5 keys to success

hello hello!

coming to college is truly a big question mark. nobody has no idea what to expect. honestly, my whole first semester is so fuzzy and blurry because i was so anxious the entire time! everyday was a new day, and i was never truly used to the whole “college thing”.

the most frequent question i asked myself the summer before i moved to mizzou was “what do i even need to bring?”, and unfortunately, my answer to that daunting question was everything. so, as august 15th snuck up to me, i found myself packing up… literally everything. two full SUV’s filled to the roof of stuff on stuff on stuff. i’m still wondering how it fit in the car/how it’s fitting in my dorm/how it’ll be packed up to move out. my concluding thought to all those questions is basically “i’ll deal with it when it gets here”.

the curiosity about my freshman year would literally keep me wondering 24/7. it was most difficult because no matter how many times i talked to older girls, or searched “packing list for freshman year” on pinterest, or even read countless blog posts of college girls that have the “Ultimate Checklist for College!”, i never believed any of it. they all said the same thing, and there was never really something that i hadn’t thought of already. mainly because i definitely spent way too much time overthinking it in the first place…

so-although the millions of blog posts and searches never fully helped me, i still want to make a mini-one for those heading off to college in 5-ish months. being at a university where you experience every weather season (sometimes i get every season in only one week. just #midwest things), you need everything from swimsuits to below-the-knee down coats. but, i’ve learned this list of items are “keys to success” when i’m in college. well, not at the success point yet, but i’m trying. they have made my year this far much easier, enjoyable, and far less stressful. and, it’s something to keep in mind for when you actually start packing your entire life into storage containers/boxes/bags/anything you can throw stuff into!

  1. camera: there’s just something about a good quality picture that makes me instantly happy. yes, the iPhone cameras aren’t that bad, but i have never brought my camera somewhere and regretted it. not only am i happy that i bring it, my friends are happy that i have it too! I’m asking for a new camera for my birthday, but in the past i have used a go pro which i think are the coolest cameras ever. the new ones even have a touch screen, so it’s not a guessing game when you’re taking pictures & hoping they turn out somewhat decent! i decided to ask for this digital camera (which is of course pink) that has some pretty cool features on it that i’m so excited for!
    Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 6.28.31 PM
  2. rain jacket: you would think this one is a given, but you don’t realize how vital rain jackets/rain boots/umbrellas are until you are absolutely drenched walking back to your dorm after class. i had the typical monogram rain jacket, but when I’m in rainy weather that’s also terribly cold and windy… i needed something much warmer, and not as thin! in london, i stumbled across the cutest store called Joules and they had the cutest coats and boots! i splurged on a rain coat, but it was so worth it. it is long enough, rain proof, and has fleece on the inside which is a huge bonus when it’s cold! the far right is the coat i have, but i also included some of my favorite boots and other rain jackets i saw while (wasting time) looking at their instagram account- @joulesclothing!
  3. laptop case: turns out when you get to college, you’re pretty much obligated to buy a laptop case and cover the ENTIRE thing in stickers. at least, that’s how it is at mizzou. so being “that” girl, i followed the trend immediately. however, a hard laptop case really does add some extra protection. especially when i use it everyday and it’s probably being swung around multiple times a day since i carry it in my backpack. i love decorating my laptop case because once you get the case and personalize it with all the stickers in the world, or none at all, it’s a similar reflection to your personality, you can make it as colorful or simple as you want. i just recently redid mine, partly because my case was slightly breaking and i needed to buy a different one, and partly because i wanted to revamp the “laptop look” i had…. i promise its a thing. i ordered a marble case off of Amazon here, and it’s held up wonderfully! the shell is somewhat rubberized, so it doesn’t feel so hard and plastic-y when i am using it. and, my favorite part is the stickers. i discovered a website called Red Bubble and it’s amazing. they have thousands of stickers, so it’s easier to search for ones you would like instead of scrolling for hours (i made that mistake one night which resulted in deliriously ordering 15 stickers that i had completely forgotten about till they got to my dorm… good times)FullSizeRender.jpg-2.jpeg
  4. a water bottle: like i’ve mentioned before in one of my earlier posts, i made it one of my resolutions to start drinking more and more water! i’ve tried to keep up with that, some days being better than others.  but, there is a huge difference in how much water i drink based on what I’m drinking it out of. i have a double insulated camelback water bottle which has been the best ever! since it’s double insulated, it doesn’t sweat, which is so great when i don’t want to leave a trail of water everywhere i go. i also love the S’well water bottles, they keep my water SO cold. however, it’s a bit more slippery and always falls out of my backpack since it is super big.  i love the modern designs on the Swell water bottles, and although they’re a bit more pricey, they’re definitely worth it.
  5.  agenda: this one is another “duh” item, but there are a lot of agenda’s out there… so it’s important to know what you prefer. when i am super busy and stressed, i need to write everything down in a list and just cross it off as i go. i started out the year with a Simplified Planner that i received for graduation, which i loved the “look” of, but i didn’t realize how much i didn’t like it until i started using it at school. it was listed by time in 30-minute increments for each day, and had a quarter of the page set aside for dinner plans…. and in my world, my dinner plan is deciding between the dining halls at mizzou. and, i didn’t need a strict time schedule, i needed just a lined, bulleted schedule. it seemed as if it’d work better for a mom, or someone way older than me. however, in the end, it is based on everyone’s personal preference, which can be polar opposite from mine! once i got tired of that planner, i switched to this Kate Spade planner that i love SO much. it is big enough for me to make outrageously long to-do lists, shows my whole week when i lay it open, and it’s cute. which is necessary, of course.153053_100

although a lot of these items are ones that may seem obvious, it’s important to make sure they’re the right things before you’re either stuck in freezing, pouring rain or having a mental breakdown because your agenda isn’t making your life easier. those breakdowns are real, and they are not fun. however, it’s most important to make sure you come to college with a positive, confident outlook. dreading it and starting to miss home so much that you can’t function is not how you want to start the year. being excited to start something new and focus on all the fun aspects about being a freshman in college will make it so much better. and, you will start having that similar outlook on anything you do-whether you’re comfortable doing it or not.

here’s to spring break starting in TWO DAYS (!!!!!) people. i’m spending it making every single recipe ever from the countless food videos that are filling up everyone’s Facebook timeline with my mom, and i truly couldn’t think of a better way to spend it!

with love jenna copy




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