What do I do now? A post-finals question we’re all wondering

YOU DID IT!! You worked so hard for so long and now you can finally sigh that breath of relief. Ahhhhhhhhhh. It feels like a piping hot kettle releasing all of its built-up steam. Instant gratification. You might look around for a second and smile, finally getting to relax. But then…this itchy, questionable feeling may spread through you saying…what the heck do I do now?! 

We go and go and go all semester long until we all reach our final destination of winter break, only to then be stumped on this irritable feeling of “too” much leisure time. Yes, that sounds ridiculous, of course college students LOVE our free time!! However, when you’re accustomed to doing so much for so long, you can start to feel antsy by the thought of three weeks of doing nothing. It feels “off”.

So…what do you do? Whether you’re going home for the holidays or clocking in a few extra work hours here and there, there are plenty of things you can accomplish over winter break. Here are some of my latest ideas for ultimate productivity:

reading winter

  • Read that Book
    • *cough*cough*, the one you’ve wanted to read for forever but haven’t given yourself any time to do so. May sound boring but will improve your ability to concentrate on something for an extended period of time.
  • Send Personalized Holiday Cards
    • Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just a simple Season’s Greetings, handwriting cards to those who are important to you during this time of the year can make a huge impact. Thank them for all they have done for you in 2017 and how much it means to you.


  • Try Out a New Recipe
    • We’ve all seen those delicious food videos plastering Facebook from time to time and tagging our friends in them…why not actually make the dang thing?! Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Holiday “thing”, you name it….just try one out!
  • Reflect on Your Year
    • How did 2017 go for you? What did you like about it? What could you have changed? How do you want 2018 to be different? Brain dump it all on paper and see what inspiration you can draw from there to create some new goals for yourself.


  • Volunteer Somewhere with an Old Friend
    • Sometimes we get in the habit of not meeting up with old friends over break., and if we do it can be dull conversation over coffee. Why not make your time with them meaningful by volunteering somewhere together? There are hundreds of ways to give back during the holidays, so here’s your chance!
  • “New Year” Cleaning
    • Take time to sort through all your “stuff”. What’s valuable to you? What is junk? What can get donated? What can get sold? Organize and divide things up to start the year off fresh and finally toss things that are taking up too much space in your life.

Dance Ur Ash Off

  • Try a New Workout Class
    • Okay, I’m a little biased here of course as a Group Fit instructor, but SERIOUSLY this can be so much fun! Practically everywhere you go there’s some sort of gym or fitness studio that offers new client deals like free first classes, free weeks, or discounted trials. You don’t need to commit yourself to a membership anywhere! Plus, if you drag along a family member or friend, it can turn out to be a really great way to bond.
  • Treat Yourself to Something
    • ANYTHING! What’s something you have wanted to do for forever but never had the opportunity or time to? Here’s your chance to indulge a little bit. It could be a massage, pedicure, haircut, shopping trip…whatever! You deserve some you-time.
  • *Lightly* Prepare for Next Semester
    • I do mean lightly when I say this. It’s not time to frantically stress over the next classes you have to take, it’s about organizing the things you need to get or accomplish before heading back to school. Slowly start to gather new pencils and stationary and decide where you’re going to get your books. Little things like this can help you start off next semester strong and less worried.

If this list doesn’t include at least one thing that interests you, make your own! Jot down some ideas that you think may fill up your time over break in a positive and productive manner. Everyone is different, so finding your own niche can help you thoroughly enjoy your time.

Again, happy end of Finals!!!


Written by Hannah Garrett on 12/16/2017




3 Easy Back-to-College Tips

Happy August everyone!

That’s right, I said AUGUST. It’s here now, which means the chaos of “back to school” is too. Unfortunately, next you feel like strolling around Target looking at things you didn’t go there to buy, you’ll start encountering everything marking the end of summer (*tears*).

Although you probably don’t want to be thinking about it at all right now, I have a few ideas for you to slowly prepare ahead of time for going back to school…specifically, back to college. Sure, you could wait ’til the last minute to get on top of things, but why when you have all of the time in the world right now? Soon, your schedule will feel overwhelmed again with full-time class, extra-curricular activities, and maybe even a few part-time jobs if you’re like me. Nothing feels better than going into your first day of class fully prepared to take on the semester, so consider the following to help you stay on a successful path:

Start Planning Out Your Semester


Investing in a nice, organized planner is seriously worth it if you always have a lot going on, or have a horrible memory like me. Giving yourself an easily accessed visual representation of what is coming up in your life keeps you focused and attentive to what you need to be preparing for.

If you already have dates for family events, get them in your planner. If you already know about what times and days of the week you’ll be busy or have class, write them all down.

You’ll feel more productive and less flustered at the start of the school year (which is 27 days from now, eek!) when crunch time starts to kick in. Also, take a look at UMD’s academic calendar to help you note important dates throughout the fall.

Do Some “Fall Cleaning


I’m not referring to cleaning your house here. I’m talking about purging your closet and junk drawers of all of the “stuff” you’ve been collecting but not using. Start with one category at a time (clothes, shoes, old books, school stuff, random items) and make three piles: Sell, Donate and Throw.

Some things you’ve been hanging on to could still turn you a profit via a consignment store, garage sale, or a Facebook marketplace post. It may not be much, but having some extra cash for when school rolls around is always a perk.

Other items you have you may not necessarily be able to sell, but you don’t want to throw them in the trash either. Donate them to your local shelter or Goodwill so that they can actually be used by someone else.

Last but not least, throw away some of the stuff that is just down-right gross. Pair of dirty sneakers you haven’t worn in a few years? Toss. Half-eaten bag of stale Cheetos you find under your bed? Garbage. That pile of coffee-stained papers from your 10th grade writing class? Throw it away! (Well, actually you should recycle it if it is paper but…you get the point). Stop using up your precious space with things that hold no value anymore.

Organize Your Backpack


Your backpack may look exactly how it did on your last day of spring semester classes, and you probably don’t want that for this fall. Go through it, organize your supplies, and toss the stuff leftover you really don’t need.

Buy a few things from the store for classes. You’ll want to make sure your backpack is stocked with at least one pencil so you’re not that person asking to borrow one on the first day of school. Have a couple of notebooks, and your handy-dandy planner.

Also, it might not be a bad idea to throw together a small “emergency” pack to keep in your bag. This can include all the stuff you wish you had with you during school in a pinch, like different medicines, a mini-umbrella, facial tissues, a pair of extra socks, back-up headphones and non-perishable snacks.


Hopefully these ideas come in hand when thinking about what you need to do before school starts. And whatever else you think may help you prepare for this fall semester, do it! You’ll thank yourself later.


Written by Hannah Garrett on 8/01/2017




Meet the Rockstars: Anna Schackmuth

1. Name: Anna Schackmuth

2. Hometown: Cottage Grove, Minnesota

3. Major(s) and Minor(s): Psychology major and Studio Art minor

4. Year in School: Senior

5. If you were a vegetable, which one would you be and why? Avocado! Technically a fruit, but I consider it to be a vegetable for sure. Favorite “vegetable” ever!

6. Your hands-down favorite place to eat in Duluth: Uncle Louis Café

7. One thing you absolutely need to do before you die: Being brought to a different country spontaneously, where I do not know where I am going until I step foot inside the country!

8. What you wish you would’ve known before you began your first year at UMD: One piece of advice I would give to incoming freshman is to be open to meeting new people and getting to know new cultures


Written by Hannah Garrett on 7/11/2017

Meet the Rockstars: Megan Traxler

1. Name: Megan Traxler

2. Hometown: Le Center, Minnesota

3. Major(s) and Minor(s): Cell and Molecular Biology Major with a Minor in Chemistry 

4. Year in school: Senior


5. If magic was real, what spell would you use first? I am one of the biggest Harry Potter nerds out there so of course I would love to do magic. I think I would cast a spell that would allow me to fly around on a broom because I think that would be quite an experience! Plus, who wouldn’t want to fly?! I would never have to pay for gas again! 

6. Your hands-down favorite place to eat in Duluth: Tavern on the Hill!

7. One thing you absolutely need to do before you die: THERE ARE SO MANY. Overall, I just want to make a difference in the lives of others. Whether that be holding a door open for someone, lending aid or advice where needed, or inspiring others to be the best that they can be and to reach their full potential.

8. What you wish you would’ve known when you began your first year at UMD? My little piece of advice would be not to limit yourself to what you think you know or what you think you like. You’re on your own now and you will grow and change. I joined an organization I never thought I would join in a million years and now it is such a huge part of my life and made me into the woman I am today. 



Written by Hannah Garrett on 7/10/2017

Make the Best Out of Your College Summer

Happy Friday, everyone! I am sure you are just as relieved for the end of the week to be here as I am. Whether you’re still coming down from the adrenaline rush of last week’s finals like me, or you’re already kicking back at your lake relaxing, all of us are pretty happy with knowing that sweet summertime is here.

So what are your plans this summer? Going home to work 40+ hours a week? Got an awesome internship to keep you busy? Taking a long trip around the world? Or catching up on your year’s sleep for three months straight?

Summer is an interesting time. A lot of college kids end up working a ridiculous amount of hours, experience the ups and downs of a challenging new internship, or travel around with family or friends and having fun. But, are you able to balance all of these things? Are you truly making the best out of your college summers?

Do you work to live or do you live to work?


Remember to make memories as well as move yourself forward in life. Last summer I worked two demanding jobs. I was so stressed out about saving money that I gave a very open schedule to both companies, and thus I worked practically every single day, including weekends. Sometimes I’d get a day or two off if I planned well in advance, but other than that I worked and worked and worked. And that was fine! I was being a mature adult straight out of her first year at UMD trying to save money for my upcoming time living in a house and paying rent and utilities. Nothing wrong with that, right?

The problem that I realized with this insanely busy work schedule was that I had no time for enjoying an actual summer. I got scheduled to work at both jobs, one in the morning and the other in the evening, on the fourth of July. It’s not that big of a deal, right? Plenty of people miss holidays with their families to work, I’d think to myself. I could have been at the lake with my parents and little sisters and grandpa watching fireworks and eating s’mores though. Instead, I started off my day selling clothes and ended it scrubbing out coffee-stained sinks.

Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with working hard to earn your keep in life. But…are you balancing out the other things that matter? The things that make you happy? I can confidently say that last summer I basically did nothing but work. I made almost no fun memories with my family and friends because I never had time for it. I didn’t do any of the things that made me happy.

Are you making time for this aspect of your life this summer? Are you allowing yourself to take a break from the clock and spending quality time with the people you care about? Or, are you a workaholic, driven mad by financial obligations?

What things can you do to make your summer more than just the “fun stuff?


On the flip-side, what if you are unknowingly planning to have too much fun this summer? Are you somebody who is ready to just sit back and relax all day, every day? Are you just going to work sometimes because you don’t really need to buy much when living at home? Are you excited to party every single weekend with your high school buddies and then lay in your bed all day afterwards?

Remember that this summer is a chance for you to gain a ton of opportunities and experiences helpful for college, if you choose to. Is there somewhere you can volunteer to boost your resume as well as your moral compass? Is there a place you can shadow a prospective career path you might like? Can you work somewhere that will give you much more related experience to your goals for your major? What more can you do?

Nobody is perfect, so maybe you do what I did and work an insane amount of hours over the next few months. Maybe you binge-watch every single season of Grey’s Anatomy or Parks and Recreation…twice. Whatever you do is up to you. But just know that it doesn’t hurt to think about how to evenly balance all of the things that are important to you. You might just get the best out it this summer.

Now go get some sunshine!


Written by Hannah Garrett on 5/12/2017

Rockstar Training 2017!!!!!

Hey everyone!! I know you all are probably just as excited as I am that the semester is slowly drawing to a close, but some people are already getting their A-game on for Bulldog Welcome Week 2017.

That’s right, I said it….


AHHHHHH!! So exciting!

Here’s the link to the latest video about Rockstar training last month. It’s a sneak peek into what Rockstars will be doing this year and how super-awesome-crazy-fun they are. (You can obviously tell by the wild smiles and laughter everyone seems to be having).

In case you didn’t already know, Rockstars are a group of fantastic college students on a mission to help new students (freshmen and transfer) have THEE best transition into the UMD life. I still remember my Rockstar, Matt, and how much fun us and our “rock group” had during BWW. One of my best friends, Kate, was in my group! We’re living together this next school year, and I know we will be lifelong friends.

Get excited because summer is right around the corner, and so is Bulldog Welcome Week!!


Written by Hannah Garrett on 4/18/2017

Planning Ahead for Your Best Semester Yet

One last weekend before school officially starts this Wednesday at UMD! And oddly enough, I’m saying to myself, I’m so freaking excited!!!which isn’t how I usually feel about school. The reason why I feel so confident is because I’ve already started preparing ahead of class starting. This year, I am trying my absolute hardest to cut the procrastination crap and force myself into a mindset that says one word: success.

So, what if you had a crappy fall semester, and you’re in the mindset of failure? Answer: SNAP YOURSELF OUT OF IT. All successful paths are paved by past mistakes. You’re just like everyone else! It’s time for you to look at spring semester 2017 and say to yourself, “I got this. I’m gonna knock this semester out of the park.” Here are the best ways to put that thought into motion by planning ahead of time:

1. Buy a Planner & Map Out the Semester

If you don’t use a planner already, you are adulting wrong. Go get one!! I promise you that you will not remember everything by just thinking about it. Put pen to paper and plan January through May out. Some professors already have their Moodle sites up with tentative semester schedules, so utilize your free time before school starts to write absolutely everything down. If you have a work schedule, write it down. If you have set extra-curricular times, write it down. If you have a huge snowman building event, write the dang thing down. Having your entire semester at the tip of your fingertips is a sure way to succeed.

2. Skim Through Your Books

You don’t need to do any sort of heavy reading, but glancing over your materials is a great way to make out what each of your textbooks are like. Some may have great end of chapter summaries, while others have exceptional diagrams. You might notice that some chapters are relatively short in one book but another one’s are extremely long. Getting used to them first can help you ease back into full-on reading.


3. Get All of the Supplies You Need Now

It’s not very smart to go into class on the first day with absolutely no materials. Get the notebooks, pencils, binders, and other necessities you need beforehand. You’ll feel a lot more confident in organizing your schoolwork if you already have places to put a syllabus and course schedules. Don’t be that person and go to the first day of class without a pencil.

4. Write Down Your Test Dates, Even Your Finals!

It may seem a little unnecessary now, but it comes in handy when you realize, “Oh wow, I have TWO tests the third week into school?! I better not screw around and start studying now!” Cause ya, it does happen actually. Finding out when your finals will be and when (roughly) is nice too because you mentally prepare ahead of time for that big week. You know exactly what test is when, and you can give yourself “x” amount of weeks before to start studying.

5. Put Together an “OH SH!% Kit”

This may seem strange but it is definitely school related. Make an “Oh Sh!&” Kit for your backpack or car that will save the day for you when you run into a problem(s) at school this semester (it is going to happen, and you know it). Include things such as:

  • Extra pencils
  • Gum
  • Granola bars or emergency snacks
  • A tide pen
  • Safety pins
  • Hair ties and bobby pins
  • Spare change and/or extra cash
  • Band-aids
  • Chapstick
  • Headache medicine and/or pain relievers
  • Travel tissues
  • Deodorant (guess what, we’ve all forgot to put it on sometime or another)
  • Floss and/or toothpicks
  • Cold medicine (you never know when it’ll hit you)
  • Warm socks

Random list right? But guess what…when you need one of these things and don’t have it on you, it could really frustrate your day. So find some downtime to put it together now, and you’ll thank yourself for having that one thing you needed badly later on.

I wish you the very best for spring semester of 2017, and know that you’ll succeed as long as you give 100%. You got this!

Written by Hannah Garrett on 1/7/2017


The Best (and Realistic) New Year’s Resolutions for College Students

Happy New Year, people of 2017! I hope you all had happy holidays and an even greater New Year enjoying Mariah Carey’s awkward lip-syncing.

Now that it is officially a brand new year, why not set yourself up for some brand new goals? A lot of people negatively reply, “Resolutions fail 99% of the time anyways! Why bother!” Although they pull that statistic from their seemingly not-peer-reviewed mind, don’t let others discourage you from challenging yourself in 2017. You can do anything you put your mind to; whether you start doing it at the beginning of a new year or halfway through it.

As a college student however, it may seem very unappealing to challenge yourself with other goals besides passing classes and making enough money to get by. I totally get it – you already feel overwhelmed, why the heck would you want to stress yourself out more by making “dumb goals”?

The thing is…don’t see them as “dumb”! Simple as that. Making realistic challenges for yourself while at school is healthy when all you do is focus your life on “surviving” through work, class, eating and sleeping. Why not thrive in 2017 and try some of these realistic and fun new years resolutions for college kids:

Start Hoarding $5 Bills


This is a goal I have for myself during 2017. Every time you get a $5 bill, don’t spend it. Make a little savings box or jar for yourself and save those Abe Lincoln’s away. You’ll finally have the cash for something important at the end of the year instead of feeling like your pockets are always empty.

Read a Book for 10 Minutes a Day

I’m not talking about your textbooks here – I’m talking about a good old-fashioned book. I know you probably have at least one that you’ve been saying, “I’ll get around to”. This is the year where you will give yourself at least 10 minutes to just sit down and read it. So what you’re “busy”? Everyone has 10 minutes. Before class starts, at the gym while on a bike machine, or right before you hit the hay.

Travel Somewhere New


It could be a new coffee shop in downtown Duluth or it could be a road trip up to one of the amazing places we’ve posted about in our Snapshot Sunday series. Wherever it is, try to get out there and explore more this year. Life isn’t only about studying your butt off, it’s about enjoying the special moments you have with yourself in the world around you.

Say “Yes” More

If you’re like me and leaning towards trying to be more positive in your everyday life, try to say “yes” more than you say “no”. Granted, this can’t be applied in every situation, especially ones that pose a potential danger. Overall, trying to give up your excuses for everything and just going ahead and doing it will help you feel positively empowered.

Spend 1 Hour or Less Each Day on Social Media

I’m sure we’ve all heard from our parents about how we are “those self-absorbed millennials who are addicted to their phones”, but maybe we should take a hint from the older adults around us and look up every once an awhile. Try to aim for spending an hour or less each day on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and all those other apps you may have. Focus on living in the real world with face-to-face interactions. Put your phone away – power it off even!! – when you sit down to have coffee or dinner with a friends. I promise you – everything will still be there on the internet when you log back on later.

Find a Hobby that Keeps You Active

Being a health nut you can understand why I threw this one into the list…cause it’s important! This year, try to pick up a new and fun activity that keeps you moving. Trying something completely different every now and then is great for sparking your life with newfound excitement. If it also involves making your heart pound and breaking a sweat, that’s awesome since college students are so prone to being couch potatoes.

Be Yourself & Love Yourself


This is a little cheesy, yes, but it’s definitely a good goal to set. Nowadays, everyone wants to be someone else. They see somebody on social media that they desperately want to be like, or envy the person they sit next to in class for their natural ability to succeed. Stop comparing yourself and just be YOU. This year, do what you love and love what you do. Don’t worry about trying to fit any sort of mold. There’s only one unique you out there, and it’s time for you to love them unconditionally.


Written by Hannah Garrett on 1/4/2017