Sketchy boat hostels, dreamy christmas markets, Swedish meatballs, endless wandering around the city, and ABBA playing on repeat= best last minute decision.
I’m only a little embarrassed to say that this was genuinely one of my favorite parts of my study abroad. Dreams do come true, kids.
Despite the not-so-kind Parisians, the constant paranoia of pick pockets, and the fact that we were running on just 3 hours of sleep, Paris was unforgettable. The city of love is incredible and I can’t wait to go back one day.
Best last minute decision ever.
Missy and I decided the night before that we were going to spontaneously snag one of the remaining few tickets to London Fashion Weekend.
It was a super long day and we were EXHAUSTED after it was all over, but for a girl whose loved fashion since the day she could talk.. it was kind of heaven on earth.
(Plus we got to sit front row at the fashion show which was reason enough to go.)
I mean you can’t go to one of the top fashion capitals and not experience at least a slice of the fashion world…right?
I’m a firm believer that travel is an investment that is well worth the cost.
Through travel, you gain so much more than just getting to see a couple of cool places. Engrossing yourself in a new culture expands your viewpoints of the exclusive world that you have always known. Through it, you gain memories, experiences, and life lessons that, in my opinion, are so much more valuable than materialistic possessions. Of course, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t spend some of my paycheck on those materialistic possessions- i’m human. But if I were given the option to spend $10,000 on a shopping spree, or to spend $10,000 on traveling, I would pick travel in a heartbeat.
And I honestly think a lot of people would do the same.
But there always seems to be obstacles that get in the way of traveling for so many people. I decided a long time ago that i wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of this dream of mine. I would like to think that if I were given one month to live, I would spend a good fraction of that month traveling to new countries and experiencing new cultures. I want to grow up and be one of those people with a huge world map on their living room wall, with markers indicating all of the countries they have been to. And yes, you can bet your life savings that that map will be as full as possible.
So why London, you may ask? Well, without hesitation I would respond with “why not London?”. London has always been at the top of my very long list of places I want to visit in my lifetime. I have always been captivated by London; by the diverse people, the beautiful architecture, and the enchanting city life. London is consistently one of the top fashion capitals of the world and it’s one of the most talked about, and visited cities in the world. These reasons alone were enough for me. The idea of not only getting to visit this amazing city, but to live here for a few months was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I get to live here in London until December 7th, which will have be 3 and a half months all together. Of course, deciding to study abroad here in London was not cheap, and a lot of sacrifices had to be made in order for me to get here, but it’s already so worth it. I have already gained so
much weight many amazing experiences, and I can’t wait to see what else in in store for me while I experience life here in London. I don’t even want to think about leaving because it is amazing. Absolutely breathtaking.
One of my favorite quotes says:
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”
My greatest fear is to die with regrets, and It would be a huge regret of mine if at the end of my life I didn’t feel like I fulfilled my dream of traveling. I want to spend my life traveling the world, and I want to do it with the people I love. Life is short, and the world is a pretty big place. So I guess deciding to study abroad was my way of taking initiative to start living my dream, and I can’t think of a better place to have started.
Moving out for the first time is stressful and nerve-racking enough, much less having to try and figure out how in the world you are going to fit all of your stuff into a small, restricted room that you share with someone else. On top of this, other questions are added like figuring out how to personalize your dorm room and make it feel like home, as well as countless other decisions to make about your dorm. I remember spending endless amounts of time on Pinterest looking at different ways I could decorate my dorm and how I could personalize it to my own style. I remember the unnecessary stress that I went through in preparations for moving in. I even remember losing sleep over how I would accommodate living with someone I had never met before. I remember all of this like it was yesterday, and in the past two semesters i’ve learned a lot about living in an 9×9 shared dorm room with another person. So, here are some tips that I have learned throughout the year about how to survive moving into your first dorm room or shared space apartment.
Tip #1: DIY projects can save you a LOT of money (as well as allow you to personalize your space.)
If you consider yourself crafty, or just want to save some money on room decor, I highly recommend this. I was able to save a lot of money by making my own room decor rather than purchasing them.
I made these two chevron prints with 2 8×10 canvas’s and some cheap acrylic paint from a local craft store.
I used some masking tape to map out the chevron lines. I used a ruler and a pencil to get them as symmetrical as possible.
The next day I peeled off the tape and voilà!
I also made this cute flower picture frame with a cheap white frame from a thrift shop and some fake flowers from a Michael’s.
I created this look by cutting off the flowers from the stems and hot glued them to the frame. I then picked out one of my favorite pictures from my friends back home and placed it in the frame.
Another thing that I made myself were my pillows. I had trouble finding super inexpensive fabrics that I wanted for my pillows, but it still came out a lot cheaper than if I would have just bought some decorative throw pillows from Target or Bed Bath and Beyond. I just measured out the size of my pillow inserts (from IKEA) onto the fabric and cut out and sewed the two pieces of fabric together, making sure the outsides of the fabrics were facing inwards, and also that I left one side open. Then, I flipped the cases inside out, slipped the pillows in, and sewed the one side together.
This was great because it allowed me to pick out the exact colors that I wanted for my pillows so that I could match them to my other room decorations.
Tip #2: Keep in mind that the space is LIMITED.
The amount of space you have at home versus the amount you will have in your dorm will most likely be a very drastic change from what you’re used to. It’s important to realize this when packing to move out and choosing your storage boxes and what not. I got these stackable boxes from Ikea and they were great for storing, but if I were to go back, I probably would have chosen a different set. While I thought the black looked the best, I would have gotten all of my boxes in clear instead. The reason I would choose them in clear is to be able to easily see what is inside of the boxes. I would also choose a set that has lids that securely attach to the boxes. With the set I bought the lids fell off easily and it made it difficult to access the boxes easily. I would recommend going to The Container Store if you have one near you for the greatest selection of storage boxes to choose from.
Another thing that I would recommend is a hanging closet organizer. This is where I stored things that I couldn’t hang (pants, skirts, scarves, etc.). I got mine from Bed Bath and Beyond.
Also, If you think that you will have too many clothes for your closet like I did, bring your clothes in seasons. What I mean by this is during the fall/winter months bring all of your warmer clothes, and leave the the shorts and sundresses at home. Then when it starts getting warmer, start switching out some of your fall/winter clothes for your spring/summer pieces every time you get the chance to go home.
Tip #3: Create your own vanity set
This tip isn’t a necessity, but if you take longer to do your hair and makeup, I would recommend creating your own mini vanity set. I say mini because you still want to leave room for homework and studying, but it’s nice not to have to share the counter space with your roommates when everyone is trying to get ready.
I used this mini storage set to store my makeup, brushes, hair ties/ bobby pins, bracelets and rings/ earrings. I got this from Walmart for under 5 dollars. I got the mirror from IKEA and I thought the size was perfect. It was big enough to get ready with but didn’t get in the way when I was studying.
Tip #4: Lights! Lights! Lights!
I am such a night owl, but at the same time there are times when I like to get up early in the mornings to go work out or start my day off. I was very much aware of this when dorm shopping and I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t disturb my roommate with my bizarre schedule. The thing that saved me was having lights that I could turn on that were light enough for me to see my side of the room, but dim enough to not disturb and wake up my roommate. Christmas lights worked super well…
I got the black lamp from IKEA and it was so great! I loved it because I could aim it towards any part of my room when the lights were off and my roommate was sleeping. It made it so I could get ready without having to turn on the main lights.
Tip #5: Personalize your room!
As adorable as the dorm room inspirations may be on Tumblr or Pinterest, the best way to decorate your space is by personalizing it and adding touches of your own. Whether that means bringing things that remind you of home (pictures of friends and family, stuffed animals, memoirs) or decking out your space with your favorite music artist or celebrity crush. Those personal touches are what really will transform your dorm into a space that you will love. You do you, boo 😉
Happy dorm room decorating!
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