Our most recent guest blogger is Kathryn, a 22 year old college senior. Kathryn is currently finishing up here senior year at Northeastern University at an internship in San Francisco, CA. She is eagerly looking forward to wrapping up her last year of college and entering the 'real world.'? Here are her answers to our questions: 1. What kind of shopper do you consider yourself to be? Discerning? Maybe that fits better with 'what type of shopper I strive to be.'? I can fit almost all purchases into one of two categories ' 'great success'? and 'what was I thinking?'? Luckily I only suffer from buyer's remorse once or twice a year, as I find it very difficult to part with money. This means that what I do purchase, I love (or at least highly value). I am a sucker for two things ' books and dresses. I can easily go to any bookstore and spend $50 to $75 and see no problem throwing down $200 on a dress I may not wear for a year or two. Anything else needs to be a necessity or something pretty darn close. 2. What do you look for in the brands you use? When I first read this question I think, 'Value, what else?'? But upon further consideration (I'm trying to be honest here), I would say that I stick to what I know. I think that what I'm getting is a value because I'm not buying an extravagant brand (what college student can afford those?) nor the cheap store brand. To be honest, the Shaw's or Safeway brand salsa is probably just as good but I associate that with cheap and therefore of a poor quality. Mostly, I look for something that's familiar (often what I've used my whole life) that won't break the bank. I'm not usually into super hyped up brands (like Apple, although I do have an iPod of course), but I won't avoid them just because everyone else uses them (hence the iPod). 3. Which brand do you feel best describes your personality? Why? I would say TripAdvisor represents my personality. First, I love to travel, which is how I narrowed down the category of brand (travel industry). I like to think I'm a good listener, very observant, and always taking in my surroundings. I take the sum of my experiences and make judgments based on them. I like talking to people about what is going on in their lives (especially when it concerns going abroad but that's taking the metaphor too literally) and find a way to relate to them through the experiences I've amassed myself or heard about from others. Basically, I try to be approachable, helpful, and reliable. 4. What is one thing you could not live without? I know I'm supposed to say my phone or TV or something, but I have a much nerdier response (I'm almost hesitant to say it). Books. None of this digital reader stuff, either. I totally get that it's convenient but it's not the same. Don't get me wrong, I love my phone and all the tech gadgets available to me, but I just need an escape sometimes, and I always feel like I'm lying on a beach when I read. 5. What is your biggest concern as you prepare to finish up college? After landing a full-time job? I'm actually not so much concerned about finding a job as ensuring that the job I find is the right fit. I'm trying to balance the pull to live close to my friends and family (as well as their expectations as such) against the lure of living in a new, fun city and taking advantage of the freedom I currently have to, in theory, 'go anywhere.'? Finishing in August instead of May is giving me a little more time to figure out what I want to do, but I'm only a little further along than I was in January when I moved out to California for my current internship. At the same time, I've opened myself up to so many more options, so I'm more confused (and concerned) than ever about making the right move for my career and myself directly out of college. 6. What will you miss most about college? Being able to use 'it's okay ' I'm still in college'? as an excuse for almost anything. Not knowing exactly what I want to do yet, staying out 'too late,'? eating crappy food, not going to the grocery store for a month (oops!). Basically being semi-irresponsible. This isn't even wanting to use the 'college student'? excuse for others, but for myself. 7. Do you anticipate the brands/products you use will change after college? Why/why not? Yes, definitely. I'm pretty good at saving my money so I'm sure I'll finally allow myself to buy some nicer items (dresses? ' I think so!) knowing that I'll have a steady flow of income. I will likely be spending this extra money more on long-term use goods. One of the things I've been excited to invest in for a few years now is kitchenware. I know it seems odd but you really appreciate nice cookware at home when you have cheap pans and knives at school that your roommates are constantly damaging (which they are completely oblivious to of course). Basically, choosing brands that more represent me and my personality or lifestyle instead of cheap, transient items (which essentially sums up the college lifestyle). 8. What advice would you give to an incoming freshman who will be living away from home for the first time? Don't stress about moving in to college and what to buy and bring. If you're an organized person, make a list. If you aren't, make a list when your mom yells at you to. It doesn't matter how anyone else prepares to leave home and move into a foreign environment. Do it the way that makes you most comfortable. My brother did not go on one single shopping trip to prepare. My mom finally caved and bought him a comforter and sheets for his bed. He just basically packed up his room from home. I, on the other hand, researched blog sites and looked at my university's webpage to make an in depth list of everything I 'needed'? and where I would buy it. Everyone is different but it works out in the end, trust me. 9. If you had a million dollars, what would you buy? A house. On a lake. With some boats and kayaks and all the fun accessories that can go along with living on the water. Then I'd invite all of my family and friends up on weekends and create some great memories. I'd probably rely on my mom to help me pick out a house that was a good value and my brother to help me pick out the boat and other toys (much more his expertise). Since money would be no object (although I don't know how much I'll have left over after the house) I'd buy top of the line boats and jet-skis. It would be much more about creating a fun, getaway environment. 10. What is the most important thing you've ever done in your life? Is it okay to get all philosophical here and say 'step outside of my comfort zone?'? I'm from New England and went to a college in Boston, but I've studied abroad in three European countries (for a total of eight months) and spent six months in New York City as well as in the Bay Area of California for internships. In pushing myself outside of what I know, I have grown so much as a person. I'm independent and I know who I am and what I want ' or at least I'm a lot closer to figuring it out than I would've been if I'd spent my whole life in New England.