5 Things to do during Syllabus Week

Some consider syllabus week to be a waste of time, or a week for partying to kick off the semester. However, there's a few simple things you can do to get ahead during this easy week. Don't waste syllabus week, because there isn't another time in the semester when your workload is this low.

1. Attend all your Classes
It doesn't seem like it, but syllabus week is one of the most important weeks in a semester of college. This is when you'll get key information from your professors. It's also the time when there isn't homework or exams, so you can get a feel for what your classes will be like before everything gets too stressful or busy. 

2. Read Your Syllabi
Highlight important information and make note of each professor's office hours and best method of contact. Your syllabus contains everything you need to know to succeed in each class. Syllabi have dates for exams and assignments, grading policies, and details about textbooks you'll need. 

3. Write down all Important Dates
Dedicate some time to transferring information from your syllabi to your planner. I like to have one color for each class. Copy all assignment and exam dates to your calendar. Trust me, you'll thank me for this later.

4. Purchase Textbooks
Do this after you go to all your classes at least once. Your book list may indicate that you need certain books, but your professors will likely tell you otherwise. It's not uncommon to go to your first class and be told that you absolutely do not need to buy the textbooks. 

5. Learn your Schedule
I don't just mean memorize where and when your classes are held. This is your time to figure out when it'll be best to eat lunch or when you will be able to spend time in the library. You'll also be joining campus organizations at this time so pay attention to your schedule and learn what works for you. 

Check out my other college related blog posts here! Let me know what you want to see next.

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2 Years of Blogging

Yesterday marked my two year blogging anniversary. Here's my first blog post. I remember deciding to start a blog when my family road tripped from Saint Louis to Los Angeles that summer. I took hundreds of photos on my mom's DSLR and I wanted an outlet to share some of them. I continued to post about things that were going on in my life and my different adventures before venturing into the world of fashion bloggers. I have never been a professional fashion blogger, but I have and continue to share outfits from time to time on here. Some of my favorites were this jumpsuit from the Lilly for Target collection, this blue dress with photos at the zoo, and this more recent blanket scarf.

When I started college, it was increasingly difficult to keep my blog up to date. I shared moments from my freshman year, like Homecoming and Greek Week. Then, one of my proudest blogging moments occurred. I wrote this post about how much I love my university, and our official Facebook page shared it. Traffic came in at numbers I was completely shocked about. I wasn't even aware that it had been shared like that until another student told me. 

If there's one thing that I've learned in these two years, it's to take photos of everything. I look back on events too often and don't have enough pictures, or I'm trying to find photos for a birthday shout out and I don't have the right ones with somebody. This is especially relevant for college students. You'll blink and another year has gone by, so make sure your memories are documented. Take candid photos of your friends, sometimes they are the best ones. 

This summer, I've made a few blogging goals to keep you all engaged and to make sure I'm putting out content that I'm proud of. Blogging has given me a voice and a platform and I want to continue using it to share interesting and original content. You can always let me know what you want to see on here, by leaving a comment or tweeting me (that might be one of the lamest things I've ever done). I hope you continue to enjoy my blog posts about college and sorority as I try to figure out what I am doing with my life. 

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Sorority Recruitment 101

Sorority recruitment is a long and complicated process. Its tiring, it's stressful, and it's emotional. I went through it as a potential new member last year and I learned a lot in the process before accepting a bid from my chapter. I also blogged about why joining a sorority was the best decision I ever made, and why you should go through recruitment. In this post, I'll share some of the things I learned about recruitment from my experience. 

Your Recruitment Counselor is your new Best Friend. 
We have Pi Chis at Missouri State, but you may know them as a Rho Chi or Rho Gamma. This is a temporarily disaffiliated sorority member who serves as your guide and mentor for recruitment. She is not able to speak to active members of her sorority or other chapters on your campus about recruitment. She will be the one with mints, perfume and band aids. Your Pi Chi is also who will give you unbiased advice when it comes time to rank at the end of each day. Be honest with her, and share as much as you can about how you are feeling during recruitment. She has your best interests at heart. On my bid day, I was overjoyed to find out I was joining my Pi Chi's sisterhood. She was extremely helpful during recruitment and listened to everything I had to say between and after visiting houses. 

Keep an Open Mind.
If there is one piece of advice you take seriously going into formal recruitment, let it be this. You are also probably going to hear this a million times. Don't listen to what other girls are saying about the houses you visit. Remind yourself that your opinions about the house are what matter. These opinions should only be shaped by your personal experience with the house. To avoid gossiping or being influenced by rumors, talk to fellow potential new members about other things! Discuss your favorite TV shows, classes, or where they are from. Ignore any stereotypes about chapters on your campus, because they probably aren't even accurate. Maybe you have an older friend at your school who is already a member of a sorority. Don't assume that her chapter is the one for you. Go into each house willing to learn about their sisterhood. I promise this is how you will find your new home at college.

Trust the System
So, you didn't get invited back to your top house. It happens more often than you would think. That doesn't mean it's time to quit recruitment. When you get your schedule for the day, and you don't see exactly what you wanted to see, it's okay. Remember that there are probably girls who were not asked back to any house. These houses chose you. They wanted you back. The women you talked to in that chapter saw something in you. So now, you pull yourself together and you go to those houses. Be excited about it. You are going to learn more about their sisterhood each day, and you aren't really ready to make a decision about a chapter after one hour in their house. One of the girls in my chapter that I talked to on day one told me (later, after I had been initiated) that she knew from the moment she met me that I was meant to be in that chapter. I definitely didn't know that on day one. I wasn't even sure of that on bid day, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

The Sorority Members are Nervous too
You might not think you're nervous about recruitment, but sometimes it only hits you when you are lined up outside a house. First, remember that you have nothing to worry about. Of course you want to impress the women inside, but it may not be the right house for you. It's okay if not every conversation is perfect. Don't forget that the members of the chapter are nervous too. Sure, they have their sisters and they're already in a sorority. They've also spent months preparing for recruitment to make sure that you feel at home when you visit their chapter. As much as you want them to like you, they want you to like them. During recruitment, you should be looking for connections with the women you meet. They are just trying their best to establish one. 

I hope this post was helpful! If there is anything else you want to know about sorority recruitment, please ask by leaving a comment below! Sorority Sugar is also a great resource for general questions about sorority life.

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Big & Little: You're My Person

With the school year rapidly approaching, there's a lot to prepare for. I'll be going through recruitment as an active member of a sorority for the first time. This means I'll be searching for a little the moment those girls step into the Crescent Castle. I've already started crafting. Perhaps the most important aspect of Big Little Reveal is the shirts. So, I've got some good news for you.

R Little Co on Etsy has so many adorable options for big/little shirts in tanks, t-shirts and long sleeve. Her designs are so cute, but you can also personalize them. She offers the option to change colors without an extra charge. You can get Twin, Gbig, GGbig, Glittle or GGlittle shirts as well. Basically, it doesn't matter how many branches your family has, you can get all your shirts in one place!

My big and I were so excited to receive these Grey's Anatomy themed shirts (c/o R Little Co). We both love the show and we also match shirts way too often, so why not add another set?

I've collected a few of my other favorite designs below, but make sure you check out the entire store on Etsy. If you're not in a sorority, she makes other shirts too! There's something for everyone.

Big Little Floral Family Tank - S-XL All I Need is Coffee and my Big/Little Tshirt S-XXL CUSTOM PHOTO Big/Little Circle Photo Tank S-XL

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Why We Need Zoos

In May, a young boy climbed over several barriers and found himself in a gorilla habitat. We have all seen the footage, where a 450 pound male gorilla proceeds to drag the child through water. Zookeepers at the Cincinnati Zoo made the tough decision to shoot Harambe, the gorilla involved, to protect the child. The Internet was outraged. My Facebook feed was suddenly filled with individuals giving their opinions about the situation and speaking as if they were zookeepers. As a zoo supporter and conservation enthusiast, I do believe officials at the Cincinnati Zoo made the right decision. This gorilla was extremely large and strong, and also a wild animal. Keepers could not predict his actions, and had to act in the best interests of the child in danger. However, I am also not an expert in this matter. Read the full story here.

This situation, and many others, have led to many people questioning the ethics of zoos. Some were very quick to argue that Harambe and other gorillas should never be kept in captivity. I know this is a somewhat controversial concept, but I want to take this opportunity to express why I believe that we do need zoos. 

Institutions that are accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) share a similar mission. Many zoos in the United States are actively involved in conservation programs. They take part in breeding programs with the goal of being able to release animals into the wild. The San Diego Zoo has bred and released over 350 Arabian onyx in the last forty years. This program is just one example of a successful breeding initiative. Other zoos have similar programs and place researchers in communities around the world so they can work and learn where the animals will live. When you step foot in a zoo, you can find information about how that institution is involved in conservation. Zookeepers that you encounter will be thrilled to answer questions about the animals and their efforts. Visit your zoo's website to find other information about their programs to aid in conservation.

The opportunities for education are endless at zoos. Many offer classes and other programs to engage visitors of all ages. Visiting a zoo allows children to see how real the animals they learn about are. It is one thing to watch a movie or see photos of an elephant, but to stand a few yards away and see one in real life has a different impact on people. Each habitat usually features information about the animals that call it home. You can find out where they live in the wild, if they are endangered, and other fun facts. The Association of Zoos & Aquariums even offers educational resources for schools.

When you visit the zoo, you are able to momentarily escape the real world. Zoos truly are a magical place that offer the ability to encounter animals from across the world. If there is one thing that you take away from a trip to a zoo, it should be an appreciation for wildlife. I know that some people go to a zoo and just look at the animals. However, I would argue that simply admiring a species at a zoo makes an individual more likely to take action when given the opportunity. This is especially important for young children. While they are unable to grasp the environmental issues that our world faces, they can understand that wild animals are magnificent. As they age, they will be able to make choices that impact the world around them. I can only hope that they will choose to take actions to protect wildlife and conserve natural resources.

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Inside my Costume box

I remember when one of my friends (it's the girl in the photo up there) asked me "when you were packing for college, what exactly did you think you were going to need?" She was referring to my bag full of seemingly random accessories and costume pieces. She was so naive at the time, and weeks later she was asking to borrow items from my collection. Welcome to college, where dressing up isn't saved for Halloween. Themed exchanges and mixers happen regularly, and you'll need to be prepared. Start shopping and collecting costume accessories now so you aren't running to every thrift store in town looking for something specific the day of an event. To get you started, I've compiled this list of essential items every college student needs in their costume box.

Hawaiian Shirt
Beach themes are popular, and my Hawaiian shirt was passed around my group of friends often last year. It will also be essential for the perfect tacky tourist outfit.

Fanny Pack
Your fanny pack will complete your beach or tourist costume. It's also great for 90's themes. And, hello, you can hold your phone and keys in something attached to you? Any day I can wear my fanny pack is a good day. Choose one in a solid color so it'll go with anything.

I underestimated how important it would be to own a jersey going into college. Currently, I have a referee jersey and a hockey jersey. When thrifting for jerseys, head straight to the men's section. Find something a couple sizes too big. Remember, you can never go wrong with a basketball jersey.

Athletic Socks
These complete a variety of looks. Obviously they are perfect for the sports/jersey theme. You can also make them work for 90's or 80's.

Flannel Shirt
When plaid is required for a costume, I just use a flannel from my everyday wardrobe. However, you can find some great ones at thrift stores! The best part about wearing a flannel out is that they actually keep you warm. You'll need this piece for country and western themes.

You never know when you'll need suspenders. Pair them with your flannel and you have a lumberjack costume. Add a red or green shirt and hat and you're basically Mario or Luigi. Wear a plaid shirt with your suspenders and you've got the mathlete look down. 

I have bandannas in so many colors. I recommend starting with black, white and red. Like suspenders, a bandanna can be used to complete almost any look. For example, take your red bandanna and throw on a denim shirt. You're already Rosie the Riveter. The best part about this accessory is that you can get one for $1 at Walmart.

Neon anything. I recommend purchasing a bright yellow or pink t-shirt. This will be essential for your 80's look. Just pair it with leggings, and stay comfortable too. You never know when you'll need something bright.

A Men's Shirt
Risky Business? Check. Frat Guy? Check. Schoolgirl? Check. Like I said before, building your costume box is all about choosing pieces you'll wear again and again. A white button down shirt is pretty much one of the most important items in your costume collection.

Red, White & Blue

Collect all the beads you can before going to school. They can complete almost any look. From Mardi Gras to St Patrick's Day and everything in between. Beads can be especially helpful for holiday themes if you don't actually have clothing that fits the theme.

Christmas Sweater
Although you'll probably only wear this once a year, you should definitely have a Christmas sweater. Tackier is better. If it doesn't have glitter or pom-poms or some kind of animal, you're doing it wrong.

A camo hat or t-shirt will be useful for redneck and country themes. You can also use your camouflage for the popular "hunt or be hunted" theme. Camo will also be essential for army themes. Are you noticing a trend? Almost everything in our costume box will have multiple uses.

Animal Ears
Cat ears. Mouse ears. Deer antlers. Basically just collect all the animal accessories you find. You never know when they will be needed. My chapter recently had an exchange that was 'Indiana Jones & Jungle Girls' themed and we all dressed as wild animals or explorers. It was a really fun and adorable theme and my black cat ears were a vital part of my costume.

Now that you know what you really need for college, start thrift shopping! The best part about these pieces is that you don't have to pay a lot of money for any of them. Make monthly thrift store trips with your friends, and know what you are looking for. Don't buy too many multiples and stick to common themes for a well-rounded collection. Remember, you can never have too many costume accessories. You never know when something will work with your look. Check out my other college related blog posts here! 

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Why You Should go through Recruitment

When you start college, there are an endless amount of decisions to be made. You need to buy a ton of things for your dorm, find a roommate, and register for classes before the semester even begins. Then there's recruitment to think about. The summer before my freshman year, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to be apart of sorority life. Now here I am, and my chapter is one of the most important things in my life. I have no idea how I would have made it through my first year of college without the friends and sisters I met through Gamma Phi Beta. So here's why you should register for formal recruitment and take a chance on sorority life.

My sisters are the ultimate support system. College is extremely stressful, but they remind me not to take life too seriously. We take care of each other when it's necessary. These women are the first to congratulate me when I achieve something and also the first to have my back when something doesn't go to plan. When you join a sorority, you find your people. These aren't just friends, these are sisters. 

There are leadership positions within each chapter that help you gain experiences needed for the real world. If you aren't ready to take on a very demanding position, there are options with less responsibility to prepare you to be a leader. You'll also become more comfortable speaking in front of large groups!

Having one hundred or more sisters will offer so many connections and networking that wasn't possible before. If you are looking for a job, a sister probably knows someone that is hiring. If you need help in a class, you probably know someone who has already taken it. Also, you never know when or where you'll run into a sister from another school or an alumna.

You have four years to make memories that are going to last a lifetime. Without my sorority, I would not have so many events to look back on, and I only have one year in the books. From Homecoming to Greek Week to Formals to Philanthropy events, sorority life will keep you busy. It's absolutely worth it to have something like this in your life, and you'll never be bored.

If you are worried that sorority life might not be for you, I promise that it is. Formal recruitment is organized so that you can find the perfect fit for you. Sorority involvement makes a large campus feel smaller and gives you a place to call home during your college years. I have gained more from my chapter than I could ever give back, and I hope that you will find that in a sorority too.

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4th of July Weekend

I hope everyone had an amazing Fourth of July weekend! I kept busy each day, and you might have seen some of it on my instagram! I'm sharing a few more photos in this recap today.

So, there was a lot of rain forecast in Saint Louis for the weekend. I spent a lot of Saturday waiting for the rain to pass before attending a country concert at Fair Saint Louis. We were able to see LOCASH, Bobby Bones & the Raging Idiots, and Lee Brice. After LOCASH performed, I bought their album to meet them. The meet and greet was very short, but the guys were nice and thanked everyone for coming out in the rain. We bought some severely overpriced food to eat while we enjoyed Bobby Bones & the Raging Idiots. Then, we met up with quite a few friends for Lee Brice. Unfortunately, my phone battery was draining super fast and I didn't take too many photos.

On Sunday, I braved the rain again with my family to see a Cardinal's Game at Busch Stadium. We arrived early for a cooler backpack giveaway and were able to see the starting pitcher, Micheal Wacha warming up with our catcher, Yadier Molina. The game was delayed by about an hour but we sat through seven innings in a light drizzle. Eventually, the rain picked up and we decided to call it a night. Just as we were leaving, they called another rain delay. In the end, the Cardinals won! 

I headed back down to Fair Saint Louis on Monday for the fourth. There was rain all morning but it stopped and the skies cleared up by about 4pm. The sun was shining, which meant the temperature rose as well. Flo Rida was the headlining act that night so we made our way to the front and for the first few songs. After realizing that this close proximity meant being covered in other people's sweat and mud we chose to back up, all the way to the top of the hill, for the rest of the concert. We also enjoyed the fireworks from the top. There were easily a couple hundred thousand people on Art Hill that night and I decided I probably wouldn't be returning to Fair Saint Louis on the actual Fourth of July in the foreseeable future. I think I'll stay a little closer to home next year!

Overall I had a great, and busy, weekend! How was your Fourth of July?

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Summer Playlist

Summer is really here now that's it is July. I started listening to country music last fall, after I started college. I had never really liked country music, but a few persuasive friends and good recommendations have made me a fan. So, I've rounded up ten of my favorite country songs that are perfect summer jams. Let me know what your favorite songs are this summer in the comments below! 

Listen to my entire country music playlist on Spotify now, I'm always adding new songs!

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