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A survival guide for the first day of college

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Good morning Loves.  Well it’s official we are officially in the middle of back to school madness.  Students all over the country are moving into their dorm rooms, attending classes and waiting in line at the bookstore.

As you know I absolutely love this time of the year; there is just something about back to school that makes me very happy.  It also always gets me thinking about my very first day of college.  Even at 33 years old trust me when I say as long as I live I will never forget the very first day of my first semester in college.  We didn’t have social media back then but all I have to say is #awkward.

5 things no one tells you about the first day of college

You will get lost.  Even if you have a map, trust me you will get lost – and you should.  What a better way to get to know your new college campus than wandering around looking for your next class.  Big campuses and crowds of people can be overwhelming but my advice is to stop and ask someone.  I was too embarrassed to ask for directions during my first day of college so I just ended up being late for two of my classes.  Walking into a class already in progress is a lot more embarrassing than asking for directions – so just ask.

It will be awkward and that’s OK.  Despite what you see in movies no one masters college on the first day.  It takes time to get into your routine, it takes time to get acquainted with your new roommates and it will take some time before you know your way around – this is all normal.  Feeling like a fish out of water is definitely uncomfortable but before you crawl into bed and cry just remember that it’s temporary.  The more time you spend getting into your groove, the less uncomfortable you will be.

Keep some money in your pocket.  Students are notorious for being broke, but it’s a good idea to keep some money in your pocket even if it’s only $10.  I can’t count the number of times I wish I had some change to buy a drink or pay classmates for group project supplies.  There is nothing worse than running around trying to find a bank machine when you only have 30 minutes in between classes.

You probably don’t need every book on your reading list.  This is the biggest mistake I made in my first year of college.  I was so wrapped up in the college life that I wanted to spend hours in the campus book store.  The truth is I didn’t even read one book my entire first semester of college.  If you attend every class you may not need to buy the book – unless the teacher specifically bases the tests on the text book material and only covers examples in class.  But if they talk about the book in class you can probably save the money.

A lot of students think they can buy a book and sell it back afterwards but if the book looks used aka highlighted many bookstores won’t take it back.  It’s important to know that even used books in perfect condition get less than half the original value back when they are resold.  So if you don’t absolutely need the book, don’t buy it.

What advice would you give students for their first day of college?

Photo from my Flick

Spending extra for convenience

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Good morning loves.  Last weekend I went home for a family reunion and let me tell you I had a blast.  Every year my extended family, aka my Dad’s oldest friends from childhood who also happen to all be related to each other as well as my God parents, host a family barbeque.  It’s a chance to see all my “uncles, aunts and cousins” (who are of course not related to me by blood) as well as their spouses and children.

Spending the long weekend with family

This year we had approximately 80 people who came out to spend a day in the park.  We ate lots of great food, had a ton of drinks, played volleyball, had a water balloon toss, enjoyed a pie eating contest and basically just had a great time.

I wasn’t planning on attending the family reunion this year because I haven’t spent a long weekend at home all summer.  I was busy travelling and taking advantage of the warm summer months.  So this Labor Day weekend I thought I would stay home.  However after several text messages from my sister telling me that I would be the only person not in attendance and one phone call from my Dad actually offering to pay for my trip – I was guilted in to going.

Travelling the cheapest way is not always the best way

The truth is I actually didn’t want to miss the reunion because it’s always great to see my family, but for once I just wanted to stay home, sleep in and relax in my apartment.  I didn’t take my Dad up on his offer to pay for the trip and I started looking into last minute travel options.

I love taking the train, it’s actually my preferred method of travel because security in airports is a hassle and driving makes me sleepy.  However the last minute train prices were more than I wanted to pay (since I didn’t have a planned budget for this last minute trip) I decided to book a trip on Megabus.

Have you ever taken Megabus?  The concept sounds very appealing; it’s a double decker bus that allows limited assigned seating and tables for drinks and workstations.  The travel time was only one hour longer than the train and the price was half the cost.  I thought it was a win-win; until I actually got on the bus.

Spending for convenience

The one factor that I didn’t take into consideration was the fact that a bus travels on the roads and a train is off road on tracks.  My one hour of extra travel time turned into two hours with traffic and I was late for the barbeque.  There is nothing more that I hate than sitting in traffic; it’s a waste of time and I am extremely impatient.

At the end of the weekend I decided that I just couldn’t get back on another bus so I booked a very last minute train ticket.  If I would have just taken the train both ways it would have saved me a lot of time and actually cost less than the bus ticket plus the last minute train ticket.  Lesson learned.

Have you ever spent a little extra money for convenience?

Photo from Flickk

3 back to school lessons from Pitch Perfect

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Good morning Loves.  I know what you’re thinking, “Acca-cuse me”.  For all you Barton Bella and Barton Treble maker fans out there believe me when I say you’ve found a friend.  Please feel free to leave your favorite Pitch Perfect reference below, I promise to respond – most likely with the next line in the movie because I pretty much know it by heart.  Pitch Perfect is just one of those movies that I could watch over and over again without ever getting bored.  Another one of these movies for me is Clue, but that’s a whole different conversation.

This weekend I had a back to school movie marathon that included Center Stage, Easy A, Pitch Perfect and The Social Network.  I don’t know why but there is just something about the last weekend of summer that gets me all excited, even though I’m not going back to school.

What was your favorite thing about college?

As I watched the students at Barton University attend the activities fair, relax in the quad and make new friends I started thinking about my own college experience.  I attended a school with a campus in the middle of a metropolis.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the benefit of a big campus full of trees and green spaces; however that was my choice.  I wanted to go to school in a big city because I wanted to get as far away from my small hometown as possible,  at the time I didn’t know that I would be missing out.

Now that I’m older (Yes I know that 33 is not yet qualified as old) I can look back at  particular moments in my life and learn from my choices.  Now I can say “Oh if I only knew then what I know now.”  My college experience is one of those moments.  So here we are;  this is my shoulda, coulda, woulda list from college.

3 lessons from Pitch Perfect that will make your college life acca-mazing

1. Join a club, it will make your life easier.  Throughout the movie Bella’s Dad tells her to “Join in”.  My parents wanted me to have the full college experience, but they never expressed the importance of joining a club or organization.  It’s an easy way to make friends and it’s also a great way to always feel like you belong to something.  Sometimes college can be lonely and meeting other students with similar interests is comforting.

2. Don’t be afraid to open up.  Jessie and Bella’s relationship starts as colleagues then blossoms into a friendship and eventually into a romance, but it practically takes an entire school year for the feelings to develop.  College is the time to try new things, it’s definitely not the place to be shy.  This September if you are headed back to school get out of your comfort zone and try something new.

3. Just be yourself.  I think everyone can relate to some character in the movie Pitch Perfect.  Whether you are introverted, a born leader, the silent side kick or just the girl who likes to be alone there is a character for you.  These girls are so different but singing accapella music brings them together.  The best example of this is the character Fat Amy.  She owns her flaws and she is who she is – she never apologizes for it and neither should we.  

Photo from Flickr

My job is costing me a fortune

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Good morning loves.  As you know from my post on Monday morning BF and I have had a pretty rough couple of days.  His tooth ache turned into emergency dental surgery and he hasn’t eaten anything since last Tuesday.  He is currently living on Special K protein shakes.  In the midst of this I came down with an awful fever and have been off work since last Thursday.  To put it bluntly we are currently a hot mess, literally.

I would like to say thank you to everyone for your kind words over these past couple of days.  If you reached out to me on Twitter or sent an email, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  My temperature has dropped but I am still very tired, I guess it’s because the fever burned all the energy out of my body.

The silver lining of staying at home

I know I’m sounding a little poor me, but please don’t take it that way.  I’m just setting you up for the silver lining I discovered over this past week.  Yes that’s right throughout BFs unbearable pain and my extreme high body temperature I learned that being sick is actually saving us a lot of money.

Please don’t get me wrong, I would rather go to work and be healthy than be sick in bed and lying a pool of my own sweat, but I have to say I am pleasantly surprised at how much money I’ve saved by being at home.  Last Friday I got paid and today, five days later, the money is still in my account.  That was a lovely surprise.

The expenses of having a job

I go to work to make money, but at the same time it’s costing me a lot of money to be there.  To start off there’s the cost of transportation to and from work, then there’s the added expense of coffee breaks with co-workers and finally there’s the lazy factor in which I spend $5 to $15 a day on my lunch, depending on how many snacks I bring.

I try to keep my costs between $5 and $7 a day which usually includes breakfast and a sandwich for lunch.  However on Thursdays or Fridays I like to go out to a restaurant with my co-workers which can cost close to $20.

How can we avoid the temptation to spend?

If I choose to walk to and from work I usually stop at a pharmacy or grocery store on my way home to pick up items for the house.  Needless to say being at home has eliminated all these costs.  I know eventually I will get better and I will have to venture outside to stock up on food and other items, because our in house supply won’t last much longer.  However for the time being I’m enjoying the cost savings of being sick.

Of course these are expenses that I can live without.  I could wake up 15 minutes earlier to eat breakfast at home and I could stay up 15 minutes later to make my lunch for the next day, but I don’t always do it.  Especially when I know that nothing I prepare will be as good as my store bought lunch.

So here’s my question to you, how do you avoid the temptation of spending money at work?

Photo from Flickr