College advice how to start off the school year on a positive note

*image via my Pinterest 

I love sharing tidbits and things that I’ve learned along the way through various experiences, in the hopes that it helps someone else out in some small way. Above all, my #1 goal on this platform is to inspire you to live a colorful & confident life, which I believe for me, started my freshman year of college. Starting the school year off on a good note is oddly something that I think I did well-ish for every year I was in college. I got off of the waitlist to get into Richmond (read more about that here), so I went into my freshman year SO thankful to have even gotten there. I seriously kept thinking, “wow, how lucky am I?” I was determined to make the absolute most of my experience at Richmond, and therefore I wanted to throw myself into everything and do it ALL. And I’m so thankful that that’s the mentality I had going into it. I firmly believe that your mentality and perspective can dramatically alter the outcome of any situation or experience you’re in.

Looking back, I did a few key things that helped me start off the school year on a positive note. At the same time, I did, however, see multiple people who weren’t quite as happy and crashed and burned fairly early on into their college career (at Richmond and elsewhere!). Of course there are always outside circumstances that may have affected their situations, but I still believe that the following three recommendations can dramatically alter the outcome of your circumstances for the better. Which is why I’m sharing them with you now, to offer my tidbits of advice so that you can have the happiest start to the school year possible.

Keep yourself busy. 

Hone in on your interests. What do you love doing more than anything else? For me, it was being part of women-led groups, which led to me running for student government (a traditionally all-women led student government), being an orientation leader for a group of incoming freshman women, and joining my sorority (again, with all women). I was also very interested in learning about how to run a creative business , which led me to rushing the business fraternity that I joined, designing my major, entitled Integrated Marketing and Communications, and launching my blog that served as a creative outlet, and that I quickly learned how to monetize. Once you identify your interests, you will be surprised about how many classes, clubs, hobbies, etc. relate to them. It’s actually crazy! Ask yourself, what do you love doing so much that you never watch the clock when you’re doing it?? Then, figure out what skills that activity entails and then what career relates to those skills. During my freshman year I had NO idea that blogging could 1. lead me to create my major or 2. lead me to develop the skills that I could use every day in a full blown career. One of my biggest and best epiphanies was that hobbies can in fact turn into your college studies and then your career. Keep yourself busy with the things you love, and you may just find that your hobbies can turn into something much more.

Fake it ’til you make it.

Girl, so much of life is getting up and giving it your absolute best, even when you don’t feel like it. Are you totally over your next rush event? Hungover in a mid-morning Friday class? Is your class presentation the LAST thing you want to do on a Thursday afternoon? Sometimes you have to suck it up and give it your best attitude. And believe me, even though it sucks at time, it stands out. You can always tell who the most positive, upbeat person in the room is and who is giving off bad energy. Make the choice, every single day when you wake up, that you’re going to be the ray of sunshine and the brightest spot in everyone’s life around you. Even if you’re tired, hungover, and just don’t feel like it. Fake the enthusiasm and be so convincing that you start to convince yourself too. There is so much to be thankful for and happy about!! Count your blessings and you won’t even have to fake it. 😉

Find your peace.

Go sit in the sauna, go to the gym and watch RHONY on the elliptical, join a Bible study or a weekly contemporary service. I cannot tell you how much those three things truly helped me find a bit of calm in an otherwise hectic, busy, crowded college life. Seriously though, identify the things that calm you down and write them into your planner so you have to “cross them off” your to-do list. No one is better-off when you run yourself into the ground from over-committing to activities and not taking care of yourself. Plan out your entire week on Sundays so you can see what every day entails and prep for it as needed. Be smart and strategic about your schedule. And remember– busy is not a badge of honor. Everyone is involved, driven, and has their own interests. Figure out yours and stay in your lane! No one else cares how involved or busy you are (I firmly believe that once you get to college, throw competition with your girlfriends out the window!!), so make time for going out to dinner, meditating (I use the Mediation Oasis podcast), sleeping in, and staying up too late. This is the LEAST responsibility you’ll ever have in your life, so use the time to take care of yourself and find your peace.

My final note is to not let this advice overwhelm you or make you think that you’re not being positive enough already. Give yourself some grace– if you’re in a slump it’s OK to feel that way. Not every day is daisies and sunshine and really fun fraternity formals. But, if you start to implement a few of the tips I listed above, you’ll start to see things shift for the better. I’ve done it for the past five years and these things have shaped my life in a more positive direction. I hope you find some sunshine in these words!

p.s. If you’re looking for even more advice, read my “Letter to the College Undergrad” which I wrote in the days leading up to my graduation. It’s a good one. xx