40 Things I Learned my Freshman Year of College

April 30, 2015

It's so hard to believe that I just have a week and a half left of my freshman year of college. Although I haven't finished the year just yet, I've been doing some reflecting on all my memories and lessons of the year. This has been such a great year for me, and I know I will miss college and all my friends so much over the summer.

I decided to share some of the lessons and tips that I learned throughout the year...

1. It is possible to share a tiny dorm room with someone… and love it.
2. Parents are amazing.
3. Exercise is important… do it often.
4. Exercising with friends can make it so much more enjoyable.
5. Trying new things is hard but worth it.
6. Alone time is important.
7. Productive mornings are a great feeling.
8. You will watch Netflix for hours on end.
9. It’ll drive you crazy if everything in your dorm room doesn’t have a place.
10. It’s so fun to explore the area that your college is in.

11. Taking the time to write/polish your resume will pay off.
12. Your campus’ career resources can be really useful.
13. College has so many free resources that to take advantage of, including the gym, workshops, conferences, lectures, etc.
14. Learning about things that you’re interested in makes school so much better.
15. People are drawn to those who are positive and upbeat.
16. Laughter is the best stress-reliever and mood-booster.
17. The changing of seasons is even more exciting on a college campus.
18. Staying up late talking to your roommate and friends is worth being a little more tired the next morning.
19. It’s important to be open to new friendships, even past the first week of school.
20. Even the little things, like getting breakfast, can be exciting.

21. Explore your campus and find your favorite spots.
22. Don’t compare your college experience to what you see of others’ experiences.
23. Professors have so much knowledge and wisdom to impart… take advantage of it.
24. It’s fun to look back on all your memories, big and small, so take lots of photos, even of moments that don’t seem important at the time.
25. Sometimes all you’ll want to wear are tshirts and leggings… for several days in a row.
26. You’ll start to care less and less what other people think of you.
27. Establish a routine for laundry, showers, and cleaning your room.
28. If you see an acquaintance or classmate, smile and/or say hi.
29. You’ll be closer to college friends that you’ve known for 8 months than friends you’ve known for 8 years.
30. The songs you listened to at different parts of the school year will always bring back memories of those times.

31. Your bed is a place where you sleep, eat, and relax so make it cozy and comfortable.
32. Write down some goals and things you want to accomplish — it’s fun to do and it’s important to think about the big picture sometimes.
33. Take a few classes outside of your major/interests to explore the possibilities and get a well-rounded education.
34. Pushing yourself academically can be really rewarding.
35. Going off-campus will feel like you’re stepping out of a bubble.
36. Take long weekends to visit friends or siblings — navigating your way by yourself is a good challenge and an important skill… and it’s fun to see friends!
37. You will find a favorite television show for every occasion or mood.
38. Embrace classic college events such as football games, hockey games, homecoming, etc.
39. You’ll learn how to make the best of situations.
40. The year goes by so fast… savor every moment!


Best Places to Study

April 29, 2015

Exam week is coming up for most college and high school students. During this week, finding places to study are increasingly difficult. I always find the library during exam week to be too crowded, and find myself looking elsewhere for study spots.

Here are some of my favorite places to study, other than the school library:

1. Town library Local libraries in surrounding towns definitely won't be as crowded as your college's, and it can be fun to find a new spot where you won't be surrounded by college students.

2. Campus buildings Usually, newer buildings on campus will have designated study areas. Just because you're not a business student doesn't mean you can't study in the business school.

3. Coffeeshops I love bringing homework to a local coffeeshop. Sometimes these places have the best ambiance for getting work done.

4. Student center In the evenings, the student center is usually a lot quieter and emptier than during the day, making it a good place to do some studying.

5. Dorm lounges This may not be the quietest option, but if you can find an unoccupied or almost-empty dorm lounge it can be a good spot for homework.

6. Outside With the warmer weather, my friends and I have been bringing out homework outdoors and it's so much more enjoyable. Find an area with some benches, or bring out a blanket to lie on the grass.

7. Casual restaurants I sometimes do my homework in a bagel shop and my sister often brings work to a Panera Bread. Similar to coffeeshops, these places usually have a nice ambiance to them.

Here are some of my study tips for exams.


Weekend in Boston

April 27, 2015

On Friday afternoon, I caught a train to Boston to see my sister for a few days. She goes to school right outside of Boston and I hadn't yet visited her this school year.

I had a busy morning presenting at an Undergraduate Research Conference and then rushing to ballet class. After dance, I quickly packed and headed to the train station, where I grabbed a late lunch.

I got off the train in downtown Boston and took the T out to the suburbs where my sister picked me up. We headed to an outdoor shopping center in Dedham and walked around. My sister knows me well and brought me to b.good for dinner, a place that specializes in healthy food fast. I got a quinoa bowl with all kinds of delicious vegetables mixed in.

Then we went to the movies and saw The Age of Adaline. We didn't love it but agreed that it was an entertaining movie nonetheless. After that, we spent the rest of the night relaxing in my sister's suite.

The next morning, we got up and headed to breakfast with one of my sister's friends. Eventually, we made our way into downtown Boston.

We picked up sandwiches and drinks and headed into Boston Common for a picnic.

We wandered around Newbury Street and then headed down some beautiful neighborhood streets in Boston's Back Bay area.

The homes are gorgeous, especially with the blooming pink flowers out front.

After so much walking, we rested at a coffee shop before I had to catch a train back to campus. I wish I could've stayed longer, but my sister and I definitely made the most of the beautiful spring day in Boston.


Weekend Reading

April 24, 2015

Happy Friday! I've got a busy but exciting day and weekend ahead of me. This morning, I'm presenting at my school's Undergraduate Research Conference. I've been working on a report for my business class for the past few months and made it into a poster for this event. I'm a little nervous but mostly excited to share all of my hard work! 

Then, this afternoon, I'm getting on a train to Boston to visit my sister for a night. I'm so excited to see her! We're going to see Blake Lively's new movie Age of Adaline tonight which should be good. Tomorrow we are thinking of hiking a nearby nature preserve or heading into Boston... follow along on Instagram!

Here are some snapshots from my busy week...

A little study break snack to satisfy my sweet tooth on Sunday. Dunkin Donuts' colorful donuts are always so tempting.

Monday was rainy so I thought I'd be tempted to be lazy in bed all day, but I actually ended up heading to the library and getting a lot done! Love productive days like that.

On to some links I've been loving:

1. My sister sent me this spot-on list of 47 moments every "Gilmore Girls" fan will never get over... So true and I love the .gifs included to relive each moment.
{ via Buzzfeed }

2. Sometimes ad campaigns can be so clever... Love this one by Pandora about the connection between moms and their kids.
{ via YouTube }

3. Photographs that capture human emotion can be so powerful. Here are 30 powerful photos from different time periods in history.
{ via Idealist Revolution }

4. A list of 5 foreign films to watch. I've been wanting to see La Vita e Bella (or "Life Is Beautiful") since I did a dance to it a few years ago and now that it's on Netflix, I have no excuse not to.
{ via The Everygirl }

5. A map of the U.S. featuring each state's signature meal. Yes to Maine lobster rolls!
{ via Imgur }

6. I see lists containing fun facts about Disney movies all the time but I think this one is the most extensive and surprising of them all. Such a fun read... and now I'm in the mood to watch a Disney classic.
{ via Boredom Therapy }


Earth Day

April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day! In the past few years I've grown really passionate about the environment. It's one of my main interests and causes that I care a lot about. My family and friends sometimes tease me about my obsessive recycling, aversion to bottled water, etc... 

I think it's so important to be informed about environmental issues, especially climate change. Whether that means taking a class on it or independently reading articles and researching the topic, the more informed you can be, the better. It's going to be increasingly relevant as we continue to exhaust our natural resources and the effects of climate change become increasingly apparent.

Views from the summit of Mount Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine. { Summer 2014, Baxter State Park, Maine }

In honor of Earth Day, I've decided to share some of my favorite pictures of our beautiful planet I've taken in recent years... then at the end of the post I'll share some easy ways to be more environmentally conscious in your daily life!

Sunrise from the peak of Cadillac Mountain { Summer 2014, Acadia National Park, 
Maine }

Otter Cliffs { Summer 2014, Acadia National Park, Maine }

View from Mount Katahdin { Summer 2014, Baxter State Park, Maine }

Waterfall along Hunt's Trail { Summer 2014, Baxter State Park, Maine }

{ Spring 2014, Sonoran Desert, Arizona }

{ Spring 2014 Superstition Mountains, Arizona }

And now for some ideas to celebrate Earth Day in the best way -- by taking some actions to be more eco-conscious in your daily life:

1. Recycle as much as possible
2. Use a reusable water bottle
3. Eat less meat
4. Eat local food
5. Choose organic products
6. Drive less, walk or bike more (or take public transit)
7. Take shorter showers
8. Turn off lights when not in the room
9. Wash your laundry in cold water
10. Choose reusable shopping bags

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” — John Muir 


Netflix Documentaries

Documentaries are so fun to watch. A well-done documentary is informative but also entertaining, so it's nice to feel like you've learned something but still enjoyed yourself. Netflix has a great selection of documentaries from every category. I'm drawn to ones that discuss food, the environment, or social issues. 

Here are some of my favorite documentaries on Netflix and some I've added to my list of ones to watch:

My favorites:

Food, Inc. This isn't necessarily a fun documentary to see, as it explores all of the gruesome aspects of our contemporary food system, but I think everyone should watch it. It really opens your eyes to the harsh reality of animal treatment and factory farming that mass media doesn't talk about. Seeing this documentary was part of the reason I stopped eating meat a year and a half ago.

GMO OMG A well-made documentary about genetically-modified organisms and organic farming. It follows a father around the US as he talks to biotech corporations, scientists, policymakers, and farmers about the effects of GMOs. You'll walk away with a clearer view of an often confusing issue.

Gasland This documentary deals with another frequently dicussed issue -- fracking, the process of extracting natural gas from the ground. The filmmaker goes across the US to talk to people affected by nearby fracking operations.

Miss Representation I just had to watch this for a Media Studies class and found it so interesting. It talks about the portrayal of women in the media and how this affects gender equality. Highly recommend it.

First Position A little bit of a lighter topic! This documentary follows ballet dancers of different ages training and preparing for the Youth America Grand Prix. The dancers come from a variety of backgrounds and its interesting to see how that affects their experiences.

On my list:

Forks Over Knives A documentary about the detrimental effects of processed foods and the benefits of a whole food diet.

Vegucated This one follows three meat- and cheese-loving people who commit to a six-week vegan diet in order to get healthier.

I Am A filmmaker's discussions with philosophers and spiritual leaders about the state of our world and how to improve it.

Plastic Paradise A documentary about the millions of tons of plastic waste in the Pacific Ocean. I think this one would be really eye-opening.

Burt's Buzz I've heard this documentary about the founder of Burt's Bees is a good one. It explores the relationship between the founder, who lives a low-key life in rural Maine, and his company.

PBS Frontline: Secret State of North Korea Some of my friends have seen this and say it is so interesting. A filmmaker makes his way into the super-private country and shares some of the bewildering policies and customs.


Recent Reads #2

April 21, 2015

It's been awhile since I last did a post on what I've been reading lately, so I figured I'd do an updated post on some books and blogs that I've been loving recently.


Silver Bay by JoJo Moyes I read JoJo Moyes' book Me Before You a few months ago and loved it. My mom bought me another one of her books, Silver Bay, for my birthday and it was so good. It's a great story set in a seaside Australian town with a bit of mystery and lots of twists. I loved all of the eclectic characters. One of those books that really takes you away!
Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead I'd been working on this book for awhile before finally finishing it last month. I picked it up because it tells the fictional story of a former professional ballet dancer and her son. It was pretty good, but I didn't get too into the story or particularly like any of the characters.
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham This one's been on my desk all of the school year and I've been picking it up now and then. I love Lena Dunham's show Girls and knew her memoir would be a funny take on our generation and our society. I don't really identify with Lena personally, but it's an entertaining read nonetheless.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins I picked up this book because I had been seeing it everywhere and it had been garnering comparisons to Gone Girl, one of my favorite books. It's definitely a page-turner (I think I finished it in two or three sittings!) but I didn't find the overall story to be as good and as intense as Gone Girl.


The Londoner Whenever I have a good chunk of downtime, I love to read through The Londoner's posts. She always has beautiful photos of various fun experiences. Her posts on her Maldives vacation are amazing. The photos are breathtaking, they make you feel like you were there!
Summer Wind This blog is one of my more recent discoveries, but I really love it. Sydney has the classiest style, so polished and put together. I like how she doesn't just follow what other bloggers are wearing.
History in High Heels The blogger behind History in High Heels, Ashley, lives abroad in Florence doing graduate work. She has the most amazing photos of Florence and frequently goes on trips all around Europe. She gives really great descriptions of her trips and has fun posts about her life in Italy.

These are by no means all the blogs I read (I'm thinking of doing a separate post for that), just some I've been especially loving lately!

What have you been reading lately?


Latest Instagrams

© charlotte {b} harris | a new england-based lifestyle blog. Design by Fearne.