Author: Amy Esselman

Senioritis: Time for a Check Up!

It’s your senior year. How do you feel? Are you ready for May, or are you dreading the pass of time, and desperately holding on to your last few semesters?

Chances are, it’s a toss up.

There will be seniors who were ready for their next chapter back in August—thinking okay, okay I get it, let’s move on already! They have outgrown college and are ready for real life, whatever that is!

Then there are the students who love college—it defines them! Why would anyone ever try to make them leave?! It’s who they are. It’s all they ever wanted to do, or be.

While both options seem extreme, all seniors are wavering somewhere in between. There’s no denying that we’ve all starting thinking about it. Heck, our under classmen friends are begging us to stop using the ‘G’ word! But the reality is, it’s coming.

For those of us ready to grab the graduation garb and get going, we have to check the pace and slow our roll. We aren’t quite ready to walk across the stage and we can’t check out just yet—it would be a shame to!

Think of it in terms of you life, the big picture. If you check out now, that’s fine. But don’t want to rush this time in your life. You only get one college experience—buried in books, or partying it up, it’s 4 years of your own decision-making and experiences. If you wish the remainder of it away, you’ll never get it back. You’ll never get another chance to go to that class you skipped, or to join that club you’ve been thinking about. It’s up to you to make the most of the time you have in college—and that still includes the last months of your senior year!

Senioritis is contagious but take your chill pills and get into your college year—soak up every minute!

 

College Quick List

There are things you should never return to college without—your books, pens, pencils, etc. Then there are things that while you may not need them, but would certainly make things a lot easier.

The Huff post recently released an article of the 23 top tech gadgets that college students should definitely pack when they head back to school.

It was quite a list—everything from a solar powered backpack to a water-powered alarm clock.

Here is a look at my favorite gadgets that topped the list:

*  Noise Cancelling headphones—always a must if you want to study in peace in the library. Or catch up on your favorite TV with zero distractions!

*  Netflix account—there is something to be said about having instant access to TV and movies, for all of you study breaks of course!

*  Spotfiy—Something I would have completely ignored a year ago on Facebook is hard to ignore now. I listened to it everyday while working at my internship. You can stream hundreds of you favorite songs for free and jam out to old classics. Yes, I definitely went searching for the best of Spice Girls, NSYNC, and the Backstreet Boys.

*  Single serve coffee makers—I’m not a coffee drinker myself but having a one cup brewing machine works wonders for a house of roommates, all with different tastes. I can make hot chocolate instantly, while my roommate can make her coffee 30 seconds later with no fuss or waiting!

*  Note taking iPad apps—Apps can now easily help you manage and keep tracking on your notes. Who needs heavy notebooks when you can store everything in one place?

*  Camera—There’s nothing like capturing candid moments during the school year. From parties to dinners, to study groups and slumber parties—capture the moment and then upload, send, save and share on the web. It’s not a new concept yet cameras still hold true as a necessary tech tool.

*  Laptop lock—you don’t want one of the most expensive items you owe to take a walk into someone else’s hands, or worse, their backpack. Keep you computer safe and get a lock to keep in place if you ever have to run to the restroom or grab a book when you’re studying late in the library. Better safe than sorry, and better with your computer than watching it walk away.

*  Flash Drive—Again, nothing you don’t’ already know, but like always, a flash drive is a complete must if you want to be able to save your papers, projects and presentations safely in one place. You don’t need to spend time emailing everything to yourself, or worrying about file size. Keep a flash drive for your keychain, or one that attaches to your bag. That way, you never leave home without one.

*  Closet light/night light—when you upgrade from the dorm to an apartment, or maybe even a townhouse you want to make sure you cover all of your bases, and that includes the dark. Having a motion light for the closet can help you make the right style choices with enough light to actually know what you’re grabbing. And if you closet isn’t the concern—but rather, the hall on the way to the bathroom, you’re never to old for a good old night light. No one wants to stub his or her toe or trip in the middle of the night.

*  Cooling Pad—If you spend more time on your computer than you do hit the hardcover books, it might be time to invest in a cooling pad. You wouldn’t want to have your computer crash or overheat in the middle of writing a paper, or finishing the movie you couldn’t wait to see. Give your lap a rest and perch your laptop on a slightly cooler surface.

 

How to Divide College Space

It’s that time again… we’re all heading back to school. It’s time to pack the car, buy your books, and make your way to campus. Once you get there you are flushed with a set of hellos, (and then one of goodbyes) and are left to decide how to organize and make sense of the pile of stuff sitting in the middle of the room.

For some, you not only have to figure out how to maneuver around bags and bags of clothes in one little room, but also learn how to share and utilize space with another person. It gets tough—a little bit of space for one person is hard enough, throw in another body (and car full of stuff) and you have to start getting creative.

So how do you do it?

My older brother once had a roommate who quite literally tried the whole “tape down the middle of the room” thing. It was, well, uncomfortable for him to say the least. What if the fridge is on one side, or worse the door? Splitting everything in half—straight down the middle—might not be the wisest, or easiest route to space utilization in your dorm.

It’s important to take note of communal space versus what’s already spoken for.

Set common ground rules and make everything a little smoother for you and your roommate, or roommates.

Dorm Room:

Straight down the middle might not work, but have clear boundaries of your space. Your beds, desks, closets or drawers are “roommate’s stuff” clutter free zones. Be considerate with your dirty socks and last night’s pizza box—don’t throw your shoes on their bed or your empty take out dishes on your roommate’s desk. That’s just not nice. For gray areas—like the middle of the room, couches, side tables, or windowsills, use common sense. If your mom wouldn’t like it lying out—for no rhyme or reason, then you probably shouldn’t leave it there. Chances are, your roommate won’t like it either. Don’t keep clutter on the floor, or stuff out just for the sake of it. If you have books you want to keep on the table, or something you want to keep on the window, just remember to picture your roommate doing the same and see if you would let it fly—if not, pack it in and put it somewhere else. Hey, that’s why the invented under the bed drawers, and closet shelves!

Bathroom:

If you share a bathroom with the whole hall—be weary. You are sharing a communal space. You aren’t the only one who uses the stalls, sinks and showers. Think of having 20 siblings, maybe more. You owe it to them, as they do to you, to pick up after yourself and not make an obvious and obnoxious mess. Don’t leave hair in the shower, or toothpaste in the sink. Try not to get water everywhere and don’t just drop your trash. Think of how you would want your bathroom at home to look—it may not match 100% but you and your floor mates should strive to get as close as college cleanliness will allow.

Freshmen Fears

When you start college it’s normal to be nervous—there are certain things that scare you, and that’s okay! As I start my senior year I couldn’t help but think back to my first time on campus and ponder the list of worries that had me scared to start my new college chapter.

Here are five common freshmen fears—ones I had myself and ones some of you may be having now! Rest assured, things seem scary now, but the next four years are going to fly. Your worries will seem crazy in a few semesters when you look back at far how you’ve come.

1.  I’ll be homesick—Sure home is great, so great, that it’s hard to leave. But, you’ll be glad you did. College is all about new experiences. Dorm life or even just living away from home is an adjustment but it’s well worth the uncomfortable pains that it takes to get used to everything. It’s hard being away from home, that’s where you’ve lived for the last 18 years. But, that’s what family weekend is for. You’ll see them before you know, and maybe even wish they would leave! (Hopefully not too soon!)

2.  I’ll gain the “Freshmen 15”—Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. Either way, it’s all going to be okay. College is a new chapter of your life and plus no one is supposed to look like they did in high school forever. Think about it. That would be weird, uncomfortable even. You are getting older and your change in behavior and eating habits your weight could fluctuate—increase or decrease. Heck, you could even get taller—I grew an inch! Just remember to be healthy and active. That’s all you can ask—staying the same as your high school self isn’t an option, and probably isn’t all that healthy either!

3. I didn’t pick the right school—When you first move in, it can be hard to feel at home. Where are you? What is this place? It’s all so different, and cold. But that doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong place, it just means you have to let yourself warm up to it all. Schools are all about fit. You can take classes anywhere, but when you start to feel the grove of a campus and start to feel yourself start to fit, you’ll know you’re in the right place. Just give it time, and remember to be open-minded. Even shoes need to be worn a few times to break them in—college campuses are no different!

4. My Roommate will be weird! —I won’t lie, when I first saw and met my roommate, I was nervous. We were complete opposites! She covered our whole room in pink fluffy stuff! But once we looked past the obvious differences and just started to talk and hang out we were completely fine. We ended up having tons in common and to this day are still roommates—three years later! Some of your very best friends can be found in unlikely places. My “scary” college roommate is one of my very best friends. But, look at us on Facebook 3 years ago and we couldn’t have appeared more different!

5.  I won’t be able to meet people! —Moving into college is stressful. So stressful in fact that students forget that everyone around them is same boat, all stressed, all nervous. Freshmen don’t come with built in friends. It takes a while to meet “your group”, but don’t think they aren’t out there. Don’t be afraid to talk to people when you move in. Go to activities; go to games, socials, and mixers—all the opening weekend events are put on for a reason! It’s to help all of the freshmen, however many there are, (maybe 900 hundred at small schools, 9000 at big ones) get to know each other. Don’t sit in your room hiding from your roommate. Get out there and take the risk of talking to new people, that’s what college is all about. You will meet people all over and some will end up being your friends forever and some, just friendly faces to smile at on your way to class.

“Man”-icure

One of my favorite indulgences is a trip to the nail salon. I love getting a pedicure, and having my nails done. Manicures make your hands feel pretty and are ultimate excuse to talk with your hands.

Now, most girls would probably agree. Nail treatments are a great way to get pampered. But why haven’t guys jumped on this train yet? Don’t they know it’s not cute to have dirty hands, or worse dirty feet?

All the stars do it. Heck, David Beckham once had his own line of nail polish for men!

Now, I should clarify.

No one is saying guys have to take the plunge and actually paint their nails pink—Mr. Beckham barely pulls that one off. However, I will never understand how they could pass up everything else. I mean, a back massage and bubble bath for your feet? Certainly sounds like torture to me.

I think guys—of any age, really—could benefit for a like nail sprucing.

Here’s a true story:

I have three brothers. Two older, one younger.

They would never be caught dead in a nail salon. Why in the world would they go there?

However, last summer, my little brother returned home from a wilderness camp up in the boundary waters of Minnesota and Canada. His feet were disgusting, possibly even worse than that.

I begged him to come with me to get a pedicure- there was no way his girlfriend would be excited to see him with those feet. After countless hours of begging and nagging, I got him in the pedicure chair.

He was like a fish to water.

He was amazed at how girls spend their time. He asked, “are these massage chairs always here?!”

No polish. No little “toe-diamonds”. Just harmless foot maintenance. His feet had never looked better.

Now, while I wish I could say that he ran to get his nails done every time I came home from school after that, he is still weary of admitting that he liked it. He won’t go with me unless I beg and plead, and of course, promise I won’t tell a soul.

That’s good enough for me, at least for now.

Guys should “pretend” to be dragged the salon and experience it for themselves—even if it’s just once. You won’t regret it, and your feet will thank you—big time.

 

Easy Ways to Use Applesauce!

Applesauce is easy to use, not to mention, extremely good for you.

It’s healthy and tastes good—although some people dislike the texture.

Besides just plain eating it, which I used to do almost everyday when my parents packed it in my lunch, there are various other uses for the healthy food.

Here are just a few:

Applesauce & Cinnamon Ornaments!

Oh yes! It’s true! With just a little bit of applesauce and cinnamon you can create a sparkly Christmas ornament. It’s easy to do, and looks great on the tree.

Mix ½ applesauce, with ½ cinnamon. Roll on a flat space (keep adding cinnamon if it’s too sticky!). Cut out your shapes—punch a hole for the ribbon and pop into the oven at 200 degrees. Voila!

BBQ Sauce! 

With just a few ingredients you can create a delicious sauce for chicken and more!

Play around with portions or add to taste. Ketchup, applesauce, salt, pepper , sugar and a few spices will create a fun and unique play on your every day BBQ sauce.

Dog Treats! 

Dogs want to be healthy too—and plus why not save a few bucks and bake treats on your own.

Here’s a great recipe to follow to get your pup hooked on a healthy apple snack.

Classic Switch! 

This is a baking crowd favorite that saves calories and adds something sweet. When baking cookies, cake, muffins or brownies, why not try replacing oil with applesauce. It’s healthy and makes the texture softer. I never bake cupcakes without applesauce—it makes it easier to eat more than one! (You can’t feel bad if you dessert was made with healthy ingredients, right?)

Take apple filled ideas out for a spin, and then think of you own!

Do you ever bake with applesauce?

Calling All Guys—I Need Advice

Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m mad at you, so now what do you do?

In movies, on TV, and sometimes even in songs, you see or hear about flowers. Girls get them on Valentine’s Day, on their birthday, or just when you’re feeling thoughtful, at least that’s what I always thought was the case.

Until recently, that is.

Here’s what’s up for debate: Are flowers a nice gesture—a gift for a person to say any number of things—“I love you”, “I’m thinking about you”, “I miss you”, “You’re great”. Or, are flowers your “get out of jail free card” when you forget something, can’t find a present, or worse, you did something wrong?

I always thought they were just a nice gesture—a bright mix of color and smells just to show you care. But some people think differently. My boyfriend bought me flowers a couple of weeks ago. They were beautiful. There was no occasion, no anniversary, no birthday. They were just a sweet way to show he cared. But at the store when he picked them out the clerk and several customers asked, “well son, what’d you do?”

He was confused. He didn’t do anything, did he? What was he sorry for?

He had no idea why everyone read so much into it. He was just doing something nice. He knows that I love flowers, as most girls do. There are some that find them cheesy. Say my mom for example. She argues, why have flowers when you could have a gift card? Flowers die, gift cards spread joy and well, a free snack. And you can’t eat flowers.

But regardless of who likes them and who doesn’t, I need to know how they are viewed. What do you think about flowers? Girls see bright colors, a sweet gesture, and a chance to be the envy of all of her friends. What do guys think? Are you just being thoughtful, or are you trying to make up for something, and saying it with roses?

Leave your comments below—let’s get to the bottom of this!

GPS

I’ve never used a GPS, or even owned one for that matter. In Kansas everything is built around a grid. In Philadelphia I don’t drive, I use the subway or have a friend drive me. I don’t get lost, and I rarely read street signs. There’s nothing like relying on handy dandy landmarks and familiar surroundings.

This summer I moved to Salt Lake City, and somehow my directional skills seemed to vanish.

Street names were different, intersections seeme wice as long, and to top it all off—there are mountains in every direction.

In short, my GPS has saved me. I’m still learning, but without it, the last month would have been torture.

But why does having a talking friend attached to my windshield make my commute more comforting? Why do I feel better knowing that Gabby, my Garmin, is leading the way?

In my mind it all comes down to surprise. Using a GPS takes the guesswork out of driving. When I need to go left, she lets me know. When I go the wrong way, she helps me turn around.

That doesn’t mean you should become complacent or let your GPS do all the work, but it does mean you can relax a little and not stress about where you’re going.

Any GPS, or any set of directions makes traveling easier and more direct. I for one hate highways. They scare me. Gabby knows me well. She gives me an alternate route. She also knows my favorite spots and memorizes where I like to go. Now that’s true love.

I’ll admit that it’s almost sad that I don’t know what people did before GPS technology. I know there was mapquest once upon a time. What was there before that? A compass? Did people really rely on good faith and sense of direction to get around? I wish those people could teach me a thing or two.

I’m not saying we should depend on a GPS- they aren’t fool proof, and of course it would be better to know naturally how to get around. But it’s not always that easy.

When I get lost, Gabby helps me get back on track. I just have to remember that she can’t do it all—I still need to be alert and focused. She is just my helper along the way!

Antsy Intern

You hate your summer job.

Now what?

Here I am in Salt Lake City—beautiful place. But, I’m lonely, I’m bored, and I live in an apartment with no furniture and work is slow.

Not exactly the glamorous resume bullet and experience builder that I was hoping for.

I’m under utilized, under challenged and searching high and low for ways to spice things up.

Are you feeling the same? I feel like it’s more common than us interns think but there is a way to fix it, so listen up!

You can’t suffer in silence. You need to communicate how you’re feeling and let your boss know. July is the perfect time—a halfway mark for some. Think of it as a mid progress report.

You owe it to your place of work to tell them what works and what doesn’t work in terms of intern responsibilities.

If you voice your concerns, or even suggest new ideas or projects you may be in an entirely different boat—one that you could end up loving to sail on. And plus, you have a whole month to experience new jobs and tasks—but only if you say something now.

If that doesn’t work and you’re still bored, or worse, sitting at your desk twiddling your thumbs, you can still take action.

Stretch your own limits and reach for what you know you’re capable of. If you have any creative leeway at all—try something new, or take a task and put your spin on it to show that you can be innovative and improve existing methods. However, if you feel under utilized you need to make sure you show your strengths, don’t tell them. No office, or job wants to hear you talk about how great you are—just put it into action.

And if all else fails, and you’re job isn’t likely to turn around anytime soon, look for the silver lining. For one, it’s only for the summer. You’ll head back to school soon and your job just will be one of your many experiences that helps build character—or at the very least can be used as a good story. Or maybe you love your co-workers and your summer intern disaster helped you land a new friend, or fling. Maybe your lunch break made everything worth it—I have a friend whose works caters lunch every day—yum!

There will always be things we love about our jobs, and then the things we could definitely live without. Make sure to voice your concerns early and never suffer in silence—and if you decide to, at least look for the good stuff intertwined throughout it all, it can’t be all bad.

New City, New Sites: Salt Lake Travels

When I moved to Salt Lake City for the summer I set big expectations for myself. I was going to be outdoorsy, hike, and climb mountains.

I’ve been here for a month.

I’ve barely seen the salt lake (Does from the plane count?!). I haven’t climbed any mountains. I have hiked or even seen any trails.

I’m clearly lagging behind.

Utah is beautiful—home to parks, mountains and wildlife. A photographers dream! Yet here I am, working full time and missing the “sites”.

Or am I?

I came here for an internship. I should definitely take advantage of the scenery. I have to. But just because I haven’t camped in the mountains doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced some of the best things about being here.

I’ve created a routine.

I go to work. I head to the gym. I shop for groceries. I drive around singing and dancing to Call Me Maybe while looking at the mountains.

Sounds like fun to me.

I will definitely do things more “Utah”. But I think it’s cool that I fit in. I feel like a local—I could really live here. I’m not site seeing or trying to fit everything in all at once.

I’m relaxed. I’m enjoying the scenery, even if it’s from a distance. (It’s hard to miss the landscape—just look out a window!)

Internships are semi-permanent. The work isn’t always fascinating but then again, there’s more to life than your 9 to 5. I’m learning that now by being here.

I know I’ll get around to everything else, but for now, I love the little things—Like making dinner (not from a dining hall), and going to dollar movies, and experiencing the heat, minus sticky humidity!

I have a month left here, I’ll be curious to see what takes priority—the sites, or the lifestyle.

Only time will tell!