Blog

College 101: Materials for Organization

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College life can sometimes get a bit hectic, but staying on top of assignments and events is key to success. In this post, I’m going to talk about things I do and have done to stay organized in college. I’ll be discussing how to use a planner, planners I have used, and other methods I have found useful (like desk calendars and dry erase boards).

Using a Planner

The first thing you will need to stay organized in college is some sort of planner. Whether if It is electronic or paper bound, make sure It works for you. Either format is only as good as the person putting information in It. So, develop a method that works for you and stick to It! Be sure to keep your planner on you at all times (just in case you have to write in a quick note or important date for school, work, family, the doctor, etc.).

USING your planner is essential! There have been times where I have been so busy and have forgotten to use my planner and my life felt all over the place. Be sure to check your planner everyday and look ahead to future weeks. Your planner will help you to stay organize and prioritize your new life!

Before you start writing in your planner, go buy a pack of different colored pens and highlighters, then decide on a color code scheme. At first I will make little color blocks with a legend to help me remember which colors are which, but as the semester goes on I start to remember. I typically write in important dates that I know of like birthdays and anniversaries when I first get my planner and use a bright, fun color like aqua or pink. For meetings with professors, doctors appointments, etc. I will use red. Then for the remaining colors, I use a separate color for each class that I am in. I also have a color for reminders that I write in each day or on the side (e.g., call mom, get car serviced, clean room, go to groceries, etc.). Crossing off an item on your list is such a rewarding feeling!

Once you have your color codes, begin writing in your class schedule. Most planners have a monthly overview, then a detailed weekly overview. I write all classes in both so nothing will slip through the cracks.

When you receive your class syllabus at the beginning of the semester, immediately write in all important dates (e.g., assignments, quizzes, tests, papers, projects, etc.). Know that these are subject to change so make sure that you have a white out pen.

Which Planner Should I Use?

As said before, whether if It is an electronic planner or a paper bound planner, get one that works best for you. I have used mainly paper planners, but that is because I am a bit old school sometimes and actually writing things down helps me to remember. I have used the simple planners from Walmart and those worked pretty well.

The past few years I have used Lilly Pulitzer planners. I have used both the jumbo size and the small size. I liked the jumbo size one because I could slide papers in the back of It without them getting crushed, but of the two I prefer the smaller one because I can just grab an go. I also love these planners because they are so fun and bright and make a hectic life not seem so crazy. They also come with stickers, too!

I recently just purchased a planner from Prep Avenue. I just started to use It, and let me say, It is PERFECT for college students! When she designed this planner, she had college students in mind! She had Evelyn Henson help with the designs and they are simply darling! So let me tell you what I love about this planner so far…

In the front is a section for your class schedule. I already talked about how I would write in my class schedule in the month section, but this is just another place to write It in. Also, It has a section at the bottom for your color coding legend.

Next, It has a section for “Class Info” where you can write in your professor’s name, office hours, Exam dates, and the location of the class.

I absolutely LOVE that there is a section for “Standing Meetings and Activities”. Again, be sure to write this into your monthly and weekly notes, but this will also help you keep up with your day-to-day and week-to-week happenings!

For each monthly overview, there is a side section for notes, assignments that are due that month, and events. For each weekly overview, the pages are wide to write in detailed notes for each day. It has a “Due Today”, “Meetings and Activities”, and “To Do List”. This is going to help you to stay even MORE organized since there are already designated sections for each of these. There is also a “Don’t Forget” line on each day to remind you to do the little things! Then for each weekend there is a “Weekend To-Do List”.

Be sure to check out her site where she gives an overview on how to set up your planner and talks about how It is designed!

Other Organization Items

On top of using a planner, I also like to use other means for visual reminders of what is coming in order to keep me on task and organized. One thing I love to use is a small dry erase board. I usually will put It somewhere where I will look at It often like the wall beside my bedroom door or over my desk. Each week I will write everything that I have to do that week (e.g., appointments, assignments, exams, etc.). Once I finish each one, I cross It off. As you can tell, crossing off items on my list is so satisfying to me! Having a dry erase board will help you to remind you to complete your assignments ahead of times and to avoid procrastination.

Another item I like to get is a big desk calendar or a dry erase calendar to hang on the wall. Again, its great to have another visual reminder of the things that are to come. It may seem a bit tedious to have so many means for organization, but with all of these you should have no excuse to not stay on top of everything.

The most important part of staying organized is USING your organization materials! This will lead you to success and, most importantly, not to get so overwhelmed!

Cheers!

Kelly

Academia, Blog

College 101: 7 Tips for Scheduling Classes

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In high school, you most likely didn’t have log in to a system and schedule classes yourself. In college, the process of scheduling can sometimes be somewhat of a daunting task, but if you have a good strategy then it makes it so much easier! Throughout this, I will talk a little bit about declaring your major. I plan to have a separate post about declaring your major soon!

1. Meet with your academic advisor

The most important step to scheduling your classes is meeting with your academic advisor. Typically, he/she will be based on your declared major and will give you an outline of the course progression you should take. Meeting with your academic advisor is SO important! If you are interested in taking any classes outside of your major, mention to them. They will be more than happy to help you explore different areas of interest and keep you on track for graduation and towards your goals.

2. Take your core classes first

Core classes are best taken first. As a general rule, these are the classes that all majors have in common. Taking these classes will help in deciding and declaring your major. These core classes provide an opportunity for you to explore your options and interests. College is a time to discover who you are, what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at, and what you want to be. If you find a core class very interesting, consider checking out other similar courses in that major.

3. Make a mock schedule

Once you have met with your advisor, you can start searching for classes that will be offered for the semester that you are trying to register for. You need to meet with your advisor a few weeks prior to when the registration window opens so that you will be prepared to register and won’t have to fight to secure a seat in a class. Trust me, preparing early is essential because sometimes registering for classes can be like the Hunger Games!

I typically would get a sheet of paper and draw columns for each day of the week. Then when I would find the class that I wanted I would write it in the mock schedule. Knowing exactly which classes you want helps for when the registration window opens so you can quickly add those classes without having to search and figure things out.

When searching for classes, there are a few things to consider:

4. Choose classes with professors that will best meet your academic needs

When looking up the courses that you are considering taking, it is important to look into who is the instructor for the class. Universities post semester evaluations on their site, but most students aren’t familiar with this. Instead, a lot of students use www.ratemyprofessors.com to learn more about instructors. Rate My Professors is an online database that compiles comments (both good and bad) from other students about professors. This will give you an idea of what the work load is, how they teach, what to expect from lectures and exams, etc. Talking with other students about professors is also a useful tool.

5. Time of day and days

When you schedule your classes, consider if when you are the most productive during the day. Are you a morning person? If not, then don’t sign up for classes early in the morning. Sometimes you won’t be able to avoid early classes because that is the only time that it is offered.

Also, some classes are offered Monday, Wednesday, & Friday for 1 hour, and some are offered Tuesday and Thursday for about an hour and a half.

6. Timing between classes

It is also best to not schedule classes back to back during your first semester. Give yourself an hour or so break to review over materials for the next class or grab some food. You also don’t want too big of a gap between classes. In my own experience, having a large gap does allow you to go home and do things there, BUT it sometimes makes it very hard to convince yourself to go back to campus! If you’re motivated then this shouldn’t be a problem.

7. Distance between classes on campus

It is very important for you to become familiar with campus. Know which buildings your classes will be held in and the determine the amount of time it will take you to walk, bike, or ride the bus to your next class ahead of time. Get a campus map and use it!

Hopefully these tips will assist you in scheduling your classes. Remember to not overload yourself with classes and take too many hours. Always consider how you will balance your life when scheduling classes. Good luck!

Cheers,

Kelly

Blog

Cotton’s Gotcha Day

Today is Cotton’s Gotcha Day! Be sure to give him a follow on Instagram (@cotton_gsp) and watch all things Cotton today on his and my story! It’s hard to believe that only 2 years ago we picked our little brown ball of energy up (because It seems way longer!). We knew that we wanted a German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP) and Mike knew that he wanted to name him Cotton, so we researched the breed to see if It would be a good fit for us and found a super responsible and awesome breeder in Cullman, Alabama (Check out 3M Kennels and Quail on Facebook!). On May 28, 2016 Cotton was born and we were so excited to get the pictures! For the next 8 weeks the breeder would send us pictures of Cotton which made us even more excited to bring him home!

July 16 was my birthday, so we spent that day and night in Guntersville, AL at a cozy bed and breakfast (seriously It was so cute and relaxing!). The next morning we drove over to pick up Cotton. When we got there, the only thing we saw was the mom and her sister run up to us…maybe 5 seconds later, a pack of liver and roan (thats what the markings on a GSP are called) came tumbling our way. I may be a bit biased, but GSP puppies are the absolute cutest and they STAY cute and good looking. We watched them play around for a bit then found our “red puppy” (he had a red collar on), scooped him up (we felt so bad realizing that we scooped him up from his whole world), brought him inside to fill out paperwork, then hit the road for a long (6 hour) drive back to Tallahassee. Based on the pictures, we were pretty sure that Cotton hated us because he wasn’t too thrilled to be with these strange people.

We had him in a laundry basket in the seat between us in the truck. It’s hard to believe that he actually fit in that now! But he was an ANGEL the whole way home, and we thought that we had a great road trip dog. Little did we know at the time that he’s the absolute worst dog in the car because he gets so excited to take trips (even if its just a 5 minute drive to the park!). We even stopped and got some Whataburger chicken strips for him on the way home and changed his life (haha!). When we got home, we brought him inside and he literally froze and stood there for a solid 5 minutes before moving. He still hated us at that point (even though he had chicken strips). At night, we had planned to have him on his pillow in the bedroom. Well, that plan absolutely failed when he popped his cute little head up on the side of the bed and wanted to be with us. Ever since, he has taken over the bed at night. He doesn’t mind sleeping in his crate at night, but when I am away from Mike I really like the company!

Since then, Cotton has taught us more about dogs and German Shorthaired Pointers than most people would ever care to know! As the breeder put it, he is two handfuls. We like to think of Cotton as a prep school kid in a blazer–very WASP-y. I must say though, for the breed he is actually very calm, but that doesn’t mean he’s not up at the crack of dawn everyday ready for adventure. No amount of research can truly prepare you for the crazy that you will experience for this breed. So, if you think you want a GSP, please consider if you have the time, energy, and space for them. All this breed wants to do is please and love….and RUN…LOTS of running. However, as crazy as he is and as much as he drives us crazy, Cotton is the most loyal and loving dog who has introduced us to some wonderful people! I wouldn’t have met my best friend, Hailey, if It weren’t for Cotton, and he wouldn’t have met his best friend, Bendel!

Happy Gotcha Day, Cotton!

Kelly

Academia, Blog

College 101: 5 Tips for Packing for College

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I would say that packing for college is probably the most exciting (and sort of stressful) part of moving off to college. The thought of having a new place and getting to decorate is (most) every girl’s dream. But…what about everything else? Clothes? Toiletries? Kitchen supplies? It seems that the list builds and builds, and It get get a bit overwhelming to decide what exactly to bring. So, I have a few tips and basic lists to help get you started!

1. Plan Your Packing Early!

First, do NOT wait until a few days or a week before to start figuring out what you need to bring! The worst is being rushed when you’re packing because you tend to either overpack or forget to pack the essentials! I would recommend start planning what to pack as early as possible, that way when It comes time to pack you will be most prepared.

2. Make a List

This is probably my most important tip! I LOVE making lists. Scratching things off of a list brings me so much satisfaction. I literally make a list every day of things I need to do or things I need to grab at the store. Making a list for packing is no different! I always do this whenever my husband and I are planning a trip. So what do you include on this list?From the time that you wake up until the time that you go to bed make a list of every thing that you use throughout the day (just make a list on your phone!). Do this for a few days to about a week. I know It seems silly and a bit tedious, but you would be surprised by how much stuff you use and need every day. Let’s using getting ready in the bathroom for example. You get in the shower, use the shower, dry off, then use your after-shower products. Seems like it would be a short list, right? Well, think of it this way: When you got in the shower you pulled back your SHOWER CURTAIN, turned on the water and used your SHAMPOO, CONDITIONER, BODY WASH, LOOFAH, (and whatever else is from your shower routine). Next, you stepped out of the shower on your BATH MAT and grabbed a TOWEL. You dried off, used a BLOW DRYER for your hair and your STYLING TOOL (as well as any HAIR PRODUCTS), then put on your MAKEUP. Do you see what I mean? That’s a lot of things that you just used and you don’t even think about it on a daily basis! From this list, you should be able to see what items you use most often and are essential and items that aren’t as essential, but if you were in a bind you would need It!

3. Consider ALL Weather Conditions and Activities for Packing Clothes

Unless you aren’t able or don’t plan on going back home on your breaks, I wouldn’t suggest showing up to move-in day like Elle Woods did in Legally Blonde. Think of where you’re university is… For instance, I am in Florida where there are two seasons: mostly hot and cold. From April until maybe October, the weather here is pretty warm (depending on what part of Florida you’re talking about). So, I would pack accordingly for having mostly warm-weather clothes with a few pullovers, sweaters, yoga pants, etc. for the cooler days. This is assuming that I would be able to go back home and grab some clothes for the colder days. HOWEVER, you need to plan for ALL weather conditions! What happens if It rains? You’ll need a rain jacket, an umbrella, and rain boots! A lot of times there are some classrooms on campus that feel like the arctic. So, when the weather is too warm outside for long sleeves, but unbearably too cold inside to focus, what do you do? Pack a light jacket or a light pullover that you can carry or toss in your bag.Also consider different activities that you will be doing. For example, you’ll need work out clothes, sleepwear, casual outfits, dressier outfits for more formal occasions (you would hate yourself if one came up and you didn’t have anything to wear!), etc. And don’t forget your shoes, socks, bras, swimsuits, and underwear!

4. Containers Are Your Best Friend!

When you pack, of course pack some things in a few luggage bags that way when you have to travel you’ll have a bag! But for everything else, buy some cute storage containers and drawers to pack everything in and then use once you’re moved in. Depending on the space of your new dorm or apartment, these will definitely come in handy to keep your space organized and tidy, and help when you move out! Containers that are thin and can slide under the bed are great, and those that you can stack! Little pull out drawers are awesome for small toiletries like hair ties and bobby pins, as well as small office supplies like paper clips, pens, etc.

5. Remember the Little Things

Now that you have an idea of the major things to pack, consider the little things that you don’t use on a daily basis (or things you don’t realize that you use), but would be in a bind if you didn’t have them. For example, I knew that I had a closet in my first dorm that I moved into and brought all of my clothes…but I completely forgot to pack hangers! There have been several times that my clothes ripped or didn’t fit right and I needed a safety pin, so be sure to grab a box of assorted safety pins just in case! Also, I know most everyone can agree how frustrating It is when you need a hair tie or bobby pin and you turn your entire house upside down to find one, knowing that you had a thousand just last week! Be sure to pack those! And most importantly….TOILET PAPER! I know this list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s just to give you an idea of things to consider!Remember, you can always run to the store to grab the things that you need once you move-in. Trust me, you don’t realize the things you need until you don’t have them! That’s why I think It’s important to make a list and think ahead of time about the items that you need to pack. Also, It seems that the stores are out of EVERYTHING during move-in week, so to save you and your parents stress, go buy most all of the things that you don’t have BEFORE you pack up and move off to college!

Cheers!
Kelly

Blog

Weekend Trip: South Eden Plantation

My husband and I love to take weekend trips, but we always love It when we can find a place that has a lot of history. Last weekend we visited South Eden Plantation. It’s a historic plantation located between Tallahassee, FL and Thomasville, GA. If you need a place to retreat from the every day life and want peace and quiet, this place is for you. Although we didn’t stay overnight, they have several houses that you can stay in. The grounds are absolutely beautiful and charming. They also have a cute restaurant as well. They also host a lot of weddings here and I can totally see why! We got to check out the bridal suite and It was simply gorgeous! There is also a little theater which was actually the first theater to show a private showing of Gone with the Wind when It came out! Strolling along the beautiful row of oaks made me so happy. This lovely seersucker dress from Molly & Kate was perfect for the weather. It’s so light and flowy, and PERFECT for a summer day! I also got tons of compliments on It! Check out their shop to get yours!

Academia, Blog

College 101 Series: A Guide for College Students

Although summer officially started only a few weeks ago, It wont be long before the back-to-school commercials and ads start reappearing. This got me thinking about how I can make the most of my blog, my experience, and education to offer advice to those just entering college or those still navigating the waters of college. When I first entered college I, like all students, went in wide-eyed and ready for the college experience. However, looking back there were several things I wish I had known or prepared for going in. Sure, college is the place to learn about yourself and figure things out for yourself, but it surely would have helped to have several tools in my bag to best help navigate the academic and social waters in the college setting. At an internship I developed this program called College 101 and it was tailored towards incoming freshman. From this, I hope to take the topics I addressed and offer fun, light, yet informative posts not only for freshman, but for all college students. First, let me give you a quick background on my experience and credentials…

After I graduated with my bachelor’s degree (in Child and Family Development), I went to pursue my master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. While I was there, I worked as an academic advisor for my graduate assistantship. While I worked with all students, I mainly worked with freshman. I decided that clinical work wasn’t for me and I wanted to do something more researched-based, so I took a leap of faith and started my master’s degree all over in another program (Family and Child Sciences at Florida State University). I have since completed my masters and I am now working on my Ph.D. In Human Development and Family Sciences still at Florida State. While I have been here I have worked as a teaching assistant every semester and have taught a few classes as well. I am also a Family Life Educator which means I teach programs on important topics for individuals and families across the lifespan. For example, I take a topic like sexuality education but tailor It towards a specific audiences. Although it’s the same topic, the class for teenagers would look very different than one for an older adult. Why? Because they’re at different points in their lives and need different types of information!

This has given me a great hands-on experience working with college students. Most importantly, It has given me great insight to the needs of college students and getting to know and understand their experience and how I can best promote their learning experience. Also, It has made me aware of what some students need more help and guidance with–things that I, too, wish I had known or had support with when I was going through college.

So, this is where I need your help. I already have a list of topics that I am going to cover, but if there is anything that you would like to know more about please comment and let me know! Think of this as an inside look to academia and the college setting! I really hope to hear some feedback!

Topics for College 101:

Scheduling Classes

Declaring a Major

Roommates

Budgeting

Social Activities

Class Organization

Simple Survival (i.e., washing clothes, sewing a button, etc.)

Packing for College

Again, please let me know your thoughts!

Cheers!

Kelly

Blog, Recipes

Star Spangled Berry Cake

4th of July will be here soon, and many of us love to host parties and get-togethers to celebrate. These parties always include beer, festive cocktails, BBQ, yard games, desserts (my favorite), and, of course, our family and friends. Summer brings high temperatures (especially in the South!), so eating a heavy or rich dessert can I leave you feeling sluggish. I love summertime for a number of reasons, but one of my main loves is that so much fresh produce is available. I LOVE fresh fruit and vegetables, and then making yummy dishes and desserts with them.

So, I’m going to share one of my favorite summer desserts that is perfect for your 4th of July party! It’s super light, delicious, and will keep you and your guests coming back for more (without feeling completely guilty!). Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to make! Thank you guys for helping me name It on Instagram!!

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can totally make your own angel food cake using a bundt pan. However, I have found It much easier to just go to the bakery and find one already made! Also, if you can, grab your berries from the farmer’s market to support and shop local businesses! Besides, they taste much better in my opinion! I really hope ya’ll like this recipe! If you give It a try I’d like to hear about It and see some pics!

Star Spangled Berry Cake

Ingredients:

Angel food cake

1 (large) tub of Cool Whip

1 can of crushed pineapples

Raspberries

Blueberries

Strawberries

Steps:

1. Drain the can of crushed pineapples (you don’t want your filling to be runny!)

2. Scoop about half of the tub of Cool Whip into a bowl, then fold the pineapples in (add more Cool Whip to your desired ratio!)

3. Cut the angel food cake in half (I’ve also seen It cut into thirds!)

4. On the bottom half, spread your pineapple filling onto the cake (use half of your filling that you have made)

5. Cover your filling with as many berries as you can use or want

6. On the bottom of the top half, spread a thin layer of your filling, then place on top of the bottom half

7. Spread the remaining filling on top of the cake

8. Get creative and make a cute pattern with your berries on top!

9. Keep the cake chilled in the refrigerator

10. Serve and enjoy!

Cheers,

Kelly