My College Search + Why I Chose USC

If you'd rather watch a video on this topic instead of reading the post, check out my IGTV @asunnystateofmind!

I'll be real with ya: I do not miss my college search one bit. It was long, labor-intensive, confusing, and emotional. So if you're a junior or senior in high school and feel the same way: I totally get it and am right there with you. AND - I'm serious - it WILL get better! I absolutely promise you that. 

During my college search, I looked into hundreds of schools, toured eight, and applied to six. After my fifth college visit, in September of my senior year, I started panicking. I didn't even like any of the places I toured. I couldn't see myself on any of the campuses I had been to so far and I felt deeply unsettled. I told my mom I felt like a dramatic Goldilocks: every school I visited was too big, too small, or not quite right in some way. And it exhausted me. After the fifth tour, with tears streaming down my face, I resolved that I was simply being too picky. I told myself that I should just choose a school and move on, that I was asking for too much and the perfect place for me just didn't exist. With this mindset, I applied to schools I didn't much care for and hoped that at some point it would become clear to me which to choose.

But then I realized something. Never in my life had I ever settled, so why start now? Why should I choose a college that was anything less than my expectations? So the search went on. I booked more tours at Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Georgia.

When I arrived at USC, I did not have that "feeling" that people talk about, where you step on to a campus and "know" it's your home. In fact, I'd challenge that the "feeling" actually doesn't exist and that some people think they feel that way because it's how society, movies, and their parents tell them they're supposed to feel. So let's just take away that pressure right now.

Making a college decision is so much more than a feeling. It's a special balance of mental analyzation, forward-thinking, and yes, going with your gut. In hopes of giving some clarity to those making their tough college decisions, I thought I'd share a bit on how I made mine.

I distinguished between nostalgia and wanting to call a place home.

When it came down to it, my top two colleges were Wisconsin and South Carolina. When I thought back to the tours of each, I had two different types of positive feelings. With my Wisconsin tour, I had a memory similar to a vacation. I thought more about the fun times I had with my dad and Fran at UW than I did about the actual university. I felt nostalgic but didn't love how my life would be if I went to school there. I had positive feelings about USC because I knew it would support me, my needs, and my goals for the next four years.

It was a career choice...

Ultimately, you go to college to prepare yourself for the workforce. For me, USC had the program that was most tailored to my career goals. Sounds simple, I know, but this is hard to define! I knew I wanted a program that had an even balance of business and fashion, and that's what USC could give me. I needed to be able to combine my love for fashion and mind for business in order to be satisfied.

It was a lifestyle choice...

What really helped me narrow down my decision was imagining how I would be living my day-to-day life at each college. I considered things like clubs, the city itself, things to do, and other opportunities. I also felt out the overall personality of the campus. USC is very sunny, somewhat quaint, but still big enough to explore. And I loved that!

Repping at the World War II Memorial in DC! :-)
I hope this post helps all you college-decision-makers with your choices. I know it's a stressful time, so take a deep breath and try not to overanalyze!

Good luck & stay sunny

First Semester Recap

One semester down. It's crazy to think that around this time last year, I hadn't even toured USC and was ridden with anxiety over the unknown. I had been on quite a few college tours and settled for the fact that I was picky and probably wouldn't ever find a school that I loved. Man do I wish my seventeen-year-old self could read this post. While my first semester had a couple growing pains, I barely noticed because I was having so much fun. I love my South Carolina home. It gave me the absolute best first few months, and I can't wait to share a little bit about them with you all (or y'all... as we say in the south ;-) ). 
I went ADPi...
Joining a sorority was definitely a defining factor to my first semester and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Bid day!!!
My mom is an ADPi too-- so she got to come to our initiation!

My awesome big, Hannah, and I before initiation 

I fell in love with my campus...
I feel like USC's campus is different from others I've visited because it doesn't have a real obvious beauty. Yes, it's pretty at first sight and I liked it when I toured, but most of what makes our campus beautiful to me is the hidden spots and comfort in familiarity. It's really hard to have a bad day when you call such a pretty place home. 
I mean how could I not fall in love with this!?
Our library -- which I got to know almost too well this semester
Making friends on the way to class at the pop-up petting zoo!
I cheered on the Gamecocks...
Ask anyone: I've really, truly, never been a sports fan. But this semester, I made an exception for Gamecock football and loved it!
My friends from my floor and I tailgating!

Saturdays really are for the Cocks

My friend, Erin, and I with our favorite gameday guys: USC Security and our live chicken Sir Big Spur
I traveled...
I've said it before and I'll say it again: one of the best parts of USC is the location. We're close to so many cool cities to explore! Being in a new city is energizes me and I'm so grateful for the places I got to go this year.
Charleston! Read the full post here

Visiting Greg's sisters in Charlotte -- and getting my favorite ice cream ever: Jeni's!

Visiting my bffs at Ohio State was so so fun

Hilton Head!
I decorated my dorm...
A definite highlight of first semester was getting to create and decorate this space to call my own. My roommate and I really had fun with it and I love how our tiny room turned out!

I had some fun events...
ADPi and USC provided me with no shortage of fun events to go to. I love getting to dress up, have fun, and meet new people. 

Seeing my QUEEN Beyonce!

ADPi Biker Bash! 
Big Little Reveal

Mallard Ball 


A carnival for my residence hall

Paint fight!

If the rest of my next semesters at USC are anything like this one, I know I'm in for a good time.

Stay Sunny,

Gamecock Gear

If you're a long-time follower of my blog, you know that I consider what I wear to be part of my identity (view my talk about it here). To me, fashion can speak volumes about your personality and bring you confidence if you let it. When it comes to sporting your college spirit wear, it's no different. There's just something about being able to take pride in your school and represent being part of a community through clothing!

I still remember the first day after I committed to USC I was so excited to wear the t-shirt that I bought at the bookstore during my tour. I was delighted when people would ask me about the shirt and I could respond, "I'm starting school there in the fall!" 

Since then, I've added a lot more garnet to my wardrobe and wearing the Carolina logo means so much more. It means game days, Clemson rivalries, screaming the Gamecock cheer, and it means home. 
Today on the blog I'm sharing how I style my Gamecock gear as part of a contest to represent UofSC at New York Fashion Week with IMG College Licensing! I'm so lucky to go to a school with such great opportunities like this one.
Here I am with our beloved mascot, Cocky!
Snakeskin has been trending this season, so I added these snakeskin booties to my look to spice things up.
Behind me in this picture is Capstone, my residence hall! It's the best and I hope it glows garnet after the Clemson game today-- signifying a win!
Fuzzy coats like this one are my favorite way to stay cozy during the chilly months.
Spurs up!
I love my Gamecocks and I love my spirit wear -- all available at the Bookstore!
T-shirt, sweatshirt, and pennant: UofSC Bookstore
Jeans | Booties | Coat ($25!) | Belt ($13!)

Stay Sunny,


Time for one of my favorite posts of the year... my Christmas gift guide! I love putting this together with a mix of items I've had forever and adore and things I would love to get or give this year. There's bound to be something you like on this list, so I recommend opening a Google doc or notes page to save the links to your favorite items.



Happy shopping and happy holiday season!


A Day in Charleston

One of the things I've loved most about going to USC is how close we are to so many neat cities for day trips. This past Saturday, my friends and I decided to head to Charleston. They had all been before, but it was my first time, so I had so much fun letting them show me around. It was so refreshing to see the ocean and explore a new city-- it felt like I was there for way longer than a day!

Charleston is one of those cities that you can really make the most out of with only a little bit of time. Today I'll be sharing what we did and where we ate in Charleston for our 8 hour trip.

I saw these gourmet donuts on Instagram and knew I had to try them. I got the sea salt chocolate and I tried some of my friends' who got strawberry and the OG. They were all super yummy!

After we were fully fueled by donuts, we headed down to King Street to do some shopping. We parked in a lot at 31 George St and it was pretty centrally located to everything. We shopped at Madewell, Lululemon, Candlefish, Anthropologie and a few other stores, then we stopped in Gucci just for fun. We also walked through the Historic Charleston Market, where there were tons of vendors selling things like art and jewelry. 

The Market


Goat Sheep Cow is basically a restaurant that revolves around cheese. What could be better!? We started off with what they call "crack cheese," marinated feta with spices that you can spread on a baguette. So good. I'm a big fan of hot dogs, so I ordered "le hot dog"-- the most boujee hot dog you could ever get. It was amazing. My friends all got the "monger's grilled cheese," which was also super yummy. We sat outside on their cute little patio but the interior was really cool too. Make sure you go to the north location if you want to sit down and eat, the south location is just a cheese shop! (We made this mistake lol)
Crack Cheese
Le Hot Dog
Monger's Grilled Cheese


After lunch, I was ready to see what all the buzz around Charleston architecture and history was about. We parked and walked out on the pier, along the battery, then through Rainbow Row and the beautiful neighborhood behind it. Since Charleston is in their off-season, it wasn't crowded at all which was great for exploring. We were geeking out over the pretty houses and the historical plaques on them.

Butcher & Bee is a Mediterranean-style trendy restaurant. Not only was the aesthetic and branding immaculate, their food was AMAZING. After a big lunch we weren't super hungry, so Abby and I split the "mezze" platter with falafel, roasted beets, and chipotle-lime sweet potatoes.

Tired and with full bellies, we drove home. I already can't wait to go back to Charleston!

Let me know in the comments: what Charleston spots should I try next?

Stay sunny,

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