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

One Year Later…

img_1387A year ago today I closed an amazing chapter of my life and opened a new one to adulthood and the “real world”! This year has brought loads of changes, life lessons, and adventures. Following graduation, I moved back home to my parents’ house which is a huge adjustment in itself. I also had to give up dance and became distant from my sorority; both things that I ate, slept, and breathed throughout my college career. I accepted my first corporate desk job which has been a whirlwind, and has taken a toll on my body — when they say your metabolism decreases after a certain age, they aren’t kidding.

Long story short, adjusting to post-grad life can be difficult. So, in true Kourtney form, here is some advice for those graduating this year and moving on to bigger, better things:

1. People will walk out of your life after graduation. Sometimes it’s because you live too far away, or minimal effort put in by both parties. If you thought having a social life in college was hard, just wait until you move away from all of your college friends and you all have 9-5 jobs. This was one of the HARDEST lessons that I learned this year after being around my close friends nearly 24/7. Just know that your closest friends will still make an effort to be in your life.

2. Don’t be afraid to take risks in the job market. I won’t sugarcoat it — finding a job post-grad is difficult. Luckily, I found my current job just a couple months after graduation, but I never in a million years thought I would end up where I currently am.

3. Take the time to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. It’s easy to forget to take care of your body once you’re no longer walking miles across campus and don’t have a free gym right at your fingertips (well, at least we did at OU). As aforementioned, I didn’t realize just how much having a desk job would take a toll on my body. Between regular desk snacking, and sitting all day, I discovered the importance of getting in some sort of workout on a daily basis and eat healthy. Also, mental health days are definitely necessary; make sure you relax outside of work, and try not to let it run your life.

4. Do not stress about student loans. This is one thing that I cannot stress enough! The same day I graduated, I had a total mental breakdown about not having a job right out of college and seeing the amount of zeros following how much I owed back in loan payments. Something that I’ve learned since is that coming out of college with debt is absolutely normal. Educate yourself on the various options you have to pay back your loans and choose the one that works best for your situation.

5. Don’t forget to have fun. Yes, being a “full-on” adult sucks. Remember that although you may be working your ass off in the office, you NEED to take time to enjoy time with your friends and loved ones. Eat cake, drink champagne, and celebrate your hard work; life is too short to be miserable!

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2017!

-K.

Holy $#!% I’m A Senior: A Reflection

Holy $#!% I’m A Senior: A Reflection

Today I embark on a new journey and begin my senior year of college. It seems like just yesterday I was a shy, clueless, awkward freshman that didn’t know how lame it actually was to wear your keys on your lanyard around your neck.I also had little to no social skills whatsoever coming from a ridiculously small private school. Nonetheless, I was bound and determined to become a nurse anesthetist as I intended to my whole life. This, my friends, was my first mistake in my college career.

Innocent freshmen with no idea what we were getting ourselves into
Innocent freshmen with no idea what we were getting ourselves into

About halfway through my first semester, I realized that I was not on the path that I was supposed to be on; my grades were slipping, I was constantly exhausted, I lost all motivation, and- in all this chaos- I managed to lose myself. You see, I’ve always been a planner, type-A personality, and OCD, so when I came to the realization that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be, I lost my zest for life; I just wasn’t the same person I was before. Because of this, my mental health and relationship at the time began to deteriorate. I broke up with my boyfriend of two years and just wanted to be alone, I knew I had to get better and turned to working out and going out in order to make myself happy again. After countless meetings with my adviser, and more aptitude tests than any human being should ever take, I found myself pursuing a career in communication and public relations- an umbrella category for all of my passions- and something I had always wanted to pursue, but did not think was actually possible.

Finally able to let my preppy flag fly
Finally able to let my preppy flag fly

My sophomore year, I took a huge leap of faith and tried out for the competitive dance team on campus. By some crazy miracle, I made the team despite not dancing for five years. I also did something I swore I never would do and went through sorority formal recruitment. You can probably imagine my surprise when I fell in love with Alpha Delta Pi and accepted a bid from them on Bid Day. Thanks to both of these organizations, I became more confident and started to break out of my introverted shell. That fall, I unexpectedly met a boy who turned out to be the man of my dreams even though I swore I was going to focus on my career for the rest of my life. I became more social, and things started to turn around. I was genuinely happy once again.

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Clearly my style has improved over the years as well
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Ryan and I at ADPi’s Debutante Diamond Formal

My junior year was a growing experience for my maturity as I conquered the challenges and lessons life threw my way. My classes were extremely difficult, I took an executive board position in my sorority, my boyfriend informed me that he decided to serve in the military, I was in a terrible car accident, and my anxiety was at an all new height. I promised myself that I would not revert back to the person I was freshman year, and with the help of my family, friends, and boyfriend, I began to set small-scale goals for myself (this was a huge step due to my type-A personality). I achieved my goal of making the Dean’s List, and I figured out how to prioritize my time because it really is so precious.

If you would have told me four years ago that I would be sitting where I am today, I would have laughed in your face and told you that you were absolutely crazy. However, as I sit here reflecting on the past three years of my college career, I wouldn’t change a thing. College is a time to not only learn what is necessary in the classroom, but to make mistakes and learn from life experience. I am so lucky to have stumbled so clumsily to where I am now, standing with more poise and confidence than I ever could have imagined. Bring it on, senior year, I’m ready for ya!

Cheers!

-K