I Didn’t Spend Any Money for a Week and This is What Happened

Her Campus

Originally published on March 17th, 2018, on Her Campus UCF.

Money. It’s the thing everyone wants, but no one has. Especially in college, where it flies out the window faster than anything else. If you’re like me and have a real spending problem, it might seem next to impossible to cut out spending from your day-to-day lifestyle, especially for seven days straight. So naturally, I challenged the “impossible” and decided to not spend a single cent the week prior to spring break.

The rules of my challenge were simple: don’t spend a dime. This meant no cash, credit, or gift card transactions at all; no purchases, whatsoever. In theory, this was a great idea for a broke, unemployed college student like myself, but I soon learned that something I believed was a bad habit, is such a daily essential.

Day 1, Sunday:

The first day started out super easy, mostly in part by the fact that I didn’t even leave my apartment. I started off the day with making a super delicious brunch using items I already had. Not only did it feel amazing to have a great breakfast for free, but it made me feel put together that I could create a meal from scratch, that tastes just like the ones I buy at a diner. Following that, I made sure to eat some leftovers for dinner that I needed to get rid of anyway. Reduce, reuse, recycle…right?

Day 2, Monday:

Day two and I already came close to dropping $30 online shopping. After being rudely awoken by the sun, I was so close to smashing that “order” button on the black-out curtains that have been sitting in my Amazon shopping cart for the past couple months. But in that very moment, I got a message from above, in the form of a balance notification text from my bank account, and I immediately closed out of the tab. Instead, I draped a large gray blanket over my curtain rod and rolled back over to catch a few more hours of sleep. By the time I had to go to class, I made sure to pack lots of yummy snacks to bring to campus so that I wouldn’t need to have a stare down with a vending machine. I finished up the day with a homemade dinner, and I can basically call myself a chef now, right?

Day 3, Tuesday:

Tuesday’s are great days to be broke because I attend my weekly cooking class. In this weeks class, we grilled steak, roasted a rack of lamb, and ate like champions. For free. God bless my hospitality major for allowing me to eat well, while still rocking it at my no spend challenge. And because we practically cooked a feast, I was able to have both my lunch and dinner taken care of. Thank you FSS 2221.

Day 4, Wednesday:

Ah, halfway through. Wednesdays are my date nights with my boyfriend, so I was trying to come up with a creative way to not spend money, while still having a great time. Typically when we are broke, we just cook for each other, but this week he surprised me with buying me a sushi dinner that I have been craving for ages. What a good boyfriend. In following suit with not spending money, I cashed in my “Free Boba Tea” in his name as a thank you.

Day 5, Thursday:

Thursday was my last day of classes before spring break, and of course, I wanted to celebrate. But instead of going out or spending money on something pointless, I found a free event on campus that I was able to attend. It was Painting with a Twist style, minus the twist, where a fellow Her Campus writer and I were able to create free art with the instruction of how to complete it. I was able to walk out of there with a 10×12 canvas, a gift for my boyfriend, and great new memories. And I didn’t have to pay a cent. Thanks, UCF!

Day 6, Friday:

Fridays are my lazy days, so luckily I put off spending money by spending my day in bed instead. I caught up on some homework and TV and snacked on food around the house. When dinner time finally came around, I was able to cook up some steaks from the freezer (I really love steak) and make some side dishes from ingredients I had in my pantry. Six days without spending any money has been a success.

Day 7, Saturday:

Because all good things have to come to an end, Saturday I caved. Some may call it a cheat day, but I call it “a well-earned treat”. On the final day of this challenge, my friends and I headed to the beach, and instead of being smart and bringing snacks from home, we stopped at a diner to grab lunch. I admitted defeat, and it tasted like loaded French fries. Not the worst flavor in the book.

It was crazy to me how simple it is to avoid spending money, but you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. After this challenge, I can definitely see myself cutting down on my spending habits because it really made me ask myself “do I really need this?” with each purchase. Yet unfortunately, spending money is required for surviving, so if we must do it, at least we can be frugal about it. If you’re looking to cut out spending from your daily habits, my tips are to start small and think about necessities versus splurges, and you’ll be well on your way to being fiscally savvy.

Me, on the other hand? I’m just excited that I can make a run through the Starbucks drive-thru without feeling guilty this week.

xoxo,

Why You Shouldn’t Be Sleeping on “American Idol” This Season

Her Campus

Originally published on March 14th, 2018, on Her Campus UCF.

“Wig, okay.” “Wig? Did you just say wig?” “Yes” “I know, wig, I feel that already.” If you have fallen in love with the “wig” kid, aka Noah Davis, then it’s time for you to fall in love with American Idol as well.

The singing competition that we have grown to love over the years, was taken away from us in 2016. Along with that, my childhood dreams of auditioning in front of the celebrity judges were thrown out the door. American Idol was the first reality show of its kind, that has led to many copycats over the years, yet it has always held a special place in all of our hearts as the OG.

After binging the final season a few years back, I was taken aback by beloved host Ryan Seacrest signing off the final episode with “Goodnight America… for now”. Since that moment, I have been waiting in anticipation for a revival announcement and was blessed with one this past spring.

This time around, ABC decided to pick up the show, with a brand-new set of judges, featuring Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan, as well as a rumored new host. The judges have changed over the years, so that wasn’t as concerning as the scare for a new host. Ryan Seacrest has become one of the leading icons of the series, and I knew it wouldn’t be the same without his personality.

But alas, the rumors were fake, and Seacrest was signed back on for the 16th season of American Idol. This revival has brought back the nostalgia factor of our beloved singing competition and has me all in the feels. As I’ve been catching up with the auditions this week, I can’t help but reflect on all the memories I’ve made through this show.

I fell in love with the competition back in 2009 When my first childhood crush, David Cook, dominated the stage and blew the competition out of the water. I was only in fifth grade at the time but watched every season following that. I had daydreams of auditioning and befriending the original judges, Randy, Paula, and Simon, despite my obvious handicap of being tone-deaf. I religiously streamed the final season, willing it to never end, yet delighted when my number one choice, Trent Harmon, took home the final win.

I grew up with this reality TV show, and it introduced me to the wonderful world of music, and I’m over the moon to have it back on the air. If you haven’t begun watching this season, you can tune in to ABC Sunday and Monday nights at 8 pm to catch up with all the exciting auditions.

American Idol is back and bigger than ever before, and I’m ecstatic to have it back in my heart. Don’t sleep on the competition this year, because I can already see some real superstars in the making. Noah and Katy and can vouch for the fact that this season already has their wigs snatched, and yours will be too.

xoxo,

What to Do if You’re Stuck at School During Spring Break

Her Campus

Originally published on March 7th, 2018, on Her Campus UCF.

Writers Note: This was originally written before making plans to surprise my family for spring break, but then uploaded to fake them out in order to keep the secret going.

Stuck in Orlando for spring break? Wow, first world problems, huh? Well when you’re like me and forgot to make plans, it sucks hearing about all the fun trips everyone is going on, knowing the furthest you’re going to travel is from your bedroom to the kitchen. But it doesn’t have to be that way, here are some fun things you can do around Orlando to keep the vacation spirit alive because even if we aren’t actually traveling anywhere, we love to brag about how we live where you vacation.

1. Make Lunch Plans with Someone Else Who Stayed Local

So chances are that not every single person you’ve ever met is abandoning UCF for spring break, so call up that girl in your accounting class, message that boy from your intramural team, and take the opportunity to get to know them better. It’s an excuse to leave the house, and you might come out with more friends.

2. Spend a Day at the Pool

It is Orlando after all, and if you don’t have a pool, chances are there’s one you can go to in a 5-mile radius. Take some time to chill out and work on that killer tan, so when you get back to class, no one will be the wiser that you stayed in town.

3. Splurge on amusement park tickets

You’re already saving a ton of money by staying home, so take a moment to treat yo’ self during the mid-semester slump and head over to Universal or Disney for the day. After all, people typically spend thousands of dollars to visit here specifically for that. Might as well take advantage of that student discount and enjoy the fun.

4. Hit The Beach

So it’s not Cancun, but Cocoa Beach is only an hour away, and Instagram will be none the wiser. Enjoy that sand and the sun, because it is spring break after all. Just remember to lather on the sunblock, because combating a killer sunburn after coming back to school will be a double loss.

5. Head Downtown

Downtown Orlando is full of hidden gems that deserve their own post but take a day (or night) to explore something new you haven’t done before. In the midst of hearing about everyone trying something new on their vacation, don’t get lost in your day to day routine. Try something new, and make an adventure out of your hometown.

See, Orlando isn’t too boring, huh? Make the most out of your staycation, and I promise you will make memories to last a lifetime.

xoxo,

 

The Power of Dressing Up

Her Campus

Originally published on January 31st, 2018 on Her Campus UCF.

Being able to roll out of bed and stumble over to class in whatever I had on the night before was an amazing luxury of living on campus. Who could resist an extra hour of sleep in exchange for not caring about what you looked like? It was convenient, and it was how I spent my freshman year, but it wasn’t me.

Growing up, I have always put a heavy focus on my appearance, even if that meant waking up an hour early to do my hair and makeup. Especially in high school where the hallways were runways, and fellow classmates were the judges. It was important to me to express myself through my clothing, and I would never leave home without pin straight hair and my favorite lipgloss.

Fast forward to the first week of freshman year. I started classes with the same mindset, but as the Florida humidity and the late nights studying caught up to me, I decided it just wasn’t worth it to waste makeup on a 50-minute lecture hall. So thus the oversized t-shirts and Nike shorts made their first-ever appearance on my body in a classroom setting.

Yet the comfortability and convenience didn’t make me feel that good. Dressing down knocked my confidence down a peg because I didn’t feel like myself in these clothes. Sure, it was nice to sleep a little bit longer, but I was no longer expressing myself through fashion.

Now that I live off campus, I have been able to dress better. It’s a strange correlation, but hear me out. Each morning, I get up and get ready to spend 4-8 hours on campus. In my mind, I can validate putting together a nice outfit since I’ll be spending so much time out of my apartment, rather than the 50-minute lecture I rolled out of bed for last year. By waking up and physically leaving my home to make a 5-minute commute to campus, I already feel like I’m doing something with my day, and therefore am able to be more put together.

Since I am living off campus, I do have to wake up about 2 hours before my classes start in order to get ready and get there, but in that time I am able to start my day off right. Dressing that confidence up with my favorite skirt or shade of lipstick makes all the difference in the world. I’m a huge proponent of the look-good-feel-good mantra, and this allows me to do so each and every day.

I’m not going out of my way to impress anyone, but instead, I’m spending this extra time to please myself. The power of wearing a cute outfit is strong enough to shatter all of my stress, and the confidence I am able to wear lights up my whole day. The extra half an hour of sleep is nice when you want a lazy day, but feeling put together and confidence gives me the power to conquer the world.

 xoxo,

What is “Her Campus”?

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So if you follow me on any form of social media, I’m sure your feed has been clogged with a multitude of articles I’ve been sharing the past couple of years. Most probably scroll past without a second thought, but some of you might be curious as to why I’ve been spamming your timeline with stories ranging from the best lipglosses to wear each season to the feminist agenda.

Her Campus is the number one online magazine for college women, that is made up of writers from all over the world. There are over three hundred chapters worldwide, hosted at colleges and universities ranging in all shapes and sizes. We write about nearly everything under the sun and love to share that work in hopes that readers can relate.

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Writing is our base, and what we specialize in, but over the past couple of semesters, we have been able to expand as a chapter and create a name for ourselves on campus. In addition to writing our weekly articles, we have hosted multiple women’s empowerment events, worked with the national chapter to put on a tour hosting multiple sponsors, such as L’Oreal and Aeropostale, and created a team that exhibits professionality and poise.

I got started in Her Campus UCF before my freshman year even began. I discovered the website late senior year of high school when I spent zero time studying and procrastinated all my work away by scouring the internet in ways to prepare for college. A simple search for the best study spots around UCF’s campus (hah, can you see the irony), lead me to find this host for incredible articles to get me ready for such a large transition.

I continued reading these articles sporadically throughout the summer and followed their Facebook page for updates on new ones being released. I didn’t even think to join the organization until months later, after I started my blog, and discovered it might be the perfect fit. So I found the new member applications, applied to be a contributing writer, and the rest is history.

Well actually, not quite history, since I’m still living in it. As freshmen year progressed, I began writing more and more than I ever had in my life, discovering my love for this newfound hobby. It wasn’t until my articles were continuously shared by HC’s national chapter that I thought I could be semi-decent at this.

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Towards the end of Freshman year, I nominated myself to be the social media director, on a whim, because I wanted to get more involved in this activity than ever before. I completely surprised myself, and earned the position, and began to learn the ins-and-outs of HC better than ever.

Through my position of the social media director, I learned how to promote events, schedule content, work with sponsors, design graphics, and more, all while completing a full-time internship across town. This role gave me so much more exposure to the interworkings of online marketing and promoting a brand, and I fell completely in love with that aspect, on top of all the writing I’ve been contributing.

I began translating these skills into my own personal brand when curating an aesthetic for my Instagram and reformatting my blog for the billionth time. After all, successful websites are constantly evolving and growing.

Come this past January, our current President and Editor-in-Cheif asked me, and my other blogger/girl boss of a best friend, Nicole, to take over for her next year. It was a crazy big honor because I had fantasized becoming President and Campus Correspondent (HC talk for a leader who corresponds with the national chapter’s office each week) my senior year, and here I am, an incoming junior with this position under my belt. It felt extra special because as much as I have been putting into Her Campus UCF the past two years, I’ve been getting that much and more out of it. It didn’t just act as a club that I went to once a week, but it became something that has shaped the way I have been living my life.

 

So as of right now, Nicole and I have finished our onboarding and training, and have officially assumed our roles as co-Campus Correspondents of Her Campus UCF. Her, taking up the role as Editor-in-Cheif, and me as President.

It is beyond exciting to be spending the next few semesters helping our team grow and fostering that special feeling I felt when I joined the team a few years back. So yeah, unfortunately for those of you who follow me on social media, you will continue to have your timelines be filled with all the wonderful articles from our writers that I have been sharing. And you should click on them and check them out too, as it’s incredible the words that have sprouted from our team’s keyboards and been uploaded onto our website.

I can’t wait to continue growing through this organization and hopefully inspire others to follow similar journeys as well. We don’t just write, we soar.

HCXO!

xoxo,

May the 4th Be With You

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May the fourth be with you. No, I’m not a Star Wars fan with a horrible lisp, just a Star Wars fan who loves to celebrate arbitrary holidays. Happy Friday, but more importantly, happy Star Wars day!

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I’d like to thank start off by thanking Star Wars for existing. As a kid, I never really understood the franchise, as I wasn’t wielding a lightsaber in the womb. Although I wasn’t raised on the ways of the force, like some, I grew an appreciation for the iconic movie series at the perfect time in my life. Late high school, where I could wear the “nerd card” on my sleeve and be proud of it. I mean I was already in marching band, so how much worse could my social suicide really get?

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Fortunately, I didn’t care and was able to fall in love with Han Solo, Lando, and Chewbacca. I instantly took a liking towards the rebel alliance, and when Disney acquired Lucasfilm, I knew I was destined to be a Star Wars geek from here on out.

 

Thanks to a galaxy far far away, I’ve been able to bond with so many different people and create friendships to last a few light years. I’ve discovered that a Chewie hug can make any problem disappear. I even spent this past Christmas with my old roommate watching the Star Wars Holiday Special that we like to pretend doesn’t exist. And my newly acquired box set will always provide the perfect date night with my equally geeky boyfriend.

 

Proud to wear my love for Star Wars on my sleeve, and to be binging episodes one through eight today to celebrate the holiday.

Have a nerdy Friday, and may the force be with you, always.

xoxo,

Sophomore Year Recap

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And just like that, I’m halfway done with my undergraduate career here at UCF. Wait, what? Where did the time go? Honestly, I wish I knew so that I could tell it to stop, take a breath and slow down. It feels like just last week I left Pittsburgh and jumped into my life here in Orlando, but that fact that we are coming up on my two year anniversary of moving here is absolutely bonkers. Yet sophomore year flew by faster than I could have ever imagined.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know that my I spent my fall semester interning at Walt Disney World as a participant in the Disney College Program. With that under my belt, the first semester of my sophomore year flew by. Upon being reenrolled as a student at UCF, I wasn’t expecting the next four months to occur in the blink of an eye.

I started out the semester strong, maybe too strong. I enrolled in 19 credit hours because I clearly enjoy making myself suffer. The average for students here is 15 credit hours per semester, and most opt to take 12. The maximum you’re even allowed to take is 17, so why I thought to override all the rules to take 19 was a good idea is beyond me. But I had to make up for spending a semester riding rollercoasters, so six in-person lectures and one cooking lab it was.

After a five-month hiatus from learning, it was time to kick it into high gear and take this semester by storm, all while getting adjusted to new living habits and extracurriculars. Three days before the semester began, I moved into my first big girl apartment, with my own bedroom and bathroom (!!!). I decorated to my heart’s content and renewed my lease so it will be my permanent home in Orlando at least until July 2019, if not longer.

Living near campus again meant I was finally able to get back into the swing of things with my extracurriculars, Campus Activities Board, and Her Campus. As a member of Her Campus UCF’s executive board, I was really able to let my leadership flourish this year. By the end of the semester, I was even appointed to be next year’s president and co-campus correspondent. I am beyond excited to lead my favorite organization down a path of success, as it has been one of my goals since my very first meeting freshman year.

After so many great things began happening to me here in Orlando, it was my mission to find a way to stay here through the summer. Thus, the job hunt began. Fortunately, I discovered an incredible internship opportunity early on in the semester to apply for. I spent a few months applying and going through multiple interviews before hearing the amazing news that I earned one of only two positions available. So this summer I will be working as a LEAD Intern for Bluegreen Vacations, a timeshare resort company, at their Orlando resort, The Fountains. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work in hotels and resorts, as it’s been one of my main goals within the hospitality industry. This program will give me the opportunity to rotate between six or seven different positions in the hotel, to learn what I have a liking towards so I can prepare for a management internship in that role. On top of that, the resort had discovered my writing and knack for social marketing and asked if I could work on doing some of that for their website, and of course, I was beyond excited to be offered the opportunity to combine two of my passions into one.

And a full-time job in Orlando means I needed to begin the car search so I could actually get to work each day. So thus began the stressful process that was buying a car in Florida, while my parents were still in Pennsylvania. But we survived, and I now have a beautiful baby girl to drive around town in, and I finally feel like I’ve made this city my new home.

So this semester consisted of murdering my sanity with way too many classes, working extra hard on extracurriculars, and becoming a real-life grown up. Too much adulting, if you ask me, but it had to be done. My social life? Hah, yeah it was basically non-existent, as you can tell, but taking a semester to advance and improve myself, was much needed, and will ensure a future full of opportunity down here.

I’m looking forward to a blistering hot summer like no other, and for it to go by as slooooowly as possible because the thought of being a junior in college is enough to make me want to puke. But if time has to move so quickly, I’m just overjoyed that I found the perfect place to live it in.

xoxo,