5 Lessons College Taught Me That Can’t Be Found in A Book

As my grandmother said before her passing last December, I “blossomed” over my four years of college.

Throughout my undergraduate career, I switched majors once, acquired 3 internships, studied abroad in Florence, Italy for a semester, traveled to the Dominican Republic for a service trip, held several editorial positions at an online media outlet marketed toward empowered college-aged women, built strong relationships with my professors, and lastly, made friendships that will last a lifetime.

I learned a lot of content academically throughout the years, from what it takes to build a strong brand image to the functions of an enzyme.  But of course, there is more to learn than what can be discussed in a lecture hall. I have compiled this list of lessons that I have learned over the past four years, specifically ones that cannot be found in a textbook.

1. Who my real friends are. 

Keep in mind that these may not be the first friends you make. Don’t waste time hanging out with people because you feel that you should — life is too short. Your time should be spent with people who lift you up, make you laugh, and will support you during your darkest days.

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2. You should be confident in your decision to stay single because you deserve the best.

Some guys are just not nice and are not worth your time or tears.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, even if a guy is perfectly nice and does all the right things — treats you with respect, texts you “good morning”, and takes you out on real dates that don’t involve “Netflix & Chill” — it still may not feel right and that’s okay too.

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3. Not knowing what you want to do is one hundred percent okay.  

So many undergraduates face a great deal of anxiety when making the decision of what to major in. What do I want to do with my life, anyway? 

I entered college as a psychology major but after enduring said anxiety, I changed my major to communication my sophomore year and have not looked back since. I knew going into college that I wanted to work with people, but after a few courses in psychology that were geared towards working in a lab, I knew that I was in the wrong classes — I wanted to work with people on a daily basis.

I had heard through the grapevine that marketing pairs nicely with a communication major, so I picked up a minor in marketing. I loved being able to take classes in something that I found interesting, was definitely applicable to the real world, and something that I seemed to excel at.

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4. Taking care of yourself is so important, both mentally and physically. 

This past semester, I made the decision to completely change my eating habits alongside two of my close friends — I started tracking everything I ate, practiced portion control, and increased my water intake.  I lost about 15 pounds but gained an immeasurable amount of confidence. After years of being ashamed of my body, I was no longer hiding behind baggy clothing.

Choose to go to the gym, not because you need to lose weight, but because you are worth taking care of yourself. Reap the benefits of exercise — go to the gym for 20 minutes to blow off some steam, even when you have that psychology exam tomorrow that you’re going to “totally fail”.

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5. Traveling can truly change who you are as a person. 

I had the opportunity to study abroad for an entire semester in Florence, Italy and was able to truly grow as a person, as cheesy as it may sound. I gained senses of resilience and independence living in a city inhabited by people that spoke a language I was unfamiliar with, as well as traveling every weekend to different countries with the amazing friends that I made.

Conversely, on my service trip to the Dominican Republic with a group of students from my university, I was exposed to a way of life that I had never seen before. We were housed in the Mustard Seed community in Puerto Plato, DR, and volunteered to work with impoverished children with developmental disabilities. That week in January allowed me to solidify the fact that I want to take on a permanent career that allows me to help others.

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I cannot express in words how grateful I am that I was given the privilege to study at Fairfield University for the past four years. My time there will be greatly missed, but I am excited to see the amazing opportunities that are on the horizon for me. Once a Stag, always a Stag.

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Governors Ball Survival Guide

On Saturday, June 2nd, 2018, I attended day two of the popular New York City music festival, Governors Ball, alongside my sister and two of her friends. Gov Ball is held every summer on Randall’s Island Park.  The festival mainly draws in young people, most likely between the ages of 17-25, so I definitely felt right at home.

The festival features artists from a wide variety of genres, so there is definitely something for everyone. This year’s festival featured big names such as Travis Scott, Halsey, Pusha T and 2 Chainz, while also giving exposure to lesser known artists such as LANY (one of my personal favorites), Mikky Ekko and The Spencer Lee Band.

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As someone that had never attended Gov Ball before, I really did not have any idea what to expect. There was one thing that I did not know though — that I would be exhausted at the end of the day. But in the end, I am pretty sure that I came prepared. With this in mind, follow my 5 survival tips for Governors Ball and you should be good as gold.

Dress comfortably. 

Given the fact that you’ll be on your feet all day, wear comfortable shoes and clothing. I went with a bodysuit, flow-y shorts and sneakers for my Governor’s Ball outfit — I wanted to look put together, but wanted to still feel free to move around.

I purchased my black bodysuit from American Apparel (you can get a similar one here!), my shorts from Tobi, my purple sneakers are Supergas and my mirrored sunglasses are Ray Bans.

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Stay hydrated. 

It’s hot out there, friends, and passing out from dehydration unfortunately is all too common during the summer. Gov Ball allows guests to bring in reusable water bottles, so do so if you want to be environmentally friendly. Otherwise, I advise everyone to drink water every few hours — trust me, the $4 price tag is worth every penny if it keeps you from fainting. They also offer free fill-up stations, so you can refill your empty water bottle without having to pay again.

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Bring a portable charger. 

We arrived at Gov Ball at around 1 PM and left the show around 11:30 PM. You can do the math and assume that your phone battery will not last the entire day. And while the festival did offer complimentary charging stations to guests, investing in a portable charger to keep in your purse or backpack to charge your phone up would be a great idea.

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Protect yourself!

From the sun, that is. As someone who burns easily, I am always the one to bring along a bottle or can of spray sunscreen with me. At a music festival, the entire day is being spent in the sun, so definitely be sure to protect yourself from the sun’s powerful rays to avoid a nasty sunburn.

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Avoid the mosh pits. 

Ahh, no music festival would be complete without a moshpit. To avoid an injury, stay away from the area right at the front of the stage, as that is mainly where mosh pits tend to congregate — we learned this one the hard way during Travis Scott’s set.

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Spring Break 2018 Packing List

Featured image: GuoGuiyan.com

Ahh, spring break. My friends and I are jetting off on a senior year spring break trip to the Bahamas on Saturday morning, and after having a very busy last few weeks filled with papers and job applications, I could not be more excited to relax by the pool with a drink in my hand.

With this in mind, I have decided to write up a list of my spring break must-haves. Some of these are the exact items I am bringing with me, but if I could not find the item online, I have listed some alternatives.


A pair of flowy shorts

As a curvy girl, I LOATHE denim shorts — I can never seem to find a pair that really flatter my figure, which definitely takes a toll on my confidence. For this reason, I will look to flowy shorts time and time again. They are lightweight and flattering, perfect to throw over any bikini with a tank top at the pool. I love this pair from Tobi, but any pair will do for spring break! Whether they’re printed or a solid color, flowy shorts are incredibly versatile and perfect for a hot day.

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Breezy dresses to throw over any bikini

I love dresses because they take all of the work out of getting dressed in the morning — you throw one piece on and are out the door. And for spring break,  I love having the option to do just that.

I also love a great swing dress, like this tie-dye one from Tobi — they’re lightweight and do not cling to your body, making them ideal for a warmer climate.

This palm tree dress from Tobi is perfect for any spring break destination — I know I can’t wait to wear mine! The skater dress style is so flattering on my pear body type, but the print was really what sold me on it.

 


Crocheted crop top 

I ordered this top on a complete whim, but ended up loving the way it looked when paired with a denim skirt and my flowy shorts. I envision myself wearing this on a night out with a cute pair of sandals.

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Neutral platform sandals

I bought a pair very similar to these Soludos last summer, but unfortunately cannot track those down. A pair of brown or tan platform sandals instantly add style to any outfit.

 

 

 

 

 


A colorful pair of sunglasses

I personally purchased my pair of rose gold Ray Bans off of Poshmark (psst! read my blog post on my experience with selling items on Poshmark here!) from a reputable seller for a discounted price rather than shopping on ASOS. Either way, I love these! So much fun for spring break and these on-trend circular lens spices up any outfit.

Plenty of other stores like Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters sell fun pairs of sunglasses for lower pieces, so definitely check there if you do not want to splurge on a pair of Ray Bans like I did.

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A pretty coverup

I recently picked up a black crocheted cover up in a store in Delray Beach, Florida while I was there a few weeks ago, but was unable to find the exact one online, so you can find a similar one here from Nordstrom. I love that it has long sleeves, so it gives you a bit more coverage, but is also sexy because it is see-through. It’s the best of both worlds.

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Sunscreen 

As someone of Irish and German decent, I roast in the sun. For this reason, I apply sunscreen liberally and love using a spray sunscreen because it makes the process of reapplying so much easier for me.

I also like using a sunscreen specifically made for my face, like this one by Neutrogena, so my breakouts are kept at bay.

 


A crossbody bag

I saw beauty vlogger Allana Davison haul this adorable crossbody from Urban Outfitters in one of her recent YouTube videos (watch it here!) and while I haven’t gotten my hands on it, I definitely want to. While am personally packing a plain black crossbody bag I’ve had for months for this trip, I love this brown one because it’s fashionable and adds a bohemian element to any simple outfit.

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A colorful bikini

What’s spring break without a bikini? I love this triangle shaped one from Target and the matching bottoms.

 

 

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My Goals for 2018

Every year, everybody has the same basic goals — spend less money, lose weight, exercise more…but this year I want things to be different. I do not want to fall off the wagon on January 7th like so many people often do — I want to actually follow through with my goals, and in doing this, I want to make sure that my goals are realistic.

With this in mind, here are my New Years resolutions for 2018.

Begin a skincare regimen

I’m the kind of girl who often times cannot be bothered to do more than take her makeup off with a makeup wipe (and that’s on a good day!). In 2018, I want to begin taking better care of my skin and become more educated on skincare than just the basics of cleansers and moisturizers.

Attend fitness classes

I fall in and out of habit with working out often and I dread running on the treadmill or elliptical for 45 minutes simply because I don’t find it enjoyable. I have really enjoyed attending spin classes in the past, so in 2018 I vow to attend more classes/make room for the gym in my schedule because it’ll make getting fit much more fun and not something I view as a chore.

I am also joining Weight Watchers with two of my good friends so I hope pairing these together will help me to live a healthier lifestyle.

Drink more water

Drinking water has so many benefits – it clears your skin, prevents headaches, helps with weight loss…so why aren’t I drinking more of it? I want to make sure that my water bottle is always filled with ice and lemon, because I find myself drinking a lot more of it when it has a bit of a taste and is chilled.

Spend less money

I struggle with spending way too much money — I will go into Marshalls with the intention of buying a birthday gift for a friend, but I will often leave with a new top, candle and scarf that I had to have, oftentimes without the item I originally entered the store to purchase. I want to make sure that I save my receipts and create a budget that I will actually be able to stick to.

I also want to limit my purchasing coffee out to only once a week and then brew coffee at home with my Keurig the other days, as I know that this is where a lot of my money goes.

Become more organized 

Although most people would probably consider me a type-A person, you would be shocked to see how disorganized I am. My desk drawers are a mess and I often find myself scrambling to find my phone or car keys.

In the new year I’d like to declutter and make sure that everything I own has a place and is always put back in that place to save me time later.

Travel more

Last year I had the chance to spend a semester abroad in Florence, Italy, and since then I have wanted to travel more so than ever before.

I leave for a service trip to the Dominican Republic tomorrow (!!!!) and going on spring break to the Bahamas, but I would to love to plan a trip with friends after my graduation come May.

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Plaid? For Winter? Groundbreaking.

Hi everyone! Can’t believe November is coming to a close already and it’s nearly December! With Thanksgiving now behind us and temperatures dipping into the 30s here in New England, it is important to bundle up, and I did just that by creating an outfit around my cozy plaid scarf.

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For this fall-inspired look, I paired one of my favorite scarves from Urban Outfitters with a basic gray mock neck sweater from H&M and jeans from Madewell (I mentioned them in my fall favorites post)! I finished the look off with my favorite white Adidas superstars and this amazing suede jacket I got earlier this year.

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My bright lip is the Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Blast Off. 

Let’s throw in a mini-review because why not!

I’m not sure if I love it on my skintone but I picked it up after having read online that it was a dupe for Kylie Cosmetic’s Kristen, but I disagree that they are similar colors after having tried both. Kylie’s Kristen is an amazing deep berry color but I find that it doesn’t have great staying power. This Smashbox one definitely has a better formula than Kylie’s but maybe I’ll have to try a different color to find one that I really like — this one is too bright for my taste.

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Ahh, here’s an attractive shot on me sipping on my favorite holiday drink — a skinny peppermint mocha. Starbucks has released their holiday cups and I am HERE for it. I love Christmas and will play Christmas music right after we finish Thanksgiving dinner, but I refuse to listen to it any earlier because I want to fully enjoy fall and Thanksgiving.

What do you all think? When do you start fully embracing the holiday season?

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Wow, this post has been all over the place! I guess that’s what happens when you are currently only running on coffee 🙂

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15 Reasons to Study Abroad in College

16508691_1458012714229859_2753767639007731147_nCollege is a time to learn about yourself and gain independence. While being on your home campus is all fine and dandy, it is important for college students everywhere to gain new experiences. Here are 15 reasons why college students should study abroad.

  1. Being on your own means that you will grow up.
  2. You will make lifelong friends.
  3. Studying abroad will give you the chance to practice another language.
  4. Your Facebook and Instagram posts will leave your friends and family feeling envious.
  5. You will most likely end up losing weight because of the large amount of miles you walk each day.
  6. You will be able to find your way around a brand new city.
  7. Who doesn’t love to travel?
  8. It will force you to keep a budget because trips and food get expensive quickly.
  9. While studying abroad, you will be given the chance to take classes that may not be offered at your home university.
  10. You will be forced out of your comfort zone.
  11. It will help you to better understand other cultures as well as your own.
  12. You can try a new activity that you would not be able to at home. Skiing the Swiss Alps? What about riding a camel in Morocco?
  13. Living in another country will give you international experience that you can to add to any resume or cover letter.
  14. You will gain a new sense of independence.
  15. Living somewhere else will allow you to realize all of the little things you miss about home.

Running late to class essentials – clothing + beauty

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Let’s be honest, any class before 11 AM in college is considered early.  Because of this, you will be running late for class the majority  of the time. To survive, you will need clothes and makeup products that can easily be thrown together. I have mapped out clothing and makeup products that will just about save your life the next time you are running late.

Clothes

You will need neutral pieces that can easily be thrown on and that can be worn a hundred different ways, simply because your closet will not be big enough to fit everything you may want. Here are my go-tos for class.

An awesome pair of jeans. 

Every girl needs a pair of never-fail jeans – ones that are her favorite wash and make her butt look good. I definitely recommend darker wash jeans because I find that they are often times more flattering than lighter washes and are so versatile. Although Paige jeans are very pricy I find that they work well on my body type (I’m a pear!) so I would definitely recommend those.

A neutral pair of sneakers. 

Neutral sneakers are my jam and I lived in my black leather slip on Vans last semester. I am definitely not the kind of girl to wear heels to class so I love low maintenance shoes that will match anything I toss on. I recently got another pair in this awesome tan color and I would definitely recommend them – just slip on and go.

A spirit jersey. 

Not feeling particularly creative or energetic today? Spirit jerseys are the answer – toss them on with your favorite pair of leggings (I like these better than Lulu Lemon!), running sneakers and a baseball hat and you’re ready to go.

A peasant top. 

Maybe these are just something that I love, but I find that they pair so nicely with jeans for class and always just look great. This one from American Eagle is super cute.

A cute dress. 

If you like looking nice for class but don’t have time to match a skirt and a top, a dress is definitely your best bet. Toss it on with a pair of cute sandals and you’re out the door, no matching required.  If it is a little chillier out instead pair with a pair of booties and a denim button up over it. I love these breezy tee shirt dresses right now and think they will look great going into fall.

A cute baseball hat.

Hey, you’re running too late for dry shampoo or just don’t feel like dealing with your hair today. It happens to the best of us! Make sure you have a cute hat on hand for those crazy days when you ~literally can’t even~.

Necklaces and scarves. 

Ah, the turning point of every outfit. Need something to spice up your plain tee shirt and jeans? Toss a layered necklace  or a trendy choker over it and call it a day.  I also love scarves because they can quickly add interest to any outfit.

Beauty

As a college student, I do not want to blow a ton of money on makeup. So rather than shopping at Sephora, I buy my beauty products mostly at CVS. Before shopping, I do my research to see what would work best for my skin type, dry, and my needs. (Thanks, YouTube beauty gurus!). Here is what I use each day for class.

A tinted moisturizer. 

Nobody has time blend in their full coverage foundation before class so instead stick with a tinted moisturizer or bb cream. They are sheerer so they are easier to apply but also are multi-use products because they both even out your skin and moisturize it. I love the LOreal Infallible Pro Glow because it is pretty light coverage, even though it is a foundation.  It can be built up to a heavier coverage and gives me a pretty glow.

Concealer.

If you are having a better skin day or just don’t have time to deal with foundation or tinted moisturizer, just spot conceal instead. I love the Maybelline Fit Me for pimples and Maybelline Age Rewind for brightening up eye bags because sometimes you’re up too late writing that history paper or just watching Stranger Things.

Powder. 

To make your makeup stay on all day place a light dusting of powder across your face and under your eyes. I like the Maybelline Fit Me.

Bronzer.

If you have time, dust a bit of bronzer on the places where the sun would normally hit you – your nose, your temples, your cheekbones, and along your jawline. This will instantly make you look much more alive and only takes a few seconds. I love the NYC bronzer in Sunny.

Lipstick/blush.

A pinky lip color is perfect for class – it can be swiped on in seconds and does not need to be super precise. Time saver alert! Instead of using powder blush use your lipstick on your cheeks to act as blush. I find that matching your lip color and blush actually looks very natural and pretty. I love the ColourPop Lippie Stix in Juice Bar.

Mascara. 

If you only put on makeup product for class it should be mascara – it opens your eyes and makes you look much more wide awake. I love the Covergirl Lash Blast or LOreal Carbon Black.

Dry Shampoo. 

Ahhh, a favorite among college students everywhere. If you haven’t washed your hair in a couple days or just want some added volume I would definitely recommend this Oscar Blandi dry shampoo. I like this better than most spray dry shampoos simply because I find that it soaks up more oil. I’ve gotten my roommates hooked on it as well!