Check out Haslam College of business's spotlight done on my floral work! Super honored to have been featured as a student entrepreneur.
Welcome to college, and more specifically-Freshman Orientation! I promise freshman orientation isn’t a reflection of what your next four years are going to look like at all. What I can tell you though, is that although it is long and a little boring- it’s important. So sit down, buckle up, and actually try to get something out of the next two days. We all had to do it, and honestly if you can’t sit through freshman orientation, than college is going to be a rude awakening. Time and time again you’ll get advice from students about college, but no one ever tells you how to get to the most out of freshman orientation or shares tips and tricks for scheduling your classes.
****Note: You're gonna see A LOT of orange throughout this post (Go Vols), but these tips and tricks apply to pretty much any college orientation. Don't write it off as being made only for University of Tennessee freshman orientation******
most competitive student positions at a university. You have to know a lot about your school and so typically your OL’s are super involved on campus and also interview really REALLY well For example, my orientation leader was really cool and the more I got to know her the more I learned about all of the ways she was involved on our campus. Fast forward to my sophomore year and she was elected by our student body to serve as the SGA (student government) Vice President. That’s a big deal. My OL opened up so many doors to me as a student and I throughout my past two years she has served as a friendly face on campus as well as someone I always knew I could reach out to if I needed some guidance (S/O to McKinsey Patterson- you rock).
that you will go to school with for the next four years. The craziest thing about college is how quick the school begins to feel really small. If you don’t take advantage of the time to meet people-you may miss out. You may meet your college best friend at orientation, you may not. If you don’t - at least you will now have some familiar faces on campus.
Now, let’s get into the technical stuff. During freshman orientation you will probably have to sign up for classes. This is super exciting, but it can be stressful and confusing. This is an area where I definitely wish I had done some research ahead of time. There’s more to consider than just avoiding eight o’clock classes.
First, I truly believe that the professor you get is the single most important thing to consider when making your schedule. I’ve picked classes based off of time in the past, regardless of the teacher, and I felt like I made a huge mistake. Always try to find your professor on Rate My Professors.
Rate My Professors allows you to read student ratings for professors. Now not everyone will love a teacher, but this website gives you a good idea of what the general opinion of them is and what their teaching style is like. Rate My Professors is one of the single best scheduling resources I have found while in school. Definitely take a look before going to orientation.
You’re a freshman though. The likelihood of getting into all of the best professors classes is pretty slim (You register for classes last…sad). So, if the best professor’s class is full make sure you get on the waiting list. On top of that, check the class signups every single day. I know this sounds excessive, but people change classes all of the time and it’s possible (in my experience) to add yourself in a new empty spot before the professor adds the next person on the waitlist into the class (This may be a UT specific hack- but if this works at another University please email me and let me know!). This worked for me when I changed my major from Nursing to Business one week before the semester began. I had to get into 5 full classes, and did so by watching for openings every single day. Not only was I able to get into the classes I needed, but I got all of the best professors as well. My friend Megan (often referred to as my heaven sent freshman year roommate) tried this strategy and she too was able to get into all of the classes she needed and wanted.
knowledge than completely blind to what classes you have to take.
Lastly, at your freshman orientation they will likely tell you about Freshman summer programs (Ex. Ignite (UT), New Maroon Camp (MSU), etc. ). SIGN UP! GO TO THESE! These programs are all led by students and are a great way to make new friends doing really cool things over the summer! They are designed to help you make friends-so take advantage of these AWESOME programs!
Orientation doesn’t have to be awful. Take two days to listen to all of the opportunities your university has to offer in order to maximize your next four years at your new home. If you go into orientation ready to take advantage of a time to make friends, meet a new mentor, and prepare for your classes; I promise you’ll be so much farther ahead of everyone else.
As always, email me with any questions and look for more upcoming posts regarding preparing for freshman year!
BUT, this year I decided to be a little more practical and I set two attainable goals for myself:
1. I want to write in cursive.
2. I want to start a blog where I post at least once a month
Maybe these were inspired by the political climate at the time. Maybe I needed a blog to document the (potential) fall of our country, and bomb handwriting (just in case they needed me to draft up a new constitution- you know i'd need to have a killer John Hancock). OR maybe it was because my favorite Instagram accounts are bloggers and they post cool artsy pictures of their perfect handwriting... who knows.
Regardless, it is now May, and I have been able to keep up with both of these resolutions. Blogging has become a passion of mine, and over 5 months I have had the opportunity to grow "MakingMeg~". My blog has gone from being one that no one knew existed (except my mom) to getting 850 views on my last post (THANKS PEOPLE). I have thoroughly enjoyed watching my blog transform into a digital representation of myself and having the opportunity to share my journey and life mantra with all who are willing to listen!
With that being said, I'm super excited to announce a new series of blogs that I am going to be posting about my summer adventures. I am lucky to have the opportunity to travel to England for two months this summer and I am over the moon excited for this opportunity.
For the first month of my travels, I will be studying floral art at the Talulah Rose Flower School in Bath. Following my class in Bath, I will be studying human dilemmas and the quest for meaning at St. Hilda's College in Oxford (Fun Fact - Oxford isn't actually a college, it's a group of small colleges in the city of Oxford). During this two month period I will be popping in and out of London and plan on taking a weekend trip to Amsterdam with a good high school friend.
I am so thrilled about this opportunity and look forward to all there is to learn and experience during my two months abroad. I know that this journey will further my desire to stretch my understanding of the world, and give me the opportunity to learn more about myself in the process. I am extremely thankful for this experience and look forward to sharing my stories and experiences with you all. Keep your eyes out for a "Travel" tab popping up soon!
Stay tuned and stay golden,
Flowers don't stop growing in fear that a bee may not pollinate them. They don't worry about if there are bees where they are planted - they simply blossom.
Flowers grow without fear of judgement. They live a short life in comparison to man, but this short time is spent in growth, regardless of where they were planted.
What if a flower decided it was having a bad day? What if on their "off days," flowers lost their color? Flowers remain vibrant through storms, and they keep their color in the rain.
Flowers don’t choose to be colorful. They aren’t colorful for selfish purposes. A flower gets no satisfaction from impressing others, and there is no gratification through praise.
If there is one bright flower in a group of dull flowers, it is the bright flower that attracts the bees. The bees spread the pollen of the bright flowers, and as a result, the one bright flower creates thousands of other bright flowers around it.
Often it is the bright flowers that are picked and they live out the remainder of their days making someone else happy. They struggle to stay alive and vibrant for as long as possible, in spite of the fact that their death is inevitable. Flower remain selfless until the day they die.
I’m forever grateful for the flowers in my life.
The ones who are constantly growing themselves, regardless of their adversity.
The ones who bloom where they are planted.
The ones who stay radiant, regardless of the forces trying to extinguish their light.
The ones who inspire others to be their best, brightest selves.
The ones who live out their days selflessly.
I think we can all live our lives a little more like flowers.
Music is a pervasive part of most young people's lives. Whether it be in the car, at parties, or while doing homework; there's likely to be speakers blaring some kind of music. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, music is proven to improve memory, your immune system, and to relieve anxiety. Putting aside these benefits - do you ever think about the content and lyrics of the songs you choose?
Hip Hop dominates the current music scene and I would be lying if I said I didn't occasionally listen to it too. It's catchy, upbeat, and cool - why wouldn't you want to indulge in it? I listened to hip hop and rap frequently throughout my freshman year of college. I often thought that the lyrics that I was mindlessly blaring with my friends were almost repulsive, but never stopped listening. They encouraged violence, drug use, and risky sexual behavior. The worst part was that we didn't even question or second guess our listening choices. The sad truth is the majority of modern hip hop and rap normalizes the degradation of women and risky behavior. Whether we like to believe it or not, the lyrics we listen to impact how we feel and act. At the end of the day, that's what runs through your head and consumes your thoughts. Since college is four big years of self discovery and personal development, it's important to surround yourself with things that help you grow, as opposed to tear you down.
I typically think of my freshman year as somewhat of a "lost year." I was totally consumed in the freshman party culture and embraced my new freedom by engaging in behaviors that weren't typical for me. Looking back on that year, it's so easy to see how the lyrics I had on repeat normalized my negative behaviors. I had no reason to question how I was acting, because my music was telling me what I was doing was normal and that everyone was doing it. I wasn't acting like the type of woman I knew I wanted to grow up to be, and was distracted from my goals and morals. I had gone from working towards becoming a positive influence for others, to desperately needing a positive influence myself.
I then underwent what I like to call my "college epiphany." This is when I had a huge come to Jesus moment and realized that I was living my life selfishly and carelessly. I soon made many life changes - and these included major changes in my music choices. It was through this change that I found one of the most positive influences currently in my life- Shania Twain.
Shania Twain sings about female empowerment and self improvement. Her songs are upbeat and they encourage you to be the best you - regardless of everyday struggles and pressures. Shania acknowledges the struggles that all women face and talks about off days, money pressures, and desired approval from men. She's real and authentic, which is something hard to find in our perfection obsessed society.
Her music encourages me to take my current situations and to make the most of them. It is uplifting, inspiring, and gives me the motivation to move forward through negative obstacles. College can be a rough time, and although it may seem like a small thing, my decision to change my music choices jump started my personal goals. I truly believe that every young woman can learn a thing or two from Shania's music. Instead of filling my ears with lyrics that degrade women and encourage risky behavior, I am now constantly jamming to lyrics that push me to improve myself, seek consistent joy in life, and continue in my journey to "make" myself. I constantly challenge myself to channel my inner Shania everyday and encourage all young women to look at her as positive role model themselves.
They say time flies when you're having fun. I couldn't agree more. I am in shock that I have reached the end of my Sophomore year. It seems like yesterday that Megan (my freshman year roommate sent from heaven) and I explored campus together on our first night in the dorms. It flies by people- so enjoy it. With that being said, during freshman year I felt like my knowledge of Knoxville started and ended on campus...unless you count the 3 miles down Kingston Pike that leads to Sun Tan City. By the end of the year, I felt stuck on campus and although this was primarily due to a really crappy parking situation - I was anxious to expand my horizons given my typically adventurous nature.
At the beginning of this year, I arrived on campus determined to explore Knoxville and the areas around it. I have done just that and have fallen in love with the uniqueness of this area and the cool places it has to offer. I wanted to share my discoveries with you all, so enjoy these suggestions and have fun exploring!
1. Coffee Shops
OK... so if you know me you know that 9/10 times you ask me where I am, it'll be a coffee shop. I fully admit that I'm addicted to coffee and to the local coffee shop scene (happy heart, empty wallet?) I am frequently asked what my favorite coffee shops are, so i've collected a list of my 6 favorite gems and where to find them!
I. Kbrew- Location: 1138 N. Broadway St. AND 800 Market St.
II. HoneyBee- Location: 700 Sevier Ave. AND 154 West End Avenue, Farragut, TN
III. Remedy- Location: 800 Tyson St.
IV. Awaken Coffee- Location:125 E Jackson Ave
V. Old City Java- Location: 109 S Central St
VIII. The Blue Mason- Location: 2920 Sutherland Ave.
So now let's talk food. Here are some of my favorite food spots! Whether it be brunch, dinner, a snack, etc. these are forsure some great local places to grab a bite!
I.Gourmet Market- Breakfast
II.Wild Love Bakehouse- Pastries (also great homemade soups in the winter)
III.The Phoenix- Icecream and floats
IV.Babalu- Tacos and Tapas
V.The Juice Box- Smoothies and juices
VI. Oli Bea- Brunch
VII.The Tomato Head- Lunch/Dinner
VIII. Tupelo Honey- Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
IX. Pete's- Breakfast/Lunch
X. Makers- DONUTS
3. The Great Outdoors
I know it may be hard to believe... but outside of all the construction and the lack of trees on campus... Knoxville is actually really pretty (what, gasp!) If you never left campus you might believe the town rightfully earned it's nickname "Dirty Knox." However, after exploring the rest of the city, I found that this is definitely not the case. Here are some of my favorite spots that prove that Knox isn't actually all that dirty. (Did I mention the mountains are like maybe 30 minutes away?)
I. Sequoyah Hills Park- Really Close to campus!
II. House Mountain
III. Max Patch Mountain - Picture #3
IV. Chimney Tops- Picture #2
V. Ijams- Picture #1
VII. Foothills Parkway
4. Random things I wanted to Include
I. The Emporium Center- Free art exhibit in the Old City Art District
II. Chelsea's Food Truck- Started by a UT grad! Check out chelseasfoodtruck on Instagram to find out where she is!
III. Local Festivals and the Market Square Farmers Market- Knoxville is always hosting random and fun festivals and events. Between the farmers market, Llama races, and the International Biscuit Festival- Knoxville always keeps you on your toes! Here's the link to the Knoxville event calendar:
So there it is folks! My college girl's guide to Knoxville! I hope that this guide gives you some fun opportunities to explore one of my favorite cities. As always, I appreciate feedback and would love to hear about some of your favorite local Knoxville places that I didn't mention or don't know about myself!
As always-stay golden
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him- a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” –Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
We all have that friend who’s been there for us through thick and thin. Regardless of how much you messed up, and in spite of how embarrassing you look when you “ugly cry,” you know they’ll always stand by your side. When I went to college, I thought I was totally ready to start over and make my own way. Instead I found I will forever be grateful that I was able to attend school with my best friend from church.
Maddie Hamblen and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. Whether it be church, school, or really any adventure I’ve embarked on in my life, she’s been by my side. However, when Maddie and I were ready to start school, we decided that we were ready to make our own way at UT. We decided to room separately, live in separate dorms, and we even rushed different sororities. As our college experiences started unfolding, it became evident how easy it was to make mistakes and to get off track very quickly. The fact is, college is hard. It can be a really dark place, filled with temptations, darkness, and insecurities. It’s very easy to just turn your back on the things that you valued in high school. Although we made our different friends and college experiences, Maddie stayed one of my best friends and I think we soon realized how important our friendship was to each other.
College has definitely stretched us and made us realize who we are, but I will forever thank God for giving me a friend to keep me on track. She isn’t afraid to call me out when I make a mistake, she always stands by me when I mess up, and she continues to show me God every day while I’m on this journey. I truly believe God places these friends in our lives for a reason, and I truly believe that I’d be in a totally different place without her guidance and advice. Maddie is a true example of a sister in Christ, and her friendship is a blessing now and hopefully for many years to come.
Thank you so much for placing people in our lives who help us to grow more in your image. Friends who push us and challenge us to become the best versions of ourselves. I feel so blessed and so comforted in knowing that I have someone who embodies the friendships you describe in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, someone who is willing to lift me up when I fall, and someone who will stand by my side and help me to prevail and shine and share your love with the world. Thank you for placing these special angels in our lives.
Let's take a look at Monday....
Who likes Mondays??? Honest question. We look at Mondays and think one thing- Blah. When you Google "Quotes about Monday" the first thing that pops up is:
"Monday makes me angrier than Chris Brown is every moment of every day."
Ok. Like, yikes. The fact is there's one common theme. People. Hate. Monday. Mondays mean work. They mean you're going to have to wake up and go out and actually do something with your life, rather than lay in bed and watch Netflix, hang out with friends, or do absolutely nothing. Monday comes around and brings "fun" to an end.
Now, I'm not suggesting that I love Mondays myself. There are definitely days that my 8AM alarm goes off and I want to throw my phone off of my bunk bed (did that one time in my sleep and shattered my phone, sorry Mom). But today in class, I decided to break down my Mondays (sorry again Mom).
Humans live (on average) 28,000 days. That means you live through about 4,000 Mondays, and those 4,000 Mondays make up about 11 years of your life. That means that if you wake up just dreading Monday regardless, and looking at it as nothing but negative, you essentially dread 11 years of your life. That doesn't sound fun.
I'm currently reading a book called, "Love in Lowercase" which illustrates that your life is made of moments and it is your reaction to those moments that determines your destiny, a way that I personally have always tried to live my life. The book tells the story of a man whose life changes drastically because he decides to let a stray cat into his home. Through this cat he learns the importance in realizing that our lives are composed of small, seemingly unimportant decisions that end up leading us to big, unexpected, serendipitous moments. This man learns that these small decisions are altered by our attitudes and reactions towards them, and if we react positively, our small actions will usually lead us in a more positive direction.
Today I could have dreaded my alarm, and dreaded the day. I had every reason and right to: crappy weekend, long week ahead, etc. But instead, I decided to shine a new light on Monday. I woke up ready for the unknown of today and what the rest of the week had to offer me, rather than the end of a weekend filled with fun and freedom, Monday is a new beginning and the starting point of a time where I can look at my days as positive and unknown. I know full well that a positive outlook on the small actions I make everyday will lead me to beautiful outcomes. Now that's not trying to suggest i'm not going to have bad days, because that would be a foolish thing to think. But instead of associating Monday with blah, going forward I want to associate Monday with new beginnings and new journeys. If I can do that, I will have 4,000 more days to be grateful, excited, and positive.
So I recently called my friend Georgina nearly crying because I somehow managed to leave one of the most important things in my life on the bus that brings me back and forth from my house. I had also managed to leave my car keys as well...but did that matter? Absolutely not. I had lost my life line, the one thing that keeps me put together, that helps relieve all of my stress, and at the end of the day... the one thing I know will always keep me on track with my goals for myself and keep me motivated.
I left my planner on the bus.
You heard me right, I left my planner. If you're like me- you realize how absolutely catastrophic the idea of losing this would be. If your normal, you probably think i'm a freak (i'll admit it and own it) because it's just a planner. But if you're someone who enjoys unnecessary stress and chaos-you keep no form of planner at all whatsoever. I want to tell you a little bit more about why I am in a committed plan-ationship, and why although maybe I take it a little too seriously, being devoted to a planner is something that we all could benefit from.
Now being organized is something I have struggled with my entire life, and as i've grown up and really looked at my life, I've been able to pinpoint that most of my daily struggles were all contributed to the fact that I purely didn't have any aspect of my life in order... at all. Since I came to this realization I have decided to take small steps into becoming more of a minimalist, organizing everything I can possibly put my hands on, and slowly (but surely) getting my life back under control. Now i'm not perfect, but a planner was easily the first step in this journey (and a really an easy way to get started).
Now planners tend to be expensive, and I was under this impression that in order to have my life together I needed to carry around a $55+ Erin Condren planner... LIFEHACK: you don't. Here's how I made my planner (DIY side coming out here) in a cheap way (YES, cheap=college)!
Step 1: The answer is binder planners (5.5X8.5)! What a beautiful invention. Target sells these small planner sized binders for like $5 or cheaper (I think I got mine for $2 in the dollar isle. Here's a link to a cute one they have now!
The beauty of these binders is that you get to put literally whatever you want in it. You buy the inserts you find most necessary and relevant to your life, so you aren't purchasing a planner with 50000 pages that you may never use.
Step 2: So you've got an empty mini binder: cool. Now you need the planner part. You can take two different routes on this, one which I did, or another which I honestly wish I had done.
WHAT I DID: I went to Target and bought a cheap, standard one year planner, there's nothing special about it whatsoever. I duct taped that sucker into the front page of my binder. the duct tape is hidden so it doesn't look as ratchet as it may sound (I promise).
WHAT I WISH I HAD DONE: You can go on Amazon and buy planner pages for a mini binder, $4.99, here's the link (no duct tape necessary-lol):
YOU MUST COMMIT TO THE PLANNER. Live it, love it, act like it is consistently needing your attention in the form of penciled in dates and assignment deadlines. You get out of it what you put into it, it's a relationship-takes two to tango!!
Step 3: Fill that sucka up. I bought all of my inserts for my binder planner in the Target dollar isle. A pack of dividers: $1. A pack of 5.5x8.5 notebook paper: $3, random little tabs and sticky notes that literally save my life because they're in my binder and I can't just lose them in the abyss I call my backpack: $1. I mean go on Amazon and search "binder planner inserts" and open yourself up to a world of organizational opportunity. None of it breaks the bank, and depending on how you like to stay organized, the sky's the limit.
What I filled my binder with: I have two pockets, 5 dividers with lined paper, and a page of tabs and sticky notes.
My pockets hold things I may carry around and need occasionally but don't want to lose (ex. my honors college passport-yes i'm a nerd). I also use the folders to hold slips of paper I get handed with dates. In the moment I may not have time to sit and write everything in my planner, so I just slide them into a pocket and there they stay there until I have time to transfer all of the information (because before this they got thrown into my backpack where they would never see the light of day again).
My dividers are labeled as things I may want to take notes on, and alway have on hand. I struggled growing up with carrying tons of little notebooks, and now they're like all one little notebook I always have with me. Mine are labeled: AOII VPE (my sorority exec. position), Florist, Finance, Workout (stays empty-oops), and encouragement (i.e. Bible verses, inspiring kick-butt quotes, you get it). These four little "notebooks" are always with me, so I never have to worry about loosing the notes I may take at an AOII LC meeting, or verses I may always want on hand to look through on a bad day.
My tabs and sticky notes are always there, they don't get smushed up and I can put tabs as reminders in my binder- wonderful.
So there ya have it. Cheap, compact, and effective. THE plan-ationship. If you commit to a planner like this I swear you will find your stress level decrease abundantly. No more missed deadlines, no more lost papers, no more forgetting anything. This is an easy first step in getting your life more organized, and I hope it helps someone as much as it has helped me! Just do yourself a favor: don't leave it on the bus, you can't just abandon your planner.
As always, leave questions in my comments or feel free to send me a message- I love feedback:-).
So today is International Women's Day, which in my opinion is a pretty kick butt thing to celebrate (so go blast some Shania Twain and Beyonce- because, girl power). Working for American Girl, and simply growing older, has shown me the beauty in womanhood. Through the years I really believe I have come to realize just how important it is to celebrate girlhood, and the joy and struggles that come with being a female.
With that being said, today I had the amazing opportunity to come home and lead my mom's small group at my hometown church. I grew up participating in a girls' small group myself, so when my mom asked me to be a "special guest," I was absolutely thrilled.
So I was trying to figure out what I wanted to tell these girls about today, and I could only think of one thing- let's talk about being girls. So I got the privilege to share giggles, stories, and the struggles of being a girl... with 20 seventh graders.
I asked each girl to write on a piece of paper a word that comes to mind when they think about being a girl. Most girls shared that as a girl they felt strong, beautiful, and fun; while others wrote words like "stressful" (which I think we all can agree is true). We then went on to talk about why we sometimes think it is hard to be a girl. We all came to the conclusion that being a girl is hard because there are so many people telling us to act, look, or be a certain way. We all agreed that we felt pressure from social media, and even admitted that we sometimes allowed the amounts of "likes" we get on Instagram define who we think we are.
We agreed that it was hard, and we agreed that being a girl often holds double standards. We also promised though, that as girls, we would hold each other up. We promised that we wouldn't just accept our differences, but that we would encourage them. We agreed that being a girl means that you are 100% authentic and unique. We vowed that we would smash the unrealistic expectations society places upon us, and that we would follow our dreams. And we would do all of these things as sisters in faith.
We decided that we wanted to live our lives like a woman described in Psalms 31:25:
"She is clothed in strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."
We want to lift each other up so that we can live our lives how God wants us to. Because at the end of the day, each one of us has the ability to uniquely shine our lights, and each one of us holds the power to change the world through our smiles and passion for life. Through our faith and union as girls we can learn and grow together.
Together we can be what we know how to be best- girls.
Aspiring Florist. Full time student. Eternal Optimist.