Thank You Notes Tips

Hello, World.

Whenever there is a graduation, wedding, birthday, or event where gifts are involved, thank you notes are essential. I also believe that thank you notes are common courtesy any time someone does something for you. For example, if someone writes you a letter of recommendation, a thank you note is a requirement. However, thank you notes, actual handwritten thank you notes are really uncommon. They should be common, though, because I feel like a handwritten thank you note is appreciative, takes a little time, and feels like a more genuine thank you.


My tips for great thank you notes are:

Pick a Good Stationary | My favorite places to find stationary/ thank you cards are Papyrus, Kate Spade, or Rifle Paper Co. I typically go for a cleaner thank you note if I’m using them for professional purposes, but if it’s a thank you note for a friend, I’ll pick something a little more fun and reflective of my personality.

Keep it Short and Sweet | There’s nothing worse than a super exhaustive thank you note. Thank yous don’t have to be super long and drawn out. Keeping it short but sweet is key. I usually put something like “thank you so much for… I really appreciate it!” and if there’s money I say what I’ll be using it for, such as “I will be putting your gift toward beginning my next chapter in Virginia!” I may also add a personal touch if it’s someone I’m close to, such as “thank you also for your support throughout the years/ this journey.” If someone gives me an item, I’ll say I’m looking forward to using it or something. For Starbucks gift cards, I often say “I’m excited to put this toward the countless coffees I’ll undoubtedly need when law school starts!” But in the end, keep it simple but also just personal enough that it doesn’t feel generic.

Try to Send Thank Yous Within a Reasonable Time | A month may even be pushing it, but I generally say that thank yous should be written within a month. After a month, the thank you feels like an after thought. If you got married, you have about a year to send thank yous! Depending on the situation, the timeline may be longer or shorter. But you should try to send thank yous as quickly as possible. For graduations, I recommend trying to write thank yous as cards come in, rather than waiting until you have a huge stack!

Don’t Overthink Your Handwriting | I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so I always criticize my handwriting when I hand write thank you notes. Now, just know that the person receiving the card won’t be judging your handwriting, rather they will just appreciate that you thanked them!

How do you go about thanking people?

Callie leigh

Senior Year Wrap Up

Hello, World.

So, this is my last yearly wrap up as a Saint Mary’s student… and technically it’s also my first wrap up as an alumnus. I cannot believe I graduated already. I’ll probably say that about five more times before summer ends, but seriously, college flew by! I’m so thankful for my entire Saint Mary’s experience, but this post is going to focus primarily on my whole senior year, specifically big umbrella categories. 11986491_1053217188022138_2902915615866196949_n

12295431_1095666547110535_6117606708784054524_n12345536_1095666517110538_2580148987535568682_nThis year being a Resident Advisor was totally different than last year. Despite the fact that I had a hard time adjusting to the RA life my first year, I truly loved my residents. They visited me a lot in my new building this year, which I really appreciated, and hearing some of them tell me that they were proud of me and were glad I was their RA during graduation made me really happy. This year, I was in a new building, and I had a whole new team to work with. I worked in Augustine, so we nicknamed ourselves Aug Squad. Even though we were all different and had different leadership styles, we got along so well and found ourselves hanging out even when we weren’t working or didn’t need to be in the building. I will be forever grateful for their support and friendship.  I also really enjoyed getting to know my residents this year. They were all hilarious, and friendly, and it’s fun to watch people grow and change over the course of their first year. Though I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the RA position, I am glad I did it for two years, and I’m thankful for all the connections it gave me. 12301663_1095667333777123_7113066959321410278_n

My sister getting married was a huge part of my senior year. It was a total whirlwind of a weekend, but her day was beautiful, and I had such a blast celebrating with the family. 13096340_1191836720826850_6661014037318410286_n13096197_1200811176596071_543337299838405103_n13221563_1200811056596083_1863126453344834551_n

As far as friends go, this year was kind of interesting. I started the year thinking I’d be spending my time with certain people, who by the end I barely saw, and I spent a majority of my time with people I thought I’d only see when I was on duty as an RA or with my fellow RAs and closest friend from all four years. I guess stress and busy schedules really proves who you can count on and who will fade to the back. I’m thankful for the people who encouraged me to go out, and really make the most of senior year. I wish I would have stayed closer with some of my friends, but hopefully we can get closer again someday. I’m also thankful for the friends that listened to my endless rants about the LSAT and law school admissions, and who really invested in knowing what was going on in my life. I appreciate when people ask. As an RA, you spend a lot of time dealing with other people’s lives, and you sometimes forget it’s nice having someone to talk to about your own. Anyway, I’m thankful for the friendships that stayed strong and the ones that I developed or strengthened in my last year as a current Gael. 12439309_1125655580778298_7203246235766876467_n12631535_1125655504111639_5205046114820990342_n

For the first time during my time at Saint Mary’s, the men’s basketball team beat the Zags (Gonzaga)! It was such an incredible night, and it was awesome to see all the students come together and totally embrace being part of the SMC community. Being a fist-year RA, you are exposed to a lot of residents who feel like SMC is lacking (whether its fun stuff to do, weekend life, party scenes, whatever), and on this night, everyone was proud to be a Gael, which was really cool to watch. We stormed the court after the game, and it was so much fun! 10399878_1169379713072551_727967075744580334_n12417879_1169379646405891_431423933404739582_n

I got in to law school, and got to visit my future home in March. I was seriously nervous I was going to get there and not like it. I was scared I built it up in my head, and it wasn’t going to live up to my expectations. Well, it did, and I committed within three days of being home. I’ll be moving to Virginia around the first week of August, fulfilling a longtime goal of living on the East Coast for a few years. I’m so excited to move into my townhouse with my roommates, and can’t wait to start the crazy chapter of my life that will be law school. I’m sure it’ll be overwhelming and hard, but I’m so ready. While I’m sad to be moving so far away, I’m also ready for a change of pace and a new adventure. 13119066_1191837840826738_6227664317693416996_n

This group right here though… Honestly they got me through SO much. Even if they don’t know it, they were my support system in really important ways. They were fellow RAs, and that alone meant they understood a lot of my stress in ways no one else truly could. Though we were super busy, we always found time for fun, whether it was girls nights painting and drinking, going to the local bar, or going wine tasting. Or just watching a movie on a Wednesday afternoon because our lives were too busy for evening movies. I love them dearly, and miss them already. I will forever cherish the memories I made with them. 13178784_1200811223262733_5989754177410875807_n

Being a Co-Chair of the Academic Honor Council at my school was such an amazing experience. It’s something I wanted to do from the moment I joined the Council, and I’m grateful I got the opportunity to do so. Jenna, my Co-Chair, was amazing and really good at dealing with me when I was a ball of stress from about October to January. I love the Council, and it was the farewell meeting for the Council that it really hit me I wouldn’t be returning to SMC in the fall. It was also the one farewell event that made me cry. I feel like the Council affected my life in really important ways, and it was really hard to part from it. 13173866_1201897006487488_3089304235710383020_n13177749_1201897039820818_1768937274174409415_n13226886_1201897036487485_8589006728155616980_n

Zero Year was SO much fun. Saint Mary’s Alumni Association puts on this dance/dinner that is called our Zero Year Reunion, and I don’t know what I was expecting, but I had so much fun. They served wine and beer, and we just danced all night. I was glad all my friends were able to go, and we had so much fun hanging out and feeling stress free before finals!

Before senior year started, I put together a little wishlist of things I was excited for or wanted to do, which I revisited a while back, but I wanted to do a last reflection on it.

Being a Resident Advisor in a New Building | I talked about this above! But yes, it transformed my outlook regarding the RA position in many ways.

Spending Countless Moments with My Best Friends | My “best friends” might have changed a bit, but I had way too much fun!

Finishing My Thesis | WHOOO. Done with that!

My Last Jan Term | Awesome experience, though I still wish I could have gone abroad.

Using the New Rec Center on Campus | I actually did this a fair amount at the end of the year. I went with a few of my residents and one of my duty partners to shoot hoops and stuff, and it made me wish I would have gone more.

My Last Gonzaga v. SMC Game as a Current Student| YESSS, again, mentioned earlier!

Serving as Co-Chair of Academic Honor Council | Also already spoke to this.

Applying to Law School | Virginia and William and Mary here I come!

Hiking to the Cross More | This didn’t happen… I wish it would have.

Callie leigh

Undergraduate Graduation: 2016

Hello, World.

It’s been a little less than a week since I graduated college (!!!), and honestly it’s been the biggest whirlwind. I moved home on Monday for the summer, and graduation on Saturday was a great day, despite a little rain and a whole lot of hectic goodbyes. I hate goodbyes, and I hated even more saying bye to some of my closest friends and the place I’ve called home for the last four years. It’s crazy how quickly college went by. I honestly cannot even believe I already graduated and will be on my way to Virginia for law school in August. Anyway, I wanted to share my graduation day, and all the people who made it special!


The morning of graduation my sister and mom came by my room to say hello. The waterworks started early… as my mom started crying as soon as she saw me all ready to graduate. I love my mom and sister so much and definitely wouldn’t have finished college as strongly or as easily without them! IMG_4014IMG_4033IMG_4035

All graduates met on the turf field of the college to line up for the procession in, and we had way too much time to do so. A lot of us took advantage of the time to take photos, drink a little champagne, and get to see people before things got crazy! IMG_4063IMG_4064IMG_4032.jpg13233141_10208682487875650_7746791658161917385_n

The actual graduation ceremony was a bit crazy! It rained… for the first time in over 34 years! Despite getting rained on, the ceremony still went awesome, and one of my best friends, Evelyn, was the valedictorian! She gave an amazing speech about being Gaels for life, the importance of small SMC community things, like the church bells, and the importance of the memories we made in four years. We also had Mahershala Ali as our commencement speaker! He did an amazing job, and I was super inspired by his speech!


Following the Commencement Ceremony, SMC does these mini grad parties for graduates on the campus called plots. They are hard to explain to people who haven’t witnessed them, but they’re awesome, and provide a space for us to say goodbye to people and see a lot of people one final time. My sister decorated my plot, making a cute banner, and spray painting pineapples gold, and picking up SMC brass letters! My mom also made the awesome flower arrangement above. IMG_4047IMG_4055IMG_4058

My dad did a little toast once the family was at the plot, where he essentially said “good job, you did alright,” sarcastically of course. He was proud of me, and it was a great day! IMG_4005IMG_4036IMG_4039IMG_4042IMG_4044IMG_4048IMG_4053IMG_406513241333_1092865854104160_8078872692903241704_nIMG_4068IMG_4069

All my friends and family who made a stop by my plot made me so happy and the day so much more special. I truly enjoyed the graduation day, even if I was really tired and worn out by the end of it! I’m so thankful for the support and encouragement all of the people above offer me. Truly thankful for the experience I had at SMC. IMG_4096

I was a little obsessed with my cap… so I made sure to get PLENTY of photos of it! IMG_4021IMG_4024IMG_4027

After the plots, the family and I went back to the hotel, where my mom had planned a lovely dinner for me! I got to eat dinner and enjoy my family and open graduation gifts. The dinner was so much fun, and everyone had a great time! Peace OUT SMC.jpg

AND that’s a wrap on my SMC experience! I can’t believe its over, but I’m thankful for everyone who touched my life in my time there, and who I will continue to keep in touch with for years to come. I’m forever indebted to SMC for allowing me to grow, become a better and more outgoing person, and for accepting me for who I am. I felt like a fish out of water in high school a majority of the time, but college was truly the best experience I’ve had so far in my life. Without my experience at SMC I wouldn’t be about to embark on an adventure across the country by myself, or would I be going to law school!


Callie leigh


May Bucket List

Hello, World.

Graduation is just around the corner, and so is the wonderful month of May! April showers are in full swing, so I’m hoping that May will bring some flowers and fun. I have SO much to do between now and graduation, but I’m so excited for all the end of the year shenanigans coming up. I wanted to share my quick little bucket list/ to-do list with all of you of the the things I am looking forward to this month! This is a really transformative time for me, and I feel like college graduation is such a bigger deal than high school. May Bucket List.jpg

What are you up to in May?

Callie leigh