Back to School Tips from a {Former} Type-A Student

Summer is quickly drawing to a close which means students are gearing up to head back to school. As strange as it seems, once upon a time, back to school season was my favorite! My parents still joke to this day that if I could be a professional student, I would – which isn't necessarily wrong. In honor of my former favorite season, I thought I would share some helpful tips that helped me conquer the school year, and I hope they help you out as well!

  • Buy an agenda and keep up on it// I cannot tell you how many times my agenda saved my ass throughout college. When you get your syllabi at the beginning of the semester, take the time to fill out when each assignment is due and test dates. You can even color code your classes if you're feeling ambitious. This also helps for extra-curricular activities such as Greek life and sports. Some of my favorite agendas throughout the years include Lilly Pulitzer, Erin Condren, and Day Designer.
  • If you're new to campus or if the buildings you have classes in are foreign to you, check out your daily class route// Once upon a time, an ill-prepared freshman Kourtney got lost on her way to class and had to walk in embarrassingly late on the first day. Don't let yourself be that Kourtney! A day or two before classes start, take a stroll around campus and make yourself familiar with the daily route you'll be taking to class.
  • Take advantage of free amenities on campus// Let's face it, being a college student can be pricey. If your schedule allows, take the time to attend the various back-to-school fairs occurring on campus. You'll be able to snag some free goodies including t-shirts, food and school supplies. At my alma mater, we even had local businesses bring coupons with discounts for students. Other free amenities include the cafeteria if you live on campus (I always took an extra piece or two of fresh fruit to snack on during the day), the gym on most campuses, and the library – these will be your best friends during your time at university.
  • Don't neglect your physical health// College is stressful; You'll be driven to eat a lot of foods that are not the best for you, and your physical health may take a backseat when times get tough. Make an effort to be active at least three days a week. Whether you're going to the gym or taking an extra long route to class if timing allows, every little bit helps keep off the freshmen 15.
  • Learn to take proper notes// There are several blog posts and YouTube videos such as this one to help you learn how to take effective notes. You may need to try several different varieties before you find the one that fits you, but once you find the one that works, stick to it!
  • Your professors will offer office hours, utilize them// Whether or not you're struggling in a class, it's always a good idea to build a relationship with your professors. This is one thing I regret the most from college – I did not use office hours enough. If your professors see you putting in the work and effort, they'll go the extra mile to help you succeed.

What are some of your back to school tips? Best of luck to all returning students!

-K

Senior Thoughts During Finals Week

Senior Thoughts During Finals Week

As my time as a college undergrad comes to a close, I’m finding myself reminiscing about these past four years. When they say that college goes by fast, they’re not kidding. As I sit here writing this to avoid actually studying for finals, I have some final thoughts that I’d like to share about my days in college that will [hopefully] help y’all in your future endeavors.

  • Go Greek! I’m not being dramatic when I say that this is the best thing that ever happened to me. Greek life has made me a leader that I never thought I could be, and has given me friends that will be there for the rest of my life.
  • Get involved. Because I got involved, I got a second chance at pursuing my passion for dance.
  • When will I ever learn to not procrastinate? Don’t be like me and create a habit of procrastinating early on in your college career.
  • If you need help, ask for it. I’m still having a hard time learning this.
  • I’m almost 22 and still wondering where my Hogwarts acceptance letter is. It probably got lost in the mail or something. What I’m trying to say is never give up hope that something great is coming.
  • It’s okay to go through tough times and lose yourself, college is the time to make mistakes and learn from them.
  • Always work to make today better than tomorrow in all aspects.
  • Work hard and keep striving no matter how hard things get.
  • Dance parties are necessary at all times of the day.
  • Be careful who you trust, not everyone wants to be your friend.
  • Get to know your professors.
  • Get an internship – or 3 – you can only learn so much in the classroom. Real world experience in the workforce will teach you so much more.
  • Be kind, you never know what someone is going through.

While I could probably write a novel about all of the things I’ve learned in college, this is all I’ve got for now.

Take care of yourselves and good luck on finals!

-K

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An Open Letter To My Little Diamonds

An Open Letter To My Little Diamonds

My Dear Little Diamonds 1 & 2,

I’ve had this post planned for a quite some time, yet every time I sat down to write it, I wasn’t really sure where to begin. I guess I’ll start with this: from the moment I met you both, I knew there was something extraordinary about you; you were, and still are, determined, beautiful, confident, intelligent young women with the potential to do whatever it is that you set your minds to. Obviously, I like those qualities in the people I surround myself with. I have wanted you both as my little diamonds since the moment I met you, and you are both so incredibly special to me.

As your Big Diamond, it is my job to be your mentor, someone you can go to whenever you need advice, a hug or food (because, let’s face it, food is always the solution). I promise to always be honest and open with you, and to always have an emergency chocolate & chick flick stash for when you have a bad day. I promise to be not only your sister, but best friend and confidant.

My dear, sweet Meme, within just one year I have seen you grow so much in this sorority, and I could not be more proud of you. You have stepped up to take on leadership positions that alphas wouldn’t normally touch, and I have seen your confidence grow immensely. I hope that you continue to grow and lead so fearlessly in our chapter, and teach our alphas to do the same; they have a wonderful mentor to get them through their initial member period.

Little Diamond #2, you may not know who I am yet, nor will you until tomorrow, but Megan and I are so elated to welcome you into our little family. I see so much potential and drive in you that I cannot wait to see displayed in the chapter. Even knowing that I am a senior, you chose me as your Big Diamond and I couldn’t be more honored to spend the last year of my college career with you. I am so excited to reveal myself to you tomorrow!

Although I only have this last year in the chapter, know that I am ALWAYS here for you both no matter the circumstances. I love you both so much and I cannot wait to see all that you accomplish in the chapter and the future.

-K

Hell Week Update

Hell Week Update

Hi friends!

My apologies for being MIA for the past week; I was dealing with sorority formal recruitment. As much as I love this time of the year, I also find myself dreading it for a variety of reasons:

1.) Extreme lack of sleep- I can’t even explain what it is like to run solely on coffee and two hours of sleep for five days straight. Yes, that’s right- FIVE DAYS!

2.) As much as I love my sisters, there is such thing as too much time spent together– I just needed some me time, by myself, alone.

3.) Tears. Lots and lots of tears.

4.) Lack of food for five straight days- basically only one meal a day.

5.) Let’s face it, cuts are going to happen, every sorority cannot take every girl they want. It’s hard and emotionally draining to have to make cuts.

However, as I recuperate from this exciting, yet extremely stressful and draining, I am counting my blessings, especially 32 new blessings as I welcome our new alphas home! Seeing them (and my rho gamma friends) jump off the stage and into my arms on Bid Day makes all of the tears, stress, and lack of sleep so worth it! I can’t wait to see the amazing things these women do in our chapter.

Now, I must catch up on the week’s worth of homework I’ve been putting off, but I promise there will be more exciting posts coming soon!

-K.

Is Greek Life For You?

Is Greek Life For You?

It’s nearing that time of year again, time to put away our summer whites, break out our textbooks, and-oh yeah- IT’S SORORITY RECRUITMENT SEASON! While I am super excited to meet new people and expand my sisterhood, I know many women are debating the idea of going through recruitment. I get it, recruitment is a daunting experience, and even I was extremely apprehensive when I signed up; However, I truly believe my recruitment and sorority experience has enriched my life in more ways than one.

I, like many of those debating [or completely against] the idea of Greek life, believed that Greek life was exactly as it is negatively portrayed in movies. I did not believe that I would fit in anywhere in a large group of girls with personalities as large as the bows in their hair. When initially approached with the idea of going Greek, I straight up laughed in my future roommate’s face and politely replied “HELL NO!” Yet, here I am today, executive board member and soon-to-be alum, who managed to fall completely in love with her sorority and all it has to offer.

Before you decide if Greek life is for you, you will want to consider the following questions and facts:

The moment I revealed to my Little Diamond sister

What do you want to gain in joining a fraternity/sorority? When considering various chapters to join, it is important to keep in mind that it’s not about how you’ll look with their letters draped across your chest or how cute you’ll look while throwing what you know. Greek life is about making special connections both in and out of your chapter. Are you looking to get involved with a specific philanthropy? Do you want to expand your social network? Do you just want a group of people to go out and have fun with? Choose the chapter that shares the same passions as you.

Can you keep up your grades? Let’s be honest, Greek life is a huge time commitment with mandatory events such as workshops, ritual, socials, etc. With so much going on, it is easy to exercise poor time management and not make your grades a priority; however, this can be extremely detrimental to your membership. According to a study by Hofstra University, 70% of Greeks graduate in five years or less, whereas 50% of non-Greeks graduate in this time frame. Not only that, but Greeks across the nation are responsible for having the highest GPA of all campus organizations.

Do you want to be successful in your future endeavors? Becoming a member of a fraternity or sorority provides one with endless opportunities for personal growth both in social and professional aspects. You only hear about the negatives of Greek life in the media, but do you know about all of the great things Greeks have done? According to USA Today, 85% of Fortune 500 executives were members of a fraternity and the first female senator was the member of a sorority. Furthermore, the leadership opportunities Greek life provides puts members at a social advantage one would not have otherwise; chapter leaders are elected by fellow active members and advisers, members also have the opportunity to participate as leaders in organizations such as National Panhellenic Council, IFC, and Greek Council.

Our National Philanthropy, our pride  joy: Ronald McDonald House Charities
Our National Philanthropy, our pride joy: Ronald McDonald House Charities

Are you willing to put aside time to give back to the community? A study by the New Jersey Institute of Technology shows that Greeks volunteer for approximately 850,000 hours a year and raise over $7 million annually for various philanthropies. Greeks are held accountable for being the largest network of volunteers in the nation (slap that on a headline). We don’t volunteer because we are forced to, we do it because of our passion for both our national philanthropies, and those of other organizations as well.

For more statistics on fraternities and sororities, check out the links to various articles and studies I provided above. If you have any questions about my experience in a sorority or regarding what to expect during recruitment, shoot me an email or comment below!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

-K.