10 things I forgot to bring to college :: plus a free printable packing list!

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1). A small tool kit. If something from your dorm room breaks, you're going to probably just have maintenance fix it. But if something you brought into your room breaks, they're going to just stare at you if you ask them to fix it. 
        My roommate and I had a fan running basically 24/7 because they had the heat on until April, and the courtyard in front of our window was always full of geese. So the fan blades got dirty. Really dirty. And I didn't have a screwdriver to take the front off so I could clean it, which really sucked. And another time I was helping my roommate fix her laptop and we had to take the battery out to replace it. The problem was the battery was behind a cover, fixed in place with 6 tiny screws. 

2). Batteries. For your remote (if you bring a tv- which I don't really recommend), your computer mouse, or whatever. You'll probably need a new battery at the worst possible time. 

3). Extension cords and surge protectors. Some dorms don't allow one or both of these items, so check your hall's rules before bringing one. My hall did allow it thankfully, because there was a total of 3 outlets in the entire room. One was used for our printer and fan, the other two were for our mini fridges and laptops.

4). A long charging cable for my phone. Not only were there very few outlets, but they were also close to the floor. I'm about 5'6" and the top of my bed reached my chest, so my tiny cable was no match against that bed. 

5). A very small purse or wristlet. When I was going to the dining hall, I didn't want to carry my giant purses when all I needed was my ID, keys, and money. You probably also won't want to carry a purse to class every day, but you also don't want your keys and ID laying loose in your bookbag.

6). A rug. Halfway through the year, my roommate ended up buying a rug. The cold tile floors were ugly, scratched, and, despite numerous cleanings, always looked dirty. The rug made the room feel more like a part of a house instead of part of a dorm.

7). Toilet brush. This is obviously not needed if you have a community bathroom (my condolences), but if you have a private or semi-private bathroom, you're going to want to keep it clean. Especially if, like me, you have two suitemates who don't know what it means to clean a shared space. Sorry. Passive-aggressive blogging over.

8). Rain stuff. Now, I didn't personally forget any of this, but so many people did. Before I left for school I spent $40 (knocked down from $200, of course) on a really nice raincoat. I brought two umbrellas and made sure I had shoes I didn't mind getting wet. If anything, bring an umbrella. Don't let rain be the reason you skip class, because you're paying a lot of money to be there.

9). Warm clothes. Please don't be me and not bring a winter jacket. Maybe I was naive because I had never experienced Michigan winters before. Or maybe it was that in high school the farthest distance I had to go was from the parking lot to the entrance. Whatever it was, I regret the choice to not bring a coat. I ended up having to get one halfway through the semester because my pullovers couldn't handle it.

10). And finally... the knowledge that it's okay to be scared. I moved to a city over 80 miles away in another state. My planned roommate (that I had met and become friends with) had to switch colleges last minute and I didn't meet my new roommate until a week after I moved in. I didn't have a car, a job, or any sense of familiarity. And for a while I was too proud to admit I was scared because gosh dangit, I had been dreaming about going to college since I was in the 3rd grade. When my friends and I played house, I'd be the lawyer/fashion designer who was also still going to school. Did it make sense? Heck no. Did it make me look forward to college? Heck yes. 
        I went home a total of 4 times my freshmen year and 3 of those were mandatory, 'campus and dorms are closed, ged'outta here' visits. The first time was mid September because honestly? I was afraid to be alone. Most of my HS friends stayed back home and I felt left out and forgotten.
        It took me until the end of my first semester to admit to myself I had been scared. EMU (my lovely school) is a suitecase school. Nearly all the students are from the area, so they go home each weekend. So I'd sit in my room and be alone, afraid to go out but also too scared to stay in with my thoughts. When I admitted I was scared, I felt better. I stopped being afraid to go get lunch on campus - by myself. I started doing things for me and by myself and it wasn't awkward or weird. 

The most important thing to takeaway from this is that you're going to forget things, but you're also going to find so much more. You're going to learn about yourself and others. You're going to find new hobbies and favorite foods and whether or not college (that college or any college) is right for you. And it's okay if the answer is 'no, it's not.' You're there to learn and if that means learning that you'd be happier doing x, y, or z, don't be afraid to follow that.

As promised, here is the free packing checklist. I probably forgot things, of course, but that's why I left some blank lines! Feel free to print this out, just don't claim it as your own or redistribute - in print or online. 



two apps to keep you focused!

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two apps to keep you focused : time doctor and habitrpg

trade your reviews for discounted products II :: allstar reviewers •

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allstarreviewers.com logo photo

In the short time I've had this blog, I think I've made it abundantly clear that I love free (or very, very cheap) things. My very first blog post was about Amazon Review Trader, a place to get free or deeply discounted items in exchange for an honest review on Amazon. Since then I've tried similar sites. I've had some hits and misses - mostly misses - but I finally found a great one and I'm so excited to share it with you guys!

ten time saving beauty tips!

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( photo from Leigh Kendell on unsplash, editing by Jen Chagnon )

Ten Time Saving Makeup Tips
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friday favorites :: everything edition

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Friday favorites for july 10th, 2015

This past week has been hectic. Potential roommate meet-ups, so. many. job applications filled out, huge rushes at work from people coming home from the holiday weekend, and so on. This week hasn't provided much sleep, but it has given me opportunities to be productive! I collected some of my favorite books, smelly-things (the good kind, don't worry), and youtube channels to share with you all this week. Some are long time faves, some are recent. :-)


june 2015 favorites


June has been a great month and it makes me sad that 2015 is going by so quickly. Soon I'll be starting my junior year of college, I'll be writing for a new blog (but keeping this one, of course), and who knows what else. Anyways, enough about all that. Let's get on with my favorite products from June!