Disney World. It truly is one of the most magical places on earth. Where else can you go from being a Jedi to dining with princesses to adventuring to the ‘happy place’ on Splash Mountain? Disney is truly the place for kids and kids at heart. And while as cast members we understand that people are paying thousands of dollars to visit our ‘playground’ there are somethings that cast members want guests to know. I’m not saying this to ruin your pixie dust or ruffle any feathers, because I promise I completely understand that you’ve worked hard to go on a once in a life time trip. But in all honesty, I can say you will have a more magical visit if you take these tips to heart.

  1. We can’t control the weather

While it seems silly to include this on my list, let alone to have it as the first item on my list, it’s something that needs to be included. Unfortunately, we can’t control the weather. There is nothing we can do about rain, cold weather, hurricanes, strong wind, grey days, etc. While it isn’t fun to have to deal with rain during your trip, it is something to be prepared for. Plus, Splash Mountain is the best ride to head to during the rain.

  1. We have no idea which rides are down, how long they will be down, or how long the wait is

As cast members while we are here to help you, we aren’t up to date on what rides are down, how long they will be down, or how long the wait is unless we are a cast member that works at that attraction. While yes we are in the park, we aren’t informed about these things because our concentration is on helping on guests. Even attractions cast members won’t know other wait times or how long a ride will be down for. You typically will have to go straight to the source to ask a cast member there about what is going on and even then they sometimes don’t have information to give out.

  1. If you are nice to a cast member, we will go out of our way to make magic for you

I can’t stress to you enough how far out of our way we will go to make magic for you especially if you are nice even though you are having a bad day. We love seeing the smile and excitement a guest has when we have made magic for them.

  1. There is no such thing as a “perfect Disney day”

I heard this expression from a guest I was assisting and I couldn’t see it as more true. You can’t come to Disney and plan a “perfect” day because typically at least one thing will go wrong. The carts for turkey legs will close sooner than you expected, the souvenir you waited to buy until the last day will be sold out, your favorite ride will be closed, you won’t get the reservation you wanted, etc. But that’s were Disney magic comes into play. While it might not be what you had originally planned, there are always more amazing magical things to do and try in Disney. When the guest I was helping told me about this they said that they had been too late to get cinnamon rolls one day they ended up finding their favorite Disney treat, Dole Whips.

  1. Disney still has rules

Even the most magical place on earth has its rules. We can’t sell you the purchase with purchase items without you spending a certain amount, you can’t run through the park, a princess dress can’t have the ink tag taken off while your little princess is wearing it, we can’t give you the DVC or AP discount without seeing a physical card or seeing you pull it up on the My Disney Experience App, and so on. While it is a magical place, the magic still has restrictions.

  1. If we ever have to raise our voice when talking to a guest, yes, we absolutely are allowed to do so

While this happens more often with security, attractions, food, and non-merchandise cast members, if we have to raise our voice with a guest, yes, we are allowed to do so. While I won’t get into details about the reasons I’ve had to raise my voice with guests, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had a guest then tell me that I’m not supposed to yell and I’m ruining the magic. Yes, it ruins the magic. I will admit that it isn’t so magical to hear anyone yelling in the parks unless they are on one of our thrill attractions. But I will say that if a cast member raises their voice, we are absolutely allowed to do so and it is typically for the safety of ourselves, our fellow cast members, and our guests. (It also isn’t very fun to raise our voices, so please be safe while in the parks)

  1. We want you to have a magical visit. We will give you all of our tips to a great day in the parks if you give us the chance to

As I said before, as cast members we understand that you’ve saved and sacrificed a lot to be able to come to Disney. We want to you get the most out of your trip and enjoy it. I can’t tell you how good it feels to have guests stop and ask what rides they should head to next only to have them walk away excitedly because you just mapped out where they should go and when to avoid long wait times. Remember: as cast members we typically spend some of our free time in the parks. We know which times are the best to hit up certain rides, which rides are worth a long wait, and where you can go for some great quick service food.

Are you a Disney cast member and have anything you would like to add to this list? Are you a guest that has anything to add or input for this list? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Midterms, finals, or even just a hectic week are right around the corner. You have to complete a homework, study for three tests, write two papers, and meet up with your group for the project due. Many students look at that schedule and aren’t even sure where to begin or how to start. That’s where a study schedule comes into play. It’s the perfect way to plan what you need to do each day to get things done. While it might be hectic, things are getting accomplished and you are working your way to get through a crazy week.

Start ahead of time

Cramming all of the information into your head the night before the test isn’t worth it. While yes, it can be possible on occasion, is it worth staying up late and all of the stress to get it done in one night? For me, it’s not. Typically, I like to start studying a week in advance so that I have two weekend days to really get stuff done, but if I feel that that material covered on the test will be difficult I often start one and a half to two weeks early. If you are someone who likes to study one chapter per day, take that into consideration as well and remember to add in a day or two to review all information and focus on parts you struggled with.

Know your test, assignment, quiz, and paper dates

I personally sit down at the beginning of the semester with my planner and write down each and every due date. Whether it’s an assignment, paper, quiz, project, or test, it’s in my planner. I always sit down at the end of a crazy test period and figure out when the next crazy test time will be because college goes in terms of midterms and finals season, not by months in my mind. I always make a note in my weekly notes section of big upcoming dates so that I can plan accordingly and know how many days in advance to start studying.

Find out the material that will be covered on the quiz or test

Now that I’ve entered the upper level courses at university it’s not uncommon for my professors to post a study guide online or go over material that will be covered on the test in class. Also, by actually attending class regularly professors often hint at material that will be covered on the test. One of my stats professors used to hint at particular types of questions he would ask on the test and often they would be almost word for word what is in our notes. I also highly encourage stopping by office hours and asking your professor what will be covered on the test and what you should be reviewing.

Know how you will study

Know which method works best not only for you, but for the kind of material you are studying. Do practice problems, high light your notes, read it out loud, make a study guide, write out note cards, go to a study group, rewrite your notes, or even do practice tests. For example, if I’m studying for a math test I will read over the definition notes, look over the kinds of problems I will be doing, write out the steps for the kinds of problems I’m doing, write out any formulas I may need to know, do practice problems, and finally do practice tests.

Break it into pieces

The purpose of a study schedule is not to cram things at the last minute. The purpose is to break things into smaller pieces to make it manageable. If you have an upcoming IMC test that covers 5 chapters maybe you want to start 7 days early and go over chapter 1 notes and definitions day 1, chapter 2 notes and definitions day two and so on and then use days 6 and 7 to review any materials you might have been struggling with. That way, you can take the time to focus on material and only cover 1 chapter’s worth of material instead of cramming 5 chapters into your head in one night.

Get to work

Now that you know your dates, what you need to study, how you will student, and when it’s time to get to work. I always sit down with my study schedule and add it to my daily to-do list so it gets done. It’s the best way for me because then I know that I’m getting work done from the goals that I personally set.

Do you make study schedules? If so, are there any tips from this list that you use? Do you have any tips to add to this list? If you don’t make study schedules, do you plan to make one and use any of these tips? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

To say that a large majority of students start off the semester eyeing a 4.0 would be an understatement. So many of us have our minds set on reaching that goal, but unfortunately it’s a pretty hard goal to achieve. While I can’t help you to get that 4.0 GPA, I can give you tips on how to get your best grades possible, which can very well end up being that high GPA you are eyeing. I will be completely honest in saying my first year of college I definitely struggled and it took me a while to adjust, but after implementing these tips my GPA has gone up by leaps and bounds

Read the syllabus. And read ALL of it.

The first week of classes I always print out my syllabi, lay them out, and read over each one word for word. Yes, word for word. I read through with a highlighter to make sure that all of the major, important information stands out to me later in the semester when all I have time to do is simply flip through it. Why read through the syllabus you ask? Well you never know what a professor might include in their syllabus. One of my professors wrote in a different section how often she would give out extra credit in class, one of my professors had a note that if you even looked at your cell phone during class your cumulative grade would be docked by 10%, and one professor even said that they would give a very generous amount of extra credit to the person that had perfect attendance. After I’ve read over the syllabus I take out my planner and write out each and every due date. By doing this, I’m setting myself up for a successful semester. And if I’m being honest, I’ve never missed an assignment, test, quiz, paper, or anything that comes up because of this method.

Strive for perfect class attendance

By having perfect class attendance myself, not only have I gotten all of the hints from professors on what will be covered on the test and all of the in-class extra credit, I’ve also been given extra credit or grade boosts at the end of the year. I kid you not when I say I was sitting at exactly an 80.00% and the professor bumped me not to a B, but to a B+ because of appreciating that I valued going to class. While that kind of a boost doesn’t always happen and hasn’t always happened, going to class and hearing the material in the professor’s voice is always one of the best study methods for me personally.

Take good notes

You are in class already so you might as well be doing something productive while you are there. I personally prefer to handwrite my notes while in class, but whether you handwrite or type your class notes is up to you. Sometimes professors will even post their slides or a note outline online, so make sure to have that printed and ready to go before class. And always make sure to have a buddy in each class so that if you happen to miss you have someone to get notes from and vice versa.

Pay attention in class

If you are actually going to class, you need to use that to your advantage. Pay attention. Don’t sit on your phone or scrolling through Facebook, actually actively be listening to your professor. I can’t imagine if I were teaching a class or even simply presenting to a class and looked out to a class of students not even paying attention to what I had to say.

Review your notes regularly

The best way to retain the information that you learned in class and took notes on is to review those notes. This is one of the strategies that really helps students to be successful on their tests because they not only started reviewing the information early, but they reviewed it when the information was still fresh in their mind from the lecture. Studies actually show much higher retention rates if you review your notes within 24 hours of taking them. Just make sure that as the test information builds to continue to go over all of the information instead of just the most recent material.

Do all of the extra credit offered to you

One of the things that shocked me the most when I got to college was the number of people who don’t do the extra credit. While yes, it seems like just one point, you never know how much that one point could mean to you at the end of the semester. And most of the time, extra credit isn’t something that will take up too much of your time to complete. I promise, it’s worth the time. Do it.

Go to tutoring and office hours

I’m a business major which at my university means lots of math classes. More math classes than any business minded person should have to take for that matter. With all of that said, I’m not the most math minded person out there. For some reason, I can’t just sit down and figure out how a problem was solved on my own. By going to tutoring and office hours to get help on my homework I’ve been able to learn all kinds of things I would have never picked up on myself. Taking the time to go to office hours has totally paid off in my preparation for test as well because I either already know how to do the problem or I simply have to go through and review without having to reteach myself everything or rush to tutoring or office hours for help and battle the crowds.

Prepare for all exams, projects, and papers in advance

While it is sometimes possible to cram all of the information into your head at the last minute before an exam, it’s not the best way to learn the information. Be conscious of when your tests, projects, and papers are scheduled and give yourself enough time to get things done and get things done well. Once I realized that college was nothing like high school where I could simply study information the night before the test and be good to go, I saw a huge improvement in my grades.

Always have the rubric out and ready to go when working on assignments, projects, and papers

If you have a paper, assignment, or project coming up it’s highly likely that your professor has published a rubric online or even in your syllabus. Sit down and read over the rubric so you know what is expected of you. Even have the rubric out when you start working on your assignment so that you can follow what is listed in the rubric so your work matches what your professor wants.

Read the textbook

Yes, that textbook that you paid a crazy amount of money for at the beginning of the semester is actually useful. I’m a big advocate of reading the chapters for the week before class so that you are better able to pick up information during lecture. If I already have the information in my head from reading it over beforehand, I’ll pick up a lot more information during the lecture than I would not having read anything in the first place.

What tips do you use to be a successful student? Do you plan to implement any of these tips? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Erin Condren has been on my radar since my senior year of high school. I was browsing Pinterest during my free period and stumbled upon a picture of a planner I’d never seen before. Being the planner nerd that I am, I clicked the link to look into it a little more. The post included bright pictures from the inside of the planner and I just remember thinking that it would be absolutely perfect once I got to college since the layout of the planner was vertical with 3 boxes labeled morning, afternoon, and evening. Now four years later I’m on my third planner from the brand and there are over three layouts to choose from along with removable and luxe covers. If you are new to the site, it can be a bit overwhelming to say the least of knowing where to navigate and what to choose. Today, I’m hoping to give you an insight into this wonderful brand from choosing the right cover, layout, and even if you want neutral verses colorful pages. I’m sure you will end up just as in love with this brand as I am. And if after reading this post you are interested in ordering a life planner, this link and all links in this post go to my affiliate link, which gives you $10 off of your order.

The Cover

Erin Condren has two different cover options to choose from: luxe or removable. If you were to select the luxe version of the planner, you will receive the planner with a permanent color in either navy, cream, or dark grey. Each of these planners has a cover that you can add your monogram to, which what is more perfect to have on the cover of a planner? While this planner is a bit on the heavy side, I’m never a person to complain about that quality. I love a planner that feels heavier because to me it means that the planner is of amazing quality, which is definitely how the Erin Condren planners are.

If you are to choose the removable covers you are entering a wonderfully dangerous world. Dangerous simply because the majority of my paychecks goes toward purchasing new covers as they are released. With the interchangeable planner you are able to personal your cover with your name, monogram, quote, or anything of your choosing really and for some you are even able to choose your own color way. I will be the first to admit that there are several cover styles I own in different colors. Being a crazy busy college student, my planner gets referenced a lot throughout the day. That being said, even though the interchangeable covers are laminated I’ve never had issues with the lamination even when owning the planner prior to interchangeable covers being released.

The Layout

Erin Condren currently offers three different layouts to choose from within your planner: vertical, horizontal, and hourly. While it is totally up to you what layout you go with, I thought I would give a few ideas as to which layout you should look at based on personality type.

Verical: The vertical layout is perfect for the person who wants to categorize their day by morning, afternoon, and evening. It would also be great for the person who wants to organize three different categories within their lives, such as school, work, and organizations. It is the planner for the list maker who wants to make different categories for their lists and is also great for the person that wants to see their day divided into sections. I’ve had friends write out their schedule and then to-do lists in-between each section. For example, if they worked from 5:30-7:30 they might also make notes as to what they need to accomplish at work.

Horizontal: The horizontal layout is perfect for the person who feels the need to have lines to stay organized. It’s perfect for writing out to-do lists, due dates, and even your daily schedule. The box on the right side of each day is perfect for tracking work outs, homework due dates, blog posts, what you ate, and even tracking your cycle (we are all mostly girls here, it’s part of life).

Hourly: This version of the planner is perfect for the person that likes to see their day in time slots. You can also simply ignore the times listed within the planner and write a to-do list for the day.

 

Colorful vs. Neutral

A new feature to the Erin Condren planners during the launch of the 2016-2017 planners was the addition of the neutral color option, which opened new doors for us planner lovers. The neutral allowed a more simple look and the ability to add your own color with stickers and colorful pens while the colorful option stayed true to the original Erin Condren planner colors. Please note that this post is about the 2016-2017 colorful vs. neutral layout, as each year Erin Condren releases beautiful new page designs. I’ll do an updated post once I get my hands on the new 2018 planner, don’t worry!

Neutral: The neutral layout allows for a simple black, grey, and white color scheme aside from three colored flags within the pages. This layout is perfect for someone looking to add their own color to the planner without having to coordinate with the monthly color Erin Condren uses. It is also great for the person who loves to utilize colorful pens within their planner. It would also be a good option for a girl who just simply prefers simplicity and a more minimal look within their planner. This is certainly a wonderful option.

Colorful: The colorful version of the planner definitely makes a statement with its beautiful colors. It features a beautiful water color inspired design across the top, with colorful flags within the pages (such as thankful thoughts, the month, etc.) and the color changes with each month. I personally love how the water color design across the top of the page blends into the next month’s color if it so happens that a new month begins during the week. It’s the little things and Erin Condren definitely pays attention to those.

Have you ever heard of the Erin Condren brand? Do you own an Erin Condren planner? If you were to order one what would you choose? If you already own one, what did you choose? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links. Some items in this post were sent to me. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

In the spirit of aiming high and dreaming big, I present to you my list. My craziest goals, ambitions, and dreams. The things that I hope to do and say I did during this crazy thing called life. It’s brutally honest, seems a little crazy, and might be out of reach, but that’s what dreams are, right?

DISNEY

Go on a Disney Cruise

Visit during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Visit during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Visit Disneyland in California

Visit with my (future) children and have a princess/Star Wars/Toy Story trip

Run in a Disney 5k

Bring an autograph book and have children dressed as the characters sign it

Do the four parks in one day challenge Completed Spring 2017

Be a cast member Completed Spring 2017

Go on a back stage tour as a non-cast member

CAREER

Work for a Fortune 500 Company

Work for a start-up

Work for a planner company in the marketing department

Be behind the scenes in the marketing department of a company/brand I love (Ex: Erin Condren, Magnolia Homes, Starbucks, Lush Cosmetics, etc.)

PHILANTROPIC

Raise 10,000 for a charity

Be on the exec committee of one charity/organization

Be on one team for a local organization such as Junior League or United Way

BLOGGING

Get 50,000 views in a month

Get 100,000 views in a month

Get 250,000 views in a month

Get 500,000 views in a month

Get 1,000,000 views in a month

Make money blogging December 2016

Make 1,000 dollars in a month through blogging

Make 2,000 dollars in a month through blogging

Be able to financially support myself through blogging

Have a post go viral

Publish an e-book

Be featured on TV because of blog

Be featured in a magazine because of blog

Speak at an event because of blog

Attend a blogging conference

Go on a trip because of blog

Start a YouTube channel as a brand extension

TRAVEL

Attend Planners Gone Wild

Visit Washington DC

Swim with dolphins

Visit Alaska

Visit Hawaii

Travel to New Zealand

Travel to France

Travel to England

Go on a mission trip to a foreign country

PERSONAL

Become a certified fitness instructor

Graduate from college

Get married

Become a mom

Be a hand model

Pay off student debt within 5 years of graduation

Get a puppy (and spoil him/her rotten)

HEALTH & FITNESS

Run a 5k

Learn more about the nutrients in food to have the best diet for me

Work out with a personal trainer

Learn how to use weight lifting equipment safely and effectively

Learn proper work-outs to be confident working out by myself

Attend a large group fitness event

PHOTOGRAPHY

Make the switch to Canon

Own a Canon Mark line camera

Second shoot in (another) wedding

Do a (non-family members) couples’ portraits

Do a (non-family members) baby portraits

Do a (non-family members) family pictures

Do a (non-family members) young child’s/children’s photos

Do a (non-family members) senior photos again

Go to a photography conference

Own Lightroom

Be knowledgeable in how to use my camera to have the best photos possible for my future family