Real World Etiquette: How to NOT Look Like Just Another Dumb College Kid (Part 1)

So there are some things that as a kid, living with your parents, and just generally not being an adult, didn't come up a whole lot. And then all of a sudden, it comes up and you have no idea how you are supposed to handle the situation. It happens. All the time. In the hopes that I can help you out, I'm throwing out some etiquette that will make you look like an upstanding young lady/gent/what have you, instead of "one of those dumb/rude/lazy college kids."

Today specifically I'll be focusing on money and tipping.
PS I had some yummy dim sum at Jade Villa in Virginia Beach last weekend!

Always tip at sit-down restaurants. If you can't afford tip, you can't afford to eat there, simple as that. You wouldn't buy a car and then not pay for gas. Tip should not be an additional cost, it should be a factor from the get-go. I'd say for decent service, I always tip around 20%, for less than average 10-15%. Unless you were personally offended by the level of service you received, there is really no excuse for not paying tip. Many of your friends who have worked in the food service industry will tell you that it sucks, it's hard, it's painful, and it doesn't pay well.

Leave a tip for the cleaning service people at hotels. We're at an age where we can (and quite honestly should when the opportunity presents itself) travel without parents or chaperones. We're adults and we can hang with friends and go on adventures! But we need to act like it. Always leave a tip for the cleaning people. I typically leave it on the nightstand with a quick thank you note written on the hotel stationery. My grandmother was part of the housekeeping staff at a variety of hotels etc. to try to help support the family when my mother was growing up. Like food service, you need to really tip housekeeping because what they do is hard and they are underpaid given the amount of labor they have to put in. I try to leave a ten for short stays.

On the subject of hotels, always strip the bed before you check out! This is something that is really not hard to do. Just strip the bed-- sheets, pillowcases, everything, and leave it in a pile on the bed. It saves the housekeeping people a lot of time and effort. They really will truly appreciate it. You had an awesome adventure and they helped make it that way, so help them out and save them a little time and sweat. It's not hard and you'll feel good about it!

If you get the opportunity to go somewhere and get something for free, try to make sure that's not the only thing you buy! For example, if you go to a store because you have gotten a coupon to get a certain item for free, don't get just that item. More importantly this is true at food places. Sometimes fast food joints, restaurants, and other eateries will have some sort of promotion that will get you a free something. A free burger, a free bag of chips, whatever. I once went to a place on my birthday because they offered a free dinner on your birthday-- but I also bought 3 desserts-- one for me and two to take home for my friends, and a drink. I ended up paying about $30 that night (I gave a very good tip because the waitress was so nice to me), even though I could have just eaten the dinner, drank a water, and left for $5 (because once again, no matter what you can't just not pay tip), but they ran the promotion hoping that I'd at least bring friends with me who would spend money. I didn't, because it was a pretty nice place and I wasn't going to ask a friend to buy a $30 meal so I wouldn't be alone for an hour. It's a little tacky to walk in, get something for free, and walk out. It's a little bit different for stores giving away free promotional items (like sample sizes, small lip gloss samples, etc.) which they make with the intent to give them away for free, and most places qualify free-stuff-getting with a minimum purchase-- and if they don't, you should.

If you're going to go out to eat, go out to eat-- and if you can't, don't. My mother and father had a friend in their college years who always wanted to hang out with everyone, but didn't have the money for certain things. Instead of sitting one out when money was tight, he would insist on going, even invite himself to go places, and then would make everyone feel very uncomfortable by quite literally asking for the scraps without paying for anything. They'd go to an Asian restaurant together and the wouldn't be able to pay-- he'd just sit there and then ask if the could have the bits no one wanted like the fish eyes or any leftover rice anyone had. When they ordered pizza he wouldn't chip in-- but he'd ask for everyone's unwanted crust. He felt too guilty to take the slice offered to him, but he'd ask for the scraps instead. People started to not want to invite him places because A- he clearly did not have the money and B- it was extremely uncomfortable when he did go. You will make people uncomfortable by resorting to such tactics. You shouldn't be eating out anyway, but now people have a very poor opinion of you.

So that's about it for part one! Thanks for reading, and I hope this clears up some stuff for you. Comment below if you have any other tips or have thoughts on mine.




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Photos from College Fashion Week Raleigh

Last weekend I spend the first half of Fall Break on a road trip with my good buddies from HerCampus VCU! My darling friend Chelsea Kubo, whom I met through HerCampus, invited me to join her team and attend College Fashion Week in Raleigh, North Carolina! College Fashion Week was of course put together by HerCampus along with U by Kotex and held in four cities across the country.

The event was absolutely amazing-- it was so beautiful and fun! The HerCampus teams at UNC, NCSU, and Duke did a really phenomenal job putting it together! I got to sit right in front of the runway (even in front of the press) since the VCU team and I were given VIP seating! So glamorous! I never thought I'd be at a real fashion show, but there I was, in VIP seating, next to the catwalk, eating pink rock candy and bustling through my swag bag!

I had an amazing time! Here are some photo highlights! More photos after the break.






 Windsor Hanger, Harvard grad, one of the three HerCampus founders, and our MC for the night!






 Me and my VIP program!






 Below: The opening act by Acapology. I love me some acapella!
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5 Big Ideas from the Dalai Lama's Visit


The Dalai Lama came and visited my school-- it was amazing! He is so wise and honestly really adorable. So here are 5 key points he brought up in the talk that were some of the highlights for me.



Religion and virtue are not mutually exclusive. The Dalai Lama said that not everyone in this world is interested in religion-- but that doesn't mean they don't have the same capacity for love, forgiveness, redemption, etc. When we spread a message of bettering humanity, it should not make betterment specifically tied to religion. Doing so only creates deeper fissures between people. It implies that people who have religion are all good and that people without it aren't-- neither of which are true. To better mankind, you have to drop the faith message and just fully back a message of compassion without all the religious strings attached to it. All religions at their core share some deep human values: compassion, respect, forgiveness, inner calm. He believes that faith is a secondary difference and that humanity shouldn't limit themselves or each other on those grounds.


Faith should be felt in the heart and soul. Everyone can learn from other religions and walks of life. You can agree with many ideas from many backgrounds. But at the end of the day, the Dalai Lama said, you shouldn't abandon the religion you grew up with, because on your death bed it is that religion that you will come back to. You can intellectually agree with other religions and even carry some of their truths in your heart, but even then, he thinks, it is the religion you grew up with that will carry you through your final days and return to in the darkest moments. He also said though, that faith shouldn't be blind. He doesn't believe you should take what someone says as law because they are a religious leader, but because you believe it to be true based on experience and observation about the world. Only then do you really believe in it-- otherwise it's just obedience.


The only way we can solve our problems is to study reality. Only when we understand reality and remove ourselves from secondary differences and encumbrances can we see the solutions. The Dalai Lama said that we are divided by too many secondary differences like race, religion, politics, that should matter much less than we act like they do. We must learn to find inner calm and clarity and only then can we truly see reality for what it is, and when we do that, then we can finally put the pieces together to fix our problems.


The true test of compassion comes from extending it not only to friends and family, not only to strangers, but to your enemies. You are not done working on becoming compassionate until you can extend your compassion to those whom you hold in ill-regard. 


Never stop bettering yourself.
Find optimism in the darkest times. Find strength, inner calm, clarity. Never give up. You are never done improving. You will never stop being challenged. Learn to step away from the secondary differences and see what truly matters. These things will take constant work and you will never be done working towards them.


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return and art journaling

Hey everyone! I've totally been neglecting this blog for the past week or two because I've had midterms and been a bit sick. Sorry! I'm back though! This weekend I'll be going to Richmond then Raleigh for College Fashion Week! For now, have some more art journal pages!



The brochure actually still opens up and everything.



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