16 Books Every College Grad Should Read

Originally written for and published on Her Campus on July 6, 2015.

 

Adjusting to post-college life can be rough—you may be done with classes, homework and finals, but you’ve come to the realization that it’s no longer socially acceptable to wear sweatpants every day, make dinner in a microwave, and binge-watch Netflix every night—even if it was okay to do so just a few months ago. You’re not the only one! That’s why I’m directing you right to the pros. Here are 16 books every recent grad should read, by everyone from career experts to fellow post-collegiettes.

1. Welcome to the Real World by Lauren Berger

Welcome to the Real World, by Lauren Berger of InternQueen.com, is a must if you’re looking for or starting your first job. It’ll provide you with valuable information you’ll want to know before taking your first step into adulthood. Berger emphasizes the importance of taking risks and having a strong understanding of who you are and what you can bring to a company as a potential new employee. “It’s time to get comfortable getting uncomfortable,” she advises. This book will help you build a strong foundation—by the time you finish reading it, you’ll have a great understanding of what to expect from a full-time job.

2. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

A ton of schools host events where professors give talks they like to call their “Last Lecture.” For these lectures, professors discuss what matters most to them and share their wisdom as if it were truly their last lecture. Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer when he was asked to give his “last lecture.” However, Paush’s lecture wasn’t about dying—it was about living. It explores why it’s important to strive to overcome every challenge you face in life and how to seize every moment. Pausch’s The Last Lecture will help you see the world in a new light. His philosophies and life lessons emphasize the importance of striving to make the most out of your life, something that all college grads should aim to achieve.

3. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

Marina Keegan graduated magna cum laude from Yale University in May 2012. She was on the road to success. She wrote a play that was scheduled to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and had a job lined up at The New Yorker after graduation. Tragedy struck just five days after Keegan graduated when she died in a car crash. After her passing, her unforgettable essay for the Yale Daily News, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” went viral and received over 1.4 million hits. Regardless of her young age, Marina managed to leave behind a valuable piece of writing that captures the aspirations and abilities of our generation. This book is thought-provoking and will help you figure out what you aspire to be and how to harness your talent to make an impact on the world.

4. What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles

What Color Is Your Parachute? sold more than ten million copies—and we totally get why. This book provides you with up-to-date information, research and tips regarding the job market, how to write resumes and cover letters, effective networking tips, how to negotiate your salary and strategies you should follow to find those jobs people tell you don’t exist.

5. Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

The back of the book states, “If you graduated from college but still feel like a student… if you wear a business suit to job interviews but pajamas to the grocery store… if you have your own apartment but no idea how to cook or clean… it’s OK. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Just because you don’t feel like an adult doesn’t mean you can’t act like one.” We don’t know about you, but this certainly seems to apply to the majority of graduettes! This funny book makes the scary “real world” seem totally conquerable. Whether you’re looking for simple recipes, networking advice or tips on how to be taken seriously at work, this book has your answers. It’s pretty much the handbook to have by your side as an aspiring grown-up entering the real world.

6. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

We all know how hard life can be sometimes, but what we sometimes overlook is how truly great it can be, too. Sugar—a once-anonymous online advice columnist—was everyone’s go-to person for advice. Tiny Beautiful Things is an aggregation of the best of Dear Sugar. This book teaches you lessons through a tough-love tone of voice. You’ll be laughing and gaining valuable insight on all the the challenges life can throw your way.

7. The First Apartment Book: Cool Design for Small Spaces by Kyle Schuneman

What’s scarier than moving into your very first apartment? How about moving into your first apartment before you can actually afford an apartment big enough to live in comfortably? Your first apartment lets you have full control of what you want to do with your space, but it can be a little tricky to decorate. Luckily, Kyle Schuneman, a decorating prodigy, understands that a non-existent income and plain, white walls don’t have to stand in your way. He provides excellent examples of ways to take a small space and turn it into a cozy place you’re proud to call home.

8. Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook. She uses this book to share her knowledge on how to avoid common obstacles and advance your career. An excellent read for women who have recently graduated, Lean In teaches how to strive toward your aspirations and career goals. When the book first came out in 2013, it became a phenomenon for empowering women. This book’s combination of inspiration and advice is what makes it such a powerful tool for young women.

9. Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults by Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale

These two women—best friends since the moment they met during their freshman year at Brown University—made a promise to keep in touch after graduation through emails full of all the juicy details of their post-college adventures. One moves to Beijing while the other heads to New York. Both girls spend the next few years battling their way through adulthood and composing emails to another regarding all their exciting tales. This book is an easy, fun read that you will not want to put down. The emails between the two authors are exciting to read and recent graduates will find themselves able to relate to the authors’ stories and experiences in ways that are happy, sad, funny and exhilarating.

10. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you should stop learning. And who better to help you learn than Stephen King himself? He is a true storyteller and uses this book to share his expertise and his story on how his writing got to be where it is now. Gia Gallone, a recent graduate from Rowan University with a love for writing, believes this book is a great tool to help anyone looking to strengthen his or her writing. “Stephen King is an amazing writer. If you’re looking for a book to read that will help you enhance your writing abilities, definitely check out this book,” she recommends.

12. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell believes success is a combination of opportunity and time spent on a task. He is a believer in the 10,000-hour rule: that it takes approximately 10,000 hours to master anything. In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, Gladwell takes you on a journey through the world of “outliers”—the best and the brightest, the famous and successful. He focuses on what makes these people different. He believes we pay too much attention to what successful people are like, and too little attention to where they are from. This book is a great eye-opener, filled with stories and lessons weaved together into one valuable, interesting book.

13. Put Your Dream to the Test by John C. Maxwell

“What’s the difference between a dreamer and someone who achieves a dream?” Dr. John Maxwell believes you will find the answer to this question after answering ten questions. This book provides you with a step-by-step plan to identify, follow, and eventually reach your dream. This is a perfect book to read after graduating when your dreams and possibilities are endless!

14. Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want by Jenny Blake

Life After College serves as a guide written specifically for recent grads and young professionals. Jenny Blake, popular blogger and life coach, uses a combination of anecdotes, insight and inspirational quotes to help readers focus on the big picture of many different aspects of life: work, money, home, friends & family, organization, dating & relationships, health, fun, relaxation and personal growth. This read will leave you feeling confident, inspired and ready to take action toward building the life you want. You’ll be embarking on your big post-college journey in no time with this manual by your side.

15. How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

Remember when we mentioned it’s no longer acceptable to make dinner in your microwave? Well, with that being said, now is a great time to invest in a handful of cookbooks. Pinterest is a great tool to use for finding recipes, but having cookbooks at home will help you improve your cooking abilities even further. Bittman has a whole series of How to Cook Everything books with over 4,000 recipes, ranging from holiday recipes, easy weekend recipes, vegetarian recipes and quick and simple recipes. Check them out!

16. The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke by Suze Orman

Last, but certainly not least, every graduette needs to manage her finances… or lack thereof. You know all those money-related topics we all try our best to avoid thinking about: credit card debt, student loans, credit scores and insurance? Well, get ready to face it head-on. The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke is a great guide to read when you don’t know where to begin when it comes to budgeting, personal finances and every other not-so-popular money topic.

 

Spend some time this summer reading these books and you’ll be a real-world pro in no time! We promise.

 

Read the full article on Her Campus!

Erin Condren Life Planner 2015 Review

This review is long past due. I’ve referred hundreds of people to Erin Condren, but never wrote a review on my Life Planner (I did write one about my old planner, a Plum Paper, if you wanted to check that out). Well, it’s time to change that!

 

Cover

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A Year of Reading – 2014 Edition Book Reviews

L ast year, I did a review of all the books I read in 2013. I got a lot of good feedback, so I figured I would do a review of all the books I read in 2014. I was seriously slacking this past year when it came to reading because I can only remember 12 books I read. So either I only read 12 books, which is depressing, or I have an awful memory.

Anyway, if you’re like me and you love to read, check out my list below of all the books I read this year and what I thought of them. I hope you’ll discover a new favorite book after you check these ones out. These are all fiction novels, ranging from romance to mystery (I was on a mystery kick this year), and are great books for a young adult or college-aged reader.

Click on the book title for more information and reviews via GoodReads.

The Best:

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Dark Places – Gillian Flynn – Mystery, Thriller (10/10)

Libby Day was seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, behind bars. Since then, she had been drifting. But when she is contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben’s innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her brother’s? Are there secrets to uncover at the family farm or is Libby deluding herself because she wants her brother back? She begins to realize that everyone in her family had something to hide that day. Now, twenty-four years later, the truth is going to be even harder to find. 

I read both Gone Girl and Sharp Objects in 2013 and decided I needed to read the third and final book by Gillian Flynn. I’m so glad I did because I enjoyed this one the most! In case you can’t guess based on its name, the book is a little dark so be aware there are some parts that are difficult to read. However, the storyline is brilliant and keeps you hooked all the way through to the last page. Seriously, add this to your to-read list right now!

The Quickie – James Patterson – Mystery, Suspense (9/10)

Lauren Stillwell is not your average damsel in distress. When the NYPD cop discovers her husband leaving a hotel with another woman, she decides to beat him at his own game. But her revenge goes dangerously awry, and she finds her world spiraling into a hell that becomes more terrifying by the hour. In a further twist of fate, Lauren must take on a job that threatens everything she stands for. Now, she’s paralyzed by a deadly secret that could tear her life apart. With her job and marriage on the line, Lauren’s desire for retribution becomes a lethal inferno as she fights to save her livelihood–and her life. 

Don’t judge the book by the title, this is definitely not a romance novel. James Patterson’s books are so enjoyable to read. The chapters are super short and you fly through the book. I read this entire book in just a few hours, then raved about it to my mom until she decided to read it. My roommate was the one who recommended this book to me. She doesn’t read books often but said she loved this one, so I figured it couldn’t be too bad.

 

Honeymoon – James Patterson – Mystery, Suspense (8/10)

How does it feel to be desired by every man and envied by every woman? Wonderful. This is the life Nora Sinclair has dreamed about, the life she’s worked hard for, the life she will never give up. She doesn’t just attract men, she enthralls them. So why is FBI agent John O’Hara interested in Nora Sinclair? Mysterious things happen to people around her, especially the men. And there is something dangerous about Nora, something that lures O’Hara at the same time that it fills him with fear. Is something dark hidden in the gaps of her past? As O’Hara spends more and more time getting to know her, is he pursuing justice? Or his own fatal obsession? 

Another James Patterson book I flew through. This one was a fun read and I’d recommend it as a spring break or summer read. And once again, not a romance (despite the title).

 

Dangerous Girls – Abigail Haas -Mystery, Crime (9/10)

It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer; she discovers hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love. As she awaits the judge’s decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous. When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine…  

“Wouldn’t we all look guilty, if someone searched hard enough?” This book was incredible. It is very similar to the Amanda Knox trial. A group of friends go on vacation together, one friend is murdered and her best friend is accused of the crime. Mind-blowing book. Even more mind-blowing ending. I was literally sitting in my room speechless and in shock after I finished. Read this one.

 

Ugly Love – Colleen Hoover – Drama, Romance (8.5/10)

 When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her. Never ask about the past. Don’t expect a future. They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all. Hearts get infiltrated. Promises get broken. Rules get shattered. Love gets ugly. 

Another great book by Colleen Hoover, author of Hopeless (my favorite book). Like always, Hoover throws in a bunch of twists you don’t see coming. This book shows that love isn’t always pretty. It can be complicated, confusing, difficult. I cried a few times while reading this book, but when a book makes you cry then you know it’s good!

 

Where I Belong (Alabama Summer, #1) – J. Daniels – Romance, definitely (8/10)

When Mia Corelli returns to Alabama for a summer of fun with her childhood best friend, Tessa, there’s only one thing keeping her on edge. One person that she’d do anything to avoid. Benjamin Kelly. World’s biggest dickhead. Mia hates him with a fury and has no desire to ever see him again. When she decides to start her summer off with a bang and finally give away her v-card, she unknowingly hands it over to the one guy that excelled at making her life miserable, learning a valuable lesson in the process. Always get the name of the guy you’re going home with. Ben can’t get the girl he spent one night with out of his head. When she leaves him the next morning, he thinks he’ll never see her again. Until he sees her lounging by the pool with his sister. Mia is determined to hate Ben, even though she can’t forget him. Ben is determined to prove he’s not the same guy he used to be. What happens when the one person you wish never existed becomes the one person you can’t imagine being without? 

Over the summer, my friend Alzira was reading this one and told me about it. Usually I don’t read too many romance books, but I’m glad I did because immediately after beginning the book, I fell in love. She and I read it at the same time and discussed it as we went along. The characters are very dynamic and easy to relate to, which is what distinguishes a good book from a great book. This is definitely a good beach/poolside read.

 

 

Enjoyable to Read

———

Sleep Tight – Rachel Abbott – Mystery, Thriller (7.5/10)

When Olivia Brookes calls the police to report that her husband and children are missing, she believes she will never see them again. She has reason to fear the worst; this isn’t the first tragedy that Olivia has experienced. Now, two years later, Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas is called in to investigate this family again, but this time it’s Olivia who has disappeared. All the evidence suggests that she was here, in the family home, that morning. But her car is in the garage, and her purse is in her handbag – on the kitchen table. The police want to issue a national appeal, but for some reason every single picture of this family has been removed from albums, from phones, from computers. And then they find the blood… Has the past caught up with Olivia? Sleep Tight – if you can. You never know who’s watching. 

When my sister moved into school, we had to drive all her stuff down. It was an eight hour car ride so, naturally, I read. I chose this one for the ride back. So imagine me, in the back seat of a truck with my eyes glued to this book for eight hours. Actually, you don’t need to imagine it because my mom took a picture:

SleepTight

Considering I read it all in one sitting and never got bored of the story, I would say that’s a good sign I enjoyed it!

 

All Around The Town – Mary Higgins Clark – Mystery, Crime (7.5/10)

When Laurie Kenyon, a twenty-one-year-old student, is accused of murdering her English professor, she has no memory of the crime. Her fingerprints, however, are everywhere. When she asks her sister, attorney Sarah, to mount her defense, Sarah brings in psychiatrist Justin Donnelly. Kidnapped at the age of four and victimized for two years, Laurie has developed astounding coping skills. Only when the unbearable memories of those lost years are released can the truth of the crime come out—and only then can the final sadistic plan of her abductor, whose obsession is stronger than ever, be revealed. 

I’ve read this book many times in the past and have seen the movie as well. However, I decided I wanted to read it again. This is my ultimate favorite mystery novel. There’s a reason Mary Higgins Clark is the “queen of suspense.”

 

The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty – Mystery, (6.5/10)

Imagine that your husband wrote you a letter, to be opened after his death. Imagine, too, that the letter contains his deepest, darkest secret—something with the potential to destroy not just the life you built together, but the lives of others as well. Imagine, then, that you stumble across that letter while your husband is still very much alive. Cecilia Fitzpatrick has achieved it all—she’s an incredibly successful businesswoman, a pillar of her small community, and a devoted wife and mother. Her life is as orderly and spotless as her home. But that letter is about to change everything, and not just for her: Rachel and Tess barely know Cecilia—or each other—but they too are about to feel the earth-shattering repercussions of her husband’s secret. 

My mom read this first and loved it. However, I had a hard time getting through it. The storyline was very slow and I kept starting another book and coming back to this one. Once I finally got into it (about half way through the book), I enjoyed it. So if you’re one of the few people who have the motivation to get through a few boring chapters, try this book out because in the end, I’m glad I read it.

 

Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver – YA, Drama (6/10)

 

For popular high school senior Samantha Kingston, February 12—”Cupid Day”—should be one big party, a day of valentines and roses and the privileges that come with being at the top of the social pyramid. And it is…until she dies in a terrible accident that night. However, she still wakes up the next morning. In fact, Sam lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she ever imagined. 

This is a young-adult book, but had a gripping plot. My sister read it a few years ago and suggested it to me and I finally got around to reading it in 2014 while away for a few days in North Carolina. It was an enjoyable read, but I wouldn’t say it’s anything special. If the plot sounds interesting, then I suggest reading it. Otherwise, you’re not really missing out on anything.

 

Not The Greatest

———

Ashes to Ashes – Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian – YA, Fantasy, Drama (4/10)

 

New Year’s Eve ended with a bang and Mary, Kat and Lillia may not be prepared for what is to come. After Rennie’s death, Kat and Lillia try to put the pieces together of what happened to her. They both blame themselves. If Lillia hadn’t left with Reeve… If Kat had only stayed with Rennie… Things could have been different. Now they will never be the same. Only Mary knows the truth about that night. About what she is. She also knows the truth about Lillia and Reeve falling in love, about Reeve being happy when all he deserves is misery, just like the misery he caused her. Now their childish attempts at revenge are a thing of the past and Mary is out for blood. Will she leave anything in her wake or will all that remain be ashes? 

This was the final book in the Burn for Burn trilogy. I loved the first book and liked the second book, but the third one didn’t do the series justice. It was a little corny.

 

Maybe Someday – Colleen Hoover – Romance, Drama (3/10)

At twenty-two years old, Sydney has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter’s cheating on her–and she is left trying to decide what to do next. Sydney becomes captivated by Ridge, her mysterious neighbor. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one. 

This is the first Colleen Hoover book I disliked. The plot was kind of dull. I kept waiting for something big to happen, which motivated me to keep reading, but then the book ended without anything interesting happening. I know a few people who enjoyed this one, so maybe it was just me. But since this is my review, I’m only giving it a three out of ten.

 

 

Now it’s your turn to recommend a book to me. Let me know if you have any books in mind that you think I’d enjoy. I’m always open to new book recommendations!

Thanks everyone, and have another year of happy reading 🙂

How to Stay Organized This Semester – Student Organization Tips

College is the time where you go out on your own and develop your own routine. There is nobody hovering over you to make sure you get things done, it’s all on you now. But don’t stress, this doesn’t have to be difficult. It all comes down to how you handle this change, and I promise you that being organized makes college a lot easier! I’m pretty confident when I say I excel in organization, planning and time management (since everyone laughs at me for it), so I decided to share some of my organization tips and secrets to help make sure your college experience is nothing but smooth sailing.

 

Computer Organization

  • No more needle in a haystack — Create a folder for each class to store all your documents. Saving everything to one location will confuse you. You’ll be thankful you kept everything separate later on when you’re looking for a particular file.
  • What is “asdfghjkl.doc”? — Name your files accordingly. This way, you know what each file is without having to open it up. Many computers have a search feature (Spotlight on Macs for example), so if you’re looking for your research paper, type in “research paper” and voila, you found it!
  • Tag, you’re it! — Your Mac’s Finder has a tag feature. Use it. For example, I have tags labeled: to be read, portfolio pieces, yearbook, internship, PRSSA, and important. You can assign multiple tags to one file or even to folders. And they’re color coded! 🙂
  • Back, back, back it up. —  Invest in an external hard drive to back up your computer files (and actually remember to back it up frequently). If you don’t want to pay for an external hard drive, you can use a cloud-based storage system such as Dropbox and put copies of important files there.  Better safe than sorry, right?
  • Use it or lose it — If you don’t need old files on your computer, trash them. They’re just taking up storage space on your hard drive. Oh, and remember to periodically empty your trash.
  • Sync or swim — Every computer has a calendar, or some way to access a calendar. I think you know what I’m going to say next … actually use this calendar. Then, set it to sync with the calendar on your phone so you always have your schedule with you and will never forget an appointment or meeting.

 

Class and Study Organization

  • Syllabus week — For college students, the first week of classes is known as syllabus week, where all you do in class is review the syllabus for the course. Then after you leave the classroom, you shove the syllabus into the bottom of your backpack or in a random folder and you’re probably never going to look at it again. Instead of doing this, put each syllabus somewhere safe and actually refer back to it for assignments. If you go off what the professor writes on the syllabus, I can promise you’ll get a better grade versus someone who doesn’t review the assignment’s requirements.
  • But planners are a girl’s (and boy’s) best friend — Do I even have to go into detail about this? I know what you’re thinking, why do I need a planner if I can use my phone? Well, it’s easier to keep appointments, to-dos and notes all together and see an entire week or month at a glance. And there are various studies and articles that discuss how writing things down versus typing it helps you remember better. There is also no syncing involved, and there are millions to choose from to match your needs or budget. You can get one from Target or Staples that is simple, or you can take it a step further and get an Erin Condren Life Planner (scroll to my previous blog post for a coupon) or a Plum Paper Planner, both of which are customizable so it is tailored to your needs and has a bunch of accessories and add-ons. And if you are set on sticking to iPhone productivity apps, here are my favorites: Fantastical, Calendars 5, Appigo Todo, GoodTask, and 2Do. You can check those out if you’d like. They sync with iCloud reminders. The GoodTask app for Mac is awesome, nice to look at and convenient!
  • “I can just review the powerpoint slides and I’ll be fine” — Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. I beg you, please just take the time to make your own study guide or note cards to study from. Quickly reviewing slides won’t do you any good, trust me. Which brings me to my next point…
  • Go! To! Class! — Enough said.
  • I think we need to take a break — Break up with unified notebooks, folders and binders. Buy separate folders/binders/notebooks (or whatever you use) for each class. Here’s how I do it: I have the same classes on Mondays/Wednesdays, then other same classes on Tuesdays/Thursdays. I buy two notebooks and two folders. Yup, you guessed it: one for my Monday/Wednesday courses and one for Tuesday/Thursday courses. Half of the notebook is dedicated to the first class, the other half is dedicated to the second class. Ditto for the folders, one class on the left and one on the right. Are you still following or did I lose you?
  • Live life in color — Color coding is always an easy way to help you get organized. Maybe you have a red folder and notebook for one class and a blue folder and notebook for another. This is super simple and is a tremendous help. You can take it one step further and color code your notes too using colored pens or just colored Post-it flags.
  • Your mind is a map — Mind mapping is a fun way to lay out your ideas. It’s great for very visual people. I recommend checking that out if you are one of those people. Because sometimes plain lists and notes are a little bland.

Room Organization

  • Clean up your act — Just kidding, clean up your room. Common sense here, keeping your room clean helps you find things faster and will make you more productive. So make your bed, put your laundry in the hamper, and go through that stack of papers cluttering up your desk.
  • White is right — Okay, that headline is a little dumb. Anyway, here’s my next tip: get a whiteboard, put it on your wall near your desk, write down your to-dos and assignments. Now you always have this information right in front of you while you’re in your room and you won’t forget anything again. Super easy, super effective.
  • File it, don’t pile it — That one was catchy, you have to admit! Buy a magazine file to stash (neatly) in your room. Then get a vertical file folder for each class (and label it of course). Next, when a million papers are accumulating in the folder you bring back and forth to class, empty what you don’t need anymore and stash each into its appropriate file folder. Now you don’t have to keep all the papers in your regular folder to weigh down your bag, but you’re not throwing anything out, you know… just in case you need a paper again. (This is helpful in regard to exams. Put your exams in your file folder and when the final comes around, use the old exams as a study guide.)

 

General Organization Tips

  • Don’t sweat it — Don’t procrastinate, be proactive. If you tend to have a habit of procrastinating (guilty!), set your own deadlines to meet. Having a set deadline forces you to do your work, and if your deadline is a few days before the assignment is actually due, you now have a few days to relax and not stress about the work.
  • Be there in a flash! — Oh, flash drives. Tiny little miracle workers. So much data, such a small device. Attach a USB drive to your car keys or something in your backpack so it won’t get lost. You never know when one will come in handy (more than you think).
  • Counting sheep — I needed to throw this in and it’s mainly geared toward freshmen who are new to college, but please try your best to get a decent amount of sleep each night. I know sometimes you think you need to stay up extremely late to study for a big exam. Instead, just review your notes a little each day and get a good night’s sleep before the exam. Because if you are exhausted, you won’t do well on your exam, and the late-night studying won’t be worth it.
  • Empty wallet? — College is a time when many of us get our first credit cards. Here’s advice: if you can’t afford to pay for the item you want at that moment, chances are you won’t be able to pay for it at the end of the month when you get your card statement. Here are two pieces of advice: first, only use the card on small purchases to begin building your credit, and second, consider making a budget for yourself. I budget an allotted amount each month for groceries, clothing, etc. and although I’m still a poor college student, it’s better than being a broke college student.

 

 

I know that is an overwhelming amount of information but with a little practice, you’ll be an organized student in no time! If anyone has other student organization tips, feel free to comment and share! Good luck to everyone in school!

Erin Condren Coupon Code

Hey everyone,

I wanted to share a referral link with my readers for the Erin Condren Life Planners or any Erin Condren purchase.

If you sign up for a new account after clicking on the referral link, you immediately receive a $10 off coupon via email for your first Erin Condren order.

You can use this Erin Condren coupon on any of the merchandise on her website. Even if you don’t have a Life Planner by Erin Condren, she sells everything from phone and tablet cases to planner accessories and customized invitations.

 

So click on the link above to take advantage of the offer. Once you sign up, you have 30 days to use it.

 

Enjoy! 😀

 

PS. I know I did a review for Plum Paper Planner, but I also have an Erin Condren Life Planner and buy planner accessories and notebooks from Erin Condren (bookmarks, clips, stickers, etc.). I’m still debating which planner I should buy for 2015, because I don’t need to have both. I guess I have some time before I have to decide though! I’ll be sure to do a review again on whichever one I choose.

erin condren coupon

 

EC Quote

Courtesy of Erin Condren’s website

Book Review: Unravel by Calia Read

N ormally I would wait until I’ve read a bunch of books so I can review them all at once, but I need to make an exception.

I don’t know how I came upon this book, but I am so glad I did! I started it last night and couldn’t put it down all day until I finally finished. Now that it’s over, I wish I could erase it from my mind just so I can start over and re-read it. Yeah, it’s that good. Actually, it’s very likely I will be reading it again very soon.

For starters, the book cover is beautiful.

The book was released on February 17, just two weeks ago, and already has 1,168 ratings on Goodreads. It currently has a 4.23 stars out of 5. However, my rating upon completion was a well-deserved 5 stars!

The plot itself cannot be described in detail because anything I say would give it away. It is best to go into this book knowing very little and allowing your brain to string everything together. Once it all clicks, you’ll be in shock. But don’t be too shocked, because as soon as you think you know everything, it all changes and your mind gets blown all over again.

The main character is relatable and the men in her life are both attractive and wonderful in different ways. I think I related to the main character well because she was a 20-year-old girl, and it’s always nice reading a book where the narrator is the same age as you. In case you couldn’t tell from my previous book reviews, I enjoy young adult novels and also love mystery. This was the perfect balance between young adult and mature, and had the perfect amount of mystery.

Like I said, I can’t give too much away. But here is the blurb on the back of the book:

“Six months ago, I was happy. I was simply Naomi Carradine. One month ago, I was admitted into a psych ward. Yesterday, Lachlan visited me. Kissed me. And told me that I’m starting to lose my mind. Hours later, Max haunted my thoughts, reminding me I’m not crazy and that he needs my help. A few minutes ago, I drifted further from reality, trying to unravel the past. And now… everyone thinks I’m insane. But I know he’s real, and I know he needs me.

Do you believe me?”

I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much was because the main character is my age and that’s rare for me. Typically, the books I read have a protagonist in either high school or significantly older than I am. So this is perfect for those like me who can’t resist young adult novels even though you’re too old to be browsing through the teen section at Barnes and Noble.

I know this is a terrible book review because I’m not exactly explaining anything in elaborate detail, but I don’t want to spoil even a single aspect of the book. (And I’m usually a sucker for spilling the beans with spoilers to all my friends and family). Just take my word for it and grab this next time you are at the bookstore (or just download it on your iPad like I did).

I’d love to hear feedback from my readers after they finish the book. So drop a comment below and let me know what you thought.

Happy reading,

Courtney

Side note: this book contains some mature content and sensitive subject matters.

A Year of Reading – Reviews, 2013

I love to read, especially fiction! I am always in the middle of a book, so I figured I should start keeping a log of which books I read and what my opinions are of them. One of my guilty pleasures is reading books about teenagers, regardless of my age. I find them more entertaining and relatable. Maybe it’s because I’m only 20, so my teenage years weren’t very long ago. On the other hand, I enjoy reading books that are Fifty Shades of Grey-like. So if you like those, you’ll find them in here as well! Basically, I have an open mind when it comes to reading.

Anyway, I want to build an online reading list of memorable books I read in 2013 so my readers can discover new and exciting books to add to their reading lists! I can’t count how many times friends and family members have asked me for new books I can recommend for them to read, and I always love sharing my thoughts on previous reads. So here I am to share these recommendations to the world!

 

Click on the book for more information.

 

  • Burn for Burn
  • Fire with Fire
  • The Hollow
  • The Haunted
  • Best Served Cold
  • Gone Girl
  • Sharp Objects
  • If You Find Me
  • Hopeless
  • Losing Hope
  • Slammed
  • Point of Retreat
  • This Girl
  • Wait For You
  • Wreck Me
  • Restore Me
  • Beautiful Disaster
  • Walking Disaster
  • Revived
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Every Girls Guide
  • Hide and Seek
  • Cross My Heart
  • Seven Minutes
  • Best of Me
  • Vampire Diaries

 

 

The Best (Rating is 8+):

  • Burn for Burn (8/10)

I found this in a magazine which said, “if you like the show Revenge, check out this book.” Since Revenge is one of my favorite shows, I went ahead and bought this. The cover captured my attention as well. The storyline was fun to read and kept my attention. I was able to relate to the characters in multiple ways, regardless of the differences among them.

  • Fire with Fire (8/10)

This is the second book in the Burn for Burn trilogy (the third one doesn’t come out until September 2014 and I already pre-ordered it). I liked it slightly more than the first one because the plot was deeper and was able to progress forward more quickly because we already have been introduced to all the characters and their backgrounds. However, this book was obnoxiously long. I don’t mind the length, but it wasn’t necessary to make it so long. Overall, I would recommend this book series to my friends and family.

  • Gone Girl (10/10)

I’m sure most of you read this book already. I love mysteries. I grew up reading Mary Higgins Clark‘s books all the time (check out All Around the Town and Loves Music, Loves to Dance), so this book was wonderful because it had both drama and mystery embedded throughout the storyline. The first chapter was slow, but after I got into it, I couldn’t put it down. Funny story: I bought this book on my Kindle for my trip to Europe this summer. I visited five countries with a group of students and we spent a lot of time driving. I was so into this book that while everyone else looked out the window to see everything we passed (or sleeping, because we woke up at 6 AM every morning), I was busy reading. The chaperone even yelled at me and said something along the lines of, “It’s a shame that you’re in a beautiful new country and you’re busy reading.” So yeah, I don’t know if it’s that funny of a story, but it shows how enjoyable this was to read. Definitely check it out if you haven’t already done so.

  • Hopeless (10/10)

This is my absolute favorite book! It starts off as a typical teenager book with a girl and a boy and romance. However, the craziest twists get thrown into the story. I was like, “holy shit, I didn’t see that one coming!” at least six different times throughout the span of the book. I don’t want to give anything away, because not knowing that the twists in the story are coming makes it more of a shock while you read it. Put this one at the top of your reading list.

  • Losing Hope (10/10)

Imagine the excitement you’d get if you found out they were making a different version of your favorite book. That’s what Losing Hope gave me. It’s the same storyline as Hopeless but from the boy’s perspective. At first I thought it wouldn’t be as fun to read because I knew what was coming. Boy was I wrong. There’s a reason I gave it a 10/10. My mom and sister actually ended up preferring this book over the original.

  • Slammed (8/10)

I chose to read this because it was written by the same woman who wrote Hopeless, Colleen Hoover. It isn’t as crazy and wonderful as Hopeless, but it was pretty damn good!

  • Wait For You (9/10)

I took a shot in the dark with this book. It was $1.99 for the Kindle version on Amazon so I figured I’d read it since I don’t have much to lose. I ended up loving it and raving about it to my family. They read it after I did, and they loved it as well. It’s like a toned down Fifty Shades-type book, but less corny. The main character is easy to relate to I finished this book within a couple of days because I refused to put it down.

  • Wreck Me (9/10)

If you liked Fifty Shades, read this. Just do it. You will not regret it, I promise. I wish they’d make this into a movie instead of Fifty Shades because the characters have so much more depth and the backstory between them is clever and creative of the author.

  • Beautiful Disaster (9/10)

I’m so glad they’re making this into a movie. I read this and made all my friends do the same as well. I think you get what I’m trying to tell you. I gave it a 9/10, so add it to your list.

  • Silver Linings Playbook (9/10)

This movie was incredible, so of course the book was even more mind-blowing.

 

Enjoyable to Read (Rating is 5-7):

  • Best Served Cold (5/10)

This isn’t a fiction story. It’s just a companion to the show, Revenge. It goes into the storylines and characters in the show and gives you a behind-the-scenes feel.

  • EveryGirls Guide to Life (7/10)

This isn’t a fiction story either. If you’re a girl, buy this. I saw it at Barnes and Noble and immediately bought it on my Kindle when I got home. I devoured this book and highlighted and bookmarked so many pages. It’s like the bible for women, covering topics such as: organizing, makeup, work, decor, fashion, love, hair, nails, health, recipes, working out, travel and more.

  • Sharp Objects (6/10)

I read this because it’s by the same author as Gone Girl. It was a little darker, so be cautious when reading this. The storyline itself is creative and original. I definitely haven’t read anything similar to this before.

  • Point of Retreat (7/10)

This is the second book of the Slammed series so if you decided to read that, there is a pretty good chance you didn’t stop at book one.

  • Walking Disaster (7/10)

Similar to how Losing Hope was Hopeless but from the boy’s perspective, this is Beautiful Disaster but from the boy’s perspective. Once again, my sister and mom preferred this one over the original. I guess it is personal preference of whether you want to hear the story from a girl’s or boy’s perspective.

  • Revived (6/10)

The book, Forgotten is written by the same author as Revived. I give Forgotten an 8/10, but I didn’t read that this year so it’s not included in this review. Both books were a good read though.

  • The Lying Game Series (7/10)

If you watched the show don’t say, “oh I watched the show so there’s no point in reading the books.” Guess what? They have almost nothing in common aside from character’s names. Oh, here’s the first difference: In the show, Sutton is alive. In the book, Sutton is dead. Yeah, nothing like the show. Read the series!

  • The Best of Me (7/10)

You can never go wrong with Nicholas Sparks. If you liked A Walk to Remember, Safe Haven, The Notebook and so on, you’ll like The Best of Me.

  • The Vampire Diaries (6/10)

I read these years ago, I think during my Sophomore year of high school, but decided to read them again because it’s my favorite show. These are good for teenagers, but I don’t recommend it to anyone over the age of 20.

 

Not The Greatest (Rating is 4 or below):

  • The Hollow (4/10)

I was expecting this to be great, so maybe that’s why it ended up with a low rating from me. It is a trilogy and it was kind of, for lack of a better word, boring.

  • The Haunted (3/10)

I don’t know why I bought the second book, since I felt that the first was boring. But it had a cliffhanger and I wanted to know what happened next. I never even finished it because I was so bored by lack of any of my questions being answered.

  • If You Find Me (4/10)

This was okay. Not terrible, not awesome. I don’t think I finished the entire thing though. Maybe I’d like it better if I finished it.

  • This Girl (4/10)

This is third book of the Slammed series. They should’ve left it at two books.

  • Restore Me (3/10)

Wreck Me was great from start to finish. Restore Me was good from the beginning of the last chapter to the end of the last chapter. I bought the third one since it just came out last week, I’ll probably read it eventually.

 

Now it’s your turn to recommend a book to me. Let me know if you have any books in mind that you think I’d enjoy. I’m always open to new book recommendations!

 

Thanks everyone, and happy reading 🙂

Planner Review – Plum Paper Planner

Hi everyone,

As promised, I am here to share my thoughts with you on my new planner for 2014.

I ordered it from Etsy.com from a company called Plum Paper Designs. They have a ton of choices for the cover so you’re able to find one that best suits you. They also have different types of planners: daily planners, family planners, student planners, wedding planners and more. I chose the regular daily planner because even though I’m a student, I use my planner to keep track of everything I need to get done that week, not just work for classes. It took a decent amount of time to arrive, but it was worth the wait. If you want to get to the point and not read the full review, just know this is a great alternative to the Erin Condren Life Planners. The Life Planners cost between $50 – $75, which is crazy, especially for a college student. The Plum Paper Planner only costs $30. Alright, so let’s take it section by section.

When it arrived, it was packaged very well in order to maintain its quality. It came in a foil to protect it from any  scuff marks that could possibly occur throughout the delivery process. My face lit up when I saw how beautiful it was, as well as the fact that it’s my first planner I ever owned that was customized uniquely for me.

Here it is without the foil around it. Isn’t it beautiful? It also matches my laptop case I also purchased from Etsy so I’m excited about that. Read more

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