I'm excited to announce a new series of posts that will be appearing right here on Just Flew The Coop! Every so often I will be posting real interviews with real students that are packed full of fantastic tips and advice about college life. Some people I interview will be fabulous blogging students and some will be amazing students that just have some great advice to share. However, I know that every interview posted will be fantastic! So, to kick off this exciting new series, I am overjoyed to introduce the truly lovely Jessica of Lovely Undergrad!
Jessica of Lovely Undergrad.
Where and what do you study?
I'm majoring in Journalism & Mass Communication at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
Where are you originally from? What made you choose your college and was it a tough decision?
I'm originally from a small town in Southeastern Iowa, about an hour and a half away. I chose to transfer to ISU because I really liked the campus and town. It's a big school with lots of majors and lots of opportunities for involvement - at the time I wasn't even a Journalism major, but an English Education major instead. It was also relatively close to home.
Do you have any advice for students trying to choose a college?
Consider money, consider location, and consider the changes you'll make in the next few years. Visit as many colleges as you can and experience what the campus and town are like on the weekdays and the weekends. Talk to other students who go there. But above all, choose somewhere where you feel you fit. The happier you are at your school, the more you'll thrive.
What has been your favorite thing about college?
The changes I've gone through and discovering so much about myself. I started as an Interior Design major because of my love for interior design. I switched to English Education because of my passion for writing. All along I blogged at Lovely Undergrad about decor. It took me a while, but I finally realized that I could have both of those passions by majoring in Journalism and pursuing a career in shelter magazines. I've made so many new friends. I've been through relationships and breakups. I've made memories that I'll never forget and met people I'll never forget. I've grown so much and proved to myself just how resilient I really am.
What was your best dorm room experience?
My best dorm experience was the first semester of my Freshman year - I'd go back in a heartbeat! Everyone was so friendly, social, and eager to make friends. My roommate was an Interior Design major so we had a lot of fun decorating our dorm. My friends and I would stay up all night watching Tristan + Isolde while playing Phase 10, then we'd hit up Taco Bell and Sonic for tacos and tots. It was all so much fun!
Do you have any advice for students dealing with a poor dorm room experience (ex. yucky dorm room, a bad roomie)?
Be mature about whatever dorm dilemmas come up. If you have a bad roomie, talk to them about it. If it's unbearable, go to your school's department of residence to see if you can switch to a different room. If you live in an ugly cinder block dorm, make the best of it. You're among the many, so take it as a chance to get creative and experiment with decorating.
If you could give incoming freshman 3 pieces of advice about college what would they be?
1. Make friends. As many as you can. Unlike high school, there are no cliques or defined social boundaries. Take advantage of that by meeting and befriending your floormates and classmates. Strike up conversation with other students.
2. Do your best at school. Study hard, ask for help when you need it, get to know your professors, go to study groups - all that will make life so much easier for you. The earlier you get into the habit, the better it will stick.
3. Focus on yourself. This is your chance to really develop who you are. Join clubs you're interested in. Sign up for that class on something you've always wanted to learn about. Try new things - it's so much fun to discover who you are. It may sound cliché, but follow your dreams!
What are your plans for after graduation and what made you decide on those plans?
I really hope to get a job in the magazine industry, preferably writing or editing for a decorating magazine!
What are your top 5 tips for living a lovely lifestyle on a college student budget?
1. Be creative. Do-it-yourself projects aren't only cheap and useful, but your friends will enjoy it, too. Check Lovely Undergrad, Just Flew The Coop, and other websites, blogs and magazines for easy, budget-friendly crafts.
2. Be thrifty. Hit up stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army. Don't look at what something is, but look at what it could be. You'd be surprised what a coat of spray paint or some ModPodge and wrapping paper can do. Garage sales, thrift stores, and even your grandma's attic can be goldmines of stuff waiting to be made-over into dorm decor!
3. Be cheap. Watch your money. If you don't really need or really absolutely love something, don't buy it. Stalk the clearance shelves, especially at Target. As a poor, broke college student you can't have it all. Pay the necessities first (bills, school, food) and then indulge once in a while realizing you may have to choose between going out to dinner with the girls or that cute chair at the antique store.
4. Be friendly. Take this opportunity to become a social butterfly, even if you were painfully shy before. Smile, strike up conversations, and be polite.
5. Be lovely. Take care of yourself and your living space. It may be super comfy to go to class in sweatpants, but you'll feel more confident in a cute outfit. Keep your space pretty and clean - it'll be more homelike to come back to after class.
Thanks so much, Jessica! Make sure you stop by her AMAZING blog, Lovely Undergrad, for more college tips and lovely decorating ideas!