How To: Survive Finals Week

Hi!  Today, I’m back with a post about how to survive finals week when you’re in college!  I’m actually writing this in the middle of my finals week so all this advice is definitely real – I’m using it right now! 🙂

My first bit of advice is to make sure you get enough sleep.  It’s so tempting to feel like you need to pull an all-nighter before your exam, especially if it’s an early exam the next day and you’re stressed that you might not do well.  You want to study for as long as possible (maybe because you put it off until the day before) and feel like you can retain the information better if you just don’t go to sleep at all, but sleep actually helps us to remember and sort out the information we’ve learned that day and will make your mind more alert when you go to take your exam.  I always study right up until I go to sleep the night before and then study more, in the morning, right before the exam.  That way I’m alert and able to take the exam with a clear mind, but all the exam information that I studied is fresh in my mind.

Second, take time to make sure you look like yourself.  I know throwing on sweatpants and a t-shirt is convenient and quick when you’re busy and stressed but if you don’t go through your normal routine and dress how you usually do, your brain won’t know it has to perform.  Getting ready as you do on a daily basis signals to your brain that your day is beginning and things are happening.  If you never go through this process, your brain will still be in “sleep” mode and won’t be ready to take a test.  This is something I’ve started doing and paying attention to recently and it’s mentally helped me out a lot!

Third, make sure you’re eating healthy and drinking plenty of water.  When we’re constantly on the go, we can easily forget to eat and drink as we should.  Eating healthy takes more time and energy than just grabbing a Pop-Tart, but, in the end, you’ll be glad you took the time to take care of yourself when everyone around you is getting sick!  Emergen-C can also help you out a lot.  It’s just a little extra boost for your immune system that could make or break your health during finals week!

Lastly, recognize that your final exam grades don’t define who you are as a person.  It’s hard to be in college and not fall victim to the idea that you aren’t as successful as your peers.  We constantly compare our own grades to our friend’s grades and, in reality, most of the time we aren’t even taking the same classes so we aren’t comparing the same thing.  Some college students are better at certain subjects than others and, as long as you’re doing your best, that’s all anyone can ask for.  Getting good grades is very helpful, but I think any employer would value hard work and diligence over knowledge anyways. 🙂

I hope this post helps you take a moment to relax and take a step back from your hectic finals week!  Let me know in the comments below what your best finals week advice is and I’ll be sure to comment back!  See you next week!

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How To: Plan a Formal Event in College

Welcome back!  Today’s post is going to be all about planning a formal event when you’re in college, whether it be for a sorority or fraternity or campus club!  Over the course of this semester, I have been a part of planning my sorority’s spring Formal, and I’m going to share the steps we went through to make it the best it could be!

The first thing my committee and I needed to decide was the location.  In the past, my sorority has had our Formal at churches (we’re a Christian sorority), at banquet halls, many different places!  Since our budget this year was very small, we wanted to keep it on campus since booking a banquet room in a James Madison building (for a student) is free.  After deciding this, we could go forward with planning the theme!

We discussed a lot of different themes but eventually decided on a carnival theme!  Usually Formal is more, ya know, formal, but we wanted to make it more interactive this time around.  We didn’t have a lot of money given to our committee to throw the event, so we got most of our decorations from Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and Dollar General!  Fortunately for us, most of the places we went had actual sections set aside for carnival parties!!

We decided the main things we wanted to have were games and a space designated for pictures.  For games, we bought supplies for a can toss, corn hole, and a balloon pop – all typical things you would see at a carnival!  None of these were difficult to put together and they ended up being so, so fun.  For the balloon pop, we filled each balloon with confetti so, when it was popped, confetti burst out!  As far as the photo space, we bought two big rolls of red and blue carnival tickets and hung strips of 40 tickets to make a backdrop.  After that, we hung a multi-colored banner on top to add some more color!  We included props, such as clown noses and a boa, on the side so everyone could get some silly pictures too!

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Our photo backdrop with some of our props we made!

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Of course, we had more things like balloons and a popcorn stand and jolly rancher center pieces (for the tables) but those were the main decorations that made up our party!  Even though it was stressful envisioning everything, we had a blast putting this together.  I hope this post helped with your future party planning and I’ll talk to you next week!

 

What I Eat In a Day: College Edition

Hi everyone!  This week’s post is going to be a little bit different.  Lately, I’ve been really into reading blogs and watching videos about what different people eat in their day.  Everyone is in a different situation, whether you work a 9-5 job or are constantly traveling!  Being in college, I thought it would be interesting to document everything I eat and see what areas I need to improve in and what areas I’m doing well in!  Keep reading to see how I’m doing!

My classes begin pretty early in the day; I have an 8am two times a week and a 9am three times a week, so I always need to make sure I have breakfast before heading out the door!  Lately, I’ve been loving the Dannon Light & Fit Protein Smoothies (they’re more like yogurt smoothies than protein shakes).  I’ve been buying the strawberry and strawberry banana flavors and they are both so delicious!  It’s nice to be able to quickly grab something on my way out the door that will keep me full for a couple hours before I have the chance to eat something else.  Another breakfast option for when I have more time is avocado toast.  Recently, people have been going crazy about avocado toast and they’re completely justified in doing so – it’s amazing!  All you have to do is toast a piece of bread and slice up an avocado and layer it on top!  I like to add pepper on the top of mine for some more flavor but you can choose whatever spices you like!

I usually eat lunch pretty early, around 11 or so, and, if I’m being honest, I always go for a sandwich or wrap.  At my university, we have a make-your-own sandwich place and it’s great!  My favorite combination is tuna on a whole wheat wrap with lettuce and tomatoes!  It’s fairly healthy because of the protein and great for keeping me full until my classes for the day are over.

As far as snacks, I always, always, always keep Wheat Thins and granola bars stocked in my kitchen.  Both of these snack options aren’t awful for you and are good for giving the energy boost you’re looking for!  My favorite bars are Nature Valley Oat & Honey bars and Quaker Chewy Granola bars.  Both are also easy to stash in your bag in case you get hungry on the go!  Another tip for the Wheat Thins… If you feel like you need a little something extra, try dipping them in Nutella – so yummy!

My dinner schedule always changes.  Some days I eat at 5 and some days I eat at 8, it all depends on what I have going on that day.  I really love switching it up all the time for dinner because, at least at James Madison, there are a ton of different food options to choose from!  My go-to dinners are pasta and salads.  I usually get marinara sauce on my pasta instead of alfredo sauce, so that saves me a ton of calories!  As far as salads go, I usually prefer a chicken caesar salad, or a mandarin orange salad.  Both are really yummy and are healthier than a lot of other options!

That about wraps it up for my “What I Eat In A Day” post!  Thank you so much for reading and let me know in the comments foods that you love to eat!  Make sure to come back next Tuesday for another post!! 🙂

How To: Use a Planner

Hi everyone!  In today’s post I’m going to be talking all about my planner!  In college, I wouldn’t survive a day without it.  With being involved with multiple campus organizations and keeping up with classes and my social life, my planner helps me stay on top of everything! When first starting out with your planner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, so I’m here to help you sort it out!

You can begin with whichever planner you want/have, all of them pretty much maintain the same, basic layout.  The planner I currently use is the Lilly Pulitzer, medium sized, 17 month agenda.  I love this one in particular because it’s compact but also pattered and colorful, which is a lot more exciting to look at than a white piece of paper!  This planner includes monthly calendars and day-by-day spaces to write your daily schedule in… I use both!

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In the monthly calendar sections, I jot down when I have tests, meetings, presentations, and other events that I know about in advance.  This is a good way to be able to know your availability at a glance and also to be prepared for your upcoming tests and projects.  Before coming to college, I under-estimated how busy I would be and how easy it would be to forget things.  Once I started consistently using a planner and was then able to lay out my month, day-by-day, it got a lot easier!  It’s also nice to be able to whip it out when people ask when you’re available to meet for coffee or for a group project!

I use the day-by-day spots to write my homework down for each class.  This is what works best for me because, this way, I know what day I was assigned each assignment and it helps me break up my time accordingly.  At the end of the day, it’s easy to look back at the day’s classes and see what needs to be done first and what can maybe wait until the next day!

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This section allows more than enough room to write down your work for all of your classes!

Overall, a planner is a very useful tool to help out any college student and can really help your stress levels if you’re the kind of person who stresses about everything, like me!  I hope you enjoyed this post and gained some useful tips for beginning your planning adventure!  Make sure you check back next Tuesday for a brand new post! 🙂

College Date Ideas

Welcome back!

In this post, I’m giving some fun date ideas for when you’re living in a college town!  Constantly coming up with new things to do when you’re stuck in one place for months can be challenging, so I’m going to share some of the things my boyfriend and I like to do when he comes to visit!  Keep reading to find out my top 5 date ideas!

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Our first visit to Switzer!

The first activity we always like to do is go hiking.  If you go to university in the mountains like I do, there are plenty of beautiful trails to choose from!  A hiking date works well for a first date or for couples who have been together for a while.  You’re doing something active, but consistently have changing scenery, so there’s always something to talk about!  Plus, when you get to the top, you have a gorgeous view (of both the mountains and your date!).  If you go to school in or near the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, I recommend the High Knob Fire Tower trail or going to Humpback Rocks!  If you go to High Knob, definitely check out Switzer Lake on your way – you won’t regret it!

 

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My second activity is going downtown!  Unless you go to a very, very small school, your town or city probably has a pretty established downtown nearby.  In the downtown by my college, we have restaurants, places to take art classes, and tons of cool shops!  This is the perfect date opportunity because it’s a very laid back atmosphere and you can spend as long (or as little) time as you want there!  In Harrisonburg, VA, where my school is, we have a couple antique shops that we always love checking out every now and then!

 

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It’s fun to visit a college that neither you or your significant other go to!

The next date idea that I have for you is to check out a different college campus.  We’re so used to our own campuses that sometimes it feels worn out when we’re trying to find new things to do, so why not go somewhere where everything is brand new?  With Charlottesville only being an hour away from James Madison, my boyfriend and I have gone to the University of Virginia campus on a weekend and spent the day pretending we were students there!  It was fun to experience the different culture that they have there and get a taste of what it would be like to attend another college!

Something my boyfriend and I have wanted to do for a while now is go to a drive-in movie! We haven’t gotten the chance to go, but we are so exited for when we finally do.  Depending on where you go to school, you might not have one close, but the two I know of that are relatively close to JMU are the Family Drive-In Theatre in Stephens City, VA and Hull’s Drive-in in Lexington, VA.  With movie tickets being so expensive, this is a nice (and cheaper) alternative to sitting in a normal movie theater!

My last date idea for this post is going on a picnic.  It sounds so simple, but with spending half of the year trudging through the snow and rain, when a nice day comes along, you have to take advantage of it!  Grab a blanket, some take-out, and your special someone and head to a good lookout spot!  It’s a nice getaway from studying AND you get to spend good time together!

Thanks for reading about my college date ideas, I hope you got something out of it!  Be sure to check back for another blog post, coming soon!