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College Life

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Why Getting Involved on Campus is Important & NaNoWriMo

It’s funny, because leading up to November, I was going to write a blog post about why I wouldn’t be participating in National Novel Writing Month this year, but a crazy thing happened last Tuesday… Someone actually knew what NaNoWriMo was, which has never happened to me. I participated 2009-2011, and I never ran into anyone that I didn’t have to explain the concept to.

This year I decided to start working at our university newspaper as a copy editor, something I always wanted to do throughout high school, but our high school paper was pretty nonexistent. In fact, the writing community was pretty nonexistent (or they were somewhere in hiding).

I’ve been working at the newspaper here for about a month, and coming into the office on Tuesday, I still wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but something occurred to me as I sat there, listening to this girl rave about National Novel Writing Month like I used to, and I realized that I was surrounded by people who could connect with me. People that understood why I was there, and I felt good. It was the first time that I had really identified myself as a writer to anyone that didn’t know me personally. I wasn’t embarrassed or afraid to share that.

Everything seemed to be falling together. Throughout my three year stint in this crazy, hectic thing we call NaNoWriMo, I always wished I had a writing group, and guess what? Now I do, which is so much more motivating and empowering.

National Novel Writing Month is a program where in the 30 days of November, you attempt to write a 50,000 word book. It can be anything you like – fantasy, romance, fan fiction, or YA. Even a combination of short stories. I’ve never been able to finish before, but I have come to terms with that. Finishing 50,000 words isn’t my goal this year. I just want to write. Between blogging, homework, and my social life, my story writing days have come to an end, but I figure this is the perfect time to get back into the swing of things.

I won’t be frantically typing away meaningless words every day just for numbers. I’ll be slowly, thoughtfully crafting my story, and I’ll finally be able to do it with the support and encouragement I’ve always wanted.

Has anyone else ever attempted NaNoWriMo? How’d your month of chaos turn out?

Inside my VoxBox: Pilot FriXion Erasable Gel-Ink Pens

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.
 

When I opened up my VoxBox, these Pilot FriXion Erasable Gel-Ink Pens were not the first thing I picked up. When I did, however, pick them up, I was amazed to discover that they were erasable! I had no idea. They looked so clean and professional compared to the stereotypical erasable pen that I used in middle school and always picture. I didn’t know a gel, retractable, erasable pen existed.

Further inspecting the eraser, I found that it isn’t the typical eraser either. It’s rubber and didn’t wear down after use. A never ending eraser? I think so… The Pilot pen website explains it like this: The heat generated by erasing friction causes our unique thermo-sensitive gel ink to become clear so the words disappear completely from the page.”

And to further my love for these pens, they erased just as well as they went on the page. All that’s left is a slight indentation on the page, which is perfect to write over again after your mistake. No one would ever know it’s there.
Good job, Pilot!

My First Plum Paper Planner & Life Lately

Call me crazy but I love buying anything organization related (files, planners, folders, drawers, etc), so the beginning of the year is such a fun time for me. Last year I wrote a post about my planner from May Designs, and I loved the customized cover (they have a new watercolor collection that you’ll want to drool over) and the feel of the cover paper, but as the year went on, and I removed and replaced the book from my backpack multiple times a day, the design started to wear off, which resulted in splotchy white spots. I decided that at this point in my life, I am just too rough on my planner to use such a delicate one, so this year I was on the search for my perfect planner again.

Through browsing on Etsy, I found Plum Paper. Initially, I was turned off by the 30 dollar price tag and 10 dollar shipping, but as I searched more, I realized what a great option it really was, so I revisited it again and again until I finally decided to purchase. One of the best things about Plum Paper is that you are able to customize the pages. You have four options:

1. Days divided by morning, afternoon, and evening
2. Days separated by 30 minute increments
3. Days with blank lines
4. No weekly spreads

I chose the days divided every 30 minutes option, and I am extremely pleased with it. When I have a lot of classes/ meetings that I have to remember, I have a nice system to write them all out, and on easier days where I just have a lot to do, I can also just fill in the times with my to-do list!

The other big feature that intrigued me about Plum Paper is that they have a sturdy wire coil and a strong plastic cover to protect the decorative front. Thanks to these key features, my notebook still looks brand new!

As for what’s inside the planner, I’ve been spending these first few weeks of school busier than ever. I endured work week and sorority recruitment as well as the new addition of homework in my life. For excitement, I joined The Daily Illini and Her Campus Illinois as a copy editor! I think it’s going to be a good year.

How do you stay organized? What planner do you use?

College Checklist & Brita® Filter

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Brita. All opinions are 100% mine.

Yesterday I went shopping for a few back to school items that I didn’t need for my freshman year of college, but I thought might come in handy this year, and it really got me thinking about what I brought to school last year, and what I found most useful compared to what was a waste of storage space. I couldn’t be more excited that I’m getting the opportunity to work with Brita®, because even though a water filter was not on my college shopping list last year, it should have been. Here’s how my story goes:

As I was hauling all of my luggage/furniture into my dorm on move-in day, I noticed a drinking fountain on the first floor. Convenient, I thought. Well it wasn’t; that drinking fountain looked clean, but up on the 7th floor where I lived, the drinking fountain looked old and unappealing. With so much chaos going on around me, drinking water was the last thing on my mind, but as things settled down, my newly acquainted roommate and I decided we should get some groceries. There, we bought jugs of water, and we continued to do that for a few weeks, but it made me realize just how much water I drank, and I started to realize that even at $1 a gallon, the price quickly adds up. We stopped buying water jugs, and I started running down to the first floor water fountain every time I wanted to fill my bottle. This worked for a while until I would wake up at 2 am and not want to run all the way downstairs for drinking water.

Here is where I learned the usefulness of a Brita® filter… My suitemate had one, and she was kind enough to share. From then on all we had to do was fill up this pitcher of water in our bathroom sink, it cleaned out all of the impurities, and the water tasted great. As a result I was drinking more water, because it was always at my disposal, we were able to drink fun, flavored water by adding Crystal Light flavor packets in it, we were saving money by not having to buy water jugs, and not to mention the fact that we were subsequently helping the environment by reducing plastic waste. It was our perfect solution. Even if you’re not looking to share, Brita® has individual water bottles, and for those upperclassmen in apartments, they have filters for your faucet! They’re even easy to buy… Brita® products are available at Target!

A water filter isn’t the only thing I should have put on my packing list. Some other things that I never thought to bring to school but definitely found useful were an iron, ironing board, sewing kit, mattress pad, pictures and posters to create that homey vibe, postage stamps, extension cord, and batteries.

Happy back-to-school shopping,

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