15 Things That Got Me Through My First Semester Of College, Barely

15 Things That Got Me Through My First Semester Of College, Barely

From music to food — I credit all these things for saving me.

My first semester of college was probably the worst time of my life. From living with a toxic suitemates to just being away from my family, my mental state was deteriorating at lightning speed.

Each day was one fight after another and I never thought I'd find my silver lining. As I proceed into second semester, I finally have the courage to reflect on those dark days and really point out the variety of things that truly saved me.

From albums to food, I can easily say these various things listed below helped me more than I will ever fully realize.

1. Current Mood by Dustin Lynch

At the beginning of college, I was listening to a ton of music. Not only did I find comfort in it, but I felt a stronger connection to home since me and my family all listened to similar music. Dustin Lynch's current album, Current Mood, dropped right around the time classes started and I had been anticipating the album's release all summer. When I finally got my hands on it, I latched on to it like I was in the middle of the ocean and it was my raft. The combination of sassy love ballads and upbeat party songs comforted me in whatever my current mood was (no pun intended).

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Whenever I am super unhappy, I have the habit of binge reading. So, it comes no surprise to anyone that a book made this list (and don't worry - this won't be the only one I mention). I read Fangirl a couple of years ago in high school and it was always one book I could never get out of my head. I originally brought it with me to college mainly because it is about a girl named Cath and how she struggles with her first semester of college. I always related to Cath on many levels and when I was struggling just as much with college, I picked up the book immediately to find some comfort. After just a week, I had read the entire book and find some peace.

3. Caramel Lattes

My schedule for first semester was super bizarre. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I was out of the dorm from 9 AM to 3 PM. I had 3 classes with an hour break between two of them and naturally, I had way too much time on my hands. During these much needed breaks, I had time to get myself some coffee and work on homework. After some trial and error at the Grind, I found caramel lattes. It is such a simple concept but the combination at the time was so perfect. The warmness, the sweetness... all so, so comforting as I viciously worked on English homework.

4. Legends by Kelsea Ballerini

I never realized what a single song could ever mean to me. Legends was released way before I ever got to college and truthfully, I never paid much attention to it when it came out. However, something clicked in me and listening to this song while walking to class was like getting one giant hug. Whether it was the whimsical melody or the heartbreaking way Ballerini sings "I'll always wear the crown that you gave me", I carried this song with me wherever I went.

5. Facetime

Number 5 here could also be known as "my parents". Not only was I able to video chat my best friend from back home but I also got to connect with my wonderful family. Almost every week I would Facetime my family, mainly because I have never ever been away from them for such a long time. The previously mentioned suitemates found it greatly annoying and that broke my heart. Talking to my family was keeping me so happy and if they were just going to take that away from me I was going to be truly alone. I was able to get such great encouragement from them and they listened to all my issues on Facetime. Naturally, I insisted I needed to communicate with my family so I did. I learned to slowly tune it down but still, it helped me so, so much.

6. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Shocker -- a John Green book made the list. I have always loved John Green and his writing style so when I heard he had a new book in the works, I was ecstatic. The novel was released in early October (specifically: a Tuesday -- I know this because I only had 1 class that day) and I wasn't planning on getting it that day. However, I felt I needed to avoid my suite (shout out again to those suitemates) so I pushed myself to get on the bus and take it to Boswell Books on Downer. This was the best decision I ever made. Not only did I get a little gift for getting the book the day it came out but the book is signed by the author himself. Plus, it is such a good book. It has all the notable components of a John Green novel that it made me really miss reading his novels. On top of all that, my sad self managed to read the book within days and it really helped me take my mind off a lot.

7. Reputation by Taylor Swift

Oh? You thought you could get through this list without there being something about Taylor Swift on it? Think again. Reputation dropped pretty late into the semester (November, to be exact) but the album boosted my confidence in such unbelievable ways. One song off it that I am specifically thinking about is track 13: This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things. I have never related to a song on such a personal level. During the album release, there was so much ridiculous things going on in my suite that we literally could not have nice things because of one suitemate. I truly credit this album with helping me get that edge and ambition to drive out the negative being that hovered around us.

8. Service Learning

I reside on the Education LLC and for the required class (Educational Policy 315) we had to sign up to volunteer somewhere. I chose to be a tutor at Summit Education in the outskirts of downtown Milwaukee. In the program, we were paired with a student for the whole semester. For the first half of the 2 hours we would do homework. The last half was dedicated to playing sports. Not only did this program help me see that the major I was in at the time was not right for me but it also allowed me to get out of the suite for a good few hours. In that time gone, I got to see a lot of Milwaukee and learn my way around the city. I got to venture out alone on the buses and while it sounds stressful, those bus rides made me feel better than I could ever imagine.

9. Food Network

Don't worry -- this will not be the last time I credit food-related television for helping me out. It is just right now I want to focus on how glorious the Food Network is. While at home, me and my parents watch a lot of Food Network shows together. From Worst Cooks in America to all the Baking Championship series, it was like we lived off Food Network shows. Being the homesick girl I was, I carried that tradition with me to college. I watched a ton of Halloween Baking Championship along with Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition. Oh -- how could I forget the most pristine competition ever: Holiday Baking Championship! Needless to say, I was watching a lot of people baking and can basically perfect pâte à choux with my eyes closed.

10. Christmas

Yes, I know Christmas happens after the end of 1st semester, but I am one of those people who starts Christmas season November 1st. Complain all you want but Christmas makes me happy and I was desperate to be happy. That last few months of 1st semester was when I, as a decent human, was tested a lot. When I needed a little bit of cheeriness in my life, I could always turn to the spirit of Christmas. From candy canes to Glow by Brett Eldredge, I was milking all the happiness Christmas could give me. (Special shout out to candy cane Hershey kisses)

11. The Great British Baking Show

Yes, I am about to talk about the most important show ever. I found this show on Netflix back in high school but upon revisiting it, I found new episodes were added. This show had me consumed for the last few weeks of school. Mary Berry is such an icon and dang can these bakers bake. The hosts are the most adorable women ever and really, the entire show is a gem. The show is a gosh darn blessing to the world. If you need to feel just an ounce of happiness, this is the show for you. I swear by it.

12. Concert Tickets

This is my true wild card on the list but hear me out. Me and my family are huge fans of going to concerts. So much so, I believe I just live concert to concert. Therefore, getting concert tickets really gives me something to keep striving towards. I never realized how much they mean to me until my mother got us tickets to see Kenny Chesney (our all-time favorite artist) at Miller Park. The pure happiness and hope I felt after hearing her say she got us tickets to see him in April is indescribable. The tickets gave me something to look forward to and really motivated me to stick it out here.

13. American Horror Story

You know no decent human can survive without Netflix coming in to be their crutch. My show of choice was American Horror Story, as if that is any surprise. During my time in my room first semester, I managed to rewatch every season (some for like the 4th time... hint: Murder House) but I will admit I avoided Freak Show (for obvious reasons). Not only did I have it on Netflix, but me and one of my great suitemates watch AHS: Cult when it was airing on FX. These nightly rituals and routine really helped me take my mind off the craziness surrounding me.

14. My best friend

Okay, this one is not exactly a thing or item instead it is my best friend from back home, Diana. She was such a good shoulder to lean on during my rough first semester even though she was so many miles away. She let me rant to her day and night about my problems with this place and my suite. She just listened and gave me so much advice. Diana was constantly keeping me upbeat, sending me funny texts... Everything I could have ever asked for. I can easily say she is my bestest (it's a word now, chill) friend ever and I really do not know how I could have gotten through my first semester without her. (You're the best, girl, and I cannot wait until we see Niall Horan in July)

15. Everything's Gonna Be Alright by David Lee Murphy & Kenny Chesney

I leave you with something to uplift your spirits. I have talked so much about my struggles of first semester that I could say that second semester is looking much, much better. And that everything's gonna be alright. I always need this song just to remind myself that everything is okay, everything is fine, everything will be alright. It takes time and positive vibes but you'll always achieve happiness at some point. There is no need to hit the panic button and everything will be fixed within a reasonable amount of time. It just takes keeping you head held high and, as I said, this song helps me remember that almost everyday.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.

Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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10 Places From Movies And TV You Can Visit In Real Life

It's like stepping into Hollywood!


I am constantly so enamored by the world of Hollywood and by going to visit places I have seen on screen. It's always such an unreal feeling to see where my favorite pieces of entertainment were shot. Here are 10 places from some of our favorite movies to see and visit in the real world!

The High School from "10 Things I Hate About You"

If you have ever wanted to dance on the same stairs as Heath Ledger or just stand in the same courtyard as Julia Stiles then you're in luck! Along the water in Tacoma, Washington, Stadium High School is located which was used both inside and out as the high school from one of the greatest teen movies of all time. This school is massive and so beautiful it's almost Hogwarts level stunning.

Pacific Coast Academy from  "Zoey 101"

Growing up I always dreamed about going to Pacific Coast Academy and being best friends with Jamie Lynn Spears and one of those things can (kinda) become a reality! Located in Malibu is a beautiful campus called Pepperdine University and it is the school they used to shoot scenes of Zoey and the gang at PCA. It is a christian based college and is prestigious in it's own right so if unlike me you are smart enough you can live out my dreams.

Central City Police Department from "The Flash"

Have you ever wanted to show up to Detective Joe West's place of work? Well head to the Vancouver City Hall in Vancouver, Canada and you will recognize your surroundings as the Central City Police Department! If you are lucky enough to show up on a filming day, you might even seen the man himself — Barry Allen.

Forks High School from The Twilight Saga

Personally, I am more invested in Bella and Jacob but for all my Team Edward ladies (and gentleman) you can visit the real-life school where Bella and Edward first met and their love blossomed into whatever obsessive weird thing it was. They also used the parking lot at this school to film the infamous scene where Edward saves Bella from getting crushed by a car. The school is called Kalama High School and is located in Kalama, Washington

Max And Dani's House from "Hocus Pocus"

Anyone with taste loves the movie Hocus Pocus — that's just facts! And I have some good news for fans of the film...you can visit the infamous Denison house! Located in none other than Salem, Massachusetts you will find this beautiful home where my favorite siblings once lived.

Silent Hill from "Silent Hill"

I will say before talking about this place that visiting it is EXTREMELY dangerous as just like in the movie the town as been burning from below for years and years. This small town is called Centralia and is located Pennsylvania and has a roaring population of about four people.

Hobbiton from "Lord Of The Rings"

I am personally not a fan of Lord of the Rings but I know a lot of people are so I wanted to include this super cool place on the list. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand you can visit Hobbinton from the movies and spend a day living like your favorite characters.

Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter Series

Now this place will unfortunately be packed with muggles of course but you can find it at King's Cross Station in London! If you are anything like me and are obsessed with these magical movies this is a dream destination just don't run too hard at the wall if you're a muggle it will probably end in a concussion.

East High from the High School Musical Saga

Located in Salt Lake City Utah is the real life East High that was used in the filming of all three High School Musical movies. It is my absolute dream to attend this high school and walk the halls of the greatest high school of all time. They used both the outside and inside and the school so every inch of the school will remind you of these great teen movies.

Gus and Hazel's Bench from "The Fault in Our Stars" 

If you ever wanted to visit the site of this kiss between star crossed lovers you're in luck! Located along a canal in Amsterdam is a bench that is clearly marked by all the fault in our stars graffiti. Recreate this cute picture with your significant other and use a quote from the movie — then you'll just win in life.

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