It's Time For Finals, But Don't Worry: You Can Still Kick Start The Holidays

It's Time For Finals, But Don't Worry: You Can Still Kick Start The Holidays

Here are a couple ways you can make this stressful time of year a little more jolly.
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It’s December and everything is getting a little more beautiful here in Atlanta. Lights are going up, the DUC-ling is serving hot cocoa every hour, and it’s almost time to go home after a tough semester. But wait, before you pack up your bags, it’s finals season. Yes, instead of snuggling in with a hot cup of cider, you may want to buy a nice cup of Peet’s dark roast and find a comfy cubby in the stacks.

Not to worry though, here are a couple ways you can fit some holiday cheer into your busy schedule.

1. Make paper snowflakes with literally any paper

Finished your lab practical and have all these notes you’re never going to use again? Make them into snowflakes! Whatever it is; handouts, old newspapers, misprinted essays with typos, and all tests you never want to see again can be made into beautiful works of art with a few snips here and there. If you have glitter

2. Don’t put sugar in your coffee, put a whole packet of hot cocoa powder instead.

Going to the Ducling for some coffee? They have packets of hot cocoa now so why not just make yourself a hot mocha latte. Everything is just a little sweeter with hot chocolate especially around this time of year.

3. Take a ten-minute break and go to the tenth floor of stacks

The weather is beautiful right now and the views from the tenth floor of stacks are breathtaking. Take a break from studying and head up to the tenth floor for ten minutes. While you’re at it plug in some of your favorite holiday music. I highly recommend “Ring in the Season” from Frozen’s new short film.

4. Make some time for family or old friends

It’s been a tough semester away from home, and sometimes camping out in the library surrounded by stressed peers gets a little intense. Take some time to call someone back home and catch up or chat about something other than finals.

5. Twinkling lights, sweets and live wallpapers of falling snow

Liven up with your holiday spirit. Whether you celebrate anything around this time or just love winter. It’s time to break out that ugly sweater before heading out to the library. Or put some lights around your desk. Need a midnight snack? Why not candy canes and chocolate? Don’t have time or money to get anything festive, turn all your digital wallpapers into something fun like falling snow or motley pies.

6. Finals done? Treat yourself!

If you have time head out to the botanical gardens of Atlanta. The lights and garden are gorgeous this time of year. Or you could head down to Atlantic station and go ice skating. After you’re done skating drop by Starbucks and get a white hot chocolate. Don’t have time to go out, stay in and snuggle with a movie. Don’t forget to catch up on sleep and dream of all the fun you’ll be having this winter break.

Cover Image Credit: Wallpaper

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The Ultimate College Packing List: Closet

The transition from a walk-in closet to a non-existent dorm closet is a hard one ... My tips and tricks for making the transition smoother!
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Packing for college is a daunting task, and there's a lot of stuff you need to bring.

A fellow Odyssey writer, Taylor Paluczak, recently wrote an article talking about all the things you need to bring for college. If you haven't read it yet and are an incoming freshman, check it out!

There is one huge area of importance that she left out, however: the closet.

Growing up, I was used to having a walk-in closet that was roomy enough to hang all of my clothes, plus an enormous dresser in my room for foldable items.

I knew my closet at college would be way smaller than what I was used to, but I didn't think it would be that bad. So, when packing for college, I packed with a no-piece-of-clothing-left-behind mindset.

Bad idea.

When I arrived at my dorm in the fall, fitting all of my clothing into my closet was a struggle, to say the least. After both my closet, dresser, and the nightstand were filled to the brim with clothing, I was still left with extra pieces that didn't have a home in my tiny shoebox of a room.

This year, I plan on bringing way less stuff. As an incoming freshman, excitement takes over and your head fills with possibilities. Suddenly, you are convinced that of course you have to bring every dress you own - you never know when you'll need it! And that sweater you haven't worn in 4 months? Maybe you'll want it! And, yes, you'll need every one of your old Halloween costumes, just in case.

Trust me - I learned the hard way. Don't bring everything you own with you to college. Here's my list of what I used and what I didn't. Hopefully this makes it easier for you when deciding what to bring with you and what to leave behind.

First things first: Get a double-hanging closet organizer. This baby instantly doubles your closet space, allowing for double the clothes! Because let's be honest -- no matter how hard you try, you're still going to overpack. Also, I would recommend getting thin, non-slip hangers. They take up less space than traditional hangers, and your clothes will never fall off.

Here's my list:

Clothes

  • Lots of underwear and socks
  • Clothes for sleeping/lounging
    • Pajamas
    • Leggings
    • Comfortable t-shirts/sweaters
    • Sweatshirt
  • Workout clothing
    • Running shorts
    • Tank tops
    • Cropped leggings
    • Sports bras
  • Going out clothes
    • Rompers
    • Dresses
    • Printed pants/shorts
    • Skirts
    • Crop tops
    • Tank tops
    • Fun blouses
  • Jeans (only a few pairs)
  • Shorts (only a few pairs)
  • T-shirts/tank tops
  • Casual tops/blouses for class
  • Sweaters
  • Casual dresses
  • Formal dress
  • Rain jacket
  • Vests
  • Coat/jacket for colder weather

Shoes

  • Running shoes
  • Shower shoes!
  • Wedges
  • Sandals
  • Flip flops
  • Converse
  • Riding boots
  • Booties
  • 1 Pair of Heels
    • With wedges as an option, you won't wear heels as much as you would think. Bring one versatile pair that can be used for formal occasions.
  • Rainboots
  • Winter boots
  • Slippers

Accessories

  • Statement necklaces
  • Pendant necklaces
  • Earrings
  • Bracelets and bangles
  • Watch
  • Wallet
  • Cross-body bag
  • Tote bag
  • Backpack
  • Makeup bag
  • Duffel bag for travel
  • Belts
  • Tights
  • Baseball cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats/gloves/scarves

You Won't Need: High School T-shirts

Leave behind the high school T-shirts. Honestly. If you plan on joining a sorority, you'll be given more T-shirts than you know what to do with, and the ones you brought from home will sit collecting dust. One or two for sleeping is fine, but any more than that is excessive.

You Will Need: Casual Clothes for Class

Stock up on Nike shorts, leggings, workout tops, and sports bras. Not only can you wear these things to class when you're feeling particularly lazy (hello 8:30 a.m. classes!), but they will come in handy when you go to the rec center to workout. If you're feeling a little more ambitious, jeans/leggings paired with a sweater/flannel or a casual sundress and sandals are perfect options for class.

You Won't Need: "In-Between" Clothes

You know the clothes I'm talking about: they aren't fancy, but they aren't super casual either. You would wear these out to a nice dinner with your family or to church on Sunday. Trust me, there are practically zero occasions that you would need these type of clothes in college. Perhaps it's a good idea to bring along an outfit or two that would be appropriate for an interview or presentation, but other than that, leave them at home!

You Will Need: Going Out Clothes

You'll be going to parties in college, so going out clothes are a must. Going out clothes are different than your nicest Lilly Pulitzer dresses. Think: fun rompers, printed shorts, and cool tank tops. I recommend checking out Forever 21 or Tobi for affordable but fun pieces, because it's likely that these pieces will get spilled on and borrowed by all of your friends. Don't stress if you don't have hundreds of different outfits, either; I guarantee that there will be girls on your hall or in your sorority with closets that you can raid.

You Won't Need: Off-Season Clothes

When you get to school in August, there is no reason you need your winter jacket or cute fall sweaters, no matter how excited you are about your Nordstrom sale purchases. Leave them in a box at home, and your parents can send them to you whenever necessary. Otherwise, you should be able to survive until fall/Thanksgiving break.

You Will Need: Accessories

Statement necklaces, bold earrings, long pendants, fun studs, chunky bangles and big watches - bring them all! Jewelry storage is easy, plus displaying your jewelry acts as a part of your dorm decor. Accessories are perfect for spicing up your outfits and transforming them into a completely different look. This way, instead of buying a new dress, just add a new necklace to your favorite old dress and voilà! A totally new outfit.

You Won't Need: Every Halloween Costume You Own

Halloween is one weekend in the year. Yes, you'll need 2-4 costumes for themed parties, but you will not need your entire costume collection from your childhood. Costumes tend to be bulky, so why have them take up valuable space in your teeny-tiny dorm room? This is a perfect example of something to have your parents ship to you. Before you head off to school in August, pack up some costumes in a box and have your parents mail you it mid-October. Once the holiday weekend is over, bring your costumes back home with you over Thanksgiving break!

You Will Need: Weather-Appropriate Clothing

Depending on your college's location, this could mean rainboots, a winter parka, or a bikini. Be smart. You have to walk to class no matter the weather, so if you're going to school in southern California, chances are you won't need every sweater you own and your heavy-duty winter boots.

Remember, if you don't wear it at home, you're not going to wear it at school. If you're debating whether or not to bring a piece and it's not something you absolutely love, leave it at home! You can always pack up a box of "maybes" and have your parents send it to you if you decide you need its contents.

Getting ready for college is hard enough without the added stress of figuring out what to pack. Hopefully this list makes it a little bit easier. Good luck and happy packing!

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Putting Away Christmas

It sometimes feels like the end, but it's not.
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It's probably the worst time of the year for those of us who love Christmastime. At least in the days immediately following December 25th, it's still socially acceptable to listen to your favorite Christmas carols, keep your Christmas lights plugged in, and enjoy your tree and decorations.

But, sometime after New Years, the day inevitably comes when the celebration of the Christmas season must give way to the next one. Whether you throw your tree out promptly on January 1st, wait for the official changing of the Christian liturgical season at Epiphany (January 6th), or just take everything down when you have time, there's a definite sadness that accompanies the un-decorating process.

First, there's the sheer amount of work involved in taking everything down and packing it away for next year. It takes time and effort to locate every tiny ornament hidden in the boughs of your Christmas tree, tenderly wrap each fragile figurine in a Nativity set, and untangle the many strands of lights that illuminated your yard all December. We spend hours putting everything away, not to mention vacuuming tree needles and glitter off of the rug.

Once everything is safely stored in the basement or garage, of course, it's guaranteed that we'll find one last decoration that we completely forgot about, meaning that we have to somehow make space for it in one of the already-overstuffed boxes of ornaments and tinsel and lights. It can all be pretty overwhelming.

Christmas teardown is also a reminder of just how much stuff we accumulate, and just how little of it we really need or care about. Now is probably a good time to get rid of some of it so that we'll have less to store, put up, and take down next year, but often in our mourning for the ending of the Christmas season, we find it difficult to part with almost anything. We make mental pacts with ourselves not to buy any more decorations next year, but then immediately break our resolutions when we see the cute little nutcracker ornaments on a great sale a week after Christmas, or when all the new decor begins to appear in stores the following October.

And of course, there's the essential fact that putting away Christmas decorations means the ending of one of the most beautiful, festive, and happy times of the entire year. The decorations in the stores and around town gradually disappear, the number of family gatherings and parties on our calendars begins to dwindle, school and work resume as vacations end. Everyone and everything just seems a bit less jolly as the bleak wintry weather of January sets in.

But even in the face of a long winter devoid of Christmas cheer, there's still hope. There's hope for exciting holidays ahead, like sweet, romantic Valentine's Day or joyous Easter Sunday. There's hope for changes in weather, like potential snowfall and the eventual coming of spring, when the earth will finally come back to life in flowers and birds and trees and EVERYTHING. And for those who celebrate the coming of Christ at Christmas, there's the promise that Immanuel, the presence of God With Us, doesn't go away even when we've put away our manger scenes and stopped listening to O Holy Night.

Before we know it, Christmas will be just around the corner once again, and we'll get to enjoy our favorite holiday traditions and celebrations sooner than we think. Even though lovers of Christmas will never not struggle when Christmastime comes to an end, we can take comfort in the fact that the cycle of the seasons continues, bringing so many other things to enjoy until Christmas comes again.

Cover Image Credit: Olivia Corso

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