Finals Week Planning

Finals are approaching so quickly. It’s crazy (and totally overwhelming for so, so many reasons)!

Anyways, since we can now see finals on the horizon bur not quite here yet, it’s the perfect time to start preparing.

You might think it’s too early to effectively start prepping, but here are tips on how to alleviate finals week anxiety and stress starting now:

  1. Go to professors’ office hours – reaching out to your professors now before they get crazed with finals questions is the perfect way to get a head start. Ask your professors about class material, your grade, the format of your final exam, or review studying techniques. Don’y be afraid to go to them! Just this past week I asked on of my professors to put up the final review and she was more than happy to do it. Your professors are there to help you and by going to them it will show that you are organized and making a large effort.
  2. Prioritize and schedule – I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again – prioritize and schedule! To do this, take a blank sheet of paper and list all of your classes, leaving space in between. Then, fill in all assignments/exams you have left for the semester in each class, including dates. Write the most urgent stuff in one color, the next level of importance in another, and the more minor stuff in another. Then, highlight the most time consuming assignments in one color, the next time consuming in another, and so on. Then, you have an easy matching system. This makes it easy to know and see what needs to be done first and what can wait. After you do this, make a schedule for yourself. Hang these both up somewhere you’ll frequently see them so it stays on your mind and you stay motivated. Take a look at my examples (below). From them, you will see what is most important and what will take the most time via the font color/highlighting matching system. That dictates how my schedule goes and makes me understand the order I am working in better.
  3. Chip away at things – now that you have your schedule set, you can begin slowly chipping away at work rather than having to do an overwhelming amount in a few days or a week. One example of this is that I find useful for is studying for big exams. I like to make my study guides way in advanced.That way, I can start reading it casually each day. I read over it (or sections of it) between classes and before bed. That way, when I go to actually study for the exam a few days before I have already made my study guide and am very familiar with the material, making studying 100 times easier. Chipping away at things little by little makes things so much easier and less stressful.
  4. Do what’s hard now – I always say “Do what’s hard while things are easy”. This applies perfectly to this situation. Why not work on the hard stuff before the rush of finals week so it’s out of the way?!
  5. Leave yourself some wiggle room – when you’re doing things in advanced, making your work and study schedules, and planning ahead for finals, be sure to leave yourself wiggle room. The advantage to doing things ahead of time is that you get to do this! Because you’re planning ahead, you have a ton of time if something comes up, you get distracted, or if you take extra time on one or two particular things. Always allot extra time and don’t be too harsh on yourself if you get off track – that’s why you’re doing things in advance!

My matching examples:

finals

finals

Finals might seem far away, but manage your time wisely from now until then. This way, you can enjoy the last week of school instead of stressing out in a major way.

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Making Connections

Once you get to college, you realize how insanely different your relationship with professors is than your previous relationships with your teachers that you had in high school. Especially if you go to a big school with big lectures, you will come to realize that you have very little direct contact with your professors.

Because I don’t go to a big school, though, and instead go to a smaller school with small class sizes, I do have a lot of contact with my professors. I have even found it super useful to develop relationships with them and even continue to be in touch with some after I’m done with their classes.

This has been so beneficial to me for getting advice when needed, will be useful in the future for whenever I need a recommendation, and just makes me happy. I love being able to talk to professors when I see them around campus and have that positive relationship because they left an impression on me and/or I left a mark on them as a student.

Anyways, you may find it intimidating to make a true and lasting connection with any of your professors. It’s definitely possible though! Here are some guidelines on how to do it!:

  1. Introduce yourself personally – in the beginning of the semester, once you realize this is a professor you want to have a long lasting relationship with, introduce yourself in person and spark up a conversation. You can compliment the professor on how much you love their class and teaching style or just conversate about shared ground you feel you have with him or her. This will make them remember you and make you more comfortable with them. This may seem weird but professors love their students and definitely enjoy talking with them!
  2. Ask questions or for advice – one reason that professors are there is to serve as a guide through your college career. Not only are they there to educate you, but also to help you with problems and instill their life knowledge upon you. If you’re looking for advice on your professor’s class, future classes, future careers, other courses, or just in life – you should talk to your professor about it if you feel comfortable doing so! This helps in building a relationship.
  3. Utilize office hours – professors set office hours in order to aid and talk to students, so attending them is a great way to get to know your instructors and let them get to know you. Attend their office hours and ask questions, get extra help, and learn about each other!
  4. Participate – one of the best ways for your professor to notice and appreciate you in class is to participate regularly. Raise your hand and make comments, answer questions, and ask them too. Be an involved student who shows that you are eager to learn and are keeping up with the material.
  5. Keep in touch – even after your class is over, keep in touch with your favorite professors! They undoubtedly love hearing from students, especially the ones they truly enjoyed having in class. Send them an email, get lunch, or pop into their office hours. Even take them again if you can! I’ve taken my favorite professor’s class three times!

What are your favorite ways to build lasting relationships with your college professors?

connection

Paper, Please!: Index Cards

One of the most useful pieces of stationery is actually index cards! You wouldn’t think this, but you can use them for so many different things.

By the way, I love the white ones that are blank on both sides because I feel like I can never write in the lines and the blank ones have many, many more possibilities to them.

One of the most common uses I have for them is to make flashcards while studying. This sounds totally juvenile but it really works for me and I’ve been making them forever.

There are also ways to use them that doesn’t involve school work at all.

One of the best ways to use them is to make small lists. From to-do lists to lists of things to buy, and so on, they are great for this!

index card

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Another great way to use them is for inspiration. You’re probably thinking, how in the world can an index card inspire me? It’s not so much the index card itself that can be truly inspiring, but more, what’s on it! I love writing inspiring quotes on them every week and putting them on my wall:

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Another useful way to use these cards is to take quick notes (like when you’re on the phone) or jot down simple reminders. Here’s one I made the other day:

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What’s your favorite use for index cards?! The possibilities are endless!

Words of the Week: Can vs Can’t

It’s the start of a new semester and I am so excited and happy to be settling into a new routine. Winter break was so much fun and I did a lot, but I’m really excited for spring semester.

Fall brought along its own set of challenges, joys, triumphs and failures and all-around was a great semester. One of the greatest thing about it was that I met so many of the goals that I set for myself.

It was definitely a successful semester, which is exactly what I’m hoping to have this term.

Having a positive attitude throughout these next four months and remembering that success starts with the thought of “I can” is key. There have been so many times that mere doubt has belittled my expectations and discouraged me from going after the success I desired. I am determine to break myself of “I can’t” and fill my heart and mind with only “Cans” when it comes to meeting my goals, achieving what I want to achieve, and moving forward in life.

I love this quote and the visual with it because it’s so true and such a great reminder that when you put your mind to it anything is possible and also that attitude is everything:

can

 

Paper, Please!: Back to School

So, after a long (and really great!) break it’s time for me to go back to school! I can’t believe break is over but at the same time I am excited to get back to school and get into a routine with my new schedule and start new classes.

Anyways, since it’s time to go back to school, that means back to school shopping!

Of course I needed a bunch of new school supplies since it’s a new semester. This is super exciting since I love shopping for school supplies and paper products (as I’m sure you’ve gathered at this point).

So, off to Staples I went to get new stuff! I try to keep it really simple for my classes, I really don’t get involved with anything fancy when it comes to notebooks and folders and stuff.

I will say that I didn’t need to get new folders, though, since I have a bunch of super cute Lilly ones back at school.

That being said, here’s what I bought:

  1. Legal pads – legal pads are the best to have around at all times! I got a bunch. Some of them are a special layout for specific products and then I got some regularly lined ones and also graph paper ones (these are my favorite). Staples had a bunch of these on sale and they all had really cute patterns on the top or bottom which was really exciting!
  2. Little note pads – Staples also had these on sale so I got a few. You never know when you’ll need them and these were also really adorable!
  3. Colored marker-pens – I don’t really know how to describe these, because they’re a cross between a marker and a pen. I was going to get Sharpie Ultra Fine Point markers like I usually do, but I saw these Paper Mate Flair writing utensils which were sold in a pack and on sale, so I decided to try them out. I love them and they are so nice to write with! Also, they don’t bleed through paper and don’t smudge. Finally, the colors are great for color-coding. Triple win!
  4. Notebooks – I stick to basic, college ruled, solid colored, one subject notebooks for my classes. Boring but they work!
  5. Index cards – a must!! I use these for flashcards while studying, short lists, and presentations. I always need to have ample index cards to feel secure.
  6. Pens – I just get basic, black pens. Again, boring.
  7. Highlighters – even though I have about ten packages of these stacked up at my dorm, I always buy more because I use them all the time.
  8. Pencils – I always get the same pencils, because they are my favorite. They’re Bic mechanical ones which have a black and white stripe on the grips. They’re the best because they’re mechanical and you don’t have to sharpen them and they also don’t squeak like some mechanical pencils do.

I also got a few random things like printer paper and loose leaf paper. Ya know, standard stuff. But everything else I mentioned was the important stuff.

Now that I’m armed and ready to get back to class, I’m excited to begin my new courses.

What are your back to school essentials? Do you have any favorite office supplies?

back to school

Books on my Shelf: School Reads

Throughout my schooling, I have been required to read many books. There have definitely been some I loved, and certainly there were more than a few that I absolutely hated. To name a few, I hated Huckleberry Finn, Macbeth, and Siddhartha. I also wasn’t a fan of Sula, The Handmaid’s Tale, or The Chocolate War. To push it further, I felt lukewarm about A Separate Peace, Killing Mr. Griffin, and Julius Caesar. Yup, there were definitely required readings that I was not a fan of.

To counter that, though, there were books that I actually really enjoyed and that still remain lovingly on my bookshelf today. Even though they were required (and who likes required reading, anyway?), they were still great reads and I grew to truly appreciate the fact that I was directed to them, even if it was for a grade and forcefully.

Here are my favorite-ever required readings:

1.       When Zachary Beaver Came to Town – this was a different but really interesting book that made me think about what it means to “fit in” and friendship. A great coming of age story.

2.       The Lottery Rose – I still remember the morning I read this book. I literally didn’t get out of bed until I was finished with it! It was that good. Given, it was an easy read, it was still very good, despite how heartbreaking it was at the end.

3.       The Glass Castle – This is a great memoir that tells a truly inspiring story. I loved reading about the author’s life and the entire tough, touching, and eccentric experiences she has gone through. This is a story that reminds you to be thankful for your own life and I think it was so brave of her to share her story.

4.       Oedipus – it is totally surprising that I enjoyed this book. But I actually did. I mean, what’s not to love about it!? There is family, scandal, marriage, and babies – all rolled into one.

5.       Where the Red Fern Grows – okay, so I didn’t have to read this myself, and this dates all the way back to third grade. This was one of my class’ read alouds, but I still remember it so vividly today. This was such a touching novel that I still think of nostalgically when I see it at the bookstore. Definitely a classic that I will never forget. I think it was also the first ever book to bring me to tears.

Maybe it’s kind of embarrassing that I’m admitting I liked doing reading for school (at times) but it’s who I am! At this point, it really shouldn’t surprise you!

What were the best and worst books you ever had to read for school?

books

Paper, Please: A Guide to To-Do Lists

If you’re anything like me, you obsessively make lists.

There are so many lists floating through my planner, around my work desk, on my cork board, and even in my head.

I make to do lists, lists of things I need, lists of things I want, goal lists, resolution lists – sometimes even lists of my lists (not kidding).

In short, I make and keep a lot of lists.

Anyways, there are many, many ways to keep lists. Everyone has a different organization system and their own preferences when it comes to doing things like this.

I, of course, have my own personal system.

Usually, I make my lists on long paper from those long magnetic pads. I have really cute ones that either have my initials or something cute on them. I even have a bunch of holiday ones, like a pad specifically for Halloween.

I almost always write my lists in Sharpie Ultra Fine Point permanent marker (these are one of my favorite writing utensils!).  I use the same marker to cross things off as they are completed.

So, I make my lists on that paper and color code everything in order of priority (if it is a to-do list, which I make almost every day). Items highlighted in yellow are of high priority; items highlighted in orange are of medium priority; and items highlighted in blue or of low priority for the day. This is an important system for me, because things don’t always cross my mind in order of importance, thus the way they get written down is all jumbled. Being able to look at the list and immediately see what is most important is a great reminder to me to do everything in yellow first, then move on to the next category, then the next.

After the list is completed, I put it in my planner for the day attached with a paperclip on the day that it applies to. This way, every time I am writing in my planner I can review what needs to be done that day and it also is a great place to put it to add to it.

Whenever I am at school, once I’m done with classes for the day and back at my room, I tape my to-do list for the day on the wall right next to my desk. Having it in plain sight is the best motivator and reminder.

Then, once I do that, I simply complete tasks and cross them off as I go! Usually my to-do lists are separated into separate lists, for example, a list for school work, one for personal stuff, one for blogging, and so on. Finally, there are everyday tasks on a list that I keep taped to my wall and don’t cross things off of or highlight as they need to be done every day, for instance making my bed or taking medicine.

Like I said, everyone has different systems when it comes to list keeping! Dry erase boards for lists are also really cute as well as useful, like this one from Etsy.

There are so many different systems for to-do lists, and all of them work for different people! What’s your system?

lists

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