Tag Archives: student life

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: 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.

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.

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.

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.

How to: Vodka Gummy Bears…

So here’s how to make my personal favorite drinking snack.

It’s really easy, but does take some set up time.

So all you need:

  • A quart-sized mason jar or a reusable food storage container (any size will really do)
  • big bag of gummy bears (whichever brand you prefer, I always get the biggest bag possible for multiple batches)
  • a big bottle of regular vodka (whichever brand you prefer, I always just get the cheapest, biggest bottle I can find)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 12 hours

Step 1: Fill container 2/3 with gummy bears

Step 2: Pour vodka over gummy bears until just covered

Step 3: Put lid on container and put in fridge overnight

This is the best make-ahead party treat (for adults, duh) and it stays in the fridge pretty well until you want/need them. I usually just keep a jar in the fridge for a fun little something on Friday nights to treat myself for getting through the week. Because nothing says happiness like gummy bears and alcohol.

Fashion: My favorite accessories…

This post has some affiliate links listed below, so if you decide to click on the links and buy that item, I get a little money as well, at no extra cost to you. 

I live a very busy life. Like, super busy all the time.

So I figured I would make a list of all the tings I carry with me day to day.

  1. Lip balm
  2. Wallet
  3. Phone (duh)
  4. Lighter Here’s one that I carry cause it’s cool af  Zippo Dragon Tattoo Lighter
  5. Butterfly knife (now fair warning, this is legal to have in my area but maybe not yours, check local laws first friends)
  6. Journal Here’s one I LOVE and the journal inserts I use  Refillable Leather Journal
     and Set of 6 Travel Journal Inserts
  7. Pack of smokes
  8. Lipstick (right now I’m using Mally Beauty Lip Crayon in Chic Cherry)
  9. Mascara ( get some Elf brand from your local store, it’s cheap and better damn good)
  10. Pens

Now, most of this stuff I do carry in a bag, but it’s never a huge bag. I love backpacks or messenger bags because they’re a bit more manageable and lasting than normal shoulder bags in my experience. Below are some of the bags I use or would definitely get in the future. (these are picture affiliate links, so if you click on the picture it will take you to the page where you can buy the item if interested. See my affiliate link disclosure at the top of the post)

Student life: Why I hate common college tips…

I absolutely hate all the advice floating around about college courses. I HATE it. And it’s not because it’s bad advice, it’s because it’s one-perspective advice. It’s all the tips and tricks that particular student found works for them.

So I’m going to go over all the dumb little tips I’ve found to be impossible for me.

  1. Don’t take any classes before 9 am or Don’t take any 8 am classes. This is the most bullshit advice I’ve ever heard. I know when you first get into college you overbook yourself. It’s just what happens. But it is sometimes impossible to avoid taking an 8 am class. At my school in particular, many required courses for my major are only available at 8 or 9, which means that to graduate I gotta drag my ass to class. College isn’t about living the Dream™, it’s about putting in the work to get a future and be more comfortable later in life.
  2. Find a club. I hate this advice because there is no way some of us can be committed to a full course load and a club, especially if you have a job you HAVE to work to afford eating and sleeping with a roof over your head. Not to mention the people who only want to focus on getting through their courses or can’t devote any other personal energy to a club. If you really think a club is going to help you get into some grad school or to get some job after you graduate, then maybe you should also keep your options open about what you want to do after college. I have gotten many jobs without the help of some club and I’m going to get into grad school without a club on my academic resume either, because I’m going to work hard at the other aspects of my life.
  3. Don’t forget to exercise and take care of yourself uwu I hate this advice because it only works for some people. There’s no reason to look at your already packed schedule and try to fit in an hour of intramural sports or 30 minutes at the rec center. If your campus is like mine, then you can bike or walk to class every day, which is just as healthy as hitting the gym every day because you get fresh air, sunshine (on sunny days of course) and some moderate exercise. But there’s no reason to kill yourself trying to keep up with everyone else who’s schedule allows for them to hit the gym or the rec every day.
  4. Focus on school, hustle, hustle, hustle Gods, I hate hustle culture. I hate that fact that people act like if you just work hard enough all your dreams will come true. Let me sit you down and give you some real life advice; You’re NUMBER ONE PRIORITY IS YOU. For me that means I will sacrifice everything except the basic needs. I will not lose sleep or skip meals. All those dumb graphics and dumb rhetoric about ‘stay up late and get up early to achieve your dreams’ is absolute bullshit. You can’t enjoy the fruits of your labor if you’re sitting in a hospital bed with malnutrition and exhaustion. So don’t skip work, dinner, or bed, because you have to make sure you are taken care of before you start trying to make your life better.

As much as good advice is out there, there’s tons more than you can’t even use 9 times out of 10 because it just doesn’t apply to your situation.

 

Procrastinating: what helps me…

Everyone procrastinates from time to time.

Some people (like me) do it all the damn time and we get very frustrated with ourselves because we feel like we should be able to get over procrastinating.

But every single time we look for help, the advice is usually along the lines of ‘well just stop procrastinating’. It doesn’t work like that, Brenda!

That’s like telling someone that their leg should just quit being broken or that they should quit having depression.

I know I procrastinate a lot because I feel inadequate. I know, I’m the queen of this hell hole and I feel inadequate? But its true. I feel like anything I turn out is substandard to anyone else even as I huff and mutter under my breath that I’m the best damn (insert progression here).

But that’s what’s helping me get through some of my procrastination.

Fake it till you make it

My life motto most days.

All you have to do is pretend that you’re a spy and you have to do this task and it doesn’t matter how bad because you’re undercover.

But seriously, you just have to tell yourself that whathisname is just as good as you so you have to be better. Or that if this guy can do so can I.

This method usually boosts my motivation for a half-second to at least consider getting my shit done.

But this doesn’t help you magically get your shit. There is no answer that I’ve found for waking up and everything being done.

Baby steps

I’m bad about this. Logically, if you can’t complete the whole task you can at least start on something small to get the ball rolling.

Now I’m an all or nothing kind of person and that has bitten me in the ass more times than I can tell. Sometimes from procrastinating and sometimes because I’m just too damn stubborn for my own good.

But this method has helped me get through so stupid ass essays for school.

Everyone will go on and on and on and on and on about their favorite way of breaking down a task into steps. Do this thing first or that thing first.

But you have to find what works for you. This means brainstorming. If that means sitting down and staring at a computer for three hours trying to break down an essay into parts you can handle, or if that means doing the bare minimum at work while trying to figure out how to handle that big project, then do what needs to be done so you have the right plan in place.

Take Your Damn Time 

This seems counter-intuitive, but here me out. You know how it feels when you half-ass a project and then feel guilty because you could’ve done better, but you rushed and scrambled to get your shit together.

Well quit rushing around like a headless chicken.

Stop for 15 minutes. Take a deep breath. Take another deep breath. Take another.

Now you’re good to keep going. Make a list of everything to do for the day. Now, what has to get done in 10 minutes? 20 minutes? An hour? By the end of the day?

You’ve got your priorities now. So take your baby steps and get the ball rolling. If it means just taking it a little at a time, it’s better than getting burned out and feeling bad about shitty work.

Now, this does mean that some priorities are going to have to be put aside or even dropped to keep other obligations. Let them go. Don’t feel bad about it.

So you miss a homework assignment. So you have to cancel a dinner with your friends to finish a project at work. So you have to stay late at a study group instead of catching another shift at work.

You have to know when to make those calls. But don’t feel bad, because at the end, you’re work is going to be whole-assed instead of half-assed and you’re going to feel motivated to get onto the next task.

Remember, it’s that whole thing of ‘to make an omelette, you have to break a few eggs’, but this times eggs means obligations and omelettes mean meeting deadlines.

 

 

Everyone procrastinates. Just don’t forget to keep moving. And for the love of whatever gods exist, don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re not going to stop procrastinating overnight (if you could, I would have done it already and then summarily conquered the world by now). But you can still make progress.

Image that procrastinating is being stuck in one of those foam pits at a gymnastic gym. Those things are incredibly hard to get out of, but you have to keep moving. Just a little bit will get you closer to the edge of the pit and you can get out. But if you stop moving, you’re going to sink. If you stop moving you’re going to get even more stuck. So take those baby steps and think about how if some stupid grade schooler can get out of a stupid foam pit, so can you.

 

Student life: Study Tips that actually work…

You’re here because you’re procrastinating. You can’t get the info to stick in your information-saturated brain and now you’re scrambling because you have midterms next week. After reading article after article after blog post after blog post, you’re seeing the same bullshit everywhere. And it’s not working for you.

Maybe you were a gifted high school student who didn’t need to study. Maybe all the methods shoved down your throat in school just don’t work or you can’t grasp the intricacies of the method. Worst of all, maybe you’re just trying to find something that actually works outside of what everyone else has been doing since the dawn of higher learning.

So here’s some tips from me that I found work for me.

  1. Spend 30 minutes every day unwinding. This seems counter-intuitive, I know. But if you just spent 6 hours learning and running around, you’re overloaded mentally. First thing I do when I get home from classes (unless I have to work right after class), is take off my shoes, put on a pot of coffee, grab a snack, and do some quick little chores, like the dishes or starting a load of laundry. These are all mindless tasks that you don’t have to spend any real thinking time doing. It also helps set you up for the next few hours. You have coffee (or tea if you don’t want to drink coffee that late, or milk or water or juice or whatever you drink) to keep you going through your homework, your dishes are done, you have clothes started for tomorrow.
  2. Set up your desk. Don’t count this time as part of your break. This is your pre-study prep time. Set up your desk with all the things you need, like you pens, your notebooks, your textbooks, your notecards, your laptop, your drink and snacks. Get your computer up and running and the online homework portal up. This is were everyone else shirks away in their tips; there is no way for you to do your work 90% of the time without being on your computer. 90% of homework is completed or submitted online so you will need your computer.
  3. ‘Eat the Frog’  This is a tip I saw floating around on the internet. It’s basically just starting with the thing you hate most. The thinking behind this is that when you do the thing you hate most first, you won’t push it off, you won’t half-ass it, you won’t ‘pretend’ it doesn’t exist (I’ve been there, don’t lie to me). This isn’t exactly what you want to hear, but you still have to get the work done. So if you have to work on Lit, Math, and Chemistry, and you love Math but hate Chemistry, then work on Chemistry first. Channel your energy hating it into beating that stupid class into submission. Then to reward yourself, work on your favorite class last to give your brain a little break.
  4. Give yourself a montage. Something that oddly inspires me to work hard is pretend that I’m in a movie. So play some music in the ‘background’ (headphones please, not everyone shares your taste) and pretend that Speilberg is filming a dramatization of your life in a Legally Blonde-esque montage of you doing schoolwork and putting your nose to the grindstone. Don’t act all embarrassed by this, you do it in your head already when you’re on a bus ride. So just channel Elle Woods and pretend you have to put your ex-boyfriend in his place by being better than him at his own game.
  5. Google is your new study buddy. Everyone acts like your teacher or your textbook hold all the answers to the class. But that’s utter bullshit. Your teacher may be an expert in the field but sometimes it’s hard to communicate ideas to each other. It’s the drawback of language and human thought. So don’t be afraid to Google a concept or find a Youtube video explaining it. Not everyone learns the same way, so you’ll have to do some legwork on your own to find what works best for you to learn a difficult concept in a week. And Google is very useful for finding practice exams from other professors across the world, or presentations, or study guides.
  6. Avoid brain-drain. You know the feeling; you’ve been staring at the same page for an hour and nothing is soaking in. This is your indication to take a real break. Now, people preach about taking breaks every hour or so, but I take breaks after I finish a flow. A flow is when you get rolling on a project or a section of reading and it’s all just rolling along. So why break a flow when the timer goes off, instead of riding it to the end and keeping the productivity going? But when you get to brain-drain, call it night. Only go back to the desk if you will absolutely fail tomorrow. So when you ride a flow to the end, get up and refill your cup, grab a handful of trail mix or something, and switch projects.
  7. Plan time Do this at the end of your study session. Pull out your planner and update your assignment tasks. Personally, I put vague notes in my physical planner, like ‘Lit class, reading sess, essay revise’ and in my digital planner I put all the details, like page numbers, upcoming projects, essay to-dos. When I plan, I cross everything off that I did accomplish for the day and plan for what I need to get done tomorrow excluding things like pre-assigned reading or homework that needs to be completed daily. This helps me to stay on track with my studying and lets me plan for the next day, including where I can study between classes or what I can push off if my homework runs late.
  8. Work, School, Play. In that order exactly. Everyone brags and boasts how they were able to go to school full-time and work full-time and all they did was prioritize, blah, blah, blah. I take my priorities into account by the hierarchy of needs by Maslow. If you don’t know what this is, Google is your friend, remember? So I spend my time working more so that I can eat and sleep in a real bed. Then I study to get myself ahead in the world. Then if I have anytime left, I plan for dinners with my family or date night with my boyfriend or movie night with my friends. But they don’t get my priority. If you really feel lonely, you have a magical device that allows you to contact people anytime, anywhere.

 

Some of these topics I may cover in depth later, but please take to heart that you don’t have to do things like everyone else. If you still need answers, or you’re just frustrated that you can’t get this whole school thing to work, hit me up. I’m an open ear if nothing else and maybe all you need is to just talk your problems out.