Finals Studying Tips

After planning this blog post, I realized some schools have already begun their finals. For those of you that have not started suffering through finals week yet, here are a few types to help you survive.

Prioritize Classes
Although all of your college professors probably think their class is the most influential one you will ever take, you know which ones are more important to you. You also know which ones you need to spend more time studying for in order to do well. List out your classes, check your grades, and see which ones need more dedication before finals.

Create a Study Schedule
Don't just make a to-do list, make a plan of when you are going to accomplish these tasks. Set small goals, such as going over certain chapters or creating a study guide, and take it all one thing at a time. It seriously helps me to cross things off a list, and see what I have accomplished. Little things are needed to keep you motivated throughout the week.

Find your Space
Not everyone can be productive in the same places. If you like studying in your dorm, then do so. If you are going to the library, get there early to secure a table to do your work at. Personally, I like to reserve study rooms at the library when possible. When preparing for a library trip, pack everything you need so there isn't an excuse not to get work done once you're there.

Take Breaks
Your brain simply cannot spend six hours looking at the same subject. You're not going to remember the information and you're going to end up exhausted. I'm sure this has been scientifically proven. I've found myself to be the most productive if I spend 45 minutes working and 15 minutes checking social media or blog things every hour. It's also important to find time to leave the library and do something else to avoid burning out early in the week.

Go over old Tests
If your final is comprehensive, look at what you were tested on previously. Take note of what things you struggled with and go over those concepts again. It's not uncommon for professors to repeat questions from exams on the final. 

Condense your Notes
Some professors are generous enough to provide a study guide for their final exam. For my classes that did so, I've gone through my notes and highlighted or typed up information on the concepts in the study guide. Studying is important, but it is even more important that you study the right information. 

Take Care of Yourself
Always have water available when you are going to study for an extended period of time. Your GPA matters, but your personal health should be your first priority. Take power naps and try to get a full night's sleep. You'll be more functional during the day if you do. Pack healthy study snacks and treat yourself every now and then. 

Finals week is rough, but you can definitely get through it if you have a plan. Check out your university's resources for stress relief. We have dogs in the library once during the week and free massages at the health center. These types of things can keep you from sitting in your dorm crying over a bag popcorn, not that I've ever done that... 
Good luck on your finals!

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Choosing the Right College

Choosing a college is a monumental decision. This generally isn't a choice you can make overnight, but you could also step foot onto a college campus and immediately know that it is your new home. Where you attend university, and what you do while you are there, essentially sets the rest of your life in motion. When it comes time to make that decision, there are a few criteria you should consider. 

How far do you want to be from home? I chose a school that is close enough to drive home in one day but far away enough that I am not tempted to do so every weekend. Do you want to attend college in a small town or big city? I couldn't imagine going to school in a city, but I had to make sure there was at least a Target in town.

There are universities in the United States with anywhere between 100 and 60,000 students. Take the undergrad population into consideration, and also the size of the physical campus. How long will it take you to walk across campus? 

Tuition & Scholarships
This is generally where the State vs. Private school question comes into debate. State schools tend to be less expensive, especially within your own state. However, you may also be able to earn scholarships to cancel out the difference. When comparing costs, look at automatic scholarships that state schools offer as well.

What resources are available on campus? If you work out regularly, check out their recreation center. Take a look inside the library and make sure there are plenty of places to study. If you know your major, research the building that your classes will be in.

Probably the most important thing in a college search is ensuring that your major is available. I would also recommend finding 3-5 other possible majors at each university. Most people change their major several times during college, and you should make sure you'll have other options that interest you.

Will you be living on campus your first year? What style are the dorms? How expensive is it? Do your research on the residence halls and be sure to visit a few if and when you tour the university. What are the dining halls like? Most schools put out better food on big visiting days, so keep in mind that the food probably won't always be as great as it seems. 

While academics is your main focus in college, make sure you can have a well-rounded experience. If you are planning on joining Greek life, do some research on their Fraternity & Sorority Life (just don't pay attention to any stereotypes or gossip). Look for organizations similar to your high school involvement that you could join.

This may not be a priority to everyone, but it's always interesting to see which sport teams excel at potential colleges. If you want to tailgate and go to football games, look into their athletic atmosphere. This can be a huge part of the college experience. 

When you're taking all of these things into consideration, weigh the pros and cons of each school. Decide how important each characteristic is to you. I am so happy to say that I have never considered transferring colleges, but it does happen and that's okay. If the school you chose is right for you as a freshman, that doesn't mean that it will necessarily still be right for you when you reach sophomore or junior year. This is especially true if you go into college with an undeclared major or change your major. So, at the end of the day, know that where you choose to go to school is not a decision set in stone! 

Check out all my other college-related blog posts here! Let me know what you want to see by leaving a comment.

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How to find your "Squad" in College

In high school, I was always floating between groups with only two or three consistent and close friends. I started college last year at Missouri State, while half my high school went to Mizzou. I can't begin to describe how happy I have been with my choice in university, but it meant I had to branch out more and make new friends. The idea of trying to socialize in a new place full of people I didn't know was absolutely terrifying. If I can put myself out there and find my crew, then you absolutely can too. 

Take the Initiative

Just say "hello" to someone. You never know where you will end up. I had Public Speaking with my current roommate last year, and we started talking the day after bid day because I walked right up to her and mentioned that I wasn't wearing the shirt but that we were in the same sorority now. And she thought I was completely insane. Then we started getting lunch together before class and going to chapter events together. Now, we struggle to go more than 24 hours without seeing each other.

Get Involved on Campus

Joining a sorority introduced me to my closest friends, but not all of my friends are my sisters. Join other organizations that interest you. Not only will you find people with the same ideas and passions, you'll find your place on campus. It's so super important to have a well rounded group of acquaintances and friends. You never know what doors will open because of the connections you make with people in college. 

Be Authentic

The worst thing you can do in college is try to be someone that you aren't. The deepest friendships that I have are because we are ourselves around each other. My group of friends and I can be completely honest and open when we are together, which is so important to me. I don't hesitate to tell them things or ask for advice. My friends are also my biggest cheerleaders. 

College is difficult and weird and crazy, but it is so much easier with a support system. Look for people who will celebrate your victories and still be there when you fall. Remember, this is the time when you find out which friends are going to last a lifetime. As I mentioned earlier, very few of my high school friends remained close to me after graduation. College makes you realize who you are friends with because you have class together every day and who you are friends with because you actually connect.

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College Morning Routine

8.00 am
Wake up! On Monday/Wednesday/Friday, I start classes a little later so I have time to shower and wash my hair. I still lay in bed and scroll through social media for a decent amount of time (if I don't press snooze too many times). Either way, I like the consistency of waking up at the same time each day. On of my suite mates also has the same class times as me each morning, so we keep each other accountable for getting up and attending class.

8.30 am
By this time, I'm out of the shower and putting my outfit together. Unless it's a rare occasion where I decide to wear jeans or a real shirt, this means whatever leggings are cleanest and a comfort colors t-shirt. Then, I head downstairs for breakfast. Our sorority house mom puts out a continental breakfast (bagels, toast, cereal, etc) each morning.

9.00 am
I head back upstairs to finish getting ready - brush my teeth, do something with my hair, and apply some makeup. I also get the notebooks I need for the day organized now, so I don't have to (forget to) go back up to my room during my lunch break and switch them out. 

9.30 am
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I start classes at 9.30, so I am already in the College of Business building at this point. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I don't start until 10.10, so I have a little more time before I leave. The distance from the sorority house to campus isn't very far, but my classes are on the far side so I usually catch our shuttle to class.

I'm not a perfect human, and I don't have the perfect morning routine. But, I see these types of posts all the time on Pinterest and I wanted to share mine as well! If you guys really want to see a night-time routine as well, I'll post one but my nights are not very routine. Let me know what posts you want to see by leaving a comment, and check out my other college blog posts here!

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I'll admit that I have been falling behind quite a bit when it comes to blogging lately. College isn't easy, and it's always a struggle to balance everything. This blog got pushed to the side too many times and I kept telling myself I would write something for next week. Then, as I was scrolling through bloglovin', I noticed that Kayla, one of my favorite bloggers and the mastermind behind Blogging College, had been celebrating November with 'Thankful Thursdays.' With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I decided to share a few of the little things in life that I am grateful for. These are in no particular order and by no means are they all the things I appreciate in life. 

1. Pretty stationary

2. Sleeping in

3. Dresses with pockets

4. Waffle Wednesday

5. Cozy sweaters

6. Tailgates

7. Long phone calls

8. Drake

9. Macaroni & Cheese

10. Songs that get stuck in your head

11. Netflix

12. My dog

13. Crunchy leaves

14. Strangers who hold open doors

15. Sunsets

16. When people text back quickly

17. Blue Jolly Ranchers

18. The opportunity for higher education

19. Target

20.My sorority

Let me know what you're thankful for, by leaving a comment below. Make sure you check out Kayla's Thankful Thursdays!

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Big/Little Reveal

I've talked a lot on here about sorority life recently. I wrote a letter to my future little, and compiled a list of gifts you could give/make for your little. I've been preparing for a long time to become a big, but it all became very real in the last few weeks. I opened up my card telling me who my little is and crafted for two weeks before reveal. My chapter surprises the littles with reveal. This means we don't do any gifts leading up to the big day, as to not give it away. My little got all of her crafts and snacks and shirts on the night of reveal. 

I was so nervous, to become a big this year. My big and I have a great relationship, and I was excited to share that with my own little. At the same time, I was stressing out about whether I would even find a little that liked me. In the end, it worked out in the best way possible. I found the perfect little, and reveal was so much fun!

If there's anything sorority/college related that you want to see on here, let me know! It's been a while since I've posted anything, but this semester has been even busier than I thought it would be! I'm trying to get back into the swing of things, but there will still be less posts than there was over the summer. 

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50 Gift Ideas for your Little

For sorority women, getting a little is similar to having a child. You know, without the whole birthing process. First you have to find the perfect new member, and fight off other active members. Then it's time to start showering her in gifts and love. In my chapter, we don't have a clue week and the day of reveal is a surprise to new members. I think it just builds more excitement and anticipation for the new littles. This does not mean that bigs craft any less, however. I compiled a list of 50 things you can buy or make for your new little to ensure she has a perfectly overwhelming reveal. Each item is linked to an example from Pinterest! 

1. Her favorite candy (puns encouraged)

5. A Mug

9. Snacks

10. A hat

17. Decals

25. Bows

26. Buttons

34. Koozies

39. Banner

40. Mirror

42. Paddle (depending on your chapter's traditions)

43. Key Fob

46. Flowers

49. Coffee

I'm so excited to become a big this semester. It's a lot of responsibility but my family is about to almost double in size and I know my big and grandbig will still be there for me. My big did so much for me and I can't wait to do the same for my own little!

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Dear Future Little,

First of all, welcome to the chapter. Being a new member is a fantastic time. Now that the excitement of bid day has settled, it's time for the hunt to begin. Everyone in my new member class is looking for the perfect little. We've been looking forward to this since our own reveal and we can't wait to spoil you with gifts and sister dates. I've already spent the summer crafting for you! There's a few things you should know before you become my little. 

You have a pretty great family. If there ever comes a time when I can't be by your side, keep this in mind. Your grandbig and great-grandbig are incredible women. They helped me survive freshman year, and they will always look out for you as well. Trust me, they are just as excited for you to join the family as I am. But wait, there's more. You also get a super cool aunt and great-aunt. This family will be your rock when you need it, and we are always down to get Taco Bell. Don't be afraid to reach out and bond with everyone.

My room is your room. Come over to study, craft, or watch movies. Some of my favorite memories with my big were formed on nights in. And while you're here, my closet is always open. You'll never run out of things to wear.

Whatever bad decisions you're going to make, I've already made them (and probably more than once). I will never judge you for your actions. Trust me when I say that the older girls in this chapter are not as put together as they appear. Nobody is. Please don't be afraid to tell me anything and everything. I'm here to listen and offer the best advice I possibly can. I'll even bring ice cream when necessary.

I can't wait to see you learn all about this organization. This chapter will change you for good. You're about to learn more than you imagined possible about our values, traditions, missions and even ritual. I'll always be there to guide you. Don't be afraid to ask questions. You're now apart of something so much bigger than yourself. It's going to be daunting at first, but I'm here to explain things and answer questions.

I'll be your cheerleader in everything you do. You took on a leadership role in a campus organization? We're getting tacos to celebrate. You went on a date with a new boy? You're telling me all about it (over tacos). I really like tacos.


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Where to Eat in Springfield

If there's one thing I prioritize above academics, it's food. Missouri State has plenty of options on campus, from Chick Fil A to Panda Express, but sometimes you need a little more. When family is visiting, you need somewhere nice to take them. Show them that Springfield has more to offer on a Saturday morning than crushed cans of Natty on the sidewalk. So, here's a little collection of the best places to go out to eat in Springfield.

Aviary Cafe - The Aviary is known for it's crepes and is the perfect spot for breakfast or brunch. I haven't made it here yet but I've heard many great things.
Location: Downtown

Big Whiskey's American Bar & Grill - I love their wings and their buffalo chicken dip. The downtown location is essentially a bar with some extra tables but the outdoor seating is great when the weather is nice.
Location: Battlefield & Downtown

Cheddar's - Two words: comfort food. This is where you'll find all the typical American foods, and is my best reccomendation for when you are missing home cooked meals.
Location: Primrose

El Maguey - This is every Missouri State student's favorite when you need some chips and queso. Also their a la carte menu is great for when you are ballin' on a budget. 
Location: Glenstone

Jose Loco's - Another Mexican restaurant? Yes. Always. They have Taco Tuesdays at Jose Loco's, which means cheap tacos and cheap tacos are good tacos.
Location: Glenstone

Springfield Brewing Company - I ate here with my parents when they came down for family weekend last fall. Their macaroni and cheese was everything I could have wanted in a bowl of pasta. You can also see where they make the beer.
Location: Market

Bambinos Cafe - Bambinos is really close to campus and the perfect spot for lunch. Their bread is absolutely amazing and they never stop bringing it out. I recommend getting a lunch sized plate if you get pasta, so you can save room for bread.
Location: Battlefield & Delmar

Lambert's Cafe - The famous home of the throwed rolls. I don't think you can say you went to Springfield (or Branson) without visiting Lambert's. The atmosphere is great and the portions are gigantic, so you will always have leftovers. 
Location: Ozark

Hurt's Donuts - Much like Strange Donuts, in Saint Louis, Hurt's has some very interesting and creative donut choices. You can get a dozen or half dozen and let them choose the donuts if you feel like taking a risk!
Location: Downtown

Insomnia Cookies - What's better than cookies? Fresh cookies, delivered until 3am. They also do a lot of fundraisers with Missouri State campus organizations. 
Location: Downtown

Pineapple Whip - As long as someone is listening, I will never stop talking about how much I love pineapple whip. Be sure to check the flavors of the week on their social media before choosing which location to visit. The classic pineapple is always good!
Location: Battlefield, Glenstone, & Campbell

Andy's Frozen Custard - I know that there are other Andy's but the original is here in Springfield. I like to fill my ice cream cravings here with a cookie dough or cheesecake concrete, personally. 
Location: Battlefield, Glenstone, Campbell & Sunshine 

Elle's Patisserie - I went here on a sister date, and tried macaroons for the first time. They were so so good! Elle's also has coffee, ice cream, and other treats. The building is a tiny purple shop and is easy to miss.
Location: Cherry Street

The Potter's House - Located right across from campus, this is a popular study spot for Missouri State students. All the workers are volunteers and they have plenty of non-coffee options if you prefer hot chocolate, like me.
Location: National 

Bon Appetit!

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The Truth about Dorm Life

If you're going to be a college freshman this year, you're probably moving into a university residence hall of some kind. I actually really enjoyed living in the dorms at Missouri State. Being so close to classes and food on campus was incredibly convenient. Second semester, I lived with an amazing group of girls and I was genuinely upset about leaving in May. I was the last one to move out, and it was pretty sad watching everyone and all their things disappear slowly. Living in the dorms is an important part of your college experience, so today I'm sharing a few things I learned during my freshman year.

No matter how organized you are, it's not going to be clean all the time. When you move in, you'll make sure everything looks neat. Your new under bed storage and plastic drawers will be full and placed perfectly. Once you've actually lived in this tiny room for a month, you'll find that it's going to be a bit of a mess. Your books won't be stacked perfectly and you'll probably leave your laundry basket full for way too long. And, if you are a super clean and neat person, your roommate may not reciprocate. As long as they keep their mess on their side, it should be fine. You can't be their mother and make them clean up.

Your RA either cares too much or not at all. Some schools have different names for them, but this is the older student that lives on your floor and is somewhat responsible for their residents. I moved into a different building after my first semester and both of my RAs were really chill each semester. They were friendly enough, but not overbearing. That being said, no matter what type of RA you end up with, you have to respect them. This is their job, so go to some of the events they plan for your floor and be polite.

Community style bathrooms are actually better than suites. This is one of the only times in your life when you'll be sharing a bathroom with fifty people. I lived suite style all of my freshman year, and I didn't know many people outside of my suite. Girls that I knew living community style were friendly with their whole floor. This is honestly a better way to make friends and you won't spend as much time shut in your own room. Also, you probably don't have to clean that bathroom.

If you live with friends (especially sorority sisters), expect to find people asleep in your living room on Saturday morning. During my second semester, I moved into a six person suite, and three of us were in the same sorority. We also had a lot of the same friends, which resulted in unexpected visits. Our building was attached to one of the dining halls, so we often had friends follow us upstairs after eating. Although sometimes it can be hard to kick people out, it's nice to always have friends coming and going. At the end of the year, you're all going to miss that dorm room. 

Don't always study in your room. Make time to go to the library, or another spot on campus. There are way too many distractions in your dorm. Sure, you can write a paper from your bed, but you won't be as productive. When it gets late, I know it's convenient not to walk across campus to study or work on a project. Your residence hall probably has a common area in the lobby that you can use. My floor even had a study spot, so definitely look for these resources and take advantage of them. 

Make the most of your time living in the dorms, because you'll probably only do it once. There's not going to be another time in your life that you live that close to all your friends - even if they're not on your floor, they're on campus. Someone will always be down to order late night pizza, even though neither of you can really afford it. I hope this post was helpful! If you have questions that go beyond what I covered, please leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer!

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Omaha Recap

We left Saint Louis early on Thursday and headed straight to Omaha. After checking into our hotel, our first destination was the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. This 3,000 foot long bridge connects Nebraska and Iowa across the Missouri River. We walked to the state line and back, since there wasn't necessarily anything for us to do on the Iowa side. Then, we headed to the Heartland of America Park to see the fountain and explore some more. We grabbed Jimmy Johns for dinner and went back to the park after dark to see the fountain lit up.

What I Wore:
Top // Bralette (sold out - similar) // Shorts // Sandals (sold out - similar)

Day two was spent at my main destination - Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. As someone who generally has a lot to say about Zoos, I was very impressed by this one. Many of the habitats were much more than a simple enclosure. Specifically, the Desert Dome and the Lied Jungle were designed to make you feel as though you had left the Zoo and traveled to these environments. Many parts of the Zoo are still under construction to become bigger, better and more interactive. I would honestly love to go back in a few years and see the improvements. If you visit, make sure you take a trip on the Skyfari to get a unique view of the Zoo.

What I Wore:
Tank // Cardigan // Shorts (last year - similar) // Sandals (sold out - similar)

Our final day in Omaha was a short one. After eating breakfast at our hotel, we headed downtown to see the Markets that take place every Saturday. There were plenty of local artisans and farm fresh foods. I bought some sunflowers, mostly just for the 'gram but I have absolutely no shame. Then, the six hour drive home began. We stopped for lunch and made it back in time to pick up our dog from the kennel that night.

What I Wore:
Tank (similar) // Shorts (ON SALE - $6.99) // Flip Flops

I haven't been up to a whole lot this summer, but I'm glad my family got to take this short vacation and visit a new city. Let me know what you've been up to this summer by leaving a comment down below!

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