TABOO TOPIC TUESDAY: GAP YEARS

It often feels like there’s a huge pressure for just-graduated high school seniors to rush right off to college to immediately continue the next phase of their educational life. However, after twelve years of education, the desire to drop tons of money just for four more years of school might sound truly dreadful.

However, more recently, gap years — a year off between high school and starting college — have become increasingly more prevalent and may even be healthier in the long run for students about to begin four years of higher education.

Here are a few reasons to consider taking a gap year.

IT CAN GIVE YOU A BREAK

Twelve years of school (in a row) is a lot! High school especially can be draining both physically and mentally, and there’s no shame in recognizing that maybe college isn’t the right place for you right now. A year off can give you time to rest, recuperate, and prepare for the next phase of your lfie.

IT CAN GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO EARN SOME MONEY

This might be a shocker, but college is expensive. Sometimes it just isn’t economically feasible to jump right into something that might cost you many thousands of dollars. Scholarships and financial aid are great, but if taking a year off to work and earn some money is the best way to ensure you’ll have a healthier and happier college environment, that might be the way to go.

IT CAN GIVE YOU OPPORTUNITIES TO TRAVEL

This, of course, depends on money and funds — you definitely shouldn’t take a gap year just to go into debt. However, some schools actually offer gap years where you get the opportunity to defer your acceptance and travel in the school’s name. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a prestigious Global Gap Year fellowship that allows the student to travel anywhere they want with a stipend given to them by the school.

IT CAN GIVE YOU SOME BREATHING ROOM

It can be tricky to learn who you are, what you love, and what you want to do for the rest of your life when you’re surrounded by four walls and mandated rules by an education system. Taking a gap year means that, at least on some level, you have a chance to focus on you. Maybe you learn that college in general just isn’t for you. That’s okay. Maybe you learn that all that free time makes you antsy, and you can’t wait to get back into the classroom. That’s also fine! It might be beneficial to take a year and figure out what it is you want before you jump right back into a rigorous academic setting.

With Hey! VINA, you can find vinas all over the globe, traveling on a gap year or not!

WORTHWHILE JOBS TO TAKE AS A COLLEGE STUDENT

Temporary jobs and paid internships are the holy grail of any career-building experience. However, you’re unlikely to snag one of these coveted positions unless you’re currently enrolled in college and can receive school credit for it or have the time to dedicate to a part-time position during the school year. If you don’t qualify for those positions but still want to get a worthwhile job, consider the following opportunities and start collecting above-average paychecks while getting a head start on developing valuable skills sets.

BE A RECEPTIONIST

A receptionist is often the first person that people will meet when visiting an organization. This means that they are poised to making unique and lasting impressions on everyone that they are exposed to. Along with having plenty of opportunities to expand your professional network, you’ll learn how to perform a great slew of office tasks and support regular business initiatives. In fact, many skills that you’ll acquire manning the reception desk are going to be transferable into other positions such as Executive Assistant or Office Manager.

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BE A RESEARCH ASSISTANT

There are plenty of opportunities on campus that you might not even be aware of. Helping college professors with their research is an amazing job filled with educational benefits of all kinds. Jobs like these are not only rewarding academically, but they can even help you tap into more advanced (and also lucrative) work down the road. Feel free to explore different fields of study if you have broad interests, as research is ongoing in every department and can even overlap across the physical sciences, technology, social studies and the humanities.

BE A FREELANCE PRODUCER

Are you amazing at social media management? Do you have mean writing chops? Are you an emerging talent in photography or graphic design? Do you know how to speak HTML and CSS? Market yourself to organizations and small businesses and unlock lucrative opportunities while building a very impressive portfolio that is sure to give you an edge when it’s time to apply for internships!

Whatever you do, make sure to give it a 110%. There is truly nothing quite like being a young person in college with endless opportunities and the drive to learn and grow. Hone in on your talents and interests and find the perfect job for you!

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BE A TUTOR OR JUNIOR COACH

Take advantage of your natural strengths! If you’ve had extensive experience in any particular sport, art, or craft you can pass your knowledge down to future generations and get paid supremely well while you’re at it. Help coach a youth sports team, work at an after-school learning center, or flex your entrepreneurial spirit and offer private lessons in music, art or specific subject matter.

Being a young professional is hard work. Find a vina to make this whole adulting thing more fun now!

HOW TO SAVE MONEY IN COLLEGE—YES, IT’S POSSIBLE

Let’s face it, vinas––college is hella expensive.

Between the overpriced tuition, meal plans, and activities and fun that comes with college life, it’s all too easy to spend way too much money during your college years. But, the magic that comes with all four of the years doesn’t need to come with that high price tag. 

These tips go beyond just getting a scholarship or job (those are recommended, though!) and go towards feasible tips for all of you college kids out there.

BE SMART WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD

It can be tempting to put all of your expenses on a plastic card and not have to think about it, but having a credit card can be tricky business. Yes, building credit is important, but if you don’t have a budget, it can be hard to manage everything. At best, only use your card for emergencies or be sure to pay the minimum balance that is due each month.

DON’T BUY NEW TEXTBOOKS!

College textbooks are notoriously known for being way too expensive. But fear not because there are other alternatives to getting new textbooks! Check out websites like Barnes and Noble or Chegg, which allow you to rent textbooks or buy used ones online. These books tend to be much cheaper in price and you are getting the same book for a fraction of the price. Another way to get cheap textbooks is to find a book exchange run by students at your college. Textbooks don’t have to be as expensive as you think!

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STUDENT DISCOUNTS ARE EVERYWHERE

Did you know that a lot of clothing stores, restaurants, and even select grocery stores offer student discounts? Check out sites like Student Beans and UNiDAYS to see what places offer discounts and if you qualify. Use your student status to your advantage. 

ATTEND ACTIVITIES ON CAMPUS

Oftentimes, going to places off-campus can put a strain on your wallet. But luckily, college campuses have dozens of events throughout the year that are free to students. Some college have free movie nights, public dances, and rad lectures from experts on topics you always wanted to learn about. (Plus, there’s usually free food!) Check out what events your school offers–you won’t be disappointed!

Need vinas to encourage you to save money? Download the Hey! VINA app today and get all encouragement you need!

5 WAYS TO TRANSITION FROM COLLEGE TO THE REAL WORLD

You made it, my fellow vinas. After living in the dorms and enduring countless nights in the library feeling completely sleep-deprived, you finally made it out alive and graduated from college! Your parents were crying at the ceremony and you celebrated with all of your friends. You deserved every second of the celebration. 

By now you have realized, “Oh, I have to enter the real world. Everyone else my age has their lives together. How did I get here?” Trust me, I graduated from college just a few months ago and have been asking myself the same question. 

Whether you’re a college senior or a recent graduate, here are some tips on how to transition from college to #adulting.

1. EMBRACE THIS NEW “NORMAL”

We all know at least one vina that calls her past “the good old days” because she is not ready to accept this new change in her life. So, help her come to terms with the fact that college is over and a new chapter has begun. Life is much more enjoyable when you are not pining for your former college days.

2. LEARN HOW TO COOK

Dorm life came with many benefits. One that included the year-round meal plan that made sure you weren’t starving to death between classes. Real life is not as kind (RIP to your wallet) which means you’ll need to learn how to cook for yourself. This trait also comes in handy when you want to impress your new vinas or bae. If making a full meal is too intense for you, start by mastering a few easy recipes like Insta-worthy eggs or avocado toast. It’s only up  from there!

3. TRY NEW THINGS

Create a new social circle by joining a book club, trying out for an intramural sport, or taking part in the choir class that you always wanted to try out. You could even attempt to be a part of a roller derby group, which apparently is a good way to get some exercise and meet new people as you bump into them on the track. You now have time to try out everything you’ve wanted to do, PLUS meet new vinas while doing it. 

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4. KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOUR COLLEGE FRIENDS AND OTHER VINAS

It’s hard to spend four years with the same group of vinas only to have everyone scatter across the country (or world) after graduation. The best way to keep those relationships strong is to keep in touch! It sounds obvious, but many people get too caught up in their new jobs and new lives and end up leaving their old friends behind. To avoid this, it helps to use different apps to stay in touch like Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Hey! Vina. Trust me, letting friends fall to the wayside = losing the support you need as you start this new stage in life.

5. RELAX…YOU WILL FIGURE THIS ALL OUT

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t have the hang of #adulting right away. It’s a whole new chapter of your life and can often be hard chapter to navigate. So, give yourself a break and take the time you need to figure out what is right for you. TREAT. YO. SELF.

The transition to #adulting doesn’t have to be hard when you have your vinas backing you up! Swipe right today!

10 WAYS TO BE A BETTER ROOMMATE

Having a roommate is tough, and sometimes being a roommate is even tougher. But there ar                                                                                           bbbbbbe things you can do to make it better.

Here are 10 ways to not annoy the heck out of each other this school year:

1. GET TO KNOW YOUR ROOMMATE

For starters, familiarize yourself with their habits and schedule. Ask them questions like, “Are you a morning person or a night person?” and “What are some of your pet peeves?” Take the time to get to know them and you may realize you have more in common than you think.

2. BE FLEXIBLE AND COMPROMISE

Communication, communication, communication! College is a great time to practice communicating and compromise, which means meeting your roommate halfway to reach an agreement.

3. CREATE A CONTRACT

Whip out the Notes app on your iPhone and make a contract together. It can clarify everything from quiet time to cleaning duties to sleepovers with your respective partner(s). Talk about how you will all resolve issues and what happens if a roommate doesn’t follow the contract.

4. RESPECT SPACE

Since you are sharing a space with someone else, setting boundaries is important. You are spending a lot of time with each other, so it’s important to give each other your own space and respect each other’s belongings.

5. BE HONEST

Don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind. If you keep it to yourself, the issues will grow into bigger ones. It’s better to talk and resolve them early.

6. LEARN HOW TO RESOLVE A CONFLICT

Conflict with anyone you have a relationship with is natural, especially if you are living together. When you disagree, it’s important to know how to resolve the issues peacefully. Be calm, respectful and take turns listening to each other!

7. MAKE YOUR SPACE A HOME

Buy some posters, a rug, and plants. Add some personal flair. This will be your home and you want to make it fun and inviting for you, your roommate, and guests.

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8. YOUR ROOMMATE IS NOT YOUR MAID

We are all adults here and we need to clean up after ourselves. Pick up clothes off our bedroom floors, do the dishes, tidy up common spaces and the bathroom. Making up schedules (see #3) is a perfect way to make it fair.

9. SHARING IS CARING

We all borrow things. We take care of them and then we put them back when we are done with it. If we use it up, we let each other know and replace it, but you and your roommates need to be on the same page when it comes to what is OK to borrow. When it comes down to it, always ask.

10. DO THINGS TOGETHER

Cook dinner or meal prep. Get food together, go to a show on campus, watch T.V., or host a party! Do something that brings you together and these bonding experiences will help build that relationship so that you can live together instead of living separate lives.

Living with a complete stranger can be difficult, but follow these tips and you’ll be good to go!

Are you looking for a roommate, or do you want to meet new vinas at your school? Start swiping here

THE VINA GUIDE TO DEALING WITH HOMESICKNESS

For many people, moving away from home for the first time can be particularly daunting. Maybe you are moving to college or maybe you are just starting a new adventure in a new city. Whatever the reason, we can all feel a little homesick from time to time, especially on those nights when all you need is a cuddle from your mom!

So what can you do to reduce the homesickness? Using my own experience of living away from home, I have created my top five tips for dealing with homesickness and making the most of your time away from home during your new adventure.

1. CREATE YOUR OWN LITTLE SANCTUARY

Especially for students, your new pad is likely to be shared, often with your bedroom being the only space that you can really make your own. Making your room as home-y as possible allows you to have your own little sanctuary where you can retreat to for some quiet time. Even the most sociable vina needs time to herself! While I found this a great way to feel more at home in your new surroundings, it’s important not to spend too much time alone in your room. Balance is key.

2. CALL HOME (BUT NOT TOO MUCH)

Thanks to tech, it’s super easy to stay in contact with friends and family while living away from home. Keeping up with them can be very comforting. Perhaps calling your mom to tell her about your day or your vina to talk about your new potential bae! However it’s important not to overdo it. Ringing home too much can make it more challenging to get on with your own life or thrive without the comfort of parents or close vinas.

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3. FIND A ROUTINE

It can be helpful to be in a routine, especially with activities or schedules you used to do at home. This creates a sense of normality. For example, if you regularly went to the gym at home, find a new gym in your new city. Look to join any similar clubs or activities you may have engaged in at home within your new city. This is also a great way to meet new people!

4. KEEP BUSY

Make the most of your surroundings! Go and explore all that your new place has to offer. Look up all the local hotspots, and get involved in local culture. This is a big world and there is lots to see in it. Even if you have only moved one town over, you can bet there are new restaurants, parks and museums to be explored! Keeping yourself active and busy will give you less time to miss home.

5. SET UP A NEW NETWORK OF PEOPLE IN YOUR NEW TOWN/CITY

This is my best tip of all. Having new people to talk to and make plans with will make you feel less lonely and therefore reduce the homesickness! The absolute best way to combat homesickness is through making new friends. Go out, meet people and say YES to plans when people ask. And of course, get chatting on Hey! VINA!

It can take time adjusting to new places and situations, but with these tips, hopefully you will spend less time feeling homesick, and more time having a whole lot of fun on your new adventure!

New in town? Explore our app and meet new vinas!

5 EASY WAYS TO MEET PEOPLE AT YOUR NEW SCHOOL

Starting at a new college brings a whole mix of emotions: Excitement, nerves, and some anxiety. It’s never easy to start in a brand new place, especially if you don’t know that many people. Luckily, Hey! VINA is a great way to meet new friends, but there’s other things you can do to expand your social circle. Here’s our top tips:

1. LIVE ON CAMPUS

If you’re heading off to a university, try living in the dorms even if just for the first year. This automatically places you with another roommate who is going through the exact same thing as you are. Meeting vinas in your dorm means you can bond over being freshmen right away. Also, many student living facilities offer regular planned social activities (usually involving free food!) where you can meet, connect, and get to know others who live in your building. Because you’re living with these awesome new vinas, the chances of at least one of them becoming your new bestie are very high.

2. JOIN A STUDENT ORGANIZATION

Not only do all schools have student groups, but they’re the best ways to meet other likeminded vinas that could be your new potential posse. From religious groups to sports teams to Greek life, there are tons of organizations that could be your future vina group. If you’re not sure what the school offers, a list of their clubs and organizations can usually be found on the school website.

3. VOLUNTEER 

While volunteering looks great on your resume, it’s also a fun way to meet other vinas who care about the same causes as you do. Generally, volunteer opportunities can be found through clubs and organizations, or through the school itself.

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4. ATTEND EVENTS

The school or university also may offer social events, especially in the beginning of fall semester, to allow all the new students to mingle and meet new classmates. Go!

5. JOIN HEY! VINA

Download our app to connect with other females around you. And if you are studying abroad, just make sure to update your location settings. Make sure to join new communities on the app as well!

Good luck!

Start swiping on Hey! VINA right now!

 

COLLEGE DORM ROOM SHOPPING CHECKLIST

Feeling excited to start packing for college and don’t know where to start? Here’s a checklist for you and your vinas!

BEDROOM ESSENTIALS

  • Alarm clock
  • Bed linens (pillowcases, blankets, bed sheets, comforter/bedspread)
  • Pillows
  • Mattress pad
  • Your wardrobe
  • Clothes hangers
  • Desk lamp
  • Laundry basket, laundry detergent, and fabric softener
  • Storage boxes
  • Shoes
  • Decoration (posters, pictures, lights, etc)
  • Mini trashcan
  • Extra-long chargers
  • Extension chords
  • Bed risers

BATHROOM ESSENTIALS

  • Bath towels
  • Bathrobe
  • Flip-flops
  • Shower tote
  • Brush/comb
  • Nail clippers
  • Hair dryer, straightener, curling iron
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Cotton pads and swabs
  • Makeup
  • Makeup remover
  • Makeup brushes
  • Shower soaps (shampoo/conditioner, bath gel, face wash)
  • Toothbrush (toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, etc)
  • Skincare routine (toner, moisturizer, eye cream, face masks, etc)

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SCHOOL ESSENTIALS

  • Laptop
  • Printer paper
  • Pens/pencils/highlighters
  • Notebooks
  • Folders
  • Index cards
  • Sticky notes
  • Paper clips/ binder clips
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Backpack

KITCHEN ESSENTIALS

  • Plates
  • Trash bags
  • Paper towels
  • Dish soap
  • Sponge
  • Ziplock bags
  • Bowl, plate, cup
  • Water bottle
  • Silverware
  • Pots and pans
  • Can opener
  • Surface cleaner
  • Storage containers

Now you’re ready to move in!

New school=new vinas! Download the app and meet new vinas once you get to campus.

 

HOW TO MAKE YOUR DORM ROOM LOOK 10X BIGGER (AND CUTER)

It’s the thought on everyone’s mind in the months leading up to your first year at college: How will I turn a tiny room that I will share with a complete stranger into a comfortable, deceivingly-large, aesthetically-pleasing home? Your dorm room is where you will spend a lot of time— you’ll sleep there, study there, and at times eat there. It’s important that it is homey, and that you don’t feel like you’re a sardine packed in a can. Read on for a few tips to make your dorm space a little spacier, and a little cuter, too.

BE PRACTICAL ABOUT WHAT YOU BRING

Step one is packing, of course. Make sure to remember, when you’re deliberating over what clothing items to bring, what books to tote with you, and how many pillows you will need, that you should only bring what you will really use. Debating whether or not to bring the blue sweater at the bottom of your drawer? Give it a week and see if you wear it— if you don’t, it doesn’t need to come to college with you. Keep in mind that for every item you bring, more space is lost in your already minuscule dorm room.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO DIY

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Photo provided by Charlotte Armstrong

It’s natural to want to cover those blank, glaring walls with something more your style, which is why a lot of people hang photos or tapestries on them. But don’t be afraid to make something yourself! This will only make your room feel homier and more you. This year, I decided to try something new and crochet a rainbow for my wall. I got the idea from my favorite Instagram account, @madebylondon. I went out and bought my yarn and needle and managed to make a pretty good rainbow, which I’m very excited to hang on my wall! Another DIY idea is a nifty cord organizer, which separates and labels your cords for you. No tripping over cords or wasting time wondering which charger is which!

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CONTAINERS

Containers are your saviors when it comes to dorm rooms. Leave no container unturned when hunting for the perfect laundry basket, storage bins for clothes, shower caddies, etc. For my freshman dorm room, I had a hanging beside caddy which hung off the side of my lofted bed. I kept chargers, books, my laptop, and more in it. This would be very useful for anyone who’ll be spending their freshman year in a bunk bed, because you’re up too high for a bedside table! Whether your bed is elevated or not, tables take up room. There’s no need for one if you have a hanging storage container! I also had a collapsable box with compartments, in which I kept all my cosmetics, soaps, toothbrushes, and more. I had bins under my bed with for clothes, and my friend had a hanging shoe caddy for all her shoes, which cleared up a lot of space on her floor.

HAVE A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING, AND STAY ORGANIZED!

The best thing you can do for a spacious, tidy room is to keep it organized. If you keep your hairbrush in a certain drawer, put it back in that drawer when you’re done with it. If you take off your jacket when you come in your room, hang it up in your closet instead of throwing it over the back of a chair. If you open ten different books on your desk, while studying, clean them up when you’re done. Your room doesn’t need to be spotless, but it will be nicer to spend time in it when it’s relatively neat!

 

Tell us in the comments some of your freshman dorm ideas, and don’t forget to download Hey! VINA if you want to DIY your decorations together! 

(Featured image via Havenly)

MEETING YOUR BEST FRIEND’S BFF

Okay, let’s get one thing clear right of the bat; when I say “best friend” I don’t really mean best. Maybe you really do have only one best friend (if so I applaud you for finding that one magical person who you can assign the word “best” to); however, most of us have several “best” friends. I know, I know, the word best should really only be bestowed upon one individual or thing in a category… but I make exceptions for friends. I can safely say that I have (at the very least) two best friends, and limiting it to two makes my heart hurt a bit. So, to keep things simple, I call a lot of my friends best friends. As Mindy Kaling once said, “Best friend is a tier, not a person.”

Almost two years ago I left home for college and met a girl who quickly became one of my best friends. We clicked instantaneously and spent as much time together as was physically possible (let’s call her Maya). As I got to know her better, I learned a lot about one of her closest friend (let’s call her Amelia). It was a bit intimidating knowing that she had such a tight girlfriend who came before me but I did my best not to compare my character or my relationship with Maya to Amelia’s.

This summer both Amelia and I moved in with Maya. I felt a bit nervous. I was worried about feeling left out; worried about making Amelia feel left out; and even slightly worried that Amelia and I would bond and, in turn, make Maya feel left out.

I am happy to say that non of these fears have yet come to true, and I’m guessing that they won’t.

Here are my dos and don’ts and tricks for meeting your best friend’s bestie to make sure everything goes smoothly:

DON’T BE INTIMIDATED

It would only be natural to feel intimidated by your BFF’s BFF. But remember your friend chose to have both of you in their life for a reason. She sees different qualities in each of you; you both bring different perspectives into her life. You aren’t carbon copies of each other. So, that being said, just be you.

DON’T IMPOSE EXPECTATIONS

You’ve probably made up several scenarios in your head in which you meet your BFF’s BFF. Whether these imaginary meetings have gone smoothly or not, I think it is very important not to assume you already know this person. You may feel like you do, considering everything you’ve heard about them. Generally, it’s best to go into a new relationship without as few preconceptions as possible. Let them show you who they are.

APPROACH WITH THE INTENTION OF A RELATIONSHIP

It may be tempting to keep the relationship as a triad, and while that is a good idea as to not leave anyone out, do your best to cultivate your own relationship. There is almost guaranteed to be a moment where your mutual BFF is busy or distracted. If/when you find yourself in that position, things will be much more comfortable and relaxed if the two of you have you have built your own friendship.

ALWAYS INVITE EVERYONE TO EVERYTHING

That being said, never exclude anyone. That will only lead to hurt feelings. If you want one-on-one time with someone just wait for that time to arise on it’s own, don’t force it. Eventually you will get your time. But in the meantime, enjoy all the fun bonding with your new bestie via your older one!

Above all else, remember that your mutual best friend considers both of you to be her best friends. This means that you share at least some level of compatibility.

If you don’t even have one best friend yet (or if you want more), download the Hey! VINA app and get started meeting vinas in your neighborhood.

(Feature image via @hybridhues)

 

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