clear the air and tell you what accessories and items you’ll actually need no matter where you travel.

But back to this whole ‘traveling is expensive’ thing…Not gonna lie, my study abroad bill for the winter semester left me mentally scarred, and since then, while I don’t regret my experience AT ALL, I’ve decided that it’s just so much cheaper to travel on your own since you won’t be paying for tuition, books, credits, or anything like that. And there are actually services and companies out there that, you know, actually want college students like us to go out and see the world because we’ll learn so much more when we’re not in a classroom setting. If you want to get discounted rates on flights, tours, and group travel for your next adventure, I highly suggest taking a look at StudentUniverse. There are so many exclusive deals and so much insight into traveling that you’ll seriously be inspired to book a ticket ASAP! Don’t forget to download their mobile app for easy access, and take a peek at their site to see if you find any accommodations that pique your interest.

6 Fashion Accessories You Actually Need To Pack For Travel

So after you’ve booked a ticket and accommodations that actually fit within your budget (or your parents’ budget), you can get packing! Here are some accessories you shouldn’t leave home without.

1. A cute passport holder.

I know this isn’t exactly a fashion accessory, but it’s still a really important accessory for traveling! really wish I had invested in a super cute passport holder because it’s a good way to keep your important documents—passport, ID, boarding pass—in one place where they won’t get lost or crumpled or torn. Plus, every time my group moved to another city in Ireland, our professor collected our passports for safety reasons, so it would’ve been good to have something to easily identify my passport book. Get a really cute one that you can use over and over again. Bonus if you can get your passport holder to match your luggage tag!

2. A pretty pair of sunglasses + a case.

Sunglasses are my favorite style accessory ever!! I have way too many to count, so naturally it was difficult to choose which one I’d take with me (spoiler alert: I ended up choosing two to bring along for the ride because I was so indecisive). You definitely don’t want to spend money on sunglasses while abroad (unless they’re, like, designer in the area or something) because they can be really expensive. Make sure you have a nice pair as well as a case to protect it.

Related: How To Be Money Smart While Traveling Abroad

3. Cute all-weather boots.

Seriously, no matter where in the world you go, you cannot forget to invest in and pack a good pair of weatherproof boots that fit you well—not too big and not too small! In Ireland, we climbed cliffs, trekked through muddy, rocky, slippery areas, and scaled narrow castle stairs, so it was important for me to get a pair of boots that would keep my feet warm, protected, and dry. These can get pricey depending on the brand you purchase from but they’re well worth the money. Get one that fits snugly on your feet so you’re not waddling around if you have to climb rocky cliffs or anything like that.

6 Fashion Accessories You Actually Need To Pack For Travel

Related: The Ultimate Study Abroad Packing List

4. A backpack or knapsack.

You’ll want to be able to carry around important items when you go on excursions, and I think that any cute, trendy little backpacks or drawstring bags are perfect for that. I got a little crossbody bag, but it didn’t really do much good since it was so small. I could only fit my wallet, phone, and any really small items. Which meant that most days, I didn’t bring a bottle of water with me if I didn’t want to bother my friend to hold it in his backpack for me—huge no-no! Always make sure you have a way of holding all your necessities in one place.

5. Your favorite no-fail stockings.

I didn’t pack any nice pairs of stockings because I didn’t think I’d wear any dresses or skirts since it might be cold in Ireland in January. But I realized that they were important to have when we had dressier events and gatherings. You don’t need to bring every pair of stockings Target has to offer, but make sure you bring one good pair that is versatile enough that you can pair it with any outfit.

6. A beanie or baseball cap.

Y’all, let me tell you: getting sick while traveling the world and making new experiences and memories is NOT fun. A lot of people in my study abroad group ended up getting so sick that they had to miss a day or two of really cool excursions and day trips. I was lucky enough to only catch a runny nose and slight headache for a few days, but even then it was torturous! Protect yourself from the weather by bringing appropriate hats, scarves, gloves, etc. It depends on where you’re going and the time of year, but if you know you’ll be in a cold environment, bring a hat that you can wear to cover your ears. If the climate is a little warmer, opt for a cap just in case.

6 Fashion Accessories You Actually Need To Pack For Travel

(P.S., that’s me by the Cliffs of Moher with my eyes closed looking really stupid but nonetheless warm and cozy with my hat).

I really hope this post gave you some ideas as to what accessories will actually help you have a better travel experience! And I really hope you’ll take a look at StudentUniverse—I know I’m definitely going to take advantage of their opportunities while I can (and ya girl knows there are some major travel plans in the stars!). If you want to learn even more about StudentUniverse, come check them out at College Fashion Week, an event hosted by Her Campus to showcase the best fall trends word by real college gals like us (super excited!!!!). While I was unable to attend last year’s CFW, my friend did go and said she had a blast, so I’m certainly looking forward to the experience. Plus, it’s Her Campus, and if there’s anything I’ve learned after attending HerConference for two straight years, it’s that they know how to organize the BEST events EVER. The New York show is being held on Saturday, September 30, so if you’re available, come through! 😉

Are there any travel plans in the stars for you? Are you attending College Fashion Week?? Let me know!!

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How To Dress Professionally In College When You’re On A Budget

How To Dress Professionally On A College Budget

This post is sponsored by UniDays and Her Campus Media. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Macarons & Mascara possible!

 

While I do love scrolling through Pinterest to look for super cute interview-ready, business-y outfits, I’ll be the first to admit that dressing professionally and stylishly can be quite difficult and expensive at our age. I’m pretty sure I can buy at least a dozen pairs of leggings with the money I’d use to buy one pair of dress pants (and that’s if I don’t go to the super expensive stores!). Plus, we’re young, so we sometimes think that it’s acceptable to just wear nice leggings (the ones we don’t workout in) and a blazer to a meeting or interview, or we stress ourselves out and overdress and end up feeling awkward and out of place.

And it’s really important to have professional items on hand as a college student (especially if you dorm) because you never know when the opportunity for an interview or professional meeting will arise. So basically, I’m here to reassure you that looking professional and cute as a college student can actually be less expensive and less stressful than you might think. I’m sharing my college-budget-approved tips for saving money and pairing items that work, so read on for the deets!

Related: How I Landed A Beauty + Fashion Editorial Internship In NYC

1. Be on the hunt for sales and discounts.

This is seriously the easiest way to save money on items you really want to purchase, and the good news is that discounts are available for so many of your favorite brands. UNiDAYS is a savings service network particularly for college students because, you guys, I’m pretty sure none of us know an undergrad who will gladly pay full price for anything. They offer discounts from brands like Apple, Urban Outfitters, ASOS, and Express (where I was able to purchase the outfit you’re going to see at a discounted price!). Need a new laptop case but don’t want to shell out $50 for one? UNiDAYS has your back. Studying abroad and need a few items to bring along? Yeah, save the real spending for when you’re buying souvenirs abroad.

Yes, you do have to sign up for UNiDAYS, but it’s insanely easy so you can literally have discounts and deals at your fingertips (perfect for when you really don’t want to run up your credit card bill this month!). Not only that, but they also have a really cute, really insightful blog called The Edit that gives career, beauty, and fashion advice. I loved this post on Summer Internship Outfits because it actually breaks everything down by industry (so helpful!).

I personally prefer UNiDAYS over company newsletter sign-ups because sorry, but I don’t want to receive 20 emails in the same day all about the same sale that isn’t really a sale because the original price gets jacked up by a lot before any discounts are applied. Since you’ll have an account, you just need to sign in and browse the brands you’re interested in purchasing items from. Just click on the site to get the discount code and apply it at check out. Voila! P.S., they also have member-only giveaways on a variety of things ($500 for back to school shopping sounds ah-mazing!).

2. Purchase patterned blouses.

Collared shirts with cute patterns and designs like subtle polka dots or stripes are the perfect professional closet essential because you can still look like a fun, young intern or interviewee while also looking put together. I found a discount for Express (one of my favorite stores) on the UNiDAYS site, so I purchased this flowy, floral print top. I don’t have too many floral tops for professional occasions, so when I saw this one I knew it would be the perfect way to add a little flair and personality to an outfit (which is totally okay for interviews!). You guys, it’s SO PRETTY and I can’t stop loving it! The V-neck is subtle and I love that the material is breathable and doesn’t cling onto you (Lord knows I’m trying to avoid sweating through my clothes during interviews!).

How To Dress Professionally On A College Budget

Don’t waste money going after any uber complicated outfit sets or anything like that. Find three or four collared tops with patterns you like and keep them in your closet for that job interview. Pair them with solid colored pants (more on that later) and you’ll be good to go!

3. Invest in one good, versatile blazer.

You seriously only need ONE blazer in your closet right now. Just. One. Not six, and definitely not 20. You shouldn’t be spending money for a new blazer every time you have a new occasion to wear one for. So opt for darker colors like black or navy blue that are more likely to go with whatever you have in your closet so you don’t feel like you have to keep purchasing new pieces to make your outfit work. I know it can be tempting to buy blazers in a variety of pretty colors so you can mix and match pieces for your outfit like a Pinterest pro, but it’s always better to stick to more versatile options first. Especially if you’re like me and will probably change your mind about your outfit at the last possible second.

4. Purchase solid-colored pants.

Again, the more versatile the better! It’s easier to pair more elements with a simple pair of navy blue chinos than it is to pair with blue and white striped slacks. I purchased these beautiful pink pants alongside the floral top from Express because I knew they’d work perfectly together and I’m not disappointed! The pants looked so appealing because I wanted something that would be a little on the loose side. And I love the self-tie at the waist because it ads a cute, girly element to the piece while still keeping things simple. These pants would look so good with lots of other blouses that I have, too, so it won’t be difficult for me to figure out what to wear.

How To Dress Professionally On A College Budget

That’s my full outfit above (I’m so in love!!!). If you’re thinking of being a little ~adventurous~ and purchasing, say, green, red, or other colored pants, just run through the tops you have to make sure you have enough items to pair with the bottom you’re thinking of getting, or you might have to spend more money to have at least one complete outfit.

How To Dress Professionally On A College Budget

5. Take advantage of “buy one, get one” deals.

Buy one blouse, get one blouse half-priced? Sounds pretty good to me! You might as well snatch up these kinds of in-store deals while they’re available because you never know when that second pair of slacks will come in handy. This is also your chance to purchase the same thing in different colors or patterns.

6. Have one pair of trustworthy black heels or flats.

You don’t need an array of shoes to select from, so don’t go buying new pairs every time you plan a new outfit. Black goes with everything, so you can’t go wrong getting a comfortable pair of shoes in that shade. Make sure your shoes are practical; don’t get anything that hurts your feet five seconds after you put it on. As you saw, I wore my classic pair of black pumps with my outfit and they worked really well. They kept me looking put together and didn’t take away from the outfit.

Related: 6 Pairs of Shoes You Need For Your Summer Internship

7. Go through your mom’s closet!

I know, some people may not jump at the idea to wear the same thing as their mom, but give her closet a chance! I’m sure you’ll find at least one pretty, professional piece in there you can borrow from time to time. My mom is really good at picking out stylish and professional tops and bottoms, so whenever I feel like my outfit is lacking something or doesn’t look as nice as I thought it would, I pay her closet a visit and I usually find something I like a little better.

8. Try before you buy!

You guys, don’t be like me and purchase items without trying them on because you’re too lazy to wait on a line. I always think that it’s especially important to try on professional clothes because in my experience, I’ve found that a lot of brands have their blazers, blouses, and slacks run small. So when I buy them without trying them on in the store, they’re actually too tight and I don’t have time to exchange it if I bought it at the last minute.

How do you save money while still looking on point? 

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10 Things To Know About Being Single In College

You can probably crown me the queen of being single. It’s simply something I’m really used to. In fact, the idea of me being in a relationship seems so strange to me. Yeah, I think I’m a great person (modest, I know), but I’ve been single for such a long time that it feels like hell would practically freeze over if there were suddenly a guy in the picture. But anyone who’s been single for a while can certainly attest to joking about that at least once!

In college, there are always couples kissing, holding hands, and just being generally cute, and maybe at some point you wished you had something like that, too—someone to surprise you with your favorite iced coffee (exactly how you like it) at work; someone to walk you to class; someone to laugh with you even when you know you’re not funny. But now you’re probably just fine with living the single life and getting a puppy or two. While relationships can teach you a lot about yourself and the world around you, you can also learn a lot from being single. So if you’ve been single for a while and aren’t sure where you stand, or you’re about to enter college as a single lady or guy, this one’s for you.

Side note: I literally NEVER write about romance and relationships on here, so yay me for trying new things! *applause*

1. You’ll notice how many times people mention their boyfriends or girlfriends in regular conversation.

People talk about their S/O’s A LOT. Good for them for being happy and finding someone, but you’ll definitely notice how little you can contribute to those conversations unless it’s your close friend talking about their partner. There have been so many times when I met new people on campus and they’ll start telling me about some adorable habit their boyfriend has, or something nice their boyfriend did for them once, and I can really only find myself saying, “awww, that’s so cute” because, well, I can’t relate.

2. You’ll probably try using a dating app at some point.

Tinder, Bumble, and whatever else is out there will probably be glued to your hands for a couple of weeks. You’ll go through the excitement of trying something new, the thrill of swiping right on people, the anxiety when you finally get a match, and the annoyance at people who only have group photos with friends up and don’t specify WHICH ONE they are. Then you’ll say screw it and just delete the damn thing because you’re over it. I know people pass a lot of judgement against those who use Tinder, but you never know who you’ll meet — I have friends who have developed strong relationships with the people they met on Tinder!

3. You assume everyone is dating someone.

The earth’s dynamic equilibrium is where everyone on campus has a boyfriend or girlfriend except for you. That’s more or less what you’ll think at least once and pretty much be fine with it. While most of the people you meet seem to be in a relationship, it’s important to remember that NOT EVERYONE in college has a boyfriend or girlfriend. Some people aren’t ready for a relationship and some people simply just don’t want to date, and some people just haven’t found the right person yet. Don’t let your FOMO get the best of you.

4. You’ll sometimes go to events alone.

Your S/O is a special kind of bestie. Maybe your friends hate football and wouldn’t be caught dead at a game, but you can get away with dragging your partner to a game. When you’re not in a relationship, it can be kind of easy to quickly exhaust all your buddy options for events. A lot of your close friends may have gone home for the weekend, or have an exam they need to study for. You learn to attend things by yourself and make your own fun. It’s awkward at first because everyone seems to know everyone there, but you get used to just doing you. It’s good practice because there will be times in life when you just have to suck it up and do things by yourself.

P.S., Football season is among us! Check out my Ultimate Guide To College Game Day just for collegiates!!

5. You’ll become a little more adventurous.

Yes, traveling is a part of it but I was talking about the fact that you’ll want to try new things no matter where you are. Not gonna lie, you’ll run into times when you’re in your room all alone, bored out of your mind, and just wanna have some fun. This can prompt you to let your adventurous side take over, and before you know it, you’ll have tried out every restaurant in the area, gone to all the best museums in the city, and had photoshoots in every beach and/or park within walking distance.

Related: How To Travel Cheaply In Your 20’s

 

10 Things To Know About Being Single In College

 

6. It’s all about you.

You probably hear this one a lot, but when you’re single you don’t have to worry about amending your schedule for someone else’s or being sad about leaving your partner behind to travel, and all those other pieces of insight that can basically be boiled down into one common theme: The only two people you have to worry about are you and yourself. Personally, with the semester I just had, I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had been dating someone and I had to keep re-scheduling with him or cutting things short to deal with assignments from my classes. At times, it was difficult to make it to study sessions with my friends because of all the tasks I had to take care of. I’m glad all I really had to worry about was keeping myself healthy so I could do what I had to do.

Related: 20 Ways To Be Healthier In College

7. You can focus on your school work better.

Like I said before, I don’t know how I would’ve balanced a relationship with my course load because this was the most intense, most demanding, most I-wanted-to-cry-every-step-of-the-way semester I’ve ever had. Having a partner to talk to and text can be nice, but it can also sometimes be distracting when you have a lot to do. You’re in college to learn and, yes, have some fun along the way, but it’s much easier to get work done when your phone isn’t blowing up with 80 text messages about meeting his or her family next weekend.

8. You’ll get to spend more time getting to know your friends.

You’ve probably heard the classic story of the girl who gets a boyfriend and forgets her friends even exist. While we were all cautioned against this when we were in like middle school, it still sometimes happens. What’s more is that sometimes your friends may just want to hang out with you — without your boyfriend or girlfriend. Being single gives you the chance to get closer to your friends over wings at BDUBS every Tuesday night, or bond with your books every other night. Friendships are one relationship you definitely can’t forget to form in college.

Related: 10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

9. You’d still like to date someone.

I didn’t say the feeling of wanting a relationship would go away. Granted, you won’t be crying yourself to sleep at night thinking about how lonely you are, but dating will eventually become a passing thought you have once in a while. And if you think you learned more about yourself, matured as a person, and are ready to start looking for potential baes, then you’ll be on the lookout (and you’ll probably have your friends on the lookout for you, too).

10. You might actually really like being single.

On the other hand, you could realize that commitment just isn’t for you and you’re ready to take on the world with just you, a coffee mug, and your favorite pair of combat boots.

I know this isn’t my usual type of post, but I really wanted to talk about the single life in college! I hope I made sense and I hope that I gave any of my single college guys and gals out there something to remember. By the way, one of my favorite college bloggers, Caitlyn of College with Caitlyn, has a post with more insight on What It’s Like To Be Single In College. Check it out! 🙂

What’s the best adventure you’ve gone on by yourself?

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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? 

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How To Prepare For Early Morning Classes In College

How To Prepare For Early Morning Classes

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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? 

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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?

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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?

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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!