general tips

anonymous asked:

How do I not panic when sight reading? I had an audition today, and when I had to sight read for it, I got super nervous, played all the wrong notes, and then cried in the hallway.

you can actually get books of orchestra excerpts. try finding one for your instrument and practice sight reading on your own. it really helped me. also some general tips:
-look at the time signature and count a measure before you play
-look at the key signature and scout for where the sharps or flats appear in the music
-always be counting
-play slowly
-be calm. stopping and restarting is more nerve-wracking than making a minor mistake and continuing like nothing happened
-counting
-did I mention counting? because rhythm is more important than intonation

ok this my list of hoe tips and life tips in general

- can’t get ur pussy smooth?? always prickly?? shave diagonally and horizontally instead of up and down, and always use a new blade

- can’t get ur pussy soft?? shave with hair conditioner and massage it in for like 30 seconds before. after u shave, massage with baby oil, and lotion after a shower

- EXFOLIATE. exfoliating is the key to life. mix used coffee grounds with a moisturizing oil (olive or coconut is best). rub that shit all over your legs before you shave until ur hands start to feel funny

- dry feet?? bih me too. rub a fuck ton of regular lotion (or foot cream if u fancy, even Vaseline works) all over your feet and put double socks (or fuzzy socks) on before bed. yass

- this one is the most basic but pls drink water. it’ll clear ur skin, flush out your kidneys to prevent bladder infections, and ur pussy gonna be wet asf

- salt, fat, caffeine, dairy, etc. r gonna make u taste all funky down there. fruits, veggies, and anything w high water content is gonna make u taste fresh/sweet

- smoking and drinking also gonna make u taste funky. and smoking is especially bad for u, so put out the cig babe

- using soap on ur pussy gonna fuck up ur pH bad. the vagina is a self cleaning device, and all u need is a really soft washcloth (or even a cotton shirt) and some water, let ur body do ur thing

- if ur used to wearing tampons and that’s what u find comfortable, use a menstrual cup! very sanitary and will save u a TON of money in the long run

- want a natural lip plumper?? mix a lil bit of cinnamon and honey, and gently rub it into your lips w a soft toothbrush n leave it on for a min. slather on some chapstick n ur plump n soft

- BUY A VIBRATOR. please do it. it will save ur fucking life

- cotton panties or no panties sis. ur kitty needs to breathe and cotton/no panties will prevent bacterial and fungal infection

- got hair on ur face? got rough skin? GURL SHAVE IT! wash your face as normal and pat dry, gently run a clean razor over any areas (cheeks, chin, neck). tone and moisturize like a motherfucker. smooth!

- pubic hair is healthy and good and keeps ur vag clean! don’t shave it unless YOU want to, don’t leave that decision up to ur nasty man

- allow urself junk in moderation. it’ll make making healthy choices easier if u allow urself a little treat every once in a while

- a simple equation for a good meal: vegetable + grain/carb, protein

- do ur fucking homework and do it on time

- rubbing a little bit of petroleum jelly on ur pressure points before spraying perfume will make it last longer

- hair holds onto scents v easily. wanna smell like a goddess????,,, spritz that hair

- kat von d everlasting liquid lipstick is blowjob proof. get messy n be on point!

- urban decay all nighter setting spray is gonna save ur life. it’ll keep ur shit in place when u getting dicked, if u cryin, chokin on dick, w/e u like to do

- if ur having trouble getting wet even after sufficient foreplay, a little bit of water based lube does WONDERS. also won’t deteriorate condoms (oil) or get gritty (silicone)

- need to stretch out ur shoes?? fill two ziploc bags with water and put them in ur shoes. put shoes in the freezer until water freezes solid, and dethaw with a hairdryer. especially effective on leather!

- having problems deepthroating? make sure ur throat is in line with ur mouth, if it’s not the dick won’t go down

- can’t deepthroat at all? cover ur teeth with ur top lip and press ur tongue to the roof of ur mouth while he thrusts. 10/10!

- communication w ur partner during sex will make it a trillion million times more satisfying

- frizzy hair? put conditioner on the tips of your hair (nape of the neck and down) and shampoo right on ur scalp. volumizes without frizzing!

- this one kinda weird but don’t hold ur pee unless u wanna mean bladder infection/UTI

- pee after u masturbate please. u never know what can shimmy up ur urethra, even when ur playin w the little man in the sailboat

- keep a pair of spare glasses with u for when ur contacts dry out. lifesaver

- always keep extra undies, an extra shirt, makeup remover, moisturizer, and comfy shoes in ur car/bag if u can fit all of it

- apply dry shampoo the night before ur gonna need it. it’ll soak up the oil before it sits on ur hair. reapply in the morning n style accordingly

- apple cider vinegar mixed with water works as a good toner if u ain’t got no moneyyyy

- castor oil on ur brows and lashes every night will make them thicker and longer. even just one day will help (bc they will be shiny and moisturized)

ill probs add onto this when i think of more!

Safely Eating Expired Foods

The food bank gave me a hand-out about how long you can safely eat unopened foods past their expiration dates, and I thought other people might find it helpful. 

DAIRY:

  • Milk, cream: within 10 days past expiration date
  • Soft cheese, yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese: consume within 14 days past expiration date
  • Butter, hard cheese: consume within 3 months past expiration date (personal note: if cheese gets mold you can cut off the moldy parts the rest is still fine)
  • Frozen butter: consume within 12 months past expiration date
  • Eggs (in shells): consume within 1 month past expiration date
  • Egg substitutes: consume within 10 days of expiration date. 

MEAT:

  • Fresh: consume on or before expiration date
  • Frozen: defrost in fridge or microwave, and eat immediately after defrosting. 
  • Not do eat: meat with severe freeze burn, discolored meat, and meat not frozen before expiration date

MEAT & DAIRY SUBSTITUTES:

  • Liquid products (rice milk, almond milk): consume withing 10 days past expiration date
  • Shelf stable liquid products: consume within 12 months past expiration date
  • Margarine: consume within 6 months past expiration date
  • Meat substitutes (tofu, etc): consume on or before expiration date
  • Frozen meat substitutes: consume within 12 months past expiration date if frozen before expiration date

DRIED & CANNED FOODS:

  • Dried beans, pasta: consume indefinitely
  • Dressings, mayo: consume within 12 months past expiration date
  • Cereal, crackers: consume within 12 months past expiration date
  • Canned foods: may be consumed indefinitely (except for pineapple and tomato)
  • Jarred foods, canned tomato and pineapple: consume within 18 months past expiration date

OTHER:

  • Fresh juice: consume within 3 months past expiration date
  • Fresh bread, pastries: consume on or before expiration date (personal note, I find that sandwich bread is good to eat so long as it’s not stale or growing mold)
  • Frozen bread: consume within 6 months past expiration date
  • Fresh produce: ripe, edible, and mold-free
  • Sliced melon: consume on or before expiration date
  • Deli items, packaged by store: consume within 48 hours of expiration date
  • Pre-packaged prepared foods packed by manufacturer, fresh: consume within 14 days past expiration date
  • Pre-packaged prepared foods packed by manufacturer, frozen: consume within 12 months past expiration date

DO NOT EAT:

  • Food that is stale, has insects, or mold
  • Food in open, punctured, bulging, or seriously damaged cans
  • Food in a jar that is leaking or has a broken seal
  • Food that is discolored or has an off-odor
  • Product has been thawed then re-frozen 

Please use your best judgement and when in doubt, throw it out. 

 

Some Self Care Tips
  • -stretch!! especially your back and arms if in a binder
  • -don't wear a binder for too long
  • -^if it hurts, take it off
  • -^remember to not do vigorous exercise in it
  • -stay hydrated and eat when you need to
  • -step away from the computer every so often
  • -crack your knuckles if typing on a keyboard/playing piano/similar things for a while
  • -bathe or shower if you haven't recently
  • -take a nap if you haven't slept well/recently
  • -get focused on your work if you need to work
  • -do what makes you comfortable
YOOO SO HERE'S A FLAVOUR TIP

THIS TUBE WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE

I come from a Hungarian family, and we put this stuff (paprika paste) in everything. Soups, salad dressings, meatloaf, beans, meat seasoning/rub type things, and sandwiches.

I never really cared about it, but since becoming a vegetarian, I’ve realized its P O T E N T I A L

IT MAKES EVERYTHING TASTE GREAT. YOU ONLY NEED ONE PEA-SIZED SQUIRT AND EVERYTHING TASTES DELICIOUS. I MISSED SANDWICHES AFTER GIVING UP MEAT BUT NO! I EAT SANDWICHES WITH THIS STUFF, RADISHES, TOMATOES, LETTUCE, AND CARROTS AND IT’S BETTER THAN MEAT SANDWICHES! SO GOOD! I’VE EATEN FOUR TODAY!

It comes in regular and spicy!! The spicy tube has a flame on it, or it will say ’csipos’ to tell you it’s spicy! There’s also another tube that looks really similar but is orange and instead of just having paprika in it, it also has red peppers and spices and is the base for Hungarian goulash, which I have slowly started vegetarianizing for my personal enjoyment.

THE BEST PART? THE TUBES ARE ONLY LIKE $3!! I live in Canada, and I find them in Polish/Italian/other ethnicity specialty stores. They last FOREVER because you only need tiny amounts! AND (at least the red one) is both vegetarian and vegan!! Really, we’re covering all our bases!! You need to refrigerate it after you open it, but it lasts forever.

BUY THE HUNGARIAN PAPRIKA PASTE, DO IT!!!! 

Creating Conflict

Or, as I call it, causing ~drama~

The key that keeps readers interested in your story is conflict. If nothing is at stake, then there is not much to see. So, here are a few general tips to cause some ripples in the ponds of your characters’ lives.

“Prioritizing”: Your character has two main motives that they have been working towards, but they end up in a situation where they have to sacrifice one to save the other. Depending on how easy or hard the choice is, this range from “disappointing” to “devastating” in the sacrifice. 

Character Flaws: As I talked about in my cornerstones post, every character should have a flaw. Flaws are flaws and not strengths for a reason- they get in the way. Have your character have a moment of weakness, where they lose their values and give in to temptation or get carried away.

 In addition: Even without their key flaws, characters can sometimes just… be wrong. Maybe they miscalculated. Maybe they misunderstood. Maybe they made the wrong guess. They did what everyone does: They Done Messed Up, and now they have to deal with the result.

Liar, Liar: Someone is lying, or even keeping secrets, and now, it’s causing problems. They can’t go forward without the truth, or worse, they are making mistakes due to a warped perception of the situation.

Draw backs: Let the good things come at a cost. One key rule for worlds with magic or superpowers is that all power should come at cost- equal to or greater than the power itself. 

“Because I Said So”: Don’t forget, there are other characters in your story, and even if they are on the protagonist’s own side, they are not always going to just merrily go along with whatever the protagonist said. Maybe they disagree. Maybe they are powerful enough to get in the protagonist’s way, and maybe it’s that important to them that they try. If fighting an enemy is hard, fighting a friend is harder.

Take It Back: Your character makes a decision that seems right at the time. Maybe it was the obvious choice, or maybe it was taking a risk. But uh-oh…now there are unforeseen consequences. 

Or, the opposite…

Decisions, Decisions: Maybe your character has to make a decision where there is not an immediately obvious choice. Make sure that both/all the options have both positive and negative possible or certain outcomes. There is no obvious right or wrong choice. Bonus, it’s funny to watch the fandom debate it later. 

Strip Them Down: Remove your character’s greatest strength. For whatever reason, your character’s most valuable asset is not available, and now, they have to live without it. Bonus mode- it would be really, really helpful if they had it right now!

Or, do the opposite…

Boss Fight: Maybe, instead of your protagonist getting weaker, it’s your antagonist that gets stronger. Strengthen the opposition and see if your characters can adapt to survive, or if they lack what it takes. 

Change of Plan: The rules of the game have changed. This can mean different things depending on your story. They could be literal rules, or more general. Think Hunger Games- did I say two tributes? I meant one, after all. Fight to the death now, please.

Amplify the Emotions: … And the results that come with. People do crazy things in the heat of the moment. You can’t think straight when all you can do is feel. Blinded by anger, sadness, or even joy, your character makes a bad choice. 

*Pile It On: You know what a full plate needs? Even more stuff. Your character is already juggling, trying to balance a variety of responsibilities. So add one more ball. Do they crash and burn immediately? Does it take a while? Do they succeed?  Any which way, the stress is high.

*Note: this one can be difficult on the author, too. Make sure that with all these plot lines, you’re not losing track, yourself.

“Murphy’s Law”: Simply stated, this is a plot tool that says, “whatever can go wrong, will.” I’m just going to say right away… be careful with this one. It’s really frustrating for your audience to watch the characters fail or lose or face misfortune over and over and over again. It makes it feel like nothing will ever come out of rooting for them, so you may as well give up now. Murphy’s Law can be great in the proper proportions, please, let your characters have some victories, or there’s no point to it.

And hey, don’t forget about your inner conflicts. You never know when those are going to have the opportunity to cause trouble. 

Give ‘em hell, kids!*

***disclaimer: you do not have to be a kid to give them hell.

~Penemue

Lazy(ish) Chili

Lazy(ish) Chili

For all of us who love stuff that tastes like it took a long time to cook but don’t want to wait 4 hours for their food!

I really like making this when I’m super tired but I still feel like having a homey little meal. Everything non-vegetarian or vegan is easily omitted or replaced.

This recipe uses a mirepoix; Celery, Carrots, and Onions– the holy trinity of French cooking and also your best, cheapest and most flavorful and versatile combo of vegetables on the planet. These guys are in all of the classic American recipes and they usually cost less than $5 to get them all, I love them so much! You can even sometimes buy all three chopped up together, but you usually get less and it’s more expensive– it’s worth it to chop all of them together yourself and store them in airtight plastic bags or containers in the fridge, which helps you stretch them and conserves fridge space.

You’ll need:

- 1 can of ranch-style beans with jalapeños OR 1 can of whole beans (add jalapeños, and ¼ tsp of brown sugar and it will mimic the taste of these ranch beans hella easy)
- 1 can of tomatoes with green chiles (I like Rotel the best, but literally any kind works) OR 1 can of diced tomatoes and 1 can of green chiles/jalapeños
- 1 lb lean ground beef/turkey OR 1 pkg medium firm tofu (you can use a little bit of Worcestershire sauce or brown sugar/tomato paste to mimic the beefy flavor)
- ½ cup each of diced/chopped celery, carrots and onions
- Olive or Vegetable oil
- Garlic powder, pepper and salt to taste.

Tools:

- A large skillet
- Spatula or flat wooden spoon, something to break up your meat or tofu with.


Heat your skillet on medium heat, add 1 tbsp of oil and when it starts to get slick/shiny, add your veggies and a little pinch of salt. Sauté until onions start to look translucent, and then add your beef or tofu. Season your meat or tofu to your taste and break it up to your preference.

Open your beans and your tomatoes; when the beef is browned, add the tomatoes, stirring to combine. Let the mixture reach a boil, then add your beans, stirring again. Let it reach a boil once more, then lower your heat and let it simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until your carrots are tender the way you like them. Hooray! Chili!

This tastes awesome with tortillas but if you’re willing to make the extra effort it’s also great with some cornbread– the Jiffy brand mixes are usually pretty cheap, you’ll find them on the fringes of the baking aisle usually for less than a dollar and they only require an egg and I think a cup of milk? Both of which are easy to substitute with whatever you please.

4

Smol and cute ball of energy Xiumin hyping up the crowd (≧◡≦)
From my EXO’rDIUM in Singapore fancam!

using your time wisely on public transport

The bus ride to my university takes an hour there and back each day. Those hours spent on the bus tend to feel like a waste of time. However, that time doesn’t have to be useless. 


General tips:

  • Check out the transit schedule before you make your timetable. For me, there’s no bus at 3 pm so if a class ends at 2:30 I have to wait till 4 for the bus.
  • You can’t always be productive the entire time. When I’m on the 7 am bus on Mondays I make a deal with myself: Be productive for at least the first half of the bus ride. After that, listen to music and stare out the window all you want.
  • Pack your bag lightly. Your back is gonna hurt if you try to bring everything with you. If you and a classmate have a break together, make a deal that only one of you will bring the textbook each week. Or buy a binder-ready copy of your textbook (so you can bring individual chapters with you).
  • Bring snacks and a water bottle always! You’ll be thankful for that granola bar on your way back, especially on days when you’ve been on campus for 12+ hours!

Things you CAN do on public transport:

  • Study flashcards. Bring a stack of flashcards with you or use Quizlet. Quizlet is a good app because you might find that someone else has already made flashcards for the class you’re taking, you can star which terms you already know, and you can have the app read out the flashcards to you (I find I remember thing better if I hear them as well)
  • Do your readings and/or prelabs. I wouldn’t recommend bringing more than one textbook otherwise your backpack will be super heavy all day. Read through a few chapters. If you like to write down notes as you read, bring a pen and a pack of big sticky notes. If you have labs like me, finish up your prelabs for the following week when you’re heading home after a lab. I’ve managed to finish my physics and chemistry prelabs on the bus, every week so far this semester.
  • Catch up on that Netflix show you’ve been watching. Not so productive, but I see it as a way of unwinding. And if you’re going to watch an episode when you get home anyways, why not do it on your commute? So download those episodes and relax (I recommend The Office and Brooklyn Nine-Nine if you need a laugh)
  • Read over your lecture notes. You should be doing this anyways so why not do it on your commute? Looking over your lecture notes from classes you had that day will help reinforce the content in your mind. Look over notes from weeks or months ago too. Reviewing older content will help you so much when finals come along.
  • Watch some Khan Academy videos. Did you know that Khan Academy has an app!?? Download videos beforehand and watch them on the go. Since this requires a bit more focus I’d recommend not watching videos for stuff you just learned that day – go home, read your textbook, and then watch a video the next day to clarify things/learn the info in a new way.
  • Catch up with people you haven’t talked to for a while. Send a text to your mom or that friend who’s studying across the country. Trust me, they miss you and talking to people who support you is good for your mental health.
  • Get out your planner (or bullet journal) and plan your week. If you’re feeling overwhelmed making a to do list for each day of your week can help. This also ensures you won’t be forgetting about an essay due the next week.

My Other Posts:

$13 for 7 meals* Meal Prep

*some repeat. Some double.
These meals are designed to feed two and are all Dollar Tree items. I’m unemployed so I make pennies work to feed the kids. They like simple foods. Made on mobile.

List
-Hot Dogs
-Sliced Bread
-Cheese (slice or anything that melts)
-Rice
-Frozen stir fry mixed vegetables
-Frozen French Fries
-Can of baked beans
-Butter
-Tomato soup (or soup of choice)
-refried beans
-canned nacho cheese
-tortillas (whole white)
-oil if you don’t have any
———————
Meal 1
Grilled cheese and tomato soup. Can really get like two meals if you thin out soup. Plenty of bread as well to get more grilled cheeses.

Meal 2
Hot dogs and fries. Should get two meals from this really. (x4 dogs a meal / half bag of fries each time).

Meal 3
Baked beans and toast breakfast

Meal 4 & 5
Stirfry. Use half bag of veg mix to a 1 dry cup rice ratio. Thus making two meals.

Meal 6
Nacho night. Top with half can refried beans. Cut and fry tortillas into chips.

Meal 7
Bean burritos. Use rice, cheese and the rest of the refried beans in these.

daniella501  asked:

Hi! I've been reading your blog and loving every single post. I'm a beginner at writing, and I was wondering: how could you write a realistic character?

Hi, thank you! I’m always glad to hear that this blog is helpful.

How to write realistic characters is always a common question among beginning writers, and I’d be happy to help you answer it. (Here’s my post on general character-building tips – it may help you.)

1. Give every character some sort of flaw.

Just as people aren’t perfect, neither are characters. It doesn’t have to be any huge problem – although it can be – but give each character something, whether it be stubbornness or a bad temper or being too giving. (My post on character flaws may give you some ideas.)

2. However, don’t make characters all good or all bad.

Give your protagonists bad traits and things they’re not good at, and give your antagonists talents and good traits. Chances are even the worst people think they’re doing right – just look at Hitler.

3. Don’t put your characters in boxes or give them limitations.

Just because your character is feminine doesn’t mean they can’t be an awesome streetfighter; just because your character plays varsity football doesn’t mean they can’t be intellectual and well-spoken. People are endless blends of traits, which is why they’re unique – so are characters.

Those are some blanket statements on creating characters – below I’ll link you to posts that may also help you!

Creating Likeable Characters

Building Friendships Between Characters

Writing Dialogue (the way a character speaks can tell a lot about them, which is why I’ve linked you to this post)

5 Ways To Develop A Convincing Character

Writing Dynamic Relationships

Character Mannerisms

Character Development

Writing Romantic Relationships

Also, @thecharactercomma specializes in characterization (and grammar), so that blog will probably be a huge help.

Hope this helps! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! - @authors-haven

(yes I made the banner in MSpaint don’t judge me)

Here is the long awaited list of Art Tips I mentioned a few days ago! These are Mostly things I’ve learned to help me improve this year. Let me know what you think, or if you have any questions!

  1. Set “practice” goals. Give yourself specific goals, but always word them as ‘practice’ not ‘improve’. Improvement takes time and can be difficult to attain. Meeting a goal to practice things is significantly easier and more rewarding. Improvement happens with practice and you’ll see it later on. Be specific with your goals. For example: “Practice Angry Expressions!”

  2. Give yourself a solid time frame for your goal. Define exact dates. It could be a week, two weeks, even a month. Whatever you feel comfortable with.

  3. Do Studies. Studies are a series of sketches, doodles, paintings, etc.. Done following research, usually looking at a photo or physical reference. I usually fill a whole page with quick, haphazard sketches of what I’m studying. If you’re studying birds, fill a whole page with birds, or hands. They don’t have to be good, they aren’t meant to be perfect. It’s just to get the idea on paper to help you form the visual on paper and in your hand.

  4. Change your goal as soon as you feel ready, after your last one. If you feel you’ve completed your goal, feel free to wait as long as you like, but it’s a good idea to have a list of goals so you aren’t left floundering for one. (Since it’s always harder to think of something when you NEED to.) For example: Angry expressions, Faces at low angles, two-point perspective, cool color schemes. It’s easier to move forward with a list of your own making, than leaving yourself hanging.

  5. Thumbnail. I can not say this enough! Before jumping into a big project, you’ll want to get in the habit of doing thumbnail sketches beforehand. No bigger than 2 or 3 inches, I usually fill a page with them. Thumbnailing can help you figure out how to get that posing just right. Or how you want your composition aligned. Small quick sketches of the different ways you could do things, to find how you want to do things.

  6. You can trace your own sketches. That’s right. It took me twenty years to figure out I could just trace my own sketch onto another sheet of paper to make lineart and do color so I didn’t fuck up my sketch. Digital artist, you can use a new layer over your sketch. Traditionally though, THIS IS HOW YOU DON’T FUCK UP YOUR SKETCH. (also if you trace very lightly it erases way better than trying to erase a full sketch. If you’ve never tried to color over a partially erased sketch it is hell.)

  7. Use References. You’d be surprised how many young artists out there think using references is wrong, or cheating. Let me tell you something. Did Leonardo Da Vinci have a reference for the Mona Lisa? You bet your ass he did. As far as I know he had at least two! All the great masters knew to use references. Actually looking at the thing you’re trying to recreate is the easiest way to master it. If you can’t find a reference for something, look for something that looks similar. Having a concept of what you want is quintessential to improvement. Hell, keep a whole folder of references. Hold onto them to fall back on later. Use them to their full extent.

  8. Draw at an angle. For traditional artists, drawing flat on a desk can often result in disproportionate drawings. Things farther away from the the eye tend to look smaller so things on the farther side of the paper can end up enlarged to compensate for our own eyes perspective of the paper. Drawing at an angle fixes this problem. It brings the paper into a better angle for your face. (I just lean my drawing board on top of a box of staples. It works lol)

  9. Watch other artists. Written tutorials are a phenomenal resource to many artists. But Video tutorials are some of the most helpful things in the world. Video tutorials can show you, in real time, how it’s done. Actually seeing it happen can really help. (I watch hours of tutorials and speedpaints. I just let them play in the background while I draw.)

  10. Try different materials. I’m not gonna lie, I loved digital art. But it just didn’t work for me. I discovered copic markers and my art has improved so much with a material that I feel more in-tune with. So experiment. Borrow from your friends, try new things in school, in art clubs. Whenever. Sometimes, you just need to try something different, to discover something that works better for you.

  11. DON’T. STOP. DRAWING. You don’t have to be churning out a completed piece every week. No. But you should always doodle, sketch, scribble. Hell, even if you just scribble out some squiggly lines, you’ve done something! You don’t have to share with the world. Just. Don’t. Stop.
How to Zookeep: Job Interview Basics

So I was tagged by @why-animals-do-the-thing in a post about what not to say in a job interview. It’s a bit overdue, but I figured this was a good opportunity to continue some of “How to Zookeep” and give y’all some insight on interviews. I’ve actually conducted quite a lot of interviews for an entry-level position. Here are just a few Do’s and Don’ts…

Originally posted by principessadesu

General Maybe Do’s:

  • Wear an outfit that looks pretty nice, but don’t go too formal. You should be able to get muddy or hop a fence - just in case. Most of the time you’ll know if it’s a true working interview, but some interviews will involve a tour, meeting an animal, or other situations where you might get messy.
  • Show that you’ve researched the facility and the position. This is especially true for phone interviews or if you’re not from the area. If you’ve ever visited the facility, mention that. Mention specific parts of the job description and why you’re interested or why you would excel at it. I know I always make a good note if candidates reference something on our website or from the job description because it lets me know they’ve done their homework. (One time a candidate quoted something verbatim and it was a little jarring only because I wrote that part of the website and it was strange to hear someone quote me).
  • If at all possible, have specific examples from your past experiences that you can talk about. These could be examples of training, working well with others, strengths & weaknesses, general animal care, etc. Try to be able to tell a story about when you worked around a training difficulty or resolved an issue with a coworker. And yes, have a real answer for “strengths and weaknesses”.
  • Try to use the most ‘updated’ zoo language you can. Zoo terminology changes so fast it’s hard to keep up. Try to use some of the research (website and job description) to see what kind of language this particular facility uses and attempt to mirror it. Examples are “in human care” instead of captivity or “habitat / enclosure” instead of cage/exhibit. It’s just a bonus way to make a good impression.

Originally posted by a-night-in-wonderland

General Maybe Don’ts:

  • Don’t get political. This is what @why-animals-do-the-thing was asked about - mentioning animal rights activist groups in the interview. Unless you are completely sure that it is specifically relevant to the position try not to get into any heavy areas of debate, any controversial news stories (think Harambe), or politically charged organizations like PETA, HSUS, etc. And even though you might think that everyone in the zoo world agrees that US politics are terrible for zoos/the environment or something along those lines, a job interview is not the time to mention it.
  • Don’t ask for tips about a specific facility on a public forum. It’s important to do research, but this one crosses a bit of a professional line. I would advise against going on any public forum (like the facebook groups You Know You’re a Zookeeper When and Zookreepers) and asking for interview advice about a certain facility. Most people won’t want to comment publicly about their facility as it can be seen as unprofessional and a lot of their coworkers will see it. Most of the time the research you need can be done on the website and with some googling, but if you feel you just need to talk to someone who works there, try flexing your networking muscle a bit.
  • Don’t say you love animals. This sounds contradictory but hear me out here - this job is about much more than loving animals. A lot of interviewers are used to hearing this answer or seeing it in cover letters of people who think that liking animals is all you have to do for a job. Yes, you love animals, we know that. But what do you love about working with them? Do you like enrichment, exhibit design, training? What do you love about the career of zookeeper / aquarist / etc? It’s important to go beyond the surface of just wanting to be around animals and go into the details of how you will improve their lives when you literally have their lives in your hands. I’ve heard from a lot of interviewers that they’re tired of hearing about ‘passion’, they want to hear about action. They want to hear about cleaning, hard work, the real nitty-gritty of the job. This don’t also leads to a general tip (what if you don’t have examples of what you like yet?)

General Tips

Here’s a common problem: you’re applying for your first entry-level position and you don’t have any animal experience yet. What do you talk about? Here’s some ideas:

  • Academic research or fieldwork - did you go on birding trips? Did you do mist-netting? Have you worked in a lab that uses live animals? Those things can be beginner animal experience.
  • Volunteering - zoos, vet clinics, etc.
  • Formal domestic animal experience - even if it’s not with exotic animals, the basics of caring for small domestics (cats, dogs, rodents, fish, etc.) in a formal setting (vet, pet store, rescue) has some aspects that apply in zoos, such as restraint and medical care.
  • Personal pets (very carefully) - It’s not that personal pet experience isn’t helpful when you’re just starting out, but sometimes newer keepers come in with an idea that their pet experience is on the same level as caring for animals in a formal career setting. It is not. Caring for your own animal in your own home is VERY different from caring for it in a zoo, aquarium, vet’s office, etc. In a formal setting, there are legal guidelines to follow, teams of people to communicate with about animal care, and lots of formality/red tape that doesn’t exist in a home setting. Pets can be useful as examples in interviews if it is relevant (medicating, enrichment, restraint) but they are almost never seen as an actual qualification. Side note, please don’t list personal pet care on a resume. 

Overall in an interview, you want to try to be as collected and confident as possible. BUT if you get nervous and you’re really struggling, just tell us! It’s better to just laugh a bit and say sorry, I’m nervous, than to completely freeze up. I have done plenty of interviews where the person is nervous and that’s okay. I’ve hired people who were nervous or misspoke in their interview.

If you have any other questions, feel free to drop me a line. I’ve interviewed and hired people for just three years now, so I may not be particularly seasoned, but I can lend a little of my expertise.

Convention Tips: A HANDY DANDY CONVENTION CHECKLIST!

I was asked to put together a convention packing checklist! So here it is, disregard anything that isn’t relevant to you!


TICKETS
Make sure you remember to print out all your tickets in whatever format they take! That’s email confirmations, or your PDFs convention tickets, photo ops and autographs, plus meet and greet invoice if you’re doing one. Hotels have printers of course, but it’s easier to have them ready to go, rather than trying to find somewhere to print them out while at the convention – because you’ll be busy!

ELECTRONICS
Camera – with spare batteries and memory card and associated cords.
Phone
Laptop/iPad/iPod
All your chargers!
All your charger cables!
It’s also great to bring an extra battery pack for your phone, because there usually isn’t anywhere to quickly charge your phone without going back to your room, so if you have a pre-charged battery backup with you that can help keep in touch!

* if you do forget something, you always have fan backup – someone will lend you that charging cable that mysteriously got left behind!

PENS
A pen – for filling out reupping forms – and for writing down your email or twitter for new friends!
Highlighter pens – for highlighting the schedule
Coloured Sharpie – if you don’t want black or silver for your auto, bring your own coloured Sharpie pen!

PAPER
Always bring some kind of notebook – just in case you want to jot down notes from a panel, or something someone told you, names, emails, twitter handles (as Jensen calls them) etc!

SOMETHING TO PUT YOUR PHOTO OPS IN
You need something to put your photo ops in so they don’t bend and get ruined! You can buy hard sleeves in the vendor’s room, but I find that the photos can get stuck in them! A document display folder with plastic inserts, or a ring-binder with plastic inserts is great. Or just a hard plastic document envelope. The photos printed out at the con are 10x8, so anything that fits A4 or larger works.

WHATEVER YOU’RE GOING TO GET AUTOGRAPHED
If you have something specific that you’re getting signed, don’t forget to pack it! The Vendors room has photos and books and some other items that can be used for autos if you don’t have something specific.

SNACKS AND WATER
Soooooo important! Many of the convention hotels/convention centres don’t have much (or any) food available, or you have to go out to get food (and did I mention how busy you’ll be?), or it’s super expensive. So pack your own. If you’re travelling and can’t pack a sandwich or anything, even if it’s just some fruit or nibblies to take into the convention auditorium, that will help to keep your energy up.

The days are long, you might not get much sleep, you might be drinking more alcohol than usual, the hotels and convention centres are heavily air-conditioned, so it’s also super important to stay hydrated. If you can pickup a bulk pack of water at Target or a supermarket or something, that’s going to save you money and you’ll have water in your room and to take to panels! Seriously, snacks and water. Get on that!

*CREATION CON SPECIFIC - There is also a large water dispenser with cups inside the auditorium. You can use that water throughout the day, and you can also fill up your own water bottle from the supplied water dispensers to save more money. (tip courtesy of Krista)

TWITTER HANDOUTS (tip courtesy of Kate)
Print out your Twitter @  or/and email on little pieces of paper that you can hand out to your new fandom friends who want to be able to follow or contact you. You can make them simple, or into cool little business cards!

EXTRA MONEY – BUT BUDGET!
Um. Cons are expensive. Outside of the costs of hotel accommodation and all your tickets that you’ve already paid for, you’ll also have to buy food and drinks (unless you packed them as per the awesome tip above!) The Vendor’s room or vendor’s areas at a con has cool stuff, t-shirts, books, stickers, mugs, glasses, posters, standees, all sorts of jewellery, and various other goodies that you might want. There may even be a guest that you didn’t get an op with, but when you see their panel, you feel you absolutely must hug the living hell out of them, (oh believe me, it happens!), so you just have to get another op! So take a little extra money, just in case. But budget…because it’s real easy to get swept up into the con craziness and want all the things and all the ops (speaking from experience), so make sure you set yourself a budget!

YOUR OUTFITS
Okay, I know, d’uh, you’re going to pack clothes! But if you’ve decided on a specific outfit, whether something pretty or something cosplay, make sure you have all the necessary bits! I always plan what I’m wearing for each day ahead of time. That way I don’t have to pack loads of options and I don’t have to think about it at the con. Some days (especially Saturday and Sunday) can start quite early, and the last thing you’re going to want to do is be trying on outfits like crazy. 1. You won’t have time. 2. You don’t want to increase your stress! So pre-plan your outfits and pack all the elements you decide on to make them perfect.

CREATION SPECIFIC - CASH FOR CHRIS – the Creation photographer
If you are buying JPEGS of your photo-ops you will need $US to give to Chris the photographer. Each photo op you have, comes with 1 10x8 print – but only 1. You can purchase JPEGS of each photo for $10 per JPEG. There is a number on the photo – you give that number to Chris or his offsiders in the photo room and about a week later, you will receive a link from Chris via email to download the JPEGS via Google Drive. Each JPEG you purchase costs $10 and you must have cash for that. So when you know what photo-ops you’re getting, figure out before hand which you may need (if there’s more than one of you in the photo) or want a JPEG of and ensure you have enough $US on you. If you are at a Canadian con – you can use Canadian dollars but as Chris is from the US, US dollars are better for him. The JPEGS are super high quality, large files, which can be printed to LARGE canvas size if you want (speaking from experience).

If you don’t have the cash at hand to buy the JPEGS at the convention, you can still buy them after the con. Go to the Creation website and follow the link and you’ll be able to contact Chris and order them via there. 

TISSUES/VITAMINS/PAIN KILLERS ETC.
There’s lots of aircon in the hotels/convention areas and you may get a running nose – you don’t want to be snuffly or snotty – pack tissues. Eyedrops – for the same reason, the aircon may dry your eyes out and make them sore and red. Bring along some anti bacterial wipes or hand sanitiser, because con crud is a thing! Plus you’re in much used hotels, so it’s a good idea just to give your hands a bit of a once over a few times a day! It’s also not a bad idea to pack some Vitamin B or C to keep your energy up and immune system working. Pack some Paracetamol or/and Ibuprfen in case of headache or backache or hangover! I always take hay fever medication with me – I never know if something is going to affect me in a place I’m not used to (Vancon for example, gives me hives…WHY I DO NOT KNOW!). I also bring cough/cold medication. I have got super sick at cons! It sounds like a lot, but seriously, I have got sooo sick and having stuff on hand has been a life saver. I also always travel with Bepanthen because I get tatts when I travel :D Also don’t forget extra contact lenses if you need them, and pack band aids (especially if you have new shoes.)

BREATHMINTS/GUM
You’re going to want to pop a mint before you go into a photo op! You’re about to get up close and personal with Jensen Ackles, and you don’t want to breathe coffee breath all over him! Pack mints.

PERFUME/MINI DEODERANT
For the same reason as the mints. You’re about to hug the crap outta Misha Collins – you don’t want “been sitting for 6 hours in the same shirt” smell as you squish into him!

LITTLE PURSE MIRROR
Perfect for checking your lippy, hair, making sure you don’t have kale in your teeth – as you wait in line for your photo op. Don’t worry, EVERYONE is doing it!

That’s it for now – if I think of anything else…I’ll update!
Happy packing and conning!
-sweetondean

How to Annotate Literature

Many times language and literature classes require students to annotate the books that are given to them, but in many cases tips and advice on how to do so is lacking. I will be sharing my personal strategy for efficient and successful annotating that will not only help your understanding of the text but also gain the love of your teachers!

The tips have been divided into 5 components, each with their own explanation.

Sticky Tabs are Your Best Friend

I don’t know how I would manage to annotate without my sticky tabs. They help me organize and navigate the book before the reading, remind me what to look for while i’m going through the text and help me find whatever I may need once I get to further analysis for the class. 

Create a key for your tabs, personally I use five colors each having a few specific purposes based on where I place them in the book. Most stickies are accompanied by a specific note that will remind me of what I wanted to point out, these stick out of the right margin. 

  • Pink- Anything to do with characters, be it development or certain traits to remember. It can also be used for when you have questions about character related aspects of the text.
  • Orange- Refers to setting, in plays it is also applicable for stage directions.
  • Yellow- Is used for literary devices and use of language (tone, diction, patterns) and syntax, if there is a particular word the author used or a structure you want to take note of, this is the color to use. 
  • Green- Applicable to any important plot events, notable scenes or things that you think will be significant later in the story.
  • Blue- Themes and context of said ideas, anything to do with time, place and space in which the text takes place. It can also relate to how your context (a student reading a book for a literature course) impacts your perception of the text.

These are the things teachers usually look out for and it is certainly useful in any kind of further task! 

The top and bottom margins can be used to divide the book in to sections, such as chapters or scenes, mark the most important pages and to also highlight text to text connections. These colors you can pick yourself!

I do not recommend having more than 5 sticky tabs per page, otherwise it gets too crowded and they lose their purpose! (but you will still need to buy aaa lloootttt)

This is my key for the book I am currently annotating, Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. 

Don’t Overdo it With the Highlighter

Find one color highlighter that you like the most and use it to mark explicit words or phrases that catch your attention, you can also use them in correlation with you sticky tabs! 

I prefer to use a yellow highlighter because it seems to bleed the least, and I usually use it in relation to the the yellow and blue tabs because those are the ones that relate to the most detailed and minute parts of the text. Once again you can find your own preference! But don’t overdo it, otherwise, like the tabs, the highlighter will lose its function to highlight important points. 

This is an example of how much highlighting I usually do. For non-fictional texts or parts of a book (like in the introduction you see here) I reserved highlighter for dates and names. 

Have a Conversation With the Author

This is one of the first tips that my high school teacher gave me and it’s really one of the most important ones to remember. And I know, it may sound kinda silly, but I find that it really helps me in developing my ideas and remembering exactly how I felt about a certain aspect of part of the text. 

Whether the text is fiction of non fiction, anything in between, you can always do these few things

  • Ask questions- As if you were going to get an answer, ask questions, write them down and write down as many as you want. Writing things down helps people remember so then it is more likely that in a class discussion you will be able to recall your queries or wonders. 
  • If you don’t like something, or you’re surprised by something, write it down! Use exclamation marks, use words that you would use in a regular conversation. I always write ‘WOW!!’ or ‘OMG’ when i’m especially impressed, and having such vocal- well written vocally- emotions will bring you closer to the subject of the text. 
  • Talk to the characters as well, if you are questioning a character’s actions ask them and provide an explanation as to why you speculate they may have acted a certain way. Not only does that further contribute to your involvement (also making things more entertaining) but it also deepens your thought!

What i’m trying to say is write down anything that comes to mind, your first response is your true response, and it is a valuable addition to your notes! And if you want to write a whole essay in between the lines… Actually, i’ll come back to that later! 

Pens, not Pencils 

I used to make notes completely in pencil but my approach changed when I realized that overtime the pencil would rub off and get illegible. I think it was because I used my book so much, but having switched to pen I realized that it helps me in quite a few other things as well. 

The good thing about pen is that you can’t erase it and let’s say you started writing down a note, scan down the page and realize what you are taking a note of is completely wrong. That’s ok! That’s actually really good! Don’t scribble out what you just wrote down, but instead continue and explain why you may have thought a certain way and what your understanding is now. That relates really closely to the previous note. 

Evidently pen also appears darker on the page, then there’s no possibility of it ever disappearing. It also won’t smudge or bleed as long as it’s ballpoint! That’s a good thing when drawing arrows between lines, underlining in addition to your highlights and circling/boxing whatever you deem necessary.

Time, Effort and Commitment

It’s clear that this post took me a while to make, and it took me a while to develop this system with all of the things that I have considered. So it must be self evident that using this type of annotation won’t be quick. It might get tiring at some times, and for me it really does, but at the end I find that it always pays off! You have to stay committed to this technique, you have to put in the same amount of effort for every page, which means you need time. So here are a few final general tips I will leave you with.

  • Don’t procrastinate! As goes for any task, and this one more than any, don’t waste time getting to it! I advice you check how many pages you have in total and make sure that you do a certain amount per day (usually 5-10 pages a day is good!)
  • If you go off on massive tangents in the side bars, make sure that you don’t get too distracted by them because they will take up a lot of your time. But one now and then may be good! Be sure to mark it for later reference!
  • Play mind games with yourself. This one is actually pretty interesting but it personally gets me a long way. If you have 20 pages left, don’t look at it as 20 pages but instead as 4 times 5, then the amount will seem a lot more manageable! It’s a kind of self encouragement!
  • That can also be said by looking now and then at how far your bookmark has moved through the book and giving yourself a pat on the back for all of you hard work!

That’s all I have for now! If you have any further questions for advice or explanation please message me and I will be more than happy to help! And I hope that this helps some people out too! (I’m counting this as 21/100 days of productivity as all I did today was related to annotating.)

Hello! It’s #optomstudies here again with another Sunday Study Tip on university life! This will be a multi-part series that hopefully will give a unique insight, since I can go on and on about university, and I love giving advice and helping others :)


PART 0: CHOOSING A DEGREE

Here I’ve put together a list of 20 things that you might not be told outright when choosing your university degree. @exeron

General Starting Tips During High School

  • It doesn’t matter what subjects you do in senior year, so don’t worry about bonus points, as long as you get a high enough ATAR so that you can keep your options open. Play to your strengths.
  • But! On the other hand, don’t take history and visual arts for your HSC and expect to be at the same level as your peers when you take a B Science (Advanced Mathematics) degree. You need that calculus knowledge. (Most of the time this isn’t a problem, because most people will choose a degree that aligns with their interests in high school). Again, play to your strengths.
  • Keep on top of your extra-curricular activities in case you need to go for an interview like with medicine.
  • Some degrees like optometry, medicine, law, etc. require additional exams like UMAT, so find out early, pay for the tests and mark it down on your calendar so that you don’t forget.
    • Up to you whether you want to pay extra for coaching, but anecdotally, I didn’t do any coaching and did fine. I had many friends who did coaching and ended up doing poorly. 
  • Choose a good university. Promise it actually counts at the end of the day. There are cases of people getting employed with low credit averages at big companies because they go to a good university.

Decide What Kind of Career You Want

  • Most importantly, it’s best if you pick your degree based on the job you want upon graduation. What you study at uni is just a means to an end. It’s a business decision that you are making - trading a few years to get a better career and better income at the end of the day.
  • Consider practical aspects of the job you want. For example, some of the things that I like about optometry is the fact that you aren’t sitting down the whole day, it’s a job that’s great for locum-ing and part-time work if I have kids in the future, and it makes for a good conversation starter when people ask you about optometric myths (no, looking at green grass does not help your eyes, nor do eating carrots, and having a nightlight doesn’t make you more short-sighted). These are all things that aren’t written down on a piece of paper somewhere, but are things that you can figure out by thinking about the everyday facets of the job itself.
  • Figure out your career values. These are things that you don’t want to compromise on due to personal integrity, as opposed to areas of interest. Some examples are:
    • Autonomy and independence
    • Achievement and advancement prospects
    • Creativity
    • Security
    • Altruism
    • Prestige, status and respect
    • Risk-taking and excitement
    • Material benefits a.k.a. $$$
    • Power
    • Team membership
    • Variety
    • Learning
    • Structure and organisation
    • Problem Solving
    • Leadership
    • Work-Life Balance
  • Don’t “follow your passion”, just “get good”. A lot of people also tell you that you should “follow your passion”, but most of the time you have limited experience concerning the types of occupations in the world, and most of the time there isn’t anything that you’ve developed a strong passion for. You might have a bunch of interests like me; when I was in high school, I enjoyed every single subject, because I just enjoyed learning in general, so the only thing I could think of was literally to become a full time uni student. This video really sums everything up quite well, so I’ll quote from it.

When you work hard at something you become good at it.
When you become good at something you enjoy doing it more. 
When you enjoy doing something, there is a good chance you will become passionate about it.

Start By Choosing a Good University and Faculty

  • Choose a Commonwealth-supported university. Don’t saddle yourself with excess debt from a private university unless your grades were so bad that you needed to pay money for a university degree. If you have the choice, don’t opt for these.
  • Go to open days! I seriously think I wouldn’t have chosen optometry if I didn’t go to the UNSW Open Day. The guy was just really persuasive about the benefits of the career.
  • Ask graduates! If you’ve got a retail job and have the opportunity to chat with people about their jobs, see what they like about their job and how they got there.
  • Opt to specialise. For example, if you are aiming to be a financial data scientist, then go for a B Economics and major in econometrics. Sounds simple, but people always argue about choosing a general degree like Commerce so that you have a broader choice and keep your doors open. This is only good if you don’t have an end goal in sight. Specialising shows employers that you have direction and are driven.
  • However, if you have absolutely no idea what you want to study then at least choose a faculty that you find palatable, try and do your research, or take some core courses that allow you to discern your major. If all else fails, just get the UAC book of degrees and cross out what you don’t want to do LOL

After Starting the Degree

  • If you start a degree and you find the first semester or two isn’t what you were imagining, unfortunately that’s what happens to a lot of people. Uni isn’t a vocational school that jumps straight into the professional skills. So if you want to be a pediatrician who nurses cute children to health at the end of the day, sorry but you’ll have to start with basic sciences. I’ve seen a lot of people jump ship just cause they didn’t like the first few courses.
  • Go for Honours if your degree has the option. Just looks a lot better in the eyes of an employer that you’ve tried challenging yourself with a research honours project. A 1 year trade off in studying is worth it.
  • Don’t worry about the length of the degree. Three years will be over before you know it, trust me! And honestly, university is actually a really great time period. Many of my older cousins reflect on it and say that in a way, it was some of the best times of their lives, because you don’t have the responsibility of the household bills and full time work just yet.
  • Don’t be afraid to change your degree after the first year. Some microeconomics - it’s a sunk cost.

Don’t think: “Oh I’ve already spent this much time studying this degree, it will be a waste if I change degrees”.
Think: “if I spend any more time in this degree that I don’t actually want to study, then I’ll be wasting my future”. 

  • You aren’t “wasting” your ATAR by choosing a degree that has a much lower cut-off point. For example, if you wanted to shape the future of children by becoming a teacher, you aren’t “wasting” your 98 ATAR by going into teaching, even if the cut-off is 81.
  • Don’t let other people influence your options. Look, if you’re going to change your uni choice just because someone you don’t like is going there… you’ll barely see anyone except for the people in the same degree as you after 1st year is over. Likewise, parents give advice, they don’tshouldn’t mandate life choices like what you study. 

Good luck with your university applications. Hope you all get into the degree that you’re hoping for! Hit me up if you have any questions :) 


MY WEEKLY STUDY TIPS

WHAT I WISH I’D KNOWN BEFORE UNIVERSITY STUDY TIPS SERIES

SEE ALSO

What are some of your general study tips?

[april study challenge - day 10]

Since it’s day 10, I’m gonna give you 10 genereal study tips.

  • The earlier you start, the earlier you’ll be finished.
  • Don’t do what your friends are doing, focus on yourself.
  • If you can study for 7 hours straight, study for 7 hours straight. But please take some time for yourself afterwards so that you don’t burn out.
  • Water actually is more efficent than coffee.
  • No all nighters!
  • For the love of god, try to make studying a habit of yours. 15 mins every day > 3 days straight right before the exam
  • Don’t feel bad for saying no to a friend if you don’t feel productive studying with friends. Study the way you can focus the best.
  • If you don’t feel like studying at all but know you have to, just study in bed.
  • Try color coding if you haven’t already.
  • Use some sort of planner!!! Get organized!