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Mia Brooks

Lifestyle

The College Chronicles: Roommate Blues

There are so many great things about college, from the parties and sports to the school pride. But there are also some not so great things about college and one of those things would be…roommates.

Before coming to college I’d heard so many horror stories about roommates that I was afraid to live on campus! After all, living with a complete stranger in a small contained space can get a little hectic. After having my share of roommate woes (especially as and when its 3 AM and your roommate is having a party five feet away from you) I have developed some tips (I call them the 3 C’s) to help you avoid the roommate blues.

Clean up after yourself.

You may throw your clothes on the floor and eat chips in bed, but you have to remember you’re not at home anymore. Be considerate of your roommate and try to stay organized. Making your bed and putting your clothes away will make your dorm room feel more comfortable and easy to move around.

Communicate.

There are no rules that say you can’t be cordial with your roommate (even if you really can’t stand them) or even friends. Your roommate lives with you so you’ll spend a lot of time with them and might have a few things in common outside of school. If not, having open communication from the beginning will help you guys when it’s time to discuss any disagreements or problems in your dorm room.

Compromise.

You may be a neat freak and like to alphabetize your lotion and smell goods but everyone is not like you and sometimes you can’t get your way. Your roommate may like to listen to music you don’t like or have company sometimes. It’s important to pick your battles and not to flip out over all the little things. Trust me, learning not to sweat the stuff with your roommate will be help you practice to do it in the real world.

What are some other tips you use to cope with your roommate? Do you have a crazy roommate story?

Share in the comment section!

Lifestyle

The College Chronicles: JSU Homecoming 2015 Edition

My favorite time of the semester has finally arrived — homecoming!

You know what that means, its time to turn up! Homecoming is the time to relax from our stressful college lives and do what college kids are “supposed” to do: party, party and party some more!

Although I fully endorse partaking in the turn-up, I don’t endorse acting a hot mess! Here are some tips to get through homecoming successfully. Whether you are a freshman or alumni, this guide is for you.

Dress appropriately

Homecoming (especially at an HBCU) is basically a fashion show. While its okay to dress to impress don’t forget to dress appropriately. If you know you can’t really walk in those heels, don’t wear them. You don’t want to be that girl who fell down the stairs at the club and has now gone viral. Opt for some cute and comfy wedges until you’ve conquered the stilettos. (Your feet will thank your later!)

Network

Even though homecoming is usually the time to get a break from college, it’s also a good networking opportunity. Sometimes celebrities and public figures visit during homecoming and you never know who you may meet. There are also many alumni with great connections walking through the campus who may be looking to recruit new talent. It wont hurt to talk to a few people and have your business card handy.

Know Your Limit

If you don’t pay attention to anything else on this list, I hope you’ll pay attention to this one. Knowing your limit is crucial to getting through homecoming successfully. There are going to be lots of parties and a lot of alcohol. It’s ok to have fun and let loose but please don’t be that friend who gets so drunk they are dancing topless on tables. Keep in mind that anything crazy you do can easily be shared on social media and can have lasting effects long after homecoming.

Spend Wisely

There will be so many things to do during homecoming week from step shows and the homecoming game to the after parties and clubs. While you may want to attend every event, your pockets may not be set up that way. You still have a life to live after homecoming and you’re gonna need your coins, so its wise not to spend all your refund or paychecks making it rain in the club (unless they plan to let you live there after you get evicted).

YOLO

College is where you will create some of your best memories with great people, so enjoy every moment of it while you can. Go to parties, drink a few drinks and laugh with your friends. Take lots of pictures and videos so you can look back on them and remember your glory days.

How are you planning to enjoy homecoming at your college? Share in the comment section below!

Random

The College Chronicles: Dating Expectations vs. Realities

I had just finished the first semester of my senior year and I was home for Christmas break. I was happy to finally be spending quality time with my family and to be able to take a break from my hectic college life…and to be finally eating real food!

Everything was going great and then it happened…

“So Mia, why haven’t you found a boyfriend yet?”

My grandma had asked the most dreaded question and suddenly all eyes were on me waiting for my response.

It wasn’t the first time I came home to questions about my love life and disappointing looks (even from my 5-year-old niece) as and when I’d tell them that I’m single for the fifth time in a row.

Whenever I go back home, I’m constantly reminded that my life is a little different from my peers. Most of my graduating class has skipped college and are in serious relationships and often raising kids, so it can be hard not to feel left out.

Even at the young age of 24, I feel the pressure from family, friends and colleagues to have a boyfriend, and even kids. I often find myself asking the same questions…why don’t I have a boyfriend? Should I date more? Am I missing something?

When I first transferred to Jackson State University from Minnesota, where I consider the dating scene to be very dry, I envisioned myself finding the perfect guy and having that romantic love story like on the movie Love & BasketballBut my story turned out a little different.

Attending JSU changed my life in a lot of ways. I’ve met many great people, gotten involved in great organizations, completed my first internship with Jessica and gained so much more self-confidence all while maintaining a 3.9 GPA!

None of that included finding my future husband and romantic weekend getaways.

I was stinging with envy whenever my friends talked about their relationships or when I saw a couple walking by holding hands until something hit me…I’m ONLY 24!!!

Those days of falling in love in college and having a family and house with a white picket fence all by the age of 26 are long gone.

The reality is that dating is hard, even in college. Some girls may come to college to find husbands but there are others, like me, who come to college to explore new opportunities, make connections and ultimately evolve into whatever woman they strive to be. Personally, I’m evolving into an independent business woman.

I realized that I can’t compare my journey to everyone else’s because we all follow a different path and I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

I may not be in a serious relationship anytime soon but I’m a young black woman defying the odds by doing something some don’t get a chance to do – graduate from college and chasing my dreams.

Lifestyle

The College Chronicles: How To Beat The “Freshman 15”

Most of us have heard of the famous “freshman 15” (when students gain weight during the semester) and if you haven’t heard of it, I’m here to tell you, it can be real…if you let it. Here are some tips on how to avoid weight gain and keep your summer body tight throughout the semester.

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Shop Smart – College food is going to get old, really fast and you’ll have late night study sessions as and when your stomach is rumbling and the cafeteria is closed so you will need groceries to survive. This is always one of the hardest parts about eating healthy for me. If you’re not a health guru it can be hard to know what groceries to buy. Shopping smart is the key the maintaining your weight in college. This was a hard lesson to learn after countless trips to Wal-Mart ended with me leaving with nothing but water, ice-cream and chips. (Don’t do this!) Luckily there are meal planning apps that will guide you through grocery shopping and help you pick out tasty and nutritious meals.

breakfastDon’t skip meals – College life comes with a hectic schedule and sometimes it can be hard to find time to eat, especially before your 8 o’clock class, but try not to skip any meals throughout the day. Going without food for long periods of time will cause your metabolism to slow down and you’ll most likely over eat at your next meal. If you don’t have time to have a full breakfast or lunch grab a few healthy snacks to hold you over until your next meal.

 

Cafeteria 101 – This is probably the most important step to beating the Freshman 15, since the bulk of your meals will be eaten in the cafeteria. If your school is like mine, the temptation to eat fried chicken and pecan pie all the time is real! if you want to stay fit, take advantage of the healthier options available like the salad bar and fruit. Ask for baked instead of fried fish and practice portion control to avoid overeating. Your waistline will thank you later!

drinks

Watch what you drink – Most people don’t realize that they consume way too many calories in their daily drinks. Try to limit the amount of soda, tea and alcohol you drink if you can’t cut them out completely and drink lots of water.

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Stay active- This is probably the hardest for those of you like me who hate working out, but it is crucial to staying in shape. Take advantage of your free campus gym because you’ll never have that again. If working out is just too unbearable for you, get involved in the free activities like yoga, aerobics and zumba classes. Whatever you do… don’t spend all your time sitting around. You can turn on some Beyoncé and dance in the mirror for 30 minutes as long as you’re active!

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Have fun and cheat a lil! – College is already stressful as it is, without the added pressure of trying to have the perfect figure. Don’t get so caught up in trying to maintain a perfect diet all the time that you’ve added a new class to your workload. It’s ok to indulge in your favorite fast foods and enjoy that strawberry cake from time to time, as long as you get back on track. If you do gain a little weight in college, so what?! Don’t beat yourself up about it, it’s a process that we all go through.

Your Turn to Talk…

What are some tips you use to stay fit in college?

Lifestyle

The College Chronicles: 5 Ways to Organize Your College Life

Being in college comes with all new responsibilities and challenges. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right balance between all of your classes, extra curricular activities and your turn up time – but if you want to be successful, you have to get organized.

Whether you are a freshman, senior or non-traditional student, you will soon realize time is precious and you can’t afford to waste it because you’re unorganized. I’ve developed some ways to organize my college life and get stuff done and today I’m sharing my tips with you!

Tip 1: Write it down!

Homework, meetings, practices…whatever it is, write it down. Most of the time you’re going to have a full schedule so it’s really easy to forget you had a meeting with a professor or that you told your friend you’d help them study.

I like to use a planner, because it basically organizes your whole semester for you and they are small and easy to carry around for last-minute changes. There are also planner apps you can use on your phone for fast access. If you don’t like planners you can use a note pad to create daily to do lists. Write down your tasks in order of importance and check them off as you complete them. Writing down your schedule and planning ahead will eliminate 90% of college anxiety and procrastination.

Tip 2: Get Off the Internet!

Yes, I’m telling you to get off Facebook and Instagram but only for a little bit. I love going on social media and surfing the web but  I find myself getting distracted as and when I’m supposed to be focusing on something. I could be happily blogging until I see one of my friends tag me in a post on Facebook. Then suddenly I’m FaceTiming, scrolling Instagram and watching my favorite YouTube videos. I’m learning to unplug myself from social media and the internet while I’m working. If you can’t resist social media on your own, there are apps like Self Control to help you maximize your productivity.

Tip 3: Plan ahead!

Plan Ahead, Plan Ahead, Plan Ahead! I can’t say this tip enough. This can go for everything from homework to your outfit and hair for the next day. Whenever I forget to set my clothes out for the next day, check/send emails, set my alarm and stock my book bag, I start the day feeling like I have to play catchup. Planning ahead has been my biggest timesaver ever and has helped me stay on track throughout the week.

Tip 4: Clean your room!

I know, you’re in college now and you finally have the freedom to keep your room as dirty as you’d like without your mom bugging you to clean it up. But having a cluttered room can actually make it hard to find the things you need. This goes for your desks and work areas too. It’s much easier to get things done when everything is clean, organized and ready to go.

Tip 5: Do it now!

Because of your busy schedule, it can be tempting to use most of your free time to nap or watch TV. This is fine sometimes, but if you’re sitting in your room with nothing to do it would help you a lot to use some of that free time to start on researching for that five page paper or looking over your notes for tomorrow’s exam. Do it now and you’ll be ahead of the game!

One thing to remember about college is that it is a learning process and you’re not going to have it all together in the beginning. Try your best and you will eventually see the results you want.

Read more from Mia on her blog the sista project