Had a lovely little picnic in Brighton yesterday. I love these overalls.

Wednesday, October 7

I’ve had pretty much exclusively early shifts this week, which is difficult when I’m scrambling out of bed at 5:30am but totally worth it when I’m clocking out at 3:30 in the afternoon. I think having four straight days of waking up madly early has been taking a toll on me, as I usually have one 8 or 9am start time thrown in somewhere in the middle to help me recharge. I think feeling consumed by work this week has made me a bit more irritable and sensitive than usual, which isn’t really surprising.

I’ve also been stressed because the expenses of living completely independently are more present than ever. Because I have to switch subways four times a day just to get to and from work, my train fare bills are so expensive. I did the math and it looks like I spend $115 a month just taking the subway! On top of that, I essentially ran out of food yesterday and my SNAP benefits don’t land until Saturday, so that was really stressing me out. I decided to get my dinner from Starbucks because I get free food for working there, and then I went to another Starbucks that was closer to Buck’s school so I could eat with him and spend some time getting work done with him. He bought me dinner on the spot when he learned that I’m broke, which made me cry like a baby in the cafe. And then, afterwards, he paid my train fare to get home! I also received a few venmo donations from my other friends who learned about the situation I’m in currently. It is so sweet and generous of them, and I don’t think I can accurately put into words how much it truly helped me this week. I have an amazing support system.

I think my takeaway from this week has been that I (eventually) need a better paying job. I have enough to barely scrape by every month, but not much more than that. At the rate I’m going, I’ll never be able to put away savings, get off welfare, or even dream about getting a car. And particularly since I have a college degree and I could easily cut my commute in half (cost and time wise) by finding a new job, there’s no reason for me not to. And I mean, for what? To brew coffee? I love my job and the people I work with, but now that I’m settled into my new life in Boston, I think it’s time to aim higher.

So that’s what I’ve been doing these past few days: thinking about what sort of jobs I’d like to have. There is a really great website for hiring in Boston called HireCulture, and because it specializes in creative jobs for artistic folk like me, I’ve been really excited about checking that out. I’m also trying to be easy on myself and remind myself that I’m doing the best I can with my current circumstances. I know I’m a hard worker, and I will continue to work hard to build a better life for myself. 

Sunday, October 11

It’s about eleven in the morning right now, and for the second time ever, Nathaniel and I are actually successfully sitting side-by-side and getting work done in silence! We always say that we want to hang out and do work together, but we usually end up getting distracted and putting on a movie instead or something. Today, however, we both have our headphones in, we’re fully caffeinated, and we’re both click-clacking away at our keyboards together.

It’s so nice to have reached the weekend after such a taxing week. It wasn’t a bad week or anything like that, but it was certainly overwhelming at times and I’m glad to have a chance to catch my breath now and focus on other things. For one thing, I’d really like to do some more poking around for jobs that are both closer and higher in salary. I’m also going to get some articles done today, of course, and then I want to make some plant terrariums for my friends who very kindly sent me money, as a thank-you gift. And then, after that, it’s just going to be video games until bedtime! Playing The Sims is hands-down my favorite way to unwind and forget about the world for a while in my free time. What do you guys use as escapism? Do you have a favorite video game too?

Anyway, I’m hopefully going to get today’s newsletter up in a few minutes, then I’m going to finish my fall lookbook, which was supposed to come out last Thursday. And then, I suppose I’ll move onto the job hunt. If I could find a closer Starbucks to my house that gave me more hours, that would probably be the most optimal outcome. I’ll keep you guys updated on how my ongoing job hunt is going.

When I was in middle school, I always sat with the same group of friends during English class. One of the girls, who had Aspergers syndrome, usually had an aid sitting with her as well. When we got bored in class, the four of us (including the aid) would pass around scraps of paper and take turns writing down things that make us happy. It was extremely wholesome, and I still have all of those little scraps somewhere in my closet. Today, I wanted to recreate that idea with an updated list of things that make me happy. Enjoy!

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  1. Cows
  2. Fancy rats
  3. Mozzarella sticks
  4. Panera Broccoli and Cheddar Soup
  5. Juvia’s Place
  6. The Sims 4
  7. Blueberry tea
  8. Caramel macchiatos 
  9. Fluffy, squishy dogs
  10. Flemish Giant Rabbits
  11. Persian Cats
  12. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.
  13. My beautiful mother and (soon to be) stepfather
  14. Winter candles
  15. Regina Spektor
  16. Strawberries and bananas
  17. Chocolate
  18. Even numbers
  19. The Golden Hour
  20. Laughing until you cry
  21. Kissing pretty girls
  22. Real Simple
  23. Sunflowers
  24. Lesbian vests
  25. KD Lang
  26. Thrifting
  27. Snuggling with Duke and giving him big, smooshy kisses
  28. Eli
  29. Being busy + managing my projects
  30. Writing handwritten letters
  31. Pastel lined paper
  32. Sunshine
  33. Strawberry frosted donuts
  34. When Eli’s cat sits on my lap
  35. Meaningful conversations
  36. Brand new books that still have that booky smell
  37. Getting paid & putting money into my savings account
  38. Weighted blankets
  39. Stand-up comedy
  40. Glitter
  41. Collecting eyeshadow palettes
  42. Big hugs
  43. Cucumber water
  44. Red roses
  45. Downloading CC for my sims
  46. When little kids come up to me and tell me they like my makeup 
  47. Coffee shops in Boston
  48. A THICC winged liner
  49. Cloudy days
  50. Dainty jewelry
  51. Falling in love

As a senior in college, I’m no stranger to The Dorm Life™. I lived in a double for the first semester of college, but for the last couple of years I’ve had my very own medical single! Obviously, every situation is different and some of these tips may not be applicable to you, but in general, these are my recommendations for how to make the most of your space.

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First and foremost, if you’re going into your first year, take a piece of my advice and cut back on school supply shopping. One of the biggest shocks to me coming into college was the fact that 95% of my work is done on my laptop and submitted online, so things like highlighters, binders, paper, and folders are essentially useless. You will probably want to consider getting some of these things, just in case, but I promise you won’t have to go overboard like you did in high school. You simply don’t need 5 accordion folders, 200 pens, and five stacks of notebook paper to get good grades. All you need is a reliable computer and a pair of headphones, and you should be all set. This will not only clear up space in your dorm, but also space in your school bag!

The best thing I ever invested in space-wise for college was a garment rack. They’re pretty easy to find (I got mine on Amazon), and come apart fairly painlessly at the end of the school year. Now that I put all of my clothes on this rack, I have a completely free closet to fill with other things! For me personally, I fill my closet with pantry staples, towels, and coats. It really does make a huge difference in dorm space, and the clothing rack itself isn’t too mass-intensive. I also like to store my shoes on the bottom part of the rack, which helps me to free up even more space in my room.

Most college dorm beds can be adjusted lower or higher, depending on what you prefer. For me, I keep mine pretty close to the ground, but not low enough that I can’t utilize under-bed storage. Get yourself two or three big plastic bins and specifically designate them for supplies you’ll need. I have one bin under my bed for spare sheets and pillowcases, and another one for feminine hygiene products and other spare shower supplies. It does wonders for making my room feel extra organized, and again, it helps me free up quite a bit of extra space. 

This kind of relates to the first point I brought up, but try to only bring things you know that you’ll use on a daily/weekly basis. This can be really difficult, because overpacking is something I think we’re all guilty of. When you’re packing for college, take some time to really think practically about the things you pack. How likely is it that you’ll actually use the thing you’re packing? Can you picture yourself using it within the next few days or next few weeks? If not, it might just be taking up extra space. This may seem like a trivial tip, but it has actually helped me cut back on so much extra stuff I don’t need. It certainly makes moving in and out of my dorm that much easier at the beginning and end of the semester.

It’s a pretty standard college fact that you will slowly amass things in your dorm over time, much of which you won’t really need or use. Regularly declutter and donate things that you’re not using, such as spare clothes, cans of food, of knick knacks just sitting around. Relating to the last point, I sometimes bring duplicates of things I already own, and end up donating them because they’re just sitting and taking up space (such as scarves, skincare products, bed sets, etc). I don’t need two bottles of lotions or two bathrobes in my dorm. If I discover I have a duplicate, I’ll either send one home or re-gift it to a friend. You’ll find that this not only makes your room feel lighter, but can make you feel lighter as a person as well.

Anywho, those are my top five tips for staying organized and decluttered at school! I’m about twelve weeks into my senior year, and my room is still just about as organized as it was when I first moved in. Every week or so, I go through my things and throw away what needs to go, and generally give my room a little pick-me-up. I think cleaning often for smaller amounts of time is way more enjoyable than doing one giant clean-out every season, and it feels much more practical, too. I hope my tips have helped you, and I’d love to hear some of your pieces of advice in the comments as well!