College: What I Wish I Did Differently

Four things I wish I did differently during my college years.

I never thought I would see the day that I wasn’t returning to school in the fall, but at last I made it!

I’m looking forward to enjoying pumpkin spice lattes and sweater weather (I know, I’m super basic) without the pressure of homework and exams. As a fresh college graduate, I’ve done a lot of reflecting on my college experience, and I want to share what I’ve come to realize now that my mind isn’t clouded by deadlines and overly-caffeinated stress.

For those starting college, continuing the journey, or just a curious college graduate wondering what others experience, I have a few lessons to share with you:

#1: I Wish I Took a Gap Year.

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A photo of me wearing the hoodie my parents got me after I officially enrolled at DePaul in 2014 — heavy Instagram filter and all.

We’re taught that once you graduate from high school, college in the next step. We’re told “It’s so hard to go back to school when you take a break.” It’s expected that we attend four continuous years of college right off the bat, but I’m here to tell you that I don’t agree with this.

When I enrolled at DePaul, I chose secondary education as my major because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. My family, friends and high school teachers assumed that I would go to college to become a teacher, which made me think I was supposed to do that. When I was applying to colleges, I didn’t know you could pick “undecided” as a major, and I never took the time to figure out what I actually wanted to study. After a year of avoiding secondary education classes (because my gut knew I didn’t want to be a teacher), I finally switched to ‘undecided’.

I used my first two years of college to complete my ‘gen ed’ requirements, and along the way, I discovered my love for fashion, makeup and all things lifestyle. After being a journalism major for three months and disliking it, I declared my major in public relations and advertising and it stuck. Although I eventually found a major I loved, I only spent two years studying it. If I had taken time off to figure out what I truly wanted to study, I would have had the opportunity to spend more time with my major.

#2: I Wish I Joined an Organization Sooner.

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The day I ran home to Alpha Omicron Pi – Fall 2016.

As a commuter, college life can get a little lonely. For two years, I drove to school, went to class, and drove back home. Wanting to find a sense of community on campus, I decided to join a sorority my junior year, and I am so happy I did. I met some of my best friends through my organization, and I am proud to be a part of something bigger than myself. I don’t regret joining my sorority as a junior; I only wish I did it earlier.

#3: I Wish I Paid Attention to My Creativity Side.

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Photo via Instagram.

Don’t get me wrong – school, working and doing internships are really important parts of the college experience. However, I wish I spent more time doing the things I love. It took me until my senior year to pursue my creative dreams – blogging, social media and music – alongside my education and work life. I must say, doing so has been the best choice I have made thus far, and I plan to continue making time for the things I love.

#4: I Wish I Wasn’t So Hard On Myself.

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Senior year spring break in Dallas.

Some would call my magic act of balancing overtime in classes, a job, multiple internships, and sorority simply “overachieving”. I called it “doing what I need to do.” Now I believe it was neither.

After nights without sleep, canker sore breakouts (stress will do that to you!), multiple mental breakdowns, gallons of coffee and struggling to keep up with everything I put on my plate, I must say it wasn’t worth it. I accomplished a lot in the past few years, and I’m proud of myself for that. But because of the schedule I created for myself, I spent more time counting down the days until it was over rather than enjoying my time as a college student. College is hard, yes, but it’s also supposed to be enjoyable. My advice is to avoid pushing yourself to an unhealthy extent and slow down. Balancing a million things isn’t worth dreading every moment, and two months later, I’m still recovering from the stress overload.

What I Wore to a Music Festival – Country LakeShake

Long time, no blog.

But I’m back! And my first post on my revamped website is one I’m excited for. I recently attended Country LakeShake, a three day country music festival in Chicago.

Aside from the impressive music lineup, I was most excited about picking outfits for the festival, as LakeShake 2018 was my “Coachella moment” this year (hoping to eventually go to the real thing!) Here’s a roundup of what I wore that weekend.

Day 1: Frozen Boho

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The first day of the festival was much colder than expected: 60 degrees and rainy. But that didn’t stop me from wearing what I planned (aside from some alterations). I wore a beautiful hand-crocheted top that I purchased from Etsy, and although I planned to wear denim shorts with this top, my black jeans suited the look and kept me warm. My black lace duster truly fulfilled my dream of looking “as Coachella as possible”. I accessorized with a dainty long necklace, a black belt with gold hardware, and my most comfortable black sandals. I made sure to bring a black faux leather jacket to replace the duster at nightime.

Top: JayblueHandmade on Etsy

Jeans: Forever 21

Duster: Forever 21

Belt: H&M

Necklace: Urban Outfitters

Shoes: Steve Madden

Day 2: Wildflower

This gorgeous dress from American Eagle was the star of the show for my day 2 outfit. This dress reminds me of something you would find by For Love and Lemons, but way more affordable! I accessorized the dress with a double layered horn necklace, a cuff bracelet and hoop earrings. My shoes were the same as my first outfit, only brown. And yes — I bought them in two colors. They’re that comfortable.

Dress: American Eagle

Necklace: Neiman Marcus Last Call

Bracelet: Lucky Brand

Shoes: Steve Madden

Day 3: Space Cowgirl

I made sure to saved the best for last: my favorite outfit inspired by this belt. Its baby pink velvet fabric and its amazing silver hardware made me fall in love with this piece instantly. The buckle features cestialial designs, and I love the beaded lining. I styled this belt with a distressed white denim skirt, a corset-like striped top, and cool silver velvet booties. A silver choker, cuff bracelet and earrings tied the look together.

Top: American Eagle

Skirt: American Eagle

Belt: Urban Outfitters

Choker: Forever 21

Shoes: Steve Madden

My February Sounded Like This

Music favorites and discoveries from February 2018.

Have you ever listened to a song on full volume and pretended you were in a movie scene? As a person who commutes to work, my internship and school, I tend to do this a lot in the car. I spend a lot of time finding new artists and albums to listen to, and I want to share my playlists with you!

So I’m starting a series on this blog called “My [insert month here] Sounded Like This”. Here’s the first installment:

Listen to my February Playlist on Spotify here.

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Cross My Mind – A R I Z O N A

Anyone who ever worked in retail understands the frustration of store playlists. Companies rarely switch up their playlists, and the same 20 songs playing on a loop can get very annoying. However, I work at Vince, and my store plays a lot of indie/alternative music – the stuff I love. I just so happened to discover “Cross My Mind” at work. A great song to drive to!

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My! My! My! – Troy Sivan

I was listening to Lana Del Rey a few days ago (surprise, surprise), and when her album finished, “My! My! My!” came on. A fun song with a cool sound.

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Miss Me More – Kelsea Ballerini

Kelsea Ballerini is hot in country music right now. She’s like Miranda Lambert mixed with old Taylor Swift. “Miss Me More” is a empowering song that you can’t help but blast.

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Plot Twist – Sigrid

Another song I discovered at work. A catchy indie-meets-pop jam.

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Needed Me – Rihanna

Not a new song, but who doesn’t need a little Rihanna on their soundtrack?

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White Mustang – Lana Del Rey

I’m never not listening to Lana Del Rey. Her Lust for Life album reminds me of summer, and listening to it is keeping me sane through the last few months of Chicago winter.

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But A Dream – G-Eazy

I’ve had The Beautiful & Damned on replay since its release date. “But A Dream” is the perfect song to drive the on the highway to – smooth, chill and dreamy.