8/24/2018

Freshman 15: Tips for Move In Day


After a summer of planning and purchasing all my decor, I was so excited to move in to my dorm. I also was a little anxious because I knew once we finished setting up the room my college life was going to begin. Being prepared for the day, however, made the move relatively smooth and allowed some time for good byes.


At The University of Alabama, you have a specific move in time. We literally pulled our car in front of my dorm building at the designated time, I went inside and received my key while my parents who were with the car were greeted by a team of volunteers who unloaded everything from the car into large rolling boxes and then met me at the door and took everything to my room. Then the real work began.


I know I was fortunate that this was my experience and getting into a dorm room may be a different experience for everyone. So, I will limit sharing what I learned to inside the dorm, except to say make sure you know where to get your key and have it before you unload your car. 

Now to the room, as I said in my post about making your room homey be prepared when you walk in. It is going to look very bare and boring. But, within minutes it looks full because your pile of possessions will fill the available floor space. Before we unpacked anything, my mom had a small bag of cleaning supplies and trash bags. She carried it with her so it did not get lost in the boxes. We wiped down everything, including the plastic covered mattress and inside all the dresser drawers. While the room looked cleaned, I knew it probably had been used for summer camps. So, it just felt good to know I was starting my home away from home with a clean surface.  


Also, if you have a suite style room with your own bathroom, make sure you pack toilet paper, hand soap and paper towels in your cleaning bag!


Since we are talking cleaning, remember to dress comfortably and in clothes that you do not mind if they get a little dirty. Our air conditioner was not working when we first arrived and although they came and fixed it quickly, it was still hot. Also, we brought iced coffees with us and some bottled water. It may seem unnecessary before you arrive, but when you are in the thick of setting everything up, you'll be happy for the convenience of having a cold drink available.






Before unpacking, you'll want to set up the furniture. I had planned my layout before I arrived based on the way I knew I wanted to use each space. If you have a roommate I suggest you talk about the arrangement prior to arrival, especially if you are arriving at different times. If you have to raise or loft your bed, make sure you bring the necessary tools. This can take a little time and you may be anxious to start unpacking, but be patient. It is easier to take one step at a time in a small space.  


Once the room is set up and your bed is at the right height, unpack your foam mattress topper if you have one. Mine took a little time to expand and it needed to air out for a while. If you are arriving by car, I do have a few tips to make unpacking easier. First, leave hanging clothes on the hanger and cover them with tall kitchen garbage bags. I found it made it so easy to just remove the bag and hang them. Second, if you have under bed storage drawers, fill them before you leave home and tape them shut to avoid spilling during move in. Like I said earlier, you may not be the only people handling your items. If you packed your clothes in suitcases, plan to send all of them home except one small suitcase for fall break or Thanksgiving. And, because you want to maximize your space be sure to throw out all the packing material. Also, if you have seen my dorm room, you know I had several items that had to be assembled. My room had a living room and we used that space for building all the items. If you do not have a living area, you may want to check for a floor lounge or even build it outside and carry it in. 


It is exciting to see your room come together. Putting your art on the walls really makes a difference. I used a lot of framed art and I quickly learned the lighter the frame the easier it was to secure. Be sure to know the rules for hanging items on your wall before you arrive. You'll want to be armed with the right tools whether it is an abundance of Command strips, nails and a hammer, or push pins. And, even though you are organized and prepared, you will probably need a run to the store for a forgotten item or to get something that you did not know you needed. Before we left home, we put the addresses of the local Target, Wal-Mart, Bed, Bath and Beyond and CVS in our navigation system. This was so helpful because while I had visited campus a couple times I really had not spent any time in town. I would also recommend you know the location of an off-campus Starbucks and a restaurant or two. Because school has not started yet, the campus Starbucks might have limited hours. And, when you are ready for a break, you will want to just go to lunch or dinner and not have to look up to see what restaurants are close to campus. Trust me on this one! 



Take time to make your bed completely before you stop working on your room. Once my bed was made with all the pillows it just felt like a real room. With beds made and the room put together take a quick pic with your roommate. Your friends and family will want to see your space. But, my advice is to wait to post it until right after your parents leave. Which brings us to saying good bye and even though you may be craving your independence, it is still a big moment in both your life and your parents' lives. You are leaving the nest and everyone (including your parents) is experiencing a mixture of happiness and sadness, and probably a degree of anxiousness. If your room is filled with people, walk out with your parents at least as far as down the hall. Don't be surprised if they have some final advice (let them have this parenting moment). Personally, I took this chance to thank my parents not only for helping me get everything set up, but for helping me get to this point. After a few final hugs, I walked back to my room, sent that room picture to a bunch of friends, which gave me a connection to people. I also hung out with my new roommates. Believe it or not, your new life as a college student starts right at the moment you say good bye. Getting out there and making new friends and living this new life makes it easier even if you are a sad to leave the comfort of home.

I hope your move in goes smoothly and that you have a great start to your freshman year!

XO,

Kathleen

7/23/2018

What I Wore for Sorority Recruitment

A few weeks ago on my Instagram Stories, I asked what posts you'd like to read and I received requests to share what I wore for sorority recruitment. I was hesitant to share about my recruitment experience in any aspect because everyone has their own experience, and I did not want any of my potential posts to come across like I am some sort of recruitment coach and think you should act or dress a certain way. You should be you in all ways, shapes, and forms! But I do think seeing how people interpret outfit suggestions can be helpful, so I decided to share my outfits in case you may be feeling uninspired in approaching your own look.

I am writing this post to share, but not suggest what you should specifically wear. You'll notice most of my outfits are Lilly Pulitzer, many of which I have had for a few years. I wore these outfits because they are very me and outfits I would wear for events aside from recruitment. I felt comfortable, confident, and that I was dressing true to myself, which is my biggest piece of advice for dressing for recruitment. (Ok so I did offer a piece of advice, but I just mean if we would not be twinning all the time in real life, then you would not want to duplicate my specific outfits.) Pick outfits that fit your personal style, that you love, and feel comfortable and confident in!!! You will want to find a house where you can be you.

I planned all my outfits before recruitment began and did have a backup for each round in case I suddenly didn't like my outfit or something happened to it while I was moving. An extra outfit is not necessary, but I do highly recommend picking out your outfits beforehand. The days are long and mornings can be early, so knowing what you will wear the next day is one less thing you have to worry about during this busy week. (And I do mean your full outfit. So, if you need a special bra for a specific dress set it aside with your outfit. Or if you want to wear a specific necklace or earring, have it all laid out.)

At the University of Alabama, we have four different rounds, which I have outlined below. Each school is different, and depending on how many rounds your school has it may look nothing like Alabama's. Although the rounds and specific order may differ, the suggested attire I think is somewhat consistent across. Definitely check your school's Panhellenic website to find specific information. I hope that this post helps put an image to suggested outfits!

Also, I apologize these pictures are such poor quality. I took them in my dorm room with fluorescent lighting at about 7 a.m. each morning so they are not the best!



Round #1: Ice Water Teas (Open House)
The first round at Alabama is called Ice Water Teas and UA Panhellenic described the suggested attire as "a sundress and flats or sandals," so that's what I wore. This round is two days, so the first day I wore a Lilly Pulitzer Essie Dress with white Jack Rogers and the second day I wore a Lilly Pulitzer fit and flare dress (style no longer sold) with the same Jacks. 



Round #2: Philanthropy
The second round is Philanthropy and UA Panhellenic provides shirts for Potential New Members (PNMs) to wear with shorts of their choice. This round also lasts two days. While I had picked shorts to go with each shirt, I decided to re-wear my shorts on the second day of this round because most of my parties had been scheduled for that day. I liked these white shorts because of the bow, and since no active members in the houses would know I repeated the shorts, it didn't really matter. My shorts are the Linen Bow Shorts from Lauren James, but unfortunately they are no longer sold in white.

One note I will make regarding philanthropy round: If Panhellenic suggests that you do not wear a skort/skirt, listen. I sat on a pillow on the floor at multiple houses, and wearing a skirt would've made the transition from standing to sitting on the ground rather challenging and potentially uncomfortable.



Round #3: Sisterhood 
The third round is Sisterhood and Panhellenic suggested "a nicer sundress with comfortable wedges, heels or flats." Again, this round is two days. I wore an off-the-shoulder Lilly Pulitzer dress (style is no longer sold) with Lilly wedges I found on a major sale. On the second day, I wore a Lilly strappy slip dress (style no longer sold) with Jack Rodgers wedges. I wore my Jacks sandals in between parties, hence why I am wearing those in the picture rather than the wedges.


Round #4: Preference
The last round is preference and this is just one day. I wore a white Lilly Pulitzer shift dress (that I also wore for my high school graduation) with open toed heels. I brought flip flops to wear in between parties,

As you can see, my outfits look pretty consistent with looks I wear outside of recruitment. Wearing outfits that you feel comfortable, confident and like yourself in is so important, and I hope this post was helpful to see a described outfit applied to a real outfit. (And, if you have already shopped and bought outfits you love, but might not wear again, do NOT stress. If you are happy with how you look, you should feel confident and can be you in all your conversations.)

If you are going through recruitment this fall, best of luck and remember to be yourself! 

xo,
Kathleen

7/21/2018

Freshman 15: My Top Five Items to Bring to School

Before shopping for my freshman year, I read a plethora of must-have lists for college. The internet is full of very extensive college packing lists that can be really helpful, but I often found them overwhelming. Sifting through the long lists I tried to find which items were repeated on multiple lists to determine what was more likely a necessity versus just nice to have on campus.  Then making my own list I thought about whether I would use an item often or if it could be considered optional. I found it helpful to read the must-have lists of current students and the descriptions of how they used these items. The answers definitely change depending on who you ask, but now I have a few staples that I found myself using often (and loving), making them stand out on my list of what to bring to school.

sweatshirt (c/o)

Here's a list of five items I used almost daily and would definitely recommend, but at the time of purchase I did not see myself greatly appreciating. I will be using all the items on this list again this year and most likely through the rest of college. Whether you're unsure about bringing an item or debating if it's worth the money, I hope this post helps with your packing!


1. Mattress Topper
If I were to tell you to splurge on one item for school, it would be the mattress topper. I cannot stress how important it is not only to have a mattress topper, but also one that you love. This is one item you will use every night and helps you sleep better and as a result function better. My mattress topper was a dream — a full 3 inches of memory foam that made me love crawling into bed each night. To be honest, I began to love my twin bed at school more than my full bed at home simply because the mattress topper made it just so comfortable. Depending on how many years you will live in a dorm or have a twin bed, you may use this item for multiple years so I highly recommend investing in a quality and generous height (at least 2 inches) mattress topper.

2. Comfortable walking shoes
I walked everywhere freshman year. My dorm was a 10 minute walk from the Quad and 18 minutes from my sorority house. Walking to class, the house for meals, trips to the library and Starbucks and everything in between meant I was easily walking at least eight miles a day. Whether you attend a large or small university, it's likely you will do plenty of walking. I invested in a more comfortable pair of gym shoes in November and it made a huge difference in my comfort. I think I am fully converted to only purchasing Asics gel gym shoes in the future because they provide so much structure and padding for my foot. This might not be the brand for you, but definitely consider investing in a pair of great shoes that you'll be able to walk around campus all day.


3. Business casual outfit
At multiple points throughout the year I had one event or another that required a business casual outfit. Whether I was attending my sorority's chapter meetings, interviewing for an organization or position, or attending an event for Capstone Agency, I wore a business casual outfit semi frequently. I would recommend packing a pair of versatile pants and a blouse or a dress that's easy to dress up or down. You never know when you may need it, and it's great to begin building a closet with some staple pieces that look more professional.


4. Portable charger
Depending on what my day looked like, there were times when I was away from my room for more than 12 hours at a time. While I charged my phone while I slept, the battery did not always last the entire day so I always kept my charger with me. It was easy to charge my phone in a place like the library, but grabbing the last open seat at Starbucks or sitting in class for 75 minutes meant that an outlet was not always available when I needed it. A portable charger is ideal for always being on the go and allows you to always be with your phone when it's charging (and not have to plug it in to a wall and walk away from it). You do not need a big investment. An inexpensive portable charger can save you when you need an immediate charge and it will likely be an item you will find yourself using more often than not.

  

5. Lamp(s)
I really liked my dorm room, but not the overhead lighting. It was so harsh and after being in public buildings all day, the last thing I wanted was for my dorm to feel the same. I mentioned this in my tips for making a dorm room homey post, but I think adding a lamp or two to my room made a huge difference. I was able to see comfortably in my room at night without the overhead lighting on, and only used the overhead light when studying. Adding a lamp allows you to add a touch of personalization to your room and also create a warmer more pleasant atmosphere.  You are going to be living at school, but you do not want to feel like you are living in a classroom.

While these are definitely not all the items you'll need for a great year, they are a few that I found myself using frequently and was thankful that I brought them with me to Tuscaloosa. 

What items are your top items to bring to school?

xo,
Kathleen

7/18/2018

Summer Beauty Favorites



A habit I have been developing this summer is carving out a little time for myself. With a full work day at my internship followed by taking a summer class at community college, my days feel packed. I am in no way the most beauty-savvy girl, but I have had so much fun trying a few new products this summer. Plus, I am excited to continue incorporating them into my routine when I head back to school.


The list below is a mix of products I enjoyed most. All are relatively inexpensive — perfect for giving them a try! I've really enjoyed using these products as a way to take a few extra moments for myself whether I used them daily or just once during the week. After a few weeks of trial, I wanted to share my beauty favorites of the summer in hopes you may love them too!


One goal I had this summer was to work on clearing up my skin. Part of this goal included making sure that my skin was hydrated. After seeing Meg on Instagram recommend these Neutrogena face masks, I definitely wanted to give them a try. I can not recommend these masks enough. There are three different types: Deep Clean, Hydro Boost and Radiance Boost. I’ve tried them all, and they all are so soothing and refreshing! At least once a week, I apply the mask for 30 minutes. (You can leave it on for just 15 minutes, but I like 30 minutes better.)  There is a liquid-y gel (not the technical term) on the side of the mask/film that you apply to your face. By the end of the 30 minutes my face has soaked up practically every drop of this gel, and if there is any left I just rub it in gently. The best part is that my skin feels so smooth for days to come, too.



Because I am spending the majority of sunlit hours inside an office building, I am not getting as much Vitamin D as I would like. I have been working on getting a sunless tan this summer by using Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer. After taking my nightly shower, I take a few minutes to apply it all over. I saw results in just a few days. While I don't necessarily look like I've been beaching all summer, I have successfully transitioned from my normally translucent skin color to a more golden tone. I plan to continue using it to hopefully darken my tan some more.


I have tried a few different sunless tan methods before but none have really worked as well as I would like. I am always open for suggestions, and when Amy recommended the Lumi Glotion I gave it a go hoping it would pair well with the result from the Jergens. I absolutely love this lotion. Unlike the Jergens that I put on at night, I apply the Glotion before putting on my makeup and give it a few minutes to dry before I apply my face makeup. It blends so nicely, and I began seeing the tan set practically by the second day. It also works as a great moisturizer while providing a smooth tan.


One of my favorite ways to de-stress and take a little time away from responsibilities is by watching Netflix (big fan of The Office). I find this downtime presents an opportunity to also get something done for myself. Painting my nails is perfect way to multitask. While I rarely stray away from the color pink, I like to switch up the shade of my polish and find new favorites. This summer I am loving Essie's "Hi Maintenance" color and think it will work well all year long.


What are your favorite beauty products? I would love to hear!

xo,
Kathleen


7/05/2018

Freshman 15: Getting Involved on Campus — It's Worth it!

I was heavily involved in high school. My training and love of dance allowed me the opportunity to be involved with both the competitive dance team and in the theatre department. I also could be seen after school decorating signs for the football games, serving as a member of National Honors Society, and in a variety of clubs. It took some trial and error to find what I truly enjoyed, but I loved being a member of different organizations and the opportunity to meet students in a variety of areas within the school.

When I started at The University of Alabama, I dove head first into getting involved. Because of being so involved in high school, I knew if I wasn't involved I would be bored (...and want to go home). While it didn't happen overnight, starting to get involved in my first few weeks at school made a huge impact on the rest of my year and helped keep me busy.


Having something to do on campus besides schoolwork and social opportunities opened several doors for me this year. I got to work with professors in the communication school, became friends with experienced students who became my mentors, and learned outside the classroom in a multitude of ways. I am involved in a few different areas on campus, which I love because I am meeting students in different majors and from different areas of the country. I feel like I am growing professionally and personally in my different roles, and have a sense of belonging on campus.

Looking back, there are a few different actions I took that really helped me find a great fit with where I got involved on campus. I think attending a large school with hundreds of organizations and opportunities can be incredibly overwhelming, and my advice would be to just narrow down your list and prioritize what sounds most interesting to you! Here's how I found my involvement on campus:

Do your research.
During the summer, I used social media to find organizations I might be interested in when I got to school. I looked through the business and communication colleges' respective social media profiles and saw the different organizations within each college, and then followed a few organizations that sounded interesting. This way I had some familiarity with a few groups on campus prior to getting there and could see from their posts what they do on campus. Following along is also a great and easy way to stay updated on how to get involved and any application deadlines.

Go to involvement day.
At Alabama, one of the first events of the year is called Get On Board Day.  It usually takes place during the first week of school, and the afternoon consists of almost every group on campus setting up a table right between the student center and the Quad. These organizations have fliers and sign up sheets, and members are ready to speak to students about getting involved in their group. They can tell you when the first meeting is, what the application process looks like (if there is one), and speak about their experience in the organization. I believe almost every school has an event similar to Get On Board Day. I highly, highly recommend going to whatever event your school has. Try to find about three clubs or organizations you might be interested in getting involved in whether its service, intramural, religious, professional or so many others. By no means is this your final decision on what you will sign up for this year, but this is a great way to get information about involvement easily, quickly and in person.

Apply, apply, apply!
Between doing some research prior to getting to school as well as attending Get On Board Day, I crafted a list of three organizations that interested me. One organization did not require an application while the other two did. I attended the first meeting for the application-less organization and discovered it was not quite the right fit for me and applied for the other two hoping one would work out. While I was not accepted into one, I was asked to interview for the other, and learned of my acceptance into Capstone Agency, a student-run public relations firm, just a few days later.

Several opportunities on campus are application-based, so if you are looking for something to work on this summer I recommend putting together a business resume if you do not already have one. This will be a huge time-saver when applications open up and will be one less thing to worry about if you already have one ready. Additionally throughout the year, I had several interviews for different organizations, positions and opportunities. As you think about getting involved, one way to prepare for this potential step is to review some common interview questions. I would also recommend having a few questions that you can ask the interviewer at the end of your interview. This Everygirl article is one of my favorites and helped me craft my own questions for the end of my interviews.

Application and interview-based organizations on campus can be selective. It can be discouraging at times when it feels like you give something your all and not receive the result you desired. I am a firm believer in the saying, "when one door closes, another one opens." This held true for me several points during my freshman year. My biggest piece of advice is to just keep applying and looking for organizations that interest you. Finding your fit on campus may take time, but it will totally pay off in the end when you end up where you're supposed to be!

Speak with upperclassmen and find out what they are involved in.
One way I found out about other opportunities on campus was through upperclassmen. Through my friends in my sorority and other students in Capstone Agency, I learned about what others were involved in and quickly became interested in becoming more active on campus. I learned about Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) which went hand-in-hand with Capstone Agency and helped me learn more about the public relations field. A friend in my sorority encouraged me to apply for an ambassador organization because of my love for both the university and talking to potential students. I learned about the Industry Immersion trip I took to New York through members in Capstone Agency, too. Just talking with others and having a desire to pursue new opportunities opened doors for experiences that shaped my freshman year.

No matter what you are involved in, I recommend speaking with upperclassmen and asking what they have been involved in during their time on campus. Did they like it? Would they recommend it? Do they think you'd be a good fit? There is so much to learn from older students, and I think they are some of the best people to give honest and real answers about their experiences. While you may not have the same experience as them, be open-minded and take their advice into consideration when thinking about what you might also want get involved in on campus.

Finding involvement that's right for you can be a challenge. Especially going to a large school, there are countless ways to get involved and sometimes trying to find your fit on campus can be overwhelming. However, I found being involved so worth the effort and was a pivotal part of my comfort being away from home and helped me work on my personal and professional growth.

What are your tips for finding your fit on campus?

xo,
Kathleen

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