3 Things I’m Glad I Did in College (and 3 Things I Regret!)

Ok, confession…I’ve had this post sitting in my “drafts” folder since FEBRUARY. I know. Every time I looked it over, I felt like it was too geeky or too personal or too college-search-self-help site-esque to publish, if that makes sense? But I’ve decided to run it this week, because 1) I’ve loved some of the more introspective posts that a few of my favorite bloggers have been posting over the past few weeks, and 2) Reunion is right around the corner (it’s this coming weekend!), and I’m feeling nostalgic. 🙂 I’ve kept the text the same as it was when I wrote it several months ago, so it isn’t totallyyyy up to date, but the sentiments remain the same!

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I’m starting to plan for my 5-year college reunion (so, so pumped!) and I’m getting just a little sentimental about going back (although I’ve already been back once in 2016 to move out my sister after her freshman year, once in 2014 for our one-year reunion, and honestly should’ve gone back way more than that). On that note, here’s a little look back at what I’m thankful I did in college and what I wish I did differently (though to be honest, I’m sure the things on this list could change depending on the year/month…these are just a few I could think of at the moment!).

Things I’m glad I did:

Picked my specific major. Most of my friends in college were either bio or econ majors, and while I never felt any pressure to pursue those paths (despite being the daughter of an econ professor, oops!), sociology was still less common compared to things like government, English, and psychology. Freshman year, a friend’s (now ex) boyfriend even went as far to basically tell me that what I was studying was worthless and he couldn’t respect anyone who majored in that field (although I think he felt that way about anything that wasn’t econ or a hard science…) which was just straight up rude but didn’t really phase me because I loved what I was doing! I think I called my parents after and was like, “What just happened?!” I really appreciated how small my major was and how it didn’t necessarily draw one type of person. That said, there are totally times I wish I could go back and do something completely different, although I’m not sure what I’d choose.

Yes, I may have "hired" a photograph on my newspaper staff to do a campus photo shoot of my friend group senior year...

Continued branching out senior year. I was texting one of my friends (who I met senior year!) the other week and was telling her that honestly, 75 percent of the people I’m close with from college and talk to on a daily/weekly basis are people I met senior year (aside from the 5 girls I’ve been close with since day one/freshman year, several of whom are pictured above!). I remember being in New York the summer before my senior year and being so excited to go back to school but also feeling terrified that I’d already “met” everyone already (not an uncommon feeling on a campus with 1,800 students). And while I loved my group of friends (I seriously miss them every day!), I kind of wondered, “what now?”

However, whether I met them in class, at our campus pub (ha!), through an extracurricular, or through a mutual friend, some of these “newer” friends–who are both guys and girls–have become my biggest champions and supporters and are people I can talk to about literally anything and have had many a tearful phone call with over the past few years. Even if you feel super comfortable among your small group, it doesn’t hurt to go outside your comfort zone a bit and branch out. Plus, these new people will likely have their own little close-knit groups, and it can be SO refreshing to meet someone who is outside of your circle and can serve as an objective sounding board on any issues going in within your little group, and vice versa!

Lived on campus. While only a small percentage of people at my college lived off campus, it was still a somewhat popular thing to do senior year (as was living in an on-campus apartment). However, I’m happy I chose my little dorm room and could eat in the dining hall every night (seriously, the things I would do to not have to buy food/cook my own dinner…). Living on campus made it easy to get around during the day and was a “luxury” that you just don’t have in real life!

As for what I regret…(um, does graduating count? I want to go baaack!): 

I (kind of) wish I’d studied for the GRE while I was IN college. Taking it a couple of years later wasn’t a huge deal (plus, I was fortunate that 1) I had a work situation that was very 9 to 5 and allowed me to duck out on time to study, and 2) said work situation didn’t require any weekend assignments, which meant that I could spend entire Saturday mornings taking practice tests). However, during my senior year, I definitely had enough downtime that I could’ve studied here and there, and the material would have been more fresh (but for the sake of my social life, I’m glad I didn’t! It was much easier to turn down going to bars or hanging out with friends in “real life” than it ever was in college).

Being so hard on myself. Not necessarily in terms of school specifically, but more in terms of how much I lacked confidence in myself and worried about what other people thought. (Turns out, a lot of people felt the same way, whether they felt “stuck” portraying a certain image in a friend group or just didn’t love their time in college that much). I definitely beat myself up too many times and try to do less of that now!

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Not doing more things in Maine. This seems like a dumb, cop-out answer even as I’m writing it, but I definitely could have taken more advantage of the things right in my college’s own backyard–Maine’s called Vacationland for a reason! Granted, I don’t ski/drive so I was missing out on a pretty major activity/had more difficulty getting off campus (they still don’t even have Uber in my college town!), but I wish I had done things that were even as simple as trying the ice cream place down the road before senior spring or taking a trip to Acadia. However, in the grand scheme of things, I still did a lot of stuff when I could (plus, it’s kind of like living in DC…you only do the “touristy” things when people are visiting), and as for the rest…I suppose a few more trips back are in order!

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Modern Maine Moodboard

My friend and former classmate Nikki (who I met in Spanish class my freshman year of college!) reached out the other day letting me know that she and her boyfriend just bought a house in downtown Freeport, Maine! They’re looking to create a “modern Maine look” featuring “mostly neutral colors with splashes of navy and a reddish coral,” and are hoping to mix in some antiques along with newer pieces.

Of course I immediately said I was on board to scour the internet for some fun pieces to match their style. After browsing a few of my favorite sites, I immediately found tons of amazing items that I’m hoping match the vision that she has for the house.

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Among adorable home goods from .L.Bean are this nautical door knocker and striped throw pillow, as well as the fitting Freeport sign.

 

A tall plant, whether real or fake, is always necessary to add some life to a space.

A velvet navy blue bench with gold legs brings some modern glam to the space–and would look great draped with this coral patterned throw–while the coral ottoman can double as a foot rest and extra seating for guests.

A coffee table book with a Maine touch is key!

These baskets are 100 percent functional for farmers market runs but also make great decorative accents.

Fun ceramic berry baskets play up the “Maine blueberry” connection and also add a touch of order to the kitchen.

The best wall art is witty without being cheesy. This historic phrase fits well with the Maine theme.

When putting a space like this together, it’s easy to achieve a cohesive, collected look by setting out with a color scheme as Nikki did and shopping around different types of stores–the worst mistake, in my opinion, that someone can make is ordering everything from the same place. Your space will look more like a showroom than a home, and you’ll miss out on finding those special finishing touches that tie the whole place together. Adding local finds is always a great choice–Nikki mentioned that the L.L.Bean flagship store in Freeport has some great Maine art that they don’t sell elsewhere–and eye-catching artwork also helps a space reflect its owners and truly feel like home.

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Colorful Rugs Under $150

My friend Sara texted me the other day looking for advice as she shopped for a rug for her entryway. She lives in an adorable studio apartment in my neighborhood and has the coolest mix of furniture and accessories–items she picked up while serving in the Peace Corps, like a set of woven African baskets, colorful artwork, and my favorite, an old-fashioned mint green diner table that she inherited from her great-grandmother.

Sara’s apartment largely is a mix of pink, mint, and brown, and she wants to find a rug that’s 1) under $150 and 2) is warm and welcoming. She has plenty of floor space to work with, but the trick is to find an affordable piece that ties the room together.

Here are a few of my favorite finds:

Turkish rugs are having a moment, and for good reason! I love the one I ordered on Etsy earlier this year and constantly swoon when I see pretty patterns in other people’s homes. The trick is finding a nice piece at the right price–Turkish rugs can go for hundreds. However, I’ve found many Etsy shops that have reasonable deals–for the real thing–and also ship items out speedily!

Sara and I liked this rug a lot, but it’s too small to meet her needs. However, the colors and pattern were just what she had in mind!

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This muted style would go well with her light pink duvet color and mint green accents.

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Similarly, this one would also look gorgeous in her space.

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Target has some great rugs that are larger and still more affordable. I particularly liked these two styles for her space.

This is technically $9 over budget, but it’s a great size and shade.

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This one is such a steal at less than $70!

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This one is such a steal at less than $70!

 

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