BTS Series: Guide to transferring Universities

I preach about how much I love Ohio University. Which I do, of course. However, I didn’t always have this bobcat pride that I do now. My first semester at OU was downright miserable and there were tons of times I reconsidered my decision to attend this school. Looking back on it, I don’t know how I ever felt this. On the other hand, I made a lot of mistakes my first semester that, had I known my parents would kill me if I wanted to transfer again, made me want to transfer schools for the second time. With the price of college these days, paired with students’ inabilities to choose their university [or major] for the ‘right’ reason, transferring has become quite the hot commodity. Whether you transfer from a community college or another four-year university, transferring can put a ton of challenges on the student, myself included. I want every single transfer student to love their new home [or hOUme in my case] and to not once regret this decision. So, here are my tips and tricks to transferring universities [that I wish I had when I did it].


Make a list of must-haves

My senior year of high school, a huge must-have for me was a football game. My freshman year in San Diego, I went to one football game. When I was college hunting the second time around, my must-haves were more focused on things that actually matters – the major I wanted [or majors I might want], the access to vegan food [OU is in the top five most vegan friendly college campuses in the nation], a wide variety of student orgs [I cross-checked orgs from both schools I applied to because I was very interested in a few… yes CHAARG was one of them], and finally cost. In the end, I chose OU because it as half the cost of the other school and I’m so glad I did.

Get involved

My freshman year I made roughly zero friends. I also only joined one club second semester. When I transferred, I joined orgs out the wazoo but didn’t really get involved until my second semester. Had I gotten involved my first semester and started making friends, I’m certain my first semester would have gone a lot different and never would have second-guessed this decision. Join clubs, go to meetings, go to events, talk to people!!!

Don’t feel pressured to rush

Rushing is a great way to get involved, don’t get me wrong. However, don’t feel pressured to do so. Just because half of your floor is set on joining a sorority doesn’t mean you have to as well! When I transferred, I thought the only way I would meet people would be to rush. I ended up dropping out on the last day because it wasn’t for me. Rush [and do everything else in your life] because you want to, not because everyone else wants you to.

You’re going to cry

I cried on my first day at OU. I cried weeks in, and I cried the second semester too. It will happen. Let it happen. Embrace it. Cry tears of happiness. Cry tears of sadness. Cry tears of everything in between.

You’ll want to go back to your old university

I missed San Diego when I moved into OU. I still miss San Diego now. It’s okay and it’s normal. You spent one or two years at this place, why wouldn’t you miss it?? I miss San Diego but I’m so lucky that I’m in Ohio now. I definitely want to go back to San Diego, visit my old campus that I know like the back of my hand. However, I’d much rather be in Ohio now and I’m so glad I am.

Get a job

My freshman year I didn’t get a job. I was ‘adjusting’ to college life. I SHOULD have gotten a job freshman year. I slacked off, spent way too much time watching Netflix, etc. When I got to OU, I got a job. With this job, came a newfound sense of responsibility. I had more responsibility and less time so I worked harder and more often and spent less time doing things I shouldn’t have been doing. I’ve also met some of my best friends through my job! Apply early and to multiple jobs so you’re sure to get one and that you can start right when school starts!

Put yourself out there

Going to college is hard. Transferring is even harder. You HAVE  to put yourself out there [in whatever way that means to you] in order to succeed at this new school. Do something you never thought you’d do, talk to people outside of who you’d normally befriend, add a minor just because you have free space and you want to… anything! Grab your new school by the horns and make it yours. You’ll find your rhythm and love this new place in no time.

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BTS Series: College Packing List

Packing for college can be tough. What do I bring? What do I leave at home? Here is my ultimate college packing list from three prior years of tries and tribulations.

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Have you made a college packing list? Are ours similar or different?

❤ Alicia ❤

BTS Series: A guide to move in

The first real day on campus. Hauling your entire life up a ton of stairs [maybe with the help of an elevator if you’re lucky]. You’re sweaty, tired, and moving as quickly as you can to get moving in finished up. While I can’t do anything about tired and sweaty, move-in doesn’t have to be miserable!


Pack like items together

My biggest flaw freshman year was throwing whatever square items together in boxes surrounded by smaller items to fill in the gaps. When I got to school, I unpacked these desk items, but the things to hold my desk items were three boxes deep and I had crap out in my room until I unpacked every single box. I know it may seem easy to throw it all together, but you’ll thank your past self on move-in day when everything is in its place [labeled even] move-in day won’t seem like a big deal at all.

Coordinate move-in times with your roommate

If your roommate is moving in at noon, don’t also move in at noon. Having a room filled with boxes of one person is a shit show, but two? Absolutely not. Ask your roommate what time they plan on heading over to school and plan accordingly by coming two hours before or after they are getting there. That way when the second roommate gets there, the first roommate’s things are set up, put away, and the other roommate can work on filling the room with their boxes.

Get there early!

Be the first roommate !! Be !! The !! first !! roommate !!!! Getting there early will save you so much time and effort! You get good parking, no lines, extra help from move-in crews [if you have them] plus you get all the hard stuff out of the way in the morning, have time to take a good nap and then work on organizing and making your room your own.

Use those move-in bins!

If your dorm is lucky enough to have move-in bins… use them! Whether or not you have an elevator these will help you, especially if your car is parked super far from your dorm. Instead of making tens of trips back to your car, with the help of these bins, you’’ make three trips max. Also, with only one bin, your parents can make the trips to and from the car while you get a head start on moving your stuff in. When your parents come back with trip two, give them empty containers you’re sending back home to clear out space in your room. Just remember to give them back when you’re done, there are hundreds of other new students in your dorm wanting to use them as well!

Do the big things first

Do you have things like shoe racks or futons to build? Build them first! Are your clothes taking up half of your dorm? Put them away first! Little things like shower caddies, bedding, and décor do take up a significant amount of space but they can spend the early part of your time for move-in on or under your bed. Do bigger things that might require your parents help and you can save those smaller and time-consuming tasks for once your parents are gone.


I hope these tips help make your move-in day easy peasy!

❤ Alicia ❤

BTS Series: Things not to bring to college

I am the absolute queen of overpacking. I’m also the queen of packing lists. When I was preparing for my first year of college, I definitely overpacked. I also knew that there were a lot of things I shouldn’t have brought in the first place, so I didn’t. Today, I want to use my mistakes and my ability to read posts similar to this one to make a list of things that I believe are unnecessary for college [especially when living in a dorm].


Your entire closet

When I moved in my freshman year, I think I filled three suitcases with clothes and shoes. My sophomore year I bought 50 hangers and filled everyone. Did I wear all of these clothes? NO. I brought so many clothes I didn’t wear at home [which I’ve talked about before], which guess what? I didn’t wear at school. I brought a ton of T-shirts that I never wore [you get a bunch of free ones or you buy ones to rep your school at sporting events] because when I got to school I wanted to dress better than I did in high school and only wore T-shirts when lounging in my dorm or at the gym. Also, don’t bring non-seasonal clothing. Bring a few heavier items for those rare chilly October days but just swap out your warm clothes for cold clothes when you go home for Thanksgiving [or anytime around that].

Appliances

Not only is there not much room for appliances, but most universities prohibit any sort of appliance from your dorm room. Most dorms also supply you with a micro-fridge [microwave, fridge, freezer combo] so you have room to store and heat food. Don’t bother with bringing another fridge, toaster, blender, etc. because it will be taken from you during room checks. Always check university guidelines and only bring what you’re allowed.

Full-sized vacuum

Do you have space? NO. Do you have carpet? NO. Do you need a huge vacuum? NO. Most [if not all] dorms are tile [do buy a Swiffer you’ll NEED that] and even if you get a rug for your floor, buy a hand vacuum for when you spill popcorn at 2:00am and need to clean that up. A full-sized vacuum isn’t practical and 100% unnecessary. Don’t even pack it to begin with or your parents will be taking it right back home.

Pots and Pans

Microwave meals and dining hall food will be your life. Not only do you not have the longing to cook or the skills, you don’t have a kitchen. Some schools offer communal kitchens in dorms for students to use but these usually include pots and pans and baking sheets… the works. If you do plan on cooking for yourself a bit, make sure you check what your dorm // school offers kitchen wise as well as appliance wise. Then go ahead and purchase a few kitchen items if you need to.

Things you roommate has already bought

Before you go dorm or apartment shopping make sure you shoot your roommate a text message asking what she is bringing for the room and what you were planning on bringing. This prevents two printers, two Swiffers, two coffee makers, etc. It also saves up extra space in  your car for other things and in your dorm for the year. Texting your roommate is a win win!


Did you find any of these items to be necessities? Or are there any other items you found to be useless?

❤ Alicia ❤

BTS Series: Buy this, not that

There are hundreds of options for ‘things to buy’ for your college home. When making these decisions, here are a few things you should buy contrary to popular belief.


Buy a French Press, Not a Keurig

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One of my biggest regrets is buying a Keurig. They take up a ton of space, I only drink hot coffee in the dead of winter, and they can produce a TON of waste. Op for a more sustainable and small coffee maker such as a French Press. French Presses make a cup or two of coffee, they have zero waste AND CAN BREW ICED COFFEE. Once you perfect your perfect French Press cup of coffee, there is ~no~ turning back.

Buy Decomposable K cups, Not non-decomposable

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If you already have a Keurig [hi, me too], try to minimize that waste by buying compostable K cups. I get mine at Costco but Amazon has them too [same brand] and I’m sure with a bit of searching you can find your favorite blend of roast and save the planet at the same time.

Buy a Reusable Water Bottle, not a Brita Filter

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I bought a Brita for my freshman year of college and used it once. Then, I discovered the water bottle filler station on my floor and just used my reusable water bottle for the rest of the year. Then, that Brita sat on my fridge for the final 9 months of my time in San Diego. Before you buy things that are ~optional~ wait until you’ve moved into your dorm // wherever you’re living to see what luxuries you have. Then, you’ll save some money and space and will still be hydrated.

Buy Tide Pods,  not Liquid Detergent

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In high school [and today still] I watch hundreds of college dorm tour videos where YouTubers boast their new rooms. In every one of these videos, these girls had Tide Pods. Being 17 and very persuadable [and wanting to be trendy] I knew I had to have them. I love Tide Pods and I still use them today. They are quick and easy to throw right into the washer when you’re in a rush!

Buy a Wired Printer, not a Wireless Printer

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Both years in my dorm I had no printer for the first few weeks of my Fall Semesters. The reason for this, a wireless printer. Wireless printers need wifi to work, however, you cannot connect them to dorm wifi for some reason unbeknownst to me. So, until the USB cord came in the mail, my roommates and I were paying for printing. Just think ahead and get a wired printer to start, so you aren’t stuck without a printer for weeks like I was.

Buy a Mesh Shower Caddy, not a Plastic One

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This is something that a lot of people overlook. Shower caddies are necessities for communal showers and saved my butt during my first two years. The problem my freshman year, the plastic shower caddy took up so much space in my dorm and got everything wet. My sophomore year I decided to size down [about half the size] and opted for the mesh caddy. Not only can a mesh caddy be folded to fit wherever you need, but it is also full of holes that get most of the water out before you leave the shower so that you don’t have puddles in your room and aren’t slipping and falling in your room.


Obviously, to each their own, but these six things, while minor, greatly improved my dorm life and I would recommend them to everyone! What are some college item you would buy in replace of traditionally popular items.

❤ Alicia ❤

BTS Series: Prepping for back to school

Back to school can be stressful. Back to college can be even worse. Having to fit your whole life into a tiny dorm room or apartment may seem impossible but with these quick tips can make a hard day [or week] a breeze.


Make a packing list

In my opinion, the worst thing you can do is start willy-nilly packing the day before you leave for school. A well-thought-out and organized packing list is what every college student needs in order to have an easy move-in day. Once you’ve accumulated all of these products you’re bringing, group them together [bathroom items with other bathroom items, all of your clothes together, etc.]. This way you’ll know where everything is on move-in day and you’ll be able to unpack and organize your dorm or apartment with ease.

Don’t pack things you don’t use at home

My most toxic trait as a person is when packing for school, packing a shirt I’ve worn one time in the past two years ‘just in case.’ If I don’t wear it at home, why am I going to wear it at school? Don’t do it with clothes, shoes, books, etc. If you do not use something at home, don’t bring it to college.

Contact your roommates

Things you don’t need in a college dorm or apartment: 4 printers, 2 Brita filters, 45 rolls of paper towels, etc. When you find out who your roommates are [if you didn’t pick them or sign a lease with them] make sure you shoot them a text, email, or Facebook message to talk about what things you are bringing and what they’re bringing. That way, everyone is spending less money, packing less stuff, and will have more space in your new home to put things you really want.

Get into a routine

I know that as a college student you take advantage of having no commitments those following Monday mornings. That being said, I also know you’re staying up until the sun rises and sleeping the days away. Unless your first class is at 3:00pm [not likely] you have a big storm coming. By working on your sleep schedule and creating a daily routine [gym, homework, class, studying, eating, and everything in between] you’ll have a much better chance of transitioning to your school schedule instead of sleeping right through both of your classes on the first day of school.

Check all of your syllabi

Depending on your school and your professor, you might start using books [or having assignments due] on the first day of class. To prevent an Elle Woods moment, make sure you’ve read all of the syllabi for all of your classes, contacted professors with any questions, copied assignments and exams into your planner, and get to work on completing those summer assignments if you get them.

Explore ways to get involved

When I transferred to OU, the biggest thing that kept me up at night was that I wouldn’t make any friends or find an organization or job that clicked for me. I explored every single student org before deciding on a few, as well as jobs until I stumbled upon my current place of work. I applied for the job and joined the clubs through the school before school even started so that I could start making money and getting involved before I even started my first semester.


What tips do you have for preparing for a seamless back to college season?

❤ Alicia ❤

Back to School Series: Intention setting

Hi all, for my last year at OU I wanted to do another Back to School Series. I did one two years ago and it was really successful so for my final year of undergrad, let’s end my Back to School seasons on a high note, shall we?


If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know I’m a goal-setting girl. Through my favorite org in the world, CHAARG, I’ve learned to change the word goal to intention because intentions are something you can build upon, not something you cross off your list all the time.

I think setting intentions [or goals because why not??] for a week, month, semester, school year, etc. can be extremely beneficial. Once I’ve created my intentions, I print them out and hang them on my wall or write them in my planner so that I can always be reminded to be working on my intentions whenever I can.

A big tip I have with setting goals or intentions is not to reach for the stars. If you’re a straight B student, don’t set a goal for a 4.0. If you’re just getting into running, don’t set a goal to run a marathon, etc. Start small + build up. If you’re a straight B student, set a goal for 2 As this semester or to take a certain amount of time out of your week to study. If you’re starting to run, set the intention to run three days a week. Then once you can do that, build upon the intention and run for 5 days a week [aim for three As, etc] until one day you do build-up to those initial goals you wanted. Always keep those in the back of your mind but don’t get disheartened when you can’t achieve something right away. Hard work and patience will get you where you want to be.

My Intentions for this semester are:

  • Follow through on things I begin.
  • Get stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • Try to live in the moment when with others.
  • Pour my heart into the things I am passionate about.
  • Write & read; as much as I can, when I can.
  • Make an effort to use less screen time, especially during the week.

What are your intentions for these upcoming months?

❤ Alicia ❤

Back to school series: apartment packing list

Hi everyone + Happy Tuesday! If you’ve been a follower for the last year or so, you may remember that I made a Back to School series last August. I got really positive feedback from it so I’ve decided to do it again this year!!! Let’s get started with it!

I am officially moved into my apartment at school + I’m very excited! Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I am living with 3 girls I do not know, all from other countries. One of them has brought her dad to stay for about 2 weeks + removed the furniture last night (unsure why) so I’m just trying to stick to my own schedule and live my own life until school starts.

So, from the title of this post you know I’m not sharing a tour of my apartment today (if I do one it will probably just be of my room) because it’s not fully finished, but it is a packing list for apartments! I definitely forgot some things and I brought things I for sure don’t need. Also, a ton of girls (freshmen) have no clue what to pack but with 22938 different packing lists available for freshmen, I figured I would make one for people in apartments because there are far fewer lists to get inspiration from but a lot more things to get! So, here is this artsy list of what to pack for an apartment (or at least what’s working for me).


Is there anything I’m forgetting or anything on this list that doesn’t need to be?

❤ Alicia ❤

Back to school series: class schedule

Hi everyone. I’ve decided to do a little back to school series to get everyone just as pumped for the school year as I am. I figure I will kick this little series off with my class schedule for the fall semester. I am a Spanish Education and Spanish Language double major and I’m trying to minor in something but I’m not sure what that will be yet. So, until then, here are my classes for the semester.

For those of you wondering what all of the abbreviations and things mean.
MWF 1255-1:50 Intermediate Spanish 2
MTWF 200-2:55 Beginner Italian 1
MWF 305-4:00 Introduction to Psychology
M 515-8:20 Intoduction to Teacher Education
T 435-5:55 Transfer Learning Community Seminar
W 5:15-8:15 Technological Apps in Education

This class schedule isn’t ideal (unles I’m the biggest partier in the world… which I’m not), however, the 2 classes from 515-820 were mandatory and the only slots open so those had to stay. Also, in San Diego, I took 2 classes on Wednesday: one from 9-1140 and another from 4-640. I hardly ever went to the 4-640 class because after my 9am I would put my pajamas on, take a nap, go to the gym, and do everything I normally do after classes, and then when 330 would come, I would really really really not want to go to class, so half the time.. I didn’t. With this schedule I can wake up later, get lunch, breakfast, homework, and the gym in all before class starts. Then, on some days… I’ll have 7 hours of class, however it’s all in a rw so I have no excuse for missing a class.

Are you in school? What do your classes look like this semester?
Alicia