Budgeting as a College Student

The struggle is real. I did not really understand the importance of budgeting until I got to college. Before college I was living at home without many financial responsibilities. I did not have to worry about buying groceries and other things that I may need spare of the moment. Everything I needed was at home or bought by someone else. Well now that I am living on my own I have to buy things on my own. I also do not go to school for free anymore. Tuition…Books…Fees…Housing. Not Cheap!!! Money gets really hard to find. Having a financial burden can be one of the most stressful situations there is in college. At least it is for me. In order for me to stop stressing, I had to come up with a plan to keep myself from wasting money. This was very difficult for me because I am a natural hair product junkie, along with being spoiled and getting what I want all the time. However, the products are not cheap. Here are some tips on how to balance and manage money while in college.

  1. Buy only the necessities first. This is very important, especially if you are used to buying whatever you want whenever you want it. Buying only the necessities first will allow you to at least have what you need rather than the things you want. This takes a lot of discipline and self-control. This tip is very hard for me especially if I go to Wal-Mart. It is like I lose my mind in that place!
  2. Buy one item that you really want once a month. This helps with avoiding being wasteful. We tend to buy things that we can live without. We often fail to realize it because we want to satisfy our pleasures and desires. My one item is usually a hair product because I like to try different things on my hair. If I do not by a hair product, I either buy something else that pertains to school or just put the extra money aside.
  3. Decide how much money you can spend a month. This will help you keep everything in order. Knowing how much you have to spend every month makes it a lot easier when it comes to budgeting. This way you do not have to worry about spending too much money because you will already have it all planned out.
  4. Save money. You never know when you will get into even more difficult times. Saving money is the best because you will have something to fall back on when you really get into a bind. It is up to you how much you put aside. Just do it. I save money every month. I know that it may sound weird, but saving money is something that I value and very important to me. I never know what may come my way.

These tips can be very helpful not only while in college, but also in the real world. When I have to pay bills on my own, I know that I am going to have to handle my money with care. Budgeting can help relieve the stress of being in a financial bind.

How are you handling your financial situation?

Mini-Twist Out Challenge Update

Sometimes when you challenge yourself to something it falls through. Well this challenge has fallen through for me. I got tired of wearing the same style all of the time. I am the type of person to switch things up from day to day. However, I am proud of myself for sticking with the challenge for a month. I loved wearing the twist because I did not have to do my hair every morning, but most importantly, my hair grew a lot. I was really happy to see my hair growth progress because that was the reason I started wearing twists.

I took my hair down last Saturday. I had to take my picture for a photoshop project I had for one of my classes. I really wanted my hair down and in a fro. It really did not help that the next day was Easter, and I did not want to wear the twists that day either. Since my hair was growing, I decided to take it down. The twist out left my hair really curly and pretty. I was amazed at how well my hair responded to the twists. The growth was evident in my fro as well.

When I started the challenge, my plan was to wash and re-twist my hair every three weeks. I stuck to the plan, so after the first three weeks I took my twists down and left my hair down for a day. I did this to prepare for my wash the next day. Here is the process of my wash day after three weeks of twists.

  • Co-wash with As I Am Coconut Co-wash. I decided to use this instead of regular shampoo because the co-wash helps me retain moisture better than the shampoo.
  • Condition with Aussie’s Moisturizing Conditioner. I just use this to help with detangling. I apply the conditioner to my hair, and then run my fingers through it.
  • Apply Leave-in Conditioner. I used Shea Moisture’s Leave-in Conditioner from the castor oil line. I really do not like the smell too much; I like what it does to my hair though. It leaves my hair really soft.
  • Twist hair into six sections. I do this to allow my hair to dry for an hour. I realized that if I twist my hair while it is slightly dry, they would be more elongated.
  • Apply Shea Butter and Black Jamaican Castor Oil mixture. This is what I use as I twist my hair. The mixture allows me to keep my hair very moisturized.
  • Twist the hair into mini twists.

After I did this process, I left the twists in for a week, and that is when I took them down. I have decided that I am going to finish the semester without the twists, in which I get out the beginning of May. I am going to wear the twists for a month to finish the challenge. I am not going to just give the challenge up.

Have you stuck with the challenge?

 

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College: What do I Wear?

Going from possibly wearing uniforms in high school to having to choose what to wear in college can take you for a loop. I had to wear uniforms for my entire four years of high school. Waking up every morning knowing exactly what I had to wear saved me a lot of time and effort. However, I was not able to express my individuality and creativity. Well, I could have but it was very difficult being restricted. When I started college, I realized that it was a whole new ball game, and it would be all up to me.

Being restricted and having to obey a dress code in high school made me judge everything that I would put on. Listening to “your skirt is too short,” “you cannot wear open-toe or open-heel shoes,” and “your pants are the wrong color” has made me re-evaluate the decisions I make on what to wear to class. After coming out of the restriction zone, during my first few weeks of college, I questioned everything I would take out to wear. Eventually, I came to the conclusions that it was not so much of what should I wear, but what should I not wear. After drilling this concept into my brain, I came up with a list of things that I would not wear to class and special events. I am going to give you my opinion, but remember that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion.

Don’t wear pajamas. I believe that they are only to sleep in. Wearing pajamas to class gives off a vibe that you do not care and do not want to be there; even if it is just that you woke up late.

Don’t wear clothes that are revealing. By this I mean clothes that are see through. Wearing these types of clothes will bring a lot of attention to you, not that it is something you do not want to have, but this type of attention is negative. Also, do not wear clothes that do not cover up the most important parts of your body.

On the bright side, here are things to ear to class. I usually wear a t-shirt and blue jeans at least, just so my professor know I did not just hop out of the bed and come straight to class. On my good days I will put on a nice top to actually look presentable and decent.

If you have to present something in class, please be sure to dress accordingly, such as at least wearing business casual attire. Basically, this means not wearing blue jeans or tennis shoes. Wearing business casual attire also goes for when attending a special event. This event could be an interview, attending a conference, etc. Females, be reminded of the length of skirts, skorts, and dresses that you decide to wear.

What do you wear to class? Do you have a list of things that you do not wear to class?

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Fingernail Polish Review

I love to paint my nails. I usually listen to music while painting them because it relaxes me and keeps me calm. For this reason, I do this task at the end of the day. Although it seems to be easy, painting your nails can be frustrating, especially if the nail polish will not do right or it just does not come out the way you want it to. My biggest problem is that I will get my nails perfectly done, and then I start doing something else instead of letting them dry and mess them up. I have had to learn the hard way of allowing my nails to dry for an hour without doing anything but listening to music. However, I have also learned that it is not always my fault when my nails do not come out right, sometimes it’s the nail polish. Therefore, I have tried so many different polishes to try to see what I like the best. Here is a review on a few brands that I have tried.

Claire’s Cosmetics. I have the hot pink and dark green with glitter in it. I really like this brand because it dries fast and comes out really nice and smooth.

Finger Paints. I have only tried the lime green. It has a really smooth finish without using a clear coat.

Salon Perfect. I do not really care for this brand. The white does not go on nice. The Purple is really pretty, but does not last long and peels easily. I like the shine that the clear top coat leaves, but it peels right off leaving a matte look.

Rue 21. I love this brand. The polish goes on smooth and glossy.

Pure Ice. I like to use this brand as a coat on top of another brand. It is too transparent by itself.

Nail Lacquer. I do not like it at all. It is very gooey and peels right of after it dries.

Avon Nail Wear Pro. It only lasts a day, not even a full 24 hours. It is nice when it is first applied.

New York & Company. It is very thin but goes on well.

Parisian. This is not a good quality of nail polish. It is very gooey and sticky.

When I want my nails really decorated, I use nail stickers. I prefer Claire’s Cosmetic brand. They are really easy to put on. They last for at least a week.

Sometimes removing fingernail polish can be a challenge. I use 100% Acetone, and it comes right off. I also like Claire’s Cosmetics nail polish remover pads.

Other tips…

  1. Paint one hand at a time. Allow one hand to fully dry before painting the other. If you don’t, there is a strong possibility that you will mess up the first hand.
  2. Use a top clear coat. This will leave you with a smooth finish and your nails will last longer.
  3. Paint in thin layers. Use thinner coats rather than thicker ones for a better result.

What is your favorite brand of nail polish? Which colors work best for you?

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Mini Twist Out Challenge

I have decided to start doing protective styling on my hair. I have been wearing my hair down a lot, so I am making sure I am retaining length. I will be doing mini twists for the next three months and re-twisting them every three to four weeks. I have also changed my hair regimen to accommodate this challenge. I am going to go through the steps to this challenge.

  1. Wash hair. I washed my hair using the As I Am Coconut Cleansing Conditioner. I really like this product because it cleanses my hair just as well as shampoo, but does not strip my hair of its moisture. Even though it is a conditioner it serves the same purpose as shampoo, I also used Aussie’s Moisturizing Conditioner. I use this product to help soften my hair. I do not leave it in, because I have a leave-in conditioner that I use. This works well with whatever I use to cleanse my hair by adding moisture.
  2. Apply leave-in conditioner. I use Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-in Conditioner. This product really leaves my hair soft. It helps to prevent breakage and damages to my hair. I occasionally use Paul Mitchell’s Leave-in Conditioner, but I am using Shea Moisture for the mini twist-out challenge.
  3. Apply styling product. I made my own mixture for the mini twists. I mixed black Jamaican castor oil with shea butter. This was my first time making this mixture. I usually mix olive oil with the shea butter. I like the black Jamaican castor oil better. My hair is really soft. I have had the twists in my head for four days now and my hair is still very soft and moisturized. I have not had to apply anymore product, since I twisted my hair. I applied the mixture in sections, because I wanted to make sure each strand of the hair was covered. I made sure my ends were moisturized as well. I applied it to the big sections and re-applied as I twisted my hair. It left my twists soft and bouncy.
  4. Twist the hair. I have about fifty twists in my head. I divided my hair into eight sections. I took smaller sections within those eight in order to twist. I did two strand twists by wrapping two very small sections around each other.

I am loving the protective styling so far. I wrap my hair every night with a silk scarf. When I take it off in the mornings, my hair is perfectly fine and I do not have to do anything with them. When I was wearing my hair down, it dried out by the end of the day. The twists are really maintaining the moisture well. I am going to rub the mixture in the palm of my hand and apply it to my hair every week.

I encourage you to try this challenge. Have you ever challenged yourself to try something new in order to help the growth of your hair?

 

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Managing Type 4C Hair

Managing type 4c hair can be very difficult considering the coarseness of its texture, shrinkage, and undefined curl pattern. Learning how to deal with this type of hair takes time and patience. I have type 4c hair, and I have learned how to manage my hair, so here are some tips.

Moisture Keeping type 4c hair moisturized is very important. The hair is more prone to breakage because of its texture. Moisture should be applied daily. The easiest way to keep this type of hair moisturized is to spray it with a conditioner and water mix every morning. You can always find another way to moisturize daily. There are a lot of products out there that will help to keep the hair moisturized.

Styling The best way to style type 4c hair is to use protective styling. Protective styling helps to preserve and retain length. If you do not use protective styling, it will be easy for your ends to break off. Protective styling includes twist outs, braid outs, up-dos, etc. These styles may take a while to do, but keeping them in for two weeks is very beneficial. They allow for low manipulation, which increases the chance of length retention.

Detangling I have learned that the best way to detangle is by using my fingers. Combs and brushes tend to snap the ends of my hair. If you decide to use detangling tools, get a wide tooth comb and a soft bristle brush. Also, detangle while the hair is wet, because it will be easier to move through the hair. Detangling your hair in sections will be a great benefit, for the process will be easier to handle.

Products Make sure the products are alcohol and sulfate free. The alcohols cause dryness. Use products that are meant to add moisture to the hair. Always use a leave-in conditioner, which helps to protect the hair from damages.

Shrinkage Sometimes shrinkage can be very frustrating, especially if your hair is down your back but appears to be above your neck. Type 4c hair can shrink up to eighty percent or maybe even more. There are ways to elongate the hair. Twist outs and braid outs usually help to lengthen the hair. These hair styles also help with creating a definite curl pattern. Due to shrinkage, type 4c hair does not have much of a curl pattern. There is a pattern, but the coils are really tight. Wearing a fro and embracing the shrinkage is cool too, but remember to moisturize the fro in order to prevent breakage.

Managing type 4c hair can be tough, but it creates a very distinct look that helps individualize an individual. No matter how much time it takes to do my hair or how difficult it is to manage my hair, I have learned to embrace what I have. My type 4c hair is a part of my identity and individualized style.

Do you have type 4c hair? Do you feel as if it is the most difficult hair type to manage?

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Natural Hair Routine Challenges in College

Before I started college, maintaining my natural hair was a lot easier. However, I did not realize it until I started college. I have faced some challenges in my routine, but I am pretty sure I have it all figured out now.

Hard Water I did not understand that there is a difference in the water depending on where you live. The first time I washed my hair on campus I noticed that the texture was different. My hair felt really dry and brittle. I had not done anything different with my routine, so I knew it had to be the water. The water is considered hard because it has more minerals in it, but unfortunately it does not agree with my hair. In order to counteract its effect, I deep condition my hair before or after I wash it. This allows my hair to soften and gain moisture. Also, after I wash my hair, I apply a leave-in conditioner and olive oil. The hard water is my only option, so I have learned to work with it.

Not Having Enough Time Before college I was at home with more free time. Now that I am in college, my life is being run differently. I am on a different schedule with less free time. In order to solve this problem I had to find where in my schedule I had the most time and used it accordingly. I have learned to split my routine into two days for time purposes. I wash and moisturize hair one day and style it the next. I usually wash my hair at night so that it will have all night to dry. It is also a time where I can be inside while my pores are open. Maintaining my hair is very important to me, so finding the time is crucial.

Not Having Enough Space I was used to having a tub and a whole house to move around in. After starting college, I feel as if I am in a box compared to before. Limited space can be an inconvenience especially when you have a lot of products and accessories. Having a smaller shower has pushed me to limit the products I use and limit my washing process. I have learned to adapt to this situation by only using a cleansing conditioner or shampoo and a regular conditioner. When it comes to styling, I set up a little area in my dorm room with only the things I will be using. Do I feel restricted? Yes, but I make my only option work.

Limited Budget College limits the amount of money you spend. I am not able to buy products as frequent as I would like. I cannot just go buy a new product when I feel like it and try it out. I am limiting myself by only buying a product when I run out of one of them. This helps with my limited storage space as well.

What challenges have you faced with your hair due to a change of your environment? How have you adapted to the changes?

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Study Tips/Study Habits

I am in college now, so I feel as if my job is to my good grades and be successful.  Studying is the key. However, the method to studying is not that simple, but I am here to help.

How do I study? I do not have one method of studying; I have several. The way I study depends on the level of the test. If the test material is very detailed I use flashcards. Flashcards help me relate and associate what is on the front of the card to what is on the back of it. They help accommodate how my mind works. For example, for my survey of Art History class, my professor requires us to know the artist, title, period, and place of the art piece, along with specific details about the artwork. Since she gives us fifty images to study making flashcards is very important because there is so much information to take in. For the tests that are not so detailed and that are lecture based, I just reread my lecture notes and other supplied materials. As I continuously reread the information, it begins to stick with me. For instance, my World History tests are based on factual information. Therefore, my professor lectures using PowerPoint. She also supplies us with passages that are related to each chapter. I take at least two days prior to the test to review the information.

Where do I study? I have to be alone in a quiet place in order for me to retain information. Since I live in a dorm room with three other people, it is very hard to study there. Even if I am in a separate room from them, it is hard to focus because I can still hear them and the walls are “thin.” I try to study during the times that they are not there. If I cannot study in the dorm room, I go to the library. I find the library very effective because I feel as if I am in a homework and study environment.

How long do I study? The amount of time I take out to study goes hand and hand with how I study. For the more detailed material I spend about six hours on it, and for the less detailed I spend about two to three hours studying. If I spend more than an hour studying something in one day, I always take a break after each hour. This allows my brain to rest a bit, so I go either listen to music, eat a snack, or both. My breaks range between ten and fifteen minutes.

Other study tips:

  • Ban social media during study time. From experience social media can be a huge distraction.
  • Don’t procrastinate. I am a big procrastinator when it comes to studying. Procrastination leads to late nights and cramming.
  • Do not study hungry. I know this sounds crazy, but when I am hungry, I tend not to focus as much. My attention goes towards “what do I want to eat?”
  • Develop study habits that are effective for you. Knowing what works for me decreases my study time and allows me to be more successful on my tests.

How do you study? What is most effective for you? What isn’t so effective for you?

 

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Makeup: How to Get Away With the Minimum

Makeup takes time. I have the patience to do my hair, but I do not have as much patience to do my makeup, so I have to settle for doing the minimum. Although I have always been around people who wake up every morning and apply a full face of makeup, I have never been a big fan of it. I really just started getting into makeup over the last six months because I felt as if I wanted to try something different with my appearance. Well, I have learned and still learning by experimenting. I have watched a few tutorials, but they didn’t help much because they are too advanced, and I am just beginning. I have decided to settle with doing the least with my makeup because of the time it takes and my lack of skill with it. I understand that you may be experiencing the same things so I am going to share my makeup routine and what I have learned through trial and error.

I use e.l.f., Mary Kay, Covergirl, and Claire’s. My routine goes as follows:

  1. Apply primer. At first I did not use primer, but it helps with the smoothness of the foundation. I use e.l.f.’s mineral face primer. I use just enough to cover my face.
  2. Apply foundation. I have two foundations, which are from the Covergirl Queen Collection and Mary Kay. They are both great foundations, but I tend to wear the Mary Kay more because it feels lighter and oxidizes with my skin tone. A little goes a long way with the Mary Kay as well. I did not like wearing the liquid foundation at first because I would touch my face and it would get everywhere. I started applying less of it and it helped.
  3. Apply cheek color. I do this step sometimes to add a little more definition to my face, but it depends on my mood and my effort level. I use Mary Kay. I usually use a darker tone.
  4. Apply eye shadow. I use Claire’s and e.l.f.’s eye shadow. I usually blend light and dark brown together. I hardly use any color because I like my makeup to be very subtle. I have not had any problems with any brand of eye shadow. Eye shadow is eye shadow to me.
  5. Apply mascara. This is my favorite step. I always put on mascara even if I don’t do steps 1-4. It makes my eyes pop. I coat my lashes at least three times to help elongate them.
  6. Set your makeup. I use e.l.f.’s makeup mist and set spray. This enhances the look of my makeup.

There is obviously more to makeup than these six steps. Not being a makeup fanatic, this is how I get away with the minimum by doing the basics. However, my makeup collection is huge, even though I only use a select few out of it. I will be sticking with the basics for a while. If I ever decide to go all out with my makeup, I will let a professional hook me up.

How do you get away with doing the minimum? What products do you use?

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My Hair Does Not Define Who I Am

Is wearing natural hair a professional style? This question is often raised when it comes down to getting a job and interview time. Although my hair does not essentially define who I am, my hair IS a part of me. Accept all of me or none of me, right? I do not intend to be rude about my opinion. I just do not want to work for someone who does not approve of my natural hair. I do not mind the standards of professionalism, but I think natural hair should be accepted as long as it is well-kept and maintained.

In order for you to get a better understanding of why my hair does not define me, I have written a poem that conveys how I view myself and my future. I hope this poem will be an inspiration to someone else. As you read the poem, think about how your natural hair enhances your beauty, but not necessarily affect your goals and aspirations.

 My Hair Does Not Define Who I Am

By: Chekaylah Bradley

I am more than the 4C type

It does not get me where I’m going in life

The kinkiness does not exemplify what I am capable of

Just how I present myself out of love

I am more than the twist outs, braid outs, and wash and go’s

Even more classy than the glamorous afro

I am deeply enriched in intelligence

To support all of my investments

I am more than the olive oil and coconut oil

I’m just in love with my future to which I am loyal

I am concentrated to make it through

Just like the conditioner and shampoo

I am more than the natural hair product

Even though it not working would just be my luck

I am on a bright path towards my future

In which my dreams only need to mature

I am more than the deep conditioning and protein treatments

For my success does not have limits

I am going to be somebody

But I don’t know if the world is ready

I am more than the bad hair days

Because I conquer them in many ways

I am often misunderstood

In fact I knew that I would

I am more than my hair

Including its texture and style that makes people stare

I am only focused on the characteristics and traits that make up my personality

Therefore, my hair does not define who I am most importantly

 

My self-confidence came with time. Since I have been natural for five years, I have had the time to learn about what makes me who I am and realize the value of my self-worth. The next time someone comments negatively about your hair, tell them that your hair does not define who you are. You are more than what can be seen about you from the outside. The only thing people should worry about is what is on the inside of you, such as your character and personality.

Feel free to share this poem with your friends and family.

Does your natural hair define who you are?

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