About a year ago I was sitting in my apartment’s office working my desk job with Alice in Wonderland playing in the background. A resident walked in and giggled at my choice of movie and asked if I’d ever applied to or done the Disney College Program. The Disney College Program? What in the world was that? I told the girl I’d never heard of it and that’s when she began telling me all about the six months she’d spent working in the most magical place in the world. She said that sadly applications for the upcoming fall program had just closed but in about two months the applications for the spring program should be coming out. Little did I know, that conversation would be the start of a whole new, magical chapter in my life.

I spent hours pouring over YouTube videos and blog posts about the college program. I read everything from what to pack to how you should spend your day in the parks. Then I presented my crazy idea to my parents. I’m super grateful for parents that push me to do the things that I think I’ll never even be considered for or that I’m not ‘good enough’ for. When I told my mom the first thing she said was, “When do you apply?”. And when I told my dad the first thing he said was as long as I wasn’t friends with Tinkerbell when she flew over the Magic Kingdom he was okay with me doing it.

Then applications dropped. I nervously submitted my resume and prior experience and waited. Then about twenty minutes later I got an e-mail that I’d been selected to do the web based interview. That same day, I completed my web based interview and was approved to move onto the phone interview. After several weeks of waiting I had my phone interview the day after my 21st birthday and continued to wait. I nervously watched as people on the Disney College Program page I was a part of got their acceptances and I was still waiting. That’s when Friday September 23rd came along. I was accepted to the Spring program in Walt Disney World.

After that day the rest of my semester was a whirl-wind. I somehow found someone to sublease my apartment to, made it through finals, still concentrated on school, and was busy with my organizations. But all of my free time was dedicated to Disney. I spent hours reading posts on the Facebook pages and watching more YouTube videos. What I could never put my finger on was why people were talking about never wanting to leave and how much of an impact this program had on their life. Yes, it was working for Disney and yes, for most of us it meant relocating to a new state, but it was a minimum wage job. What could I possibly gain from that? Oh sweet innocent, Megan. How little you knew then.

I found seven other girls excitedly anticipating their college program on the Facebook pages and spent way too much time texting with them giddy with excitement each day. When housing applications finally dropped I was working an 8 hour shift at the grocery store and Katie was passed out asleep in bed from long shifts at Express. It turns out that the max number of people you could pair with was 6 and Katie and I had missed being able to pair with the girls we had been talking to. And honestly, Katie and I hadn’t seemed to be the best pair from the group chat. She loved Panic! and I’m admittedly not their biggest fan. I love Taylor Swift and probably sounded like her biggest night mare.

Chatham 7101, oh how you are filled with memories. From our living room flooding and maintenance bringing  in industrials vacuums to get rid of the water to screaming in the middle of the night when we spotted a lizard scury across the floor in our bedrooms. It was knowing that there was always someone in the apartment to explore the parks with or simply stay in and have a Disney movie marathon with. It was looking up from the kitchen table and seeing a Transtar bus stuck in the bushes across the street and getting home late at night and talking about the crazy day we’d had. It was having friends that also loved eating raw cookie dough and people that also always had chips and salsa on hand. It was excitedly pulling up to Chatham waiting for the security guy to exclaim, “welcome home, ladies!”.

While we might have been a bit afraid of living together with the whole Panic!/Taylor Swift thing, I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate. Katie, thank you forever for being my MK roommate, just as we had plastered on our doors. Thank you for late night, early morning, and mid day food runs. I can’t imagine getting lost in Orlando with anyone else, at least we realized how close we lived to SeaWorld from one of our first failed attempts to get to Magic Kingdom without Google Map’s assistance. I’ll never forget our excitement to move to Chatham 6202 because it meant we’d no longer hear washer and drier doors slam at all hours of the night and would no longer hear people sharing way too personal stories in the laundry room on the other side of the wall. Thanks for introducing me to Hawaiian pizza, giving me a new appreciation for all things Bachelor, and always staying awake so we could rant about our day at work. Here’s to surviving our disgusting sink, late night Wal-Mart trips, never remembering what my car looked like, throwing yourself into the ocean each and every time we went, not realizing we weren’t following each other on Twitter for 6 months, and dumpster diving for your keys. I’ll never forget complaining about our work day and hearing “shots, shots, shots, shots!” coming from the room above us and how hilarious we found it because at least someone was having fun that day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me a roommate that I sobbed with when it finally came time to not say goodbye, but see ya real soon.

“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” -Winnie the Pooh

I was blessed enough to call Fantasyland my home. Every day I got to wear a purple princess dress that Rapunzel herself designed for me and pixie dust little girls as I excitedly announced, “with a little faith, trust, and pixie dust, may all of your dreams and wishes come true!”. I’ll never forget the little girl who looked at me in awe and said, “mommy, look! Rapunzel’s hair does grow back blonde!” or the little girls I talked to before they met Rapunzel and Tiana whose mom found me after the meet and greet and said, “I just wanted to let you know that my daughters called Rapunzel a fake because they think that you are the real Rapunzel.” (this was even after I’d told the little girls I was a royal citizen of Fantasyland and that Rapunzel had designed my dress, but that I was not Rapunzel) There were the guests who genuinely thanked me for making magic for them on their vacations and the guests who cried because they appreciated magical conversations with cast members. While yes, there were the guests who weren’t so magical, the crazy lines during poncho rush, the people who didn’t plan their Disney vacations at all, and the guests who you wondered how they chose Disney as a vacation destination, the good guest experiences always outweighed the bad guest experiences.

My Fantasyland Family, who is affectionately called the Fan Fam, was always there for me. I’ll never forget looking at the girls whose college program was coming to an end and thinking to myself that they were the kind of cast member I wanted to be. They made magic for the guests, knew how to fluff the princess dresses perfectly, and some how got their stores fully stocked early in the night. I’ll miss having stock lists that would be covered in sparkles and had all of the princesses’ names on it. It was Lexi storming through the door to tell about the latest crazy thing that happened to her, Meghan doing the MISI dance again, Sierra twirling through Sir Mickey’s in the purple princess dress, Betzy wearing her tiara at all times, Chelsea teaching all of us newbies how the ropes worked at Disney, Megan always bragging to me about how she never had stock shifts, Kayla somehow making it through 8 hour shifts in heels (I forever give you props, girl), Brooke always making the most magical moments for guests, questioning how Lindsey would get a shift that wasn’t stocking, and all of us somehow managing to keep Fantasyland from falling apart. It was our coordinators who told us that while our journey was ending, Disney would always be home. Thank you Virgil for laughing when I wanted to sing Frozen before we re-opened Castle’s doors, the Amanda’s for always making us laugh, Aimee who always encouraged me to follow my dreams and loved my crazy stories, Tony who always pushed us to make the best, most magical moments for our guests, realizing that I had “made it” as a cast member when Brad seemed to actually like me, and Ali who always let us talk about how crazy it could get in the land. It was these people and this family that brought so much magic to my experience. They all truly pushed me to be the best cast member I could be and kept me going to make the most magic I could for the guests, myself, and my fellow cast members.

Thank you Disney for allowing over 3,000 bright eyed and bushy tailed college students to move to Orlando and experience the magic that is your company. Thank you for allowing us to learn about the magic behind the scenes and how much hard work goes into making such magical experiences for the guests. Thank you for showing us the importance of carrying on Walt’s legacy in a company he poured his heart, soul, mind, and time into. For showing us that strong values are the building blocks for a brand and is what will bring people back. Thank you for sharing with us your passion for the company and telling us that with a little faith this company can take us further than we ever imagined.

Thank you for giving me a renewed sense of confidence in myself, my abilties, and my dreams for the future. At college it’s easy to get down on a grade that was lower than you expected or an overall class grade that wasn’t as amazing as you thought it would be. It’s easy to start thinking that that lower than expected grade is what defines you and what you can do in the future. Thank you for showing me that I’m so much more than a class grade or a cumulative GPA. That it’s my work ethic, my determination, my drive, my eagerness to learn and improve, and my knowledge that will get me further in any career I might find.

Thank you, Disney, for teaching me the values of a brand. As a marketing major and brand nerd myself I can’t begin to describe how much I learned about branding and customer service by working for your company. It was incredible to learn the values that Walt built his company on and to see how those values are still being carried on in the company to this day. It was learning how every aspect of the company has so much influence on the brand and how it’s portrayed. It was learning that this brand really did start with a mouse and now we are here.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I had laughed reading some of the comments people had on the program. I didn’t understand how a minimum wage job could make such a difference in someone life, how it could challenge them, and how they could not want to leave. Fast forward to me extending my program that should have ended at 4 months to 6 months long, crying over seeing the new hires getting trained and you’d give anything to go back to that, realizing how much this program has made you grow and stretch, and forever wishing you could have just one more day working in the parks because all you want to do is make more magic.

So Walt, here’s to you. Thank you for making my dreams come true. And I promise, I’ll never loose site of them and I’ll always do as dreamers do.

“And so our journey comes to an end, but yours continues on. Grab hold of your dreams and make them come true for you are the key to unlocking your own magic. Now go, let your dreams guide you. Reach out and find your happily ever after.” -Happily Ever After Fireworks Spectacular


Some college packing lists out there are a bit intimidating to say the least. While I am a girly girl and own more lip glosses than one probably should, I do know how to pair-down to only the necessities. While everyone has different ideas on what a necessity is, I hope that this list gives you good ideas as to what you need to move to your dorm and what you should pick up for your dorm. While what food items you like to keep around might be much different, feel free to print off this list and make changes to it as needed. I hope I’ve at least provided a base for what you need.


  • Mattress cover
  • Memory foam topper
  • Comforter or duvet with a duvet cover
  • Mattress pad
  • Pillows
  • Pillow Cases
  • Twin XL sheet set (with an extra sheet set if you want)
  • Extra Blankets


  • Coffee
  • Coffee creamer
  • Tea
  • Hot chocolate
  • Milk
  • Bread
  • Dry Cereal
  • Yogurt
  • Popcorn
  • Soup
  • Peanut Butter
  • Jelly
  • Oatmeal
  • Bottled Water
  • Granola bars

Kitchen Supplies

  • Can opener
  • Blender
  • Plastic forks, spoons, and knives
  • Paper plates and bowls
  • Coffee Maker
  • Microwave
  • Mini fridge
  • Tupperware
  • Plastic Bags
  • Water filter pitcher
  • Coffee mugs
  • Glasses
  • Toaster
  • Paper towels


  • Laundry Bag or Hamper
  • Stain remover
  • Drying rack
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Fabric softener
  • Detergent


  • Two or three-piece suit
  • Button up top
  • Nice heels
  • Bras
  • Underwear
  • Athletic socks
  • Tank tops
  • T-shirts
  • Sports bras
  • Athletic tops
  • Athletic shorts
  • Leggings
  • Yoga pants
  • Cardigans
  • Blouses
  • Trousers
  • Jeans
  • Sweatshirts
  • Jean shorts
  • Sandals
  • Tennis shoes
  • Wedges
  • Sundress


  • Command Hooks
  • Dry Erase Board
  • Trashcan
  • Additional Seating
  • Alarm clock
  • Under-the-bed Storage
  • Hangers
  • Step stool
  • Photos
  • Over-the-door storage pieces
  • Hanging closet organizer

Desk and School Supplies

  • Stapler
  • Staple remover
  • Tape dispenser
  • Pencil holder
  • File folder
  • White out
  • Binders
  • Folders
  • Notebooks
  • Loose leaf notebook paper
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Easers
  • Calculator
  • Dry erase markers
  • Planner


  • Portable phone charger
  • Phone charger
  • Ear phones
  • Headphones
  • Laptop with charger
  • IPad with charger
  • Flash drive
  • Camera with memory cards


  • Towels
  • Shower caddy
  • Loofah
  • Bath robe/wrap
  • Shower cap
  • Shower shoes


  • Body wash
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Face wash
  • Moisturizer
  • Eye cream
  • Face mask
  • Tooth brush
  • Tooth paste
  • Mouthwash
  • Floss
  • Hairspray
  • Sunscreen
  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish remover
  • Shaving cream
  • Make-up
  • Make-up remover
  • Lip balm
  • Tampons/pads

Personal Care

  • Hair straightener
  • Curling iron/wand
  • Blow dryer
  • Razor
  • Sunglasses
  • Tweezers
  • Contracts with solution and case
  • Nail clippers
  • Nail files
  • Cotton pads
  • Hair brush
  • Hair Ties
  • Tissues


  • Small First-Aid kit
  • Any prescription medicines
  • Band-Aids
  • Sore throat drops
  • Throat spray
  • Allergy Medicine
  • Eye drops
  • Bug Spray
  • Condoms
  • Retainer
  • Vitamins (multivitamins and supplements)
  • Pepto Bismal
  • Over-the-counter pain medicine

Cleaning Supplies

  • Dish soap
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Broom
  • Dustpan
  • Hand soap
  • Mini vacuum
  • Swiffer
  • Sponges
  • Trash bags
  • Air freshener
  • Drain cleaner
  • Shower cleaner
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Toilet brush
  • Small vacuum


  • Sleeping bag
  • Air mattress
  • Tide To-Go Pens
  • Lint roller

Are you going into your freshman year of college? Are you planning on using this list for your packing list? If you have already moved to college, what would you add or take away from this list? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Gearing up for college is scary to say the least. It’s hard to figure out what you actually need and what you will actually use once you get to school. And if you are anything like I am, figuring out what tech and digital resources you need is stressful, overwhelming, and expensive. Most of the things on my list are available at a discount to students, so I highly recommend checking them out and I’ll link where you can go to get the discounts. As a soon-to-be college senior myself, the things I’ve listed have been my go-to resources since I was a freshman myself.


College comes with lots of note taking. Even as a marketing major, the amount of notes I take both in class and from my books is crazy. Personally, how heavy my backpack gets trying to lug around my books, notebooks, and laptop is crazy, so I like to easily organize my typed notes in Evernote. This way I can organize my class, test, and more. Plus, they have an amazing app that allows you to view your notes on the go such as on the bus to class or waiting in line at Starbucks, a 5 star feature for this girl who likes to multi-task and make the most of her time. Click here to check out Evernote’s website.


No, this isn’t a necessity, but I’m not sure what I would have done without a study playlist during long hours in the library prepping for an exam. Music is my favorite thing to turn to when I’m typing out class notes, making notecards, reading for class, and prepping my planner for the upcoming week. I personally use the free version of Spotify that does play ads, but isn’t anything too crazy. If you do choose to opt in for the paid subscription Spotify offers a student discount that is only $4.99 a month. Click here to learn more about the student discount.


Quizlet is my hero, literally. In case you’ve never used them yourself, Quizlet is a virtual flashcard service that allows you to make your own flashcards and then use them either online or on their app. I personally learn best by writing or typing things out and then quizzing myself, so Quizlet is my go-to for everything from macroeconomics to basic gen-ed courses. I’ve shared my flashcards with friends in my classes before and then had them thank me for sharing and say they’ve started using the site as well. So if that isn’t enough convincing to get you to use them, just go and check out their site for yourself. Click here to visit their site.

Amazon Prime Student

How are you a college student if you don’t use the benefit’s Amazon offers through Prime Student? I’ve been using Prime service long before I entered college and couldn’t wait to get my hands on Prime Student. Not only do you get it for free for the first six months, it offers free 2-day shipping and tons of other amazing add-ons and features. I personally enjoy Amazon Prime TV and Movies to binge (I mean watch…) my favorite shows and movies. They also offer you Prime Reading, a digital library that offers thousands of titles that you can download to your device for free. Basically, Amazon Prime Student is amazing and a life saver. I mentioned the free 2-day shipping, right? Check out Amazon Prime Student here.

Google Calendar

Since I don’t personally use all Mac products, Google calendar is my iCal. If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know I swear by my paper planners. In fact, I’m not sure I’d live without a way to write out my daily plans and to-dos. It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized I might need something in addition to my paper planner, which is where Google calendar came into play. I use it to track when I have classes, my blog posts, social events, meetings, tests, study groups, and more. I even turn on notifications so I get a reminder sent to my phone for important things like when my rent is due and if I have a blog deadline coming up. I love that it is something I can use on my computer and on my phone when I’m on the go. Plus, it allows me to change times without having to cross things off in my planner, a plus for this paper planner freak.

Microsoft Office

I can’t believe I have to put this on my list of essentials because I thought everyone would have it on their computers already, but that’s not the case. I can’t tell you the number of people who try to get by with just notepad or Google docs. I promise you, no matter your major you will need more than those programs to get through college. In fact, I use Word to write all of my blog posts. As a student, you are offered a huge discount on a four-year subscription by using a .edu email address. Check out the discounts available to you through Microsoft here.


I first heard of Grammarly and their services when I was working an office job. We used it so that when we e-mailed our residents we would have not only perfect spelling, but perfect grammar. It shocks me how many students don’t know about Grammarly so they can’t utilize it. With a Grammarly account you can copy and paste documents into an online editor and you can install it into your Google Chrome browser to ensure proper grammar on everything from e-mails to social media posts. You can also get a Premium membership that allow you more features such as word suggestions, genre-specific tips, and even more editing help. Check out Grammarly here.

And those are my favorite resources for college students. I personally use all of these resources myself and have used all of them for the majority of my college career (except Grammarly, I wish I had that freshman year!) and even use them for my blog. Do you use any of the resources on this list? Are there any resources that you recommend checking out? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

I often joke with friends that part of my motivation to get through college is so that I can still get the student discounts at my favorite stores. In fact, what are you doing as a college student if you don’t use your student ID to try and get a discount? Today I’m bringing you my ultimate guide to all of the best student discounts you can get with your student ID card.


Students get free two-day shipping for six months, discounts on Amazon Student Prime, and more.

Discount Dance Supply

Offers 10% off of your first purchase with student ID.

Waffle House

Offers a 10% discount.


Offers a 20% discount.

The Limited

Offers 15% off of in-store purchases.


Offers 5% off of food at participating locations.

The Economist

Offers up to 69% off and free gifts.

Eddie Bauer

These locations offer a discount for students, but the discount rate varies based off of location.

Club Monaco

Depending on location, you can get 15-20% off of purchases in store.

Firehouse Subs

Participating locations offer 10% off.


Offers free shipping on all orders.

Hancock Fabrics

Get 10% off of supplies you buy for class projects.

Necessary Clothing

Offers a 20% discount to students when you spent $100 or more online.

Corepower Yoga

Varies by location, but they do offer specialty pricing to students.


Offers $5 student burrito meals

Fed-Ex Office

Get 30% off on documents and 20% off of shipping services.


Participating locations offer a free drink with a valid student ID.

Jiffy Lube

Offers $10 or 10% off for students.

Charlotte Russe

At participating locations you can get 10% off of merchandise.

Juicy Couture

Offers 15% off of purchase in store.

Dairy Queen

Offers vary by participating location.

24 Hour Fitness

Offers special pricing to students, varies by location.

Banana Republic

Offers 15% off of you full-priced purchase in stores.

Ben Franklin Crafts

Shop here on Tuesdays and get 10% off of all purchases.

Guilford Press

Get 40% off of books, videos, newsletters, and journals plus free shipping.


Offers student edition software such as Acrobat and Creative Suite.


Full-time students under the age of 25 with a B average or better get a discount.

Sam’s Club

Offers the Sam’s Club Collegiate Membership and savings on college essentials.


Participating locations offer 10% off of your purchase.

Sweet Tomatoes

Many locations offer 10% off.

The New York Times

Students get a student rate of 99 cents for the first 4 weeks and 50% of regular pricing after that.


Offers the Student Advantage Discount Card which gives you 20% off of fares and more.


Offers 50% off of Norton Protection Software.

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores

If you are 14 or older and register with the Jo-Ann Student Discount Program you will get 10% off of all of your purchases and two coupons to use in-store and online.


Most locations offer a free drink.

Zip Car

Varies by location, be sure to look up if they offer discounts with your school.

AllState Insurance

Offers 25% off with good grades until you are 26.

Top Shop

Offers 10% off in stores and online.

Burger King

Offers 10% off of your purchase.


Offers 15% off of purchases.

The Wall Street Journal

Offers more than 75% off of regular rates for online, print, and mobile delivery.

  1. Crew

Offers 15% off of full priced items.

Apple Store

Offers special pricing to students such as up to $200 off of a new Mac.

State Farm

Offers a Good Student Discount where you can get 25% off if you get good grades.

AMC Theaters

Typically offers a student rate.

Do you use any of the discounts listed on this post? Are there any student discounts that you would add to this post? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

This was originally published on my blog in May 2015 and is being republished for college month. Enjoy!

About a month into my freshman year of college I sat down in my favorite coffee shop on campus and starting writing this list. I outlined the major things that I had already learned and slowly added onto this list as the year progressed. Now, I’ve just finished up my freshman year of college and added a few more things that I learned along the way. Because if I’m being completely honest, freshman year is scary. I went in worried about things that didn’t end up mattering and unaware of the things I should truly have been worried about.


1. Get involved. Yes, you’ve heard it about a million times, but honestly the best thing to do in college, or any form of school, is to get involved. It’s a great way to network, meet new people, improve your time management skills, add to your resume, and allows you to be involved with something you are passionate about.

2. Know your priorities. In college, there are lots of events being held that you can fill your free time with, but you need to know your priorities. A weekend long service trip may not be the best idea if you have three tests the next week.

3. Have Goals. Take the time to make goals for yourself to reach during the school year. Set goals for things outside of school as well, such as social, financial, work out, relationship, or involvement.

4. Wear Shoes in the Shower, wash your hands, flush the toilet, clean up after yourself if you get sick. Just because your mom and dad aren’t around doesn’t mean your personal hygiene can go out the window.

5. Don’t Allow People to take advantage of you. The fact that I am a freshman on campus and have a car is a pretty big deal. Add on top of that the fact that I managed to get a really good parking spot in the parking lot right outside my dorm, people are well aware of the fact that I have easy access to a car. Just because you have a car does not mean that you should be the designated taxi driver.

6. An Ethernet Cable is the best investment you will ever make. Buying an Ethernet cable for my dorm room was honestly the best investment I have ever made. I always try to stay out of my dorm room and be on campus for the majority of my day, but when I have online homework, I am in my dorm room using Ethernet so that when Wi-Fi goes out, it doesn’t disrupt the timed math quiz that I am taking.

7. Have a College Bucket List. Start a bucket list of sorts of things that you hope to be able to do while you are on campus. Some examples of this could be to get involved in Greek life, to be an RA in a dorm, to be nominated for homecoming court, or to be a campus tour guide.

8. Keep in Touch with Friends From Home. I know you are super busy and meeting new people on campus, but keep in touch with your friends from home. They would love a quick update about how your move into the dorm went and how much you love your RA.

9. You Learn to Use Your Time Super Effectively. Coming to college and getting adjusted to the crazy college schedule took a good four weeks of getting used to and figuring out my routine. I had anywhere from an hour to four hour break between classes, each day had a different schedule, and days and times for my organization were always changing. It was a big adjustment, but I learned how to plan for each day to use my time to the best of my ability.

10. Do the “silly” freshman things. At my university we have something called a FIG, which stands for Freshman Interest Group. You can select a FIG based off of your major, so for example, since I’m a marketing major I was in the marketing FIG. A FIG essentially meant that you lived on the same floor as other people in your FIG, had two lecture classes with them, and then a FIG class with them. Whenever I told older students that I was in a FIG, many of them told me that they felt bad for me and not to worry “it will be over next semester”. Honestly, I think joining the marketing FIG was the best choice that I made coming to college, especially making the jump into 500 person lecture halls. I will never be able to explain how much it helped having the realization that twenty people in the lecture hall would be familiar faces.

11. Community Style Bathrooms Never Become “Normal”. While yes, I love that while people are showering with their music playing there is a mini dance party/singing marathon in the bathroom, I still shriek a little on the inside when my foot accidentally touches the floor when I’m getting into the shower or some part of my body touches a wall in the shower. It will never become normal that I am wearing flip flops in the shower or that I have to carry all of my stuff to the bathroom in the morning to wash my face and brush my teeth. It is fun, but I miss having all of my stuff in the shower, not having to wear shoes in the shower, and having good water pressure.

12. Take Classes Outside Your Major. This is the most common way that people find minors that they are interested in or even change their major. Or it could just be the way you incorporate something you are interested in into your class schedule, such as the textile and apparel class I took last semester.

13. Make Time for Yourself. A few weeks into college I realized that I was always around people, whether it be in class, studying at the library, or even my own dorm room, I didn’t have much alone time for myself. That’s when I started taking runs around campus, driving to the grocery store, and reserving private study rooms just to get away from people for a short amount of time and give me some time to myself.

14. Buy a good umbrella. I kid you not when I say eight weeks into my first semester I was on my 4th umbrella. Take the time to invest in a good umbrella because you will be using it a lot more than you imagine you will be. I’m speaking from experience on this one…

15. Utilize Rate My Professor and upper class-men. Rate My Professor has honestly saved me from almost picking some of the toughest or most disorganized professors on campus, which saved me grade wise. Another good thing to do is talk to upper class-men in your major about professors and classes and get advice from them.

16. Get to know everyone. Outside of your classmates and peers, get to know others. Talk to your RA’s, your advisers, your professors, and the lady that scans your meal card at the cafeteria.

17. Find your favorite places to study. I have a place to go to study when I want to be able to read my index cards out loud, a place for when I need total silence, and a place to go that is my absolute favorite escape for when I need to “get away”. There is nothing wrong with a change of scenery every now and then, especially when it feels like you are doing homework and studying for hours on end.

18. Invest in good tennis shoes. I kid you not when I say that a “lazy day” for me means that I have walked three miles. The Nikes that I bought before coming to school were probably the best investment that I made. While I love to look cute and put together, I can save that for going out with friends or the weekends. I’m always on campus wearing good tennis shoes and it has saved my feet and my legs from so much pain.

19. You get what you put into it. I can’t even begin to put into words the difference between the people who get themselves out there and do things and the people that don’t even try to get involved. Now, I am not talking about people who basically only have time for their job, school, and school work (trust me, I know people like this! I look up to them and want to learn their time management ways) I’m talking about the people that you want to ask, “Do you ever leave the dorm? Or your dorm room in general?” The people that seem to never leave their rooms are the ones that think college isn’t worth it, that it’s a waste of time, and that it isn’t what they thought it would be. Those that are putting themselves out there, getting involved, going outside of their comfort zones, and pushing themselves are the ones that are always talking about how much they love college and how it’s so much better than what they expected. You get out of it what you put into it.

20. Have a budget. I hear it all the time, “I have money now, so I will worry later when I start to run out.” That is not the way that you want to go about spending your hard earned money that is supposed to last all year but only lasts you half way through first semester because of your horrible spending habits. Sit down and make a list of all of the things you have to pay for that are necessities, figure out the costs for those, how much you have to spend that much, then how much money can be your “fun money.” Is being on a budget fun? No. But trust me, you don’t want to be the one spending your Christmas break trying to find an on-campus job because you already spent all of the money in your saving account.

21. “You Have a Package” E-mails are the Best. The best e-mails that you will ever receive come with a subject line of “You have received a package that is too large to fit into your mail box.” Those e-mails are literally like Christmas come early even if you are the one that ordered it and have been tracking it online.

22. Ask for help if you need it. There is this strange thing that comes with college that asking for help isn’t okay. Yes, you have this crazy new awesome since of freedom, but I promise asking your professor about that math lesson that went completely over your head will not take that since of freedom and independence away from you. Your professors are there to help you!

23. Get involved in events your campus puts on. Our school hands out a calendar to each student at the beginning of the school year that includes all of the events going on around campus. From Flick on Faurot to Spa Night, from Free Movies to the Career Fair, it is all on this calendar and online. I always hop onto the website at the beginning of the month and scroll through the calendar and add things for the month to my calendar to go to if I happen to have the chance.

24. There is a world outside of campus. I kid you not when I say that after a week of being on campus, going grocery shopping that Saturday was pretty eye opening. One of my friends even made that comment that she had kind of forgotten that there were grown-ups and little kids in “the real world”. Laugh all you want, but until you are surrounded by the college atmosphere, you truly do forget about the “real world”. I live in the dorms on a large campus and walk everywhere, so actually getting into my car and driving off campus is refreshing.

25. Treasure every alone moment you get. Living in the dorms, having a roommate, and all of the amazing things that come with being a college student has a down side: you don’t get much alone time. I used to feel bad for the students that sat by themselves at dining halls until I realized that is how they are getting away from people and finding that alone time. The most cherished time I have (yes, cherished) is driving by myself to go get groceries. It’s amazing to actually hear yourself think and not have other people talking around you.

26. Track your involvement. Did you have an on-campus job? Where you a volunteer at your school’s annual blood drive? Did you have a leadership position in your sorority or fraternity? Have an organized way of tracking your involvement. I personally have a Word document saved in my college folder that tracks what I was involved in each semester. Thanks to tracking everything, I won’t forget things that can be put onto a resume, including the things I thought I would “never forget”.

27. Get out of your dorm room. Get out of your dorm room and go somewhere else, even if it’s just the dorm’s lounge that is on the floor below you. I am honestly only in my room to sleep, get ready, eat breakfast, use Ethernet, and to watch too much Netflix with girls on my floor. Other than that, after I leave in the morning, I’m on campus all day unless I go back to use Ethernet.

28. Talk to your adviser. Your adviser is there to guide you through the next 4, or even 5, years of your life, so you have to use them to your advantage. It is recommended that you talk to them at least once a semester to check up on things, make sure you are on track to graduate, and plan classes for next semester. I honestly LOVE my adviser. I walk into my appointments with my list of required classes for my major, a list of questions, and a list of classes that I am looking at for the next semester and she always is happy to answer everything, walk me through things, and explain things that I completely misunderstood.

29. Homesickness is real. The hardest thing for me about going to college was that I was the only person from my graduating class at my university and several of my friends went to the same university and had classes together. Getting onto Facebook and seeing their posts with pictures of them together was very hard. The thing that I couldn’t figure out though was that I loved my university and I had always had the impression that if you were homesick you didn’t like your school. That is not the truth at all. The truth of the matter is, you are at this strange in-between place in your life. You are torn between two places because you have your room at school and your room at home. You are adjusting to new found independence and are trying to figure out your life. If you are homesick, it’s okay! It is completely normal and doesn’t mean that you don’t like your school. I promise, from experience, it is all okay and will get better.

30. Use your school’s GPA calculator. Your GPA in college is a lot different in college than it was in high school. In high school your GPA is typically based off of 6-8 classes, while your college GPA is typically based off of 4-5 classes. That one B or C+ can make a big difference on your overall GPA for the semester. I definitely recommend using your university’s online GPA calculator and figuring where your GPA will be based on grades you feel you can reasonably obtain.

31. It can be difficult living with a roommate. While living with someone else can be great, sharing one small room together is difficult and issues can occur. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t like how she is handling something within your room or you feel that you are being taken advantage of in some way.

32. College students have some of the best deals offered to them. From free access to the gym or discounts at retail stores, college students have lots of wonderful deals offered to them. Never be afraid to ask if a store offers a student discount because often times they do!

33. Get to know people within your major. Just from getting to know upper level students from within the marketing school, I’ve heard all about good GPA boosting credits, professors that I need to have, and which classes I need to be prepared to have a lot of work in.

34. Talk to you RA. Your RA’s are there to help you and want to help you, so talk to them and use them as a resource! And if you are having roommate issues, they are the people to turn to because typically they have been there too.

35. Go to class. In college, you (typically) don’t have your parents there to wake you up or tell you that you need to get off of Netflix and go to class. Even if you feel that you don’t get anything out of going to class, go! You or your parents are paying a lot of money for you to be there, and you never know, a professor who never gives out extra credit might actually give it because of how few people show up to his class.

36. Do the extra credit. Even if it’s just one point, do the extra credit. You never know, that one little point could be the difference between a B+ and an A-.

37. Utilize your syllabus. Your syllabus outlines your class, assignments, and tests, so it’s always good to reference it so that you know what’s coming up. There have been several times when I am the only person in the class that was aware of an assignment or quiz because I check my syllabus to make sure that I am on top of everything.

38. Be careful with caffeine consumption. Before I went to college, I had actually never drank anything that had caffeine in it. Crazy, I know. Once I got to college, I had to be careful to not lean on coffee to get me through my day.

39. Invest in a good pair of ear plugs. The kind of school work I’m doing determines the kind of environment I want to be in while working on it. If I’m doing homework or making a study guide, I love going to Starbucks or the lounge in my dorm because there is always a little bit of noise. If I’m studying for a test or doing a reading assignment, I need (almost) complete silence. I love going to the silent rooms in the library or sitting in my dorm room, but sometimes there is still a little bit of unpreventable chatter. Investing in a good pair of earplugs was one of the best things I’ve done for my study routine.

40. Do something productive every day. Every once and a while you will be blessed with a day where you have nothing to do, but do something productive anyways. Even if it’s just making a few quick flashcards for your business law class or getting ahead on your math homework for the week, just doing something will help you stay on top of things. And give you less to do when your weeks get crazy busy!

41. Not everyone drinks. There always seems to be a looming pressure to drink or that you will be one of very few people that doesn’t drink. As the school year progressed, it amazed me the number of people that I met that have chosen not to drink. While it is up to you, just know, you are not the only one choosing not to.

42. Use a planner. I’m being completely honest when I say I don’t understand how people make it through school without a planner. My planner manages when homework assignments are due, when review sessions and tests are, when classes are cancelled, when I have organization meetings, and so much more. I refer to my planner multiple times a day and I’m not sure what I would do without it.

43. Learn how to manage your stress. During my second semester, I had a three week span that was one of the most stressful times I’ve ever endured. In fact, it was probably the most stressful time of my life. After getting through that period of time, I realized I had to make time for myself to step away from everything I was doing and make time for myself. For me, that means painting my nails, going to the gym, writing for this blog, or taking a short drive.

44. You learn to appreciate the littlest things. I never thought how much I would cherish the ability to eat a home cooked meal, shower with no shoes on, not have to jump to get into bed, and the three hours to myself on the drive home.

45. Make a professional e-mail. There will be times that it is required to use an e-mail that isn’t your university e-mail, so you want to make sure you have an e-mail that isn’t lovetodance or basketball4lyfe. It’s typically suggested to use your first name, middle initial, and last name to make a personal, professional e-mail account.

46. Check your university e-mail. It’s amazed me the number of people that don’t stay on top of their university e-mail. At my university it is very common that we are e-mailed about upcoming school events, internship opportunities, on-campus job opportunities and reminders about when and how we should sign up for classes. If you are involved in organizations it’s also very important to stay on top of your e-mail because typically meeting times, leadership and volunteer opportunities, and meeting cancellations are e-mailed to you.

47. Do something for yourself every day. Just like you should do something productive every day, you need to do something for yourself every day. Whether it’s facial and hair mask in the shower or trying out a new yoga class, always make sure that you are making time for yourself.

48. Know the difference between casual, business casual, and business professional attire. It’s amazed me the number of events there have been that have requested business casual attire and people show up in yoga pants and an oversized t-shirt. Make sure that you know what attire is appropriate for the event you are attending.

49. Enjoy every moment. Even though it can be very stressful at times, remember to enjoy your time in college. It is a wonderful time of making memories, meeting new friends, finding yourself and growing as an individual.

50. No one’s freshman year is ‘perfect’. While yes, I will tell you how much I loved freshman year and that I am excited to see what sophomore year has in store, freshman year definitely had its challenges. From a severe care of homesickness, to roommate issues, stressing over a class to being sick for two and a half weeks and plenty more imperfect moments in between, what makes freshman year so perfect is looking back and seeing just how much you have grown.

What are your tips for soon-to-be college freshmen? Did I miss anything? Did any of the things I wrote stick out to you? I would love to hear your input in the comments below.