first-year

things i learned in 2016:

  • sometimes i’ll try my best in school and i’ll still fall short of my goals, but i’ll still survive because life goes on
  • what’s important is learning how to overcome fear of failure and perfectionism
  • rest is important, but so is knowing how to push myself enough that i can accomplish the goals i have for myself
  • taking care of myself is important, but so is being aware of how to improve myself so i can be happy with the person i am
  • being by myself and having quality Me time is important, but so is interacting with people who uplift me and add positivity and radiance into my life
  • i don’t have to drink if i don’t want to
  • nothing excuses behaviors that hurt other people
  • i don’t have to cut off my friendships from high school just because college is a time to Explore and Meet New People™ 
  • with that being said, i also shouldn’t cling onto past relationships just because they were once a thing. there’s a time to let go for almost everything, and relationships aren’t an exception
  • support systems are important
  • social media breaks are important
  • doing things that are fulfilling in life is important
  • helping other people is important
  • GETTING. ENOUGH. SLEEP. IS. IMPORTANT.
  • i missed reading books purely for the joy of it
  • the most ‘successful’ people in the world learn to let go of envy or jealousy, and learn + gain motivation/inspiration from those who are better than them
  • negative bias is real, but just its mere existence indicates that good things do happen in this world and i will learn how to appreciate that more in 2017, god damnit.
  • i need to rely more on internal and not external validation
How I learnt to study

During High school I was one of those students who never really had to work for my marks, I had the uncanny ability to leave my assignment till the night before and still manage full marks that is ..till I got to university, my first year was a disaster I was barely passing my units I was stressed and depressed, what got me through high school was clearly not working in university. So to stop my second year in university from being a disaster as well and to save my gpa I decided to learn how to study from scratch!  spoiler: It worked and my marks have tripled since I adopted these habits. So here are the things I started doing!

- I invested in school supplies that I NEEDED and not just for aesthetic, example I bought tons and tons of basic cheap notebooks because I knew I was going to do a lot of writing and things like flashcards. My rule of thumb was if its functional its perfect.

- I attended every lecture and every class no matter what the time was! This is essential as it saves time later when you are rushing around trying to catch up. 

- I tried to stay up to date no matter what! Before I would let lecture after lecture pile up but ever since doing this, my study life has been much easier to cope with. 

- UNDERSTANDING EVERYTHING YOU LEARN FROM THAT WEEK, I cannot stress how much this has helped me. If I am learning about a topic in week 5, I have to understand it fully in week 5, not when I am in finals week and stressing out. I use resources such as textbooks and the internet to help me understand or I will ask my teacher. The important thing is I understand it fully.

- Be organised!  Know when you have an assignment due, there are so many ways to do this. Handheld planner, wall planner, phone reminders, there is apps such as my study life. Anything that will remind you to get started on the thing before it is too late.

- Review your notes weekly or fortnightly!!! Memory works by relearning, instead of cramming the night before exams, review weeks before.

- Break down your essays weeks before its due, you don’t have to start writing them right away but at least start thinking about them.

- Utilise any free time, for example instead of listening to music on my 45 min bus ride to uni I started listening to a psych podcast or doing my readings for that day.

- Have mental health days, I found out how difficult it is to study and how necessary it is to take breaks. Studying is stressful, have days/half days where you relax and look after yourself.

-Cut down on caffeine, I was a serial coffee addict, Im talking 4 shots a cup three times a day. Cutting down reduced my anxiety and got me sleeping more, which improved my mood and energy.

- Have a study buddy/group, find someone who is serious about their study and have study sessions with them, you get to study and have a social life.

- Find a study schedule that suits you, don’t feel pressure to get up at 5 am if you find it easier to study at 6pm.

- Have a study place, that you know you will study in! It can be your local library, your desk, your bed. Anything that you find will work for you!

10

21 November 2016

Exactly one year to the day since I came out.

It’s been a tough year. Some friends left, others stuck by me, and many more were made.

I lost my job 7 months ago and survived rejection after rejection until finally being accepted for a job that’s perfect for me last week. It’s my first day today as well!

There have been times I haven’t had enough money to feed myself. I’ve only just turned the heating on. I thought that soon I would be homeless.

There were times I almost didn’t make it at all but I fought on and survived.

And all of this while trying to adjust to the most life changing event of my time on Earth.

And now today is my anniversary. And today I start my first new job in 10 years. It’s a day of beginnings.

Time to release that pent up energy.

Here’s to another year.

© Owning It Since 2015

Starting today, I am running a year long series for students who are going into post secondary education this September. I will be releasing a new post on the 5th of each month, which will be specifically targeted to the phase that a lot of students will be in at the time. This month’s topic is… 

Choosing a University! 

I know there are a lot of posts out there telling people what to include in their spreadsheets and documents. I thought I would make a post sharing what I think are the most important factors to consider, versus which ones are overrated. This is purely based on my own experiences and the experiences of my friends, so everything in it might not apply equally to everyone. (Sorry this post is going to be long as hell).

Most Important Factors

These are the things that I believe are so important that they can make or break your decision to go to a school. 

  1. Major: To me, this is the most important thing you should consider when choosing a school. If they don’t offer your prospective major, you should think really hard about going there. It may feel like you are settling for a major you don’t want before you even start, which is a shitty feeling. Also, because a lot of people change their minds about what they want to major in, it may be wise to make sure there are two or three faculties the school offers that interest you. 
  2. Financial aid: This one is definitely second on my list because it can kind of make the decision for you. If your dream school is way out of your budget and doesn’t have a good financial aid package, you may want to start looking elsewhere. 
  3. Location: Being close to family and friends is way underrated when you are going into first year. A lot of people think that because you are entering post-secondary, its time to completely grow up and leave your family and hometown behind. But this can backfire! If you are really close to your family and friends at home, love where you live, etc. location can be a big factor. 
  4. First year retention rate. This is the one statistic that I think can show a lot about a school. If a lot of people transfer out after first year, it can be a bit of a red flag.
  5. The type of people and atmosphere. This might seem not as important, but knowing the type of school that you are going to be in is crucial to understanding if you will fit in there in the future. I suggest looking into whether or not it is a party school, if it is fiercely academic and very competitive, whether it is a diverse school with international students, whether students tend to have part-time jobs. These kind of things can give you a sense of whether or not you will fit in. 

Semi-Important Things 

These are the things that I think can help you make a decision, but shouldn’t be the basis of one. Think of these as added bonuses. 

  1. Extra-curriculars. Unless you are deeply devoted to a certain sport or club and intend to pursue it throughout uni and into adulthood, the specific of extracurriculars offered probably doesn’t need to make or break your decision. As long as a school has a wide variety of clubs, teams, and other opportunities, you will likely find something to join. 
  2. Things to do in the area. Unless you are heading out into an unpopulated area, there will be things to do wherever you go. Most cities that are big enough to have a university will also have some shopping, a movie theater, a few bars, and some restaurants. A lot of students don’t have time or money in first year to be going out every single night anyways. 
  3. Where you can get a job. Like above… if it is a university town, there will be part time jobs available. Even if you can’t transfer from your current job or your dream job isn’t available in the town, you can likely find some source of income. 
  4. Prestige. A lot of people fall into the trap of looking at rankings of the best schools in the country or the world. These can be a good indicator of if a school or program is well-liked and well-funded, but they can also get into your head. If you are in love with a school and it doesn’t have a top ranking, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good school or you won’t be able to get a job. Try to take rankings with a grain of salt. 
  5. Average class size. This is one stat that is hard to deal with because typically, class sizes get smaller as you get older. First year classes will be bigger than the average listed and fourth year ones will be smaller.
  6. Quality of the dorms. I have to be real here: most dorms are shitty. Also, at a lot of schools there are two or three luxurious buildings and twice as many dumps. You only have to live there for a year! Don’t let ugly looking dorms push you away or let super fancy dorms pull you in. 

Overrated Importance

These are factors that I think should be tagged on as bonuses at the end of your decision, not factors that are included in making it. 

  1. The look of the campus. I go to a university with one of the most beautiful campuses that I have ever stepped foot on. But the truth is, it doesn’t affect how you learn or how good your life is. I don’t wake up in the morning and gaze at the historic buildings and the fall foliage. Once you have lived there for a month, the allure of a stunning campus can wear off. 
  2. Where your significant other is going. If you and your partner happen to choose the same school, that’s great! However, if you choose a school specifically because they are going there, it might end in disaster. I have friends who made this choice and their relationships ended within weeks of getting to school. You don’t want to have regrets because you made a choice based off of someone besides yourself! 
  3. The admission rate. If you meet the requirements for admission, don’t stress out about being accepted. I remember looking at my school’s admission rate of 41% and being so stressed, despite the fact that I had grades well above the requirements and extra-curriculars and awards on top of that. Don’t let it stress you! 
  4. Where your parents went. This is similar to the significant other issue listed above. Going to your parents alma mater can be amazing, but if you don’t already like the school, don’t let that be a persuading factor. 
  5. Whether or not the people on campus are attractive. I have seen so many articles saying that if you take a campus tour and don’t see any super hot people, you should reconsider. This makes no sense??? There is no way that you will go to a school and not see a single person that you find attractive. Like… no. 
  6. How good the professors are. If you read bad reviews about certain profs or really good reviews about others, don’t let that sway you. You might not even end up ever having that prof. You could get that prof and have an experience completely different than the reviews. If there is overwhelming evidence that the entire staff is horrible, maybe consider that. But when it comes to just a few profs you read about online… try to let it go. 

I know this isn’t an exhaustive list of everything there is to consider, but these were just the thoughts that came to my mind based on own experience. As always, different things work for different people. 

3

week 12 | first semester is flying by way too quickly 😥 i’m so behind on my assingments and readings… but i still had time to make this post!! (haha not really… 😅) final exams are coming up and it’s time to step it up! in other news, i caught a cold recently and all i want to do is curl up in my bed and nap for a century lool pray for me friends. it’s going to be a long night 😪

First Year Moments (Carry On Countdown Dec 4th)

I’m actually really happy with this fic. I think 11 year-old Simon and Baz must have been the cutest. Hope you like it too! @carryon-countdown

Simon

Simon was terrified as he waited for the Crucible to find someone for him to live with. Sure, he had lived with other kids all his life but that hadn’t been chosen by magic, that had been unfortunate circumstance more than anything else. And this was permanent, someone he’d be paired with until he graduated. The weight of that commitment pressed uncomfortably inside his head.
Slowly all the other kids found their pairs making Simon wonder what was wrong. The Mage had said he was special, so maybe he would have to live by himself, solitude to strengthen him and all that nonsense.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Simon felt a tug in his gut pulling him forward. A pale boy with raven hair stepped reluctantly towards him. He looked frustrated, as if the answering tug in his own gut was offensive to him somehow.
“Uh, hello. I’m Simon…Simon Snow.”

Baz

Baz felt terrified as he waited for the Crucible to find someone for him to live with. Sure, he might be the Pitch heir and smartest kid here, but that didn’t mean he felt confident. He worried as he watched other kids find their roommate faster than him that perhaps it wouldn’t work. Perhaps it couldn’t work because he was a vampire.
Suddenly he felt an uncomfortable tug pulling in his abdomen. He supposed it meant the Crucible was working for him, but he hated the feeling. Baz had no control of his body, something he worried about constantly at night when he secretly read up on vampirism. He knew it was just magic, but knowing didn’t stop him from feeling.
He felt a moment of surprise as he realized who the Crucible was pulling him towards. The boy had to be a first year, but there was something aged about him. His shaved head and dark blue eyes felt mature in a way none of his other peers did. For the first time Baz felt a flicker of similarity between himself and someone his own age.
“Uh, hello. I’m Simon…Simon Snow.”
Baz felt the flicker of similarity sputter out. This was the Mage’s heir, the Mage a person Baz had been told his whole life was crazy and wrong. It was rumored Simon Snow was to be the Chosen One, the most powerful mage ever. Under the Mage’s wing this boy was dangerous to Baz, not someone he could befriend.
“Basilton Pitch.” He sneered.
They shook hands to finish the ritual. For some reason Baz wanted to stay, to talk to this boy and maybe get to know him. He didn’t understand why, but he felt drawn to Simon Snow. But he couldn’t let that happen. So instead he walked away.

Simon

It had been weeks since the Crucible had cast him and Baz together as roommates and yet it had felt like years to Simon. In the past, when boys hadn’t liked him at the homes they would just ignore him. But not Baz. Baz made it his main goal to tease Simon day after day. After a week of this Simon had given up on being nice and given the attitude right back.
He had really hoped the two of them could be friends. Baz was mature in a way that none of the other boys in his year were. For a second, Simon thought they had a connection, that maybe they were both too experienced with reality to be as carefree as the other children. But then they had shaken hands and it had all fallen apart from there.
Simon started crying into his pillow. All he had wanted was to belong somewhere. To have friends and spend nights gossiping about teachers and sneaking up junk food to the room. But like his other fantasies, that hadn’t come true.
He heard Baz stomp into the room and pause. There were a few footsteps coming towards the bed and then another pause.
“Are you…crying?” Baz’s tone wasn’t mean for once.
Simon pushed his face further into the pillow.
“No. Shut up. Just leave me alone.”
The footsteps retreated.
“Fine. Not my fault you’re a stupid crybaby.”

Baz

He knew it was stupid to provoke his roommate, but he couldn’t help himself. For some reason he couldn’t beat down a part of himself that wanted very badly to be friends with Simon Snow. But whenever he felt that urge rise up he simply teased Snow instead. That way he could pretend he didn’t care. That way he could still find an excuse to talk to the boy.
He watched Snow from across the dining hall with annoyance. Before this point, Snow had always sat by himself. The others were drawn to his magic, but the boy could barely speak. So eventually they all gave up on trying to be his friend. Today, however, he was sitting with a girl. She had wild red hair and fierce purple glasses. Baz had the impression she acted just as strongly as she dressed.
Baz wished he didn’t care, tried to ignore the irrational anger burning inside of him. But the truth was, he was jealous. Before, Snow hadn’t spoken to anyone except for Baz. Sure it was always insults or complaints, but still, Baz felt special in a way. But now there was another person, someone who made him smile. Snow had never smiled in front of him.
He got up and walked over to the pair, hands clenched.
“Nice to see you found yourself a little friend Snow. Does she know what a freak you are yet?”
Snow’s smile fell and Baz felt his heart squeeze painfully. Instead of apologizing he used the pain for fuel.
“Or is she just here to get a look at the Chosen One?
The smile on his face faded out completely. Baz felt sick and satisfied at the same time.
Suddenly there was a cloud of red hair in his line of vision. The girl’s smooth brown cheeks were reddened with anger. She glared at him without breaking eye contact.
“I can speak for myself thank you. My name is Penelope Bunce and I’m Simon’s best friend.”
Baz snorted around the lump forming in his throat.
“As if. Snow can’t make friends, can you Snow?”
Bunce shrugged as if she didn’t care.
“Come on Simon, let’s leave. He’s just jealous.”
Baz flinched at her accuracy.
“Of what? Having terrible social skills? I think I’m just fine as I am.”
Bunce hauled Snow out of the dining haul like a protective sister. Baz couldn’t push down the anger and regret but he didn’t chase after them. He couldn’t after all.

Simon

As he packed his stuff up for summer Simon realized he didn’t want to leave. Not just because he loved Watford and hated being bounced around different care homes, but also because of the familiarity. Sure, Baz was a terrible roommate, he was even starting to hate the boy, but he was a certainty. No matter how messed up Baz was, at least Simon knew what to expect at the end of the day.
Now he was off to somewhere unfamiliar, to live with people who didn’t know about magic. Baz not only knew about magic, he lived it. Simon was always amazed at the sheer rightness of Baz’s magic when he practiced spells. It was so natural to the other boy that it was almost comforting to Simon, even if Baz himself was not.
He paused to look at Baz as he drifted towards their door. It was stupid to say goodbye, Baz certainly didn’t deserve the nicety. But still, Simon felt like he needed to say something before he walked away for a whole summer.
“Bye Baz. See you uh…in autumn.”
Baz stared at him.
“See you Chosen One.”
Simon sighed, what else had he really expected? Without another word he left.

Baz

He watched Snow leave and wished he could run after him. Wished he could explain the pressure his family was putting on him to bully Snow. Wished he could be honest about the panic he felt when he realized just how much he wanted to be closer to Snow and how that panic made him cruel.
But he couldn’t do any of that. With a strange weight in his chest he moved to the window to watch Snow walk towards the drawbridge that would take him away for three months.
“Bye Snow,” He whispered.

How to Get Along With Your Slytherin Friend Pt. 2

From a Slytherin’s Perspective

• Weekly night of sitting in their pajamas talking about nothing in front of the common room fire is a must

• they love experimenting so if they say “Hey we’re gonna see what happens if we add belladonna to this potion” then you need to nope right out of there

• for some reason they love candles

• they’re very protective of each other so you’re not gonna be bullied I promise

• love books almost as much as Ravenclaws, even Muggle fiction isn’t as big of a deal as you may think it is

• they aren’t easily entertained but if you’re persistent then you can talk your friend into nearly anything

• not afraid to talk back and get sassy

• DON’T LET THE FIRST YEARS NEAR THE GIANT SQUID PLEASE

• they’re incredibly cunning and sneaky of course so don’t worry about getting caught breaking the rules

• if you’re a firstie don’t be scared of Slytherins they may seem cold at first but trust me there are some great people there

• nearly every one of them have stashes of sweets hidden in their mattress just check but DON’T STEAL it they will NOTICE

Things I learnt after my first year at University as a psychology major .

1. Know the difference between pseudo psychology and psychology especially if your thinking of enrolling in psychology, or psychology subjects.

2. Yes it involves maths, but it sounds scarier than it is.

3. Do. not . buy. the . text. books. full. price.

4. Different assignments have different weightings, be mindful of where you put your effort.

5. Yes. electives are just as important as the compulsory units, focus on them for your GPA

6. KEEP UP WITH THE LECTURES ESPECIALLY IF THEY ARE 3 HOURS LONG AND THEY PILE UP 

7. Lecturers will not bite! send that email, book the appointment! you will thank yourself later

8. Please seek out the wellbeing people on campus its better to see them early, before you really need them.

9. Do not try to take everything else at once, tread easily and get used to  university before you over plan.

10. A stressed student is not a good student

11. Group assignments will annoy you a lot, it will be okay 

12. Uni campuses are huge and busy,  Find a few spots on campus that make you comfortable, those are your areas to go too especially if you feel overwhelmed.

13. Seek out a good cafe.

14. Pack your own lunch! 

15. Its okay if you don’t make close friends in the first year, as you progress through university you will have lots of chances to make friends.

16.  Experiment with study techniques till you find the one that suits you.

17. First year is the hardest year, be patient it will pass.

18. Do not be afraid of trying new subjects and exploring your options.

19. Look after your health, get enough sleep, drink water and eat healthy.

20. Make sure you give yourself time to do something you enjoy.

Remember in Harry Potter: The Prisoner Of Azkaban in the beginning when an entire choir made of different years and different houses was singing with oversized bullfrogs? Because that means that here is a fucking CHOIR GROUP at Hogwarts where people can gather and sing, and that older students help younger students learn to hit their pitches perfectly. Like, what if an older Slytherin was helping first years (especially the Hufflepuffs) because “I’m not doing this to be nice, I’m doing this so they don’t deafen the school with their flat C minor”.