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End of the Year Roundup

December 28, 2015

The end of fall semester was pretty brutal this year and I fell behind in OSG. I have some drafts started and some ideas for future posts and resources, but I didn’t get around to much in the last few weeks.

I missed the first anniversary of OSG starting up, but here’s a recap of what we covered in 2015!

Personal Roundup

I try to keep OSG more informative than personal but if you’re interested in my day-to-day, feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram!

News of note from this year: I quit my day job and started hustling full-time. Working from home has been a new kind of challenge, but I’m making it work. Two of my main hustles were writing erotica on Amazon and starting an Etsy shop for my planner printables and stickers. Even after quitting a reliable 9-5 job, I managed to make enough to pay off my very first cruise!

I didn’t achieve that much on my semester resolutions list or summer bucket list. But I still feel pretty accomplished.

I wrote a little about my depression before, and how it impacts me writing or working; I have an appointment next week to switch to new antidepressants, so hopefully that will kick-start my motivation and attention so I can focus on more than just naps.

5 Most Popular Posts of 2015

1. Free Student Planner Printable

By far the most popular post this year was a free planner printable, which had a ton of traffic from Pinterest.

I used it pretty regularly for most of spring semester, but I stopped carrying a full binder when I got my first A5 planner. I’ve since become super picky about my planner and opened up an Etsy shop to get some of my layouts off my hands once I move on to new layouts–but I’m still planning to put up a letter-size and A5-size 2016 planner printable set for next year in the next couple of weeks. Here is the last freebie set I uploaded!

2. Free College Assignment Sheet Template

Alongside the free planner, my assignment tracking spreadsheet was also super popular, especially on Tumblr. I printed it and kept it in my planner each semester and it really helped me to keep up with my assignments and projects.

3. Self-Publishing Erotica 101

The irony of this post is that tons of people took my advice and saw pretty awesome success with their Kindle-writing careers while I totally abandoned my work after about 3 months. I still manage to make a respectable amount of money on royalties from those first few stories, but it became hard to motivate myself when the royalty payments take months to show up so I shifted my focus to side hustles with more immediate payoff.

However, even though I haven’t been actively publishing for a few months, I do still keep up with the industry on Twitter and Reddit, so I’ve updated the post with pertinent changes.

4. 10 Things Estranged Adult Children Are Tired of Hearing

Frustrated with the awkwardness of pitying glances and inappropriate questions, I wrote a list of things I am tired of hearing from people when they learn I’m estranged from my parents. This is especially pointed during the holidays, when you’re surrounded by people complaining about their families or gushing about the mountain of expensive gifts they received.

5. How to Run Away From Home (Before)

This series is near and dear to my heart, and thankfully it provided some guidance to a lot of youth. It also, predictably, drew attention from parents who were infuriated at the thought that their property children might actually have individual agency and make decisions outside of their control.

I stand by this series 100%. There are some resources I trust more than others, because some shelters and social services (especially the official, state-sanctioned ones) are pretty exploitative of youth and heavy on the reconciliation agenda. I will always support runaways and throwaways in their quest for independence before I trust their parents’ side of the story, because if you’re willing to put the work into independence, you have a damn good reason for it.

It’s hard for people with intact families to understand, but toxic relationships don’t begin and end with romantic partners–families can be worse because of the cultural attachment to blood relation. With few exceptions, it is much healthier to sever those damaging ties and build relationships with people who respect you as a human being.

Here’s the full series, originally posted on the Orphan Survival Guide Tumblr:

  1. Intro: How To Run Away From Home
  2. Before: Planning & Preparation
  3. After: Resources & What’s Next

Miscellaneous Posts of Note

These posts weren’t quite as popular on the blog but did have a good social media turnout–or I just think they deserve more attention than they got.

1. Beating the Holiday Blues

I pulled this one out a lot lately because I had friends scattered around the country avoiding their families and feeling down during the holidays. I usually spend my Christmases and Thanksgivings with friends, because I’m an extrovert who gets cabin fever really fast. But there are so many things you can do to take your mind off the loneliness during the holiday season.

2. The Ultimate Guide to Textbook Shopping

This post was pretty popular on Tumblr, but didn’t really gain traction on the main blog. I have a proven track record of saving 90% or more on my textbooks every semester–I’ve saved literally thousands of dollars using the techniques outlined in this post, and I plan to continue that tradition next year!

3. Meal Planning for Commuter Students

Another popular post on Tumblr–this one, for some reason, was my most popular Tumblr post, and I still get a few dozen notes on it every day. Meal planning sounds like something that requires a lot of work, but it can go really fast once you have an idea of a) what you normally eat and b) what is the most convenient to take with you to class.

4. What I Wish I Knew: Going to College

Every summer, a bunch of entitled baby boomers sit down to write their annual How To Do College thinkpieces, telling you that college is the best time of your life and to take advantage of all these things they could afford to do in the 70s. College is expensive, and a pain in the ass to schedule your life around. Depending on what you want to do with your life, college might even be–dare I let the secret out–too expensive to be worth it.

But if you are taking the plunge, this post goes over my tips for making the most out of your college years without burning out or throwing your money away.

5. Top 5 Tips for Making Money with Swagbucks

So, like I say in the post, I don’t usually find Swagbucks worth the effort–they aren’t reliable when it comes to doling out the points for certain things, the surveys are usually a bust, and the video apps might finally work again but they probably don’t.

But if you spend a lot of time watching TV or listening to music, Swagbucks is a good way to earn a few pennies while you’re doing nothing else. And if you use my referral link, we both get pretty sweet bonuses.

What will OSG look like in its second year? Check back on Thursday to see what I have cooking up in the weeks to come!


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