Tag Archives: student life

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU CAN’T AFFORD COLLEGE WHILE IN COLLEGE…

Honestly there isn’t too much you can do.

How do I know?

Let me regale you with the tale of little ol’ freshman me, years ago. My parents had told me after many, many arguments, that they were unable to pay for college and where unable to qualify for student loans at this point after having sent my older siblings to college. My parents told me this fact after I had already registered for classes.

No matter where I looked, I wasn’t able to get a job within walking or biking distance from campus. I couldn’t find a work-study position until I was half-way through the semester. I didn’t have a car or a licence at this time, so I couldn’t look for anything more than a couple miles away.

When fall break finally rolled around and my dad came to pick up, since they were kicking basically everyone out for the holidays, we stopped by the financial aid office. Which told him the same thing I had told him; I didn’t qualify for shit because my documents said my parents should make enough.

They told me that I would have to take a leave of absence from campus until I could pay off the remainder on my bill.

So I took a leave and stayed gone for almost two years, since that was how long it took me to pay most everything off and save a little up.

However, the next semester up, even with a full-time job and a work study position, I still had a balance at the end of the semester.

So I left for a bit to get my shit straight again. And then I came back. So now I’m here again. I still don’t qualify for shit and I still don’t make enough to cover costs.

So what am I going to do?

Well, after I finish my depressive, self-destructive spiral of defeat…

I don’t know anymore.

I honestly don’t

But what are you supposed to do when something like this happens?

I don’t know…

Sell a kidney?

Sell yourself on the streets?

I’m at loss. Really. I have no solutions for you.

When my only option to stay in school at this moment is to take another part time job on top of me working full time and commuting, and thus sacraficing any and all sleep I can get…

When my only option is to sell my body, whether through stripping, prostitution, or plasma donation, or selling nudes on the internet….

When my only option is to pop out a kid in literally three weeks to qualify for more aid NEXT YEAR…

When my only option is to leave school again and work doubles and such until I can come back next summer and repeat this cycle for the next 3-5 years until I classify as a dependent student…

When my option is to try to force the love of my life into marriage early in hopes that I can qualify for more money next year…

When my only option is to work harder and harder and harder and leave my school work undone because I fell asleep from working so hard just to survive….

I don’t understand how I’m supposed to keep doing this. I don’t understand how a major university can afford to spend so much money on building new housing and stadiums and redoing academic buildings every 3 years, but doesn’t have enough money to slide each and every student who obviously can’t pay a couple hundred bucks in scholarships and grants.

So if you’re going through this like me… I’m so sorry. I feel your pain, your anger, your anguish, your disappointment, your loss, your defeat, your fear, your bittersweet hope.

I get it and I’m so so sorry we have to live like this.

LIFE AS A COLLEGE STUDENT…

I can feel it now. The air is changing. Girls are exchanging their running shorts for leggings, their hydroflasks for starbucks cups.

Frat guys are….well, they won’t change until the first snow storm hits campus then they’ll exchange their stupid shorts for stupid sweats.

Pumpkin spice is back.

It’s truly the start of the fall semester.

And we’re kicking off our seasonal school depression early this year.

How do I know that we’re kicking the depression off early? How can I possibly know?

I’m horribly moody, I’m not eating, I’m not excersing, I’m sleeping all the time, I’m angry, I’m unmotivated in every way to do even things I want to do (like, I don’t even want to binge anything on Netflix, even with all the scary movies set to pop up).

I know that if I don’t pull myself out of this, I’m going to fail this semester. And I know because I’ve done this before.

My first college semester, I ended falling into a similar depression because I felt I couldn’t add up. I didn’t have all the stuff everyone else had for school supplies and dorm room decor and snacks and cars. And because I knew that I couldn’t afford my one semester, that no matter what I did, I would be leaving at the end of that semester.

So why am I back in that state of mind now? Well, I’m going through something worse than my freshman year. I have no friends, no hobbies, work all the damn time, and still, I can’t make enough to stay in school to finish a degree I should been done with by now.

And I’m so sick and tired of people telling me ‘this is where you’re meant to be.’ Because no. It’s not where I’m meant to be.

I’m supposed to be in grad school, learning veterinary medicine, volunteering at the local shelter and working at a local coffee shop as the spunky, sweet barista that everyone loves.

I don’t want some advice like ‘you can change your reality at any time’ or ‘why not do what you want to do’ or ‘take chances and it’ll all work out’.

Because it won’t.

I’m not in a position where I can just quit my job today and find one tomorrow paying the same or better with the same or better hours.

I can’t just make money appear out of nowhere, or even apply for student loans because I don’t have a cosigner.

I can’t just speedrun through the last 8 semesters of my undergrad, nor can I just take a test to pass them and get credit, because none of my remaining courses are ones that you can learn with on the job experience.

I can’t just move to a whole new city or whatever and start over because I have obligations, like work and school and my family, keeping me where I am.

This isn’t something where I can just sit in the sunshine and hope that the world will get better magically or that my brain will kick itself into gear.

This isn’t something where I can ‘just drink water and hydrate’ the problem away.

This isn’t something where I can self-care and skin-care routine the problem away.

This is a problem that I will be trapped in until my life is over because if I want to get anywhere, I have to play this absolutely stupid game of jumping through hoops.

Student life: Should you join a club?

Should you join a club in college? Depends. Ask yourself these questions things…

  1. Do you need to work in any way to support yourself?
  2. Are joining a club to actually help yourself or just to make yourself look good?
  3. Can you afford to join the club?
  4. Do you have the free time to stay in the club?
  5. Is this club a passion or just a passtime?

Now think about why I listed these questions here. What am I really trying to ask you? What is the point of a club on campus?

Honestly, if you find a club that is about your passion and you love it and you can make new friends and do things you love, then go for it.

But if you feel unsure in any way, if you’re looking at this because you have no clue if this is something you really want to do, if you feel like you’re being pressured into signing up for something you’re not passionate about, then don’t do it.

Like, seriously. Why are you looking for confirmation of what you want on a two-bit blog that is run by a sleep-deprived raving lunatic of a college student?

CATHARTIC rant about life

What, pray tell, I am supposed to be doing with life?

I feel life a failure.

I am a failure.

I should’ve been done with this by now.

I shouldn’t be putting this off.

I shouldn’t be worrying about this.

Why am I so worried about this?

I’m not going to have enough money for lunch let alone a damn parking pass.

I’m not going to have enough money for my car, let alone the rest of teh semester.

Gods, I wish I could curl up under a tree and sleep for a millennia.

I wish I could fake my death and escape into the woods to become a local cryptid.

This isn’t worth it anymore.

This was never worth.

I’m going to see this through and it will all be for nothing.

What if I’m just wasting my youth?

Gods, I’m just wasting my youth.

Why is this all so hard?

This part isn’t hard; what am I forgetting to do now?

I wish I could take a nap in this wonderful autumn sunshine and enjoy the green before the snow, but no. I have to work.

I wish I could find a better job where I’m not treated like a damn babysitter for grown adults.

I want to stop. Just Stop.

I want to be there already.

What if I’m not on the right path to begin with?

What if I’m wasting my time trying to force something when really I’m meant to do something else with my life?

What if my only purpose is to waste my youth and remaining hope working a deadend retail job?

What if I finally get stabbed in the parking lot at work tonight?

What if my tire blows out while I’m doing 80 on the highway trying to make it to work?

What if I get fired and have no other job?

What if everything I’ve worked so hard for collapses under me?

I need real food.

I haven’t had anything but coffee today.

No wait, I had a burrito for breakfast.

I need more sleep.

I wish my back and hips and knees didn’t hurt.

I wish I could travel.

I wish I wasn’t so apathetic.

I wish I wasn’t so…. depressed?

I wish I had a prettier face.

I wish I could be there already.

I wish I was a doctor already.

I wish I had enough money to last me to next payday.

Oh gods, how am I going to make it to next payday.

Shit, I still have to find a concert to go to for music appreciation.

Shit, I still have to go to the math building for that exam due last week.

How come this looks so easy and effortless for everyone else.

What am I doing wrong.

Thank you for coming to my anxiety fueled braindump. I just needed to get some of this out somewhere, so thank you for being patient and bearing with me,

Student life: When you get off track…

Everyone dreams of working through college in their 4-year program and then shuttling into adulthood with a career.

But what happens when you get thrown for a loop and your 4 year plan because a 4+ year plan?

The first thing I want to say is…

I know it sucks. It sucks so much. You want to scream and cry and punch a wall because now you’re entire life plan is shot.

I get it. I really get it. I’m 22 and just now finishing the half way point on my SOPHOMORE YEAR. And I started college straight out of high school.

So what happened that I fell off track?

Well, go check out some of my other posts about the First World Problem and then come back here.

So I had to take a couple years and work through some money problems and all that jazz. So here I am, about 3 years behind the curve and working to try to get things right.

Am I pissed off? Every damn day of my life.

Am I upset that I’m not graduated yet and not in grad school yet? So fucking upset that sometimes, I have to stop myself from crying in the middle of class.

Am I mad that I know other kids have it easier than me? Damn straight I am.

But what I am going to do about?

Well, I’m going to right about so that other kids going through this bullshit know that someone out there knows what it feels like to feel like an absolute failure and for life to keep kicking you in the teeth.

But how do you get back on track and make sure you stay on track?

Three easy steps.

  1. Come up with a course plan. Write down every single course you need to take and when. This is your road map. Sometimes you’ll have to take a detour, but it’s okay.
  2. Be prepared to fall off track again. Between you and me, when life decides to fuck with you once, you are never going to be let off easy again. So just be prepared to keep on failing.
  3. Don’t listen to what anyone has to say if they haven’t been there. Your advisers, while meaning well, will try to lead you astray because they honestly don’t understand what it’s like to be in the position you are in. You are in a very unique position and unless they themselves can tell you about how shitty their time at college was, then don’t trust them to know how to help you. Take their advice with a grain of salt and keep working.

So keep your nose to the grindstone and just keep working.

Is it all worth it? Probably not.

Will you probably regret finishing school in 10-20 years when you’re still paying off all the loans and you hate your career? Yeah, most likely.

But keep going anyways because then at least you’ll have a story to tell at the end of the day.

Student life: Bullet Journals…

So how do I maintain a busy school life on top of working full-time and having a pretty packed social life?

Is there a secret?

Not really.

Everyone has been bullet journaling since like 2010. Its turned into a pretentious art craze where you spend more time decorating the damn pages than using them to help you.

For those of you who don’t know what a bullet journal is, it’s basically a freeform planner. You get a blank notebook of some kind, and format the month and day pages by hand. It’s kind of like ‘if you want something done right, do it yourself’ thing, because so many day planners out there don’t have space for the things some people need in day to day life, like planning time for social events outside of work or school or including pages no one uses these days (address book and phone numbers by hand).

While I admit that the craze over aesthetically pleasing journals is fun to look it, a real bullet journal looks like shit.

Mine looks like shit

Why?

I don’t have time to keep up an aesthetic while I’m commuting and working and doing schoolwork. Which is what the bullet journal was intended for. Being too busy to care about meaningless formatting.

Does bullet journalling really work?

Some days. If I remember to update it. There’s no right or wrong way to bullet journal, but there are ways to make it work for you. 

It takes time to get the hang of bullet journalling, between setting up your own format and then getting through the cluelessness of spreads and what will work for you and your life.

I honestly love using mine to keep track of what’s due when and to make sure my schedules for work and school are lining up right. 

So how do I set up my bullet journal?

I buy a cheapo journal from the retailer I work at (since I’m there a hell of a lot). Then I crack open to the first page. I relish the fleeting moment of aesthetics and productivity.

Then I begin my spreads. I start with a month 2-page spread. I make a little calendar for the month and list out important days for the month, like birthdays, holidays, etc. On the second page, I write out appoitments or meetings I make throughout the month, as well as test dates and project due dates.

Each class gets a color code; for example one class is exclusively green in my journal. Everything for the class is written only in green. Depending on whether I’m beginning the semester that month or halfway through, I’ll write out my class schedule and syllabus due dates for each class (in corresponding color). If I’m halfway through the semester, I’ll just note important dates for my classes for that month.

Then comes the daily spreads. Each day gets it’s own page. For each day, I block out what time’s I’m either in class, commuting, or working. I also make two columns; what’s due that day and what’s coming up that week. This really helps as I get things done and have free time, I can start working on projects or reorganize my notes.

I do my daily spreads throughout the day. So if I have a couple minutes between classes, I’ll update the spread for due dates that the professor has extended or start setting up my spread for the next day.

I have to keep every day as planned out as possible since I do have very little free time.

Does bullet journaling really help? I’m not entirely sure. Some people swear by it. Me, I just need something that works better than a mass-produced planner where half the pages I won’t use because they don’t apply to my life and my day-to-day. I love having everything written down somewhere so I can look back and kick myself after I miss something that I should’ve remembered.

And sure, who doesn’t like looking like that bitch in class, pulling out a cutesy little journal and jotting down something and looking super put-together and ‘on top of it’.

Student life: when you don’t add up compared to your peers…

So you just got into college and you’re a fresh-faced freshman, ready to take on the world.

Until you hit midterms and you fail miserably, while everyone else is acing it. And you thought you were good at math or English, or whatever it is.

So now what do you do? You’ve hit a snag in your plan and you honestly feel like shit. You were supposed to be good at school. You thought you were good at school. At least good enough to get into college. So what are you doing wrong?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

While you may not have access to all the resources available, just remember, you got into school and you got into school on your own hard work (hopefully).

So am I telling you to just buckle down and get to work?

Kind of.

I know what you’re thinking right now. You’re stuck comparing yourself to everyone because you thought you were good enough but all these other kids seem to be better than you. You’re stuck thinking how can you compare to Tiffany with a 4.0 GPA and boyfriend on the debate team and she’s part of a prestigious sorority.

Those braggers and put-togethers are like your rival in a Pokemon game. They have just enough to be a tough opponent to to challenge you, so you have to get crafty and wise up to the moves they’re going to use.

So if you know that Tiffany in your Lit class only works 10 hours a week at her club, then make her do more work in the group project because she has time to spare. You do not.

So if you know John in your Calc class is a math major, ask him for help and just smile and nod when he gets all high-and-mighty. Because he already knows everything and you can use that resource for free.

If you know that the TA in your lab is majoring in this exact field, then go to office hours or see if they’re available via email, at the least, to answer questions of the lab.

So what I’m really saying is start grinding and getting crafty with your resources. Pretend you’re a spy thrown into this life and you have to seamlessly integrate to keep your cover from being blown. Just start working harder than they are because damn, one day they are going to slip and it is going to be a spectacular fall.

And when then see you at the top, already covered in mud from fighting your way up this mountain, they’ll know, and you’ll know, that you were always more worthy and more qualified than they ever were.

Student life: what they don’t tell you about college classes..

College is a fantastic time. It’s a great time to learn about the world and your self and your place in the world. But lately, more and more kids are heading into college and struggling through their first year(s).

Why is that?

In my opinion, from what I’ve observed being a college student, and being asked questions by kids at work (I have teenagers on my team who want to know everything about college), college is set up to fail a vast majority of incoming students.

What is the disconnect between what kids are told by their high school teachers and what actually happens at college?

For one, most classes are actually self taught. I know, I know… You’re paying thousands and thousands just to be there, plus the hundreds on textbooks, so that means the professor should show you something right?

No. The professor is just there to make sure you get evaluated for the class. The actual learning part is up to you. You need to actually do the ‘optional’ reading and do every activity. The lecture is just to see what the professor will test you on. No actual learning happens in a lecture. It happens in your dorm room at 3am as you struggle through the same chapter for the 10th time trying to memorize the equation for cellular respiration.

Another thing kids don’t get told about is how to effectively time manage. Every kid thinks they know how to manage their time and those who took extracurriculars in high school are extremely sure about their ability to time manage.

What nobody wants to tell them is that, real time management involves prioritizing tasks and pushing some tasks off until last minute because more important tasks come up.

For example, knowing that a big project is due, these freshies will spend hours trying to finish a 10 point homework assignment instead of plotting out and researching for the project that’s due in two days.

Just because something is due immediately doesn’t mean you absolutely have to complete it if it’s going to put your grade in jeopardy for another course.

Honestly, there is so much they don’t tell you about college when you’re a high school junior or senior.

And even with all the advice out there from kids like me who have just finished college, or are still in the middle of it… There’s still so much nobody tells you.

Like, syllabuses will save your ass time and time again, so don’t lose them or throw them out after the first class.

Or stock up on tissues and cold medicine before cold season hits, especially if you live in the dorms, because you will catch something.

Pick one day a week to always do laundry otherwise you will run out of clean underwear and usually before a big event (date, job interview, family dinner).

Write notes in class in pen because a pen will 9 times out of 10 work more consistently than a pencil.

Do not make in class notes pretty. You will spend too much time switching between highlighters and then lose information that will definitely be on the test.

Do not wear impractical shoes or clothing, no matter how cute you think you look. Those heels will be your bane when you have to walk all the way across campus in the sudden rainstorm.

Do not party. Just don’t. Not only are the legal implications shitty (wait until you have to pay your first ticket), but if you party with strangers, bad shit happens. Maybe not to you or your friends, but bad shit happens.

Always carry a charger and a snack. Always. There will be days you get stuck in class and miss lunch or dinner.

Set alarms and reminders on your phone for everything. Everything, from taking out the trash to a project due next week to reminding yourself to take a break from studying so you can actually make it to the dining hall for food.

When you move out of the dorms, you will trash your new place at least once in the semester. And not party-trash. I mean, working 30 hours, projects galore, haven’t done the dishes in weeks trashed.

You will get at least one shitty professor. One who makes you hate that class and their department. Suck up dealing with them because honestly, they can and will fail you for a shitty attitude. Happened to me. But that’s a story for another time.

No amount of words I put out will actually make your experience any different.

Lay off the coffee shop lattes because you will inevitably go broke. Trust me.

Coffee and energy drinks are not meal replacements.

Most assignments are listed only in the syllabus and it’s your responsibility to know what is die when. These assignments will only be listed in the syllabus and never brought up in class.

Check and double check everything you write for essays. If your allowed opinion based(usually arts and some literature classes) then just make sure everything makes sense. If you need sources (science reports), please learn how to academically write.

You will spend thousands to be here, but you will be expected to pay out of pocket to print 90% of anything you need printed, including notes, project, reports, and more.

Everyone is pretentious and completely full of themselves. Avoid who you can, be courteous to those you cannot avoid.

Splurge on pens because the last thing you need is for your pen to quit working in the middle of lecture. Don’t share pens for anything.

You will think you are starving. You are not. Eat only meals 3 times a day and 2 snacks a day between major classes.

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.

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.

Student life: balance…

Being a college student is hard. Like really really hard. Harder than it was 10 years ago even.

Schools are becoming more and more competitive and more and more expenisve.

I can barely afford to keep a roof over my head and go to school.

So how I do I keep from drowning in the stress of keeping afloat?

Honestly… I don’t deal with it. Balance is an illusion. It’s a lie you tell your parents so they don’t worry about you at college. It’s a lie you tell your boss at work to keep the hours you need to eat. It’s a lie you tell yourself to make it day to day.

Balance is the lie your advisors and teachers will tell you to make you feel like shit. Because you’ll sit down at your desk and cry every night after work, for the only reason that you’re tired and overwhelmed and stressed and busy.

Your advisors will look at you and scoff if you come to them complaining about not being balanced and having too much on your plate. They will look you in the eye and tell you all the things you could do, but are actually unable to do.

Cut hours at work? Not a real option if you need to eat.

Drop a class or two? Not an option if you need to maintain a certain credit hour balance to keep financial aid.

Find a better job? When are you going to find time to do that between your already packed schedule?

Is there a solution? Fuck no there isn’t. Unless real resources are allocated to help you, like scholarships you actually qualify for or a raise at work, you’re stuck drowning under the pressure.

But I’m right there with you, so I understand. I understand what it’s like to have a 4 minute breakdown in your car in your driveway after getting home from work after taking an extra shift because you need the money to pay for a mechanical issue on the car you can’t afford to fix.

I understand what it’s like to sit in class and realize that you fucked up so badly on the test that you’re going to have to pull a miracle out of your ass to pass the class.

I understand what it’s like to be so alone and stressed and mad at yourself because hey, everyone else can do this, so why can’y you?

I understand. Honestly.

SO just remember that balance is an illusion and that asking for help will get you nowhere. Just take a deep breath every couple days, pull yourself through your breakdowns and remember that one day, you’ll be able to rub this bittersweet victory in everybody’s faces.

At least, that’s what gets me through my days.

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.

Student life: How to study right…

Everyone will tell you the exact same thing when it comes to studying. It’s always the same rhetoric of do this and not that, or that and not this.

Now, I’m no straight-A student and I’m not here to give you some miracle study method to get straight-As. I’m just here to share what works for me while I work full-time and commute to school and go to school full-time.

  • Study each day you have class. Since I copy notes from class to make the legible (cursed with doctor handwriting), I first copy notes I took in class with the notes I took about the section. So, for example, if we’re going over chapter 24 tomorrow, then I’ll copy my in-class notes from chapter 23, then read through chapter 24 and take notes about that section, leaving room at the end for notes from the next class session. I also use this time to do any homework for that class, make flashcards, or work on any papers due.
  • Study in blocks. Pick a class and work through it until you’ve finished that work for the day. If that means working for 20 minutes on an essay then 3 hours on a science project, so be it. Get done what you can while you can.
  • Study on days you don’t have class. Even though there’s nothing you should absolutely be freaking about getting done, review flashcards, get ahead in the reading, work extra on the project due next week to finally be done with. Maybe this means editing and printing all your essays ahead of time so make sure you’re turning in your best work. While I’m all for taking a breather from the intensive course load of college, there’s no reason to let the day slip by when you can be getting ahead of all those yuppies in your intro to philosophy course you’re only taking for easy credit to boost your shitty GPA.
  • Teach about your shit. If you’re like me, then you live with someone. Teach them about the stuff your studying. It’s one of the highest recommended methods of learning and studying because if you’re able to effectively teach the material, then you know the material. If you live alone, then call your dad or your sister or your grandma and teach them. Even if they have no clue what you’re talking about, talking about a difficult subject can help you work through the problem. (And I’m sure they’ll just be happy to be included in your life even if grandma bashes evolution and your mom has no clue what business statistics has to do with anything. They’ll be glad you called and that you’re studying hard).
  • Use your free time. If you commute like me, then download some podcasts or listen to Youtube channels while you drive. I usually have about an hour to kill on my way to school. So if I fill my time with podcasts, lectures, and Crash Course videos, then at least I might get something to stick in this brain of mine. Is it boring af? Hell yeah it is. Would I rather be singing fun songs and pumping myself up for the day? Fuck yeah I would. But if it means that I can look preppy, bitchy Stacy who thinks she’s better than me in the eye at study group and learn her a thing or two about evolutionary biology and environmental factors that play a key role in symbiotic relationships between predator animals in several documented cases, then damn straight I’m going to show her up. (We all knew I was bitter already so stfu)
  • Watch your learning. Sometimes you get home and you are so unmotivated to study because you worked all day and you went to the stupid lab tonight and now you’re just tired and mentally exhausted. So turn your background noise into learning. Instead of turning on your fave reality TV marathon, see if NatGeo is having some interesting documentary marathon going on, or if you have a smart TV, turn on Youtube and find a channel or two that shows a bunch of the concepts you’re going over, like Crash Course or Khan Academy. Even if you don’t really try to retain any of the information, the general vibe of learning attached to these programs will motivate you to at least pick up your books for half a minute.
  • Study only what you need to. You’re not going to sit there and study the alphabet or your multiplication tables right? Why not? Because you ALREADY KNOW THAT SHIT. So don’t waste time by studying everything you already know. So how do you find out what you don’t know? Take a sample test, or work through a homework module. Every time you stop and think too hard about a question, put down that subject on a list to study. Or if it’s something you think you answered right but did not at all, then add that to the list. Then pull up youtube videos or crack open the text book or just google in general to see where you’re missing the idea or why you’re confused about the concept in the first place. And don’t forget that your professors and the TA’s are there to help and just an email away. (seriously if you can’t do office hours because of scheduling conflicts or whatnot, then shoot them an email and see if they have time to help via email during office hours)

I’m not going to guarantee that these tips will nail you an A. But when you’re spread thin across work and school, I’ve learned that doing a little is better than doing than nothing at all. Maybe this will help you, maybe it won’t. But don’t think that there is any one right way of doing things, even with all the studies out there about the proper ways to study (studies are misproved and expanded on all the time, so something that may have been proven in 2007 may be irrelevant by now). Just don’t beat yourself up when you get overwhelmed by the tons of shit your professors pile onto you. There’s a phrase, ‘you can’t eat an elephant in one bite’, or something like that. It just means that taking baby steps will get you further than rushing headfirst into disaster.