Facing the Sophomore Slump

Hi everyone! A few weeks ago, I posted some tips for rising freshman heading off to school in the fall. When you’re going to be a freshman, there are so many things to do before move-in. You buy cute bedding to brighten up your room, create collages and canvases to decorate your walls, and go shopping for new clothes and cleaning supplies. Between endless graduation parties, scheduling orientation, and reading up about your new school, the summer before freshman year is jam-packed.

Now that I’m going to be a sophomore, the summer seems a lot different. First of all, I know what to expect, and while I can’t wait to get back to school, there’s something special about that mix of nervousness and excitement that you get before freshman year. I don’t need to go on a shopping spree for new dorm decor, not that I have the money to do so anyways. Instead, I’m figuring out how I can pay off some of my student loans and save some money to buy shirts that don’t fall apart in the wash. I hear you can sell your plasma for some cash…totally kidding (but I might be that desperate soon). Before I moved into school, I was already counting down the days until I was home for the summer. Now, I just want to go back to school!

I think I’m in a sophomore slump. I’m in a limbo between enjoying being home (and eating my mom’s food instead of the dining hall) and wanting to get back to my school routine ASAP. Since I’ve been home for over a month, I’ve been finding ways to liven up the summer and be somewhat productive.

1. Get a job: I’m lucky enough to be able to go back to the job I had in high school. It’s only part-time and I don’t get too many hours, but I’m making money that will fund my adventures once I get back to school. I like being able to support myself instead of always asking my parents for money. Plus, it gives me something to do. I know it’s hard to find jobs, but there are other things you can do to make money. I use a website called MyPoints.com. You earn points that you can later redeem for giftcards to your favorite stores. To get points, you add the MyPoints icon to your toolbar and click on it whenever you shop online at a store that uses MyPoints. You get a certain amount of points for every dollar you spend. You can also complete surveys, print out coupons, or sign up for email newsletters to get points. Since I shop online anyways, its an easy way to turn my purchases into rewards.

2. Make dorm decorations: I’ve been on a Pinterest kick lately and found some great DIYs for my new dorm. My friends and I are living on campus in a townhouse next year– 10 girls live under one roof! Luckily, it’s three floors, with two common rooms, a kitchen, and three bathrooms. This means a ton of decorating space. I’m going to do a quote canvas, make myself a Lilly Pulitzer letter, and make a new picture collage that includes my new friends (look for these posts in a few weeks). My friends and I want to make a paint chip wall for our common room; it’ll add some color since we can’t paint the walls. We’ve been stocking up on paint chips from Home Depot, pretty sure they’re catching on to us.


Isn't this cute?

Isn’t this cute?

3. Apply for scholarships: Paying for college is tough. I just got my financial aid packet and it’s finally dawning on me that I have to pay my loans back…uh oh. A lot of scholarship deadlines have already passed, but there’s still plenty of opportunities over the summer. Check out websites like Fastweb.com, moolahspot.com, and your college’s financial aid page. I finally have time to sit down and write some of these essays (at least my writing will still be sharp when I get back to school!). I am applying for anything and everything– every little bit counts. My parents are also really happy that I’m taking the initiative to pay for my own education, and when Mom is happy, everyone is happy. Plus, it’s an amazing to finally win a scholarship and get that check!

4. Keep in touch with friends: My friends and I have kept our group message going even though we’re not all at school. It’s an easy way to know what’s going on in each others’ lives and count down the days until move-in. We’re also reliving some of our crazier memories. Staying connected to my college friends makes me feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel– I’ll be back on campus soon! That being said, it’s also important to reach out to my home friends. I’m making more of an effort to connect with them. Instead of waiting for them to contact me, I’ve been texting them to make plans. Hanging out with my friends makes the summer feel like it is flying by!

5. Go to the gym: It might not be my favorite thing to do, but I always feel better once I get a good workout in. The endorphins always make me feel better, and I always feel strong and confident when I leave the gym. I think it’s important to take care of your body so I try to go a few times a week. It’s better than eating everything in my kitchen when I get bored.

6. Relax!: You just spent an entire semester at school working hard to get good grades. You deserve a break! I’m sleeping in, watching a ton of Netflix, and I’m currently obsessed with the World Cup (Go USA!!!). I’m taking these three months to recharge and destress. I have time to read that book I got for Easter, paint my nails, and try new hairstyles. It’s important to take a break. I’m cherishing this downtime before school starts back up because I know that I’ll be crazy busy once I get back.

These are just some of the ways I’m making the best of this summer. How are you spending your summer?


The Summer Before College…Tips for Seniors

I can’t believe that I finished my freshman year of college already! Last summer (and the first few weeks of school), I had no idea how I would possibly get through move-in day. I was scared to move away from my family, worried that my friends from home would move on without me, and grossed out by the idea of sharing a bathroom with the 60 other girls on my floor. Looking back on it, I wish I just relaxed during the summer and stopped stressing out over things that I couldn’t control anyways. That being said, my high school just graduated this weekend. Congrats to the Class of 2014! Their graduation got me thinking about how I felt the summer before college and how I wish I spent my summer. Here are some tips for you high school seniors already stressing about the year ahead.

  1. Breathe: I know that it feels like everything is happening at warp speed and you need to cram everything into the next three months. Inhale. Exhale. Good! You have 3 months before you leave…and then you move into college and have midsemester break about a month and a half later. You’re not leaving your friends or your hometown forever! Yes, it’s a big change, but you’ll be back soon enough.
  2. Read something: Maybe this is just because I’m going to school to be an English teacher, but all of my classes started off with, “So, what interesting books did you read this summer?” (OK, this is definitely because I’m an English major). Still, no matter what major you are, read! It doesn’t matter if you don’t think it’s “smart” enough. Read something you enjoy, and maybe you’ll learn something new. If not, at least you can impress your professors by having an answer on the first day of class.
  3. Start buying dorm supplies early and often: I pestered my mother all summer to go shopping for dorm things with me, but of course, we never went until the week before I left. We spent so much money in one week alone on things that I settled for because there wasn’t much left. Start stocking up now! Get cleaning supplies whenever they’re on sale, get your bedspread before they’re all picked over, and buy school supplies sooner rather than later. You’ll be happy you did when you’re not running around buying things the night before you leave.
  4. Spend time with friends: Don’t blow off your high school friends because you’re busy getting ready for college. When you all go off to your different schools, you’re bound to change. Your friendships will also evolve. This is the last summer you have before everything is different—cherish it. (Side note: you will change. Your friends will change. Your relationships will be different when you come home. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just a part of growing up. Embrace it!)
  5. Spend time with family: Most people opt to hang out with friends or go shopping or do anything but hang out with the family before they leave for school. Be nice to your parents, take your siblings out for ice cream, and enjoy it! Your family is going to miss you a lot, and they’re as stressed out as you are. Their baby is going off to college! Make it easier on everyone and hang out at home with the fam.
  6. Craft: There’s nothing worse than arriving to your new dorm room and seeing white cinderblock walls. You’ll feel so much more comfortable when you hang up pictures and canvases. Making dorm decorations will keep you busy over the summer, get you excited about move-in, and will make you feel 1000 times more at home once you’re all settled into your dorm.
  7. Learn how to microwave popcorn/Easy Mac: I know what you’re thinking: Seriously, a microwave. How stupid do you think I am? But seriously, eight fire alarms into the year, I wish everyone had learned how to use a microwave before they moved in. Please don’t be that girl who burns her popcorn at 2 a.m. because she accidently set the timer for 10 minutes instead of 1. You will regret it– trust me.

Hopefully these tips are useful to you all. Next week, I’ll do another post about what to expect during your freshman year. Congratulations on graduating—have an awesome summer, and get excited for the year to come!!!

PS. This post was the first of a month long challenge. I’m participating in Writing101, so stay tuned for a lot more posts from me (: