Student life: Rewriting your notes…

So how do I study and stay on top of my busy schedule?

Most of the time, I don’t.

But what do I do when I try to study between working, commuting, and trying not to lose my shit?

I recopy my lecture notes. My handwriting is absolutely atrocious. So when I find the time, I sit down with a fresh notebook page and copy my notes down and make them readable. Then when I get time to study, I can review everything that the professor went over in lecture.

So how do I rewrite my notes to make sure all the viable content gets copied down?

First, I start with opening the lecture from the day and start writing the notes I copied down. Whenever I hit a snag from where my writing is indecipherable, I can reference the lecture slides and jog my memory.

So how do my reference notes and lecture notes differ?

In my refernce notes, I use different colors to help with memorization. For example…

  • Red is used for vocab words
  • Green is used to key concepts (either underlined or written in green ink)
  • Blue is used for chapter headings and to distinguish what will be on what test
  • Pink/purple (or another bright color) is used for chapter summaries and to summarize what will be on the test

Does this system really work? Maybe. I’ve heard many conflicting things on this way to study or that way to study. Honestly, this method helps me and that’s what counts. Maybe your method you develop involves making flashcards, or watching Crash Course videos or whatever.

There’s no right way to do anything and whatever works for you is what works.

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Getting married on a budget…

I can’t understand why people get so stressed over planning a wedding.

Why would you want to spend thousands and thousands on a wedding?

My two budget tips for planning your own wedding?

  1. Don’t bother having anybody come. It’ll cut down on how much money you ave to spend on food, entertainment, etc.
  2. Don’t hire a wedding planner. Do you really want a big wedding? Do you really want to invite your entire family and spend hundreds on clothes and food and booze?

Seriously, weddings are a waste of money. There’s no reason to spend thousands and thousands on giant party that acts as nothing more than a status symbol.

Spend that money on something else. Save up for a down payment on a house for you and your new spouse. Spend that money on a well-deserved vacation/honeymoon.

Don’t buy into the idea that you need to do this or that for your relationship to be seen as a ‘real’ relationship.

Student life: failure in 200 words…

Everyone says failure is just a mistake.

An opportunity.

Failure is actually…

Disappointment.

Anger.

Losing.

Failure is knowing that you could’ve been better and not achieving anything.

Failure is looking at yourself in the mirror every day and wanting to fight yourself because you are the only reason you didn’t become something.

Failure is having more hurdles set up in your path and being forced to jump over them.

Failure is slipping down the mountain and having to start from the bottom every single day.

Failure is not an opportunity. Failure is not a mistake to right. Failure is not having to rethink your situation.

Failure is a slap in the face every single day. Failure is trying to get up every single day and the universe pushing you back down and kicking you in the teeth, daring you to get back up.

So you get back up every day. And ask for more. Because to lie there and take it, is to let your spirit die. Failure is the sidekick in your story who gets you into all sorts of trouble and laughs from the sidelines as you figure out the puzzles and monsters.

Failure is what it is.

What is failure to you? Let me know in the comments. Or let me know why I’m wrong.

Working retail: hitting your breaking point…

My breaking point at work has definitely been when I told my manager I had to back off my hours to focus on school and he bitched at me and tried to change my mind.

Now, I’ve talked about a lot of the bullshit I’ve been through at work, from being threatened by fellow associates, being hit on by coworkers and customers alike, being pushed to the point of working 12 hour days alone to meet unrealistic deadlines, but this… This is the straw that broke this camel’s back.

I try my best to communicate with my managers about what may be happening in my personal life that can affect my work life. I try my best to work with my managers so they are not left high and dry during rushes and busy days. But this incident…

I will not allow someone to stand in the way of my future. I will not allow someone to look at me like I don’t do enough as is for my team and bitch at me about it.

To give you some perspective about this entire situation, I am not the only person going to school right now on my team. 2 other people are and honestly, I feel I work harder than them. One team member only works 4 days a week, and not even weekend days, just a regular Monday through Thursday schedule. The other teammate works 2-3 days a week and only 6 hours per day. And me? I work 5 days a week, especially weekend days and rack up about 38 hours a week.

But I get bitched at because I had to back down from 40 hours a week. I get bitched at because I’ve only been on the team for 3 months and have already been asked to be evening shift lead after the managers leave and I have to take the angry customers and angry calls. But I’m the one letting the entire store down.

So what am I going to do about it?

Honestly… I don’t know yet. I wish I could find another job, but I won’t be able to find anything where I can retain the hours and pay rate I need to stay in school and pay my bills.

So I’m stuck. And stuck griping on the internet because I need to work hard to live and everyone wants to bitch about it.

So thanks for coming to my bitchfest, leave a comment about how idiotic and ridiculous I am.

Student life: support systems…

Colleges go on and on about setting up a support system to help you succeed. But honestly… You can’t just force someone to be there for you.

I think that’s one of the major reasons I’ve done poorly in college. For the longest time, I had just my grandmother vocally supporting me. And it hurt. Shit, it hurt so bad. Because I thought that nobody was there for me.

I went through some of the toughest years of my life leading up to college and then when I got there and I thought I was going to do well, and I didn’t… I felt like a failure.

And now, I feel like I finally have some people in my corner. My grandmother is there as she has always been, and now my husband is in my corner too. And because now I have people I can vent to and talk to and teach about everything I learn, I’ve actually done so much better in school this semester.

So when your school starts saying that they have resources available, don’t be disheartened. Please don’t. Don’t worry that you don’t have anyone in your corner. Because if you don’t, I’ll still be in your corner.

I know how hard it is to be trying to learn some material or write a bullshit essay and feel like you have absolutely no clue what to do and no one you can turn to. I know what it’s like to hold onto the fact that you maybe didn’t do so well, but you can’t bring it up to anyone and mourn your failure.

I agree that support systems are important. I wish I had a support system in my younger days (not that I’m that old yet), but I just have to acknowledge that the idea that everyone can come into college and have a support system and all the necessities for succeeding.

You can’t force anyone to support you and you can’t always just have a support system available when you need it. And colleges don’t understand this. So kids are walking into this world with no one in their corner, confused and scared of failing, and completely unsure of who they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to do. And then people wonder why kids fail out of college or just straight up quit and it’s because they had no one to help them through one of the hardest transitions from child to adult.

If you are a struggling college kid and feel completely lost and alone, hit me up and let me know. If nothing else I can be an open ear and listen, and at best I can maybe actually help in some way.

Student life: what to do when you’re overwhelmed…

Okay deep breath.

Take a minute.

Cry if you have to.

Or if you’re like me, you don’t feel like you have enough time to even have a breakdown.

So multitask your breakdown. Cry in your shower so your hair is clean and so is your slate.

But seriously, what do you do when you’re so overwhelmed by school you can’t think straight?

Procrastinate responsibly.

You’re thinking, wtf? I can feel it. But bear with me.

Don’t think about school. Just for a moment. Scrub at the mysterious stain on your counters for a solid 10 minutes then, when your arms are jelly, come back to your computer and grab a sticky note.

On each sticky note, write one task you know you have to do. Write the due date under the task. Make each date a different colored sticky note of you want.

Now on a flat surface, arrange your sticky notes in order to most recent due date to furthest out date.

Now take all the ones due most immediately. Arrange them from most to least important.

Now start on the first task.

If you don’t get everything done in one sitting, oh well. Call it a loss and move on to the next day.

Things will slip through the cracks. Work or a project or one little homework assignment. Push it to the back burner and cry when the semester is over.

Is this the best way to live your life? No. But it will get you through to the next day. There’s never going to be a time when you have it all down. And all those kids in your classes that brag about getting everything done and brag about their A’s, just remember that they are basically the NPCs in your life.

So just take a deep breath. That’s all I can tell you. Because there is no magic fix for your life. There is no advice I can offer you that will magically make it all better. I can’t tell you how many times I was in the middle of a breakdown, scouring Google for answers to pull me out of the hole I had dug myself into.

Maybe that’s how you ended up here; looking for answers just like me. Honestly, I wish someone would’ve told me years ago that there is no fix. There is no magic way to organize and be on top of everything. It’s all a lie what those other bloggers and your classmates tell you. There is no magic way to pull an all-nighter or to pull your grade from a D to a B in the last 4 weeks of the semester.

So take a breath. And quit pushing so hard. Clean something and come back to it all with a clear mind and a clear path. Don’t beat yourself up over missing an assignment or a shitty grade. Shit happens.

Student life: making ends meet…

How do I make ends meet as a full-time student?

I don’t more often than not.

I’ve tried those ‘get cash over the weekend’ suggestions and they honestly don’t work.

Don’t try to come to me about how you somehow managed to make ends meet working 3 jobs and a side gig and went to school full-time with clubs. I don’t want to hear it.

This is about people like me having to play by the rules, not people like that who can ignore the rules.

So what have I tried?

Blogging. You won’t make much, if anything, off that. Trust me. If I was making bank off this blog you would see a lot more bullshit ads and paid posts.

Those apps that promise you can win money don’t do shit. You will not make money off them. Treat them as a game and nothing more. I’ve tried about 5 different ones including…

  • Lucktastic
  • Lucky Day
  • Swagbucks (app and site)
  • S’mores (an app that pays you literally pennies a day to unlock your phone)
  • Playspot( one of those apps that asks you to download and play other apps and you can earn points to redeem for giftcards)

Out of all of these, after using them for months and months, I had one $25 payout from Swagbucks and one $5 payout from S’mores. Not worth it, especially when you have to devote so much time as is to even accrue points.

I tried Upwork, for freelancers. I was hired literally twice in an 8 month period. I earned about $70 after fees. This was after I would max put my potential apps for jobs and did my best to get to the top of their algorithms. This may work for you if you have a more in demand skill; I worked as a ghostwriter, so maybe programmers or translators or virtual assistants may make more or have a better chance at getting hired.

I did a couple work-study positions but honestly, it’s like trying to balance two jobs and school.

How do I make my ends meet?

  • Only buy generic
  • Only buy what I need
  • Don’t have fun
  • Don’t go out ever
  • Never take a break
  • Learn to be bored
  • Give up all hobbies
  • Give up all activities outside of your house
  • Learn to live without or make it stretch

It fucking sucks. It really does. There’s no easy way to make ends meet and everyone has some little advice or tip on the subject.

None of it really works and you’ll wear yourself out faster working 2 jobs or a job and a couple side gigs.

School can always be put on hold. And if they bitch at you about leaving, give them hell for not giving you the resources you need to succeed.

Long time no see…

Sorry kiddos. I’ve been working like crazy and haven’t taken the right time to keep on top of the blog bs.

My summer semester started on Monday so I’ve running around crazy between commuting an hour each way for classes, working 40 hours a week still and having to manage some home issues (broken pipes and all that jazz).

So I’m going to work better at updating and making sure I don’t fall off the radar entirely. Like I have for the last month or so.

How to: make a relationship work through a full schedule…

I get this all the time when I tell people how full my schedule is with school and work. They all get this shocked little look and kind of stammer ‘wow, do you have any time for your boyfriend?’ And I want to slap them all each and every time they say some variation of that.

You want to know why?

Because my boyfriend is not a choice-maker in my life.

Even if he were my husband and all of our financial accounts were shared, he still wouldn’t be the decision maker. Because it is my life.

I understand these concerned people are more-so just because I do have a packed schedule and they’re trying to comprehend how I handle it all.

But how do I handle it? How do I handle being in school full-time, working full-time, studying full-time? By being a complete and udder dickhead.

I literally had to cancel every plan with my family over the summer. Seriously. In my family group chat last night, I had to tell everyone that I was too busy with school to come camping at all this summer.

I told my boyfriend that I’m going to have dedicated study hours and that I cannot break them. I also told him to figure out the 5 days he wants to see me all summer so I can use the only vacation days I have to see him for half the day instead of studying.

And when fall semester rolls around… I don’t know yet.

But managing a relationship inside or outside of school… That’s easy. Everyone makes it seem likes it’s hard, but so many couples (especially straight couples) forget about communication and commitment in a relationship. They forget that a relationship is a commitment you make ahead of time and that you have to make time and sacrifices for it, for those people.

So what are some tips I have to make a relationship last during hectic semesters?

  1. Have nights out with your SO every so often. Catch dinner and a movie and just talk. Not everything has to be about sex, not everything has to be about being a perfect couple. Just connect as friends would.
  2. Communicate as mush as you can what your school commitments are. Don’t blindside your SO when you have to cancel date night because a project group is running late. Communicate everything ahead of time, like what your week is going to look like and what your workload is going to look like. Let them know when your study hours are so they won’t be disturbing you during crunch time.
  3. Think of them as your break every week from studying. Maybe you facetime, or actually call each other, or it’s your date night once a week. But make time for them once a week as a reward for making it through another grueling week.

Does this always work? No, hell no. I’ve been dating my boyfriend for over three years and doing work and school in between all that. We’ve fought and screamed and had our bad days. Just like anyone. But we’ve worked through them.

So is there any way to really make it all work perfectly? No, and anyone who says otherwise is lying. Or trying to sell you something. Just TRY to make it work as good as you can. That’s all you can do.

Student life: why scholarships are a waste of time…

You’ve heard it time and time again as a student; apply for every scholarship you can. I’m hear to tell you why this is a waste of your time as a student.

Is free money a waste of time? No, of course not. But when you have to devote hours upon hours to jump through unreasonable hoops to get free money, then it’s not worth it at all.

I spent so much of my time filling out scholarships when I was a young little high schooler, hoping that somewhere I would get one, just one. Just one. I would’ve taken any of them, even one for just $100, which is just a drop in the bucket for college expenses.

But I didn’t get one.

Even though I applied religiously to one a day between sophomore and senior year, sending in essay after essay, I received nothing. Zilch. A Big Fat Goose egg. Not a damn one.

But with everyone in the world applying for every scholarship they can find, the market has become saturated. Of course I understand that not everyone can get one, but with all the time and effort that is necessary to apply, it should seem that somewhere along the line, you should at least somehow secure at least one measly scholarship.

But that’s not taking into account all the ways that scholarships are rigged against some. I’m all for giving people from certain backgrounds the step up they need to get to higher education and to have the same opportunities that other demographics have. But to assume that some kids have control over their parent’s careers (which you can get scholarships for) or that all kids fit into very specific fields (being a certain ethnicity AND LGBT+ AND studying for a business degree AND being apart of a certain club AND being an amputee from a freak car accident in 2003, for example, to qualify for a $300 scholarship).

Seriously, I’m not trying to demonize the groups that need help getting into college. I’m trying to demonize the people that control who gets money and aid to go to school; the major corporations making too much and not reinvesting properly into communities, colleges that are not distributing aid properly to students and are not allowing students to petition for aid if they truly need it, and the government for not providing enough aid to students and not properly calculating how much a family can truly afford to pay for school and refusing to provide real aid for students.

So I quit applying for scholarships after my senior year because after investing 3 years with no returns, I decided it would be easier to just spend my free time doing things I liked instead of stalking my email for a new scholarship opportunity or spending hours reviewing a 200-word essay about ‘What College Means to Me’, to submit for a $100 scholarship.

Am I saying you should quit applying? Maybe, but only if you feel like that’s the right decision for you. Maybe you can’t find any scholarships that fit you and your background. Maybe you already received enough aid through your school’s financial package. Maybe you’re like me and you’re done trying to check all the boxes and jump through the hoops.

And I hear some of you in the background; well, how do you know you even qualified for certain scholarships and you weren’t just being greedy with someone else’s money?

So I’ll tell you all the boxes I tick for common scholarships:

  • Bisexual
  • Woman
  • First-Generation College Student
  • Studying a STEM field

I could go on and on finding all sorts of things in rare fields that I qualify for, but that doesn’t mean anything in the end. Because somewhere along the lines, I’m never going to be good enough to qualify for all these damn scholarships. So I quit and I want to encourage some of you out there that scholarships are not the end all be all to go to school. I want to encourage all of you that shouldn’t get discouraged about getting a scholarship because the market is saturated, there are too high of bars to meet for a normal student, and there’s so much competition.

How to: Make it to the unavoidable 8am lecture…

We’ve all heard that advice for college: don’t take an 8am. But let me tell you something that no one else will; there will be a semester where that 8am is unavoidable. It’s going to be one of those classes offered only for spring semesters on even years that you absolutely need to finish your major and its only offered at 8am.

So how are you going to get to that class since you’re so used to getting up 10 in the morning? Here’s my tips for getting to that pesky unavoidable 8am.

First some prep work.

  1. Get used to getting up early. In that break between semesters or summer break, get used to getting up earlier. Start with getting up 15 minutes earlier each day until you’re up about an hour and half before 8. This will eventually give you enough time during the semester to get up, get breakfast, get ready, and get to class on time. It’s going to suck ass for the first few days but it’ll be worth it when the new semester comes and you’re not scrambling to get to class.
  2. Get used to doing something first thing in the morning. It’ll help you get used to going to an 8am. So if that means do some workouts or just going through emails first thing, just get out of bed and do something. Then when the new semester rolls around, your brain will be ready to go at 8am.
  3. Get used to coffee. I mean it. Get used to coffee if you’re not already drinking it. Why? Caffeine is what you need most to keep yourself up through those shitty mornings with 8am’s.

Now for game time. You’re used to getting up early now, you’re ready to go to class. So how to actually make it through the class itself.

  1. Get a travel mug, fill it with coffee, take it to class. Self-explanatory. Something hot will keep you up through a boring ass lecture. It’s hard to be completely awake at 8am and completely focused, even if you were looking forward to this class. So bring your coffee and be ready to learn. Or if you have time and money, just buy a coffee and take it to class.
  2. Don’t look at your phone. Don’t take notes on your computer. If you look at your phone even once during an early lecture, you’re going to lose focus on the class. Taking notes on your computer is going to tempt you to do something else. I have seem so many people in lectures just take a quick peak at Facebook or Messenger or their email and get sucked down a hole for 20 minutes.
  3. Treat this class like you’re spending $500 each class. Treat this class like it is make or break for your entire life. Act like your entire future is riding on this class. It will make you a bit more motivated to get to class and will reduce the desire to skip class for a few more minutes of sleep. Because once you break the habit of showing up, all the hard work you may have put in beforehand goes down the drain.
  4. Don’t fucking talk in class. I’m not talking about asking questions to the professor to clarify a point. I’m talking about ‘whispering’ to your buddy all through class about the party you guys are going to this weekend. Not only is it rude to the professor, it’s distracting to the people who can’t get away from you in a crowded lecture hall. Save it until after the damn lecture. Or if it’s a question about the material, pass a fucking note like in middle school, you heathens. There’s too much information going on in the class to try to pick out all the important stuff around what you and Lindsey are doing next week.

There’s going to be a day when you can’t avoid an 8am lecture. But take heart that it isn’t the end of the world. It’s just a dumb class you have to take for approximately 15 weeks then it’s over and done with.

Tarot 101: Tarot Journal…

When you first start reading Tarot cards, many people recommend starting a Tarot Journal.

So what is a Tarot Journal?

A Tarot Journal is basically exactly what is sounds like. It’s a journal where you write out things you learn about Tarot. Many use it as a daily journal, where they have a daily draw and interpret a card for the day, then journal about the day. Many use it as a reference for draws they have done, such as a draw done last week about their cousin’s wedding and referenced now a week before the wedding, to see what the cards may have referenced.

So what’s the significance in a Tarot Journal? Why should you get one?

Think of it this way; would you walk into school without a notebook to take notes about your classes? Would you go to a conference or a lecture and not take something to write notes with? Probably not. So give Tarot the same courtesy you would a teacher or a speaker at a presentation.

Maybe you won’t get anything from a reading, just like sometimes you walk into a class and it’s a movie day. And sometimes it’ll go over your head because you’re diving in too deep without understanding the basics, like trying to do calculus with only 3rd grade multiplication tables. But that’s where your journal comes in.

I been using mine for daily draws, to help interpret cards, to jot down interesting spreads I see on Pinterest, or to jot down notes on cards I haven’t drawn yet or difficult cards I’ve had to delve deeper into. And if nothing else, you can use your Tarot Journal just for the witchy aesthetic. Use it like a regular journal to help keep track of how you feel before and after a reading, to track which cards keep showing up for you, complicated spreads broken down for easy of use, deck you want to buy later, or neato little things you figure out along the way.

There’s no wrong way learn and Tarot Journals are a sure bet to help you keep your new knowledge in line and organized so you can actually reference later if you need to, or keep it around for friends or family to reference down the road. If you don’t know where to start, look into Bullet Journalling and just come up with your own spreads to suit your witchy needs.

How To: Get your brain moving…

We all know what it feels like when you’ve lazed about on the couch for few days and your body feels like shit so you start doing stuff like exercise again. But what about when your brain starts feeling mushy and gross and uncoordinated? What about after you feel brain-dead after finals and have to get back into the right mental space for the next semester? What about after you finish a big project and your brain just wants to sleep?

However amazing these tricks may be, I’m not talking about clinical depression which can present some of the same symptoms of being ‘brain-dead’, so please take with a grain of salt if you do have depression.

Here are some tips that help me get my brain going again after a rough night or long break from school.

Step 1: Make some tea or coffee. Make whichever you don’t usually have, to switch it up. Once you have your cup of hot liquids, take a deep breath and just sit with your cup for a few minutes, 2-5 tops. Let your brain just relax for minute, don’t think about what comes next or what you have to get done. This is your break time, so take a real break.

Step 2a: If you’re still at work, make a list of every task you have to get done for the day. Include anything that takes over 5 minutes. Now, the list is not something you have to complete by the end of the day; it is something to get you focused for the rest of the day while your brain feels mushy.

Step 2b: When you get a period of extended free time, like after work or before bed, take a long bath (or shower if you don’t have a bathtub). Take the extra time for a face mask or exfoliating or whatever (no shame in face-masks if you’re a guy; every needs to take care of their skin properly). This is the time you use to be ‘brain-dead’. Most tasks in the bathroom should be pretty mindless by now, like brushing your teeth or hair. So let your mind have a little rest now that you don’t have any real pressing matters (we’re going to ignore our priorities for a bit right now).

Step 3: Now your brain has had a little break, get those juices flowing again. Jot in a journal or fantasize about an exotic trip you want to take some day. Get creative. Let your mind wander to all sorts of crazy things. You’ve probably quit imagining since you were high school. So let your mental legs stretch and think about something amazing or wild. Write or draw or color in a coloring book. Even if it’s super shitty.

Step 4: If your brain still feels a bit mushy and not quite refreshed, then make a list of everything you want to learn; a new language, or a new craft, or maybe you want to learn how something works, or maybe a new trade like electrical work or carpentry. Once you have your list, start working through it. Give all these things a chance and get excited about learning again.

Your brain is starving for something new and interesting and it wants to learn. You know that whole ‘can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ thing is total shit, right? Get into something new and learn more. Even if it doesn’t pan out, or it doesn’t click. Have you always wanted to try baking wedding cakes? Take a class. Even if it doesn’t work out, your brain will feel better because you tried something new and you tried to learn something new.

Student Life: Planning your next semester…

This is simultaneously my most favorite and most hated part of a semester.

While it’s great to see the progress you’ve made towards graduating, it is also the most stressful part that you have to complete in a short window of time.

I hate that it comes during the middle of the semester, right when you have 20 other priorities to take care of, but if you don’t plan right then, then you end up registering for classes you don’t need or have at shitty times in the day. And sometimes you have to have advising codes from your adviser, so now you have to plan a meeting with your precious open time to trek across campus to have a 20 minute meeting with an adviser who sees you as a name on a paper (not to harsh on them, but if you’re like me, you don’t have time to go to a meeting every week with an adviser instead of studying or going to office hours or going to study groups or working so there’s no way to get to know each other)

So how do I plan my semester when I have a shit ton on my plate?

I plan in advance.

I set up a spreadsheet before the semester starts and spend a day planning out my course loads. My school has several references to check for being on track for graduation, what typical course loads for majors should look like, and graduation requirements for each major or program. If these materials aren’t easily accessible through your program’s website or the Register’s office website, then email your adviser. They’ll be more than happy to send you the materials.

Now that you have everything in front of you, break down your course load for the next semesters. My college provides a general breakdown of how each semester per year should look, e.i. what course a freshman should be taking for their first semester or what courses an on-track senior should be taking their last semester. If this isn’t available to you, you should still be able to access a required course list and the register’s office to see the pre-reqs and availability of the course.

From here, I work out the expected course load for the next semesters (however many you have left). Take into account courses you can take earlier than expected (from good placement exams or concurrent enrollment, or AP exams that gave college credit) or classes you’ll have to put off until after you finish the pre-reqs.

Now that you have the plan, put this aside until you need to start prepping for registering for the next semester. From the list of classes you think you need to take for the next semester, see what are available for registering or what has time conflicts with a required class.

It’s a bit of an involved process to set up the plan, but it’s worth it when you get to the middle of the semester and you need to register for the next semester because everything is ready to go. The list is there and ready for you to reference when needed. It also really helps when you go into your advising meetings because you know exactly what you need to do on your end to achieve your goals.

But once you have the plan in place, it makes it so much easier to work harder knowing that you’re not going to have spend 3+ hours flipping back and forth between 6 different tabs to try to register for classes, especially when you should really be studying for midterms.

This is also a good time to take into account all the things you sucked at this semester and plan ahead for the next. So maybe that way of note taking didn’t work out for you, or maybe you spent too much time procrastinating on flash cards than on reading the material. So work harder for next semester; research note-taking strategies, look into apps that disable your phone for study time, get better pens. Find what’s going to make you better in the long-run.

My Spend Less Challenge…

You see these damn things all over the internet. Those 2-week or 30 day challenges to help cut back on spending. And I’ll admit, some do work. I’ve tried them. But some also don’t take into account what it’s like living paycheck to paycheck and barely making enough to make ends meet.

So here’s my Spend Less Challenge for people like me, who try really hard to keep track of your money but somewhere between a little pick-me-up cookie at lunch and extra gas after running your mom to the airport, you seem to be short right before every payday.

This is a 30 day challenge to get the ball rolling, but really you can keep it going however long you see fit. Start at the first of the month or right before payday for the best effects.

Prep steps:

  1. Get an empty coffee can (i got tons, of course) or an old piggy bank or a jar or a cup. Any kind of receptacle that can hold all the junk you’re going to now take out of your wallet. You heard me. Into this receptacle, put all the loose change and credit cards that you have in your wallet. You can keep any bills and you debit card (or one if you have multiple).
  2. Take stock of what you have in your kitchen pantry and fridge. Then make a list of staple items you need (rice, cooking stock, milk, etc.). Now make a meal plan for the next two weeks. Put the ingredients onto the list. Now shop and DO NOT STRAY FROM THE LIST PERIOD.
  3. Pay all applicable bills now while you have money. The credit card bills, the utilities, rent, car payment. Anything that will allow you to pay early, pay while you have money.

Now comes the fun parts. You are prepped and ready. Here are the rules you have to follow throughout the month.

Rules:

  1. Credit cards are to remain in the jar unless it is a life-threatening emergency.
  2. You can only eat out lunch once a week. You can only eat out dinner once a week. Pick wisely. (this means you have to pack your lunches)
  3. Take out $20 a week from your bank as your allowance. This is the only money you can spend on fun things (a smoothie to treat yourself, a neat little figurine for your desk, etc.) FOR THE WEEK. When it is gone, it is gone. Whatever happens to be left over at the end of the week, put into the jar of change.
  4. The cash in the jar can only be used in life-threatening emergencies, unless the end of the month has come. At the end of the month, you must take the jar to the bank and split it 60/40: 60% into savings, 40% into checking.
  5. The debit card can be used but not for anything fun. E.i. if you know that you filled up your car on payday but will need to fill up again before the next payday, then the debit card can be used. The debit card cannot be used to buy that neat video game you’ve been waiting to come out for 6 months, that happens to come out between paydays.
  6. Grocery shop as close to payday as possible. Make a list, meal plan for the next pay period, do not abandon the list. While making dinner each night, use some of the downtime (like waiting for water to boil) to start packing your lunch for the next day. Throw in everything that doesn’t have to be refrigerated if your fridge is packed or fully pack it so it’s ready to grab and go in the morning.

At the end of the month, compare how your bank account looks now instead of previous months. It may not look like much at the moment, but if you continue to do this, then you’ll start to see where all your money went in little onesie-twosie purchases.

When I see that I have more money than usual I try to make extra payments to my student loans or credit cards to keep that snowball running. Maybe you want to put that extra money into savings. Maybe you want to use that extra money to take your mom out to dinner because you’ve been a shitty kid lately.

This is the hard shit that people don’t talk about anymore. We accept it with careless shrugs and ‘what can you do’ smile. But that’s how They keep you in line and under thumb (you know Them, the government, the insurance agencies, the credit card companies, the banks, the corporations,the people controlling your money and how you spend it). So if you’re even half as much of a bitter hag as me, then let’s make all their lives harder by spending less and living less so they can’t tell us how to live.

A life half-lived is still better than a life wasted under someone else’s control. Control your money and you control your world.

Tarot 101: Basic Tarot Rules…

Let’s get right into the nitty-gritty of it all. Tarot has some basic rules that you have to follow to get any result. Like being on a diet; to lose the weight you have to follow some rules.

So what are the rules? Well, it kind of depends on who you ask. One tradition that many are choosing to ignore is that you have to be gifted your first deck. I think it would be a great tradition to uphold, but if you’re like me, then you don’t know any practicing witches yet. Especially within your family, like mine, a family of very white, Christian people. So it would’ve been a cold day in Hell before I received my first deck via gift. So many people who are starting out buy their own decks (or are forced to buy their own deck really).

So here are some hard and fast rules that generally do apply to Tarot.

  1. You gotta put some energy into your deck to get them to work. What does this mean? Well, you got to put some spiritual batteries in those motherfuckers for them to really start pumping out anything. So how do you charge the batteries? The most common way is to just handle them; shuffle them and put them back in order to get a feel of that specific deck and their own energy. Or put them in natural light, like moonlight or sunlight (i prefer moonlight so the colors don’t fade as fast, but if you’re going to be around a little sunbathing won’t hurt for a few minutes). Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘what the fuck do you mean ‘charge your cards?’ So the simple explanation is to think in terms of physics. Everything is made up of molecules which vibrate, so you have to use other forms of energy to get your card molecules to vibrate in a frequency your body and spirit can work with. This means using energy from the sun (solar power anyone?) or your own body heat (thermal energy?) to get in sync with your cards.
  2. You gotta store them right and treat them right. This is more of a common sense rule. Many people suggest storing your deck in a silk or cotton bag, sometimes with crystals to cleanse the energy (I’m not a big crystal believer yet, but I know there is a shit ton of lore behind crystals and the unexplained, so maybe something in there is true?). I personally store mine in antique headscarves from my great-grandma. Now, these are specifically cotton or silk (like everyone else says) but they are good quality and because of the age, help me to treat the cards with reverence and respect. If the deck comes in a sturdy box, they can also just be stored in the box, which will keep them safe from unintended damage.
  3. You gotta use them. Crazy idea I know. But think about it; the only way to get better with them is to use them. The only way to get used to a deck is to USE THEM. I get the whole appeal of buying like 20 decks, because there are so many with amazing art out there. I understand just wanting them for the aesthetic of the deck itself and maybe just keeping it for decor because it’s so damn pretty and you feel bad about using it. But think about all the nice things that will never get used because of this thinking; all the fancy dishes or amazing linens or luxury cars that sit around because people are afraid of them wearing out. But why have them just to collect dust instead of actually using them for their intended purpose and bringing a little bit of joy to your life with the beauty of the deck.
  4. You have to decide if you will let other people touch your cards.  This sounds like a weird rule but, hear me out. The actual rule is that you really shouldn’t let other people touch your cards at all because it will mess with your deck’s energy. Personally, I don’t mind if it’s someone I know personally (like my mom or my boyfriend) because I know, 1) where their hands have been prior to them touching my cards so I know they won’t get dirty, 2) I know them and their vibes, 3) that I’m in an intimate setting where I will have the time and opportunity to properly cleanse the deck’s energy after. I can understand why some people want no one else to touch their decks period. It is very intimate because of the time and energy invested in the deck, but also I can understand why you wouldn’t want strangers to touch your deck, especially when you don’t know their vibe or if their hands are even clean, or if you aren’t going to have the time to restore your energy or your deck’s energy (say running errands or back-to-back readings at your sister’s bridal shower). But in my opinion, this is a decision you will have to make based on how you feel about your cards. Maybe it’s a deck-specific choice or a blanket policy.
  5. Practice, practice, practice. This one is self-explanatory. You have to practice to get good at reading the cards. You have to practice to get a feel for the deck. You have to practice just as with any new skill or knowledge. You can’t learn advanced calculus overnight (trust me I tried and it didn’t work), so don’t expect to get the hang of Tarot overnight (unless you share how the hell you did it)
  6. You have to have a Space™.  Many people agree that you have to a space specifically for learning Tarot, a space you’ve cleansed with sage or incense and devoted entirely for your spiritual journey. Knowing that some people live in small studio apartments or are trying to hide their witchcraft from their family that they live with (or judgy roommates), I think you just have to be able to have a little corner you can slip into or even just a mental zone. I look at doing Tarot like a student; sometimes you won’t have the place to study and lay out all your materials, but if you have the time while you ride the bus or eat your lunch, then you can still study, or in this case, work with your deck. Maybe it just means shuffling the minor arcana while you ride the bus. Maybe it means doing one-card draws about the crime drama you’re obligated to watch with your significant other. Maybe it means waiting until the kids are in bed to pirate the kitchen table for your extensive spreads. I don’t think you have to have an actual corner to practice in, but definitely a mental corner.

These are just some of the rules I’ve seen floating around the witchcraft community online. Maybe there are others I just haven’t discovered yet. There are totally ones I’m going to ignore because I don’t see how they apply productively to me.

Let me know in the comments below some of the things you know or learned. Or to give me a written example of all the ways I’m fucking up.

Tarot 101: Finding your deck…

This is simultaneously the hardest and easiest part of Tarot.

Why is it easy? With all the resources available, it’s easy to find stores in your area that sell Tarot deck, as well as find them online. You also have the resources available to here what other people think about a certain from reviews and forums, which can help make you an more informed buyer, especially if you order them from Amazon or what not.

But now the process becomes harder. With all these resources at your disposal, it’s going to feel overwhelming just from the decks available at your local shops.

In this sea of beautiful artwork, differing content, different sizes, and loads of customer reviews, how do you know if you can work with this deck?

While this may be the right question, I want to elaborate for a moment on this particular question. If you’re a beginner like me, I wouldn’t worry about breaking the bank with the most beautiful deck you can find because your materialistic heart says you need it. I know this seems like a call out, but this is the main question I want you to focus on when you look at a deck, can you REALLY work with this deck? Can you picture yourself handling the cards over and over? Is the finish glossy enough for traditional shuffles (since if you’re like me, you haven’t quite picked up the hang of shuffling the standard sized Tarot which is larger than an average deck)? Is the deck a good size for your hands (I have very small child-like hands, which makes this an issue for me)? Can you imagine doing spreads and readings with these cards?

I know this seems like a lot to consider, but it’s helped me get two good decks off Amazon without ever touching them in person.

But my favorite little piece of advice, I found from Marie Kondo on her new Netflix series. Although her series is about organizing your home using the KonMari method, she asks her clients something very important about their stuff. ‘Does this spark joy?’ It totally floors me every time I use it, because some things you have to keep around (say a hammer for emergency repairs) but other things, you don’t have to hold onto (like a dress from your 8th grade Sadie Hawkins dance). So ask yourself this when you look at a new deck, especially if you’re online shopping. If you can’t see yourself holding this deck, working this deck, feeling joy and growth from this deck, then don’t bother to get it.

Unless you’re going to start an art collection of Tarot cards. Then go for it, I suppose.

I’m not trying to scare you off buying a deck. But I don’t want you to pick a stunning deck for you to work with it twice and realize it just isn’t for you. It would be like investing in a Ferrari for your first car only to find out you only like driving Civics (nothing wrong with either vehicle just a comparison of how even though the luxury is there, you may be comfortable with something that you can beat up a little since you’re still learning). But just take the time to research and investigate before you decide on a deck to save yourself from having decks piling up in your house, pouring out of cabinets and drawers, overflowing closets, spilling from under the beds and piled in the sink.

 

Disaster adult…

Yes, this is a real thing.

Especially for all the grey area adults, those kids born between 1994 and 2000, who aren’t millennials and aren’t Gen Z kids. And are coming into this world as adults and frankly sucking ass as it.

So we coined the term disaster adult. Here’s to my fellow disaster adults.

To all the kids stuck eating ramen for 3 meals a day because they weren’t really taught how to grocery shop.

To all the kids who can tell you the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, but can’t tell you how a tax bracket works.

To all the kids who can drive a car but can’t change a tire.

To all the kids who can’t afford fresh produce because they have to pay for their lights to stay on.

To all the kids who drown their sorrows in social media and memes because they can’t afford therapy.

To all the kids coming to terms with the capitalist hell we exist in that dictates our every decision in life.

I raise my glass to you.

Tarot 101: The Basics…

So this is one of witchcraft’s more commonly portrayed aspects in modern media. Everyone knows of the crazy old gypsy woman reading Tarot cards and palms at her velvet-covered shop with a big ass crystal ball and jars filled with unmentionable items.

While some of this is true for witchcraft (looking at all those memes about mason jar hoarding), Tarot is way more basic than that.

Tarot decks are made up of 78 cards. These cards are split into two main categories, Major arcana and Minor arcana. Major arcana makes up 22 cards of the deck and have all the most famous cards, like The Lovers and Death. The Minor arcana cards make up the remaining 56 cards of the deck and are split into four suits, like a standard deck of cards.

However, the suits are different than a standard deck. Where a standard deck is made up of Hearts, Diamonds, Spades, and Clubs, a Tarot deck is made up of Cups, Pentacles, Swords, and Wands. Now the Tarot suits do coincide with regular suits, so if you’re trying to be sneaky or looking for a new Tarot challenge, you can use a regular deck just as you would a Tarot deck. Cups coincide with Hearts, Pentacles with Diamonds, Swords with Spades, and Wands with Clubs.

An interesting note about the Major arcana is that although they are numbered, they are numbered from 0 to 21, instead of 1 to 22. We’ll go over more of the Major arcana later on.

Tarot is a form of divination magic, like reading tea leaves or casting oracle bones. Another form of card divination is using oracle cards, which are different than Tarot cards because oracle cards can come in different kinds of deck sizes and content, whereas Tarot is normally based on one set standard.

Tarot decks are usually illustrated and based off the Rider-Waite Tarot deck structure. Most decks use their face illustrations off the standard Rider-Waite deck that’s been in print since 1910 and are considered the standard for  Tarot decks. Nowadays, there are many illustrators creating their own stylistic face illustrations for their own Tarot decks, drawing from the Rider-Waite deck as the foundation.

Speaking of the Rider-Waite deck, many pros agree that to start learning with a deck based on the Rider-Waite deck since it is such a common and accessible deck. As well as being the most common deck available, since everyone uses it basically, the resources online are countless if you need help interpreting a card or learning a new spread.  Besides online, Tarot has been around since the Middle ages, meaning that there are books upon books you can reference, although some books reference how Tarot was used as a simple card game before it was used for divination purposes.

That’s just some of the basics involving Tarot. With a topic this old and rich, there’s always more to explore and discover and learn.

Intro to Witchcraft…

We all know about the witch hunts where many woman were burned at the stake or drowned for any reason at all. Witchcraft was more of a blanket term back them to describe anyone who wasn’t fitting in with societal norms.

But witchcraft itself has somehow persevered through the years and is seeing a resurgence of late as more and more women are delving into the history behind it and are finding that it is a much more open community than originally led to believe. Not only is it an open community where members are more than willing to teach and answer questions about witchcraft and wicca, but it is also becoming a more holistic approach to spirituality than other forms of organized religion.

Some of these benefits include worshiping who you want without any guidelines on exactly how you HAVE to worship your deity. You also can pick from across cultures all around the world to find a deity that actually suits you and your life instead of a monotheistic religion. Not only is the spirtuality aspect a major winner of why so many people are turning to witchcraft and wicca, but the fact that many attributes of spell work and witchcraft itself revolve around nature and appreciating nature.

So for some who are wiccan, a day at church could be hiking a local mountain and cleaning up litter, or taking a walk through the woods and appreciating the nature that surrounds their area, or maybe it means going down to a local park and sketching some of the squirrels and birds to give as offerings to a deity. I personally understand how any of these activities, done with the proper reverence, beat sitting in a musty old church all morning listening to a man try to interpret a book instead of doing so myself.

Now before I get carried away, let me make a disticntion.

Wiccan is the nontraditional belief system (however considering witchcraft has existed longer than organized religion, maybe this should be considered traditional) of worshiping Non-Christian deities and more than one deity. Most people refer to it as a form of paganism and I guess it counts on a purely technical basis, considering how the dictionary defines words.

Witchcraft is the blanket term for practicing various forms of magic, usually in correlation to a deity, but not always.

So you can be wiccan and practice witchcraft or you can be wiccan and not practice witchcraft, or you can practice witchcraft and not be wiccan. But that’s the beauty of witchcraft. It give you the options and choices to grow spiritually how you want to and with what suits you.

Does this make witchcraft evil? In the eyes of some of the more extreme Christian groups, yes. But for one group who believes that being gay is wrong and that vaccinating your kids is wrong and that divorce is wrong and that only one person has the answer and the other that appreciates other cultures and nature and works primarily to bring about positive solutions to problems… You can see where I’m going with this right?

So maybe you can see why I’m getting into witchcraft. I can do my own thing without have to play into the notion that only one god exists to try to explain the vast amount of uncertainties in the world. Or maybe I’m just an old-fashioned kind of girl 😉