Friday, October 20, 2017

3 Ways to Style Flat Mules for Fall

     Now that it's gotten cooler in Williamsburg, I've finally broken out of my outfit rut that consisted of Nike shorts and t-shirts-- my boyfriend actually commented on the fact I was wearing "real" clothes yesterday, haha. In the past few days since it's cooled down, my mule flats have become a standby; the slip-on shoes look polished and fall-like but are cooler than boots, which makes them perfect for Williamsburg's mild temperatures.

     I bought my mule flats back in August after seeing tons of bloggers wearing them on Instagram. Mules are definitely trendy this year, and I was so excited to stumble across a trend that was within my comfort zone; mules are a little bit edgy, but the loafer-style pairs are still decidedly preppy. Over fall break, I wore my mules for a day in NYC and was shocked by how comfortable they were despite walking so much (over 8 miles, according to my iPhone health app!). Now that I'm completely sold on how practical but fashion-forward flat mules are, I'm sharing three different fall looks including flat mules.


Look #1: Mules + Leggings + An Oversized/Tunic Sweater Sweater 

     This outfit is extremely cozy but still polished enough for class and meetings. Choose a sweater in a neutral color like black, camel, or cream, and stick to black leggings for a more classic look. I just got a new pair of Aerie's Chill Legging, and I'm already in love; the material is thick and warm (no see-through leggings here!), and the hem of the "short" version hits at just the right spot on my ankle.

Land's End Cowl Neck Tunic Sweater // Aerie Chill Leggings 

Look #2: Mules + Jeans + A Cabled Crewneck Sweater
     Cabled crewneck sweaters and dark wash jeans are standard preppy staples, but they can get a little stale after a while; swapping out your Sperry's or classic loafers with flat mules can make the look more on-trend without taking you too far out of your comfort zone.

L.L. Bean Mixed-Cable Sweater // Old Navy Jeans

Look #3: Mules + Skirt + A Solid Tshirt or Sweater
      This school uniform-esque outfit gets its edge from replacing sweet ballet flats with mules. I personally love a good plaid skirt, but choosing a skirt in a solid color would make the look even more formal and classic.

J. Crew Plaid Skirt // J. Crew Sweater

     Which of these looks is your favorite?
   
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

NJ and NY: Fall Break 2017 Recap

     Since I had previously planned to visit my uncle in Arkansas for fall break but the trip fell through, coming home for fall break was especially exciting this year. My parents visited me at school last weekend, though, so I decided to split my time between relaxing at home and going on a mini getaway with friends from school. Between coming home and visiting the Jersey shore and Manhattan, I had a great time!

     One of the major perks of not having Friday classes is that I can always start my breaks early; I drove home last Thursday once classes and a major advising session for business students wrapped up. I got home pretty late but enjoyed sleeping in my own bed and waking up late on Friday morning. I spent a relaxing morning and afternoon unpacking, blogging, and just relaxing.


     In the late afternoon, I drove up to central New Jersey to meet up with my friends from college-- my friend Jen lives there and generously offered to host some of us for fall break. We hung out watching TV and then topped off a dinner of some famous New Jersey pizza with a bonfire outside since the weather was finally fall-like.

     The next day we had a yummy diner brunch before heading to the mall to do a little shopping. I only ended up spending money at Sephora; I picked up Nars Creamy Concealer to try based on a recommendation from my friend Caroline who came on the trip, plus a Ciate lipstain (Caroline helped me pick out the color!).

   


     After shopping, we drove to Asbury Park, New Jersey, where Jen's family has a beach condo. We explored the beach boardwalk but most of the shops were closed. Oddly enough, there were a ton of brides and grooms taking wedding pictures along the boardwalk, though! For dinner, we cooked up homemade Chipotle bowls AKA glorified rice and beans. Later we ventured out to see the beach at night; the boardwalk was all lit up and the bars seemed pretty popular, but unfortunately no one on the trip was 21.

   




Hoboken
     On Sunday, we woke up at a leisurely time and then headed to Hoboken to meet up with one of Jen's friends from her summer internship for brunch. We had huge bagel sandwiches before taking the PATH train over to Manhattan. We mostly wandered around SoHo and the NYU campus, popping into stores and Eataly, too. Caroline also has a photography business and brought her camera into the city so she could snap some professional pictures for us, and we were so grateful for them-- they turned out amazing! If you're ever looking for a photographer in Williamsburg and/or Northern Virginia, you should definitely look into her website!





Caroline Polly Photography

Caroline Polly Photography
      For dinner, we tried by Chloe, an NYC vegan chain, because one of our friends on the trip was vegan. We grabbed our food to-go and ate it in Washington Square Park; the food was surprisingly delicious, just not very filling. After our dinner, we headed back to Hoboken and walked along the waterfront-- the views of the city were amazing. When we got back to Asbury Park, we spent the rest of the night watching Jersey Shore in honor of the trip's location.
     
Caroline Polly Photography
     On Monday, I went back home and spent the day relaxing and doing work, and then drove back to Williamsburg on Tuesday. All in all, I had a great fall break and was so glad to split my time between being home and exploring NJ and NYC with my friends. Unfortunately, now it's back to reality at school; this week is homecoming, but I also have a lot of work and exams coming up.

Thanks for reading,
Alex
Monday, October 16, 2017

How to Prepare for the Week Ahead: 5 Tips for Taking Advantage of Sundays

   

     The average week at college is ultra-hectic-- classes, meetings, practices, and social events are all constantly vying for our attention. One way I've been trying to battle stress and chaos this semester is by planning, planning, planning before the week officially gets started. Taking advantage of your Sunday in college can make all the difference when it comes to productivity and balancing your commitments and health.

      A lot of students go to bed Saturday night intending to be productive the next day but then losing steam the next morning. Don't get me wrong, sleeping in on Sunday can be a great treat, but you've gotta get yourself up and moving if you want to stay in control of your to-do list for the week. So how exactly can you take back your Sunday in order to conquer your college week? Here are some of my tips for fully utilizing your Sundays.


  1. Don't sleep in too long // Of course, being well-rested is critical to your success in college. However, if you stay in bed too long, it's going to be that much harder to get up and be productive later on in the day. My goal is usually to wake up by 9:30 AM on Sunday, even if that means setting an alarm on the weekend. Depending on your sleep habits, your goal wake-up time might be a little earlier or later, but you should absolutely be getting up before noon if you want to be productive! 
  2. Clean your room // I've always been a strong proponent of the idea that de-cluttering your space de-clutters your mind. Start fresh on Sunday by cleaning up your dorm room or apartment: take out any trash, wipe down surfaces with Clorox wipes, do your laundry, etc. You might be pleasantly surprised by how motivated you feel once your room is clean and in order.
  3. Review your calendar // Look at what you have going on in the coming week in terms of exams, meetings, and homework. Assess what has to get down and when, and create deadlines for yourself to make sure that everything will get taken care of on-time. Consider double-checking your class syllabus for due dates; nothing is worse than realizing you have a major assignment due the next day that you had forgotten about!
  4. Accomplish at least one task for the week // Sunday sets the tone for the rest of the week, so it's critical to try and cross one thing off your to-do list to start off on the right foot. Try tackling a medium-commitment task to get something major off your plate before the week even starts without stressing yourself out too much on your day off; just think of how confident you'll feel headed into Monday with your to-do list already partially managed. 
  5. Take some "you" time // It is the weekend, after all, so make sure you carve out some personal time on Sunday to de-stress before the stress of classes. Head to the gym, get your nails done, watch a movie-- the possibilities are endless!
     The best way you can manage your schedule is to plan ahead, and Sunday presents the perfect opportunity to do that, each and every weekend. Following these minor adjustments to your Sunday schedule can really help you capitalize on that weekend time without over-expending your energy before the week even starts. Let me know which of these tips you find the most helpful!

Thanks for reading,
Alex
Friday, October 13, 2017

Cozy for Fall featuring Woolly Threads

    Disclaimer: this post is in no way sponsored by Woolly Threads and fully reflects my own opinions!

     I don't publish outfit posts often, but that's mostly just because I don't usually have the time or resources to take pictures for them. At school, I'm usually running between classes, meetings, and the library and don't want to pester my friends to pictures for me. Now that I'm home for fall break, though, I have a minute to slow down and write a fun post with plenty of pictures.

     The hot, extremely humid weather in Williamsburg has had me in a major fashion rut recently. Seriously, what am I supposed to wear when it's mid October but it's still over 80 degrees? The past week has been a series of variations on the classic Nike shorts + t-shirt combo; sure, it's comfy, but fashion really can impact our attitude, and as a result I've been feeling pretty blah.

     Back in New Jersey, I woke up today to an overcast sky and temperatures in the mid-50's. Although it's a little blah, I can't help but feel like it's finally the first day of fall for me! I'm headed up to north Jersey tonight to meet up for friends, so I knew I'd be spending most of my day at home just relaxing and running errands with my mom; comfortable and cozy was the order of the day.



     My Woolly Threads sweatshirt is the centerpiece of this outfit. I'll be honest, I was really skeptical of Woolly Threads when I first saw them. The neckline looked a bit odd, the nubby fabric is a bit unusual, and the high price tag (most Woolies are around $65) was discouraging. I would've never ordered a Woolly Threads on my own, but when my sorority chapter decided to place a group order for chapter-branded sweatshirts, I knew I had to give the brand a shot.

     I wasn't disappointed! My Woolly has become a staple in my fall and winter wardrobe. These sweatshirts run oversized, which makes them perfect for throwing on over leggings like I did today. Despite running big, Woolly Threads still look very polished for class when paired with dark-wash jeans and riding boots. Woolly Threads come in a variety of collegiate and sorority-branded styles, but more plain designs are even more versatile; personally, I'm loving this striped Woolly Threads sweater on the brand's website. Although a little bit pricey, Woolly Threads are definitely worth the investment when you consider how much wear and warmth they offer, plus the fact that they're made here in the US.



     My Bean Boots are my go-to footwear for damp, chilly days. Throwing on a pair of J. Crew Camp Socks adds a cozy touch to the outdoorsy, preppy staple. Comfortable and practical, duck boots are a winter essential that you should consider buying if you don't have a pair yet; be sure to check out my guide to duck boots to decide which brand/style will work best for you!

     Even though it's a lazy day for me, I never get dressed without popping on my pearl studs. Whether your pearls were $7 from Target or $700 from Tiffany's, pearl studs can add a touch of prep to any outfit.

      Do you have a Woolly Threads sweatshirt? What's your go-to cozy fall outfit? Let me know in the comments below! I'm looking forward to a lot more cozy outfits this weekend while I hang out with friends over fall break.



Thanks for reading and enjoy your weekend,
Alex
   
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fall Bucket List 2017

     There's just something about fall that lends itself to creating a bucket list. Maybe it's the slew of photogenic activities that the season brings, or maybe it's the way the crisp air catalyzes creativity and a desire to spend time around loved ones. Whatever it is, social media has been chock full of bucket lists lately, and I'm excited to share my (very basic) list on the blog today. I'll admit that I wrote this list back in August, when a 90 degree day had me daydreaming about crunchy leaves and cozy scarves. 

     In the past, though, I've never really been much of a bucket list person. To me, they seemed to be a little silly; why create pressure to do certain activities within a rigid time frame amid your busy life? I realize now that my perspective took the idea of a bucket list a little too literally-- they aren't really do-or-die! 

    Now, I realize that bucket lists can be a fun tool to help you stay more present. It can be so easy to let our crazy lives carry us along like a tide without noticing what's going on around us. This fall, I'm trying to use my bucket list as a subtle reminder to enjoy the nuances of the season; we only get to experience so many autumns in our lifetime, and I want to enjoy them! Here's my bucket list and my progress so far.

     
   
     What I've already checked off my list:

  • Drinking a pumpkin latte // Okay, I had a Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin Machiatto back during the first weekend of September when I was dealing with the craziness of sorority recruitment. Since then, I've had probably at least a half a dozen pumpkin lattes. Grabbing a pumpkin spice latte from the business school Starbucks before my Marketing class is always a great pick-me-up. On the flip side, I wouldn't recommend Manhattan Bagel's rendition of the classic; I tried it when I ran in for breakfast and drank about half of it because it tasted bland yet burnt. 
  • Watching a scary movie // This was a special item on my bucket list because at the time I wrote it, I hadn't seen a scary movie before! I felt like watching a scary movie would be a sort of fall right-of-passage, especially since people were always surprised when I told them I hadn't seen one before. My boyfriend managed to convince me and another one of friends to go see IT with him last month, and it was definitely scary! I had guessed I wouldn't do well with scary movies because I'm easily startled, and I was right; the jump scares got me every time.
  • Buy a pumpkin // Another item that I checked off my list with ease! The pumpkin and mum display outside Trader Joe's called my name as soon as I saw it in late September. Now I've got two little pumpkins and a mum sitting on my desk shelf, brightening up my dorm room.
What's left on my list:
  • Go for a hike in Shenandoah // Since I consider myself to be from Virginia despite being a military brat, Shenandoah National Park holds a special place in my heart. I spent four falls in a row exploring the beautiful mountains with my family and with a special friend who's since passed away; I have countless happy memories there and a few bittersweet ones too. I haven't been to Shenandoah since my family moved to New Jersey, and I'm missing it lots this fall. I thought a day trip from Williamsburg might be feasible, but unfortunately I don't think a trip to the mountains is going to work out for me this fall.
  • Make mulled apple cider // There's nothing like the smell of cider mulling on the stove top and then curling up with a steaming mug on the couch. I'll definitely be researching some mulling recipes to try out for Thanksgiving!
  • Go apple picking // This is an activity I've never done and I'm not sure I'll have time to fit it in this fall. For now, I guess I'll just settle for drooling over everyone's social media pictures of apple orchards.
  • Knit a scarf // I started knitting a cabled scarf back in August, and I'm about halfway done. I need to bring my knitting back with me from fall break so I can finish it up before it gets chilly. 
  • Make pumpkin bread // I've been cooking more at school this semester, but I have yet to tackle baking. My first goal is to bake up a big batch of pumpkin bread-- with chocolate chips, of course!
  • Go to a football game // I'm not a football fan at all, but going to a football game is quintessentially fall-like. I'm saving up my sports fan energy for William & Mary's homecoming game against James Madison next weekend.
  • Eat kettle corn // This will be easy enough to check off, but I can't wait to get my hands on some salty-sweet kettle corn!
  • Go to the farmer's market // Williamsburg hosts a Saturday farmers market every weekend from April to October, so I'm running out of time to stop by! Hopefully I'll find a Saturday morning to spend petting dogs and perusing produce and baked goods with friends. 
What's on your fall bucket list? I'd love to hear about it in the comments, and make sure to keep up with my bucket list on progress on Instagram using the link in the upper right hand corner of the page!

Thanks for reading,
Alex

UPDATE: I'll be traveling home for fall break on Friday, so I'll be taking a day off from posting! Stay tuned for a post on Monday :)
Monday, October 9, 2017

Why You Should Be Using a Diffuser in Your Dorm Room

     

     I briefly mentioned my love of diffusing essential oils in my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017 post, and today I'm excited to expand upon that love and share it with you all. I came to using essential oils through yoga, and they've truly improved my quality of life; I use my diffuser on the daily at home, and so far I've been using it just as much in my dorm room this semester (usually before bedtime).

     Essential oils are very versatile when it comes to use for home, beauty, and health, but the easiest way to reap their benefits is to use them in a diffuser. Using a diffuser is a great idea for college students and young professionals because they can clean the air in your dorm room or apartment, bolster your immune system, and help you de-stress.

     Benefits of diffusing essential oils into the air include...

  • Purifying the air by neutralizing airborne odor, bacteria, and viruses
  • Reducing stress by creating a spa-like environment, especially when you use oils that are scientifically proven to reduce stress, such as lavender
  • Helping you feel energized or focused when you wake up or need to study
  • Increasing humidity in the air, which keeps your airways moist and wards off sickness
  • Providing a dorm-friendly alternative to candles or incense-- plus it's safe to leave them plugged in and running while you're not home!

Where can I find a diffuser?
      Some essential oil brands sell diffusers that cost over $50, but these simply aren't necessary. You can find plenty of great diffusers on Amazon for $20 or less, and many diffusers that cost just a little bit more also come with a few starter essential oils. Other good places to look include Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Target, both online and in-store. 

What brand of essential oils should I buy?
     There are a few big players in the essential oil market that claim to be the "best", and the price tag for their products matches their ego. While these brands may provide a higher quality product, you generally don't need to buy such a high grade of essential oils unless you're going to be using them internally (i.e. putting them in food/drinks/capsules for consumption). A few of my favorite brands are...
  • doTERRA // One of the aforementioned big expensive brands, but I really enjoy splurging on a doTERRA oil every now and then because I can really smell a difference in their oils. Order off Amazon for the best prices and free shipping, or utilize a brand representative if you know someone who sells these oils.
  • Aura Cacia // Regarded as one of the best budget brands, Aura Cacia offers tons of different oils, all at great products. Aura Cacia is sold in Whole Foods stores, their brand website, and Amazon, so they're always easy to get ahold of. 
  • Mountain Rose Herbs // Although I've never used oils from Mountain Rose Herbs, I've heard great things about them. They're a great mid-range option as far as price goes. 
Which oils should I buy first?
     It can be intimidating when you start out buying oils, so here's a few affordable, versatile options to get your collection started
  • Lavender for stress/relaxation
  • Lemon for energizing/boosting your immune system
  • Peppermint for energizing/focusing on your work
Finally, I wanted to share a few of my favorite blends to put in my diffuser in my dorm room! These are just a few ideas; you can also buy pre-blended oils based on the effect you want to get from using a diffuser.
  • Sleepy time // 3 drops lavender + 2 drops bergamot + 1 drop cedarwood
  • Weekend morning // 3 drops sweet orange + 2 drops lavender
  • Citrus blend // 4 drops lemon + 3 drops orange + 2 drops bergamot
  • Relax & focus // 3 drops lavender + 2 drops peppermint
  • Room refresh // 3 drops lavender + 2 drops lemon + 1 drop tea tree (optional
     Below, I'm including my Aromatherapy board on Pinterest so you can access more blend ideas and tips on things like how to clean your diffuser!

Thanks for reading,
Alex




     
Friday, October 6, 2017

Duck Boot Buying Guide: L.L. Bean and Beyond

     
     With fall on our doorstep, duck boots are popping up across social media platforms and college campuses. Duck boots have a cult following, and rightly so; these ugly-cute shoes are the perfect answer to cold, wet fall and winter days. While a variety of shoe brands have entered the duck boot market, no brand is quite as loved as L.L. Bean and their original Bean boots.
     If you've got your heart set on picking up a pair of L.L. Bean boots this year, I've got good news for you-- they're still in stock! However, they're notorious for selling out fast and you can bet that they'll be on backorder by the end of October. Today, I'm weighing in on the debate between the 8' and 6' Bean boots as well as sharing some other brands of duck boots that might be worth a look.

L.L. Bean Boots // The Classic
     These duck boots are considered the "original" and many people will argue that this is the only brand of boots worth buying. At $129 for the 8" version and $119 for the 6" version, these boots are well-priced, especially when you consider the value of L.L. Bean's lifetime warranty on it's products; under $150 for a pair of boots you can wear for the rest of your life is a pretty incredible deal!
      Now that you're sold on the price, which length style do you get? The length refers to how long the leather column around your ankle/calf is. The 6" style is more popular, but I personally prefer the 8" length; the 6" boots look like they've been chopped off! When making your own decision though, consider the weather where you'll be wearing them; if you don't get a lot of snow where you live, or it doesn't get very cold, you probably don't need the 8" boots!
     What about sizing? People get really stressed about figuring out the sizing because the boots run large, but believe me, L.L. Bean's sizing guide online is accurate. Here's what they suggest:


"With light or midweight socks: Whole sizes, order one size down. Half sizes, order one and a half sizes down.
Example: 9 or 9½, order a size 8.
With heavyweight socks: Whole sizes, order your normal size. Half sizes, order the next whole size down.
Example: 9 or 9½, order a size 9."
     I normally wear a 7.5 in shoes, so based on the fact that I wanted to wear them with midweight to heavyweight socks, I got a size 7 and they fit perfectly when I pair with them thick socks (like J. Crew's Camp Socks). If you're really worried about hitting the sizing right, head to your nearest physical L.L. Bean store and try them on, but you better head in soon!
     Even if you get the sizing wrong or decide you'd prefer a different length boot, L.L. Bean's fabulous return policy means that making an exchange will be a snap. You can also get lined Bean boots, but I find them to be warm enough without splurging on the extra lining options.

Alternative Brands 
      Lately, lots of preppy footwear brands have been dabbling in the duck boot market, and the results have been quite varied. For the prep who's not committed to being a purist, one of these options might be a better fashion fit than the traditional Bean boots.
      Sperry Duck Boots // Sperry offers a wide variety of duck boots, including lots of different upper boot styles; standouts include the quilted and plaid boots. At $119, these duck boots are identical in price to the 6" L.L. Bean Boot. Try Sperry duck boots if you want something a little more unique than standard Bean boots but still value a traditional look. 

The quilted Sperry duck boot adds a little urban flair to this country classic
     Jack Rogers Chloe Boots // I'll be honest, I was horrified when I saw that Jack Rogers was coming out with its own take on the duck boot, and my opinion hasn't changed. Although a few of the color combinations are cute and classic (the coral with tan uppers are tolerable), other combinations include a glitter upper with baby-pink rubber bottoms-- yikes. At $118, these are priced the same as Sperry's duck boots and L.L. Bean boots, but fair warning, Jack Rogers duck boots aren't even fully waterproof; they suggest "treating the leather with a weather spray before braving the elements". Buy with caution. 
Yikes...
     Sorel Duck Boots // Sorel is well-known for making weatherproof boots, and the $145 price tag on their boots reflects their brand reputation. While you can bet that these duck boots will keep your feet dry and toasty, the styling is decidedly more rugged than other brands. 
Definitely more on the outdoorsy side of things

     
Bass Duck Boots // G.H. Bass & Co. is another Maine-centric brand, so it's unsurprising that they offer their own take on duck boots that looks suspiciously similar to L.L. Bean's version. Also only offered in whole sizes, Bass's duck boots plain and practical styling at $130 a pair, but something about them just feels a bit knockoff-ish. 
Like L.L Bean's version but just a little off
     So there you have it, a definitive guide to buying duck boots! If you're buying new boots this year, let me know what you decide on, and if you already have a pair, I'd love to hear what you like/dislike about the brand you picked!
Thanks for reading and happy fall, 
Alex

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Early Fall Beauty Hack: Bronzer as Eyeshadow


Do you use Snapchat's Publisher Stories function? When those random little sponsored stories from the likes of The Economist and Cosmo first appeared, I'll admit, I was skeptical. Today, though, I'm an avid reader and "subscribe" to a handful of my favorites. Refinery29 is one publisher story I never miss, and today I'm sharing a beauty hack I learned on their story and have been loving lately.

     My make-up routine is pretty static (I shared my 5 minute everyday makeup routine with you in September), but I'm always down to change it up as long as it doesn't require too much effort. I also prefer to keep my making natural-looking, which works perfectly to fall's neutrals. Today's hack is is both low-effort and neutral, so naturally when I stumbled across it, I knew I had to try it out. Are you ready for it?

   Bronzer as eyeshadow.

     The look has been spotted on stars like Gigi Hadid and Selena Gomez, and it's not hard to tell why. We already know that using the same color on multiple parts of your face can help tie your makeup look together, like when you use lipstick on both your lips and on your cheeks as a sort of cream blush. Similarly, sweeping bronzer on your cheeks and temples and eyelids unifies your makeup for a more polished look.

      The warmth of the bronzer will make your eyes pop, and it takes just a few seconds to incorporate this trick into your current beauty look. I think the wash of neutral color is evocative of the warm early autumn light, so it's the perfect way to stay on-trend while still hanging onto those last bits of summer.

       You can read more about this hack here and here. What are your quick tips for updating your makeup look?

Thanks for reading,
Alex

   
Monday, October 2, 2017

4 Classes Every College Girl Should Take



If you're a college student and you're anything like me, you're probably already thinking/stressing about which classes you might be taking in the spring semester. In college, it's so important to plan ahead to make sure you're taking the right classes for your major and graduation requirements. Everyone takes classes outside their major at some point, and it can be intimidating to decide which ones to pick.

     Attending a liberal arts-style college means I've been required to take classes outside my comfort zone in the arts, sciences, and humanities. While I probably would've never chosen to take biological anthropology or geology unless I was required to take science classes, I'm so glad that I had that experience. Taking classes out of your comfort zone helps you better understand the world we live in and those who live in it. Today, I'm sharing four classes I think every college girl should take, regardless of their major.

1. Astronomy // Depending on your college, astronomy might be a really easy class or super tough. Either way, I think learning about the universe is indispensable to your college education. Learning about scientific theories about how the universe formed may challenge some people's beliefs, and for others it's just hard to wrap your head around these big ideas, but this challenge is really important for growth. Plus, understanding the sheer vastness of the universe is just plain humbling.

2. Cultural Anthropology // Especially given the current societal tensions, I think it's important to take classes that will help you cultivate an open mind. I've taken both IB Social & Cultural Anthropology and a summer Cultural Anthropology course, and I loved them both. This class will make you aware of a whole wealth of different ways of life that you never knew existed; personally, I loved learning about other systems of kin relationships, economies, and religious practices. Learning about other societies can help make you a more tolerant person and will make you reflect on your own cultural practices that you may take for granted.

3. American Government & Politics // Okay, so change "American" to whatever country you live in if it's not the US. It's impossible to be a responsible and aware citizen of your country without understanding its government institutions and political situation. I decided to take this class over the summer to better understand the American political situation following Trump's election, and I'm so glad I did. This is another class that will push you out of your comfort zone because it'll challenge you to think about whether or not your country's way of governance really is the best way; often times, you'll realize there are a lot of problems that you weren't aware of before.


4. World History // I'm a firm believer in the idea that we have to know and understand the past to understand the present and prepare for the future. I took World History Since 1500 during my first semester of freshman year, and it was a great way to start off my college career. Understanding history of countries other than your own will help explain present global situations and will make you realize that it's pretty silly to focus on euro-centric history.
Friday, September 29, 2017

September Favorites (+ Top Posts This Month)

   


     The end of September means I've been back at college for over a month now, and I can hardly believe it. Wrapping up sorority recruitment required a lot of my focus at the beginning of the month, and now my first assignments and exams are catching up with me. There's a ton to look forward to in October-- my parents coming to visit, fall break, homecoming, and Halloween-- but in the meantime, let's talk about September.

Oil cleansing // At this point, you've probably heard me mention my skin struggles at least a few times. In a way, though, my recent battle with eczema has been a little bit of a blessing because it led me to rediscover an old favorite beauty hack of mine-- oil cleansing! Oil cleansing refers to washing your face with oil and then wiping it off with a warm washcloth. Contrary to popular belief, oil cleansing won't make your skin more oily; I'm very acne-prone and oil cleansing has never made me break out. Oil cleansing is a great way to take off stubborn make-up before following up with your normal cleanser. Personally, I always use coconut or grapeseed oil for cleansing, but another oil may be more suitable for your specific skin type. Read more about oil cleansing here.

Leopard print // I've been seeing leopard prints pop up on lots of clothing and fashion websites, and I'm loving it. My personal favorite way to incorporate leopard print into an outfit is with accessories-- I'm talking leopard shoes, belts, scarves, etc. Sticking to patterned accessories helps prevent the look from becoming overwhelming. I'm looking forward to wearing my Jack Rogers Gabrielle flats in leopard lots more throughout the fall season.

Fall bucket lists // Now that it's officially fall, bucket lists are cropping up all over. Fall brings such distinctive sights, smells, and activities that no one wants to miss out on anything! I'm planning on sharing my personal fall bucket list soon-- not gonna lie, it's been a list in my bullet journal since August-- but in the meantime, this list from Prep in Your Step is a classic.

Cooking // There's something so cozy about cooking in fall, and I've definitely been taking advantage of my dorm kitchen and friends' off-campus kitchens. I'm a big fan of cooking and developing my own recipes and I really hope to share some of those recipes with you all eventually. For now, here are a few recipes I'm drooling over: roasted root vegetables, lazy lemon pasta (seriously, so easy to make, even in a dorm!), and spinach tortellini soup.

DD Pumpkin Frozen Coffee // I've been a daily coffee drinker since sophomore year of high school, and the obsession only grows when I'm back at college and exhausted 24/7. Now that Dunkin' Donuts has moved a little closer to campus, one of my suitemates and I find ourselves there pretty often (okay, a little too often). I tried the new Pumpkin Frozen Coffee on a whim, and oh my gosh, it's so good. Frozen Coffee is definitely a bit of a splurge in terms of your health (it's typically made with cream), but it's worth it, I promise. Add in pumpkin flavor, and you have the perfect beverage for when it's still blazing hot but you don't want to miss out on fall flavors.

     So there you have it, what I've been loving this month! Enjoy your last days of September, and happy fall :)

Thanks for reading,
Alex

UPDATE: Silly me, I forgot to add your favorite posts from this month! Here's what readers loved in September...
1.  Fashion for Less: Online Shopping Hacks to Save Serious Money on Clothes
2.  Five Minute Everyday Makeup Routine
3. White Jeans & Summery Fabrics After Labor Day: Faux Pas or Nah?


Wednesday, September 27, 2017

How to Study Well & Manage Stress During Midterm Season

   


     No matter your college experience, it's hard to deny that working for your degree comes with plenty of stress. Although school is usually a lot of fun-- I'm talking staying up late with your friends, sorority functions, and weekend brunch-- everyone is susceptible to feeling on-edge, especially during midterm season. For many colleges here in the US, midterms are happening rightnow or in the next few weeks, and succumbing to stress just isn't an option.

     Stress is a topic I feel pretty familiar with since I tend to be an anxious person. Although I like to think I'm a good student, the thought of staring at an exam sheet full of questions definitely makes my heart race. In the past, I haven't been the best about managing my stress, but now that I'm a junior, I really want to be proactive about my mental health, especially during high-stress periods of the year. Proactive is the key word here; the best thing you can do to manage your stress is just plan ahead! So how exactly can you help mitigate midterm madness? Here are some of my personal tips and advice from the Internet on how you can best prepare for midterms and beat stress when it arises.
  • Know when your midterms are // This seems like a no-brainer, but it's incredibly easy to let dates slip even if you have a planner. Triple check your exam dates so you have time to plan ahead rather than get caught off-guard the day before your midterm.
  • Create a study plan early-on // Studying last-minute generates a lot of stress, and studying without a concrete plan can generate a false sense of security. To reduce your stress and make sure you actually know the material for your exam, try to start preparing at least a few days ahead of time, and be strategic about how you study. Know which chapters/concepts will be on the exam so there are no surprises during your test!  
  • Outlaw passive studying // Numerous studies tell us that passive study methods, such as simply reading your textbook or skimming your notes, are ineffective when it comes to storing and retaining information. Whenever you study, you should be actively engaging with the information; studying shouldn't be something you can do without typing or writing things down! For technical courses, the best method of studying is generally to do as many practice problems as possible and to annotate the steps for solving them. For non-technical courses, generating new items such as flashcards, outlines, and note summaries will best help you retain information.
  • Eliminate questions // One of the best things you can do for yourself before midterms is to through your notes, mark anything that doesn't make sense, and then go to office hours to ask your professor/TA questions! If you understand everything that's been covered in class, there's no reason you shouldn't do well on your exam.
And when the stress of studies get to be a little too much...
  • Try a meditation app // Meditating is a great way to relieve stress and become more mindful, but it can seem a little intimidating when you're first starting out. Luckily, there are lots of free meditation apps that can guide you through the process! My personal favorite is Calm, but a lot of people also love Headspace. 
  • Be careful about caffeine // Using caffeine requires a delicate balance because while it can perk you up and help you focus while you're studying, too much caffeine can induce anxiety symptoms. Try to stick to just one caffeinated beverage every two hours, and make sure you drink plenty of water, too. 
  • Exercise // Although it can be difficult to carve out time to exercise while studying, it's worth it for the endorphins that exercise will release! Go for a walk or run, hit the gym, try a fitness class-- just make sure you get of the library and get your heart rate up.
  • Phone home // Calling friends or family members who aren't in the midst of midterm season can be a great way to put things in perspective. Talk about anything but your exams, and you'll be surprised how light you'll feel when you get off the phone. 
  • Indulge in some self-care // Taking care of your body and feeling your best can boost your confidence amid exam craziness. Do a face mask, paint your nails, get your eyebrows done...the possibilities are endless here! 

     Finally, don't forget to believe in yourself! Midterms will be over soon enough and you can handle this.

Best of luck!
Alex
Monday, September 25, 2017

Marketing Your Greek Experience


As the excitement of sorority recruitment dies down on campuses across the country, another sort of recruitment is just starting up—the internship and job recruitment process! Trying to lock down an internship or post-grad job offer can be an extremely stressful experience, but a lot of college students are forgetting to discuss a major college activity; when presented effectively, your sorority experience can become a major asset on your resume! 

Every year, my college’s Panhellenic and InterFraternity Councils put on a program in conjunction with the Career Center which educates fraternity and sorority members about “marketing your Greek experience”. After attending it once as a new member and then facilitating the event last year, I can confidently say that I was surprised by how much I’ve learned. Today, I’m sharing my tips for how you can use your Greek affiliation to get a step ahead in the internship/job market.

Realize that Greek life is often viewed as an asset to employers // While you might not realize it, many of the employers that you’ll meet were actually Greek themselves. Even if they don’t have any personal experience in a fraternity or sorority, many employers realize that involvement in a Greek chapter teaches important skills like time management, teamwork, and accountability. Personally, I've had conversations with several Big Four recruiters and interviewers who were curious about my involvement with Chi Omega and Panhellenic Exec. 

Think critically about your involvement and talk it up on your resume // Obviously, you should list any leadership positions you held within Greek life. But even if you’re just a general member, you probably have something worthwhile to list under your membership. Think about committees you’ve served on, events you’ve helped facilitate, etc. and be sure to use action verbs to include those activities on your resume. Be sure to use concrete items like numbers to illustrate what you've achieved. 


Be prepared to discuss and neutralize negative comments // While most people won’t react negatively to you discussing your Greek experience, it’s no surprise that some people have strong opinions about Greek life that are based on stereotypes and bad PR. If confronted by someone who holds those opinions, be prepared to explain the value of Greek life in your personal college experience and how it’s helped you grow. You probably won’t change their mind about the Greek system as a whole, but they'll respect the way you handled the situation with tact. 

Utilize your Greek network // Make sure to look for and plug into chapter alumni networks before you even graduate! These networks can be found on your organization's national website as well as on LinkedIn and Facebook. Many alums are eager to help current active members find opportunities and they can also be a great resource for advice, so don't be afraid to reach out. 

     These pages from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the College of Charleston both do a great job of providing further information about how you can present your Greek experience in a positive light. Other great resource are your chapter advisor and your school's Fraternity & Sorority Life advisors. How will you use your Greek experience to get ahead during this fall recruiting season?

Thanks for reading,
Alex 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fall Favorites for $50 & Under

     Plaid, riding boots, quilted vests, and snuggly scarves-- nothing quite gets a preppy gal's heart racing like the approach of the fall season. While it's always tough tucking away our shift dresses and seersucker until next summer, there's no denying that fall is quintessentially fashion-forward. As temperatures fall, it's super simple to throw together a chic outfit with boots, jeans, and a comfy sweater.

     With autumn coming faster than we realize, many women are stocking up their wardrobe with fall staples. I know all too well that it can be extremely tempting to drop a lot of money at the beginning of the season, but many of our wallets are still recovering from end-of-summer sales that were just too good to pass up. To help you all shop for fall without breaking the bank, I'm sharing some of my fall favorites from around the Internet that come in at $50 or less!




     Fall fashion is all about comfort and layering, so have fun with it and don't be afraid to pick up a new piece to change up your look! I can't wait to start sharing most fall posts with you all, regardless of the weather here in finicky Williamsburg. 

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!
Alex


   
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The College Girl's Guide to Dating

   

      If I'm being honest, being sappy makes me super uncomfortable. Although I love snuggles and really appreciate it when people say sweet things to me, actually expressing my feelings in words kind of freaks me out. With that in mind, I wanted to take a slightly unconventional approach to writing about my six month anniversary with my boyfriend.

     Relationships in college are WEIRD. Before arriving on campus as a freshman, I had this idea in my head that everyone finds a relationship in college; there are tons of intelligent, mature people living on a campus together who are allowed to fully express their emotions and sexuality, so it's only a matter of time until we all bump into our soul mate right? Oh boy, was I wrong.

     College is the first time many of us get to truly experience independence, and this newfound sense of self is not really conducive to finding a relationship. Especially at a college like mine, where students are constantly busy with their double majors and various leadership positions, hookup culture pervades because it's easy. And there's nothing wrong with that; admitting that you don't have time for a relationship and fully committing yourself to fun is one of the best things you can do in college.

     I spent the first year and a half of college in the wrong mindset, really hoping I'd find a relationship for no other reason than it seemed like fun. Don't get me wrong, I loved hanging with my friends, but in the back of my head I often wished I had a boyfriend and probably worried a bit too much about what boys thought of me. After being treated particularly badly by a potential love interest, I became fed up and finally felt truly happy and at peace with the fact I was single.

     Ironically, soon after I got comfortable with being single, I decided to get into a relationship. At this point, I had known my current boyfriend for a little over a year; we had gone through a lot of ups and downs as friends who were romantically interested in each other. Once I came to terms with being single, though, I realized that he was exactly the sort of person I had been dreaming of dating all along: my best friend.

     Okay, sappy stuff is over now, I promise. But in all seriousness, after a year and a half of navigating single college life and now six months of being in what I'd consider a pretty healthy relationship, there are a LOT of things I wish I'd known about the college dating scene.

     This post goes out to all the college girls who are making the most of their experiences, single or otherwise; here's a few pieces of advice my own experiences/the experiences of my friends...


  • Be confident in your love decisions // whether you decide to stick with your high school boyfriend when you transition to college or you want to play the field for the entirety of your undergraduate experience, be confident in your decisions and don't worry about what other people's opinions may be. Ultimately, only you can decide what's best for you
  • Don't be afraid to express your sexuality // While I personally haven't faced any adversity due to my sexual orientation, my college is very open about sexuality in general so I'm passionate about doing whatever I can to help others feel comfortable. I think everyone should be able to embrace the open college environment and date whoever makes them happy, regardless of gender.
  • Stay off Tinder if you're looking for something serious // Swiping through dating apps for fun or to meet people casually is definitely fine (and usually pretty entertaining), but if your goal is finding a serious relationship, delete it now-- end of story.
  • Get comfortable with being single // College is all about figuring out who you are as a person, which is hard to do if you're constantly chasing a relationship or making decisions based on your boyfriend. Seriously, be sure to enjoy having all of your time to focus on yourself and your friends rather than wishing you had a significant other.
  • Don't put too much pressure on relationships that form // While older generations often met their future partner while away at college, expecting that the same will happen to you can suck all of the fun out of a relationship. While college relationships are often more serious than high school ones, that doesn't mean you need to dedicate all of your time and energy to a college relationship; whatever is meant to happen will happen, so don't stress yourself trying to secure a future spouse on top of trying to get a degree.

     All in all, I think my perspective on relationships has evolved for the better, but I'm definitely still learning. I really admire people who balance college and/or careers with having a healthy relationship with both a significant other and friends. If you have any tips for achieving that balance, I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading,
Alex 
Monday, September 18, 2017

5 Things to Know Before Becoming a Business Major


     As some of you may know, this semester is my first official semester as an accounting major. Although I had taken a few business classes previously and spent a semester as an accounting minor, but the jump in expectations when you become a business major (at least at my college) is huge. 
     There are a lot of misconceptions about studying business in college. For many people, the debauchery of The Wolf of Wall Street or the questionable practices of bankers leading up to the 2008 financial crisis come to mind. On the other hand, a lot of people are attracted to the idea of studying business because they think it's the quickest way to get rich. However, the reality of studying business is pretty far off both of those images. Today I'm sharing with you five things I think college students should know before deciding to major in business. 
  1. Business is a broad field // Many students will say that they want to major in "business", but that doesn't really mean anything considering how broad business is as a field. The most generic major you'll find within a business school is usually business administration, but it's usually better to specialize your skills a bit more; in fact, my college doesn't even offer business administration as a major. The most common specializations you'll find include finance, accounting, marketing, and business analytics. Think about which subfield you might be interested in, but realize that you'll probably be expected to take at least one class in each discipline.
  2. You may have to apply // Don't be surprised if another application stands between you and a business major. Many schools have students apply to the business school specifically either when they apply for college or later on in their college career. At my college, there are several pre-requisite classes to apply for the business school, and you can't apply until you have enough credits to qualify as an academic junior/third year during the semester you enter the business school. The first time I applied, I was only accepted for the minor program, so I had to apply again and cross my fingers very hard to get into the full major program. Be prepared to have to put in some extra effort to become a business major, and be ready for potential disappointment. 
  3. Don't do it for the money // If you choose a career based on salary alone, you're probably not going to enjoy the work you do. The money associated with certain business careers should be a plus, but not a deciding factor. Very few people end up making millions, with or without a business degree. Additionally, I'd caution that you should look for job availability and stability over a high salary; for example, investment banking may seem attractive because of the exorbitant salary, but it's extremely hard to get a position because of how competitive the field is. 
  4. Teamwork is unavoidable // One thing I definitely didn't expect was how much teamwork is expected in undergraduate business programs. In many business classes, you'll be put into teams to do analysis, create proposals, and pitch ideas. These teamwork skills are highly transferable to the workplace, so be ready to cooperate and compromise. I generally don't enjoy teamwork because I'm a bit of a control freak, but I'm prepared to work on trusting my teammates over the course of this semester.
  5. Expect to hone your skills outside of the classroom // The classroom experience is only half of studying business; if you want to secure a job and build your business skills, you're going to have to attend recruiting events, panels, information sessions, and club meetings. I'm required to attend mandatory sessions to practice skills like networking and interviewing, and we're also expected to attend career fairs and on-campus recruiting events. Additionally, clubs can help you gain experience in your chosen business field. Sorry guys, but you can't just go to class and expect to magically land a job. 

     Are you a current business major or thinking about majoring in business? If so, I'd love to talk and hear about your experience! And even if you've already got a main major, adding business on as a second major or minor can help you be more successful in your respective non-business field.

Thanks for reading,
Alex 
Friday, September 15, 2017

Fashion for Less: Online Shopping Hacks to Save Serious Money on Clothes

   

     When most people think of classic style, they also think of wealth. It's no secret that many brands favored by preps come along with a hefty price tag; Lilly Pulitzer, J. Crew, Tory Burch, and Jack Rogers are just a few pricey brands that come to mind. For most people, paying retail just isn't feasible, and even if you can afford the prices, why would you want to pay more for a product when you can get it for less?

     Personally, I avoid paying full price like the plague. As a college student, it's just not realistic for me to drop $200+ per item on clothes and accessories. The majority of my shopping takes place online, and lucky for us, the Internet makes it crazy easy to get great brands for less. Over the years, I've built up a knowledge base of different ways to get what I want for cheap online, and today, I'm sharing some of those secrets with you!

Ebates // Ebates is seriously the easiest way to save money while shopping online, and it can be used with hundreds of brand sites. By shopping through Ebates, you earn a percentage of your purchase back as cash, and Ebates will send you a check for your earnings! It's 100% legitimate, and although you won't make a ton of money unless you're shopping often, I've personally earned back at least $15 over the past year. Just go to ebates.com, enter the website you're hoping to shop on, see if they use Ebates, and hit "shop now" if they do! Ebates will send you an email after you submit your order letting you know how much you earned back. If you want to check the website out, be sure to use my personal link here.

ThredUp // My mom and I have been using ThredUp for a few years now to sell old clothes, but I just recently made my first purchase from the famous secondhand website. I was shocked by how many cute items they had on the site; seriously, I had to hold myself back from buying like $200 worth of secondhand J. Crew and vintage Lilly Pulitzer. Although I'm still waiting to receive my older, as long as I'm happy with the quality of the items, I'll definitely be a repeat customer because you just can't beat the prices on ThredUp-- not to mention, they also sell many items new with tags! New customers get 40% off their first purchase, and I have a personal link to the website that you can access here.

Brad's Deals // Brad's Deals is a website that people send in sales tips to, and they publish a daily email roundup. While the newsletter focuses on a wide variety of products including food and home decor, there are also plenty of deals on clothing brands like Nike and J. Crew as well as notifications about big sales. To date, my best deal I've found through Brad's Deals was by far my Canon printer that I use in my dorm-- I paid $15 for it, including shipping!

Best Online Sales // Although physical warehouse sales usually receive a lot of attention in the fashion world, online sales often offer the same deals without the hassle of making a trip to a distant store. Here's a few of my favorites:

  • Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale: twice a year in January and August
  • Sail to Sable Warehouse Sale: once or twice a year, usually at the end of the season-- this one is wrapping up right now so check it out while you can!
  • Nordstrom Anniversary Sale: once a year in mid-July, early access for Nordstrom cardholders
    What are your secrets for scoring big while online shopping? I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!
Alex
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

5 Minute Everyday Makeup Routine

     Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored, so all opinions are my own!

     Makeup has never really been a strong suit of mine, but I’m getting better at it. At my private middle school, we weren’t allowed to wear makeup (strange, I know), so I spent most of high school experimenting and trying to figure out how the heck to put on various products—I can’t even begin to tell you how daunting eyeliner was. In college, though, I’ve gotten a bit more confident (finally) and really feel like I have my everyday look down to a science. Today I’m sharing how I do my makeup on a regular basis, plus some of my favorite drugstore products that I use to get the look.

     To me, everyday makeup needs to be quick and practical. I’m taking 17 credits this semester and have an 8 am on Tuesdays/Thursdays, so the last thing I want to do is get up earlier to put on a ton of makeup. Going to school in southeastern Virginia also means that I’m liable to sweat while walking around campus for a solid portion of the year, so I don’t want to worry about my makeup melting off. What’s a girl to do in this situation?

     Perfect the 5-minute makeup routine, that’s what! So without further ado, let’s get into my daily makeup look.


     I always start out with clean, moisturized skin before putting on makeup. For me lately, that means washing my face with La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser, toning using a cotton ball and Neutrogena’s Alcohol-Free Toner, applying Caudalie’s Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Eye and Lip Cream, and then finally Vanicream’s Moisturizing Skin Cream (unfortunately, this one is prescription-only, but I also love Cetaphil’s Moisturizering Lotion). Cleansing and moisturizing before putting on your makeup will prepare your skin for production application and ensures that your face makeup (i.e. foundation, tinted moisturizer) will go on smoothly.

     The base for my everyday look is Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Enhancer in the shade Fair to Light. I’ve been using this tinted moisturizer since high school because I love how it includes sunscreen and is lightweight but very buildable; I also feel like it does a great job at reducing overall redness. Next, I use concealer in the corners of my nose, the corners of my mouth, under my eyes, and on any other trouble spots I may have that day. I’m not particularly loyal to any one concealer, but in terms of drugstore options, I’ve heard Maybelline's FIT ME! Concealer is a good standby.

     I set my basic face makeup with NYX’s Mineral Finishing Powder—NYX is by far one of my favorite drugstore brands and I have yet to try one of their products that I don’t end up loving. The last step to my face-specific makeup is to sweep some blush across my cheeks. Lately, I’ve been using Maybelline's Dream Bouncy Blush but this is another product that I switch up fairly often because I like to try new colors/formulas. In a pinch, you can also use a little bit of lipstick blended in with your fingertips as a DIY cream blush!

     Eyebrows are the non-negotiable of my daily makeup routine; I feel naked if I don’t groom them a bit. My current favorite drugstore brow product is L’Oreal’s Frame & Set because the pomade, brush-on formula is well-pigmented and gives just a little bit of hold. Next, I’ll curl my lashes and apply L’Oreal’s Lash Paradise mascara—I’m only on my first tube but I know I’m going to be repurchasing this product again and again for its lightweight feel and lack of smudging. Finally, I’ll swipe on L’Oreal’s Fairest Nude lipstick; seriously, this color is the perfect nude for girls for fair-skinned girls, and you can’t beat the drugstore price. A quick spritz of NYX’s Matte Setting Spray, and then I’m out the door!

     Have you tried any of these products? What’s your go-to quick makeup routine? I’d love to hear about it!

Thanks for reading,

Alex
Monday, September 11, 2017

Recruitment Team Reflections: What I Learned Running Recruitment



     As I sit starting this post, Recruitment Counselors are off delivering bids to the new members of my college's sorority community. After two incredibly long weekends facilititating Panhellenic sorority recruitment, I'm so glad to be done and (almost) affiliated again. By the time this post is published, I'll be affiliated again and can now share with all of you that I'm a Chi Omega! I'm excited to start going to chapter events again and to begin my search for a little, but I also realize that I learned a LOT from temporary disaffiliation while serving on Panhellenic Recruitment Team.

     I'll be honest, being on Panhellenic Recruitment Team was hard. Our team of six girls and two advisors arrived hours earlier than chapter members every day, and we were almost always leaving campus after midnight. No one really understood what we do, and thus no one really appreciates it, except for the Recruitment Counselors who saw a bit of our behind-the-scenes work. So today, I'm sharing with you some of my take-aways and observations from my experience.

Recruitment is a finnicky process that doesn't work out for everyone // The most practical information I learned as a member of recruitment team was the distinction between Quota and Total and how those numbers affect PNM's. It would take a whole separate post to truly explain those concepts, but Recruitment Teams across the country face a tough decision when setting these numbers after preference round because they can affect how many woman end up unmatched to a sorority. Even before final bid matching, women may be in for a rude surprise if they see a sudden drop in the number of chapters they're invited back to; I've witnessed more than my fair share of teary potential new members (PNM's) these past two weeks. Recruitment is ultimately a numbers game, and for some people, it just doesn't add up. 

No one understands what Recruitment Team does // I can't count how many questions and confused looks I've received when I tell people I'm on Panhellenic Recruitment Team. No one really knows what we do, and it's difficult to explain. The most succint way I can put it is that Panhellenic Recruitment Team does everything you never realized that someone has to do to make sorority recruitment happens: registering PNM's, managing and training Recruitment Counselors, scheduling which PNM's go to which chapter during each round, and making sure that Recruitment Guidelines are enforced are just a few of the millions of things we do. Even though no one understands what I did, I'm so proud of the hard work Recruitment Team put in to pull off a successful formal sorority recruitment. 

Extra effort pays off // There are a few instances were our Recruitment Team chose to do things the harder way, and I was a little bit skeptical. For example, before recruitment started, we spent several hours carefully analyzing where each PNM lived on campus so that we could split them into recruitment groups based on their dorms. While this takes a lot more time, it also creates a better experience for PNM's because they're able to get to know their hallmates throughout the recruitment process. Our college chooses to go the extra mile in a lot of cases and it was so rewarding to see how that effort improved the PNM's recruitment experience.


Never underestimate the value of Panhellenic sisters // Guys, it's been less than 24 hours and I already miss the rest of recruitment team. Among the five of us students and the two advisors, only two girls happened to be from the same chapter, but we all get long amazingly despite not sharing ritual or traditions. Our late nights and early mornings were punctuated by lots of laughs and plenty of cooperation. Chapter sisterhood is amazing, but Panhellenic sisterhood is a unique bond that can't be found on every campus, and I'm so blessed to have found it here at W&M. 

My big sister and me on bid day this year

   
Bid Day has come and gone now, and I can't help but feel a tiny bit empty. I've been wanting to be on Panhellenic Recruitment team since about this time last year, and we've been preparing for it for almost as long. Running recruitment has been one of my favorite college experiences so far, and I think this nostalgic feeling is going to be around for a while. If you have any questions about what I did or are interested in serving on your school's Panhellenic recruitment team, feel free to comment below or shoot me an email because I'd love to talk about it with you!

Thanks for reading,
Alex