The Dragon Princess - Chapter Two

Thoughts on Graduation and Post-Grad Life

Reflections on graduation, what comes next, and the journey that lies ahead.

It’s weird to think that just last month I finished up my college career. It’s been a wild four years, and I’ve learned so much from them. I’ve made awesome friends, gone on adventures, found love, lost that love, learned skills to get me through the next chapter of my life, and a lot of fun along the way. Yet, with graduation comes a moment of bittersweetness. I can’t see my friends as often as I used to. I can no longer go on as many adventures, though hopefully that will change. And I’ve entered the even more wild world of adulthood and the job search every graduate faces.

That’s not to say there isn’t anything to be excited about. Recently, I started looking at jobs near the city, so I can be closer to some of my fellow alums. I have a set goal in mind for the next few months in terms of moving. And once I’m on my own, I can start planning adventures again. The future is wide open and full of possibilities if I’m willing to step out and take them. And that’s going to be the hardest part. I was never the go-getter type in high school or college. But now I get the chance to be one. And I intend to start living the life of one.

There will be some changes now that I’ve graduated. My content won’t focus as much on college topics, though I do intend to give some tips as the school year begins and around graduation time. Instead, I want to take a bit of a new direction. Graduation allowed me to not worry about schoolwork anymore, and I was able to think about my focus and where I want to take it. So, I want to start adding new topics to my blog as I move forward.

The first I’ve already started, which is geek culture. I’m a huge geek, not quite a nerd, and I love all things to do with fandoms and the communities that build around them. It’s incredible how people from all walks of life can sit down in one room, watch a movie or TV show, and gush about it for hours afterwards without one fight breaking out. It’s amazing, and so unique to fandom communities. I want to further explore this category and share my own fandoms with you guys.

The second is writing, which I’ve also covered before. I love writing fiction, and it’s my dream to become a published author, and even teach writing at a university. I won’t be posting stories per say. However, I do want to cover some writing tips for storytelling and even how storytelling has helped me with blogging, too! I’m also looking to start a Patreon for my stories, so I might post a few of those here as well! We’ll have to see how that all works out of course. But I’m really excited to tell you guys about writing stories and what goes into that.

The last thing I want to add is fashion. I know, it’s cliche, but hear me out. This isn’t regular fashion. One of my little known passions (and the reason my closet hasn’t had a makeover in years) is ethical fashion. Ethical fashion is a movement designed to produce sustainable and environmentally friendly clothing and decor without the use of mass production or slave labor. From thrift shopping to only buying particular brands, I want to cover how to shop ethically on a budget. It’s a really important humanitarian and environmental movement that puts the power in the consumer’s hands, not the business’s. And I want to show you guys how you can make this part of your routine.

Graduation is something everyone goes through at some point. It marks a change, an achievement. And for me, graduation means more than just an achievement. It marks the beginning. The beginning of a journey. And I hope you join me as I start off this new journey into adulthood. It’s not going to be easy. But that’s okay. Life isn’t meant to be easy. But it is full of adventure, and I look forward to seeing where this one will take me next.

The Dragon Princess - Chapter Two

Why Relaxing Is So Important

When you're swamped with work, relaxing is one of the most important things to do to stay sane

When you’re in college or out on your own in the real world, you can get really busy really fast. Work piles up, friends want to hang out, deadlines get closer, and your sanity slowly fades away with every passing week. Busyness is a necessary evil for us to learn and grow as individuals, especially as young adults. But it isn’t good to become obsessed with being busy. Relaxing is essential to keeping those last strings of sanity from disappearing. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to find time to relax. But it is important to find time after the busyness calms down.

A few weeks ago was one such occasion for me. I spent the entirety of the weekend before writing a paper 5-7 page due Tuesday, editing another paper due Monday, all while studying for an exam in a class I’m not enjoying all that much. Most nights I was getting to bed as late as 2 am and waking up between 7:30 and 8 am. And on the Friday that week, I also had another 8 page paper I had half-written, and another exam late in the day. So suffice to say that whole week was full of nothing but pain and sleep deprivation. And I’ve only just recently recovered.

It didn’t help that the deadlines snuck up on me, but not making the time to relax and plan was my biggest problem. Instead of splitting up the tasks into smaller chunks, I rushed into all of the tasks, trying to pace myself through each one. In the end I managed to get everything done on time, but at the cost of my well being. Taking some time to organize and setting aside time for relaxing would have been better. But I didn’t do that. So my relaxing time came after everything was over. It did make it easier to relax afterward, but it did cost me a bit of my sanity.

Next time, I’ll be splitting up the tasks and making time to relax. For now, I’ll go through the rest of the school year, and make sure I’m aware of what’s due when. It’s a good habit to build up, especially for after graduation. Out in the real world, there aren’t always chances to relax before the next big project is due. So developing good work habits in college is important for good work habits after college. At the end of the day, though, there’s nothing wrong with taking a little break and watching a video, playing a quick game, or even reading a chapter or two in a book. Until next time, and make sure to take a break every once in a while.

(This weekend, I will be at a convention for Japanese pop culture in Pittsburgh. If you guys want to see updates, check out my Instagram and Twitter feeds for pictures, videos, and news from the convention. I’ll have a vlog for you guys by Wednesday, and a post about it next week. Have a good weekend!)

The Dragon Princess - Chapter Two

Health Tips for College Students by College Students (and Grads)

Health tips for college students by college students and grads

Two weeks ago, I asked you guys what your tips were for staying healthy in college. Between the homework, classes, and the stress, self-care can be hard. However, millions of students have managed the struggle, and have been managing it for years. So, I decided to ask you guys what your health tips for college students were. Here are the results.

When it came to responses, a few people mentioned fitness and eating well.

“I think staying active is key. Go to a gym, go running, do something to keep yourself moving.” @Ianator647 via Twitter

“Oh I miss college… I was so busy that I forgot to eat and actually lost weight instead of gaining it like the stereotypes. However I definitely did not eat healthy, so I’d definitely encourage you to try to eat healthy meals and regularly.” @nics.niche via Instagram

But the biggest responses all had to do with sleeping and relaxing.

“Do not neglect sleep.” @dulcegabmedina via Instagram

“I make sure to get my 8 hours every night!!” @mydriftingdesk via Instagram

“Take time to relax” @fatoubbalde via Instagram

“I just graduated, and looking back the healthiest thing I did was sleep well and and for 8 hours minimum. When I worked with students I always said that all-nighters are not worth it or necessary, so my biggest thing was sleep.” Michelle A. via “Healthy College Living: How Do You Do It?” comments

The best advice came from Epicfield in the comments on “Healthy College Living: How Do You Do It?”

“I’m currently not in college, but I know what helped me when I was in school was to remember that sleep was important. DON’T PROCRASTINATE. I was Queen Procrastinator but then I realized that my health was going downhill … I started working ahead and got on track rather than waiting until last second.

I work full time now and I make sure I get 8 hours of sleep every night (or try to). I know when your schedule is in consistent, it can be really difficult, but TRY to be consistent. Going to bed and getting up at the same time can be super helpful!”

And there you have the top health tips for college students by college students (and grads). If you’d like to see the responses, they can be located here, here, and here. A big thank you to everyone who responded and participated! You guys were super helpful getting this list together! And if you want to see more “masterposts” like these, let me know in the comments! Until next time, readers, and stay healthy!

The Dragon Princess - Chapter Two

5 Beauty Tips for College Gals

fashion, beauty, blog, college, blogging

If you guys follow me on Instagram, you know most of the pictures I post are of me in makeup. Makeup and beauty are things I want to get better at, but it’s hard to when you’re in college. Even drugstore makeup products can be expensive, and buying a whole set of makeup can cost almost $90 if you’re doing it all at once. Adding skin care and other beauty products can rack of the price even more. So how does a girl in college or on a budget look good and take care of her skin?

While I don’t know all the tips and tricks, I’ve picked up a few things here and there from practice and watching beauty vloggers on YouTube. So here are my top five beauty tips for college girls or young women on a budget. Keep in mind that these tips aren’t solid as everyone’s skin is different, so these tips might not work for everyone.

1: You don’t need to use foundation

As a part of my daily makeup routine, I rarely ever use foundation. Partially because my skin is pretty clear and even toned, so I don’t need an extra product to achieve that. So if you feel like your skin is clear and even toned, you can just skip that step. Instead, you could try getting a tinted primer or BB cream instead to combine both primer and foundation steps. (Granted I don’t use primer or BB cream at all, so sometimes you can even skip that step if you want.)

2: Regular Dove soap is a good makeup remover

You don’t need a super fancy makeup remover and skin hydration lotion to still look and feel good. Dove bar soap is a good substitute for that and does a good job at removing makeup, even eye makeup. You will have to be careful about getting soap in your eye, so I would recommend checking out some makeup wipes for around your eyes.

3: Expired doesn’t always mean unusable

This one depends on what type of product. I’ve been using what are probably “expired” products for a while, and thankfully I haven’t had any problems. Again, that probably has to do with the fact that most of the makeup products I use are powdered makeup and not creams or things that can dry out. That being said, my mascara is guaranteed over three years old and surprisingly still holding strong. So check out how long different types of makeup last as compared to other types before you buy. This way you know you’ve made a good investment in the product you’re buying.

4: Powdered makeup is less likely to make you break out

We’ve all had those moments when we go to sleep after a long day and forget to take our makeup off. You wake up, realize what happened, and try not to panic about the effects of the overnight incident on your skin. You can avoid those kinds of panics by using powdered makeup over liquid. Powdered makeup is less likely to clog your pores because it’s loose and doesn’t completely cover your skin. It also comes off more easily, so keep that in mind when considering whether to use primer. If you have a little more money leftover from your paycheck or gift money, you can try mineral makeup, which is known to be better for most skin types. It is more expensive than drugstore makeup, and can be pretty pricey compared to brands like Urban Decay as well. So again, keep that in mind.

5: Drugstore makeup isn’t that bad

If you need a quick fix, or have just run out of your favorite blush, mascara, or eyeliner, drugstore makeup isn’t a bad option. Some brands use all natural ingredients in their products, and others have a strong reputation among most drugstore brands. My favorite picks for most of my options are Maybelline and then L’oreal for lipstick. I’m still looking for some better options in terms of ingredients, but I know that these brands haven’t been harsh on my skin. So if you’re looking to find a quick fix or replace a former beloved product, consider trying a few drugstore brands to find one that fits what you’re looking for.

And those were my top beauty tips for college girls or young women on a budget. Again, this most definitely not all the tips one could ever find, but these are the ones I’ve found most helpful for myself. They may not work for everyone, but I hope I was able to help a few young women out. Let me know if there are any other tips you’d like to see about beauty, food, fashion, or health for ladies on a budget. Until next time, readers!

The Dragon Princess - Chapter Two

Healthy College Living: How Do You Do It?

healthy, blog, college, health

One of the biggest struggles in college isn’t the load of homework or making new friends. It’s adjusting to living on your own, especially taking care of yourself. Suddenly, you’re responsible for laundry, food, and making sure you take medicine when you’re sick. It can be tough, especially when you’re used to someone else reminding you when to do things. And college is not an easy place to stay healthy. Between the number of students and the difficulty of keeping a campus of well over 2,000 students clean, illnesses have a high chance of spreading quickly.

Just about every year, several students get the flu or some illness at my school, so staying healthy is super important. This year, the flu (also called plague), a bacterial infection, and a cold have run through the student body, and so far I’ve come out not too terribly. I don’t have the best track record when it comes to staying healthy. My freshman year I ended up getting multiple colds that were extremely annoying. Sophomore year I continued to get colds. Junior year I came down with pneumonia during the fall, which really dragged me down. Thankfully, the second semester was a lot less crazy, and I only got a couple colds. So far, senior year has passed by pretty quietly. The worst I’ve gotten so far are two nasty colds and an injured foot. Not too shabby, considering how many students get sick at my school a semester.

On top of avoiding all the illnesses, staying fit is also important. This is something I’ve struggled with quite a bit. Staying active when you have to walk everywhere is easy. But after you’re done walking to classes, you’re tempted to stop. Combine bad food options (both in the cafeteria and with fast food) with lack of exercise, and things go downhill pretty quickly. So with all the craziness happening between sickness and exercise, how does one stay healthy? Or at least keep from getting sick too often?

Usually, I try to get plenty of sleep, eat veggies and fruits and proteins when I can, and try to be mobile. Whenever I’m prescribed medicine, I make sure to take everything I’ve been prescribed (especially when it comes to antibiotics). But I know I could always do better. So how do you guys stay healthy in college? Regular exercise, sleep, the right diet, or is there something else you’ve found that helps? Share your tips in the comments, and I’ll compile the top answers into a master post in three weeks. Until next time, readers, and I look forward to reading your answers!

The Dragon Princess - Chapter Two

Finding the Motivation: Writing in College

blog, writing, college,

(It’s a little ironic that this is a post about writing motivation, and it’s late because I have little motivation to write anymore. Welp.)

As anyone who’s done personal writing during college can tell you, it ain’t easy. There’s homework that need attending to, a body that needs cared for, and sleep to be had. And that’s just the beginning stuff. Then there’s papers, projects, presentations, and other random homework that pops up out of nowhere. Between all those assignments and the need to take care of yourself, writing non-school-related things can be hard. Add the dreaded writer’s block, and boy does it get messy. So what’s a girl, or guy, to do about it? How do you stay motivated to write when school builds up?

There’s no set way to get back into writing, since motivation varies between person. For me personally, reading through old stories sometimes sparks my interest and desire to write. Sometimes, the sheer anticipation of an event like NaNoWriMo helps a lot, too. In general, I try to peak my interest back on what I’ve been writing. When it comes to new stories, it can be a little more tricky.

If I don’t have a set idea, writing a new story can be kind of a pain. I always try to flesh out the main characters, the general plot, and the setting before I start writing. So far, that technique has worked pretty well, but sometimes I can’t even get those things to cooperate with me. Instead, I’m left with a blank Word document, trying to beat the characters I very lovingly crafted onto the page without so much as a peep from them. It’s annoying to say the least.

Sometimes, just the characters show up. Sometimes, I can only get the setting right. And sometimes the plot starts out okay and two pages later, I have no idea what I’m doing and how I’m getting to the next step. Even nonfiction can be a pain, when the scenario I wanted to write about suddenly stops being a source of inspiration and starts being a source of bland sentences piling up on a page. Motivation definitely doesn’t come as easily as it used to, and it hasn’t gotten easier. I also don’t have a lot of time to write personally, between the reading and papers. I’m hoping that after I finish this last semester, I’ll have more time to sit down and write more often, but we’ll see what happens.

So what about you? How do you stay motivated to write despite life’s craziness, especially if you’re still in school? Are there specific triggers you try to get the creative juices flowing? Or do you set time aside to write everyday? Let me know down in the comments, and until next time!

The Dragon Princess - Chapter Two

A Winter Wonderland?

winter, blog, college

Going to a college in the northern part of the country can be a bit of crapshoot. Sometimes winter is really cold, and sometimes it’s weird. Now maybe that’s just the state of Pennsylvania, because as anyone living here can tell you, the weather’s pretty weird in general. Most of the time, it’s freezing cold by the time mid-January hits. We typically get no snow for Christmas, but next week there’s a good three inches on the ground. And then winter goes through this love-hate stage where it can’t decide when it’s going to leave come March and April. Last year, winter stuck around a good while, till the first week of April, before it finally said goodbye.

So January 2017 starts, I come up to school early to get a class out of the way before the spring semester starts, and I’m prepared for the worst. Icy conditions, a foot of snow, and anything from 20 degrees to 20 below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. And it looks like at first, that’s how this two week class period is going to go. And then it reaches 50 degrees. 50. Degrees. And back home, a few hours south of my school, it was in the 60s. For January weather, that’s ridiculously warm. Not the warmest it’s ever gotten, but definitely unusual for this time of year.

In complete honesty, I really don’t mind it. The only time I like the cold is when there’s snow on the ground, so for it to be warm is a rather nice change. Some folks might get worried about global warming and climate change, but I don’t think that’s the case. Usually, the temperatures balance out here. If the winter is colder, the summer is warmer. If the winter is warmer, the summer is cooler. Weird weather is also pretty typical for Western Pennsylvania. And given that the Southern half of the US was hammered with snow a few weeks ago, I’d say this is following the weird weather trend on the East Coast.

While I don’t mind the warmer weather, it’s making me realize the cold isn’t all that bad. You don’t need an excuse to not go out when it’s cold. You can stock up on snacks and soups for the days you don’t want to cook anything. It’s an excuse to wear cute and comfy clothes all day. And you can go play in the snow, if there’s snow to play in. But with warmer weather, you can’t really use the weather as an excuse to not go out, unless it’s raining. You can still wear cute and comfy clothes, but you can’t play in the snow. No matter what winter is like, it seems to be a give-and-take. You either get really cold temperatures, but can stay indoors and snuggle up with yummy food. Or you get mild temperatures, but can’t escape going outside or play in the snow.

I’m hoping that the weather will get a little colder since I am starting to miss the snow, but I’ll enjoy the warmer temperatures while they last. And hope desperately that temperatures don’t touch the single digits during daylight hours at all this winter. I’ve been through that the past few winters, and I want nothing to do with them this winter. For now though, I’ll kick back, wait for the spring semester to start, and enjoy the warmer temperatures for the weekend with my friends.

So what’s your favorite part about winter? Are you someone who loves the cold, or do you prefer the milder winters? Let me know in the comments, and I will see you lovely readers in the next post. Until next time!

The Dragon Princess - Chapter Two

7 Tips for Every College Senior’s Nightmare

blog, jobs, career, college, senior

Since I entered my senior year of college last semester, one thing has been nagging me. The dreaded job search. It’s the one thing every graduating student worries about. Where am I going now? What is the next step? For me, it’s especially difficult. I like writing, especially creative writing. But I’m also good at marketing and managing social media for companies. So where do I fit? Should I look for a marketing position or a writing job? Should I combo and go for a content creator? But I also want to do an MFA in Creative Writing. And a company hiring me for marketing might not be too keen on me skipping out on a few weeks of work to go write fiction at a low residency program. Maybe a writing job, but most of those are technical or professional writing. So what’s a girl to do?

While I may not know the direction I’m definitely going in, I have picked up some tips from websites and other adults about what I should be looking for. So here are a few of the general ones just for you guys.

1. Know where you can search: The first big step in the job search is knowing where to look. If your college has a job search site, that’s always a good place to start, but it won’t have everything. Another place to look are your favorite companies’ website’s “Careers” page or check their LinkedIn page. This allows you to see the jobs offered at a place you know you like. It’s also important to be familiar with the major job sites employers use. The top three are Indeed.com, Monster.com, and CareerBuilder.com. These are good spots to find jobs you can’t find looking through your college’s jobs site. That said…

2. Be aware of Fakers: There are a lot of “companies” that try to “hire” you to get your personal info and scam you. Sometimes these companies can slip through screening at the big sites since they can’t keep track of everyone (especially if they appear legitimate). Best thing to do is research the company that has the job you want before applying. Make sure they aren’t scams or companies who scam their customers. People often fall for this, and you don’t want to be the next victim. It’s also recommended not to post your resume on your account as many companies, legit and illegitimate, can see it. Instead, just attach it to the actual application when you’re applying. Now that we’ve talked about safety…

3. When searching, don’t limit yourself by location: Location is always something to keep in mind, but don’t let that define your job search. Use the job type for your main search, and keep location in mind without letting it rule your job search. With that in mind…

4. Be aware of all the keywords under your job type: There are plenty of different words used to describe any one job. Like typing “writer” into a job search can bring up “Content creator,” “Editor,” or “Publishing assistant.” It’s the same for all jobs. So be sure to make a list of all the keywords attached to your job type and explore them as well. You never know what you might find, and what you might never have thought of might be the perfect fit.

5. Understand you might not get the dream job right away: You’ve taken classes, done the research, and prepped yourself your entire college career for THE job. The one job you’ve always wanted. And you go out and apply to several (legit) companies offering the job. And get rejected by all of them. Well, it’s definitely not uncommon. Sure, some people get lucky and find their dream job, but don’t count on that luck. Instead, apply for positions you know you have at least some experience in and can learn from. If one of those includes your dream job, then go for it. But always have backup plans, just in case. However…

6. Don’t let your “lack” of experience stop you from applying: Say you find a few jobs you know you can do very well, but the company requires 3-5 years in ___ category. Guess you shouldn’t apply right? Wrong. When companies list out requirements, most of them should be taken at face value. But also understand that they’re looking for the ideal candidate, i.e. the PERFECT candidate. Which doesn’t exist. So if you see a (legit) job where you meet all but one or two requirements including years of experience, don’t let that hold you back. Apply for the job and see what happens. Obviously, you don’t want to do this with a high-level job like Senior or CEO or jobs you have no experience in whatsoever. But do apply for the ones you know you can do that “require” under 10 years of experience in something you know.

7. Use your college’s resources: Every college should have some way to help their students brave the job search. Be that a job search website companies can add to, getting in touch with alumni, or even interviews with companies on campus. Even your professors can be a big help if you ask them to be references. No matter what, be sure to look at the resources your college offers on jobs. They can be invaluable.

These are just a few of the tips I’ve learned from visiting websites and talking with others who’ve been in the workforce for a while. There are plenty of other folks out there who know the ropes of the job search, so I would definitely recommend check out other blogs and articles for tips. Whichever job search option you use, be it major site, college site, and/or your favorite companies’ sites, I wish you luck. Let’s rock the job search!