15 Tips for College

I sent in my application for the University of Washington a few weeks ago – I should find out if I’m accepted in mid- to late-November. If I am, this will be my first time at a traditional university – I graduated from art school in 2007. Art schools are quite different in a lot of ways (Think Stella Artois and cocaine instead of Pabst and pot – though there were those things, too)(I also never did any coke, just saying.), but there are some guidelines that are universal. With college right around the corner for many, I thought I’d share some of my very, very wise tips for the incoming freshman.

university of washington

Hopefully I’ll be studying here come January. Image via University of Washington

College Tips

  • Befriend people in your major who are ahead of you. They have a lot of good advice – what classes to take and from who, how to get in good with a professor, what topics are the most important, etc.
  • No one cares about what you did in high school. Seriously. No one in college is going to care that you were the head cheerleader/Homecoming royalty/star quarterback/valedictorian/whatever. It doesn’t carry the cache it did in high school. Please do not wear your high school letterman jacket to college. It’s embarrassing.
What a douche nozzle. Image via Fox.

What a douche nozzle. Image via Fox.

  • Teachers will not hold you accountable. Your education up until now has involved a lot of handholding, largely because classes were smaller. College classes can be enormous, and professors don’t have the time, energy, or inclination to make sure you don’t fall behind.
  • Learn to cook. Going out to eat with new friends or ordering pizza is a lot of fun and is certainly easier than cooking at home, and you should do it on occasion. But it is also extremely expensive and bad for you. Learn to cook a handful of relatively cheap, healthy meals to have on hand. A slow cooker is a great idea, as your meal can cook while you’re in class.
  • Don’t buy your books at the school bookstore. Colleges mark up their books so much. Look on Amazon, Half.com, and other resources for much better prices. Amazon even lets you rent books for a quarter.
Image via Glogster.

Image via Glogster.

  • Go to class. This one is related to #3. Your parents aren’t around anymore to wake you up and make sure you get to school on time. Go to class, pate attention, and you’ll be doing better than a lot of your peers. College is also very expensive and every class skipped is money down the drain.
  • Remember to sleep. It can be hard to get all your studying done without staying up extra late, but it is equally hard to do well in school if you’re a zombie. Study every day to avoid late night cram sessions and make sure you are getting adequate sleep so you can operate at your best.
sleeping cat

Image via Brent Haydey.

  • Use alcohol/drugs in extreme moderation. Technically you shouldn’t be drinking at all if you’re under 21, but pretty much no college student follows that rule. Alcohol will be made available to you, and it can definitely be a great way to loosen up, meet new people, and have fun*. Know ahead of time what your limit is so you don’t get too crazy – 1 or 2 drinks an hour, plus 1 glass of water for every drink – is more than enough. Make sure to eat and stay hydrated, and keep close, trusted friends with you at all times. These rules apply for drugs, too. Basically, don’t be a dummy.
Image via Trimbos.

Image via Trimbos.

  • Eat right and exercise. Freshman 15 is very real for most people. This relates to #4. Pizza, fast food, and cafeteria offerings are not the healthiest of options. And it can be tempting after a long day of classes to go home and crash. But try taking a walk, going for a run, or lifting weights at your school’s gym instead to blow off some steam. It can do a world of good.
  • Make a few practices trips of your class schedule before school starts. This can avoid being late and having to ask for directions.
  • Get to know your professors. They can help you out in a number of ways. Familiarize yourself with their office hours and try to set up meetings with them throughout the quarter. As a for-instance, years ago I had a Buying class and would get terrible test anxiety. My teacher knew that I knew the information, but despite this I’d still get average grades on tests. After setting up a meeting with him to discuss the problem, he came up with a great solution: He’d split my test scores between the actual exams and questions he’d ask during class. No one else knew, so it wasn’t embarrassing, and I was able to bring up my grade.
Good news, everyone! Professors usually like it when you respect them and stay involved. Image via Fox.

Good news, everyone! Professors like it when you respect them and stay involved. Image via Fox.

  • Take notes with a pen and paper, not a laptop. Laptops lose power and can also be very distracting. I also find the act of writing material down further cements it in my brain.
  • If you’re feeling depressed or otherwise not mentally up to snuff, there are plenty of free resources for you. Talk to your school counselor, the college health clinic, a trusted professor, etc. Don’t suffer in silence!
  • Be considerate of roommates and others in general. I had a roommate in college who would routinely eat my food (it was clearly marked with my name, too. One time she ate all the delicious bread my stepdad had made for me before I came home from class. I wanted to punch that bitch in the throat.), leave body hair she’d shaven off on the bathroom counter and in a ring around the tub, and once I came home around 1 AM to our front door open with her inside, passed out. She was the worst. Don’t be this roommate. Clean up after yourself, ask before using/eating other people’s things/food, be quiet if you have to wake up before them in the morning, etc. In short: Don’t be an asshole.
Perfect roomies. Image via NBC.

Perfect roomies. Image via NBC.

  • WATCH YOUR BEVERAGES! This is true for the ladies and Do not ever accept a drink from someone you don’t trust implicitly, unless it’s from an unopened can or bottle. Before I left for college, one of my older brothers told me to never go to parties, because I would get roofied, and I would get date-raped. While that’s a huge overreaction from a protective brother and you should definitely go to parties if you want, be smart and aware of yourself and your drink.
Study hard! Image via Tumblr.

Study hard! Image via Tumblr.

*You do not have to have alcohol or drugs to have a good time! If you’re not comfortable drinking or doing drugs, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about that.


One Lovely Blog

Last week I was happily surprised to find out Life Beyond Graduation nominated me for the One Lovely Blog award. How sweet and unexpected! Thank you J I’m so glad people are reading and enjoying my work.

one lovely blog award

There are a few guidelines, however, that come with accepting this honor:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you for the blog.
  2. Display the One Lovely Blog Award on your blog.
  3. Share seven things about yourself.
  4. Nominate fifteen bloggers you admire. Inform them by commenting on their blog.

Now on to the seven things about myself:

  1. I have the same breakfast almost every morning: Plain Almond Dream yogurt, raspberries, homemade granola, and tea with vanilla almond milk.
  2. I never miss an episode of Pretty Little Liars.
  3. I love the summer, but get cranky if the temperature is over 75 degrees.
  4. My phone is currently without a case. So I’m pretty much the ultimate rebel.
  5. I prefer Pepsi to Coke.
  6. I love the smell of gasoline.
  7. Flying on airplanes makes me bloat and puff up like a balloon.

The fifteen bloggers I admire are:

  1. 3 Kids and a Breakdown
  2. A Beautiful Mess
  3. A Cup of Jo
  4. Advice from a Twenty Something
  5. All & Sundry
  6. Better By Dr. Brooke
  7. Broke & Beautiful
  8. Brown-Eyed Baker
  9. Girls Gone Strong
  10. John Lee Bell
  11. Mollie in Seattle
  12. Putting Me Together
  13. Rouge 18
  14. Taryn Cox The Wife
  15. Tipsy Writer

Sin City

Sin City

(Sort-Of) Brownie Face-Off: Brookies

This month all my writing energy has been devoted to writing a personal statement for my university application. I’m not sure if this is a new thing or not, as I have always heard of it, but when I told M about it, he was perplexed. Apparently he didn’t have to do one, which I find very unfair. In any case, much of my time has been spent thinking about what I want to say, then changing my mind, then changing it back, then writing three completely different statements, then three versions of those, and then editing them, refining them, sending them to my mother to inspect and critique, etc. etc. etc. After awhile, even though the story means a lot to me, the words start to lose their meaning and my eyes cross and I need a nap. Or, as the case may be, a brownie.

While not traditional brownies, they are a brownie cookie hybrid (what I like to call brookies, as I think it’s cute and stupid). Not one to discriminate based on appearance; I’m giving the recipe a go.

brookies, brownie cookies

Brookies pre-bite.

Brookies adapted from Culinography

Makes about 24 cookies

8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance because I recently learned I’m lactose intolerant. Boo.)
4 eggs
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Melt the chocolates and butter/Earth Balance in a double boiler or small saucepan over low heat. Mix until smooth.

In a medium bowl, mix eggs, vanilla, and sugar.

In a small bowl, mix flour and baking powder.

Mix the chocolate mixture with the egg mixture and slowly add the dry ingredients. When combined, add the cup of chocolate chips and stir.

Cover dough and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours.

After time has passed, preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons dough onto baking sheets. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes or until they are firm on the outside. Let cool completely before eating.


brookies, brownie cookies

Brookie post-bite.

Since these aren’t technically brownies, they are not being graded in the same way. But they are delicious! Om nom nom nom. They taste just like a brownie, but in the convenient form of a cookie. A good choice when you can’t decide whether to bake brownies or cookies.

July Lust Object: Unicorns

Pardon my blog vacation, I had my cousin in town for awhile. It was lovely, but being something of an introvert, hosting can be a little overwhelming. After my cousin left I took a few days to decompress and now I’m back! Huzzah!

I’ve been into unicorns for quite some time now. Growing up, one of my favorite movies was The Last Unicorn, which I watched at least once a week. The TV was in the living room of our very open concept house, so my parents had the pleasure of getting to watch it too. THEY LOVED IT.

Image via Lionsgate.

Image via Lionsgate.

For those unfortunate souls who aren’t in the know, unicorns are mythical animals that have been around since the classical era. It’s basically a horse (or goat, depending on your source material) with a large, pointy horn coming from its forehead. Ancient Greece even included it in their natural history for awhile. The Bible also mentions unicorns.

During medieval times, unicorns were thought to be extremely wild, as well as a symbol of purity and grace. They could only be captured by virgins, too, so I guess that leaves me out. Unicorns were obviously magic beasts, and their horns could make poison water drinkable and heal sickness. Also, for funsies, sly merchants used to sell narwhal horns as unicorn horns.

In any case, I would totally love to wear/tote/use all of these items and proudly project my love for all things unicorn.


June Lust Object: Rainbows

As I mentioned last month, I have an affinity for rainbows. It seems fitting they should be the focus of this month’s Lust Object because June just so happens to be Pride Month! More specifically, June 29th marks the 40th annual Seattle Pride Parade. Seattle was also just named the most gay-friendly city in America – way to go, Emerald City!

Here are some of my favorite rainbow-themed items. Maybe I’ll deck myself out in some of them on the 29th and head on down to the parade to support my friends and family.

Happy Pride!


Things I Learned From My Father

Father’s Day is always a bittersweet day for me. When I was eight years old my father unexpectedly passed away. He and I were very close, and his passing left an enormous hole in my heart that has never been completely filled. This day in June serves to remind me of who and what I’ve lost, but also of the time I got to spend with truly one of the most magnificent people I’ve ever had to pleasure to know or love – and he loved me right back!

Daddy in nature.

Daddy in nature.

We only had eight years together, but in that time my father taught me lessons (purposefully and not so) that would alter, for the better, the way I navigated my life.

  1. Stay curious

Without a doubt, Daddy was the smartest person I’ve ever met. He knew a lot about a wide variety of topics and was constantly reading. The bookshelves in my childhood home were packed with tomes on everything from manuals explaining how to construct your own yurt and tattered copies of Franny and Zooey to complete Civil War histories and Chaucer.He was curious about everything and took it upon himself to read as much as he could about every subject that struck his fancy. He felt education was one of the most valuable things in the world and that it didn’t stop the moment you received your diploma. Education and learning were lifelong endeavors, and he thoroughly enjoyed it.

  1. Laugh loudly

Daddy had a large nose and a dry, sardonic sense of humor. He laughed loudly and often, fully enjoying whatever joke a friend was telling or whatever trouble The Simpsons clan was in. I have vivid memories of him laughing uproariously, slapping his thigh, and occasionally snorting. While there are no thigh-slaps in my laugh, I inherited his nose and thus snort quite a bit whenever I laugh hard. Being able to fully enjoy a joke or hilarious situation is not possible when trying desperately to affect a different laugh. In elementary and middle school, especially, this snort was the bane of my existence and I tried hard to cover it up. It wasn’t until junior year that I gave up all pretenses of having a dainty, girly giggle and embraced the snort.

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself

This lesson I learned by doing the opposite of what I saw in my father. While he was a brilliant, talented, hilarious, and caring man, he was also full of self-criticism and doubt that he acquired as a young man. What my mother, his friends and family, and I saw as an amazing human being was completely different than what he saw in the mirror. It breaks my heart to this day that he didn’t realize how truly fantastic he was. While it is a daily struggle for me not beat myself up about God-knows-what, it helps to remember that those I love don’t hold me to the same sky-high standards that I hold for myself, and that they don’t think any less of me for slights I perceive as being huge, glaring failures.

  1. Do what you love

I feel fortunate to have received from both my parents a creative streak. My mother is a talented artist and runs her own graphic design firm in my hometown. My father worked with his hands building amazing pieces of furniture and, his greatest labor of love, the house I grew up in. Like my mother, he also ran his own business building and repairing furniture. He was a true craftsman and had an eye for seeing the beauty in something as seemingly mundane as a pile of lumber. Daddy loved his work and didn’t see the point in doing something he hated for a living if he could follow his passion while getting paid to do so. Both my parents taught me this lesson, and while I’m still making my way in the world trying to figure out the logistics of this plan, I am looking forward to the results.

  1. Don’t be afraid to be silly

Despite him passing away when I was eight, I feel pretty lucky that I got to spend as much time with my father as I did. He worked from home, so he had the freedom to drop me off at school, pick me up from daycare, and be around when I was at home. I have many wonderful memories of him, but some of my favorites involve him being a-okay with being silly with me as a little girl. He had absolutely no problem letting me putting his hair in barrettes and then going out to do some grocery shopping. He did voices for all the different characters in The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and The Silmarillion, all of which were bedtime story favorites. Daddy was comfortable with who he was and loved me so much that it didn’t matter if others stared at his wild hair or he adopted a feminine voice for Galadriel. He was willing to put aside any preconceived notions of normalcy if it meant making his loved ones happy, so it was never a dull moment with him.

Baby Caitlinface and Daddy chilling like villains.

Baby Caitlinface and Daddy chillin’ like villains.