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How I Raised My GPA

As many of you know, I didn’t do so hot my first semester of college.  I spent way too much time worried about hanging out with my boyfriend 24-7 with all our newfound freedom, and not enough time doing homework.  This was also the semester that I learned the damaging effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter depression), and lost interest in absolutely everything.

 

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Needless to say, my classwork took a major hit, and I barely scraped out with a 1.93 GPA.  It was in this very moment that I decided this wasn’t the student I wanted to be.  I didn’t want to be the student that just got by.  I didn’t want to be the student that used depression as an excuse.  So over my winter break, I created this wildly detailed graphic, outlining every strategy I was going to undergo to make sure I excelled.  It covered such things as writing my notes three times to make sure I remembered them, copying all of my professors’ contact information into a master spreadsheet to use when I was in a jam, and taking advantage of every extra credit opportunity that came my way.  (If that graphic ever manages to surface again, I’ll post it.)  So I got back to school in January, and I did absolutely none of those things.

Instead, I started a blog, became a Chapter Advisor for Her Campus, joined the Stout Film Society, rejoined Stout Swing Club, and started taking Zumba classes.  Ask me how that solves my problem, because everybody else sure did.  But sure enough, I finished the Spring semester with a 3.67 GPA, and a lot more respect for myself and what I had accomplished.  Now how the heck did I pull this off?

1. Asking Questions.

I stopped telling myself that I’d look stupid if I asked for my professor’s to clarify something I didn’t understand.  I made it my goal to ask more questions than the other students, and even the prof.  I asked how far I could work ahead on assignments, and if I could review drafts of essays with them ahead of the deadline.  It leaves a positive impression on your peers and mentors, and you’ll never settle for “kind of understanding” your work.

2. Taking Notes.

I suck at it.  I cannot fully understand the discussions and the lectures when I’m trying to scribble down important materials for tests or projects.  Rather than settling for listening in class and hoping I’ll remember important dates and deadlines, I embraced my shortcomings and asked a classmate if we could share notes.  This alone helped me improve on exams by a whole letter grade.

3. Finding My Fuel.

With any form of depression, it’s really important to figure out what makes you feel good about yourself – what makes you want to keep going.  I figured out that I feel ten times better about my day if I’ve accomplished something, big or small.  Usually that’s enough to keep my productivity going all day long.  If I can convince myself to do one blog post, or a small reading for a class, I’ll be motivated enough to finish my assignments for the whole week!

4. Prioritizing My Time.

My mom always told me that I needed to get my priorities straight and I never understood it.  But once I thought about it, mine were all out of sorts.  I decided schoolwork needed to be my number one, and everything else would have to fall behind it.  It got to the point where I would whip through my homework no problem, because I knew it would bring me closer to the things I was actually excited to do.

5. The Right Supplies.

I never used binders in primary school because I hated how trashy they would look in use.  The rings would bend, or catch on papers and rip them, or the edges would break.  Now that I realize how useful they can be, I made an investment in the best binders known to man.  The Staples Better View Binders have sturdy rings, a clean design, and rubber lined edges.  And because they are so well designed, they last forever, and they still look brand new a year and a half later.   Thanks to this investment, I’m able to keep my papers organized and clean without feeling like it’s a hassle to do so.

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Well I hope this has been helpful!  I know that I’m not perfect.  But each semester of working hard brings me closer to that 4.0!  What are your strategies for keeping your grades up?  Please share!

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Writers’ Block and How to Deal (My Battle with Creative Constipation)

Most of you have noticed I haven’t exactly been pooping out content this summer.  I began the summer with a lot of momentum and fizzled out.  Sure, I’ve posted a couple of links to articles by others on my social pages, but I’ve missed out on a lot of good opportunities for college posts this past month.  I’ve been, what I call,creatively constipated.  Although some people refer to it as writer’s block, it applies to more than just writing.

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I call myself a creative spirit.  I’ve been called wishy-washy and inconsistent my whole life.  I move on from ideas faster than I move on from my outfits.  I begin so many of my endeavors with such a large amount of passion that by the time I should be following through, I’ve exhausted myself.  That’s something that parents, teachers, and any people of authority in my life tend to observe quite a lot, and then I wonder why they don’t jump on board with both feet when I present another whirlwind idea.  Quite honestly, I don’t blame them.

The truth is, anybody can come up with 100 reasons not to follow through and work to be successful.  It’s not something creative spirits alone are plagued with.  In the past I’ve just allowed myself to give up on my plans and goals, claiming that creativity blocks are just a part of what makes me who I am.  But I’ve decided creative constipation is not going to be my excuse any longer.  And I’m making this article my living promise.

So what are my steps to living with writer’s block – or creative constipation?

To-Do Lists Versus Calendars

I cannot poop on command.  Setting up a concrete editorial calendar doesn’t work if you find yourself unable to think in an innovative way at the time you’re supposed to plunk out a blog post.  Instead of telling myself that I’m going to publish articles on Monday and Wednesday at three in the afternoon, I’ll create a goal, detailing that I plan on having two articles fully brainstormed and in the drafts by Friday afternoon, so I can touch them up and have them ready to go for the next week.  This way, I can write down ideas as they come, and take the time to organize and polish my thoughts.

Starting with One Push-up

A lot of times I find it hard to get up and work.  Publishing a whole article can seem like a hefty task when you’re fishing for excuses to be lazy.  I’ll tell myself, it’s too dark out to take decent pictures, or I just need to wait for such-and-such’s opinion before I’ll know what I want to write about.  Yep, writer’s block is a vicious cycle.  Somebody told me that finding the motivation to do a whole workout is difficult, but if you agree to do one push-up, you’ll probably feel like more isn’t such a hard task.  I’ll follow suit with productivity in my homework and in my posting to make sure that I can get started.

Embracing Failures

When you have incredible blogging figures out there in the media, it’s hard to feel like you’re good enough to get to where they are.  Your articles are never phrased exactly right or your pictures look unprofessional.  Part of being motivated is understanding that failure is a possibility.  But it’s important to understand that it only makes you human.  And this can be a very attractive quality for any public figure/blogger.

There you have it!  My battle with creative constipation ensues!  How do you deal with writer’s block?  Comment below!

This Single Lady Wrote A Book

So Singles Week was coming to a close, and I realized I was having too much fun to just let it go!  (I sure hope you are too!)  As a bonus post, I thought to myself, what could be more incredible than sharing the success of this single lady?

*Scroll to Bottom for Disclosure*

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Since we’re all for celebrating ourselves here at CBD, I thought I’d share with you guys this fabulous book written by a friend of mine from UW-Stout.  Stacey Springob saw all of her friends jumping in and out of relationships like they were playing leap frog.  They claimed they knew it all from their lengthy experience, and tried to set her up and fix her many times over.  One day, she decided she’d had enough.  She said, “Hell, no!” to belittling herself for not having found the right guy, and took all of her “relationship failures” and turned them into a sensational single success story!

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The Author. Ain’t she beautiful? 🙂

At the ripe age of nineteen, this girl set out to do the impossible.  She was going to write a book about all those things that being single had taught her.  And sure enough, she nailed it!  What I’ve Learned From Never Having a Boyfriend is a witty, humorous and engaging book sharing many eye-opening observations she’s made over the years of being diagnosed as chronically single.  She covers a wide range of topics, between the difference between a relationship and a thing, and what she’s been able to learn about herself without a man.

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Just think: If Miss Stacey Springob was able to write her first book, travel to both coasts of the country learning to do what she loves, and achieve her dream of working in broadcast TV . . . what could you accomplish without a man by your side?  I think it might be worth the thought!

I truly recommend this book to anyone that’s struggling to accept their single prognosis, or even people in relationships that enjoy an outside perspective.  Stacey brings to life many lessons and observations I wouldn’t have even considered before I met her!  It’s an easy read, it’s super relatable, and it’s highly entertaining.   Below is a link to purchase your copy!  It’s available in paperback format and for Kindle, and it makes a perfect gift for any impressionable teen!

What I’ve Learned From Never Having a Boyfriend

***Disclosure: I am contracted with the Amazon Affiliates for the product advertised in this post; however, all opinions expressed within this post are solely my own, and I truly believe in the value of this product.

Why I’m Dating Myself

Hey guys!  Kate here, back with part three of my singles week series!  I hope you’ve enjoyed the run as much as I have.  Please share anything you liked and feel free to give me feedback in the comments!  I would love to hear from you, and I do respond to ALL of them.  So, without further adieu, here is the answer to the question absolutely none of you have asked . . . why I’ve chosen to date myself!

 

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Singularity has become a bit of a death sentence in today’s world.  Declaring yourself single is like announcing to the world that you have cancer; you’re met with lots of sympathy, advice, and how can we make you better? inquisitions.  It has turned into an epidemic that makes individuals feel less than perfect for taking some time for themselves.

Personally, I feel there is something very wrong with this condition.  While it is perfectly okay to strive for a happy relationship in life, there is absolutely positively NO NEED to rush to that finish line.  Quite frankly, all of these pressures that society place on single people almost force them to settle for less than they need and deserve, and I don’t think that is okay.  No person should feel worthless, or flawed, or anything less than their best simply because they haven’t found the right person yet!

Many of you know that I underwent a messy break up, back in February.  The truth of the matter is that what had started off as a support system that was beneficial for both of us, became a controlling situation that was sucking the self-confidence right out of me.  It’s not his fault.  I became too comfortable depending on him for everything that I withdrew from activities that I loved, and lost myself completely in the process.  It happened, and it’s okay.  I’ve forgiven myself for it and learned from it.

But what wasn’t okay, was that I let myself buy into the relationship mentality.  I let myself believe that without him by my side, I was somehow less of a person; I was not worth the care and support that he had sustained me, and I now needed to provide for myself.  So I struggled, and desperately sought male attention and dating to try to make myself feel like I had purpose.  I ignored completely, the fact that I had no idea who I was anymore, and thus didn’t have a clue what I truly needed to feel complete again.  I neglected myself, and the emptiness became larger.

Do you know what my problem was? I allowed my self worth to be in the hands of other people!  I determined how much value I possessed by the reactions and responses of the people I sought blindly.  What I truly needed, in order to feel whole and find a purpose for breathing again, was to get to know myself again.  And that, my friends, is a journey that must be taken alone – well, with careful support from friends and loved ones.

This is why I’ve decided to change my relationship status, from single . . . to dating myself.  The truth is, it is impossible for you to truly and healthfully love another person until you learn to love yourself.  I mean, how do you know what you need in a life partner, until you understand your own strengths and forthcomings?  Please, take the time to get to know yourself.  Find out what makes YOU happy, what inspires you to be better, and what your purpose is.  WITHOUT a S.O. by your side.

Advantages of Being Single

Happy Singles Week!  Thanks for sticking with me as I post my second installment of this series, Advantages of Being Single!

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I think the single status is severely underrated.  Being in a relationship is over glorified.  I mean, sure, it’s nice to have a dependable cuddle buddy every once in a while, but freedom is freaking fantastic.  And I’m about to tell you why.

Cash Money

Being in a relationship involves a lot of spending.  After all, it means an extra birthday, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day gift every year.  Although he might buy you dinner every once in a blue moon, or take you to a movie, you’ve spent your fair share in “thoughtful gifts” and date outfits. Think about it: your pockets were a whole lot heavier before he swept you off your feet.  Rack up them cents, single ladies!

Selfish Plans

Maybe selfishness isn’t the world’s greatest quality to aspire to, but it’s perfectly healthy to put yourself first from time-to-time.  When you’re with a significant other, it’s extraordinarily hard to avoid putting yourself on the back burner.  You can’t go shopping with the girls on a whim, without checking in on his schedule.  You can’t go to dinner with the family, because he’s got a soccer game you need to be there for.  Take advantage of guiltless spontaneity.  Ain’t no man holding you back!

Doll Up for What?!

When you’re going out with the boyfriend, there’s so much pressure to look your best.  You want people to see you two together and think, how’d he get so lucky?!  Single status means you can be comfortable in your own skin.  If I want to wear sweats all day long, I’m gonna!  And best of all, when I get dolled up, I get to do it for me; not for anyone else.

Freedom to Flirt

Remember that adrenaline rush that used to come when you got up the nerve to talk to that cute guy at the mall?  The giggle fits of you and girlfriends when you tripped, doing that sassy strut to show off your butt?  When you’re tied down, that flirtatious side of you is limited.  Enjoy it while you can!  Flirting is 70% of the buckets of fun that come with being single.

 

What do you enjoy most about being single?  Sound off in the comments!

– Your Loyal Collegiette

Dating App Reviews: A Guide to Safe Online Dating

Hey guys!

I haven’t posted in a while, because I’ve been crazy busy interning and working, but that’s all about to change!  This week is singles’ week here at CBD, and I have a line up of three posts that I’m going to share with you in honor of it!

So all of you single pringles out there – and possibly you concerned parental units:

LISTEN UP!

 

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After my break up with Jamie, I tried any number of dating sites and apps in the hopes that I’d find a reason to feel good riddance.  (For the record, I don’t recommend this route.  Good girl friends and many rounds of apple smashing are the best plan of action, there!)  And while I have met a few good friends while in pursuit of something more, I’ve come across more than my fair share of bad experiences because of it as well.

Whether you’re looking for your mister right or just looking to meet new people, dating apps can be a great way to extend your reach and breech your comfort zone, but it is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to be SAFE!  While there are some quality apps and sites out there, they come with many lurking evils as well.  It’s important to do your research and know exactly what you’re getting into before you sign up.

In a lucrative effort of finding out for myself and for you which networks work and which should get the boot, I did the dirty work for you and tested each one out for myself.  So prepare for the harsh reality,  the ultimate lowdown on the down-low, the truth amongst the lies – your safe online dating app reviews.

Tinder

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Expertise: Hook-ups

Safe: No

Rating: 3 Stars

Price: None (Premium Membership Available)

Tinder sort of operates as the Mecca of college-age hookups.  The company describes the app as “a fun way to connect with new and interesting people around you.” With that in mind, does it serve the purpose? Yes.  Are they the kind of connections you’re looking for? Possibly, but the risk is high.  Tinder’s discovery preferences allow you to search for guys or girls of a certain age range within a certain radius of miles.  There aren’t too many measures in place to protect its users, as all you need to be able to access the app is a Facebook profile, which as we all know, doesn’t take much. Any photos from your phone or Facebook can be used, and they aren’t verified so you’ll never know for sure if what you’re seeing is for real.  I’ve met total jerks through this app, but on the opposite end of the spectrum, I’ve met genuinely good guys with no intentions to hook up at all.  As long as you protect yourself, and don’t give out any personal information, this app is okay.  Just take the bad with the good, and be prepared to deal with the worst.

Match

 

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Expertise: Dating

Safe: Yes

Rating: 2 Stars

Price: $19.99/mo for 6 months

I tried this one after my aunt suggested it was a much more legitimate option for finding people than Tinder.  And sure, that’s what the TV commercials tell you, and they have SO many success stories.  So I gave it a go.  I purchased a month long membership membership at the hefty price of $35.99 to see what it got me.  At first glance, it’s not bad.  All of your photos are authorized and validated by the company before going public, as with any free responses included in your profile.  Match takes in a lot more information about you that is important to know when assessing the potential of a relationship, like your religious status and whether you smoke or drink regularly.  So is it legitimate? Yes.  Should it be used by college students? Probably not.  More than anything, I had divorced men or 30-yr-old anti-socials pursuing me, and they weren’t very respectful of my polite discomfort of the age difference.  Over all, maybe if I’m forty and still looking, I’ll revisit the idea, but it’s definitely not age appropriate for the time being.

Date My School

Date My School Profile

Expertise: Unknown

Safe: Unsure

Rating: 2 Stars

Price: $19.99/mo for 3 months

I found this one through research online.  I thought it might be legitimate, seeing as you have to have a .edu email address in order to register for the site.  Date My School offers prompts to answer in your bio, to help users get to know you, and you can answer survey questions to develop your bio further.  You can add a multitude of photos, and they collect a lot of the same information as Match, just without the verification.  The design is clean and easy to navigate.  The idea behind it is to eliminate fakes, by only allowing college students and alumni into the system.  Overall, there seems to be a lack in active presence on the site as far as I can tell.  Many of the members I even had conversations with were too far away to hold interest.  But most people that had profiles in the area weren’t active for days, and didn’t respond to messages.  I think this site could have potential for growth, if they could attract more members.

Coffee Meets Bagel

 

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Expertise: Dating/Networking

Safe: Yes

Rating: 4 Stars

Price: None (Optional Purchase of Beans)

Coffee Meets Bagel is like the less overwhelming and relaxed version of Tinder.  Every day at noon, the app sends you one profile, consisting of a few pics, mutual friends through Facebook, their age and location, and their education and interests.  Regardless of whether you pass or like, you submit a small form telling the app what you liked about their profile and what you disliked, and it uses that information to shape your matches in the future. Your first name isn’t divulged until after your profile is connected to theirs, and once connected, you have 8 days in a chatroom to decide whether to meet or not, and then your chatroom is closed.  There’s also a section of the app in which you can recommend certain individuals to friends that use the app, or can take them for yourself if you don’t like your own matches.  I personally like the app a lot so far.  Tinder tends to make a game out of mass-swiping, and you lose site of your connections.  With Coffee Meets Bagel, you’re encouraged to take your time and get to know each match before making a decision.  I haven’t met any that make my heart go fluttering, but I’ve met some pretty decent guys and made some good friends.  I definitely recommend this app for any sort of relationships in the future.

I really hope these dating app reviews have been helpful for you, and I hope you’ll let me know what has worked for you.  If you’ve found something you like that I haven’t reviewed, send me a shout-out!  I’d be happy to interact with you guys!

– Your Loyal Collegiette

Wall Art to Dazzle Your Dorm Walls

My most recent obsession is with do-it-yourself wall art. Living in shoebox-sized dorms with whitewashed walls can really stifle your creativity in a time in your life in which you need it most.

Wall Art
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I cannot stress enough how important color and life is for making a cramped space feel like home. That’s why I’m sharing with you a few DIY ideas to splash a little of yourself into your space.

 

Vintage Frames

 

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A touch of vintage inspiration gives your space a little bit of character, and it doesn’t hurt the newfound college budget to save a few dollars in the process. I like to scour thrift stores and antique stores for simple pieces like this vintage frame, which I’ve used to decorate mine and my roommate’s cleaning schedule – something I HIGHLY recommend doing as well. It helps to keep you on task and break up the workload into something manageable that doesn’t drain a whole Sunday afternoon.

 

 Graphic Art Pieces

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Although it’s a lot more fun to make your own, graphic art canvases are a great way to add interest and personality to a drab dorm room. Find something that speaks to you, or get creative and paint your own. Mine is a constant reminder not to take life too seriously, and reminds me of one of my favorite places to go and relax.

Photo Art

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This one has been trending all over Pinterest. Photos are a great way to celebrate happy memories and the loved ones you’ll miss while away at college. And rather than spending a fortune on frames, why not collage them to create something more interesting? I used this heart, full of family and friends, to represent everyone in my life that makes me feel full and whole. It’s a great way to focus myself on appreciating what I have, and it gives my friends and classmates that walk into my room a taste of who I am.

 

Functional Pieces

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With dorms being sized the way they are, and being crammed full of adults, every bit of space counts. Sometimes the best art is art that serves multiple purposes. Whether it’s canvas art that conceals your valuable jewelry behind, or a decorative fabric utensil holder, it will dazzle your dorm and have coveted function as well. Here, my roommate and I took an extra frame and created a custom key holder. Now we never have to worry about locking each other out of the room, or losing our keys in the closet abyss!

 

How do you decorate your space? Which of the tips above are your favorites? Comment and let us know!

– Your Loyal Collegiette

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