College

What You REALLY Need for College

 

*There are referral links present in this post. All opinions within this post are 100% honest – I only recommend products that I personally use and love!

We've all seen them. The "Ultimate College Checklist" is probably the first thing every high school graduate refers to when it comes to shopping for their new college life. And I speak from experience! I referred to college dorm checklists wayyyy back when I was still in high school (except, I went to a boarding school and lived in a dorm, so I have an excuse).

And with college dorm move-in day just a short month away, retailers are gearing up. Just this past week, my family got Target's College 2015 mailer. As much as I love Target (like, loooove Target!), I can't help but get slightly annoyed at their suggested "College Checklist". 

I mean, listen to this:

  • futon
  • decorative lights
  • futon cover
  • dry-erase board
  • lounge chair
  • corkboard
  • area rug
  • bookcase
  • decorative pillow
  • wall shelves
  • back rest pillow
  • nightstand
  • wall clock
  • dresser
  • wall art
  • accent table
  • picture frames
  • ottoman
  • door mirror
  • desk
  • floor lamp
  • desk chair
  • tv stand
  • desk lamp

And that was just the Furniture section. To those of you headed off to college this fall: you really don't need all of this. I don't even think it'll fit into your small room anyways! Plus, you don't want to have to pack up all that stuff at the end of the year. Trust me. Things accumulate faster than you think.

DO NOT BRING...

Furniture

Unless your room doesn't have a desk or bed (it probably will though) don't bring any recliners, sofas, coffee tables, or ottomans, even the ones that store stuff. A small futon is fine if you're ok with having people in your room all the time. Other than that, they just take up space, and you do not want to be a real estate hog.

Kitchen Appliances

Other than a fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. If you feel like baking cookies or something, most dorms have cooking facilities with pans and things that you can use. Save those other kitchen gadgets for any future off-campus living days.

A Printer

I started my freshman year with a printer in my room, fully stocked with ink and paper. Then, I hardly used it because there are free computer labs everywhere! Honestly, a personal printer isn't really all that practical (Hint: you won't be doing THAT many paper essays). A printer not only takes up space, but it can also lead to unnecessary spending on ink and paper.

A Computer Lock

You're most likely going to be carrying your laptop with you everywhere anyways.

A Wall Clock, or Alarm Clock

Simply use the clock app on your smartphone. I recommend Sleep Cycle, since it helps you wake up in your lightest sleep phase, so you're less groggy! Plus, it tracks the quality of your sleep.

BUT DO BRING...

College students, THIS is what you really need for college.

An Amazon Student subscription

Students get unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping(with no minimum order size), plus exclusive deals and promotions for 6 months!

A mini steamer

Often overlooked, this little beauty will take wrinkles out of clothes in less than 5 minutes and it’s easier to use than an iron. Just fill with tap water, plug it in, and go!

Extra pillowcases

While I do agree with having at least two sets of sheets, I also recommend that you bring along a few extra pillowcases. Pillowcases trap the oils from your face and hair, so try changing it every week. By having extra, you can switch them out and toss the old one into the dirty clothes hamper.

Throw blanket

Perfect for those late (or early) study sessions in the heart of winter, or for sitting out on the front lawn, a blanket is a must! I'm loving this striped one right now!

An umbrella / raincoat

I love this cute umbrella from Bando! Or you could go classic with a wooden handle. But you can also opt for this compact umbrella–it comes in a bunch of color options.

Costumes (or at least ideas of things to wear to make your own costume)

Colleges love having themed events! You will be invited to parties of every theme you can imagine — '70s, '80s, Western, Hawaiian, and many times there are costume contests where you can win prizes. Be prepared!

Easy extra shelves

There's a good chance your closet is going to be small. Velcro a neat organizer to any metal poll, and you'll have the perfect place to store all your sweaters and tees.

An essentials pouch

What I mean by this is that you have a small pencil / cosmetic size pouch that you fill with things such as: bandages, hair ties, chapstick, pads/tampons, pen/pencil, eye drops, safety pins, etc. Having it in a pouch makes it so easy to switch the bag between your backpack and purse while keeping everything organized and neat.

Scissors!

So, so useful.

Air freshener spray

Must I say more?

Hand sanitizer

Keep yourself healthy when the seasons change and the flu starts going around! Get a pack of mini hand sanitizers and keep one in your backpack, purse, and dorm room.

A reusable water bottle

Many college campuses have water bottle filling stations, making it super easy to refill your favorite water bottle. I have the bkr bottle and I love it! It’s made of glass and comes with a silicone sleeve in the color you choose.

A study playlist

Music makes the long hours of studying go by so much faster. I created a Hit the Books playlist on Spotify that includes music from John Mayer, Of Monsters and Men, and Imagine Dragons. Currently it’s 5 hours and 6 minutes long, and I keep on adding to it! Enjoy! (Feel free to check out my other playlists as well)

I hope this helps those of you headed off to college this fall! :)

P.S. Don't forget to check out these 10+ Must Have Apps for College Students!

 

Fun and Easy Ways to De-Stress

Need some ways to de-stress after finals? We've got you covered. #relaxationtips Life has gotten so busy these past few weeks. I'm taking six finals in three days, starting today! Wish me luck! The great thing is that once the tests are over, summer is here. And although I'll be taking summer classes, I absolutely can not wait to sit back and relax for a bit. So if you're trying to get through finals week (like me) or are just simply looking for easy yet fun ways to de-stress, this post is for you. Have a great day everyone!

  1. Sleep. Many of us are overworked and overwhelmed. We have so much to do in so little time. But the thing is, getting enough rest is even more important. What better way to lessen the fatigue than to curl up under the covers and catch some much needed z's. To help you out even more, here are 10 secrets for a better night's sleep.
  2. Treat yourself. Indulge in that ice cream. Buy yourself some flowers. Schedule a massage. Whatever you do entirely up to you.
  3. Don't do anything. This might sound contradicting and dull, but just sitting and not thinking about anything for 5 minutes straight can do wonders. Find a quiet place and just sit and breathe. Your body will be able to wind down and relax easier.
  4. Stretch and deep breathe. Nothing feels better than a deep breathe and a good, long stretch. It helps eliminate tension and stress by bringing more oxygen to your brain and also loosens tight muscles.
  5. Read. No, you don't have to read another (boring) textbook during your free time. But studies have shown that sometimes moving to fun read for enjoyment is a good idea. Get lost in some books!
  6. Attend an event. Check your city website, local newspaper, or college campus bulletin board to find fun events to attend (many are free!). Maybe it's a summer festival, a monthly art walk, or a concert. Find something that you would enjoy.
  7. Dance. Listen to music for the sake of listening to music. Dance to your heart’s content. It can revitalize your energy, especially after you've been stressed out.
  8. Get some exercise. For a quick de-stress, take a quick jog or run. An energizing exercise can help clear your mind and calm you down.
  9. Spend time in the park. Nature is one of the most calming de-stressors out there. Nothing feels more freeing than feeling the sunshine on your back and the wind blowing across your face. The simplicity of nature is calming and the it's beauty is soothing to the eyes. Take a trip to the park and take a deep breath of some fresh air.
  10. Hang out with friends. Chances are that when you're stressed, you're not in favor of spending time with other people. But you're most likely not the only one who needs to de-stress. Take time to catch up with friends, especially funny ones. After all, laughter is the best medicine.
  11. Create a relaxation space. Bring in things that personally help you de-stress: candles, a book, a blanket, a sketchbook, magazines, etc. Use this space to remove yourself from the usual routine of life.
  12. Shift your focus. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, try distracting yourself by doing a different activity. Paint your nails, straighten your desk, do you laundry, THEN come back to the task at hand. Don't confuse this with procrastinating! You're simply taking a break to clear your mind so you're better prepared to conquer whatever it is you're doing.

What other ways to you use to relax and de-stress?

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10+ MORE Must Have Apps for College Students

 
 

*There are referral links present in this post. All opinions within this post are 100% honest – I only recommend apps that I personally use and love!

UPDATED FEBRUARY 8, 2017: A few months ago I wrote a post on 10+ must have apps every college student should download. That post became quite a hit on social media and I've been wanting to feature a few more apps that I love. So today I'm back with 10+ MORE must have apps for college students! Each of the following apps and resources are ones that I personally use and recommend to any busy person looking to maximize productivity and stay organized while having fun at the same time.

 

RefME (Free / Website)

I've been using RefME for all my papers this semester, and I don't know why I didn't use it before! It's such an amazing resource! Nobody likes figuring out how to cite a source. RefME does all the hard stuff and lets you collect sources fast and keep them organized in groups. You can either search for the reference title, author, url, etc., or simply fill in the boxes with the appropriate information, select what citation style you need, and voilá! A perfect bibliography/works cited is born! Some other great features are that it allows you to export your bibliography directly into a Word document and shows you the correct inline citation to use. With their app, you can even scan book/journal barcodes to get citations. How easy it that?

 

Khan Academy (Free / iPhone & iPad, AndroidWebsite)

Khan Academy lets you learn almost anything for free. Videos and visuals help solidify concepts that would otherwise be forgotten and allows you to master concepts you didn't catch in class.

 

Elevate (Free / iPhone & iPad, Android)

Elevate was selected as Apple's 2014 app of the year, and it rightly deserves that award! The app helps "train" your mind for the skills you need the most, such as retention, visualization, focus, comprehension, etc. All it takes is 5-10 minutes a day a few days of the week and you'll see your progress chart go up over time. The games are fun and even addicting!

 

Coggle (Free / Website)

Mind mapping is the new brain dump. It is such a useful way to think about new ideas and simplify complex processes. You can use it for school projects, your business ideas, product ideas, blogging, or just your daily life in general. I like using Coggle because it's web and cloud based and allows you to sync your mind maps with Google Drive. 

 

Printer Pro ($6.99 / iPhone & iPad)

Before you run away after looking at the price, let me just tell you that this one is definitely worth the money. Printer Pro allows you to print anything–documents, emails, web pages–directly from your iPhone or iPad. Advanced printing options such as print orientation, scaling, number of copies, and even paper size give you desktop class printing on a small scale device. Best of all, Printer Pro is compatible with Wi-Fi enabled printers as well as USB ones. No more saving documents to the cloud in order to print them later on a computer!

 

Influenster (Free/ Website)

Influenster lets you flex your social media influence by providing you with free, full-sized product sampling through exclusive VoxBox campaigns. To get selected for a free VoxBox filled with amazing products, simply connect your social media accounts and begin reviewing products to unlock badges. The higher your influence score, the more likely you'll get selected.

 

Spotify (Free / iPhone & iPad, Android, Website)

Spotify is my go-to music player for a few reasons. One, I love having the ability to choose what songs to stream and add them to playlists at the same time. Two, they have a great browsing selection where you can discover tons of new artists and songs based on your mood. And now, you can get 50% off Spotify Premium for students. Say goodbye to annoying ads.

 

Quizlet (Free / iPhone & iPad, Android, Website)

I've tried many flashcard apps and I have to say, this one is the best. Their app user interface beautiful and functional but the real power lies in the website. Quizlet allows you to create "sets" of flashcards that you can share with other students who are studying for the same quiz or test. It's not just flashcards either; different games help make studying fun.

 

Avast Mac Security (Free / Website)

It’s been said that Macs are immune to viruses and other things that are common on Windows. Because of that, many Mac users never even think to install antivirus protection. But that’s not the case anymore. Turns out, it’s not impossible to create a virus that affects a Mac; it’s just more difficult than with Windows because of nature of OS X and its security model.  I highly recommend that you install Avast Free Antivirus. It’s free, simple to install, and updates automatically to keep protection current.

I hope these apps are as helpful to you as they are to me! Don't forget to check out the other 10+ apps! Enjoy! :)

What are your must have apps?

10+ Must Have Apps for College Students

 

UPDATED FEBRUARY 7, 2017

If I was to list a single skill I wish I already had mastered, it'd be productivity. Being a full-time student has taught me so much about prioritizing and not procrastinating. But of course, it's not always easy. I'm always looking for more ways to productive. And living in the smartphone generation, apps are one of those ways. Social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest definitely get the most use on my phone, but those don't allow me to be very productive. That got me thinking about the apps that come in handy the most when I am in school. Which ones help me stay on top of everything? So the following apps and resources are ones that I personally use and recommend to any busy person looking to maximize the time they have and stay organized.

Update: Don't miss 10+ MORE must have apps for college students!

RefME (Free / Website)

I've been using RefME for all my papers this semester, and I don't know why I didn't use it before! It's such an amazing resource! Nobody likes figuring out how to cite a source. RefME does all the hard stuff and lets you collect sources fast and keep them organized in groups. You can either search for the reference title, author, url, etc., or simply fill in the boxes with the appropriate information, select what citation style you need, and voilá! A perfect bibliography/works cited is born! Some other great features are that it allows you to export your bibliography directly into a Word document and shows you the correct inline citation to use. With their app, you can even scan book/journal barcodes to get citations. How easy it that?

Sunrise (Free / iPhone, AndroidMac)

While the default calendar app is fine for appointments and schedules, I find the Sunrise app even better. Upon opening the app, you can see your schedule for the next few days with little icons beside each event letting you know if it's a class, meeting, work, etc. I love how simple and straightforward it is!

 

MyWater (Free / iPhone, Android)

8 glasses of water a day is the basis of good nutrition. I use this app to keep track of how many water bottles I drink in a day. You can set your daily goal, what type of drink you're having (water, tea, coffee, etc.), and have reminders go off at different times during the day. It's easy to use too, just click "Add a drink" when you drink a glass of water!

 

Sleep Cycle (Free (pay for Premium) iPhone / $0.99 Android)

Hate that feeling of waking up all groggy and tired for an early morning class? Sleep Cycle analyzes your sleep and wakes you up when you're in the lightest sleep phase. Graphs provide you with information about your sleep quality, what times you went to sleep in the past 3 months, the average time you spend in bed, and your sleep quality on certain days of the week. Definitely worth the $0.99 if you have an Android!

 

Shopkick (Free / iPhone, Android)

Free gift cards? Yes, please! Use shopkick to get points for walking into stores like Target, American Eagle, and Best Buy. Then, redeem your points for gift cards. Shopkick also has coupons and deals for tons of stores that you already go to on a regular basis.

 

 

Pocket (Free / iPhone, Android, Mac)

Don’t lose track of the all the interesting things you find by letting tabs pile up in your browser. Pocket allows you to easily save articles, videos, and more for later. Everything goes to one place, so you can view it anytime, on any device, even without internet. Perfect for when you want to read an article or watch a video but don't have time at the moment.

 

Mint (Free / iPhone, Android)

This is the perfect app for creating a budget and keeping track of where you spend your money. Set up financial goals such as saving up for spring break, paying off your school loans, or buying a car and get advice on how you should budget and distribute your paychecks in your checking and savings accounts.

 

She Reads Truth (Free / iPhone, AndroidWebsite)

She Reads Truth is an online community of women who read the Bible and encourage one another. Devotional reading plans can be read on their website for free, emailed to you, or read through the iPhone app (for a small fee depending on how recent the plan is). The app also includes beautiful lock screens with scripture on them!

 

Duolingo (Free / iPhone, Android, Website)

I have to take a language class for my Bachelor of Arts degree, so I'm getting ahead of the game by learning Spanish for free on Duolingo. This app can help you learn Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, or Italian using easy exercises to help you spell and pronounce the new words! You can set how long you want to learn each day (5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc.) making it easy to do in between other tasks.

 

Dropbox (Free / iPhone, Android, Website)

I have this fear of my laptop crashing and losing all my photos and documents. That's why I save important things in Dropbox. Another plus is that I can access it on my phone! It makes accessing photos from anywhere super easy.

 

Any.Do (Free / iPhone, Android, Website)

I've tried SO many to-do list apps, and this one is by far my favorite! Simple and straightforward, the app allows you to set tasks for today, tomorrow, upcoming, and someday. Once a task is complete, just click it to make it disappear. I like using the website version since I usually have it open in my web browser.

 

Caffeine (Free / Mac)

Don't let your Mac fall asleep while you're working on paper ever again! Install Caffeine on your computer and a little coffee cup will appear in the toolbar at the top. Just click on the cup to keep your Mac awake for a set amount of time (I have mine set for 30 minutes). Once the time is up, your computer will go into normal power saving mode.

 

theSkimm (Free / iPhoneWebsite)

This last resource isn't an app, but rather an easy way to stay current with the news. I don't have time to read or watch the news every day, and sometimes I feel like I'm disconnected with what is going on in the world. theSkimm breaks down headlines and delivers the news to you in a simple, easy-to-read email that is sent to you every morning. Read it while brushing your teeth or eating your breakfast, it only takes a few minutes.


I hope these apps are as helpful to you as they are to me! Enjoy! :)


What are your must have apps?

 

P.S. Make sure you have these 8 College Girl Must Haves!!

 

Project Impact 2014

Project Impact 2014 | The Kardia Blog

Yesterday I posted about volunteering, community service, and something my college does every year that's called Project Impact. I mentioned that I was a site leader and that the organization my group was helping was the Down's Syndrome Association for Families. This organization provides support for individuals with Down's Syndrome, their family, and friends, and also gives them a better vision for the future. One of the events they do is an annual Capital City Walk to fundraise and promote awareness. Buttons are made using pictures of the children with Down's Syndrome to give out to participants. That's what a few of my friends and I were doing for Project Impact; we were helping make over 300 buttons for the walk.

The day started out with breakfast and handing out t-shirts (and sunglasses, even though it was rainy) under the clocktower on campus.

Project Impact 2014 | The Kardia Blog

Project Impact 2014 | The Kardia Blog

Then they had everyone come together to take a group picture and find enough volunteers for each site.

Project Impact 2014 | The Kardia Blog

Project Impact 2014 | The Kardia Blog

Here's our beautiful clocktower :)

Project Impact 2014 | The Kardia Blog

My team stayed on campus inside one of the main buildings. Using a few button presses, we set up an assembly line and got to work making all the buttons!

Project Impact 2014 | The Kardia Blog

Project Impact 2014 | The Kardia Blog

Project Impact 2014 | The Kardia Blog

Each child had a team name for the walk. Aren't they adorable?!

Project Impact 2014 | The Kardia Blog

Volunteering was so much fun! I'm so glad I had the chance to help the community. A few friends and I are actually thinking of joining in on the walk or simply volunteering to help. I can't wait to participate in Project Impact again next year!

And like always, here are some fun links for your weekend!

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P.S. 36 ways to show love to others!

8 College Girl Must Haves

8 College Must Haves | The Kardia Blog It's back to school time! I can't believe that I'm heading back to Lincoln, NE for school tomorrow. Where did summer go?

Back to school means back to packing all my stuff up and moving it into a dorm room. While those "College Necessities" lists are helpful for letting you know that you need bed sheets (extra long!) and a shower caddy, I've compiled a list of 8 truly must have items for any college aged girl. Trust me, these will help you more than that shoe rack in your tiny dorm room closet will.

1. A great planner / agenda

Balancing school, work, friends, hobbies, and extracurricular activities requires lots of time management. That's why I love my Lilly Pulitzer agenda! It's spacious and the colors are an instant mood booster. Never miss another meeting or forget another assignment again!

2. A reusable water bottle

Kick your bottled water habit and purchase a reusable bottle instead. Many college campuses have water bottle filling stations, making it easy to stay hydrated. I have the bkr bottle and I love it! It's made of glass and comes with a silicone sleeve in the color you choose. Drinking water has never been so fashionable ;)

3. A cute pencil pouch

Don't just dump your writing utensils in your backpack, put them in a pencil pouch! It's much easier to find something to write with when they're all in one place.

4. A mini steamer

This is such a handy item to have around. This little beauty will take wrinkles out of clothes in less than 5 minutes and it's easier to use than an iron. Just fill with tap water, plug it in, and go!

5. A (durable) backpack

No locker means that you'll be carrying your books, laptop, and notebooks with you everywhere. Pick a backpack that can easily go with all your outfits and won't fall apart from the weight of all the books!

6. Boots (lots of them)

If you go to a college where it's cold for the majority of the school year, boots are your friends. Plus, they are a great at pulling your outfit together! Every college girl should own a pair of tall brown boots, tall black boots, a pair of combat boots (black or brown), and rain boots. You'll wear these all year, so make sure they're good quality.

7. A study playlist

Music makes the long hours of studying go by so much faster. Choose songs that aren't too distracting, otherwise you'll be singing along for the next 4 hours! I created a Hit the Books playlist on Spotify that includes music from John Mayer, Of Monsters and Men, and Imagine Dragons. Currently it's 4 hours and 35 minutes long, and I keep on adding to it! Enjoy!

8. Leggings

These are a girl's wardrobe must have. Wear them with a flowy top and sandals or a chunky sweater and boots on days when you woke up a little too late for that early morning class. I get mine for less than $5 from Forever 21. Stock up!

9. BONUS! Hand Sanitizer

When the seasons change and the flu starts going around, stay sanitized and keep yourself healthy! Get a pack of mini hand sanitizers and keep one in your backpack, purse, and dorm room.

There you have it! Essentials for the everygirl. I hope this list was useful for you, whether you're in college or not.

P.S. Shop my favorite college necessities below!

What other items do you think are college necessities? Which do you prefer: steamer or an iron?

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P.S. I post lots of fashion inspiration on Pinterest!