Life

7 helpful tips to ace your college road trip

 

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With a daughter headed into her senior year of high school, our search for the right college is in full swing. I can’t believe it! I feel like I blinked and this little girl has grown into a young woman now thinking about the next stage of her life.

Since we have commitments to show choir, school plays, swimming, football, gymnastics – oh yeah – and classes, we knew that once the school year kicks in, our time to look at colleges will be limited. So we used a few days this summer to tour universities. And we didn’t just visit colleges, we embarked on what felt like an epic college tour, which covered four schools in four states over four days.

Knowing that we would need to cram alot into a short amount of time, we developed a plan to get the most out of our visits. I imagine that some parents out there may be in my shoes in the coming months, so I though I’d share how we handled our college tour.

  • Pack lightly
    We devoted one day to visiting each school. This meant that we would be in and out of each location pretty quickly. If you structure your visits like this, it’s wise to not pack too much. And what you do pack should be comfortable and reusable in multiple locations.
  • Create an itinerary
    We knew we would be covering four colleges in four states in four days so we needed to create a realistic schedule that we could stick to. Prepare an itinerary that includes the location of the college, its distance from where you’ll be staying, and how far it is from your next destination. Having all of these details in one place will help you stay organized while on the road and keep you on track for departing and arriving at your next destination on time. And, when you make your itinerary, be sure to build in time to decompress.
  • Register your visits in the afternoon
    I don’t know about you, but I’m not much of a morning person. I like to ease into my day. And when I’m travelling, I seem to need even more time for the easing. If you have the option, schedule your information sessions and tours in the late morning or early afternoon. This will allow you plenty of time to get there, get
    settled and get ready to absorb the information.
  • Know what you want to know 🙂
    After looking at two schools, I joked to my daughter that we could be at Any College, USA. (Note: while these were the first ones out of state, we’ve already looked at several local schools). Once you’ve been in a few information sessions and seen a host of academic buildings, all of the schools start to look the same. We found it helpful to prepare a list of things that we wanted to know about each school as we compared them to the others. Since my daughter has already done a ton of research to narrow down her choices, this list was really helpful in comparing the fine details of each school.
  • Build in time to sight see
    Remember: your child will be living in this new environment for the next two to four years of their life. So they, and you, will want to take a look at the surrounding area. Make sure you build time into your schedule to see the town, not just the campus. If you schedule your formal sessions in the late morning or early afternoon, perhaps you can tie in lunch at a local restaurant or take the scenic route the location where your sessions will be held.
  • Minimize cost by staying with family
    I’m a Virginia transplant, originally from New Jersey – or as I like to say “I’m a come here, not a from here.” Much of my family is still “up north.” So when my daughter wanted to visit a college in NJ, of course, I called in a favor from family. My sister lives less than an hour from one of the schools we visited, so I took this opportunity to tie in a visit with her. Though saving on the cost of a hotel wasn’t my primary objective, it was an added bonus for two nights of the trip.
  • Share driving responsibility
    Considering that your child will ultimately be the one travelling between home and school, have them do some of the driving. This will help them see what it will be like driving back and forth. Since our trip covered over 400 miles one-way, having a co-pilot (and co-driver) provided much-needed relief for both of us.

So that’s how we handled the summer college road trip. We still have two more schools on the list, but thankfully, they’re alot closer to home!

Your turn: Have you gone through the college tour process recently? What tips do you have for a manageable, enjoyable, infomative trip?

Dream-building Sunday | I am worthy and deserving

I am worthy and deserving of all the good in life. (2)One of the things that I enjoy doing is “dream-building.” For me, dream-building includes things like going to look at houses where I would like to live; test driving the car that I would like to own; looking in magazines or online to see locations where I would like to vacation.

Dream-building helps me hold specific images in my mind with the expectation that these dreams will (soon) become reality.

I recently had an epiphany while on one of my dream-building outings. As I rode around a gorgeous neighborhood looking at million dollar homes with expansive yards and luxury cars parked in each driveway, I found myself thinking “I wonder who lives here?”

I immediately assumed that these homeowners must be doctors, lawyers, judges, business CEOs and the like. Well guess what that did to my dream?! It quickly deflated it, because I do not fall into any of these categories!

In that moment, I realized that I needed to take a step back in my thought process and change the image I was holding in my mind. As much as I am open and receptive to the good that life offers, my belief was that the “good” things are reserved only for those in certain professions.

So, I have started saying to myself “I am worthy and deserving of all the good in life.”

One of the things that this process has taught me is that the affirmations we use must meet us where we are. If there are underlying beliefs that negate these affirmations, they must first be addressed in order to move forward.

The lesson in this is to start where you are. If your affirmations are “not working,” take a step back and look at your underlying beliefs. If you’re not seeing your reality progressively change for the better, perhaps you need to address a fundamental belief that is blocking you from having what you really want in life.

Three reasons to start coloring again

I must admit, when I heard about the adult coloring book trend, I was a bit intrigued. My youngest loves to color, and I often find myself doodling right alongside him.

Last weekend, for my husband’s birthday, we headed over to our local book store to pick out some books as part of his gift. Well, I got a little something too!

butterflies

I’ve been wanting to try out this whole adult coloring thing for quite some time, so I seized my opportunity.

From what I’ve read, there are lots of reasons to try adult coloring. Here are three that I’ve seen over and over again.

Creativity for the non-creative artistically challenged. With the use of technology, it’s pretty easy to be creative these days. We take more selfies than we know what to do with! But if you’re looking for a “handmade” creative outlet, coloring just might be your thing. Since the drawings are already there, all you need to do is fill in the blanks. And you can be as creative as you’d like using a variety of colors to create your masterpiece.

Meditation. Many experts also claim that the coloring process is a form of meditation. And my experience has proven this to be true. There is something mind relaxing about losing yourself in the strokes and shadings of your artwork.

Free artwork. Yes, I said it! Many of the coloring books I’ve seen have really intricate designs that can easily be transformed into beautiful framed pieces of art. In fact, if you have an empty wall in need of some interest, you can hang several pieces together to create a unique, custom, INEXPENSIVE collage.

Curious about the book I got? Well, I love it – largely because I love butterflies! It’s “Vive Le Color! Butterflies“; although I picked it up at a brick and mortar shop, it’s also available online. My review so far is that I LOVE IT. The drawings are intricate enough to be pretty, but not so much that I feel I can’t finish coloring it. I’ve only gotten through a few images, but so far so good!

Ready to tap into your inner artist through coloring again? Here are some options to help get you started!

Adult Coloring Book Designs

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Product description: 48 designs. Dozens of coloring pages designed for adults. Garden Designs, Animals, Mandalas, and Paisley Patterns.Each coloring page is designed to help relax and inspire. The variety of pages ensure something for every skill level. Use your choice of coloring tool (pens, pencils, markers, crayons). Each coloring page is on a separate sheet.

The Mindfulness Coloring Book

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Product description: A fun and unique pocket-size coloring book designed to channel stress into relaxing, creative accomplishments. Reinforced binding with strong glue allows you to open and lay this book flat to color with intricate detail without breaking the spine.

Creative Haven Dream Doodles: A Coloring Book with a Hidden Picture Twist

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Product description: Twenty-eight intricate images offer a mind-expanding coloring experience. But there’s more here than meets the eye ― look closely to find the bumblebees, teacups, mushrooms and other surprising figures hidden amid the wild, swirling designs.

Your turn: Have you tried coloring again? Tell me about your experience in the comments below!

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