The Best Way to Clear Your Head During Finals

June has quickly approached, and with it brought the promise of sunshine and summer festivities. As students get closer to the end of another school year, it is easy to prioritize the importance of finals over the importance of mental health. As busy college students, we often get sucked into a fog of school-related activities, forgetting how important it is to take some personal days to alleviate stress and focus on the importance of self-care. Here’s how I clear some of that student fog.

It is amazing what getting outside on a sunny day can do to benefit your mental health. In an article titled, “Effects of Weather on Human Emotions,” Psychologist, Stanley C. Loewen explains, “Because light prevents melatonin production this in turn means that it also makes us more awake, switched on and alert and with more energy”(5). Have you ever noticed that after studying for hours in the library you become tired? That’s not just because you are working hard, it is also caused by a lack of sunlight. The next time you are studying during the day and feel like you aren’t retaining any information, go outside! Take a break in the sun and allow the light to aid your cramming sessions.

My next favorite way to alleviate some stress: taking a hike! Every Tinder profile might be onto something when they say, “I love hiking!” because let’s face it, hiking is great. Take a friend, pack some snacks, and pick a destination. It doesn’t have to be the most challenging hike in the world, just a bit of a climbing to get your heart rate up and your blood flowing. Not only does sun aid mental health, but so does exercise.

We use the term “hike” lightly because it doesn’t have to be an all-day commitment. A friend and I spent a total of three hours on a local trail for this specific excursion. At 10 a.m. we set out in our hiking shoes to a location about 15 minutes away, hung a hammock between two trees and spent the rest of the time relaxing and appreciating nature.

My advice to you all would be to take a hike and see how you feel after. It may not be for everybody, but you will never know until you try.

Comment below, or share a photo of your favorite activity that helps keep you sane during the hectic times in life. Don’t forget to tag @Cfashionista so we can see too!

5 Steps to Make Overwhelming Projects Totally Do-able

It’s that time of year again. Personally, I’ve hit the end-of-the-school-year wall, flooded with important projects and finals, but my motivation is nowhere to be found. After almost 30 weeks of third-year coursework, I am losing major speed. It doesn’t help that my friends on the semester system are three-weeks deep into summer vacation, while I’m scrolling through their sunny Instagrams in the library. There are four assessments and two weeks standing between me and three months of academic freedom—time to buckle down and finish this quarter strong! Whether you too are feeling the end-of-the-year slump, or just looking for some organizational inspiration, take a deep breath and try these productivity tips with me.

Below are the steps I take to tackle daunting deadlines.

1. Break down large deadlines into small steps.

Quarter- or semester-long projects always seem to creep up on me.  It happens to all of us, and finding the will to start is the hardest part.  Breaking down massive projects into smaller, simpler steps is helpful for improving motivation. For example, the task of writing a 35-page business plan in one sitting feels impossible. But breaking it down into outlining, writing certain sections, submitting a rough draft, etc., makes it seem much more feasible, thus I, personally, am more inclined to get started.

2. Set deadlines for those small steps.

Schedule exactly when you plan to complete each step. Having your favorite agenda handy is essential here. Make sure these deadlines are realistic: you want be able to stick them for the sake of the project as a whole. Also, when scheduling small deadlines, don’t forget to consider your day-to-day schedule beyond academics.! Hello, you want to have a life, too!

3. Take a break!

Organizing can take a while, and dwelling on how much you have to do can be overwhelming. To clear your mind, go for a walk, run, go to yoga, stand up and stretch, make a snack, drink tea, or if it’s late at night, go to bed! Try your best not to watch TV or scroll through Instagram—you want to refresh, not distract.

4. Find a quiet space.

Take advantage of quiet time while your roommate is in class; go to your favorite spot in the library or a local coffee shop—anywhere you feel you can focus. Be careful to choose somewhere you won’t run into a lot of people to minimize distraction.
After finding my quiet space, I like to use the app Forest to time how long I will work for.  The app “grows trees” as you get stuff done. Do whatever works for you to stay off your phone.

5. Get to work.

Start on what you have scheduled. It will be so rewarding to check off that box on your to-do list and finish the day feeling accomplished. Feel free to take breaks when you’re feeling burnt out—a.k.a. the moment you keep checking your phone or lose track of how many Tasty videos you’ve just watched. I also recommend sipping tea or exercising to relieve stress.

Finally, reward yourself for staying on track! End-of-quarter/semester deadlines are not easy, especially when juggling other on-campus activities and a social life. Hopefully, this process will help you bring control to the table when faced with overwhelming tasks so you can enjoy the rest of your amazing college experience!

What are your tricks for staying on track in school? Let me know in the comments below.

WHAT TO WEAR: When You Look Good, You Feel Good

On any college campus, final exams echo cries of panic, depression, and all around stress. Coupled with the stressful atmosphere, come sweatpants, sweatshirts, messy hair, and quite possibly the absence of basic human activities. These include but are not limited to: failing to take showers at regular intervals, not eating at the right times, getting less than the recommended amount of sleep, and failing to exercise. Now, I am not criticizing finals attire, as I also know how it feels to neglect the gym for weeks, throw on that library sweatshirt, and study all day. However, when you look good, you feel good—right? This is exactly what this Fashionista has mastered. While everyone else was sporting their latest “I am too busy for real clothes” wear, her outfit screamed “wait, I forgot it was finals, because I am unusually and perfectly put together!”

Everything from this Fashionista’s hair down to her shoes works in synchronicity. Red is the main tone throughout her outfit, where it serves as an accent color, as well as a base. For example, red is prevalent in her shirt and Dr. Marten shoes, where it grounds her outfit as a base color. However, it also acts as an accent on the underside of her coat and in its trim. Her ensemble works exceptionally well because she only wears four colors: red, green, blue, and white. These distinct colors are highlighted by a geometric theme consistent throughout. Her boxy crop top is patterned with lines and shapes that complement the shirt’s shape. Additionally, her rectangular, and slightly oversize jacket pairs nicely with her cropped top, as it elongates her figure and fits nicely within the geometric theme. To further express herself, she wears funky mismatching earrings made of precise lines, circles, and triangles.

I even asked this Fashionista if she had more exams, to which she replied that she did! She also explained that her thoughtful outfit helped her feel better in this time of stress—how incredible! So, if you are nervous and anxious about your exams this semester, try and look your best. Even if you feel that you don’t have the time, it may help you focus, and even study just a little bit harder. After all, looking great, really can help you feel great!

BEAUTY BAR: Finals Ready

As a college student with quickly approaching finals, athleisure wear is a go-to. Many Fashionistas/os know that when you look good, you feel good. During this stressful time of our lives, looking good may be low on the priorities list. While athleisure wear may looks sporty-chic, what about your hair?

Tossing your hair in a bun is both quick and easy. This Fashionista takes a new spin on the classic half bun by adding two braids. Pulling her hair back in two braids both allows her hair to be secured and out of her face, and also adds a more interesting element to her hair showcasing the different colors and overall outfit. The braids and half up style add femininity to the otherwise sporty look. She completed the look with minimal makeup of neutral brown shadow and mascara. The whole outfit and beauty look is quick and easy, perfect for the Fashionistas/os swamped with tests or just wanting a more casual and comfortable look.

She is wearing her lululemon full zip hoodie and full length leggings for added warmth on this still cool day. To differentiate from the all black outfit, she added a white V-neck Nike tank. She completed the outfit with black and grey Nikes, successfully completing the athleisure vibe. While the outfit worn by this Fashionista is athleisure, the hairstyle can easily be worn for a night out, musical festival, or just for day-to-day activities. Whether feeling lazy or just too busy to spend excessive time on getting ready, this go-to look is perfect for just such an occasion.

WHAT TO WEAR: Dress for Success

There is nothing more stressful than finals week. It’s a long week full of studying late into the night, every night, until the day of your final comes. During this time, it’s typical to find most college students wearing full blown sweatpants, hats to cover their messy and dirty hair, and have dark circles under their eyes. However, I found a Fashionista who likes to take a different approach. She called it “dressing for success,” a term used often when people dress for certain occasions with the belief their outfil will make them more successful. This Fashionista still kept her look casual, while adding a little more oomph for an extra boost of confidence for her finals.

Her platform shoes are comfy and great for walking around campus, but are on trend with the suede fabric. The denim skirt has a simple button up detailing and two pockets for some extra functionality. The button-down top is lightweight, perfect for any hot classrooms. Lastly, she added a few accessories: a silver watch to glam it up and a black purse for carrying the essentials for any final. All together, this outfit is ideal for taking a test in comfort and feeling confident at the same time.

Finals are always a pain, but dressing well can make them a little bit better. Take it from this Fashionista, who later told me she passed all of her finals. So go ahead and dress up a little when you need an extra confidence boost, it never hurts!

WHAT TO WEAR: The Final Slayage

Welcome to finals week Fashionistas and Fashionistos! This is the most important week of the semester. Not only do you have to show your professor that you were actually listening in class that time you were scrolling through your Instagram/Twitter/Tumblr feed, but you also have to remind everyone why you are the HFIC (Head Fashionista in Charge). While everyone else is dressed in sweats and toting those non-designer bags under their eyes, you are rocking your best casual fits. And so, here we have it ladies and gents. Our last venture together for the semester, the casual outfit.

Most people get so caught up in the stress of finals week that they forget the most important rule of fashion: Every day is a fashionable day. Now of course this is not a jab at anyone who decides to tone it all the way down for finals week, but more so, a reminder that you do not have to be a victim of finals week and that the right casual outfit can leave you stylish without destroying your image.

In the hub of all the formulas, historic events, chemical compositions, and whatever physics is about, it can get hard to even think of outfit ideas. When those days come, the easiest thing is to keep it simple. This month’s Fashionista did exactly that. Dressed in all black with a simple crop top and jeans, it is the perfect way to show that even with the stress, you are still the best dressed. The highlight in this outfit, of course, are the classic Puma sneakers on her feet that provide the perfect spring pop that takes this ensemble from drab to fab. To top it all off she accessorized with a pair of gold, hoop earrings and a classic beige colored bag to keep her pre-exam study notes and #2 pencil in.

So, when you are waking up for that 8 a.m. exam, nervous and scared out of your mind, remember this: You do not have to study for fashion! Unless of course you are a fashion major, in which case, I feel your pain girl!

WHAT TO WEAR: En Route to Finals

It is finally that time again that we all dread but, yet are excited for because once finals are all over, that means summer is in full swing. The end of a semester can be an exciting time for some due to graduation or summer internships starting, but before all this excitement can happen, finals week must occur and we all know finals week can be a drag. However, just because it is finals week doesn’t mean you can’t dress cute, am I right?

I spotted this Fashionista just outside Kent State University’s very own Rockwell Hall (clearly coming from a fashion class). She is ready to take on finals in style. This Fashionista added three simple pieces to create a statement look. There are many ways to wear a slip dress as daytime casual, especially for class. Pairing a little slip dress with a T-shirt underneath has been a huge trend lately. Tank tops are also being worn over short sleeved T-shirts, too. This Fashionista could add a simple belt and remove the short sleeve T-shirt and have a completely new look. Slip dresses can be so fun to style and so easy to throw on for the day.

She is rocking the trend for class and even threw on a military jacket to finish of her look. This floral slip dress from American Eagle Outfitters is a super cute transition piece for any college girl’s wardrobe. By pairing it with the short sleeve top and a pair of Steve Madden’s tan leather slip-ons, she dressed down the slip dress for class.

Sometimes it is hard to get dressed and ready for a final considering you spent the whole night cramming in the library. Don’t be discouraged because you are not the only one who feels that way, but I personally feel that if I look good, then I have more confidence in myself when taking the exam. If you get ready for the exam then you feel more confident and put together than you would if you rolled out of bed 10 minutes before your exam starts. Everyone has a different routine for final exam week when it comes to studying, but being prepared for your exam is your biggest priority. If you can take your exam in style then you are sure to feel better about it. Now this Fashionista is ready to take on her finals in style!

WHAT TO WEAR: Comfort and Style During Exam Season

It is that time of year again: exam season. It is the time of late library nights, extra shots of espresso, and re-tweeting inspirational quotes. Although school is the main priority at this time of the year, our personal style does not have to suffer. We are always told to dress to impress, and exam time is no different. Let what you wear show your style while also making you feel confident to ace your exams.

When sitting for many consecutive hours in the library or at a desk, comfort is key. However being study ready does not mean you do not have to look stylish. And yes, we all sometimes throw on gym shorts and an oversize T-shirt because sometimes it is going to be that kind of day that style needs to take a backseat. Although, if you follow this Fashionista’s example add your personal fashion sense to even a Starbucks study look, you will feel ready to conquer finals!

So follow this Fashionista’s look of combined comfort and fashion with breathable printed shorts and a classic black long sleeved T-shirt for those chilly library late nights. Throw your hair up in a messy bun and easily take your look to the next level with a wrapped lariat necklace and mix matched earrings. Add a pair of black strappy sandals and now you are ready to crack open those books.

But remember, Fashionistas, we are college students and how hard we work now can help us in the future. Take the time to prepare for exams, but also take some time for yourself. Go treat yourself to a new summer outfit, dinner with friends, or a night of classic movies and popcorn. This time of the year is almost over so take a deep breath, and good luck!

5 Things To Do When You Feel Like Your Brain is Going to Explode

With exams in full swing, your brain power is as limited of a resource as time and sleep. (Sorry mom, but replying to your text is going to have to take backseat to writing my term paper.) But your brain power isn’t just about the capacity you have to retain information or do tasks. Preserving your mental and physical health are not only important, but are actually the keys to success.

Here are five tricks to help you save your brain power.

1 – Eat Brain Food: Nourish your body with delicious foods proven to help increase brain functionality. Foods like nuts, blueberries, and avocados are known to maintain a healthy brain by providing essential vitamins like vitamin E. While you are studying make your own trail mix filled with blueberries, almonds, cashews, and a little bit of dark chocolate. Munch on this delicious mix while you work and you will surely see a happiness boost in your brain.

(Photo via @allyxfisher)

2 – Have Fun: All work and no play is just going to lead to a lack of focus. Instead of exhausting your mind trying to fight your brain’s creativity, use it to your advantage. Use colorful pens, draw pictures, or write short songs to help memorize your course content.

(Photo via @oyindaodewale)

3 – Plan and Prioritize: Organize your study time so you don’t have to cram everything last minute. If there are topics you are already comfortable with, you can study those until the end because those topics will be just be a refresher for your mind as opposed to topics you don’t understand as well. Don’t forget to spread your study time over a longer period of time so you don’t overwhelm yourself by crash studying.

(Photo via @withlovejennaa)

4 – Stay Active: Keep your mind active and refreshed by keeping it moving. Staying seated staring at your computer screen or glossing over endless pages to your study guide can drain your energy. In between the topics you are studying for, get up and stretch, do yoga, or go for a walk. Energize your body so it can actively absorb the material you are learning.

(Photo via @keepingitkrischic)

5 – Get Sleep: We all know it’s true but we don’t always make sure we go to bed. Scientists say that we need at least eight hours of great sleep to be well-rested for that day. Make sure you make the effort to turn your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode so that those endless notifications aren’t reducing your quality of sleep.

(Photo via @phenix_xox)

Have you given your brain a break today? Share with us in the comments below how you take care of your mental health during exams.

5 Outfits For Every Stage of Finals Week

Welcome to the fashion-interpretation of the downward spiral that is finals week. We’ve all been there, from the 12 hour study sessions to the 12 episode Netflix procrastination binges. Here are the outfit ideas you’ll need to navigate through the hellish week ahead of you.

1—Prepared and Polished: You’re ready to KILL IT. Entering the week you’re feeling calm, collected, refreshed, and (secretly) excited knowing you’ll do nothing but study diligently for the next seven days with your gang. Here you’re thinking, “There’s no time to be sloppy— my grade is on the line. Let’s do this.” DISCLAIMER: this is the shortest stage in the cycle so enjoy it in style. (Photo via @mmoor)

2—Couches and Carbs: You’ve officially hit your max of to-dos for the day (or so you tell yourself), and suddenly you’re found vegging in your Calvins, binge watching Friends, and avoiding all responsibilities. In other words, here’s to all the hours you’ll waste in your natural habitat of sweatpants and pizza, as you reassure yourself, “I deserve this” after each slice. (Photo via @n_agem)

3—Stressed and Pressed (for time): You’re beginning to show signs of caffeine withdrawal and haven’t exactly found the time to shower, but it’s fine. Welcome to the panic phase, it’s officially crunch time. PRO TIP: Dry shampoo and on-the-go breakfast snacks are supremely important here.

You know the exam is practically moments away, yet for some reason all concepts and formulas have been misplaced in your head. You might deal with this by binge-eating, crying, pulling an all-nighter, calling your parents, or all of the above. Either way, you want something easy enough to put on, but cute enough to leave the house in, aka jumpsuits: one and done because your brain can’t handle much else ATM. (Photo via @sarahdewald)

4—Exam Day: The big day is here. You’ve lost 48 hours of sleep over this, and you got it, right?  Regardless of how much information you’ve absorbed thus far, you want to be comfy while you take your test so you aren’t distracted by itchy fabrics or super tight pants. But don’t forget to find the balance between comfy and chic. Looking good leads to feeling good, which can help you do better on your exam! And what’s more reliable than a white t-shirt and jeans combo when you’re questioning your existence? Nothing. (Photo via @welovethelms)

5—That’s a Wrap: Congratulations, you survived! It’s time to let your hair down, go out, and play! If you’ve made it through all your exams, you deserve a pat on the back and possibly a margarita (for the 21+). Dress up and go out, or heck, take a nap and recharge. You’ve officially earned a three months of unconditional “me time.” Happy summer! (Photo via @mmoor)

What are you wearing to survive and thrive during finals? Show us on social media by tagging @cfashionista!