Traveling Woes

I was going to write about my grandparent's farm. It's a beautiful, beautiful place that I love very dearly. I wanted to share it with all of you as I do, in word and picture. But I want to spend time on that, since it is so important to me. And time is not something I exactly have, because of this:

Traveling WoesYup. Those are boarding passes. And no, I didn't collect them. They are all from Sunday, in my attempt to get to San Jose with my boss for a conference. I say "attempt" because it took this many boarding passes (only two used) and a car to get to our destination.

Delayed, missed flight, delayed, cancelled, five-hour drive. I wasn't reunited with my bag until this afternoon, much to my chagrin. There was much rejoicing in the kingdom when we were reunited.

So needless to say, my recent travel was (is) exhausting. I've been up since 6:45 am eastern time Sunday. I am looking forward to nestling myself in my bed and sleeping as soon as this post is done! So I thought I would just give you a few brief takeaways from my experience these past 40 hours (give or take):

  • ALWAYS pack an extra outfit in your carry-on. My mom had me do this for years, and today it finally came in handy. We jumped around on so many planes, our bags ended up stuck at the airport without us. Fortunately, I had an outfit in my carry-on I could change into today. I just felt so much cleaner and ready to face the day sans sleep with fresh clothes.
  • NEVER bring just one book on the plane. Just don't. I don't care if your book is 800 pages and you just started it. You never know how long you're actually going to spend in airports. I know better, and yet I only brought one book on the plane that I finished in two hours. Always have back-up reading material, and delays and layovers become more manageable.
  • NEVER yell at the customer service agents. It's not their fault, and they're trying to help you. It's not like they said, "oh, whoever yells the loudest, we'll give her a first-class seat on the next flight out of here, even if we have to kick someone off!" No one says that. No one (who would?). Just be patient, and all will be resolved.
  • Finally, ALWAYS stay positive. After a previous bad flight experience this summer, I started this trip accepting the fact all might not go as planned. It makes things a lot easier to be ready to respond to sudden changes positively instead of getting frustrated. My boss and I managed to make it to our destination simply by being ready to jump around and not letting things we can't change get to us.

So those are the four major things I've taken from this rough-rider worthy experience. What flight woes have you endured, and what did you learn from them?


Below the Line

  • This post was written with a rough two-ish hours of sleep. Please forgive any proofreading errors/things that just plain don't make sense :)


How to Stay in Touch with College Friends

CollegeFriends2 Last week I got to see two of my best friends, Jordan and Hattie, for Jordan's 21st birthday. We all met up at her house and spent the afternoon on the lake, visiting Jordan's grandmas, and wrapping things up with her birthday party! It was great to see them again (we'd met up earlier in the summer to see The Fault in Our Stars and to have dinner), plus I was pretty busy the first half of June and it was nice just to get away for a day and do nothing but hang out with my friends.

That being said, it's hard for me to keep up with my college friends over the summer. "Out of sight, out of mind" doesn't really apply. It's mostly just that I have so much going on that when I think about checking in with friends and seeing when we can meet up it's in the middle of something. But, that's no real excuse and being proactive about keeping in touch with my friends is something I need to be better about.

So here are a few things Jordan's Birthday Extravaganza taught me about how to better stay in touch with my college friends:


Friends that eat together, stay together. Meals are quick and easy ways to get together with friends who live in the same area as you. Everybody's got to eat, and you can make lunch or dinner last as long or as short as you need to. Plus, who doesn't like an excuse to eat at fun restaurants?

Group Messaging is your friend. Jordan, Hattie, and I have a group chat that's been going on for a long time. It's fun to shoot each other funny things we come across or things that happen during our days with each other. At school it's easier to tell each other these things in person, but during the summer, when they're not just a walk away, keeping up with your friends on text is an easy way to keep each other in the loop.

And Snapchat, if you're into it. I'm a occasional Snapchat user, but I love to see my friends' snaps of their everyday summer lives every now and then. I'm not the best at always snapping back, but if you like the app it's another great option to keep in touch. If your friends are out of the country, it can also be better than iMessaging depending on their WiFi situation.


Meet them in their element. You know your best friend's college room inside and out, but have you ever seen the park she frequented as a kid? Her childhood bedroom? The tree house in her backyard? Especially the summer after your freshman year, it's fun to visit your friends' hometowns and see where they lived before campus. I loved hanging out on Jordan's lake, seeing her family, and just experiencing a day in the life of my dear friend. Even friends who live close, like my friend Hattie, have their own personal places and neighborhoods that are a part of them. I think this is the best way to stay close to your friends over the summer, and even learn some things about them along the way :)

Plan day visits. If you live close enough, get-togethers don't have to be extended events. Hattie and I got to Jordan's around one in the afternoon and left later that night. We still had plenty of time for fun and for catching up with each other. While of course weekend-long adventures are also good ways to see one another, sometimes all you can squeeze in is a day. And even those days will stand out to you as a highlight in your summer.


I hoped some of these helped! But keeping in touch is a constant effort. I'm still trying to get better at hanging out with my friends instead of hiding on my couch with my technology (like I am right now... ;)). But when you're intentional about it, staying in touch with your friends is much easier. What advice do you have for staying in touch? How do you keep in touch with friends you don't see every day?


7 Apps that Make College Easier

My iPhone

When I got to college, EVERYONE had an iPhone. And yes, I mean everyone. People walked around with tiny computers in hand, always knowing the instant classes were canceled or when someone wanted to go to Starbucks. Me, I wondered around with a slid-up Samsung, blindly receiving texts only and furiously checking my email on my laptop in the mornings to make sure class wasn't cancelled. I claimed I loved my Samsung, I claimed I would never cave.

And yeah, I caved that January.

I can't say I'm sorry. Yes, sometimes I hate how connected I am all the time (I had to turn off email notifications). Yet it really is helpful to have a sidekick around whenever I need to look something up for class, a meeting, or my homework in the library. I don't tote my laptop around everywhere I go, so my phone often replaces it.

As I've used and worked with my iPhone, I've found a few apps that really make a difference for me at school and for my summer jobs. Here are my favorites for college students:

Reminders. I am an extremely forgetful person when it comes to details. What office is my professor in? When exactly is this research due? Where is my club meeting? Sometimes I even need a reminder just to do something, like email someone a question or bring my laptop to class (and yes, even to wish someone a happy birthday). The pre-installed Reminders app works perfectly as a tool to keep me from forgetting the important things. It will sound an alarm of your choice (mine is vibrate) and flash on the screen just like the clock alarm when you tell it to inform you of a meeting or whatever you needed to remember. Combined with post-it notes and my planner, I now rarely forget anything,

Wunderlist. This is an app that keeps all your to-dos in one place. You can organize them into different categories (work, school, blog) and then set due dates or add notes. Once you finish a task, all you have to do is check it off and it moves to your "completed" section. I use this more in the summer when I'm not looking at my planner 24/7, but it's great as a mobile planner replacement and when I want to keep track of my work assignments for the week.

Evernote. It all started with the old, pre-installed notes app (before the massive overhaul of iOS). I would go to the grocery and pull up my shopping list only to find- NOTHING. My list was gone with the wind, nowhere to be found and I was not happy. So I started researching the best free notes app replacements and Evernote came up. The old versions of this app worked really well for me, keeping my lists neat and in one place. Nowadays it's full of features I don't want, like attachments to your notes, crazy placement in the app, and too many organization options. I still keep my notes in this app, but I have to swim through the extra features sometimes. I've been testing the new version of the Notes app, to see if it won't delete my notes, but for now I place my trust in Evernote.

All the organizing apps, in one convenient location!

"Your Bank Here" App. Wherever your money is, get the app. I can't tell you how many times I've had to frantically check my balance at a restaurant or in the line of the local ice cream place to make sure I had money on my card. I've never had a problem with security on my bank apps and they help me keep track of my spending.

The Weather Channel. Since we're always walking outside, most college students are obsessed with the weather. The first thing I do every morning is check the weather for the day (rain? cold?). Weather in the Midwest is also fickle, so I might need rain boots in the morning and flip-flops in the afternoon. The Weather Channel makes it easy to see the hour-by-hour weather so I can plan out my day.

CNN (or any news app). It's easy to get caught up in reading assignments and the latest parties and forget about the rest of the world happening around you in college. Having a news app remind you of the important things going on in the world keeps you well-informed and ready to apply the real world to what you learn in the classroom. I like CNN because I can get notifications to pop up right on my lock screen, but whatever your preference for news should provide the same option.

Google Drive. Basically the app version of Google Drive, but in a convenient mobile format! Never stop working on that group project, or be the first to sign up for an event. :) I didn't think I would want/need it, but since I've downloaded the app it really has been helpful.

Of course there are many other apps I love, but these are the ones I use as a college student specifically. What apps make life easier for you?