Blue on Blue & Some Yellow Too

Hey there!! Today’s #OOTD is one of my closet favourites! It’s one of those great versatile dresses that will take you from class to dinner with your friends, and is just the right amount of ridiculous – which is what I tend to look for in my wardrobe.

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Dress: Zara // Shoes: J.Crew (similar) // Sunglasses: Forever21 (similar)

I picked this awesome dress up in Portugal over the summer and fell in love because it’s weird – in a good way. Not only is my favourite colour blue, but my sorority colours are light and dark blue, which means that this dress and I are destined to be together! It’s so incredibly comfortable (which is very important) and looks just as good with sneakers as it does with girly flats, which is something I can totally get behind!

Because the dress itself is pretty bold, I paired it with some yellow floral flats for a pop of pattern (yellow and blue is one of my favourite colour combos) and finished the look off with a casual “man bun” – which has become my go to hair style recently because I’m lazy and it usually looks pretty good!

Hope you’ve been having a great day!

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P.S. Thanks again to my best friend David, for the lovely photos, you’re the best!

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Feel Good Tunes

So school officially started today and my first class (sadly) is statistics. I’m generally a math person, but for some reason, the very thought of statistics strikes fear in to my little heart. It might be because of all the abstract concepts, or the fact that my lecture is three whole hours long, but either way, I’m more than a little nervous to start off this year!

When I woke up this morning, to get myself ready for my first day, I played some of the most upbeat and cheerful music I could think of. It really did wonders to pick up my mood, amazing what a little dancing or singing along to your favourite music can do when you’re in a low mood!

So, to all of us students who have some difficult and stressful days ahead of us, here are some feel good tunes that never fail to pick me up (and will hopefully do the same for you)!

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  1. Feel Again – OneRepublic (this one never gets old I swear)
  2. Wherever I Go – OneRepublic
  3. Future Looks Good – OneRepublic (clearly you can tell I love OneRepublic)
  4. Bailar – Deorro ft. Elvis Crespo
  5. Catch & Release – Matt Simons (Deepend Remix)
  6. The Greatest – Sia
  7. Side to Side – Ariana Grande
  8. Kids – MGMT
  9. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5
  10. On Top of the World – Imagine Dragons (P.S. This video is actually so good)
  11. This Girl – Kung’s and Cookin’ on 3 Burners
  12. Dog Days are Over – Florence + The Machine
  13. Budapest – George Ezra
  14. Hymn For The Weekend – Coldplay (love this collab with Beyonce)
  15. Adventure of a Lifetime – Coldplay

Those are some of my favourite feel good tunes, and I really hope they can lift your spirit like they did mine this morning! Never underestimate the power of some good music, it really does wonders!

Here’s to (finally) starting this new school year! I can’t wait to see what second year has in store!

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Back to the Grind I Guess

LANDSCAPES | PORTRAITS | BLACK & WHITE | PANORAMA

Well, I guess it’s finally happening, a new school year is upon us and while I’ve been looking forward to it for a while, it is a little bitter sweet. Summer vacation is now officially over for most, and the call of Professors and textbooks is all too familiar.

I won’t lie, I’m a little nervous for my second year of university! Things were pretty crazy in my first year and while it was totally awesome in the end, I don’t know what to expect going in to this year. Either way, I’m looking forward to more boundary stepping and comfort zone pushing this year, let’s make it a great one! However you feel about this next chapter in your life (if you’re nervous like me, don’t worry about it too much), I hope you face it with a smile, because you’ve totally got this!

It’s so odd, I remember moving in to my dorm last September. It was crazy, my first year! I could hardly believe it! I was so shy that I stayed in my room all day until my roommate finally moved in later that night, we’d met a few weeks earlier and she was the only person I knew in my residence. I’d never been away from my parents more than a week (wasn’t a camp kind of kid) and had no idea what to expect from living in a dorm. It was a crazy year, filled with ups, downs, and a couple of 360 loops, but I’m here now, a year later, and I’ve become an entirely different person.

I sat down a couple days ago to write this post and didn’t exactly know what I wanted to say. I’ve written a lot over the last month about advice, and what you can do to be successful academically in university, but no amount of articles or tips will prepare you for the crazy so many of you are about to embark on. Even if you’re not going in to first year, and instead are stepping in to high school or middle school for the first time, the feeling is much the same. Everything is different, and there are so many unknown unknown’s that it’s overwhelming.

I guess if there’s anything I really want to tell you, it’s good luck, and I know this is going to be an incredible year for you! I hope you are faced with neat challenges and that you step out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just a tiny bit. I hope you make new best friends, go on adventures and make awesome memories with them, and I hope you make time to take care of your mind and body, that you get enough sleep every night, drink enough water every day and exercise even though it sucks some times!

This year, I hope you take a great big step towards becoming the person you want to be. Join a random club, talk to the girl sitting alone in the cafeteria, and study hard. It probably won’t be all fun and games, but even when it gets tough, I’m sure you’ll be able to soldier through.

If you’re looking for more detailed advice, here are some posts I’ve written about school:

Good luck to all you guys in this new school year! You’re all going to kill it!

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The First Week Of University

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While school has already started for a bunch of people, I have one week left to savour summer vacation and relax before I drown in readings and assignments.

The first week of university is simultaneously the best, and worst week of the year. You’re totally overwhelmed with information about your classes, new people, and might even be starting to feel a little bit home sick. On the other hand, you’re enjoying tons of freedom, and have a newfound sense of confidence and responsibility. Either way, that first week is daunting, especially when your first class is with 1500 other people!

Here are thirteen things you can do in that crazy first week to set yourself up for an awesome semester!

Buy an Agenda — I’ve heard it all:“I had an agenda in high school but I never used it.” and “I have a really good memory, I won’t forget about it.” or “I’m not organized enough to use an agenda.” Does any of this sound familiar? If it does, forget the excuses, and buy yourself an agenda. While your first week (or even month) of university might seem incredibly easy and relaxed, don’t be fooled! Things will pick up soon enough, and when they do, you’ll have no idea what hit you. Having an agenda will help you organize your time and make sure you’re on top of things in the midst of midterm and exam chaos.

Organization and time management is so much more important in university than it ever was in high school, so it’s helpful to have a system for keeping track of everything. It doesn’t really matter what agenda you have, but make sure it fits your needs and is small enough that you can take it with you wherever you go. Write down important dates as you become aware of them, and use it to plan what work you need to get done every day. This way it’ll be pretty difficult to miss a deadline and you’ll be on top of your readings and assignments. You can rest easy knowing that any important information about your classes and projects, have been written down and are easy to find.

Print Out Your Syllabi — These packets of paper are your lifeline for each one of your classes. Once you get them, print them out, hole punch them, and store them together in a folder.

Before your classes start, go through each syllabus and highlight important information including: your professors name and contact information, office hours, test and exam dates, assignment deadlines, and anything else you think will be important to know. As soon as you’ve highlighted these things, you can start transferring important information to other places. Test and due dates should be added to your calendar (I use the mac calendar app) and your agenda, so you have easy access to them, and contact info can be written down in your agenda or on your class schedule.

Keep your syllabi safe, they’ll be helpful once exam time comes around and you can’t remember exactly what sections you covered in class.

Make a Schedule — This might sound like overkill to some, but I always find it incredibly helpful to write out a schedule for the semester and hang it on my bulletin board. My schedule usually involves all my classes, work hours, volunteer times and when I plan to workout.

Having a visual representation of how your day will look is really helpful when things start getting more hectic and time management becomes key. It’ll also make it easier for you to plan what work you can do each day and when, so you stay on top of everything.

Find your Classes — To avoid getting lost and feeling anxious about going to class, do a mock run. Write down each building and room number and visit each of them before your classes actually start. This way you’ll know how to get to class on the first day and you’ll look like a pro doing it (who knows, maybe other freshman will even ask you for directions)!

Start your Readings — Don’t be fooled by the easy going vibe of the first week or two of school. Start your readings and try to get ahead while things are still settling. You’ll thank yourself for putting in the extra effort when midterms arrive and you have a bit more room to breathe.

Figure Out the Textbook Situation — Don’t buy your textbooks weeks in advance. Wait until school starts and check the updated syllabus to make sure they haven’t changed. Your professors will likely also mention whether the textbook is actually necessary in your first class. This way you can avoid buying books you won’t actually use.

Find your Library — You’ll be spending a lot of time at the library, so it’s in your best interest to find it (or one of them) during your first week. University libraries often host a bunch of informative intro courses for first years (and anyone else who’d like to take them) so you can become comfortable with the way your school’s library system works. Trust me, going to the library for the first time when you need to do major research for a paper isn’t exactly stress-free. Help yourself out and get familiar with the library system asap!

Find a Study Spot — This is something I cannot stress enough! Find a place you can study effectively on campus as soon as possible! Having a place you know, you study well in takes away a lot of stress and also eliminates the time you’ll spend figuring out where to go for a study session.

You don’t have to make a big deal about this at first (it is only the first week after all), but try to find a spot you enjoy the atmosphere of and is conducive to your study style. Later on in the semester you can always find new spots, but it certainly helps to know one off the bat, even if it’s not quite perfect.

Join a Club — Just do it! Look up your school’s club directory, and narrow it down to one or two groups you’re really interested in. Clubs are the perfect way to get involved in your campus community and to meet people with similar interests and values. I regret not joining any clubs in my first year and have already made a promise to myself to join one as soon as school starts!

Sign up for an Athletic Class — Take advantage of your university’s athletic facilities and programs. There are likely hundreds of intramural teams and registered classes waiting for you to join them! Sports and classes like pilates or yoga, are great ways to meet friends, and also allow you to set aside some time for personal health. Your body and mind will thank you.

Communicate With your Roommate — Don’t wait until the middle of the year to talk to your roommate about what standards you have for your room. It’s important to get everything out on the table asap so you can talk about the things each of you need to do in order for your year together to be successful. Talking about things early also lowers the chances that you’ll have a full fledged fight later in the year.

Some people suggest creating a contract with your roommate, stating all the things you hold each other to, and others are fine with just talking about their expectations and putting some rules in to place. Either way, make sure you have the talk early on.

Hangout With People in your Residence — Don’t shut yourself away! Even if you’re shy (like I was) make sure to reach out to the girl across the hall or the twins next door. They might become your new best friends, or not, but either way you’ll have someone to eat with until you find a more solid group of friends.

Call your Parents — Don’t forget to call the people who love you the most. Your parents are probably struggling just as much as you are, and would love to hear about how everything is going. They’re also the perfect people to call when you aren’t sure about a class, or how to talk to your roommate when something is bothering you.

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These are a few things I found super helpful in my first year of university and I’ll definitely continue doing them this year.

Good luck to those of you who have already started (I know you’ll have a great year), and enjoy the rest of your vacation to those of you who have another week to go (savour every moment)!

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Little Wonders Wednesday

Hey there!! I hope you’re enjoying the last day of August (what??) and are getting ready to head back to reality tomorrow (or in a few weeks for some).

Today’s post is my second segment of “Little Wonders Wednesday” and I’m excited to share some more awesome little things that bring me joy!

As I said in the first Little Wonders post, I think it’s so important to, in the midst of our busy lives, slow down every once in a while and think about all the things that we have been given, and everything we’ve worked hard for. Sometimes the smallest moments are the most important ones, and it’s easy to forget about them when you’re running around like a chicken without a head!

Little Wonder

Finishing a Notebook – As someone who hoards pretty notebooks and never really uses them, I always feel so much pride when I do finally finish one. Whether you use them as an agenda, journal or recipe book, there is no better feeling than filling up all the pages and being able to look back and read over what you’ve written.

Discovering Really Good Music on Youtube – Sometimes you have to dig really deep to find the good stuff on youtube, but every so often, you hit the jackpot and find your new favourite song or artist.

Finding What You Were Looking for. . .on Sale – There have been so many times where I’m on the hunt for an item of clothing or a book and finally give up waiting for it to go on sale. When I end up going to the store prepared to pay full price, it turns out that the sale is on, and I get exactly what I was looking for, but with a smaller price tag.

Butterflies Flying Around You – I always feel like a fairy princess when a butterfly or two keep circling me. It’s such a gentle feeling, and reminds me of my childhood, playing princess and making fairy gardens.

Bright Blue Cloudless Skies – There are few things better than looking up at a brilliantly blue sky without a single cloud in it. It seems to stretch on forever and makes you realize how vast and huge this lovely world of our is!

The Smell of Lilacs – We have a few lilac trees in our backyard and when they’re in bloom in the spring, nothing beats their gentle fragrance. Whether it’s walking in with my bike, or heading to the garage, I love getting a whiff of that gorgeous scent!

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Those are my Little Things for this month, and again, I hope you enjoyed this post and took a moment or two to think about the little things in life that give you pleasure!

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Back-To-School Wishlist

The official countdown has started, and school is less than a month away!

To say I’m excited for my second year of university is probably an understatement. After a hectic first year, I feel a lot better coming in to second, and am really looking forward to walking around my stunning campus and studying in my favourite library again (Knox College’s Caven Library — check it out on google if you’ve never heard of it), and joining some new clubs and campus communities! There are a lot of things that need to be done before school starts in September though, one of them, being a closet restock.

Before I left for our vacation, I did a huge clean out of my closet. It’s pretty tough for me to throw out or donate a lot of things (I get attached and sentimental) but I have to say, I was pretty ruthless this time around. Following the steps in this post from a few weeks ago, I made a list of a few things my wardrobe was missing and since then, have been on the lookout for those pieces in time for school! Here are a few of them!

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Shop the set HERE
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Shop the set HERE

Adidas superstar sneakers

Fine I’ll admit it, I’ve finally fallen into the Adidas band wagon. It’s taken long enough but I just can’t help myself! Superstar’s seem to be everywhere in the fashion world recently and are a great (and comfy) option for running errands, going to class or hanging out with friends. While they’re still a casual shoe, their classic shape and colours allow them to be easily mixed and matched and worn with everything from joggers, to your favourite boy friend jeans, or a t-shirt dress!

This past year my personal style has definitely evolved from a colourful, preppy inspired, to something more classic and subdued. These Adidas sneakers will be a great addition to my wardrobe and I won’t lie, sometimes I fall asleep dreaming up ways to wear them.

Typically they cost $99 and I haven’t quite figured out whether or not to buy them here in Portugal (where they’re more than $5 cheaper) or wait until I’m back in Canada to splurge…honestly I don’t think I’ll be able to wait until then.

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Shop the set HERE
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Shop the set HERE

Black & White Silk Cami’s

Much to my mother’s annoyance, I am obsessed with simple white and black blouses. If it’s flowy, in either of those colours, and made of lovely light fabric, I will most certainly be adding it to my closet. The thing with camisoles (and any basic blouse really), is that they’re the perfect layering piece. As my style has evolved, I’ve come in possession of more blazers and jackets, and my old wardrobe had few blouses that were light and simple enough to layer underneath them. These beauties are perfect for wearing under blazers with slacks, or half-tucked in to jean skirts.

These silk cami’s from Joe Fresh are beautiful quality and really simple. For real though, they’re the kind of blouse you can dress up or down just by changing what you wear over top of them, and best of all, they’re currently on sale! I’ll definitely be dropping in to pick up one in each colour once I’m back in the city.

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Shop the set HERE

Black Skinny Jeans

I have two pairs of these already, but they’re old enough that “black” isn’t really the right word to describe them….more like a dark, faded charcoal or something along those lines. Either way, black jeans (in whatever style is your favourite) are an essential part of any wardrobe. They’re slimming, go with literally everything, and are perfect for the winter months when we (ok me) tend to drop light colours and just go for black and grey.

My favourite Black skinnies are from H&M, and they’re snug, high waisted (to hold everything in place), and feel more like leggings than jeans, which is basically the dream. I’ll probably wait until this pair is totally out of commission before going out to search for a new pair because if I’m being honest, pants shopping is the worst sort of shopping.

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Shop the set HERE

Camel Overcoat

The camel overcoat is the winter equivalent of the forever classic trench coat. It goes with everything, keeps you warm and stylish, and adds tons of class to even your most casual looks. Last fall I bought a beautiful red over coat, and wore it basically every day. It was my favourite coat and even now I’m excited to get in to autumn so I can wear it again. However, while red is an awesome colour for a coat, it doesn’t exactly go with everything. A camel coloured overcoat goes with substantially more and is somehow, a bit more casual (if that makes sense).

My hunt for the perfect trench coat was a long and annoying one (I finally found one on sale this summer though), and I already know that my hunt for the perfect camel overcoat will be just as tiring. Knowing my luck, I’ll find one next May. My first stop for this hunt will be Value Village and all the awesome second hand stores in Toronto. Hopefully, something beautiful (and reasonably priced) will pop up. If not, the hunt will continue!

New Hunters

Nothing exciting here, just practicality. We didn’t have a lot of snow last winter, so I wore my hunters (with huge thick socks) every single day. As a result, the heel is practically non-existent, and the sole is a few months away from being full of holes.

Currently I have a pair that are the colour of worn denim, and if I end up getting a new pair, would probably opt for matte black, or something ridiculous like baby blue or yellow (I’m and all or nothing type of gal).

Lunch Bag

Because I’m commuting to school this year (yay for living at home!) I’m going to need to bring lots of snacks and food to fuel myself through long days (10am – 9pm a couple days a week). I love lunch bags, but I haven’t had one since high school and am determined to find one that’s fun, but a bit more adult-like and easy to carry around. I’ve found a couple interesting ones on Etsy, but have yet to find one I actually love. Until then a canvas book bag filled with goodies will have to do!

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Fall is one of my favourite seasons and I can’t wait to get back to Canada for it. I know I haven’t done a lot of outfit posts (make that zero) but once I’m back in Toronto, my best friend David will be taking my photos so I can actually start showcasing my favourite pieces and showing you how I end up styling all the stuff I keep talking about on this blog!

Hope you guys are having a fabulous day and are enjoying the weather!!

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P.S. I’ve been playing the song “Bailar” by Deorro ft. Elvis Crespo nonstop. It’s such, a fun song and I honestly can’t get enough of it!

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How To Kick Butt In First Year

What

As August moves along and September appears on the horizon, back-to-school activity begins in ernest. First time Kindergarteners hurry around Staples clutching their parent’s fingers and pick up crayons and craft paper. High school juniors wonder how they can possibly make it through another two years of school, and college freshman sit around selecting courses, paying tuition and buying things for their dorm rooms.

They all ask the same question: what will this year hold?

While elementary and high school are slightly more predictable, university is a total mystery to those of us on the outside. Sure you’ve watched the movies, read the articles and seen the meme’s, but what is it really like to sit in a lecture hall of 1500? What is it really like to spend all your waking hours in the library during exams, and what is it like to specialize your studies?

Last fall, before I moved in to my residence, I had no idea what to expect. Though some of my older cousins had gone to university before me, I didn’t exactly know how to ask them for advice, and while my parents tried their best too calm my nerves, university had changed since their schooling days. So, instead of turning to actual people, I searched Pinterest and Blogs across the internet, reading article after article titled: “What To Expect In Dorm Life” and “20 Ways To Make Your First Year Rock”. Knowing that other people were going through the same messy emotions helped me through that entire summer.

As a sort of thank you to all the blog posts that helped me out, and as part of my Back-To-School Month posts, today’s is all about tips, tricks, and advice so you can kick butt in first year!

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Buy an agenda before school and force yourself to use it. Write everything down. I mean everything (yes, even what you want to eat that day)! My agenda is my lifeline, and honestly, I don’t think I’d make it through the year without it.

Also use a big (pretty) wall calendar. Agenda’s are great for carrying around, and a big wall calendar is perfect for putting over your desk. It’ll help you see busy weeks in advance so you can stay organized and ready.

Plan your readings. Use your agenda to plan what work you need to get done everyday. Sit down on Sunday night and plan your readings/homework/assignments for the week so you can stay caught up (or ahead). This extra time also lets you see what’s coming up that week (maybe a friends birthday) so you can make room for important extra curricular’s or social events.

Protect your syllabus at all costs. This packet of papers is your life line for that class. Keep it safe, make a photo copy (seriously having a back up is a life saver), and highlight any important information. Transfer important dates to your agenda and calendar immediately and keep in with your notes for that class.

Don’t fall in to the “wear pjs and sweats all day everyday” state of mind. It’ll make you feel more tired and lazy. Dress up for yourself and I promise you’ll feel 10x more confident and ready to tackle your school work.

Don’t force a relationship with your roommate. It will come with time, and if it doesn’t, it’s no big deal! Not everyone ends up being best friends with their roomie. As long as you’re civil and respectful, you’re good as gold!

Do assignments right away. This is always easier said than done, but your stress level will lower drastically if you start the essay the day it’s assigned or brought up in class.

Find your library. Some libraries work for some people, and others don’t. Take the opportunity to try out different libraries and study spaces on your campus until you find one that’s perfect for you. Once you find a space you can study in easily, it’ll take a lot of the pressure off.

Work out every day. For the love of God, please get out of the library and move. It can be a dance class, a run, a yoga break or even a brisk walk through campus, anything. Just get up and do it. Not only will your body thank you, but your mind will be more focused to learn afterwards.

Don’t be afraid of taking morning classes. So many people tell you not to, but it’s a great feeling to be up early and done with lectures by noon. It’ll give you lots of time to be productive and get things done during the rest of the day.

Wake up early. Even if you decide not to take morning classes (sorry 8ams, I’m just not feeling it) consider waking up early. Building a routine helps you fall asleep easier (and sleep better) and if you wake up early, you can get the bulk of your studying out of the way so you can enjoy the rest of your day! If you’re not a morning person don’t worry, I wasn’t either, but if you force yourself to get up at say 8am (whether you need to or not) you’ll notice a big difference in productivity.

Get out of your comfort zone! Join the intramural team, rush the sororities, take a really weird art history class or just go to student plays and art shows. Whatever you do, learn new things and step outside of your boundaries. Chances are you’ll find a new passion or hobby.

Don’t worry about dating. If you have a boyfriend, great, but if not, don’t sweat it! Statistically people in university aren’t the ones getting in to long term commitments. You’re in school to learn and grow as a person. Take new chances and focus on expanding your mind and interests. The right person will come around eventually and you’ll be glad you didn’t rush it.

Flash cards are sent from heaven. Make them, read them and then read them fifty other times. They’re perfect for studying and you can have your parents or sibling or roommate or the guy you tend to sit near on the subway quiz you at literally any point in the day. Make them and use them.

Go to class. This is pretty self explanatory, but a lot of people still skip. You’re paying a lot of money to be there, so show up and get the most out of your education. However, if you’ve weighed the pros and cons, and skipping really is the smarter course of action, don’t be afraid to miss a class or two. You’re the only one who knows what you need to do in order to succeed.

Do the readings. I was always told that it’s impossible to get all your readings done in uni, but when I started, I found out that that wasn’t true at all. If you budget your time properly and are studying effectively, you should have no problem completing the required readings. Make the effort, because having already read the textbook helps a lot the night before your exams.

Rent your textbooks. If your student bookstore has the option, rent those babies. Textbooks are so expensive and renting is usually way cheaper and easier to go about than buying. Most schools give you the option to pay the difference if you decide you want to keep it.

Talk to your professors. Go to office hours, and student/staff mixers. Ask them questions after lecture and email them (as a last resort) if you really need to. Contrary to popular belief, your profs want you to succeed but they can’t help you if you don’t reach out!

Set goals. When you know what you want to achieve and the things you need to do to reach those goals, it’s so much easier to stay motivated. Figure out what these goals are, write them down and stick them on the wall near your desk or in your agenda. Read them when you’re finding it difficult to open a textbook.

Take breaks. Sitting for twelve hours straight in the library is not good for you. Your brain needs breaks to properly store the information you’ve learnt and honestly, after that many hours in front of your books, you probably aren’t giving your work 100% anymore (Instagram and Facebook start becoming really important). Get up, take a walk, listen to music, or eat a (healthy) snack.

Nobody cares if you go to the party. It’s no surprise that there’s going to be drinking and rowdiness all over campus most nights of the week (students party when they can). If you choose to go to those parties, all the power to you, stay safe and have fun! But if you aren’t an avid party goer (like myself) nobody really cares. Stay in and do your own thing of go bowling with friends. It’s all your choice.

Nobody cares if you drink either. As someone who doesn’t drink at all, I was really worried that people would judge me in university. Would they think I wasn’t cool? Would I get made fun of? Would the pear pressure be too much to handle? Nope! Nobody really cared, and if they did comment, it was usually to say that they thought it was cool I could go to parties sober. So if you don’t drink, have no fear, just do you!

You might not make many friends. I thought I was going to make a bunch of really good friends in my first year, but the truth is, I only made a couple, and that was totally fine. While quality is way more important than quantity, you will find your group of people as the years go on. Universities are often gigantic, but your homies are hiding in there somewhere!

Keep in touch. Call your parents and your grandparents. Send your high school BFFS letters and care packages. University is scary, and sometimes all you need is a reminder of the love you have back home. Don’t use distance as an excuse for letting important relationships fade. A text twice or three times a week is all you need.

Try to get a job. It may be hard to juggle with homework and clubs etc. But you’ll be so thankful to have some extra cash coming in!

Don’t hold yourself back. Just because you’re frightened or anxious, doesn’t mean you should stop yourself from doing things. If your scared of taking a semester abroad or taking an internship, chances are, it’s a perfect opportunity for learning and growth. Don’t be silly, take the leap!

Have fun! University is stressful and pretty scary, but it’s also an amazing time! You’re learning so many new things and there are opportunities to help you grow around every corner. While school is often crazy busy, make sure you take time during the week to hang out with your friends and do something fun.

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I think I probably could’ve come up with more advice (it’s one of my favourite things to write about if you couldn’t tell), but I’ll save that for another time. I hope this has been slightly helpful to a few of you who are heading to uni for the first time (or even if you’re a fourth year veteran)!

If you have any advice or suggestions, leave them in the comments, I’d love to hear what gets you, through a hectic year!

Hope you’re all enjoying this lovely Tuesday!

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University Fashion: A Guide

Transitioning your

Last summer I did a lot of research on university. I read countless articles on dorm life, searched every corner of the internet for information about college fashion, and scrolled through Pinterest for hours, pinning outfit inspiration for the year. Clothes had always been important to me, and I wanted to know what the fashion expectations would be like in university as apposed to high school. While I found some really helpful articles, many of them catered to universities with a different atmosphere than my own, and as I went through my first year, I realized that much of what I had read, did not apply at my school.

Because I go to school in a big city, student’s are rarely seen walking around in their pjs or workout shorts and oversized t-shirts (unless their coming back from the gym). Some schools value comfort above all else, but I love the fact that being in an urban centre pushes people to dress up everyday of class (yes, even for exams)! Girls wear makeup, and carefully put together outfits everyday, and guys do the same. While it might seem exhausting to some, I appreciate being surrounded by people who look good and prioritize their appearance, even during stressful times of the year.

So, I’ve decided to start a little series on University Fashion from a big city school point of view, and my first topic is about making that jump from a high school wardrobe to a university one.

As a kid growing up, there was no better time for me than back-to-school. Sure it sounds odd, but it was the end of summer, new adventures were on the horizon, and my parents would take me shopping just for school supplies and clothing for the new year. While some of the excitement has washed away, back-to-school remains one of my favourite times of the year, and buying new things to prepare for it is something I (and probably most people) still do.

In high school, my style was quite different from what it is now. I was a fan of bright colours and belted dresses. Big colourful necklaces and bright patterns. As my first year progressed, my style changed drastically. Classes were busy, and when I wasn’t in a lecture, I found myself in the library or a lab. I still wanted to look put together, but no longer had the time (or energy) to create the more elaborate outfits I’d worn in high school. Moreover, I found I no longer identified with that type of clothing at all. So, without even realizing it, my personal style became more minimalistic and based on the principles of a capsule wardrobe.

For those of you who have never heard about a capsule wardrobe, I suggest you google it and read up, because it’s total gold! Essentially, the premise is to pair down your closet to a set number of items, all of which can be worn and styled together. While I am not yet ruthless enough to take my wardrobe down to the numbers suggested in some capsule wardrobes (ranging between 15-35 pieces of clothing), I’ve adopted some of the same principles and it has really affected the way I dress and see fashion.

Bellow, you’ll read about how I suggest transitioning your wardrobe from a high school student, to a sort-of-adult student, and I hope you take away and apply some of the techniques I use in your own closet!

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Clean Out Your Closet — The first step in transitioning your wardrobe from high school to university, is cleaning out your closet. This step might take a while, but if you dedicate an afternoon to the task and turn on some good music, I promise it’s really fun!

First off, take everything out of your closet, and I mean everything! Lay them out on your bed, in the living room or on the floor and take a minute to think about each piece. Separate them in to three piles: keep, donate, sell. If you haven’t worn it in a year, it doesn’t fit well, has holes you can’t fix, is the wrong colour, or is one of those impulse buys you made and never wore, out it goes! It’s really hard to be ruthless with your closet, but the more times you go through it (I typically do this four times a year, or more if I feel I need to) the easier it becomes to separate things you adore and wear over and over again, from those you don’t. Don’t be afraid to keep a few pieces you only wear for certain occasions. Wardrobes are made up of basics, but you also need some statement pieces to fill it out.

As you go through your closet take note (like physically write down) what styles you love, what colours you tend to buy and what shapes fit you best. This list will help you in the next phase of your closet makeover!

Know What Works — I’ve mentioned this in the step above, but we are all different shapes and sizes, so it’s incredibly important to know what suits you! A black body con dress might look awesome on one person and not so great on another. That doesn’t mean you’re what isn’t working, it just means you need to find your shape.

Knowing what works on your body is especially important when it comes to pants and dresses. If you have a pair of skinny jeans because they’re trendy but never wear them because they just don’t fit right, why keep them around? Invest in pieces and shapes that make you feel your best and are things you find yourself consistently reaching for. While it’s totally fine to experiment with different looks, it’s nice to have a basic you can fall back on.

Choose a Colour Pallet — A lot of you might find this step a little bit odd, but allow me to explain. It’s common knowledge that certain colours work on certain people while others don’t, and if you want to build a wardrobe where you can mix-and-match everything in your closet, it’s helpful if you stick with a general colour scheme. This will help you get the most out of your wardrobe, since everything can be worn together, so you’ll have a pretty large selection of possible outfits.

First, choose a few basic colours which you find yourself gravitating to again and again (mine are blue, black, white, and beige) and then choose a few colours for those statement pieces (mine change with the season, but tend to be pinks, red and canary yellow). Your colour pallet is not the end all be all of course. If you find certain things that deviate from your basics but are still styles are shapes that flatter you, don’t be afraid to add them to your closet. As I said before, while your wardrobe should mainly be filled with basics, you need statement pieces to round it out and tailor it to your personality!

Plan — Now that you know your shapes, styles and colours, you can go shopping and use these criteria to help you buy items that you’ll love to wear. Don’t go crazy with shopping right away though. Try out your new, smaller closet for a few weeks to see what works and what doesn’t. At the end of this trial period you might want to get rid of some other pieces, and you can make a more thoughtful list of the things you’d like to add or replace before heading out to do any major spending.

This is the point in your closet makeover where you can start planning your spending. You can choose items you’d like to splurge on (like a new purse or winter coat) or others that aren’t as necessary. This might seem like overkill, but as someone who is known to make a ton of impulse purchases, planning what I want to buy has been really helpful for me, and is a great way to make sure you’re staying in your budget.

Another plus is that you’re essentially making a wish list, so the next time your parent’s ask you what you want for Christmas or your birthday, you’ll actually have something concrete to give them!

Invest In Basics (but don’t go crazy) — We are but lowly university students, so this next step has to be taken with a grain of salt. Basics are so important. A fantastic pair of jeans, white blouses, and little black dresses are items that can be styled millions of ways and mixed and matched with most things in your closet.

So many posts I’ve read about wardrobe basics emphasize splurging on these items and making sure that they’re the best quality you can afford, but I’ll be honest with you, I don’t exactly think that’s realistic for students. University is expensive enough with crazy tuition and living costs. You don’t need to add expensive basics to your list. Once you’re settled in a paying job post-grad, it makes more sense to start investing in pieces from higher end brands, but until them, buying your basics from places like Forever 21, The Gap (my go to store for jeans) or Old Navy is more than ok.

If you’re using a spending plan like I mentioned above, splurging might be more feasible, but curating a wardrobe full of these higher end basics will take longer. It all has to do with your priorities and what you’re comfortable with at this point in your life!

My go to basics include: dark wash skinny jeans, light wash boyfriend jeans, white blouses, black blouses, a little black dress, a little white dress, motorcycle jacket, jean jacket, striped long sleeve top, trench coat, white button down, and a white t-shirt. Though my closet is significantly larger than this (I have a slight clothing obsession) these are the pieces I often build an outfit off of (and they’re all endlessly versatile)!

Be True to You — This is probably one of the more important points of this post, and at the same time, it might be one of the most difficult to implement. Trends come and go, but your personal sense of style is forever! It can be daunting, especially in a time in your life where you are constantly meeting new people and doing new things, to fully embrace the style that you feel the best in. There’s so much pressure from the media to look and dress a certain way and when our personal style doesn’t exactly line up with what we see in the magazines, it can be hard to stay confident and rock what you like.

If there’s anything I’ve learnt in my life, it’s that it really doesn’t matter what people think, and this is especially true when it comes to what you wear on a day to day basis! If you like a certain trend, rock it! But don’t feel you have to just because every celebrity is seen wearing the same thing. Be uniquely yourself (which is so much harder than it sounds) and I assure you, you’ll be rewarded!

Accessories Make All The Difference — Shoes, purses, jewelry, scarves, hats, and sunglasses. These are the things that can ultimately make (or break) an outfit. You can wear a simple jeans and t-shirt look and then style it four or five different ways just by switching up which accessories you use!

Call me a stereotype, but I can’t help myself, I LOVE shoes…and purses, and jewelry, and scarves, and hats, and sunglasses…but especially, shoes. There is so much potential in a good pair of shoes. They can dress up an outfit, or make it more casual. A spunky pair can add personality to the simplest of dresses, or take the edge off of something a little more risqué. Shoes, in short, are a fashionista’s secret weapon!

There are of course the basic shoes you should have in your closet, like sneakers, flats and pumps (I think I might have to make a post on this at some point), but I love shoes, because they provide a perfect opportunity to add a little je ne sais quoi to a look. They provide a perfect chance to be adventurous! So, while there are the obvious basics, I like to go for shoes that are a little different, shoes that are brightly coloured, or have fringes etc. These often serve as the statement piece in my outfit, and are so fun to play around with.

All this to say, that accessories (especially shoes for me) are your chance to play around. Don’t stick to just the basics here, go for things that you love, things that are quirky and a little different. This is what will mark your personality on an outfit and give you a chance to be creative and playful in your closet. Patterns are great for shoes, so are metallics and bright colours. They serve to add dimension to the basics we talked about above. Anyone can wear jeans and a t-shirt, but making jeans and a t-shirt interesting and fashionable, is all in the way you accessorize, and no-one accessorizes quite like you do!

Learn The Joy of Thrifting — Ah, thrifting, my favourite pass time. As a kid, my mother and I frequented Good Will and Value Village, on the hunt for unique pieces and good deals. We always found something, and to this day, thrift shopping is my favourite way to shop. It’s good for the environment, is usually better for your wallet, and the whole hunt for something spectacular is way too much fun!

Thrifting is sometimes seen as taboo in our consumer culture. Buying second hand clothes and accessories is often looked down on, people tend to want brand new items. I however, strongly believe that thrifting is the way to go. You often find really unique pieces (vintage sweaters or dresses) and your creative side gets a work out! As a student, thrifting is especially important because of our general lack of funds, and honestly, hunting through a second hand store is a great way to work off school anxiety.

Make Room For Business Wear — While it’s likely you won’t be working an office job until after post-grad, it’s important to start making room in your closet for versatile business wear pieces. You don’t have to go crazy here (a fancier white blouse, black pencil skirt and blazer will do just fine) but as job interviews and internships do come up, you’ll have to be able to dress the part!

Make sure that these pieces are easily integrated in to the rest of your wardrobe so that they aren’t just hanging in a corner of your closet waiting for Google to call you in for an interview. A blazer should pair just as easily with a t-shirt and jeans as it does with your blouse and slacks, and your pencil skirt should be able to do double time as a work place staple and dinner date statement!

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Essentially, when all this advice is taken together, your wardrobe should become smaller, but more versatile. You’ll be able to make more outfits out of less pieces, and because these pieces are all ones you love, you’ll look great no matter what. As a student, life gets crazy hectic, and sometimes picking out an outfit for the day is daunting because we don’t have the energy or time to thoughtfully put something together. If your wardrobe is only full of pieces you love, that work together, choosing a killer outfit takes no time at all, and you’ll feel comfortable in the styles and shapes you love.

Personally, my style has evolved to be more minimalistic and simple. I focus on adding personality through interesting shapes and accessories and tend to wear the same three or four colours every day. Someone else’s capsule-esque wardrobe might be entirely different, focusing on bright colours and patterns. Either way, if you love what you’re wearing, that’s all that matters!

So this post was incredibly long and detailed, almost like an essay about closets, but I enjoyed writing it so I hope you enjoyed reading it (and hopefully you learned something or got some ideas about how to work with your wardrobe).

It is so incredibly hot today in Portugal, but I hope you’re all enjoying your summer, and are having a lovely day!

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What Not To Do In First Year

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As July comes to a close (wow how is the summer flying by so quickly????) I’ve decided to dedicate most of the posts this month to one of my favourite times of year: Back To School! I’ll be talking about preparing for university and sharing some things I’ve learned for getting through that crazy first year! If any of you guys have ideas for posts or want me to cover a specific topic, just leave it in the comments and I’ll fit it in!

Starting University is a scary and exciting adventure. For some, it’s their first time living away from home. Others, are worried about making friends, and others are worried about the tornado of academic work. Either way, uni is a huge change from High School. Teachers are not as hands on (how can you be in a huge class?), the work load is much larger, and you’re meeting new people everywhere you look.

This summer I’ve been thinking back to my first year a lot. Going over the mistakes I made and wondering what things I could’ve changed to avoid certain experiences. While there’s no right way to go through university, there are some things you might want to avoid to make your first year go a little more smoothly, so, I’ve decided to curate a few things I wish I’d been told (and a few I wish I’d believed more) before starting school last fall!

Date That Boy — In the first few weeks of university you’re going to meet so many people, and some of them just might be people you’re madly attracted to. Whatever the case, and no matter how well you get along, or how “right” it feels in the first few months of school, do not date the boy! By all means, keep up the relationship. Flirt, text, hang out and giggle, but wait until at least mid semester before making any serious commitments. School gets stressful and you’re at university to work on yourself and your academics. Focus on that before jumping in to something that could go south really fast. Trust me on this one. It has bad idea written all over it.

Forget The Readings — While home work might seem light and easy (reminiscent of high school) in the first month of uni, do not let yourself fall behind in readings. When things start to pick up (and trust me, they will) you’ll thank yourself for keeping up and even getting ahead. Going in to midterm season with a pile of work you’ve neglected multiplies your stress by at least 1000%!

Shut Yourself Away — While school is incredibly important (that’s what you’re paying tons of money for of course) don’t lock yourself away in the library or your dorm room. Being social is just as important to your experience and well being as academics, so make sure you take time to talk to the people on your floor and go out once in a awhile.

Miss That Opportunity — If you go in to school knowing you’re interested in a certain type of club, don’t miss joining it! I went in to first year with a few clubs I wanted to join in mind, but was either too scared too go through with it, or got too busy. Looking back on it now, I regret that decision and have decided to follow through with those clubs this year! Student groups and associations are a great way to meet like minded students and people who could ultimately become your best friends! Don’t give up on things that could really improve your uni experience.

Wear Only Pyjamas — I know school gets hectic. Assignments pile up and it feels like you’re living in the library. But please, don’t go from well thought through outfits, to sweats and pjs every day! As silly as it seems, dressing up and wearing clothes that make you feel awesome and beautiful are really important for feeling confident. If you feel good in what you’re wearing it’ll translate to how you act to others and how people react to you. And hey, when things are crazy, it’s always great to look in the mirror and know you look damn fine!

Worry About Your Major — Things change. You learn new things and take classes that you’ve never heard of. University is made for this! The more you learn, the more your ideas of the perfect major might change…or not! I know so many people who came in to school in one program, and by the end of the year, had completely switched. I also know people who came in with one idea, and realized it really was the perfect program for them. It’s all dependent on the person, and there’s no right way to go about it! Just know that figuring out your course of study is a process, and it works out in the end.

Forget About Yourself — This is my last, and probably most important, piece of advice. Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Workout, take breaks, eat well and be gentle with yourself. School is crazy, and when stress starts to get to you, it’s important to take a step back and make sure you are keeping yourself healthy and happy. You absolutely cannot function optimally if you’re not sleeping enough or are incredibly anxious. Your mental and physical health are both so important and school should never overshadow that!

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So, those were a few of the things I want to warn incoming freshman about. It’s a scary time, but don’t let the new experiences and change throw you off. You are a strong person and scary experiences are the perfect opportunity for learning and growing!

Again, if there are any “Back-to-School” topics you’d like me to cover, let me know in the comments!

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10 Things I Learnt In First Year

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Last fall I embarked on a crazy, scary, exciting new adventure…University! In September I showed up at my beautiful residence, unpacked and organized my dorm, said adios to my high school days and hello to the new ones ahead. It was a crazy year overall. I made friends, lost friends, studied really hard, pushed myself, and have come out the other side a completely different person! The whole year was a rollercoaster and though it was difficult and scary, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

While it was an exciting time, it proved a big change (obviously) and I faced a lot of challenges in my academics and social life. I struggled to make the grades I thought I should, missed my parents, and didn’t make nearly as many friends as I had imagined. Though it certainly was crazy, I learned so much about myself and the type of life I want to build for myself, so I am grateful it went the way it did.

While I learnt a lot of things, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the major lessons I learnt, so here are the ten most important things!

Trust The Universe

Sometimes things get out of hand and you feel like you have no control over your own life! Things and people start running away from you, or it feels like you’re drowning in school work. First year is a time of great change, and we all face a ton of challenges in those eight months. So many things are thrown at us and we’re expected to react properly with only a moments notice. While things can often feel overwhelming, I learnt that everything happens for a reason. Sure that boy you sort of dated, hurt you, and yes, there were some mean girls and petty drama. Maybe you really bombed a test, had a crazy house mate, or one of a hundred other negatives, but all of these things are opportunities for learning!

I’m a very spiritual and superstitious person (not in the typical religious sense mind you), and while I’ve always believed things happen for a reason, I’ve never been more sure of it until now. The universe has it’s own plan for your life. It twists and turns, drops and jumps, but ultimately, it’s going to take you to exactly where you want to go. As soon as I accepted and believed this from the very bottom of my heart, it became a great comfort to me and was one of the things that got me through the hardest parts of the year.

Some Things Are Temporary

It’s the truth. You likely won’t stay friends with the people you meet at frosh, you don’t have to be BFF’s with your roommate, and it’ll take some time for the new people in your life to stabilize and settle. You might start the year with one group of friends, and end it with a totally different bunch — that’s ok! In fact that’s how it’s supposed to go! Learning what you like in social relationships is a hug part of growing up. In first year (and university in general) you are thrown in with entirely new groups of people, many of whom you won’t gel with. It’s going to take some time to find those you really click with, and sometimes, even when you really want someone to stay, it’s best that they don’t.

The universe has a path for you to follow, and some people just don’t fit in with it. That doesn’t mean you won’t find your place at all, it just might take a little bit longer than it did in High School.

You’re Your Own Hero

This is self explanatory really, but I think it’s been one of the most important things I’ve learnt thus far. Life will get hectic and intense, that’s just the way it is, and you can’t expect someone to always be there to lean on. People are dealing with their own stuff too. This doesn’t mean your best friends won’t help you out when you need it, it just means that you have to be there for yourself every step of the way.

You always have the power to pick yourself off the floor and on to better things. Once we recognize this “superpower” in ourselves, the world doesn’t seem so scary and taking risks doesn’t seem as difficult.

It’s All About Priorities

This is something my dad has always said, and it’s proven true again and again! As much as personality defines ones self, priorities are often the major motivator for any action a person takes and everyones priorities are different.

Keeping this in mind is helpful when you’re in a difficult group work scenario, or if the people you’ve recently become friends with turn out to be the kind of people you don’t want to hang around. Everyone has different things that drive them. If your priorities are really different from someone else’s and you clash because of it, it’s ok to not stay close with that person. It’s ok to pull away from things that are bringing you down, and it’s ok to put yourself first. Recognizing this, though it can be hard to put in to practice, is so helpful in the long run. You (and those other people) deserve to find friendships you can thrive in, and there’s no shame in realizing someone might be the wrong addition to your group.

Not Everyone Has The Same Heart As You

This point builds on the previous one. While everyone has different priorities, everyone also has a different heart. The way you handle hurt, or stress, or anger, are all very different from the way others handle with them. The sooner you accept that everyone is going to react or behave differently in stressful situations, the sooner you’ll be able to stop expecting certain behaviours from them.

People don’t react the way you do or say the things you say in bad situations, and while it’s easy to say “I would’ve done this…” or “I would’ve said that…”, it’s even easier to accept people as they come and recognize that while they may not have done what you would’ve liked, they are doing the best that they can. This takes the stress off everyone, and leads to more open relationships built on trust and acceptance.

Listen To Your Mom

As annoying as it is sometimes, your mom really does know more than you. She always has, and it’s important to listen to her. When she tells you not to date anyone, it’s not because she doesn’t want you to be happy, it’s because she knows it’s not a good time and doesn’t want you to get hurt, and when she tells you everything will be ok, it almost always is.

Keep in touch with her, tell her what’s going on and she will always be there for you. That’s what mom’s do, they fix, and heal, and love when it feels like everything else is going south.

Your Mental Health Matters

This. Is. So. Important. University is crazy. Things are hectic, you’re stressed beyond belief, and people can be rude and hurtful. While ultimately you’re there for academics, never ever, prioritize school work over your mental (or physical) health.

If you are too anxious to focus, take a break. If you can’t open a text book because you’re too sad, seek professional guidance. If you need to drop courses to be at a comfortable spot, do it. Do not ever make academics and school work  worth more than your health and sanity. The only way you can perform optimally, is if you are healthy, happy, and stable in all areas of your life.

Your health matters, so listen to your body, and take breaks or talk to a professional when necessary.

Be Gentle With Yourself 

This point builds on the one above. When you didn’t do as well on a paper as you thought you would, bombed a test, or didn’t read a chapter. Be gentle with yourself.

University is such an adjustment, and you are doing your absolute best. Be gentle with your self talk, encourage yourself, and make sure you praise the hard work you’re doing. Acclimatizing to the social and academic aspects of college life is hard, it’s stressful and there’s no right way to go about it. There is a right way for you though, so don’t compare your experience with that of anyone else’s. You are doing what you need to do for you, and that’s exactly how it should be!

One Day You’ll Meet “The One”

You’re going to meet so many boys (or girls)! You’re going to meet one you click with right away and they might break your heart. You’ll meet some you admire from a distance, and others still that you just don’t click with. There will be tons, and while it seems like an endless game or a string of heart breaks, don’t worry about it, eventually the right person will come along.

Statistically people in our age group aren’t in long lasting relationships. They’re not finding the one yet, and while it might seem like everyone around you is falling in love and getting married, it just isn’t true. You’re not weird or abnormal. Your soul mate is just doing their own thing right now and you should be too.

Quality > Quantity

This lesson applies to everything. Friends, studying, eating, working out, literally everything! The long and the short of it, is that life is special! We’re blessed with so little time on this amazing planet and our job is to build something out of what we’re given, which you can’t do when negativity is tearing you down every step of the way.

Always remember, quality, is far more important than quantity!

Just because you have a million “friends”, doesn’t really mean they all care about you the way they should. If you spend eight hours “studying” for a test, but really just scroll through Instagram, that test likely won’t go well. And if you workout an hour everyday, but barely move a muscle, you won’t reach your goals the way you wished you could.

With social media being such a prominent form of communication, it’s easy to feel like you aren’t cool or popular enough. People are constantly posting pictures of their gazillion new friends and the cool things they do at school, so naturally we  compare our lives to theirs. Really, we should be focused on building our own network filled with people who love and support us. While you might not have a million friends like everyone else seems to, it is far more important to have a few quality buddies.

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Man, this post took so long to write! I’ve honestly been working on it for about a month and finally finished it while waiting for my flight at the airport. Finally! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it, because I really enjoyed the process of writing this post. It got me thinking about all the little ways I’ve grown as a person, and helped me appreciate a difficult year.

What are some things you’e learnt this year?

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