Sunday, August 31, 2014

Move In/Room Tour!

After a grueling four hours of hauling and taping, I'm officially moved in! The next few days will definitely have a lot of organizing time put aside, but it'll be worth some well-deserved relaxation time today.

Now that the hard part is out of the way, I’d like to share some dorm-living tips with you all. For those of you no-longer-prospective-students who have already moved in, these still apply to you! Note: rooms are always subject to re-decoration/re-organization!

1.) Décor

If you’re like me, you prefer personalized decorations over a collection of random posters that any given dorm room could be plastered with. I kept it simple:

This way, you can add a touch of home home to your college home. Plus, I feel a little craftier this way (a trait I’ve always wished I had more of!). I feel like these decorations represent me way more effectively than a Josh Hutcherson poster could (don’t laugh, but that one lives at home home).

  My cousin Brenna painted this cute Emerson quote for me as a going-away gift before freshman year started. Having this not only gives me a piece of family at school, but it’s a daily reminder to stay spontaneous and fun in this gorgeous location of ours!

If you read faithfully, you may remember my last post of the school year in May, when I lost my good pal Lucy. I’ve brought her with me this time, since she’s no longer around at home. :(

  In the last waking moments of vacation, I decided I had way too many adventures this summer to not bring along a reminder of them all. Things were very different this summer than in summers past, and it made for an amazing ride. Throughout the collage are sprinkled memories of Aruba, camping, white water rafting, my favorite little beachside breakfast joint, BB guns in the backyard, 4th of July fireworks, egg on a spoon with my best friend, and so much more. Couldn’t be happier to have this here. 

It’s never a bad idea to keep a bulletin board at your disposal. You never know when you’ll get a school announcement you want to hang on to, a funny card from home, or a cute memento you want to remember. 

2.) Desk

Keeping a neat, thoughtfully decorated desk helps to anchor you there when the temptations of smoothie-runs and friend-visits call the loudest.

Graaaanted, I didn't quite have all the time, patience, and sanity today to get things all nice and color-coordinated as I'd previously imagined. But I've got a few pictures anyway!

With far more limited storage space this year, my desk has taken on a much larger responsibility! I like to keep my laptop front and center, with all my books/notebooks/binders on the side. Add a few decorative pieces, and you're in business! I kept a change jar on my desk all through last year (that's the big Mason jar in the back), and it managed to yield $60 after counting this summer! A highly recommended saving tactic, plus it doubles as a cute accent to all the textbooks!

 Before I come up to move in, I like to pre-label my notebooks and folders for the classes they'll correspond to. It saves some valuable time (especially with class bright and early tomorrow). Now they're all ready for action! Throw them right in the backpack with your planner and pen, and all set.

As for the rest of your room, things typically have their own way of falling into place. You'll slowly but surely discover certain things that you need to be in certain places, what matters and what doesn't quite as much, etc. etc. Nobody's room looks Pinterest-perfect right from the start. Give it a few days! (This is advice to myself just as much as it is advice to you!)

 Well, as much as I'd love to drone on some more, it's been a busy day, and I'm ready for some low-key time. Good luck to the freshmen, I'm sure orientation went amazing, and stay tuned next Sunday the 7th for some more life-living tips and tricks!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Almost There!

A little earlier than I'd planned, but I just had so many stories to share I couldn't help but write my first post of the year a couple weeks ahead of time!
This has most definitely been my busiest summer yet...I feel like I haven't stopped for a second! The best part is, I have all sorts of memories to share with you all. Stick around till the end, where I'll share a few of my tips for a successful move-in and orientation! But first...


Hey now. One short week into summer vacation, my friend Mikayla and I ventured on down to beautiful Aruba for nine days! I had my first snorkeling experience, burned the life out of my stomach, and absolutely blew up Instagram. (Sorry, everyone.) Here are a few highlights...

 We stayed at the gorgeous Costa Linda Resort, with this at our immediate access all day long! Not a bad view at all. 

I couldn't seem to get enough sunset shots. If there was a time to go crazy with the moment-capturing, this was certainly the place to do it.

Our wild dog (yes, wild dog) friend at Baby Beach, where we paid $8 for a chair, and $1 plus a mile walk for the bathroom. We snorkeled for about ten minutes before we realized we weren't going to see anything good unless we braved the open ocean beyond the reef. May have been an opportunity missed,  but we still made it out with our lives and a few disposable camera shots of translucent fish.

The California Lighthouse- nearly crashed an engagement photoshoot for this shot, but I'd say it was well worth it. 

2.) White Water Rafting!!!
I was back from Aruba for a week before I was at it again. A group of us made our way to Millinocket, Maine, yanked on some wetsuits and rafted the Penobscot River for the weekend. This was my third year in a row of rafting, but I have to say, this was the most treacherous trip yet. With the water level a tad lower than it had been for us in years past, each rapid became bumpier. That being said, we had our very first raft-flip at a daunting 13 foot waterfall...not an experience I would care to repeat. However, we've all lived to tell the tale, and I made it out with plenty of photo documentation, as usual.
 The Penobscot around sunset, taken from where we'd set up camp for the night.

The very waterfall that sank our ship. See that stretch of water that sort of drops off below the sun? That's right about where right-side-up became upside-down. Goodness gracious.

A quick adventure to this gorgeous view of Mount Katahdin.

3.) Work

After returning from the Penobscot, I finally buckled down and started my regular work schedule for the summer, lifeguarding at the YWCA of Greater Newburyport Monday through Friday. This was my first summer working that many hours, and it was uplifting to finally feel like a big part of things around there. I worked with an amazing group of people who I became very close with, some who sadly won't be returning next summer. But the moral of the story is, I had an amazing experience in which work no longer felt like a burden, but instead a part of my summer.
 Our last day with the full crew, captured with the utmost class and style.

The Yankee Homecoming Bed Race, 2014...a Newburyport tradition in which local businesses decorate a "bed" of sorts (on wheels), dress up according to theme, and haul down Federal Street. This year we decided to enter as a staff, designating yours truly as the "rider". So, doing my very best to take one for the team, I mounted our flimsy stretcher of a "bed", begged them not to run too fast, and held on tight. Once again, I live to tell the tale. ("Why worry when you've got a team of lifeguards by your side?" was not as comforting as it should have been.)

4.) A few more adventures...
 The final year of the Danvers 3rd of July Fireworks...a family tradition that will surely be missed.

Exploring Halibut Point State Park in Rockport, MA...easily one of the most picturesque towns I've ever been to. 

Kayaking Loon Pond in Acton, it just me, or does this give off a Notebook vibe (minus the swans)? I definitely felt like Rachel McAdams that day.

Camping at White Lake State Park in Tamworth, NH. Always an Instagram-worthy sunset here.

Ziplining at Wildcat Mountain...and yes, I took my phone along for the ride to document. A risk worth taking for sure.

With the majority of the summer come and gone (very quickly, I might add), it's time to start getting excited about heading back to St. Mike's. But let's get real...I've been excited since I left in May. So without further ado, here are a few tips for a smooth move-in day and orientation weekend! Incoming freshmen...I am so excited to see all your brand new faces!

1.) Relaaaxxxx
I only say this because I didn't. I felt like one way or the other,  I was going to end up missing something with all the bustling energy that was move-in day. But the truth is, moving in takes way less time than you would think. So enjoy those last few hours with the fam before you part ways for a little while, you'll have the rest of the weekend to run around like a crazy person making all the friends in the world! 

2.) Get Out and About!
The majority of the meeting and greeting happens during orientation weekend. You'll find that most everyone is bouncing from room to room saying hi, or engaging in a lively game of Clap-Ball on the lawn. Join in! Everyone is in the exact same boat as one is best friends already, and no one is going to turn down the chance to meet yet another someone new!

3.) Keep Getting Out and About!
If you happen to make a really great pal especially early on, that's fantastic! Keep hanging out with them, texting them, and meeting up at Alliot. But whatever you do, don't take it as an invitation to stop meeting new people. The people you meet here will most likely be the people you'll be around for a good long while, so water all the seeds and see which ones grow!

3.) Go to the Events!
I was very surprised to find that anyone would want to skip out, but there's always a party pooper. Don't be that guy/girl! Such an unbelievable amount of bonding happens throughout the events of orientation weekend (which I won't get specific about, because you should be surprised!), so you don't want to be the one that's too cool for it all. Trust me, it's an amazing time. Get into it!

4.) Take Pictures!
I know I might sound a little biased here, and I do love a good photo-op...but you'll be happy you documented the earliest moments of freshman year. Looking back on my own photos, I'm amazed at how far we've all come and how much has changed in just a year. These are the memories you'll want to keep! 

All that being said, I hope all you incoming freshmen have an amazing move-in day and orientation weekend! It is by far the most exciting, enthusiastic weekend at St. Mike's...or quite possibly the most enthusiastic weekend you'll have in your life! Make the most of it, and stay tuned for a few more life-living tips on Sunday the 31st. 

See you soon!!!