Advice to Rising High School Seniors from Molly of Gracefully Gingham

     Today’s Back to School post is something a little different and I’m really excited about it!  I’ve asked my good friend Molly from the blog Gracefully Gingham, a rising freshman in college, to guest post on the blog today and share some advice for all of you who may be rising high school seniors (like me!).  She’s sharing some awesome words of wisdom and I can’t wait for you to read her post below!  If you’re interested in reading my other Back to School posts from this year and/or years past you can find them here!  Enjoy!

     Faith reached out to me a while back asking me to write a guest post on her blog and I immediately jumped on the offer!  I have been reading Faith’s blog since way before I started my own!  My name is Molly and I am the girl behind the blog Gracefully Gingham and Instagram @gracefullygingham.  I post about fashion and lifestyle and I absolutely love it!  I am a recent high school graduate so today I am going to share some advice to seniors.  I hope you find this post helpful!

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  1. Take time to enjoy the little moments you normally take for granted. – Walking through your high school hallways, waking up each morning in your bed at home, and hanging out with all your best friends from high school.  Before you know it all of these experiences are going to turn into memories and you won’t relive them again, and if you do they will never be the same.  I don’t want this to come across as being depressing because the transition from high school to college is super exciting but it is important to remember all those little details about high school as much as possible.
  2. Start the college decision process as early as possible! – When I started looking at schools I had no clue where I wanted to go and it was so stressful.  I constantly felt like I was running out of time.  My first piece of advice would be to relax.  You have plenty of time and I promise everything will work out!
  3. Trust yourself. – I found that throughout my college decision process so many people would always ask me what my plans were and when I started talking they always told me their opinion.  While this was helpful because I took the opinions of the people who mattered most to me into consideration when making my list, some people may try to convince you to do something that you may not want.  Trust yourself and follow your heart.  You know whats best for you!
  4. Don’t compare yourself to others. – Everyone’s experience is going to be completely different so don’t feel discouraged if people start receiving scholarships and acceptance letters and you still haven’t.  Everything will work out!
  5. Have fun! – Try not to take a break from the pressure of college stuff and just enjoy your senior year!

I hope you found this post helpful! If you have any questions about senior year please feel free to message me at any time! I would love to chat!

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10 Habits of a Successful High School Junior

     As a rising senior, I can tell you from the other side of junior year that everything’s going to be alright, but I know that’s hard to believe when you’re going into a year that everyone has told you will be the hardest!  Today’s post is going to give you a few habits I think will benefit you in this tough year.  This isn’t to say you can’t be successful without living by these suggestions, but they certainly will help!  I’m not even going to pretend I did all of these things, a lot of them I’m picking up from my brilliant friends who thrived throughout our junior year.  This is my third post in this year’s Back to School series, so if you’d like to read “My Advice for High School Juniors”, “Back to School Lookbook 2018”, or my other Back to School posts from years past, you can check them out here!  Enjoy!

  1. Read your Bible everyday. – If you’re a Christian, I’d say this is absolutely essential.  Nothing puts you in the right mindset or brings you closer to God than spending a little time everyday in His word!  This quiet time could be as little as ten minutes in which you read a devotional or maybe you’ll read a chapter of the Bible each day!  There’s no right way to go about reading the Bible, the important thing is just that you do it.  If you’re intimidated by cracking open a book so big and old, I wrote a blog post all about how I go about reading the Bible last year and you can check it out here (that said I’ve also taken on a couple devotionals since posting that)!  I for one have definitely noticed that days in which I read the Bible tend to be ones that I’m kinder and more patient with others and also have a much more positive outlook.
  2. Do a little SAT (or ACT) practice everyday. – This is likely going to be the year you take the SAT and/or the ACT, so be sure you’re preparing yourself for them!  Signing up for the test then waiting until the week of to attempt to study won’t be much help, but getting a tutor isn’t always necessary either!  I’d recommend using Kahn Academy or the big College Board SAT book to practice for the test a little bit everyday.  Completing one reading passage with a set of questions or five math problems each day won’t take long at all but will help you slowly master the content!
  3. Make your bed every morning. – I understand the state of mind that “no one is going to see it anyways,” but for me, at the end of a long day when I walk back into my room to an unmade bed it’s just another bad mark on my day.  Coming home to a crisp, made bed makes me feel like at least one part of my life is in order and gives me a desire to continue to be productive in the hours immediately after school.
  4. Do short workouts daily. – Outside of lacrosse practice, this is definitely not a habit I developed but I sure wish I had!  Exercising a little everyday will not only keep you in shape, but will also help you relieve that junior year stress!
  5. Keep up with Fast Track to a 5 or Crash Course AP review books. – If your teachers give you these AP exam prep books early on (or if you just decide to buy them at Barnes & Noble at the start of the year), keep up with them from unit to unit!  I really wish I had done this because I feel like I would’ve performed better on unit tests and retained the information throughout the year as opposed to doing fine on the tests then forgetting the material until it was time to cram for the AP exam.
  6. Pick out your outfits on Sunday night. – This one goes for any grade or age, but checking the weather and your agenda for the week then picking out your outfits before the week begins is so smart.  Doing this most likely won’t take longer than an hour and will prevent you from stressing over choosing good outfits when you should be doing your schoolwork later in the week.
  7. Stay involved in things you actually care about. – I know this year might seem all about impressing colleges, but don’t lose sight of your favorite things because you’re too wrapped up in running to be the president of a club you aren’t even interested in.  If you really love writing you should get involved in yearbook, the school paper, or creative writing, not Envirothon!  Not only will dedicating too much of your time to things you don’t truly care about feel boring and exhausting, colleges will also see right through it when your extracurriculars have nothing to do with the interests you talk about in your application.  Definitely do take on as many extracurriculars as you think you can handle, but make sure you genuinely care about them!
  8. Go to bed as early as you can. – Here’s another I wish I would’ve done but didn’t!  The best way to set yourself up for success all year is to get a fair amount of rest!  I know firsthand that it can be hard to get in bed on time when you have as much homework as the average junior does, but a night of solid rest is so worth mastering those time management skills!  Getting eight (or close to eight) hours of sleep each night will help you stay focused (and awake) in class, alert and at the top of your game in sports practice, and healthy!
  9. Clean your room every weekend. – This one goes with number three; having a clean, put together room (your home base!) at the start of each week will reduce the intensity of mess-induced stress (okay maybe I’m the only one that deals with that…Whenever my room is messy I legitimately stress about it and get distracted from everything else until it gets cleaned) and give you a cleaner, less distracting workspace to get your homework done in!
  10. Set a nightly routine. – The friends I have that rarely (if ever) stay up past midnight doing homework are the friends I have that keep a pretty regular after school schedule.  Decide on how much “break” time you’re going to give yourself when you get home (maybe half an hour to grab a snack or watch an episode of your favorite show) then do your homework and take care of your other evening responsibilities!  I can’t tell you how to make your schedule because obviously everyone has different obligations, dinner times, etc. but you get the point!

Thanks for reading!  I hope you’re able to develop a few of these helpful habits for yourself!

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Back to School Lookbook 2018

     One of my favorite (and most consistent) posts to write since I began blogging is the back to school lookbook.  It’s seriously so wild to see how the time has flown; the first time I wrote this post I was about to be a freshman and I start senior year next week!  See my back to school lookbooks of years past here, here, and here, it’s crazy to see how my style has evolved!  I’ve always loved sharing these fun looks that can easily be recreated because I know firsthand that it can be hard to come up with fresh outfits for the new school year.  This is my second post in this year’s Back to School series, be sure to check out my last post (and all of my Back to School posts from previous years) here.  Let’s get into the post!

A Tank and a Cardigan

     If you’re looking for a cute but casual look this back to school season and you live somewhere that you wouldn’t be absolutely miserable in a cardigan right now (or your school is just always cold), this one is for you!  Add a light cardigan like this fun off-white one from Old Navy (currently on sale and under $40 – my favorite cardigan I’ve ever owned!) to a fun but not dress code tank with some layered jewelry, jeans, and sandals for a put together late summer look.

tank (similar) // cardigan // jeans // sandals (similar) // hoop earrings // choker // key necklace (similar) // watch // MantraBand // cross bracelet // personalized beaded bracelet // rose gold ring // gold stacked rings

White with Denim

 

 

 

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     This look is slightly more dressed up and is extremely similar to what I’m planning on wearing to school the first day of my senior year!  I love embroidered white tops like this one because they’re super versatile but the embroidered details make them girly and fun.  Pair it with a denim skirt and a pair of sandals for a nice and simple ensemble.  If you want to spice it up, add some fun jewelry like this colorful Beadz by Reese choker!

top (similar) // skirt // sandals // earrings // choker (direct message Reese to order this choker!) // key necklace (similar) // watch // MantraBand // cross bracelet // personalized beaded bracelet // rose gold ring // gold stacked rings

Casual with Stripes and Rips

     Last but not least, this look is easy to throw on, comfortable, but also stylish!  A basic tee – whether it be crewneck or v-neck, solid or striped – a pair of ripped jeans (regardless of color as long as they don’t clash with the shirt!), and Birkenstocks make for an easy go-to outfit for this back to school season.  Accessorize with some fun earrings or a long necklace to take the look from basic to chic.  Transition this look into fall and even winter by adding a cardigan or jean jacket and trading out the sandals for a pair of slip on sneakers!

tee // green jeans (similar) // sandals // earrings (similar) // choker (direct message Reese to order this choker!) // key necklace (similar) // watch // MantraBand // cross bracelet // personalized beaded bracelet // rose gold ring // gold stacked rings

Thanks for reading!  I hope these ensembles have given you some inspiration for your own back to school looks!

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My Advice for High School Juniors

     Somehow summer has flown by once again and it’s already August, which means it’s time for Back to School posts!  Back to School posts are always some of my favorite posts to write, I love sharing advice and inspiration for a fresh start in the new school year!  Read my Back to School posts from years past here.  Each year I write something along the lines of “My Advice for…” or “10 Things I Wish I Knew Before…” in regards to the grade I just completed, and today I’m sharing my advice for high school juniors!  It’s no secret that junior year is one of the hardest, and today I’m sharing some things that will hopefully help you out in this intimidating year!  I also have a post called “10 Habits of a Successful High School Junior” scheduled for August 22nd so if you’re a junior and think you could use all the wisdom you can get be sure to come back!  Without further adieu, let’s get into the post!

  1. Go into the school year with a positive mindset. – I’m sure you’ve heard the most terrible horror stories about junior year, but like the wise Hannah Montana once sang, “life is what you make it.”  If you go into junior year dreading it and assuming it’s as bad as people say, you’re going to get off on the wrong foot with your teachers, then it might actually be the worst.  It’s all about perspective!  This year is important and will be challenging but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be all that bad.
  2. Know that your identity isn’t in your grades. – While junior year isn’t necessarily the worst, there’s a good chance that you’ll create a pretty overwhelming schedule for yourself between academic courses you believe your college of choice will notice and extracurriculars both that you want said college to see and that you’re genuinely interested in.  The times that I noticed myself and friends truly drowning in the stresses and struggles of the year were the times in which we found our identities solely in our academics.  If you forget that the best part about you is that your being is a collage of great qualities and interests and you begin to find your worth completely dependent on your GPA or AP U.S. History grade, your self esteem and happiness will fluctuate with the numbers.
  3. Actually do your homework. – Whether you’ve done it every single night of your school career so far or rarely open a textbook at home, this is the year to make sure you’re doing your homework.  Homework is often the only assignment you can guarantee a good grade on and no matter how little the grade counts, every little decimal point contributes to your average so it’s important that it’s always the best grade it can be.  Even if your teachers don’t check homework, it’s always important to do the assignments because homework is where you find out if you really know the material or not and from there you can ask for help with specific topics.
  4. Remember that boys are not everything. – For whatever reason, I feel like a lot of girls’ desperation for attention from guys rises dramatically junior year.  Maybe it’s the need for a distraction from all the AP work or validation somewhere else when the academics get tougher.  There’s obviously nothing wrong with having a boyfriend and I can’t tell you how to live your romantic life, but please remember that boys are not everything and you aren’t defined by any guy’s opinion of you.
  5. Surround yourself with people you actually want to be like. – This piece of advice goes for all of high school and even all of life.  It’s so important to remember that whether you like it or not, the people you hang around are going to contribute to your character and personal behavior.  This could be as simple as picking up some odd phrases they use or as significant as beginning illegal drug use.  To stay safe, make sure the people you spend the most time around are people you’d like to be like!  Over the past year or so I’ve begun to hang out with girls who’s character I genuinely like because I know if they rub off on me I’d be pretty happy about it.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this advice helpful!  Have an awesome junior year, I’m praying for you!

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5 Essentials for a Smooth School Year

     As a junior in high school, I think I’ve finally found a few things that help me not only get through the school year, but get through it successfully.  In today’s Back to School post, I’m sharing five essentials for a smooth school year!  These are items I practically live by during the school year and would definitely recommend to anyone looking to become more organized or productive this year.  This is the eighth blog post in my Back to School series this year, so be sure to check out the rest here if you like what you read.  Enjoy!

#1: A Planner

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     Planners have been absolute lifesavers for me.  I’m currently using my fifth one and I love it so so much.  I use my agenda to jot down homework assignments, remind myself of due dates, schedule blog posts, make plans to hang out with friends, mark volunteering dates, and more.  I actually wrote a whole post on how I organize my agenda, read it here!  I used to use Lilly Pulitzer agendas, which are amazing, but I now use a Kate Spade agenda simply because I currently like the simple design better than Lilly’s brightly printed pages.  I’ve also heard really good things about the Day Designer agendas, which help you map out basically every hour of your day.

#2: A Quizlet Account

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     I would have failed tons of vocabulary quizzes and Spanish tests had I not discovered the Quizlet program as a seventh grader!  This free website and app allows you to create digital flashcards (complete with pictures and diagrams) and offers a variety of ways to study the terms and definitions.  My personal favorite method of quickly memorizing vocabulary words is to create a Quizlet set and play “Write.”  I also love how this website has its own app, so if you’re on a car trip, waiting for a friend, eating a snack, or doing literally anything else with a smart phone in your hand you can study!  I still love old fashioned flash cards, but you can’t lose a term in a Quizlet set like you can accidentally lose one flash card.  Sign up for Quizlet here!

#3: A Homework Folder

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     Up until this year I refused to keep paper assignments anywhere aside from the respective class’ binder.  This method required me to go home with a completely full backpack and an armful of books and binders everyday, and I was tired of it.  This year I decided to try out a magnetic closure envelope folder and I’ve loved keeping all of my homework in it!  It’s super convenient and since it’s so thin it easily fits into the laptop sleeve in my backpack along with my laptop.  Mine is a really pretty rose gold folder from Office Depot and I was unable to find it online, but I found a similar folder in a neat iridescent white color on Office Depot’s website!  Find it here.

#4: Highlighters

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     I was never much of a highlighter type of gal (mostly because I often end up highlighting half the page) until this school year.  My AP U.S. History teacher constantly assigns readings to highlight for homework and I’ve found that searching for the important pieces of a reading to highlight as you skim the text is a much more productive method of getting through a reading assignment than being bored and thinking about something else as you read every last word (what I used to do).  My favorite highlighters are nothing fancy, just the bigger Sharpie chisel tip highlighters.  Find them online here!

#5: Sticky Notes

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     Sticky notes are something I rarely used for anything besides doodling until I got to high school but boy have they been helpful since!  I use sticky notes to stick on my wall to remind myself of assignments (then I take sticky notes off the wall as I finish each task, super motivating!), to stick on my mirror to remind me to bring things to school, to stick on textbook pages so I remember the information is important, and the list goes on.  You’re probably well aware that the Post-it brand makes a variety of sticky note shapes and sizes, you can find my favorite options pictured and linked above!  I love the little flags for marking pages in my agenda and AP workbooks, the regular size for sticking memos around my room, and the 3in x 3in squares for writing notes in my novels for AP Language!

Thanks for reading!  I know most of these items are things you might already use, but hopefully this post has given you ideas on different ways to use them for more productivity!

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25 Motivational Quotes for the School Year

    Until the end of September, Tuesdays are Back to School post days, so I bet you can’t guess what today’s post is (haha)!  If you’ve missed any of my other Back to School posts this year (I’ve already written six excluding this one), you can find them all, as well as my Back to School posts from previous years, here!  Today’s post is a list I’ve compiled of twenty-five motivational quotes that I take to heart and think will inspire you this school year!  I’ve wanted to write a post like this for quite some time and I’m so glad I finally got around to it.  Enjoy!

1. “She believed she could, so she did.” – R.S. Grey

2. “One day or day one. You decide.” – Unknown

3. “She remembered who she was and the game changed.” – Lalah Delia

4. “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” – Jennifer Lee

5. “Mistakes are proof that you are trying.” – Unknown

6. “Everything is hard before it’s easy.” – J.W. Von Goethe

7. “Fortune favors the bold.” – Virgil

8. “Reach for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Les Brown

9. “Don’t call it a dream, call it a plan.” – Unknown

10. “Remember, the moment you accept total responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you claim the power to change anything in your life.” – Hal Elrod

11. “Whatever you are, be a good one.” – William Makepeace Thackeray

12. “Good things come to those who hustle.” – Unknown

13. “Opportunities don’t always just happen, you have to create them.” – Chinese Proverb

14. “She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans.” – Kobi Yamada

15. “If you stumble, make it part of the dance.” – Unknown

16. “Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen.” – Michael Jordan

17. “Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.” – Kobi Yamada

18. “When you are free from self-doubt, you fail better.  You accept criticism and listen.” – Jennifer Lee

19. “Stop watering dead flowers, give life to new blooms.” – Unknown

20. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

21. “Work hard in silence.  Let your success be the noise.” – Frank Ocean

22. “Life is always rocky when you’re a gem.” – Unknown

23. “Love the life you have while you create the life of your dreams.  Don’t think you have to choose one over the other.” – Hal Elrod

24. “Follow your dreams.  They know the way.” – Kobi Yamada

25. “You didn’t wake up today to be mediocre.” – Unknown

Thanks for reading!  I hope you stay inspired this school year!

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