Baby It’s Cold Outside

Today was the first snow of the school year in Oklahoma (yes, we’re as surprised as you are) and I’ve noticed SO. MANY students who have no idea whatsoever how to dress or how to be prepared for winter.

I realize Oklahoma has relatively mild winters compared to some of my northern counterparts, but we need to bundle up just as much a everyone else.

First thing’s first, you don’t have to spend a ton of money. College is already hella expensive, so don’t make a bigger deal out of it than you need to.

Let’s start with the basics. LAYERING. This can usually be accomplished with stuff you already own, and if you don’t already own it, you can get it for cheap at places like Target, Old Navy, or even on Amazon. So let’s dive on in.

Here are the essentials (with each item explained in detail if you keep reading):

  1. Base: cotton is fine
  2. Mid: think sweaters or sweatshirts
  3. Outerwear: don’t skimp too much
  4. Footwear: go for waterproof
  5. Socks: warm and tall
  6. Headwear: something that at least covers your ears
  7. Scarves/glove: consider something other than basic knit gloves

Other words of wisdom:

  1. Test your heater at least three days before it’s supposed to get super cold. My roommate and I made that mistake and my house is currently 48F because our heater is broken.
  2. Stock up on blankets. A good fleece blanket goes a longggg way when it comes to keeping you warm.
  3. Get some good slippers and some flannel jammies. You won’t always have to go outside when it’s cold and on a snow day you’ll want to stay in bed. Might as well be nice and cozy while you do!
  4. ALWAYS do your homework anyway, even if it looks like class might get cancelled. You can’t read mother nature’s brain, so just do it and prepare for class. Then you have less to do on your snow day!
  5. Make some good memories. Get some friends together and have a snowball fight, maybe make some snow angels. Drink hot cocoa and watch the snow fall. Whatever you do, try to do it with friends.

Sam’s Guide to Layering

1. Base

For the most part, you shouldn’t need much more than your standard undergarments, and you generally won’t need anything more than cotton. So go for a cotton undershirt and some of your usual undies (still a funny word, even at 23) (disclaimer: if you’re a big outdoorsy person, you might want to step up your game, but if you’re a big outdoorsy person you probably already own the right gear for winter outdoorsy adventures).

I will say this: I don’t own very warm pants. I own a lot of leggings and a lot of jeggings and that’s about it. So when it’s snowing (like today) I throw a pair of leggings on under my jeggings. This can also be accomplished with thermal leggings or long underwear, but I own neither so I went with some basic athletic leggings I got at Old Navy.

2. Mid

Time for some outer layers. This is where I have fun with sweaters because I own too many (though sweaters don’t block wind so wear a long sleeve shirt if you’re opting to go without a coat) or crewneck sweatshirts because those are my favorite. If you don’t own any of these things, check out the stores in your college town for sales on university sweatshirts or places like Old Navy and Target for deals on sweaters. You can dish out some extra cash for some nice merino wool bought on sale, but you don’t really need to.

3. Outer layer

This is where most people go wrong. If it’s snowing, you need a coat. Let’s say that together, if it’s snowing, you need a coat. I don’t care how tough you think you are, you’re going to want a coat when you’re walking across campus in the wind and snow and sleet and whatever else the weather has going on. This doesn’t have to be a major investment (though you’ll thank yourself if it is). You can go for a wool outer layer from Old Navy for like $40 or you can buy a $120 pea coat from a department store (I own both, and I wear both, often). If you’re the aforementioned outdoorsy type, go for something more waterproof and “functional”.

4. Footwear

Okay, so here’s the deal, whatever you get, you want it to be waterproof. Rainboots can be made warm with the right socks, and hiking boots are amazing alternative to snowboots. You just want to make sure that water doesn’t get in your shoes because then your socks will be soaked and your toes will be cold ALL DAY.

5. Socks

While we’re on the subject of your feet, make sure you have some cozy socks happening. Preferably tall ones. I saw so many girls on campus today wearing leggings and sneakers with exposed ankles and…just please learn from their mistake. Wool ones are preferred, but you can work with what you’ve got.

6. Headwear

I love a good pom pom beanie, but I know that isn’t practical for everyone. Ideally, find something that covers at least your ears but preferably your whole head. If you ride a bike to class, a beanie may not fit under your helmet so you can opt for something more like a headband. Just find something that keeps your ears warm, okay?

7. Scarves/gloves

Okay so not everyone likes scarves, but I love scarves. They’re warm and fuzzy and make me happy. Oh, and I can use them to cover my face when it’s too ridiculously cold outside. Whether you go for more of a blanket scarf situation, knit, or fleece, having a scarf is a better idea than you know. As for gloves: if you’re like me, you’ve spent your life being handed knit gloves that don’t actually do much to keep your hands warm. As far as my favorite gloves, I love C.C.’s anti-slip touchscreen gloves. Wow are those amazing.

Please stay warm, and happy winter!


how to study for the gre

How to Start a Bullet Journal (in under an hour with stuff you already own)

Okay, so you want to start a bullet journal? But you don’t have the right notebook or the right pens or the right washi tape or the right ruler or the right vibe?


Don’t let a fear of your bullet journal not being able to compete with the bullet journals you see on Instagram keep you from jumping in. The trick to being successful by using your bullet journal is to just get started!

So I’m going to walk you through how I set up my bullet journal in about 45 minutes. There are plenty of ways to get a brand new bullet journal set up in anywhere from 10 minutes (trust me, it can be done to an extent) to upwards of a handful of hours.

It all just depends on how much work you want to do up front and how much of a project you want your bullet journal to be each week and each month when it’s time for a new spread.

I, for one, used to fall into the category of people who spend way too damn long on setting up a bullet journal. When I first got started, I used about 12 different pen colors, I used to paint the covers of a new journal, and I used to try to do all these random things to decorate the pages (if you don’t believe me, just watch this pen pile grow).

This time, I wanted to take a different approach. I’ve been using either a Passion Planner or an Erin Condren Life Planner for close to two years now, but neither has every feature I need. Also, long story short, I wasn’t using my planner effectively anymore. Grad school is a little less…intense I guess? My to-do lists are shorter and my days aren’t as packed, but things carry more weight. Does that make sense? So my planner has a lot of wasted space at this point in my life, and last semester I didn’t use a planner at all because all I had was my team design project. I fought with myself for almost this entire semester about what to do to be a better student, keep myself more organized, and keep myself on top of my assignments and deadlines.

The answer? Get back into bullet journaling.

I set my bullet journal up in about 45 minutes this morning before I sat down to study for my upcoming statistics exam, so let’s walk through how I did that.

1. Gather Supplies


First, I got together my existing Erin Condren Life Planner (which, let’s be honest, I will always love), an empty notebook I had lying around (I am the type of person that people gift notebooks to and I’m definitely not complaining), some highlighters (I only ended up using the gray one), and some black pens. I happen to have Faber Castell pens laying around because I like to sketch and they don’t bleed when I go over them with watercolors, but seriously, any black pen is totally fine. I promise.

2. Make your Index

Fortunately, the Leuchtturm1917 notebook I have comes with an index in the front already. However, if your notebook does not have one, you’ll want to go ahead and add that at the very beginning of your notebook.


I’m going to be honest, I don’t love that it’s called an index in the bullet journal community because to me it’s a table of contents if it’s a the front, but whatever.

3. Create a Future Log


Skipping the index and one blank page, I dove right in. I will say, I had a bit of a plan going in. I knew I wanted to have 6 columns, one for each month, so I spaced those out using a mechanical pencil. Using a brush pen I had laying around (you can also use a crayola marker or a plain pen/marker if you’re not feeling script fonts), I wrote out the first 6 months and gave my page a title.


I then did the exact same thing for the next 6 months.


Next up, I went over those pencil lines with a black pen. Pencil can be skipped, or going over with a black pen can be skipped – it depends on how confident you are in your spacing and what you want your bullet journal to look like (in the end, that’s what your billet journal is all about, right?). Once I had my six columns, I went in and put mini calendars in for the first 6 months. I’ll go back and do May – October later.


Once I had my columns, I went in and started added some dates to my future log. If you’re on a time crunch and just want your bullet journal started so you can add in your first list, then by all means, power on through and skip this part!

4. Make your Monthly Spread

Okay, so this is 100% where my pen and my eraser saw the most action. I had no idea what I wanted my spread to look like, just that I wanted a teeny calendar and a place for goals.


I started by sketching out some boxes, writing in what I wanted those boxes to be, debating whether I actually wanted any of those boxes, etc.


Eventually, I decided it’s what I wanted and I went over everything with some black pens.

I included a section for monthly goals, some important dates, and an overview of budget benchmarks.

5. Add a Habit Tracker

100% optional, but I decided that on the page facing my monthly spread would be the perfect place to track some of the habits I want to get better about staying on top of. Since it’s a tracker for the month, it made sense to keep it with the whole month.


This is without a doubt the part that took the longest when I was setting up my bullet journal this morning. Not only did I have to figure out what exactly I wanted to track, but I also had to go through and ink in all the lines because once I started, I was committed.


Don’t get me wrong, I think it turned out great and I’m really excited to use it, but I wish I had left it until a few days from now, just because it did take almost 20 minutes for this one page (ridiculous, right?).

6. Make Your Weekly Spread

I decided to keep my weekly spread relatively simple, especially compared to what my bullet journal used to look like, and stuck to just black pen and gray highlighter.


I kept things as simple as possible. I’m hoping that with a simpler layout, I can maybe get a new weekly spread going in under 5 minutes as my weeks progress.

Along the lefthand side, I have my work and class schedule. Then the rest of the two page spread is dedicated to to-do lists. Can you spot the mistake I made on Monday? Who cares?? Make mistakes in your bullet journal!! This is JUST FOR YOU!

I may switch to more of a horizontal situation in the upcoming weeks, but for right now I’m on board with this one and we’ll see how it goes!

7. Finally, Make Sure You Have a Key

I forgot until the very end to set up my key, and honestly, it wasn’t the end of the world. I stuck it up on the page just before my index starts and called it a day.


I did my best to keep it simple. My keys in the past have had a habit of taking up an entire page.

All in all, I’m really happy with the more minimalist direction this bullet journal is heading. I’m excited to only need to carry like two or three writing utensils to be able to use it, I’m excited to not stress about messing up, and I’m excited to be excited about school again.

I plan on adding a few more pages, like a cleaning schedule and a workout tracker or something similar, but that’ll come after I finished getting ready for my Stat exam!

What do your bullet journals look like? How long does it take you to set yours up?

Handwriting Test – Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

Untitled Note - Jul 24, 2018 9.28 AM

This weekend I bought myself a new tablet (Samsung Galaxy Tab S3). It comes with an S Pen, which I am very quickly falling in love with. Above is a quick writing sample, and it feels like writing on paper when I write on this tablet.

I am so excited to take notes on this little guy for the upcoming semester.

Handwriting generated using Squid (Android) and S Pen.

Dating Someone in Your Major

Recently  I read an article called 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Date Someone in Your Major, and while it brought up some good points, I think it’s important to look at the other side of the argument.

First of all, last time I updated any of you on my personal life was, like, 3 years ago or something and I had just been broken up with by a chemical engineering student who, honestly, I thought was the love of my life (plot twist: he wasn’t). I took some time for me and tried my hardest to just love me for me, to enjoy spending time with myself, to get to know me.

Someone once told me that you can’t expect someone else to love you unconditionally if you can’t even love yourself. So I took that to heart and tried my best to live my life accordingly. I took myself on dates, I read books, I watched shows solely because I wanted to watch them. It was amazing.

I flirted with a few guys, almost dated one or two of them, fell hard for them, but ultimately done of them were who I needed. Turns out, the right guy for me had been sitting in my classes for a year and a half.

If you watch shows like Grey’s Anatomy, their dating pool is their coworkers, end of story. They spend so much time wrapped up in their jobs and in the hospital that it’s inevitable they’ll end up dating someone they work with. Honestly, engineering school for me was kind of similar.

Don’t get me wrong, I know plenty of engineers who are dating accountants or med students or elementary school teachers, which is awesome. But that wasn’t for me.

This article that I read lists a few reasons as to why you shouldn’t date someone in your major, the first of which is that someone else will always be able to teach you something. What I’ve discovered is that it doesn’t matter if you have different majors or not, you’ll learn something new from your person if they feel comfortable with you, if they can share their passions with you. And sometimes, when you share those passions, it lets you learn together.

10974571_10205576693407600_7516715466528076878_oLucas and I technically met freshman year of college at a basketball game (that I was attending with my boyfriend at the time). Sophomore year, we had Thermo together and he definitely didn’t like me. I wasn’t aware of him enough to know anything else.

So then we got to junior year. Lucas started a rocketry team, and somehow my friend Nick got me out of bed at 7:00am on a Saturday to go watch some people I barely knew launch some rockets. I had always been fascinated by rockets (hello, how can October Sky not do that to a person?), so that was honestly one of the best Saturdays of my college career.

I also got to see Lucas in his element. I love rockets, but rockets are his passion. This was the first time he and I ever really interacted outside of “hey, how are you today?” in classes where we sat near each other. I fell in love (with rockets, not with him – yet).

Anyways, it took until March for me to finally admit to myself that I liked this guy. I had this rule, and this rule was that I can’t date anyone in my major. I didn’t want things to get awkward in class if we had to work together or, worst case, broke up.

But in May, he asked me on a date. A real one. He picked me up, he held open doors, he paid for dinner. We talked about our families, I spilled my water. Then we got snowcones and held hands once we finished them.

Wow, I’m getting off topic. Anyway, here are 5 reasons why you should date someone in your major (or at least not rule it out):

22496016_10213982671551800_6443149928721585871_o1. They will understand your passions better.

I like airplanes more than rockets. Lucas likes rockets more than airplanes. But he knows about airplanes, and I know about rockets. So when he talks about various components of a rocket motor, or I talk about the finicky elevons on my delta wing, we get each other. And I get to see the way his eyes light up the same way, whether he’s talking about rockets or I’m the one talking about airplanes.

2. They get it when you complain about a professor.

They’ve been there, they’ve sat through the unfair grading or the speeches about “subordinate engineers,” and they’re on your side here. There’s no “well maybe you’re just being too hard on them” because they know for sure how evil the professor is.

18278995_10212405544564611_409713658227258815_o.jpg3. You have friends that overlap. 

There won’t be any “let’s hang out with my friends tonight and your friends tomorrow night” because chances are your circles overlap enough that you can hang out with both sets of friends. But if you came from the same major and not the same friend group, chances are you’ll also have some friends that don’t overlap, so the whole “I want a life outside of my relationship” thing can still be a thing.

4. They understand your time commitments when it comes to studying.

There’s a big difference between how much people study  and how they study when they’re in different majors. A biology student may study just as long as an engineering student, but how they study will be different. An architect and an engineer may study in the same way, but the architect will study longer. An education major may study the same amount as a biology major, but it will be in ways that look completely different. Dating someone in your major means they know you study, and they can even study with you.

IMG_9392e5. You get to share the best years of your life with your best friend.

When you date someone in your major, your best friend and your person are by your side through all the ups and all the downs of college life. They’re there when you’re awake at 3:00am finishing a homework assignment, they’re there when you’re crying because you actually managed to get a B on the test you thought for sure you were going to fail. While you will always get to share the little victories with your significant other, sometimes it helps when they’re right there, no matter what.

Now, don’t read this and say “Sam says I have to date someone in my major, but they all suck.” They probably do all suck. All the guys in my major suck (to me), except for one. I got lucky. But I found the person worth breaking my own personal rule for.

You probably have your own rules for yourself (i.e. no girls over 5’10” or no guys you meet at the bar), but hopefully this helps you start to look past your rules and see the person for who they are, or something cheesy like that.


Advice for Incoming College Freshmen

Well, it’s that time of year again. School is just around the corner. In about a month, you’ll be starting your first official year as a college student! Let’s be real, you’re probably feeling some weird combination of terrified, excited, nauseous, and strangely independent, all of which is very confusing (as if moving, starting at a new school, and meeting 5000 new people in one day isn’t confusing enough). So, what can we do about this weird combination of feelings?

Well, for one, I can offer you some sage wisdom (or something like that). You see, not only is this about to be my fourth (count ‘em, fourth) rodeo, but I specialize in helping incoming freshmen. I spent a year and a half as an RA, and I’ve spent the past year as an ambassador for my college of engineering, literally having the sole purpose of helping incoming and existing freshmen learn the ropes.

So, buckle up, because (and this is a long one, folks) here are Sam’s 20 pieces of advice:

  1. Make sure you have almost everything you’ll need for your dorm. Keep in mind that wherever you’re going will have stores, a fact your parents will point out multiple times, but also remind them that people will be coming from far away places, and they should get first dibs at the Wal-Mart shower caddies. (exception: if you are the one coming from a far away place)
  2. Play tetris with your stuff before the morning you move. Chances are you have a lot of junk, so don’t try to figure out how to make it all fit in the back of your hatchback the morning you head to school. Take some time in the days leading up to the move to make sure you have boxes that will actually fit in the back of your car.
  3. On the same note, don’t overpack. You need a lot less stuff than you think you do, I promise.
  4. Know that everyone is just as terrified/excited/nauseous/independent/confused as you are. You aren’t alone in this one. Which is strangely comforting.
  5. Once you get there, take note of what your RA actually looks like. I noticed this with my own residents, that even though I did their check in or filled out their paperwork, they didn’t realize I was the RA until about two weeks in. If you’re not sure who they are, or if they’re even an RA, let alone yours, just ask them. Once you figure out which one belongs to you, memorize their face so you know who to go to for help.
  6. Keep an open mind. Whether you’re meeting your new roommates for the first time or you were mildly concerned by your new neighbor across the hall, don’t make any opinions about anyone before you give them at least a week. Everyone is still figuring everything out, just like you, so don’t be too quick to judge.
  7. Let your parents/guardians/grown ups clean your room when you get there. They may not want to, but if they’re anything like my mother, they’ll only say they don’t want to and then start vacuuming and wiping down every surface they can find. Don’t try to stop them, just let it happen. They’re nesting for their little chick and it’s helping them feel better about abandoning you in a strange place.
  8. Don’t eat dinner alone in your room your first night. You don’t necessarily have to go out anywhere, you can eat Easy Mac, but see if your RA has anything planned or if there’s anything happening on campus. If not, take your Easy Mac or freezer dinner to the lounge and see who’s around.
  9. Introduce yourself to as many people as possible. It is perfectly valid to not remember their name during the first week, and this is one of the few times in your life it will be socially acceptable to ask everyone to remind you of their name 3 times in a row. But even if you can’t remember their name, you’ll recognize their face and feel more comfortable approaching them if you see them around campus.
  10. Find something that you’re passionate about and join a club or organization. I always tell my freshmen residents, as well as any incoming freshman I take on a tour to find at least two things they’re extremely passionate about. Find something within your college, like a professional society for your major, but also find something else. Whether that’s an intramural team or a hobby club (my favorites on our campus are the Lumberjack Club and the Cat Club), find what makes you happy and can give you a break from all of your classes. Now, keep i mind that you can join more than two clubs or organizations, but practice some moderation here. You don’t want to overextend yourself. You’re still trying to figure out where the nearest bathroom is from all your classes, you don’t need to try to conquer campus.
  11. Befriend an upperclassman. Preferably one in your major, but any will work just fine. What you’re looking for here is someone you feel comfortable asking weird questions to, like “SOS, I’m so lost where do I go from here,” or “Wait, which building was it where I can’t take the front stairs?” Also, they’ll usually have material from whatever classes you’re taking that they will be willing to pass on to you.
  12. Don’t put stuff off. It may not seem like a lot, but it definitely piles up. This applies to homework, joining that club, talking to that cute kid in your class, or confronting someone about that thing that upset you. Just shut up and do it.
  13. The only people you should worry about impressing are your parents and yourself. Make them proud, and make yourself proud, and you will have accomplished everything you should have set out to do during your time in college. Your GPA does not define you. It’s just a number.
  14. If the people you meet at orientation don’t become your BFFs, it’s not the end of the world. You have so much time ahead of you to meet the people that will stay in your life for years to come, so don’t stress about meeting them now.
  15. Be aware of those around you. For most of you, this will be your first time sharing a bedroom with another human, so be aware that they have lives and feelings, too. No one needs to hear you fornicating at 3 am. Also think about the other people in classes with you. Be respectful of not only your time, but the time of those around you as well.
  16. Learn how to bake awesome cookies. Everyone will love you. Note: any baked goods will suffice.
  17. Call home every now and then. Your family wants to hear from you and make sure you’re still alive and feeding yourself properly, so check in every now and then.
  18. DO NOT go home your first two weeks of college. You’ll be homesick, and that’s normal and expected, but I promise you that it will only be worse if you give in and go home. Besides, you’ll miss out on all sorts of opportunities to meet new people and get plugged in on campus.
  19. You might fail your first exam and that is just fine. I literally got a 22% on the first exam I ever took in college, and they’ve let me stick around for 3 whole years. College is different than high school, and the grades may be lower than you’ve been used to. Just power through and keep working hard and everything will be just fine.
  20. Ask for help if you need it. I don’t care what kind of help you need, but you can’t get it unless you ask for it. Whether it’s in your personal life or class, there is a human who exists for the sole purpose of helping you through anything you’ve got going on, so call your mom, approach your RA, go to your professor’s office hours. The resources are there, you just need to know where to look for them.

Now that you’ve read this, get off Tumblr and go introduce yourself to someone new (unless you aren’t on campus yet, in which case, keep doing what you’re doing).

Alrighty, that’s all I’ve got for now. Good luck to all of you, you’re going to rock the socks of your freshman year. Let me know how it goes!

Planning Supplies Inbound


First of all, I bought my Erin Condren planner for the upcoming school year (wow, that feels weird to say – do I really have to get a Master’s? What have I done?). I also have the Erin Condren Academic Planner waiting for me back in Oklahoma to try out for the a few weeks so I can give you guys a full run down of which on I actually prefer for school, pros and cons, all that jazz. I didn’t get one of the new ones, but I have one I picked up from Staples when it was on sale at the end of the Spring semester.

For this go around, I got the vertical layout in the colorful option, and my cover is Hexagons in Flamingo with my initials on it. I almost got a rose gold coil because it looked so darn cute with the flamingo colorway, but I wanted to leave myself with some options.

But I also got oodles of cute little icon stickers from Olivia Planner Factory over on Etsy. I love drawing little teeny icons in my planner, but it gets a little much sometimes, so I’m going to try out these adorable stickers for some of my more common icons.

Everything should be here within a couple of weeks, so we’ll do a run through of how I get my planner ready for the upcoming school year, and then a few weeks into the semester I’ll offer my two cents on the Academic Planner vs. the Life Planner.


If you want to get your own Erin Condren planner and want to save $10, just follow this link for your first purchase! If you want to wait until you see what I have to say on the two, that’s also chill.