How To Rock Syllabus Week

The first week of classes is known as syllabus week. Often, a professor will have you print off or give you a syllabus: it’s like a contract between a student and the professor about policies, due dates, and rules.

Whether your brain is fried from the sun, or you’re groggy from too many Christmas cookies, the beginning of the semester can be stressful. Seeing a ton of due dates at once can be overwhelming!

Here are the best ways to kick off your first week of the college semester:

  • Copy all of your syllabi into a planner.

Keeping track of due dates can be challenging! In high school, you were constantly reminded of due dates and other responsibilities… in college, you are expected to keep track of everything on your own. As soon as I get a syllabus, I copy each deadline, quiz, and exam into a planner, color-coded by class. This helps me plan ahead for projects and make sure I get enough study time in.

  • Visit your professors’ office hours.

Your professors will most likely host office hours the first week of class. They hold these to answer questions and meet students. ALWAYS take advantage of this. Introduce yourself and come with a couple questions about the course or their experience in the field. This is a way for a professor to put a name to a face, and it’s always beneficial to make nice with people you’ll be spending the next 16 weeks with.

  • Book study rooms in advance.

Often times, a university has rooms you can book as a student. These rooms are PERFECT for group projects or even quiet study time. I know my college allows reservations for study rooms in the library with only your school email! When finals approach, these rooms will be fully occupied, so book ahead!

  • Manage your time.

Syllabus week is the perfect time to decide when laundry day will be, or when you’ll catch up on reading. Scheduling weekly tasks will help you fit everything in! Pick a day to catch up on cleaning/laundry, reading, notes, calling home, etc. and stick to it! Keeping up a routine will help you stay productive and help you to optimize your free time.

  • Seek out the best times to go to the library, dining halls, etc.

While you’re getting back into a routine, scope out popular areas to see when it’s the least busy. Play around with your schedule and figure out when you’ll go to the library or hit the dining hall during your day. Long lines are timely and annoying!

  • Set goals

New year, new you? How about new semester, new goals! A new semester is a fresh start to kick butt and work hard. Take advantage of that!


I hope your syllabus week ROCKS! What do you do to prepare for the first week of the semester?

A Year in Review: 2017

This year has been quite a challenge for me. There were a lot of “firsts,” and many trial-and-error adventures. I can say that it wasn’t the best year, but I am thankful for everything I am walking away with. I know I am growing into an independent, creative, and happy young woman — with help from loved ones on the way. Here are some of my highlights from 2017:

I lived on my own for the first time. This summer I stayed near campus in Athens. I had decided to sublease an apartment on Court Street. The location was perfect, right in the heart of the town. I had to learn — very quickly — how to cook for myself, keep my space clean, and how to budget to pay bills. It was the hardest thing I had ever done, but I made it. I learned a lot about myself this summer. I spent an incredible amount of time alone. As much as I wanted to go home, and have it easy surrounded by family and friends, I knew that this would make me stronger and more responsible.


I took trips with my family. My grandparents and a couple they have been friends with forever (we’re talking decades) invited me to spend a weekend with them in Hocking Hills. In a secluded corner of Ohio with no reception,  I made special memories with my grandparents that I will surely hold dear forever. We drank wine and played board games and just enjoyed the quiet.


My parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and my little cousin went to Kings Island for Winter Fest. Not only did we hop on some of our favorite rides, the whole park was decorated with lights for the holiday. It definitely got me in the Christmas spirit, and we took a family photo which perfectly describes us.

My friends visited. While in Athens this summer, my dear friend Melai, from Maryland, came to visit. Melai and I met while at a summer workshop at Ohio University the summer before my senior year of high school. We’ve stayed in contact all of this time, and it felt like we picked up right where we left off. It was awesome to spend the days by the pool and hear about her college experience. IMG_0049

My roommate from my freshman year became the best friend I had and is now more like a sister than a friend. She ended up transferring to another university, but we still talk every day. She came to visit over the summer, and again on my birthday. I’m so blessed that she’s willing to travel to see me and our friendship hasn’t changed at all.


I persisted. After an incredibly rough couple months, I was very discouraged toward the end of the semester. I didn’t think I would be able to finish the last couple weeks of school and nearly left the university. But, my grandpa reminded me that I’m not the type to give up, and I ended up sticking out the last few weeks. My grades ended up much better than I thought they would, much to my surprise.

These are some of the good things that happened this year. I was blessed with opportunities to grow and learn and practice and try again. I spent time with my family and friends that I will always remember and value. 2017 wasn’t my best year. I went through a rough patch and didn’t always do the best I could. But life is like that — things get worse before they get better, and I know brighter days are coming my way.

Monat Shampoo Review

A friend of mine, Claire, saw that I was a blogger and asked me to sample a haircare product and write about the results. Enthusiastically, I agreed. My hair is very damaged — from both coloring and using heat tools. I had hoped the Monat would fix, or at least help, the dryness and the frizz.

According to Claire, a Market Partner, Monat is an anti-aging haircare company, offering naturally based products. Manufactured in the USA, Monat is an $81 billion company, with sales growing 25 times over the projection in the first year of business.

Monat product line comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. However, there is a less than 1% return rate.

Monat has its own research and development laboratory, manufacturing facility, and distribution center. No inventory needs to be carried or deliveries to be made, Monat will ship straight to their customer. Marketed through social media, Monat has third party credibility through media coverage, national awards, celebrity endorsements, and more.

My hair is extremely damaged from heat, frizzy, and dry generally.

I tried the renew shampoo, hydration masque, and restore leave-in conditioner.

Check out Claire’s website:

I could not believe how much healthier my hair was after only one wash. It was stronger, shiny, and less frizzy. I was very pleased with the results – I didn’t expect the shampoo to instantly reverse damage.


Here are some before and after pictures:


Welcome, August!

I can’t believe how quickly the summer has gone by.

The first half of my summer was spent with friends, celebrating the sunshine and lounging around the pool. I had nothing to do but to be, and this relaxation period has put me in a positive mindset for the school year.

I made many new friends, people I would never have met if I didn’t spent the summer here. I had the opportunity to explore and experience more of Athens than I was able to during my freshman year. When the college kids leave at the end of the school year, Southern Ohio culture is even more noticeable.

Now it’s August, and I have started writing for Compass, an online news outlet for my university.  Being in a professional setting is a constant reminder of the school year quickly approaching.

On top of my internship, I work as a student ambassador for the Scripps College of Communication. I also have recently gotten a job at Big Mama’s, a mom-and-pop burrito eatery. I also am a full time student (17 credit hours) and an active member of APhiO, a co-ed service fraternity.

As I prepare for the for the upcoming school year, I have begun sorting through my apartment, packing things I won’t need for the school year. I’ve organized my notebooks and folders for the upcoming classes, and I’ve written out my classes for the fall in my planner.

I’m looking forward to going back to classes, and having friends from the school year return to campus.

One of the most important things I have focused on this summer is letting things go that are out of my control. Learning this has been beautiful. I am the time to worry about things that don’t matter until I’m sick. Not that I worry about unimportant things,  but things that I have no means of fixing or altering. I have practiced being happy with what is.

Summer in Athens was a dream. I was able to find serenity after a hectic school year (and before another one!) and for that, I am grateful.




Eating Gluten Free

My senior year of high school, I was becoming violently ill every time I ate. I couldn’t keep anything down for weeks, and I was physically exhausted. My family was miserable, unable to go out or have a family meal without me getting sick. I was constantly in pain from my abdomen.

After several doctors, we were sent to a local gastroenterologist; a doctor who specializes in the digestive tract. I had weeks worth of blood tests, and two colonoscopies; he diagnosed me with Celiac Disease.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, “when people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.”

The worst part of Celiac is eating with other people; people tend to think of a gluten-free diet as a fad, rather than a dietary need. I often find myself denying food (food I definitely would love to eat) and feeling rude because I am not eating what friends and family offer me. Most understand after I explain that it’s a food allergy, not a trendy diet. My friends have been very kind about accommodating my Celiac, and for that I am incredibly grateful.

I didn’t know eating gluten-free was actually a thing until I was diagnosed with Celiac. Here are somethings I’ve learned after eating gluten-free for over a year:

  • watch for contamination

Even if something was made with the intentions of being gluten-free, cross-contamination can make one ill. Think about your dishes and counter space when using gluten; it need’s to be thoroughly cleaned to protect you from the allergen.

  • eating out is difficult

Gluten-friendly is not gluten free. Depending on how far you are trying to stay away from gluten, be aware of what eateries advertise as gluten free. There is no shame in asking for a nutrition guide or what is in the meal.

  • fill your plates with fruit and veggies

Eating gluten-free has made me eat immensely healthier. Without the availability of anything I can eat, I find myself eating more salad at restaurants or family parties. I know that it’s better safe than sorry, and I feel no shame about eating tons of colorful fruits and vegetables!

  • learn the gluten-free grains

Although you have to cut out a large portion of the “grain” food group, there are still some options! Rice and quinoa are two easy-to-make grains that can take the spot of your wheat. Most gluten-free pastas are made with rice. Corn can be used as a base for flour, widening your options even more. Beans, too, are naturally gluten free.  Look to see what other grains are gluten free here.

Tip: Kroger and Aldi’s has a great gluten-free selection!

Eating Gluten Free in College

I go to Ohio University, and the school has been very accommodating to my dietary needs. Boyd Dining Hall even has an allergen-free station, where they make food fresh on the spot. Grilled cheese, baked potatoes, stir-fry, sandwiches– you name it! I’ve utilized that a lot, especially since at the other dining halls I’m basically limited to salad. Also, OU makes meals-to-order. If I wasn’t able to get to Boyd, I could order a gluten free meal at another dining hall and pick it up after class. I suggest looking into what your college does to accommodate food allergies!

I hope this basic guide on eating gluten-free helps anyone struggling with their dietary restrictions. Sometimes, people don’t understand why a gluten-free diet is necessary and educating them about the specific needs you have helps.


What you actually need to know about living in your first college dorm


Nothing is worse than realizing you forgot shower shoes and share a restroom with forty other girls. Trust me — I’ve been there. As a first-year student at Ohio University, I had no idea what to bring. Through out the course of the year, I had overpacked, sent too much home, made do with what I had, brought too much back, fought clutter, and learned about managing a space both effectively and creatively.

One of the major keys to successfully functioning in college dorm is making use of what little space is given.  Hopefully, this will be your last time living with another person in a 120 square feet. College is truly a time of minimalism; I have seen endless unique ways to live comfortably with so little.

At the end of every summer, eager freshman move into their first dormitory, unsure of what to anticipate as new students, bringing too much or too little.  Those who have no older siblings, or are first generation students have no guidance as to what dorm life is really like. PSA: College is a lot different from what Universities highlight during visits, tours, and orientation. There is much less guidance than one would expect, and it truly is a students’ first taste of adulthood. Regardless of the size, location or academic curriculum, moving into a dormitory or residence hall requires preparation and forethought.

Here are the four most important things to do before moving into a residence hall your freshman year of college:

Know the layout of your room

Is there a desk? Can you bunk your bed? Is a microwave and refrigerator provided? These are all things to consult your university about. Knowing what is already in the room allows you to shop accordingly and plan how your space can be used.

Talk to the roommate

Communication is key. Is there anything your roommate is already bringing that you can share, such as a coffee maker? Would you like to split the cost of some items, such as a carpet or futon? Decide as a team what would be useful in your room and what should be left at home.

Pack Accordingly

Obviously, a lot of stuff will be left at home– there simply isn’t much room in a dorm. Think about what you need for now. If applicable, leave winter stuff (clothes, decorations) at home until Thanksgiving break, when you can swap out some of your warm weather stuff. Don’t bring multiples of the same item, and always downsize if you can. For example, bring a hand vacuum instead of a full sized one.

Make friends in your hall 

Okay, so what do I bring?

Here are some dorm items most people forget:


Even with a meal plan, it’s great to have snacks in the dorm to munch on between class or study breaks.

A printer

Most schools have free or inexpensive printing for students. I decided I would bring a printer into my dorm, regardless. This saved me the most when I was running late to class, or if I didn’t want to wake up super early before my morning classes.

Storage bins

Under the bed storage is a huge space-saver!

A sewing kit/ steamer

Just in case a button pops off or you rip your favorite shirt! I recommend a steamer to get wrinkles out of clothes! It saves space and is much less work than ironing.

A toolbox

Move-in day requires basic tools; hanging stuff up, lofting or unlofting beds, putting together furniture will all depend on that screwdriver from so-and-so down the hall. The first day at OU, we had one girl on our floor with a screwdriver and everyone was using it. It’s a good way to make friends with people in your dorm!

A water filter

Tap water is sometimes questionable, so some sort of filter is great for the dorms. My room mate freshman year brought a Brita filtered water jug that fit right in the fridge.

A water bottle

While walking around campus all day, it’s best to have a metal or plastic reusable water bottle handy.

Microwavable dishes/ Tupperware

I am anti-styrofoam and wanted to be able to microwave meals, so I went with microwaveable dishes. A small container of dish soap lasted me the whole semester. I brought a bowl, plate, and a couple coffee mugs. Tupperware proved useful if I wanted to save leftovers in the fridge.

Plastic silverware

Although I am a big advocate for recycling, it saved tons of time and effort to just have plastic silverware readily available.

Tips for Move in
  • Arrive as early as possible to beat the rush
  • Find out if there is an elevator in your dorm
  • Bring a few helpers
Make sure your roommate situation rocks

1. Search

The university may provide a search engine for you to find someone compatible, but you can also search on social media. Write out a few sentences about yourself and what you’re looking for in a college roommate. Keep up with people that seem interested, and don’t turn anyone away until you’re positive you found your match!

2. Ask the important questions to make sure you’re compatible.

After talking about your major and some interests, it’s time to make sure your potential roomie and you will actually get along. Ask what their pet peeves are, what their sleep schedule is like, if they plan on outwardly breaking any rules. Learn about their interests and likes. It’s much easier to ask deal-breaking questions beforehand.

3. Split the cost

Dorm shopping will be so much cheaper if you split things like disposable dishes, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. Big items, like televisions, carpets, and futons can be split to benefit everyone for a lot less!

4. Set boundaries

Don’t be afraid to let your future roomie know what you expect. If you don’t want guests on school nights, or you like lights out by 10 p.m. — let them know! It will make communication easier.

5. Get to know each other

You want to make sure that you have the basis to be friends, too! Make friends with your roommate. That’s one person you already can depend on freshmen year. It’s much easier to live with a friend than a stranger.

6. Communicate

Let you roommate know when you’ll be home, when the light is bothering you, or even when you might be stressed during a busy week. Be honest when your feelings are hurt or you’re annoyed. Nobody can fix a problem they don’t know about.

Young adulthood is an exciting journey, albeit can be confusing and scary.  College lets you leave the training wheels on while exploring who you are and who you will be in the world around you. With preparation and planning, it will be much easier to spend your time in college working smart, playing hard, and having fun. Utilize your space! Can you come up with any unique ways to save room in the dorms?