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In Lifestyle on
March 20, 2017

How To Have A Great Graduation Season With Minted

This post was sponsored my Minted. Thanks to the lovely individuals over at Minted for sponsoring this post about graduation for my readers.

Graduation season is quickly approaching. Even though it’s just March I know that all graduating seniors probably have a countdown already starting on their phone, computer, and anywhere else with a clock. Most graduating seniors could probably tell me when they’d be graduating down to the second if asked (just kidding, but really…😂) I have attended quite a few graduations over the last few years and I have graduated both high school and college. In August I will be graduating with my Master’s in Sociology. I cannot wait to provide my tips on how to have a great graduation season and make it through the season (realteively) unscathed.

 How To Have A Great Graduation Season With Minted | The process leading up to, during, and after graduation is difficult. Most people don't know what to expect because a college graduation is so different from high school graduation. Click through for my tips on what to do before, during, and after graduation so that you have a successful graduation season.

So, first and foremost, you may be be asking, what is Minted? Well, my friends, Minted is a wonderful service that allows you to support local artists by browsing a site filled with designs from artists all over the world. Minted has a vareity of products on their website and they are all so beautiful and diverse. The Minted artists really know what they are doing and so does the Minted team when it comes to choosing the art that is showcased on their site. These artists make everything an art form, even the simplest invitation. You are bound to find a beautiful personalized gift on their website.

Before The Ceremony

There are many tasks that need to get done before you slip into your cap and gown and walk across the stage. These are my tips for the things you should do before your graduation ceremony.

don’t neglect your school work

If you haven’t had spring break yet you are going to have it soon. The after Spring Break excitement of getting ready to be done with college is real. You cannot let this interfere with your school work, especially if you are taking any mandatory college classes this semester, which you may be doing.

If you are not graduating this year, try to take your last mandatory classes in the fall semester of your senior year. The spring semester is not nearly as productive because graduation is so close you can almost taste it.

I tried and succeed at taking my mandatory capstone class during the fall semester of my senior year which was SO HELPFUL because while I was worried about making sure my grades were good, I wasn’t stressing out about my classes as much because I knew that a C or B wouldn’t stop me from graduating. (I made a 3.8 my last semester though so I didn’t go too crazy.)

It is so important to take your school work seriously so that you can end your college years strong. Plus, nothing is set in stone until you get your diploma. Your graduation isn’t set in stone, your graduate school attendance isn’t set in stone, everything is in the air still. I say this, not to scare you, but to make sure you know the gravity of the situation.

Think About your invitations and graduation photos

Inviting family and friends to your college graduation is so important, especially if you are one of the first ones in your family to graduate college. People want to see you succeed. You don’t necessarily have to take graduation photos to get your invitations done, but getting glammed up for a graduation shoot is the perfect way to get excited about graduation and the next steps in your life. Plus, if the photographs are great you could potentially use them for headshots as you are looking for a career.

Minted has all sorts of beautiful designs for graduation announcements. Some of them even have real foil in them. Here are just a few of my favorite announcements so you can get a great picture of what these announcements look like.

Toast of The Town | Gold Charm | Modern Deco | Modern Grad Script | Class Grad

Minted has a ton more graduation invitations to browse so be sure to check them out.

Start thinking about the future

If you haven’t started looking for a job, I definitely encourage you to start doing different things to prepare for the job search. There are so many things you can do to start this process

  • Have a meeting with your school’s career services office: This is the last time you will have such complete access to a service like career services. Make sure you take sometime to appreciate the service while you have access to it and use it.
  • Make and/or perfect your résumé: If you have yet to make a résumé, get on it right now. There are so many resources out there and this is also the perfect time to meet with your career services office and let them go over your results. If you already have one made, perfect it.
  • Make business cards: Minted has SO many beautiful business cards on their website. You will seriously love them all. I can’t wait to show you the business cards I got made through Minted, but here are a couple of my favorites:

Pink Walsh | Gold Dip | Name To Remember

I know that getting business cards seems so strange, but Minted has so many amazing business card designs that you can’t go wrong by at leasting checking out their archive of awesome cards!

Do you need some extra help thinking about your career path? Check out my post on How To Be A LinkedIn Rockstar!

Think About Living Arrangements

For many college students this is the first time they have ever been out and about on their own. You want your living arrangements to feel home-y and unique to you. Minted has beautiful home decor products that you should totally put on your wishlist so that you can decorate your new apartment or house after you graduate. They are also perfect for decorating your desk at your new job.

Ivy | Flower Hands | California Map Filled Foil State

I love the wall art that Minted has on their website because it allows me to personalize my space no matter if I am creating an office or a home. It’s the perfect gift to ask for for any graduating senior.

During the ceremony

Graduation is not always easy to survive and I am here to offer some tips for surviving any college graduation. Learn from my mistakes and have an even better graduation day than I did (and I had a pretty swell day, y’all!)

Secure your graduation cap

I CANNOT recommend this enough. Graduation is stressful enough without worrying that your cap will fly off all day, and sometimes it does actually fall off. Mine did. I held up the line after walking off stage because my cap fell off and I had to put it back on so I could take my official graduation picture. Those picture proofs still looked pretty flawless though and I was about to say goodbye to college anyhow so what is embarrassment? Seriously, though, secure your cap so you spend less time worrying about your cap and more time enjoying the ceremony.

Get to graduation as early as possible

I was not in my college town the day of graduation. I had actually gone to stay the night with my sister because I wanted to get my hair done the day before graduation. We were running a smidge late because my sister lived about 30 minutes from my campus on a good day, and of course traffic was making the situation a million times worse. 

So if you can, get to graduation as soon as you can. Yes, it’s no fun to stand in line forever and wait to be able to walk in to the place where the ceremony is being held, but it’s also not fun to have to rush through the process of getting prepped and ready to graduate.

Graduation is confusing. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes to make sure that people are in the correct order and sitting with their perspective colleges and majors. So get there early so you can find your place and get excited about the experience of graduation.

Pay attention during the ceremony

I know it will be SO EASY to doze off during graduation or think about other people and other things especially during the time where they are calling each and every name. Things can change in a heartbeat during graduation, though, so you want to make sure that you are adequately able to understand what is happening so you can react when necessary. 

 A picture from my college graduation

A picture from my college graduation

After The Ceremony

Here are my tips for having the best time after the graduation ceremony is over, because in my opinion, that is just as important.

Enjoy Your Family

Take some time to enjoy your family during this beautiful occasion. Your family has come together to enjoy your day so don’t forget to be thankful and gracious as you spend time with relatives close and far. They came  to celebrate your brains after all.

Sleep As much as you can

I know, crazy, but get some rest. You will have so much to tackle in the coming months from finding a job if you haven’t already to coming up with living arrangements. Don’t be afraid to get a nap or three in during the days following the ceremony.

Give thanks & Spread Love

Your family and friends have probably given you some amazing things and their company during this time in your life. Don’t be afraid to show them some love in return. You can quickly and easily do this by writing a handwritten thank you note to people in your life. Minted has you covered on this one.

Starlight | Painterly Script | Rosebloom

Sending out a thank you card is a must for people who have given you fun gifts, sent you money, or even attended your graduation. If you can do so I would highly encourage getting some cute note cards with your name on it for a more personalized touch instead of just generic thank you cards. Minted has tons of thank you cards just for grads and tons of general thank you cards too. In my opinion it doesn’t matter which kind of note cards you send, as long as you are thankful.

Final Thoughts

The graduation process can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Minted can really be a great tool for you as you begin the process of picking out graduation invitations and becoming more familiar with everything from home decor to business cards. Minted really has your back. Check back on Monday, April 3rd as I will be sharing some of my favorite Minted products for graduation seniors so that you can put these items on your list. I got quite a haul from Minted that I can’t wait to share with you.

In Academics on
March 7, 2016

Reading With Purpose: Article Skimming 101

Today’s blog is all about reading with purpose, understanding the parts of an article, and skimming that article with intent. In graduate school right now I read a minimum of 6 articles a week between my two courses Violence & Society and Crime, Control, & Inequality. That’s a lot of reading, but you don’t read everything–you skim! I am going to teach you how to skim with purpose in today’s blog and I hope that you find this information super useful. These are things I wish I had learned way earlier in my college career, and it’s never too early to start working on understanding these concepts.

 Reading With Purpose: Article Skimming 101 | Being able to skim while reading is an important skill to have that all too often college students don't know how to do. Click through for my tips on how to skim read any article that you may have to read in college or graduate school.

Reading With Purpose

First of all it’s important to understand what reading with purpose actually means. There are a lot of reasons you might be reading an article. For example, each week I read three articles in my Violence & Society class. In my opinion my reads are a bit softer in this class because the purpose of my paper is a reflection essay/review of the major findings in the paper. Obviously I skim the entire paper so that I will be able to have a productive class discussion, but I don’t go into every single minute detail of a paper–I just don’t have time for that. In my Crime, Control, & Inequality class on the other hand, we take notes on each article so my reading has to be a bit more in depth so that I can get the most important information from the articles and into my notes. That doesn’t mean that I am reading every single article from start to finish.

When you sit down to read you really have to understand your purpose. Are you reading for fun, for a literature review, to study for a test, to write a reflection essay, to take notes? What is your purpose? This will help you decide and gauge the amount you need to skim or actually read of your article. Also think back to past assignment grades. Each week in my Violence class we write a 2 page single space reflection essay on the work that we do. These past reflection essays and the feedback my professor gives on them are perfect for assessing if my skimming is actually working or not, or if I need to delve just a little bit deeper for the content my professor wants. This helps me when I sit down to read for the week and write my essay.

So now that you know how to read with purpose I am going to introduce you to the various parts of an academic journal article and how to read these parts with purpose.

Parts Of An Academic Journal Article

Depending on your purpose of reading, various parts of a journal article might make more or less sense to sit through. I am going to walk you through the major parts of an academic journal article and how you can get through each part and read them with purpose.


In my opinion, the abstract is one of the most important parts of an article. I feel like this is such an important piece to read no matter the purpose of your reading. The abstract is essentially a wrap up of the most important parts of the entire paper. It summarizes the major findings of the literature review, the data and methods section, and the conclusions. If you want to get a quick understanding of a study read it’s abstract.


The purpose of the introduction it to set the scene for the entire paper. They will really let you know exactly what the paper hopes to look at, as well as give you a great look into the writer’s potential writing style. I really encourage reading the introduction, as it is usually only a page at most (and usually just a few paragraphs.)

Literature Review

Okay, now we are getting to a good bulk of a paper. The literature review can be quite lengthy, but super important to any paper reading. So how exactly should you approach skimming this section? I will let you in on a little secret:

All Good Literature Reviews Have Section Headings

So what does that mean for you? It means you can skip around. In this article, as you can see, I have also used section headings. It makes the entire article a more pleasant read, because as a reader, you can decide exactly where you want to start reading. Don’t care about learning about the abstract? That’s cool, because you can skip straight down to my discussion of the discussion or the literature review.

Literature reviews are just like that. This means a few things.

  1. You can see exactly what the literature review will be discussing at a glance.
  2. You can delve a bit deeper into the parts that you care about.
  3. You can read way less paragraphs by reading the introduction and conclusion paragraphs of each section.

Obviously reading through the literature review is important. In order to understand the literature review as a whole you need to cover each of the sections of the literature review. You don’t have to read every single piece of information in the literature review, but you have to actually skim the content and make sure you are picking up on the important pieces. I use a highlighter to go through and highlight any information I deem important or maybe just interesting. If it sparks a question I also like to make a few little notes in the margins as well.

Data & Methods

Okay, honestly I skim this part a lot. The data & methods is the bulk of any study/article, because it is actually what they are talking about. This is their contribution to the literature. This is what you came here for technically. You can skim this section pretty easily, but you have to know some important information.


This section basically outlines their methodology or how they intend to measure what they are looking for. They probably told you in the introduction what they are looking for. They may choose a survey, one-on-one interviews, group interviews, a content analysis, an experiment, something else, or a combination of various measurements. If you want to get the bulk of the methods section understand these questions.

  1. What method(s) they used to study their subject.
  2. Who participated in their study? What are their genders? What are their ages? Where are they from? What makes them a special and important group to study.


This section is where they actually provide their results. What did the survey, content analysis, or experiment yield as far as tangible results. Honestly, I skip over this section quite a bit, because I am not super savvy when it comes to reading charts and various numbers. In my opinion the tables and extra frill are really there to say “I am way more science-y than my other doctorate competitors.” So what do I do if I don’t really look at the tables. I read their explanations of the data in the data section, but specifically in the discussion section.


So this is where the data talk really heats up, this is where they discuss exactly what they found and how it relates to the literature they discussed earlier. If tables and stats give you hives then I would definitely suggest reading their actual discussion on the data that they found. I am not the best at statistics past the simple descriptive statistical analysis so I rely pretty heavily on their discussion of their data in the data and discussion sections.

Conclusion & Limitations/Future Research

The conclusion and limitations/future research sections can be super important. The conclusion section really ties up all the loose ends to any research that was done and really does a good job of tying all of the pieces and parts together in a nice, neat bow. This discusses if they really proved their hypotheses or not, and what that means as far as the validity of their research.  This is a great part to skim.

One section that I really wanted to touch on, that depending on your purpose you might skip or skim is the limitations/future research section. Sometimes this has a section all it’s own, but a lot of the time it’s just tacked on to the conclusion section. The purpose of this section is to let readers know what they had a hard time with. Maybe their sample wasn’t as big or as diverse as they would like or they were sponsored by someone who might have swayed their research a little. This also just talks about what they’d like to see in future papers. This is a great place to skim if the purpose of your reading is to get some ideas for future research projects. I love this article on how to use the future research and limitations section to come up with new research topic ideas.

Works/Literature Cited

Lastly, I also think the works cited part of any article is important to skim if you are reading to get ideas on your own research paper. You can use the sources they use to build your literature review, find potential data sets, and more. For instance, when I did research during my senior year of college in my senior seminar course one particular book kept coming up in the literature reviews of all the articles I was researching.  This was such an important resource for me when I was writing my paper, because I was able to actually have a great resource in my paper that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen because I was focusing specifically on articles.

Random Information About Skimming

To end this hopefully really beneficial talk all about article skimming I am also going to let y’all in on a few other random pieces of information about article skimming that I think are important.

Don’t Get Caught Up With Reading

When you are skimming, don’t get too caught up reading. Often times when you set out to skim it becomes a reading fest because one interesting thing might lead to another interesting thing. That is all fine and good, but remember to note when you are skimming over just reading a bunch of the words. The most important thing to remember is don’t discount skimming if you aren’t skimming but actually just reading everything in an article. Efficient skimming takes practice to get down, and it’s something that you will probably be working at for a long time.

Set A Timer

One practice that I use to not get caught up with my reading is to set a timer or at the very least a time that I’d like to be done with skimming an article. This helps get my brain conditioned to skim a bit faster and to spend less time reading every minute detail, because I admit I get caught up with reading too, and this is the best method I have found for curving that. You may not follow your time exactly right the first few times, but you can start to understand how these things may work together and change the way you skim to fit your time limit.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I hope that today’s post has been super helpful for anyone who is struggling to read all of the various readings they get each week. This is the information I wish someone would have told me when I first started college. I would have been so much more proficient at reading articles today if I had this basic information when I first started reading articles.

What are your best skimming techniques? Leave them in the comments below!

In Academics on
February 17, 2016

The Importance Of Fighting For Grades In College

Yesterday I got an assignment back and I got a 9 out of 10. That is a pretty decent score as far as grades go, especially since there are tons of points in the class and assignments like this one are only worth 15% of the grade. Alas, I still fought for that point, because my work was done correctly and I deserve to be compensated correctly for the time and effort I put into my work. Today on the blog I am talking about a sore topic for many college students–fighting for the grades they deserve.

Thankfully, this wasn’t much of a fight. The professor was very nice about the mistake and fixed it right away when I showed him the evidence. In high school, a point or two often seemed petty to argue over. People often looked at people who got high scores and scoffed at them when they went to inquire about a potentially higher score or an answer that was incorrectly marked wrong. I have to say that I used to be one of those people as well. I used to think this was quite petty and that in the bigger picture these things shouldn’t matter. That was until last semester.

The Importance Of Fighting For Grades In College | Students are often scared to fight for the grades they deserve in a class. This blog gives great tips from personal experience on what happens when you don't fight for your grades and how to fight for the grades you deserve with grace.

Last semester I took a class and on quite a few of the earlier assignments I got grades like 48/50. At the moment these were great grades. I mean, that’s a 96%. I didn’t feel any emotion about these grades until the end of the semester when I ended up with 880-something points out of 1,000. Essentially I ended being just a few points away from being rounded up to 900 points (and therefore an A in the course). After the final grades came out, I, of course, racked my brain and wondered what could have been if I had challenged these points when they happened.

So today, I stand, a changed person. Your grade in college is your livelihood. Your grade is so important to so many aspects of college life, your GPA, scholarships, etc. Sure, a few points here and there might not matter much at the moment, but looking back you could end up with the short end of the stick because you didn’t stick up for yourself.

When it comes to grades in college it is often about more than just one or two points Here are my tips for dealing with grade disputes and actually fighting for the grades you deserve in college.

Keep Reading, Darling

In Academics on
December 16, 2015

5 Things You Can Do Over Winter Break to Prepare for Next Semester

I know better than anyone that no one wants to talk about school over winter break. It is important to spend a little bit preparing for the new school year though, so you can avoid the night before class jitters as much as possible. Here are 5 Things You Can Do Over Winter Break to Prepare For Next Semester!

 5 Things You Can Do Over Winter Break to Prepare for Next Semester | Click through to learn about 5 things you can do during winter break (or summer break) to prepare for your next semester of classes.

Re-Evaluate Your Performance From This Semester

Now is the time to re-evaluate your semester. Reflection is key to growth in my opinion. I would suggest the following:

  • Document your GPA. See which classes you passed, which ones you barely passed, etc. Reflect on why that was.
  • Go back through all the papers you can find and read the feedback you got on them again.
  • Evaluate what was going on in your life this semester. Did you have issues? Did you procrastinate? Were you depressed? What can you do this coming semester  to get the resources you need to deal with this?

I have a whole semester reflection guide that is multiple pages long that I think you will love.

Purchase Your Books

Now is the absolute best time to start buying your text books, if you can. You can ask for textbook money for Christmas or buy them yourself while deals are still happening. Textbooks can take a really long time to get to you, depending on where you order them from–so now would be the best time to get them so you have them on the first day of class (or at least the first week). You can definitely wait to get your textbooks, but I encourage early buying, because one of the most anxious moments around is when you are not prepared during the first week of class. Not being prepared on the first week can definitely be saved, but it can seem like a hard thing to move on from.

Restock Your School Supplies

I don’t know about you, but for me it seems like as soon as I get done with the fall semester my stock of supplies is just depleted. Make sure you are all stocked up on pencils, pens, notecards, paper, etc before going back-to-school. Since it’s a school related expense your parents will probably feel more comfortable paying for the items, and let’s face it, if you can get these items free that would be ideal.

Check Your Financial Aid

This is especially prudent after you get your final grades back. It’s important to check to make sure your GPA is in line with any scholarships or grants that you have. You don’t want to go back to school and realize a day before classes are back in session that your scholarship wasn’t renewed and your schooling isn’t fully paid for. So be sure to check on this as soon as possible after grades are posted.

Research Your Professors

Most people research professors before they register for classes, but if you haven’t logged on to RateMyProfessors or asked your friends about a certain professor, now would be the best time to do so. Usually at this time you can still change your professors if you decided a professor isn’t really for you.

Do you want more tips on things you can do to prepare for next semester during winter break? You are in luck! I came up with 10 total things you can do during winter break to prepare for the spring, and the next 5 tips are available for e-mail subscribers. Sign up now to get this second article plus the Semester Evaluation Worksheet mentioned above.

Again, by signing up to get these freebies, you are also signing up for my newsletter. I usually don’t send out more than one update a week. Also by signing up you are getting access to a growing library of fun goodies and extras. After you sign up below and confirm you are a member of my email list you will get a final welcome email with a link to a password protected page on my blog. You will also get the password and from there you can easily access the above guides plus another freebie I have listed so far! If you have any problems/questions/concerns don’t hesitate to slide into my inbox at I try to answer any questions there as promptly as possible.