If it’s about organizing or planning, you have to know I’m there! I wouldn’t be where I am today without some thought-out plans and strategic organizing. When people ask me how I graduated from college early, they normally start out by asking if I took a lot of AP credits in high school. The answer is no! I took two AP classes in high school. That’s all.
Did I work some over time to graduate early? Yes. But more than anything, I planned like crazy. I was beyond intentional with every course that I chose. I’m not here to try to preach about the pros and cons of graduating early (although these organization tips can definitely be applied to help you achieve that goal!). Today I’m sharing the college planning tools that I used throughout college to choose the best schedule possible. Regardless of whether you’re graduating in three, four or five years, planning out your time in college will make the ride a little smoother.
Also, make sure to stick around until the end! I have an extra helpful goody for you all!
I made the big announcement in my last post that I moved to a new city! It has been the biggest, greatest adventure. Making friends was the one and only thing I was nervous about when moving out of state to a city where I knew absolutely no one.
I worried that I would have no way to meet people. I worried that people wouldn’t be friendly and eager to form a new friendship.
Let me just say this: I was so, so wrong.
I have been in my new city for less than a month, and I have already developed friendships. Obviously I haven’t made a “best” friend. How could I in a month?! What I have done is create connections around the city and developed friendships that I know will blossom into even more serious friendships.
Honestly, making friends in a new city by myself has been way easier than I anticipated.
If you’re moving to a new city, making new friends can be easy for you as well. I’m not special! I didn’t do anything crazy or unique. If you’re preparing to move and are worried, don’t be. If you’re thinking about moving to a new place but are hesitant because you don’t know anyone, don’t be!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #StimulateTheSenses#CollectiveBias
When I first moved away for college, I’d never been away from home for more than a month- even then I was only staying with my grandparents. Then, I was preparing for a whole year away from home. I have to be honest. I didn’t know what to expect. I was moving in with a random roommate to a town I had only briefly visited twice before.
In order to avoid homesickness, I was quick to try to make my dorm room feel as much like home as possible. Here are tips and tricks for how to make your dorm room feel more like home.
DIY Photo Wall
Decorating with photos is a great way to help you feel more at home in your dorm room. Every time you come home, you’ll be able to look at familiar faces and smiles. Decorating with pictures could simply include setting picture frames on your desk, dresser and night stand, or you can go further and create a DIY picture wall. There are so many ideas for picture walls all over Pinterest. I personally like to keep it simple.
For my current picture wall, I enhanced my pictures by sticking scrapbook paper behind them. I also added a little extra decor by creating a DIY tassel garland. Another great idea for extra decor is Christmas lights!
If you want to add more character to your photo collage wall, add prints or quotes. You can find them internet. There are so many cute, free prints available on Pinterest and blogs.
If you want a different idea on how to dress up your wall with pictures, try hanging them with string and clothes pins! Fun fact: I had a photo wall with strings and clothes pins for my first semester of freshman year. Second semester I switched to a collage of photos and my favorite quotes.
I personally think plants add an instant feeling of homeyness. While I would have loved to have decorated my dorm room with endless plants, those take work. If you don’t put in the work, they die. As a busy student who frequently went away for the weekend, it just wouldn’t have worked for me. My suggestion for anyone like me is to invest in succulents. Succulents do not need nearly as much water as other plants. In fact, you can kill your succulents by overwatering them! Their low maintenance needs makes them perfect for a dorm room and busy college student.
I love essential oils. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that on the blog before. Essential oils have so many different uses. You can make your own soaps, candles, scrubs and sprays. DIY ideas here!
You can also use essential oils as air fresheners by using a diffuser. I firmly believe that a big part of feeling at home and comfortable in a new space is scent. You know when you walk into your house after not being there for a long time and the scent just kind of welcomes you home? I love that feeling.
That’s why I think using essential oils as an air freshener will make your dorm room feel more like home. Even if it doesn’t smell like your original home, you’ll start to create new familiarity in your dorm room with the scent.
Why not just buy a normal air freshener? I personally use essential oils because they are 100% pure and plant based. My favorite oils are the Mental Clarity and Calming oils by Nature’s Truth (pictured above).
I use the Calming oil right before bed. If you meditate, it’s also great for meditation. The scent is floral and citrusy with hints of spice. The scent is so soothing after a long day.
I like to use the Mental Clarity oil while I work at my desk. It has a much more herbal scent that focuses and centers, so I can concur my busy blogging to-do list.
To use my oils, I use the Mini Diffuser by Nature’s truth. I love it because it is so extremely portable. It plugs into any USB outlet, so when I am working at my desk, I can simply plug it into my computer! It has two different setting- interval or constant. Interval lets out mist every 10 seconds, while the constant setting runs constantly for 30 minutes.
I picked up these oils with the mini diffuser at Meijer, where they are located in the vitamin aisle! Nature’s Truth also has Lavender, Peppermint, Energy, Peace, Muscle Ease, Breathe Easy oils and more. If you’re going shopping for Nature’s Truth oils, make sure to print out their Stimulate The Senses Coupon first.
Walking into the typical college dorm room, you normally see hard lines and cold tile- two things that don’t feel very homey at all. That’s why when decorating, always go with cozy decor. Think furry pillows, a cushioned chair, fuzzy blanket or a soft rug. Avoid any more harsh lines and hard materials. By adding cozy decor, you’ll instantly feel more at home.
At the end of the day, go with your instincts. Your dorm room is yours. If adding posters on every flat surface will bring you comfort, do it. If adding twinkling fairy lights will make your day, do it! Your dorm room is uniquely yours (and well, your roommates too). No one knows you better than you. Just let your personality shine through when decorating your dorm room. You will instantly feel more comfortable there.
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?