If you’re new here, I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this May after three short years. The college experience differs so greatly for everyone. I actually know a lot of students that have graduated early- by a year and a semester. On the other hand, I know just as many people (if not more) that will graduate after four and a half years. Everyone is different. Since graduating early is my area of expertise, though, I’m shedding some light on the possible pros and cons of graduating college early.
Tank top: Old Navy (similar) | Bralette: Abercrombie & Fitch (similar) | Jeans: American Eagle | Backpack: Granite Gear (c/o) | Water bottle: Lilly Pulitzer | Sandals: Red Dress Boutique (similar) | Bracelet: local boutique (similar) | Necklace: A-List Greek (c/o)
Dressing for the first day of class in college is so much different than dressing for the first day of class in high school. When I was in high school, I would get so excited about the first day of school. Everyone dressed to the nines. There was no shame in it. Dressing for college- that’s another story. It’s different for everyone. Some people roll right out of bed and into their 9 am class. One or two still dress to the nines. Then there’s me. I rest somewhere in between, still really caring what I look like and wanting to put in the effort but not wanting to look like I tried too hard. In the end I try really hard to look like I wasn’t trying. To me it’s all about the perfect combination of casual and cute.
Today I’ve paired two very simple items- my plain, white Old Navy tank and my colored American Eagle skinny jeans to look relaxed. Then I added summery accessories to add a little effort to the outfit- my custom coordinates necklace from A-List Greek, my Jack Rogers lookalikes and my sailor’s bracelet from Door County, WI.
Sometimes I like to wear shorts to class, but I get cold very easily, so I tend to prefer wearing warmer clothes even when it’s 80 degrees outside because the classroom AC is always blasting. I can’t concentrate if I’m shivering!
I received this backpack from Granite Gear just in time for back-to-school season. There were a few key features that really made me want to try this backpack. Most of all I was drawn into all of the comfort features built into this backpack. The shoulder straps have load-absorbing pads and the back of the backpack has padding to help support your back. I was always the type of student to skip the bus or bike, so I spent a lot of time walking around with a heavy backpack on my back and could have used these features when I was in college. The bag also has a protective, cushioned computer pocket that fits laptops up to 17″. I liked that too!
The bag overall is much bigger than I thought it would be. I’ve always gone for more of a cute, small backpack. This bag is definitely very functional and comfortable though. For a college student hauling around a laptop, an armload of books and any other on-campus necessities, it actually seems to be a good pick. It all depends on your personal style and the level of functionality you want (because the functionality of this backpack is on point). Granite Gear also has smaller options, of course!
Need more first day of class college outfit ideas?
Finding my Floppy Hat | Although you might not need a floppy hat for class, I’m obsessed with the simple cream peplum top, jeans and little black booties I paired my hat with. It would make the perfect casual, chic outfit for the first day of class.
Chambray & Brights | This chambray shirt dress and bright, light-weight scarf are great for the first day of class; it’s a super quick outfit to pull together and very comfy.
My favorite college style bloggers for more inspiration:
Style by Liv | Olivia just graduated like me (eek!) but has continued to post great outfit ideas for college students. She has a way of pairing a comfy tee with the perfect jeans and accessories to make a winning first day of class look. One of my favorite posts from Style by Liv is her post specifically on college fashion. She covers exactly what she wears to class and features a super cute “happy camper” graphic tee. She also spills on what brands carry the comfiest jeans- a must-have for class.
Bowtiful Life | Although recently Megan has been documenting her travels around Europe, she is constantly linking her preppy outfits for us all to shop. My favorite thing about Megan’s Bowtiful Life is in one post she can be sporting Lilly Pulitzer, Kendra Scott and J. Crew, and in the next she’s found a steal at Old Navy or Forever 21. Life is all about balance! I love this shirt dress Megan wore around Poland.
Mostly Morgan | Morgan is neither a college blogger or a style blogger, but she used to be a college blogger until she quit school and moved out to New York for an amazing internship. She doesn’t focus on college lifestyle topics anymore, and it doesn’t seem like she’ll be posting college content any time soon, but her old posts are still really relevant and high-quality. With that being said, I still love her old post about the best looks for back-to-school because she covers so many styles and options. From girly to sporty, she covers it all!
What will you be wearing for your first day of class?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Gift Card Mall. All opinions and text are my own.
Care packages: the best two words a college kid could ever hear. Getting a package from my family or friend could always put a smile on my face without fail- even if it was a bad day. With the back-to-school season gearing up, it’s about time to start planning for your care packages again. In fact, it might even be a fun idea to send your friend or college-going family member a care package for the back-to-college season. Here is my step-by-step guide to help you build the perfect care package for your college student no matter the season:
STEP ONE | Pick Your Theme
Since it’s August, I obviously chose a back-to-school theme for my care package, but care packages are perfect for any time of the year. A few of my favorite themes/reasons to send a care package are:
- Any holiday (include fun decorations for her/his apartment or dorm)
- Homesickness (include a stuffed animal, photos, letters, sentimental items, etc.)
- Finals/midterm season (include study essentials)
- Just because (include virtually anything you want)
Of course, care packages are highly customizable, and you definitely don’t have to play by the rules. Include whatever you want… If your box doesn’t follow a theme, I highly doubt your college student will mind. Put as much or little effort into this step as you like.
STEP TWO | Choose Your Big Ticket Item
When making a care package, I like to vary the sizes and prices of my items and have one main gift- the biggest and/or most expensive part of the package. The great part about care packages is the variety and never knowing what you’re going to pull out next. Alternating the sizes and prices of items adds interest. With this care package, I relied solely on price and not size for my big ticket item.
The wow factor for my DIY back-to-college care package is the Fuel Everywhere Visa gift card. The Fuel Everywhere Visa gift card can be used at any gas station that accepts Visa debit cards and can be used on fuel, snacks, car washes, oil changes and other services. As a former broke college girl myself, I know there is nothing less fun to spend your money on than gas… But a girl has to get to Walmart, right?!
Don’t want to run from store to store in search of the perfect gift card? Gift Card Mall is a great website for buying gift cards. They have everything from Amazon gift cards to iTunes gift cards to Target gift cards to generic Visa gift cards. The possibilities are endless.
STEP THREE | Buy Your Filler Items
Once you have chosen your package theme and big ticket item, it’s time to buy your filler items! I decided to think of categories for my filler items as well. I chose three item categories:
- School supplies
- Relaxing/luxury items
- Necessities (AKA snacks)
For all of the categories, I tried to choose items that a college kid might not want to spend their money on. So, I bought cute school supplies instead of the basics. I bought a candle, magazine and face masks as my luxury items. I bought healthy, fun snacks instead of the cheap stuff. Getting items your college student might not necessarily want to spend their own money on will make your care package feel like even more of a treat (and you were already highly practical with the Fuel Everywhere Visa gift card).
STEP FOUR | Find Your Packaging
Things to think about with packaging:
- Does everything I bought fit?
- Do I have to mail it? Or am I delivering it in person?
- Can it be used after opening? Will they feel bad throwing it away?
I really like the idea of being creative with your packaging. With that being said, you have a lot more choices and freedom if you are delivering your care package in person. If you’re mailing it, you’ll probably be a little more limited. Regardless, it would be great if you could make your packaging multifunctional. For my care package, I found this great laundry basket for only 98 cents. It didn’t cost me anything and will be able to be used after opening the packaging instead of just being thrown away like a cardboard box.
Other creative ideas for back-to-college themed packaging:
- Storage containers
Your care package is officially complete. Now all that is left to do is get it into the hands of your college student. No matter how much or little effort and money you put into your care package, it is going to be appreciated- never worry about that! If your care package came from your heart, your college student will see that. A little gift can go a long way.
Other Posts You May Enjoy:
Seeing the back-to-school sections all over stores makes it hard for me to believe that I’m not actually going back to school in the fall. I feel so old! Is it possible that graduating in three years has made me feel older than just 21? I think it has. 21 going on 31 (it doesn’t have quite the same ring as 13 going on 30, but it’s how I feel).
Lucky for me, I’m still gearing up for the back-to-school season here on the blog. And just like always, I’m getting ready ahead of the game! Keep reading and you’ll find out that getting ready early is better (and for some tips, necessary). Start now and prepare for a successful school year: