hopefully i can find my other one and post those later

Not So Berry Legacy Challenge

Do you like the rainbow? Do you like the idea of playing with berry Sims but hate berry Sims? Do you want to mess around with aspects of the game you’ve never used before? Boy, do I have the challenge for you!

Welcome to the Not So Berry Legacy Challenge, a ten generation legacy with a focus on bright colors and new experiences.

Basic Rules:

  1. Each heir must represent the color of the generation (i.e. hair, makeup, clothing), but brightly colored skin is not necessary (these aren’t actually berry Sims, that’s the joke). Of course, this is optional but a big portion of the fun.
  2. The colors of the spouses don’t matter as they aren’t part of the challenge. Unless otherwise stated you can do whatever you please with them.
  3. Money cheats can be used, but not excessively. Suggestion: use freerealestate for your first home, but no cheats afterward.
  4. You may live wherever you please unless something is specified in the rules of a generation.
  5. Every generation is supposed to complete both the career and aspiration of the heir unless explicitly stated otherwise.
  6. Keep the lifespan on normal.
  7. If you play this challenge and want to share it with us, go ahead and post with #notsoberry so we can see!

My good friend @alwaysimming​ and I kind of created this challenge on accident, but I think it turned out pretty great. We wanted to make something that forced us to play with parts of the game we’ve never explored before. Hopefully you’ll have fun too. You can follow our gameplay on @mintiphresh​ and @lea-fey​ (pronounced “minty fresh” and “leafy”)!

Keep reading

University classes are a monster you can’t prepare for until you’re in them. I have been through every up and down with schoolwork possible in the past year, so here are some tips that can hopefully help you avoid those downs:

Choosing and Registering for Your Classes

  • Make sure to thoroughly check both your major requirements and your gen ed requirements. Normally, you’ll have an advisor to help you make sure you’re on track, but Vandy doesn’t assign first-year engineering students one until after registration when school starts, and I didn’t have an advisor for this year’s registration either due to my major change, so I’ve spent hours and hours doing this on my own. There’s often recommended courses and example schedules in the course catalog that tell you what classes you should be taking at this point in time. Pay attention to that and you should be fine. For example, you have to have taken a first-level writing class to qualify for junior standing here. Those are the little things you have to look out for. To keep track of it all, I have a spreadsheet I use for planning my sophomore - senior years that lists all the requirements I need to meet in terms of hours and courses in order to graduate on time. I plug in possible courses and see which requirement they would fulfill and when. You can check it out here to see what I mean, it’s very helpful.
  • Find at least one fun elective to take if at all possible. It gets very tiring when all you have on your schedule are really difficult classes that you don’t enjoy. Try to find at least one class that you’re genuinely interested in to help get you excited for the day. Each of my last semesters, my schedule consisted of a calculus class, a lab science, a comp sci class, and Italian. Italian was the only fun one that I enjoyed going to. It really helps you out. You’re not just in college to get your degree, you’re there to discover what you really want to do, so feel free to explore your catalog and take something completely out of character just because you want to. Bonus if it fills some kind of requirement (Italian filled my Foreign Language Proficiency and one of my International Cultures reqs.).
  • Have multiple versions of your schedule based on which classes you may or may not get into. I don’t know about your school, but at Vanderbilt, class registration is literally like the Hunger Games. You’re assigned an enrollment date based on your year (seniors get to go first, then juniors, etc.) and at 8 am on that day, you refresh the website and either enroll in your classes or get placed on the wait list for it. If you’re a freshman, you’re basically screwed because you go last, and so you could have planned out your perfect schedule only to find they’ve all filled up the day before your enrollment period starts. To avoid having to scramble, have multiple versions of your schedule, with back ups and substitutions for every class. This way, you won’t be surprised when you go to enroll and all but one of your classes are filled, then you have to search for other classes, but at that point, all that’s left are scraps that don’t fit your requirements. Plan plan plan and practice clicking the enroll button on all your classes as fast as you can for when the clock strikes 8.
  • You have freedom over your schedule now; take advantage of that! No more 8-3 Monday through Friday; you can take classes whenever you want. I prefer to have all my classes on MWF in a block of a few hours and only one or no class on TR. Of course, sometimes you’re going to have to take classes at less optimal times, but do try to accommodate yourself and take classes at times you know will be good for you. Lots of people prefer to start early and finish early, while I like to start no earlier than 11, even if I don’t finish until 5. The best part of college is you can do what you want.
  • Don’t take 8 ams. I’m repeating this cause it’s important. I swear, you’ll regret it. In high school, I woke up every morning early as hell to catch my bus at 6:30, but in college, it was nearly impossible for me to get up for my 11 am only three times a week. Don’t ever take an 8 am by choice. And if you have no choice, good luck lol.
  • Don’t be afraid to drop a class. If you’re doing terribly in a class or you absolutely can’t stand it, drop the class. There’s a very little chance that if you’re failing during the first half of the semester, you’ll be able to change your grade dramatically in the second half. Maybe you decided to be an overzealous freshman and signed up for the maximum number of hours possible and now you’re drowning. Drop a class! Sometimes, a course is going to do more harm to you than good, so it’s best to get rid of it than have an F or a W on your transcript.
  • Use RateMyProfessor! I totally forgot about this when I originally posted this and it’s already got almost 1,000 notes but hopefully people see this. RateMyProfessor is so fucking useful. It’s IMPERATIVE that you check this website before you enroll in classes. Someone at Vandy actually made a Chrome extension for our enrollment website that automatically shows a professor’s ranking while you’re looking for classes. Obviously, take it with a grain of salt, and make sure the reviews actually make valid points about the workload and class and isn’t just someone bitter about failing. I took calc with a professor who taught at my high school just cause she taught at my high school even though her reviews said she was insanely difficult and the class was near impossible to pass. Guess what? They were right and I failed as did a big chunk of everyone else in her class. You don’t have to let RMP dictate your schedule, but definitely check it out, and if everyone says the professor is awful, don’t fucking take them. 

Attending Your Classes

  • Establish a connection with your professor early. I recommended introducing yourself on the first day of class just so they know your name and face in another post. It’d be even better to attend an office hour or review session or something. Just make sure they know you. It’ll be easier to communicate when you need something later in the semester if it isn’t their first time seeing you.
  • Actually use this connection with your professors. In my experience, they can be pretty understanding and when you’re in a bad place, they’ll likely help you out. If something is preventing you from doing your best in class, go to them for help (I didn’t go to many office hours but I wish I did! Who better to explain to you something you don’t understand than the person who grades you on it?) or explain to them your situation. I had professors let me take tests late and redo assignments due to my mental health after I explained to them I wasn’t just a terrible student; if it wasn’t for this, I would’ve failed all of their classes. Maybe at the end of the semester they’ll drop one of your wonky grades or bump you up that extra half point you need. Your professors are a resource, and it’s up to you to use it.
  • Take notes however you want. I used my laptop in some, paper in others, and even my iPad and a stylus for calculus. In all of your classes will be a mixture of different techniques and no one cares what you do. Whatever works best for you and helps you get down the most information is what you should do. Also, you don’t have to write down everything. If your professor uses slides and posts them for you to download, you don’t really have to write down anything at all unless they add extra points, so that’s really convenient. 
  • You don’t have to sit in the front. As long as you can see and hear, which you’ll likely be able to due to large projection screens and microphones, it literally doesn’t matter where you sit. In my experience, the professors call on people from every part of the lecture hall, so everyone gets an equal chance at participation. It’s up to yourself to make sure you can pay attention, not your seat.
  • Do your best to attend every single class meeting. It’s inevitable that you’re going to miss class at some point; you will get sick, you won’t have finished an assignment, you’ll need a mental health day, something will happen. Missing class can too easily become a habit if you do it often, so try to never do it. Don’t force yourself to go if you can’t handle it, obviously your health always comes first, but I mean don’t skip cause you want to sleep in or cause you just don’t feel like going. If you do have to miss class and 1) you have a good reason for it (i.e. sickness) and 2) it’s a class small enough that your professor will notice you’re not there, email them and let them know why, just so they’re aware you’re not just skipping to skip.  
  • Try to make friends in your classes. A little study group would be even better. It’ll be really useful to have someone who can help you with a homework question you don’t understand or send you their notes when you miss a class. It can also be great to study with other people, depending on how you study best. I’ve had friends in all my classes so far and it’s been a great help, even if we just complained about the test we just failed then went to get pizza.

Tackling the Coursework

  • Make a REALISTIC study schedule. The key word here is realistic. During winter break I made a study schedule that started with me waking up at 8 am every morning to go work out and ended with me going to sleep promptly at 11 or midnight after spending literally the entire day studying with breaks only for meals. No breaks on weekends, no room to socialize, and I thought this would be perfectly fine for me to follow. Of course, I didn’t last a week because that was fucking ridiculous. You don’t need to schedule every hour of your day; college doesn’t work like that. Just do something simple, an hour for a class or maybe less depending on how hard it is and if you have a test coming up. Trust your instincts. There’s no need to go overboard, and you don’t need to spend six hours a day working, just dedicate a time to studying and stick with that.
  • Explore study techniques until you find one that works for you. Everyone doesn’t study the same, so if you do what everyone else is doing you might not get the results you want. Even if you had a great system in high school, it might not be fitting for college, so check out a bunch of different methods and see how you do with them. Once you find the best way you study, you’ll be unstoppable when exam time comes.
  • Start your assignments early, as soon as you can after they’re assigned. There’s nothing worse than having a bunch of assignments/tests/papers due on the same day and you haven’t finished any of them. Trust me, it is so much less stressful to complete an assignment as soon as you can after it’s been assigned so you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Putting things off has much more severe consequences than it did in high school and you will regret procrastinating. If you have a weekly assignment due every Friday, try to complete them by Wednesday every week. At the very least, start an assignment the day you get it even if you can’t finish it that day. It’s a lot easier to do something after you’ve already begun working on it, and that one thing you do is progress.
  • The name of the college game is prioritization. If college teaches you anything, it’s how to prioritize your duties. You need to create a hierarchy of importance for your classes and types of assignments. For me, calculus assignments were always done first because that was the most difficult class and the one I absolutely needed to pass, and Italian was always done last cause it was my easiest class and I could complete even our biggest assignments in one day. You’re going to have a very large amount of work and sometimes you have to sacrifice finishing a small homework assignment to finish a huge paper or study for an exam. I liked to complete my hardest/longest assignments right when I got back from class to get them over with and leave my easier ones for later. Prioritizing is essential if you want to succeed in university, so learn how to do it immediately! 
  • Remember that uni is really difficult and your grades don’t define you. Something I learned the hard way is that sometimes you can try really really hard, do the best you can, and still fail. That’s just life. Sometimes you have to do something a million times before you get it right, or before you discover that it just isn’t right for you at all. I worked harder than I ever had this past year, and what I got in return was two failed classes, two D’s, academic probation, and a 2.3 GPA. Actually, my current GPA isn’t even a 2.3, it’s a 2.295, which is probably blasphemy to the studyblr community, but this shit happens. It happens to all of us and it sucks. It can be really shitty to feel like your effort wasn’t reflected in your result. What you need to do is adjust your expectations and keep working hard. After you hit your stride, your grades could be great in no time. Or you could discover that math or science or english just isn’t for you. Maybe you’ll discover university as a whole isn’t right for you, and that’s okay! Bad grades, whether you define that as a B or an F, don’t mean you’re a bad student or a bad person. You do what you can, and then let go of what you can’t control. The sooner you grasp this idea, and the sooner you learn to be gentle with yourself, the easier a time you’ll have.

So I feel like I forgot a lot of things but also this is pretty long so I’m going to end the post here. If you have any further questions or topics for a post you’d like to see, my inbox is always open. I don’t know which post is coming next, but I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for reading and I hope this helped you out!

Previous Posts:

My Life as a Cartoon Network Intern (and how I think you can Intern in Animation too!)

Over this past summer, I was given the amazing opportunity to be a Production Intern at Cartoon Network (I worked on Clarence; woo!)

Every once in a while I get people who either come up to me in person, or who message me on Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram etc. and ask me how I got the opportunity, and how they can intern in animation as well. Recently (Over the course of the last week or so) I’ve been asked a bunch, so I decided to create this massive master post in an attempt to get the information out to as many artists (and non-artists) as possible! 

I know a lot of people who feel like getting into the animation industry is completely impossible, (I should know, I felt the exact same way not too long ago) and I also know just how LITTLE references there actually are on finding an internship, and beyond that, the type of experiences that people who gotten the chance to intern have had. I told myself that if I got the internship, I would try to change that, and here we are! (A little late, but I really want to make this as helpful as possible)

If you all could please Reblog this to your followers I would love it! You never know who’s looking and hopefully, I can help people with my experiences! 

So to make it easier for people who don’t have the time to read all of my ramblings, AND for the sake of ease/reference; I’m going to break this post up into different sections: My Internship search My initial excitement/rejections - How I got the internship - My experience as an Intern and How Interning has helped me as an artist

My Internship search: 

Halfway through last year (My Sophomore year of college) I had decided that I would take a leap of faith and apply for some internships. I didn’t expect much of it, but my hopes were high because I thought I had at least a halfway decent portfolio, and my resume had some pretty okay animation experience on it (I’m the head of the only Animation organization on campus) and I’m majoring in animation so I had some 3D experience and 2D experience (which I’ve worked on on my own time, since it’s what I want to do) 

One of my biggest worries was the fact that I go to a state school: Southern Illinois University. The school is great, and I love it there, but I couldn’t afford art school, so I was very worried about how many opportunities there would be for me in Southern Illinois. Especially with the amount of amazing art that I see coming from people who go to schools like CalArs, Sheridan and the like. I was frustrated because I wasn’t there and felt like I would never get the opportunity to work in animation, which has been my dream since I could hold a pencil. Cartoons have changed my life, and they still do; but I was genuinely afraid that because I couldn’t afford a more art-related education, that I wouldn’t get the opportunity to tell stories like I’ve always dreamed. (But I digress) 

As I was saying: I was doing all of your standard (I want/need a job) searches to try to find something in animation: Glassdoor, Internships.com, JOBS.com; stuff like that. FUN FACT: I’ve read every single Glassdoor review for both Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. Every Job. All of them.

Some internships are a lot easier to find: Nickelodeon, Disney, Titmouse

While some are WAAAAAY more elusive: Cartoon Network… 

This narrowed my search down from a bunch of animation studios.. to a handful. My candidates were: Nickelodeon, Dreamworks and Titmouse. (All wonderful animation studios!) Now here’s where it gets interesting:

 My initial excitement/Rejections:

I didn’t hear back from any of them! NOT ONE. Which I learned after a very long, VERY stressful waiting period. (At this time it was early to mid April) Now; I knew that I was really too young to be applying for the internships, (I’m young for my grade so I was 19 at the time) And I knew that all of these internships specified that they wanted a Junior or above, but I figured since the year was almost over and I had good grades that MAYBE, they would let me slide. But I had no real experience working in animation, and although my hopes were high, they were also reeeeeeeal low. 

After waiting for the few weeks that I did, and not hearing a peep, I was dejected, frustrated, and I felt like there was no hope for me… Which leads us to…

HOW I GOT THE INTERNSHIP: 

When it comes to how I actually GOT the job: The answer I want to give you guys is that it was complete luck, and that by a series of random occurrences, somehow I was offered the position…. BUT, that’s only half true. Honestly, I worked really hard on making sure that I had as good a résumé as I possibly could: 

By that, I mean that I’ve worked really hard in school to get good grades/dean’s list/honors program, etc.; and I also started an animation organization on campus. (There’s a major, but there was a huge lack of enthusiasm and community within the program at SIU so I wanted to help to bring other artists and myself closer, and make great art while we’re at it) 

On top of that, I wrote (what I think was) a really good cover letter. But… Even with all three of those things, I don’t know if I would have gotten the position if it wasn’t for the internship coordinator at my school. I go to Southern Illinois University, and she pointed me in the direction of the Cartoon Network internship. (The Turner website isn’t like Nickelodeon, they only post internships when there’s a position to be filled)

LUCKILY for me, the Producer of Clarence (The wonderful Keith Mack) is an alum from SIU, so he connected with the internship coordinator (bless her heart) and I learned exactly when the position opened up. My resume and things got sent straight to him. I got a Skype interview a couple of weeks later, and I got accepted the day of the interview!

So I mean… Looking back, it was half luck, half hard work. 

It’s not like the grades and stuff really matter outside of college; Grades are just arbitrary letters, after all. But, I say that to say that I’ve tried to work hard in college even though I’m not at an art school, and that if you’re focused, it doesn’t really matter WHAT you’re good at; but how hard you work and the type of person you are. You can never go to college but be an amazing artist and an amazing person, and if you meet that ONE right person, or if you’re at that ONE correct place at the correct time; amazing things can happen; and I FIRMLY believe that. 

While I was at CN I was talking to someone (I don’t know if it’s best to call her out by name?..) But anyway she was telling me about how some of the artists are found at CN and she told me that Tumblr, YES TUMBLR. Is a HUUUUUUUUGE factor in the hiring of some people! So if you can… POST POST POST! Putting your art out there is the absolute best way to get seen. You NEVER know who’s looking at your artwork, and this website is an amazing platform for sharing, and learning about art. (And as a shameless plug: The blog Artists-Everyday is actually meant for just that ;) check it ouuuuut)

But moving forward; let’s talk about: 

THE INTERVIEW:

The interview to be an intern at CN was both really intimidating, and really comfortable at the same time. I love animation pretty much more than anything, so the idea that a single interview could determine whether or not I got a life-changing opportunity was pretty much one of the most daunting things that I could think of. The fact that I was in southern Illinois RIGHT at the time that I would have had to interview really didn’t help either… It was really scary to me, because it meant that I wasn’t going to be able to interview in person. It was a Skype interview, (a group one at that) and it was my first time ever interviewing for a position online. 

Once I got past all of the initial fear, the interview was smooth sailing. They had already seen my resume and cover letter; so we really just spent a lot of time talking about casual things: my favorite animated movie, what my favorite episode of Clarence was, etc. It wasn’t like your usual interview where they ask “why would we hire you” or “what is your greatest weakness” and I really appreciated that. They weren’t robots, they weren’t the ANIMATION GODS like I was imagining in my head – they were actual people, who happen to love animation, and the interview reflected that. 

I learned that I had gotten the position the day that I interviewed, and I’m SO GLAD I didn’t have to wait any more days, because at that point I was on fire on the inside. II don’t know what the hiring process was like for interns on different shows, so don’t take my word for how long it’ll take if you make it this far) 


MY EXPERIENCE AS AN INTERN/HOW IT’S HELPED ME AS AN ARTIST:

There is no one word to describe how amazing it is to work at Cartoon Network. A lot of CN stuff is “hush hush” high security, and they don’t allow you to take pictures of the inside of the buildings - So I’m not going to say much, other than: It’s magic. Pure magic. But I will say one thing: Free food. AT ALL TIMES. EVERY DAY. 

Working there is one of the most creatively satisfying things I’ve ever done in my life. The people, the atmosphere… it was all so inspiring. I’ve learned more in those past three months than I have in the last two years, and It’s all because I was surrounded by so many people who are better than me. People, who I might add, are some of the greatest, nicest, and most helpful people I’ve met in a long time. Plus, Cartoon Network really goes out on a limb to take care of their employees. 

I got to sit in on voice actors doing their recordings, I got to see storyboard pitches, I got to see animatics and assets for episodes that were unaired, and it was all being created right in front of me by such PASSIONATE people. 

I EVEN GOT TO MEET TOM KENNY. He remembered my name… 

As a production intern you get to see the logistic side of things: and you really grow to appreciate Production and that side of the industry, because without the production team, there would be no show! Even though I want to be a storyboard artist, I now know more about the industry and Cartoon Network as a whole, and it makes me feel much more connected to the shows that I watch on television.

One of the other biggest things about the program is the fact that I got to take storyboard/character design tests for practice, and I got the chance to pitch a show to the studio, in front of the Clarence Crew and even some really important executives! which was an AMAZING opportunity that I learned a TON from. I got amazing feedback, and I had to push myself harder than I’ve ever pushed myself before. Mentally, artistically, and personally. 


IN CONCLUSION

It’s possible. Being an intern at an animation studio is possible. Getting a job in animation is possible. Making friends in animation, and actually feeling like you belong to something you’ve dreamed about since you were a child is POSSIBLE. It doesn’t matter where you go to school, it doesn’t matter if you’re afraid, and it doesn’t matter what you look like. People are drawn to people who are genuine; and if you love animation, or production, or storyboarding or character design, and you work hard and try to really open yourself up artistically; you CAN do it. Take it from the 20 year old black guy who loves anime, video games and cartoons. You can do it. 


I don’t know how many people will see this or how helpful it actually is; but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE feel free to share this info with your followers, and on top of that if you guys EVER have any questions about my experiences or need me to clarify anything for ANY reason you’re absolutely welcome to contact me! 

I know how many people would love to intern, and I know (from experience) how DREADFUL It is to find conducive information about how the process works and how YOU can get an internship. 

Hope you guys stuck with this post till the end, and like I said if you ever have any more questions, (hell, or if you even want to share YOUR art with me… I’m always open!) 

TL;DR:                  This Gif Sums it Up 

-Sean 

Simple Sigil Creation: A How-To Guide

One of the most common messages I get on Tumblr goes something like this: “What is your process for creating sigils? It can’t be as simple as scrambling up letters, so what’s the real secret?”

The truth is, there isn’t a secret. Making sigils is actually quite simple. Anyone can do it. Even for a complete newcomer, the process should take less time than a coffee break. While there are many, many ways to create sigils — magic squares, automatic drawing, grid overlays — the methods don’t really matter all that much.

In this post, I’m going to show the step-by-step method I used for creating the most recent sigil I’ve published. It came at the request of a young woman who wanted to catch the romantic attentions of another female. It said simply: “She will see me in a romantic way.”

As you can see, I’ve gone with the most basic sigil-creation method here. I’ve written out the text, and I’ve isolated the consonants from the sentence. While there is an “occult” tradition behind this method, I wouldn’t get hung up on thinking that it’s the “right” way to make a sigil. It’s no better than any other method, it’s just easier to explain.

This first step is meant to abstract the coherent words into a less-coherent jumble of letters. The words stop being as meaningful, but the symbols behind the sigil’s intent remain. To keep things simple — and to speed up my next step — I arrange these letters into a grid.

The next step is to abstract the remaining letters even further. Here, I’ve simply started combining elements of the letters together. I generally start by picking two letters from the grid of consonants, and start combining lines, curves, curls, dots, and other pieces of those letters together.

I try to keep these new symbols as simple as possible — four or five pencil strokes at most — because I’ll be further combining them in the next step.

From here, I generally play around with a few ideas, combining elements of symbols as I go. Sometimes these ideas come easily, as seen in the picture, but sometimes it can take pages and pages of sketches to find one I like. In particularly thorny situations, I’ll even start the entire process over from scratch, just to give myself a clean slate.

Once I’ve found a design I like, it’s time to start on the final design. Much like every other stage in the process, there is no one “right” way to do this. This is also the step where most people could happily stop. When the sigil looks and feels “right” to you, it’s done. The sigil is complete, if you want it to be.

In my case, however, I’m also making art for my website and social media. That means creating a version of the sigil that will (hopefully) catch other people’s eyes. There are countless ways to do this — charcoals, crayons, digital painting, markers — and I’ve experimented quite a bit over the years.

I also like to have an excuse to play with ink and brushes, so that’s how this one came together. I like that it’s a little unpredictable — with streaks and globs and splatter — and I’m always thrilled when a happy accident improves the design.

As you can see, I create tons of variations, tinkering with brush sizes, stroke direction, the amount of ink in the brush, and other stuff. While I liked some of these versions, none of them looked quite right. So, I kept going until I found one that did.

A few ink-soaked pages later, and this version was the clear winner. From here, it was just a matter of scanning the image in and doing a few technical things in Photoshop to make it look better in black and white. I add the text, the watermark, and … that’s it.

Here’s the finished version.

As you can see, there’s no great secret to making a sigil. Nor should there be. Sigils are about focusing intent, and even a few pencil scratches on notebook paper can become a perfectly wonderful sigil with the right intent behind it. Yes, some people (like me) like to do a little showing off with things they picked up from art class, but that should never be a barrier to creating your own personal sigils.

Questions? Thoughts? Leave a comment or drop me a message.

here are a bunch of AMAZING fics I’ve enjoyed and loved reading throughout the month of july. I recommend that you read these great fics in august, if you haven’t already!! also check out the HL Summer Fic Exchange - my fic will be posted soon (hopefully)!

(all fics with a star are my favorites and if there are two stars then it was a favorite favorite)


1. Just a Walk in the Park 124k **

It’s 2015, the first time dinosaurs walked the earth in over 65 million years. The multi-billion dollar company, Twist Corporations, is planning a summer opening for their world changing attraction, “Jurassic Park”.

They take an interest in the history making duo of Dr. Louis Tomlinson, a stubborn paleontologist, and his partner, paleobotanist Dr. Liam Payne, giving them the chance of a lifetime to work for the new theme park. Louis is apprehensive, but Liam has a “gut feeling” that it will change their lives. He isn’t wrong.

Featuring Niall as the top engineer to get the park up and running, Zayn as the raptor expert, and Harry as the grandson of one of the most influential men in the world.

2. Let’s Embrace the Point of No Return 33k

Louis was a whole new scale of beautiful, he was richer than Harry could’ve ever imagined, and he was the most powerful, dominant alpha that Harry had ever come in contact with. The only problem now is that Louis is also Harry’s boss.

Louis believed Harry was an alpha, and had no idea about how he had lied about his status just to get an interview with Louis. He was in too deep now and he couldn’t look back.

Or, Harry is an omega intern at an all alpha company. Louis is his boss. There’s some complications.

3. How Could I Ever Forget 14k

After his boyfriend leaves him for a job in New York, Harry vows to move on with his life. A year later when their best friends announce their engagement, Harry knows he’ll be forced to see Louis again and face the truth he’s been trying his best to hide–even from himself.

Or a Vegas AU where Ziam’s bachelor party turns into drunken karaoke, winning thousands at slots, washing your clothes at the laundromat in your underwear, and making life altering decisions that you can’t remember in the morning.

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Constantly losing focus while you study be frustrating. We will go through some of the top study tips that can allow you to focus and study effectively.

Remind yourself why
One of the key things that help us maintain focus no matter what, is by getting really interested in whatever we are doing. So find a way to make your topic interesting, relatable and practical in your life.

Remind yourself that you want to study to expand your worldly knowledge, to graduate, get into a field that you can flourish in, and provide some value to the world with your awesomeness. Also try thinking in metaphors and whatifs. It’s your mind, no one else has access to it, so think of wondrous things to make yourself want to devote the next few hours of your life to the task at hand.

Before studying

  1. Plan out what you want to accomplish and give yourself a time limit. For example, I will read 10 pages from my psych textbook in 30 minutes, or I will spend 1 hour researching the key words for my report.
  2. Get enough sleep. Ideally around 7-9 hours. If you sleep earlier, you may need less sleep, but please never do less than 6. Constant sleep deprivation is deteriorating for the brain and body.
  3. Eat foods that help you focus. Which include blueberries, green tea, avocados, spinach, kale, salmon, nuts and seeds. I often have a spinach, banana & kale smoothie with matcha green tea powder, but you can combine some of the ingredients in a quick sandwich if you like.
  4. Your brain mainly works on sugar, but you need to temper it with a protein or something with low GI, to reduce any blood-sugar problems which can lead to sudden tiredness. A quick way to find a a balance is to opt for a fruit or healthy smoothie.
  5. Be aware that if you study right after having a heavy meal the blood circulating around your brain reduces and goes to help with digestion, so you may feel less alert. Smaller meals can help.
  6. Take supplements that help you focus: fish oil, omega 3, Ginko Biloba, vitamin B12, Co-Enzyme Q10, and iron.
  7. Identify whatever distracts you and find a way to minimise it. So perhaps you can go to a non-distracting environment, if that is an issue. I prefer libraries or coffeeshops.
  8. Surround yourself with motivated people. If you can befriend the top few students in your class, or at least be on nicer terms with them, hopefully their studiousness will rub off on you.
  9. Have all the stationary and materials you need at hand.
  10. Set up a reward system, but avoid food as a reward as it can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. Instead try a relaxing activity, or hobby. Pretty much any incentive you can think of that will help you cross the finish line.

While studying

  1. Prime - Spend 2 minutes skimming or figuring out what you will be going through.
  2. Drinking game - Keep a bottle of water or two next to you. Drink a cup or a half cup worth every time you get distracted for more than 5 seconds.
  3. Put distractions in their place - Write down any distracting thoughts in a small notebook. But remember it’s not supposed to act as your pretty bullet journal, but you can make another spread for if it you like. I made a small notebook the other day to write down quick thoughts that I would otherwise dwell on. It helps me direct my thoughts appropriately to what I’m studying, and still have those important ideas to refer to later.
  4. Motivate yourself - Write out exactly why you want to be a [insert awesome career position] in detail with examples. Keep that page or post-it on hand and look at it when you feel yourself losing focus. It can give you a motivational boost and can inspire you to keep going. Sometimes I like to visualise specific scenarios of how I could help people once my finish my studies.
  5. Take strategic breaks - Remove yourself from your study space and think of something else for a few minutes. You can get a snack, walk around, do a quick workout, look outside, and notice nature. Practice being present in the moment. Listen to of the world around you and get out of your head.
  6. If you feel you can not sustain your concentration on a task for too long, you may switch between two different yet equally important tasks. But try to do a big task for at least 20 minutes, you never know, by then you might like it. Some studies show, it takes 20 minutes to really get into concentrating on something.
  7. Reduce as many distractions as you can, including turning off notifications and wifi, putting you phone on do not disturb or airplane mode, and try blocking apps.
  8. Track how you use your time. I like the apps ‘Now and Then’ and ‘Moment’ for iOS. So you can see how much you have accomplished or slacked off.
  9. Write draft first. Edit and prettify later.
  10. If you’re in the final stage, focus on the fact that you have made it this far and that you’re almost done.
  11. Try to make it fun somehow, perhaps with strategies you used when you were a kid.
  12. Use as many senses as you can.
  13. Record your voice and say whatever you are reading or writing in different accents.
  14. Draw quick doodles next to whoever you are doing to help you remember it better.
  15. As long it’s not your first draft, feel free to use colourful pens, highlights and tape to keep you engaged.

After studying

  1. Revise whatever you have accomplished just before your break, by quickly skimming through your most recent notes or readings.
  2. Consequent revision schedule. The best way to remember what you have worked on is to revise it in specific intervals, after you have studying it. So after five minutes, in that evening before bed, the next day, at the end of the week and then in three weeks.
  3. Reward yourself, as long as you feel like you ended up accomplishing something you couldn’t before.

You can try out each step for two days each to see which strategies work best for you.

I hope these tips can help you, and feel free message me if you would like more details for one of the points :)

Glitter Ball

I’ve been seeing some discussion in past few days about how unrealistic it is that Bitty doesn’t hang out with other queer kids at Samwell, which is a valid point, and it reminded me I had a fic languishing in my drafts folder that involved an expanded look at the LGBTQIA group on campus, so I figured maybe the time had come to post it. It’s more about Dex than Bitty, because I started it as a response to the “Dex is homophobic” discourse, so this is from a “Dex has never been straight, he just doesn’t think it’s any of your business” perspective.

(It’s the beginning of a longer fic called “I Abhor You/I Adore You” that’s kind of an exercise in filling in all the gaps between the Nurseydex tweets and fleshing out the non-hockey parts of Samwell, but who knows if I’ll ever finish it.)

~4.5k, pre-slash Nurseydex, mostly Dex POV, guest appearances by Bitty, Holster, and a few OCs from the LGBTQIA group. Location of the IT helpdesk across the hall from the resource center entirely stolen from my own tiny liberal arts school, “the little gay college in the middle of Iowa.”

Read it on AO3 (now with the second chapter as well).


First year, first semester

Dex got a job with the helpdesk almost as soon as he got to campus. This wasn’t exactly normal for an unknown, untested, untried, and undeclared first year student, but he had references from his high school job and there was a constant shortage of people who actually knew how to do anything with hardware. Which, of course, was the thing most of the professors actually needed help with. They weren’t actually receiving a lot of emergency Python coding calls; they needed someone who could “make the goddamn printer talk to the computer” without pissing anyone off by being too condescending.

He enjoyed it; compared to having to do the same thing in a retail environment, this was downright relaxing, and he at least had some confidence the people he was helping weren’t complete idiots. He could even leave behind a Post-It of step-by-step instructions of how to fix the problem themselves next time and have it be followed at least 50% of the time! Not to mention his work-study hours as a student athlete were actually capped and enforced so he wouldn’t work himself to death. So relaxing when compared to high school, when he’d had to juggle IT work, lobster fishing, hockey, and grades good enough to get some kind of scholarship.

Since he’d gotten to campus early to start pre-season practice with the hockey team, he’d been able to establish a work routine before adding in classes, which had been helpful. The CS classes at Samwell were certainly more demanding, but that was why he was here, wasn’t it? All in all, he was pretty satisfied with how things were shaping up. (Now if only his d-partner weren’t such an entitled brat…)

Once the other students got back to campus, it became clear the helpdesk office wasn’t the only thing housed in the weird little building at the edge of campus. He was just ending a shift when a girl stuck her head in the door. “Would it be possible to get some quick help from anybody? It’s just across the hall.”

“I can do it,” Dex said. “I was just about to leave anyway.”

“Thank you!” She led the way into what appeared to be an all-purpose meeting room. The door now had a handmade rainbow sign taped to it, proclaiming it the Stonewall Resource Center. “We’re having our first meeting of the year tonight, and of course the one person who remembers how to work the projector is on study abroad this semester.”

“No problem. You hooking it up to a laptop?”

“Yeah.”

Dex walked over to the AV podium at the front of the room and fished out the giant cluster of cables and dongles. “Hopefully one of these will work, but we have adapters in the office for just about anything. Bring it over.” A minute or so later, he had everything working.

“Thank you so much!”

“Sure. I mean, it’s my job anyway.”

“Do I need to file a ticket or something?”

“Eh, whatever.”

“Um, you’re welcome to stay for the meeting if you want…”

“What’s it for? I mean, I can guess, but your sign wasn’t even up when I came in at the beginning of my shift, so, you know.”

“Yeah, basically it’s just a beginning of the year informational meeting for students about LGBTQIA resources on campus and a way to get those of us who are returning students to get started organizing other events. So maybe not super interesting.”

“No, it sounds like good information to have. I’ll stick around.”

She smiled at him. “Great! I’m Sam.”

“Will. Or Dex. I answer to either.”

“Nice to meet you.”

***

“So do you think you’ll come back?” Sam asked after the meeting was over. Dex had stayed to help her turn off the projector and leave a sticky note with the steps written down. (He was thinking about getting a set custom-printed with “Helping You Help Yourself!” across the bottom, though he suspected his boss would find this too snarky.)

“Probably not. I mean, not to regular meetings or anything—you can totally ask me for help anytime! I’m just kind of… past the place where I need this kind of group? And I’ve got hockey practice and CS classes that are kind of the point of my being here, so they take priority, you know?”

“Sure thing.”

“But you know where to find me! Seriously, I’m always happy to help. It looks like a great group. But I know I can’t commit to anything.”

“Cool. I’ll see you around then, yeah? Oh, hey, if you have any time on Friday, you should come to the softball game. We’re gonna slay.”

Dex grinned and offered his fist for a bump of solidarity. “You’ll have to come to a hockey game once the season starts.”

“Definitely.”

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Fig chatter! (Q/A)
First off, i just wanna say thank you so much to everyone for all the super nice and encouraging notes! It always makes me to happy to see that my work is making people happy and your notes really help to motivate me to do my best at this comic!

Yep!!! That manga is one of my favorite things in the whole world so it really really influenced my comic.


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Millennial Love

Requested by @tomshollandss with this prompt

Summary: Tom stalks your social media and slides into those DMs. 


Your multi fandom Twitter account was your own little fangirl haven. The topics you tweeted about ranged from One Direction, Beyoncé, Marvel, Harry Potter, Law & Order, and more. Your hilarious, relatable tweets helped you rack up over 50k loyal followers. 

Most recently, Tom Holland had branched from your Marvel obsession, having stolen your heart when you first watched Spider-Man: Homecoming. 

“Hey everyone! Just came home from SM:HC, so slowly watch as my Twitter becomes strictly a Tom Holland fan account!” you tweeted. 

Your post went viral as many of your followers and the general public agreed with you. Throughout the next weeks, you tweeted frequently about events such as The Brother’s Trust meet and greet, the Tokyo premiere, and the infamous “Hoodiegate” aka Tom’s incessant teasing about his haircut. 

You had the typical fangirl tweets, including praising Tom for his work and admiring his looks, but you also had no problem roasting him as well. For example, a thread of examples of when he was an asshole became wildly popular and gained a lot of attention; some of it coming from the boys themselves. Harrison followed and quoted it with a “This could not be more accurate, mate @TomHolland1996”, which prompted Tom to like and retweet it, and Harry liked it, as well. 

One day, on a whim, you decided to post your personal Instagram handle. You had no shame about people figuring out who you were; plus, you kept your Instagram clear of locations and clues about where you might live: “Alright here goes nothing! Follow my personal Instagram, @(your-user)! Hopefully none of you are lunatics, and I’ll be following some of you as well!" 

Thousands of new followers appeared on Instagram, all incredibly happy about your newly public profile. You decided to turn off notifications to only show you things from users that you followed. It was beneficial that you did, for you would’ve missed it when your phone lit up with an important Instagram notification. 

(your-user): tomholland2013 started following you.

Quickly followed by, (your user): tomholland2013: I hope you don’t qualify me as a lunatic 😅 

Shocked, you quickly screenshotted this monumental moment. After a few minutes of calming yourself down, you opened Instagram. Hoards of comments and messages of congratulations all came pouring in, but you only were focused on one message. 

"Eh, I don’t REALLY know you. So, I can’t say for sure. But, from your pictures you look pretty normal! And you did some movies? That’s cool! I may have seen them 🤔" 

You tried to keep it light and funny, as your Twitter was basically a huge Tom Holland roast. "By the way, thanks for following!” you quickly sent, showing your authentic gratitude. Putting your phone down, you went to get some water, as you felt very dizzy. 

He probably won’t reply for a while at least, you thought. Or maybe not at all. He’s busy. Except, when you returned to your phone, another message had come onto your screen. 

“haha i mean I dont really know you either. Maybe you’re the actual lunatic in this situation?” Another message came in, “but seriously, no problem at all xx. I’ve stalked your twitter so… I feel like this is only right 😂”

 "Hope you didn’t find anything too embarrassing. So, does this make us internet friends? 😎" 

 "Is that what this is called? Let’s do it 👊🏼" 

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anonymous asked:

Hey, can you help me with something? If yes (that would mean a lot ♡) so, I'm not a witch and I really want to be one ive been reading all blogs that I could find about it but I have no idea of how can I start! You know? I mean, what should I buy? +

+ What book should i read? Everything’s kinda confuse right now… do you have any advices? Or ideas of how can I start? Thank you so much anyway ♡ (it was a bit long, hope you can read it, sorry xx)

It wasn’t too long, and I can read it just fine. :)

But, this is going to be a long ass post. So, yeah, be warned.

First of all, you don’t really need to buy anything if you don’t want to. (Check this post: [“Do I Need a ________ to Be a Witch?”]. The answer: no.) There are some branches of magic that don’t really require any physical components - energy work or sigil magic being the ones that jump to mind first. There are also many average household items that have their own energies that can be used in magic. Sometimes people already have some witchy supplies in their homes that can be used - many people have spice racks and candles and jars from other food, and those are pretty common tools in the craft.

It also highly depends on the sort of magic you want to do. Do you want to work with candles, crystals, herbs, all of the above? Then you’ll want to look into places to find those. (I get my herbs from the grocery store and candles from the dollar store, honestly.) Do you plan on grinding herbs into powders? Then you’ll probably need a mortar and pestle, or something similar. Plan on making poppets or sachets? You’ll need fabric, thread, and sewing needles, though poppets can be made out of paper instead, and you can buy little baggies that can work for sachets. Want to make magical jars? Hit up the dollar store for bottles and containers. Do you want a wand? Do you want a ritual space / altar? Tarot decks / other methods of divination? It seriously comes down to what you want, and what you might plan on doing.

Here is a list of some things that might be useful in your magic, more as a jumping off point of ideas, and in no way absolute or complete:

  • candles
  • crystals
  • herbs
  • jars
  • sachets / tiny pouches
  • sewing needles, thread and fabric
  • thicker string / ribbon
  • paper and writing utensils

You can use almost anything in your magic, though, and many things you can just find outside, like:

  • leaves
  • nuts
  • rocks
  • water from streams or rain
  • feathers (some places have laws about picking up feathers, be sure to check out where you live and if that will be an issue)

Everything has magical potential. You can even enchant regular objects like jewelry to bring about magical effects. This is also good if you have to be super discreet. The options are literally endless. 

Here are a couple of posts, [The Beginner Witch’s Starter Spell Kit] and [New Witch’s Shopping Guide], that I think you should check out as well. Some other useful posts: 

If you are on a budget…

If you need to be discreet…

* not my choice of title

And just because something might be useful, doesn’t mean you have to use it. For example, I find blood to be very useful in magic - it is super potent with energies - but some people aren’t comfortable using it. And that’s fine. If you don’t want to utilize something, you don’t have to.

Notebooks are almost vital as a witch, in my opinion. You’ll want a place to store all the information you’ve learned to access later. It’ll be a place to keep all your spells and correspondences, and notes on any magical workings you do as well. 

However, you can go completely digital and forego a physical book - using programs like OneNote, Google Drive and the like can be another way for you to store your info discreetly, password protected, and have access to it anywhere you have internet and your mobile device. 

As to finding out what you want to do with magic, where you should start, I generally give people this list of questions that will hopefully help them narrow their focus and figure out where it is they want to go:

  • Why were you drawn to the craft in the first place? What got you interested in studying / practicing it?
  • What sorts of expectations do you have, if any, about what you can do with magic?
  • Is magic something you just want to experiment with, or do you want to practice long-term?
  • Are there any things in particular you hope to achieve by doing magic? Do you have any end goals for yourself or your craft? Any expectations?
  • What sorts of things would you like to do (in regards to different varieties of spellwork [candle magic, sachet magic, etc.], divination, etc.)?
  • Do you feel an attraction / affinity to any particular branch of magic (chaos magic, green magic, spirit work, hedgework, etc.)? Why? What in particular makes it appealing to you?
  • Are there things you don’t want to go near no matter what? Why? What bothers you about those things?

Ultimately that’s what matters - what you want, where you want to go. Here is my advice on that front: pick something to start with, and go with it - learn what you can from it, play with it, and when you think you’ve got it covered, try something else, while still keeping in mind what you’ve already learned.

Witchcraft is such a personal practice and area of study - it allows you to experiment and find out what works for you, while also not enforcing anything that you may not be comfortable with. Don’t wanna do this thing? You don’t have to. Maybe you would prefer to focus on this thing? Go right ahead. Oh, wait, you changed your mind, and now you wanna do this? Yep, go for it. It is a beautiful thing.

Here is a list I ended up throwing together of some common branches of magic. You are not bound or excluded to only one - you can practice many of these at any one time, and you are not stuck with it of you happen to pick it up but decide you don’t like it. This list is also not exclusive, but a way to give you an idea of some of the things you can do.

  • energy work
  • candle magic
  • crystal magic
    • crystal grids
  • sachet magic
  • knot magic
  • poppet magic
  • kitchen magic
    • tea magic
  • bath magic
  • traditional magic
  • urban magic
  • chaos magic
    • sigil magic
  • pop culture magic
  • green magic
  • cottage magic
  • hedgework
  • spirit work
  • shadow work
  • blood magic
  • sex magic
  • death magic
    • necromancy

There are so man different veins of magic, and they can blend and mix in such cool ways. Most spells have components of different varieties of magic - you might see a spell call for candles and crystals, or jars and poppets.

It takes some time to build up witchy supplies, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t have 20 different herbs in the span of a week. It’s taken me two years to build u the supplies I have, just picking up bits and pieces here and there. A good idea to start would be pick one spell then buy the ingredients for that, and do that spell. Then, decide on a spell you want to do next - you’ll find you might already have some of the ingredients left over from the first one, then you just need to pick up what you’re missing. It is also good to keep lists of substitutions for various herbs if you decide to use them. Not everything has a substitution, but if you can find things with similar correspondences as to what is being used in that spell and why, you should be okay. 

Learning to write your own spells is also a great way to ensure you’ll have the ingredients you need (by basing it off what you have), but that can be a bit daunting, and is in no way necessary, just a handy skill to have.

I am not so sure on the books you should buy - I tend to get my witchcraft resources from online, and this whole blog is my resource compilation. I use Tumblr as my main source of info, along with my discretion of course. I know other witches have lists of book recommendations, and I can give you those:

[Here] is a list of authors you should try to avoid - trigger warning for mention of various disturbing topics. [Here] is a post that talks about why your book on witchcraft might be full of it; if you have any questions as to why that might be, feel free to ask the OP or even myself. [Here] is a post that explains using discretion and critical reading in regards to witchcraft books.

I have a page on my blog, [Advice for Witchlings], that has more advice that can help you out. I also made it into two rebloggable posts if that is easier for you to access: [part 01] and [part 02].

I am also going to toss a huge list of posts here. You don’t need to read them all immediately, but they do all contain various points of interest and things to note, as well as useful information (and sometimes even more links). Witchcraft is a practice of study and learning, after all.

Oh dear gods, okay, I am done with this. Not only because it’s way too long, but because my fingers hurt. xD I really hope that can help you anon, and best of luck! If you have any more specific questions, I’ll do my best to answer, it’s just really hard to get everything in such a broad question. There’s so much (as you can see). But, I hope that answers some of your questions, or gives you an idea on where to look to find them! Again, if you have other questions, I’ll do my best to get into more specifics, just maybe do one at a time so I can break it down a lot easier, and hopefully in not so long a post, lmao. I wish you all the best on your newfound path! :D

An Announcement and a Little Concern

Hello all! I’m sorry to put drama on your dashboards, but yesterday some information was brought to me and I need to be entirely clear and open about some things in order to protect myself, and hopefully to protect you guys too.

I have only one character in the game, Syrena Kalihd, and that will never change.

I am not Selene Kalihd (also known as @jaybartram / @princess-zeldaluna / Zelda Luna), and I have no ties whatsoever to this person. They are a pathological liar who lies and manipulates to knowingly and purposefully take character appearances and names, and then attempts to paint themselves as an innocent and unwitting party to gain sympathy. After the recent occurrence of someone making a duplicate of a character named Empress Quistis and using the false blog to slander that person’s name by sending hateful messages, I am more than a little wary of people taking other people’s character names and faces, and I feel I need to make it 100% clear that they are someone who made a willful decision to copy me, and they are not in any way an alt or secondary character of mine.

I am not someone who feels that similarities in character appearance warrant upset; the ffxiv character creator is fairly limited, and coincidental similarities or even duplicates are to be expected. But an active attempt to copy my character’s appearance and name is something that I’m uncomfortable with, and I am made even more uncomfortable by the fact that when questioned, Zelda claimed she doesn’t know me/has never seen me/did not copy me, despite that all of this is clearly untrue.

I will be presenting evidence; not because I am upset at the copying, but because I am upset at the lying, double dealing, and manipulation this person has exhibited, and I need to prove that this is not a coincidental similarity.

Buckle in guys, this is gonna be a bit of a ride.

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Freshman Mistakes!

These are mistakes that people make all throughout high school, not just freshman! But to keep the title concise I just called it that  Also, long post coming up! 

In Class

  1. Not asking questions in class. At lot of students are shy and embarrassed about asking questions in class, But, there are always people who have the same question as you and it isn’t worth not knowing stuff on the test than feeling awkward for two seconds. Also, I’ve had teachers majorly bump up my marks because they say me asking for extra help and putting in effort.
  2. Not doing homework when it gets assigned. I will admit, sometimes there are times when you are 100% confident you already know how to do what was taught in class. But, mostly, doing a bit of extra practice can help you a lot even if it seems like a waste of time. When you are in upper grades and harder classes, doing homework every night is not optional, so get into the habit now. 
  3. Not taking notes in class. This can be hard when your teacher gives you handouts or just has you copy from a powerpoint. But what you should work on doing is listening to the teacher and write down extra information on your page from what they say, not just the bare minimum from the PPT. This is such a useful skill in upper years… I have some classes where the teacher just stands at the front of the room and talks and you have to create your own notes. 
  4. Not reading rubrics/instructions. I have so many examples of getting marks taken off even though my project was good, just because I didn’t read the instructions. Make sure you go through the rubric and/or the assignment sheets and check off that you have all of the components.
  5. Trying too hard to impress teachers. The best way to impress a teacher is to come get extra help, raise your hand in class, do all of the assignments as best you can and ask when you don’t understand something. Basically, show that you care about their class and are willing to work hard. Don’t bother sucking up to them about things outside of class or trying to prove yourself by writing an essay twice as long as recommended. Just try hard and your work will speak for itself. 

At School

  1. Not joining any activities at school. Activities boost up your resume, are a great way to meet new friends, and can be a really good way to stay involved throughout high school, because you can stay in the same club for all four years if you want. Pick one or two activities that really interest you and try them out!
  2. Joining too many activities at school. I know, I just said to join something at school… but the key words are one to two! I have been the leader of many clubs and groups inside and outside of school and there is nothing more frustrating than having people say they are interested and then backing out. Don’t sign up for everything you think sounds cool and then leave the cub a few weeks later. Find a few things you are actually passionate about and do those instead of doing 10 different things! 
  3. Not using class time/spares to your advantage. If you have work periods in class or you have a study hall or spare during school hours, use it! Its way better than having to work on something after school, especially if its a partner project. Way easier to organize when you guys are both at school.
  4. Worrying about who you sit with at lunch. I promise, no one will notice if you sit alone in the cafeteria for a few days. If you feel self conscious, just take out a notebook and people will assume you’re studying and want to be alone. 
  5. Not taking gym! I don’t know if this is the same way at every school, but usually you need at least one gym credit to graduate. Take it in grade 9!! It is easy, fun, and literally everyone takes it , so you aren’t going to be the worst at sports. I waited and ended up being forced to take online health just to be able to graduate.  

Socially

  1. Worrying about boys and crushes. Having a crush on someone seems like the be all end all of your existence when you’re 14, but its almost always useless. If you like someone and they like you too, that’s great and you should pursue it if you want. But if you like someone and they don’t notice you, try as hard as you can to move on. It is not a useful way to spend time and focus! 
  2. Hanging out with people who don’t like you. I did this so much in earlier grades! I tried so hard to force my way into groups that didn’t like me and didn’t want to hang out with me. Let go of the people who don’t accept you and try to find friends who actually love spending time with you. You are amazing and don’t deserve to have to fight for someone’s attention. 
  3. Trying too hard to hang onto friends from elementary school. This isn’t to say that you can’t keep being friends with someone if you go to different schools. But sometimes, a friendship just fades when you guys go off to different places. For me, I had friends that all went to private school together and I spent so much time worrying about being friends with them even though we only hung out like every 6 weeks. Let friends go if you grow apart. It’s only natural. 
  4. Not thinking about the consequences of your actions when partying. If you go out and get super, fall down on your face wasted, you might a) get in trouble from your parents, b) embarrass yourself in front of people or c) just feel like absolute shit the next morning. If you want to try drugs remember that you might a) get caught and get in legal trouble or b) have a really bad experience. I’m not saying to absolutely never go out and party, but think about what might happen and decide from there. 

Hopefully this post is helpful to freshman and others! Feel free to reblog and add your own advice. :) 

8.13.17 // 2:30pm //guide to school organization

this one was requested by @boglarkat-studyblr, @catharticstudying and @nevermindigotnothin, so i hope you find this useful! i’ve definitely tried a bunch of different organization methods over my years of schooling, so i know a fair bit about it. this post will include my current organizational system and also some other ones i’ve tried/thought of and their pros and cons. hopefully there’s something in here for everyone! xoxo, m

ps. you do not have to be impeccably organized to be successful. studyblr kind of perpetuates this “i need to have everything planned perfectly and color coded and filed away in this super neat system”. not everybody works that way and not everybody needs that in order to achieve their goals. find what works for you.

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Accidental

Summary: Nothing makes a party more interesting than accidentally seeing your best friend’s erect penis.

Notes: A college AU. Fluffier than you would expect from the summary. (On AO3)


Derek’s not much of a party person. He’s kind of shy, and a little socially awkward.

But when Stiles had invited him, he’d remembered all those late-night phone calls between them—the latest of which had included Stiles mumbling “You’re one of my best friends,” before drifting off—so he’d said yes. Because Stiles wanted him there, and Derek was more than flattered by that.

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MY JIKOOK TIMELINE SERIES pt.2

Okay this was really unexpected lol. I didn’t know so many people will find interesting what i have to say. 

I must admit I was thinking a lot about how I am gonna put this whole thing together.Also I had to remind myself that these are events from 3 years ago and therefore when I really wanna be detailed it is going to take some time to sort my things out. That’s why I am posting these series now because I had this idea in my mind for a very long time. 

DISCLAIMER: This post is supposed to be just for fun and shipping of Jikook. I am not claiming this is truth and I am not forcing anyone to believe this. These are just my observations throughout the years I have been into BTS and the time I have been into shipping jikook. I don’t want to cause any types of fanwars or stupid “shipwars” by this post and I don’t want other people to use this content for these kind of purposes. Also I am opened to hear about your other opinions. Just if you don’t like my opinion don’t be later on rude in my asks or something. As I said I am opened to listen but I AM NOT GONNA TOLERATE HATE OR PEOPLE BEING RUDE TO ME JUST BECAUSE I HAD FUN WITH THIS 

so let’s begin

late 2014+ Dark and wild comeback

The main thing that is totally visible about this so called “era” is that Jikook moments kinda are getting more serious and me watching them interact I always had this heavy feeling on my heart. I would say that this was kinda of a peak of Jungkook’s teasing. I would called this Jungkook being lil shit era. But also we can see other kind of attitude coming from Jungkook to Jimin at that time and that was him getting less shy and showing way more how he cares for Jimin. This period made me confused so many times to be honest because when I finally thought I had some kind of idea of what’s going on something other happened and I got totally confused again. 

Many people would claim that there is not much of a difference in Jikook relantionship when it comes to early 2014 and later 2014. But I see a huge difference and mainly in Jungkook’s behaviour. You are probably asking why do I always point out on Jungkook? To be honest he is way easier for me to read him because Jimin is more of a reserved person and he likes to put out his act. On the other hand Jungkook cannot fake most of his emotions he acts like he feels at the moment and he has no problem to show it. I was thinking about comparing these 2 periods on really nice example and that’s very famous “JIMINTV moment”. It is really nice how these 2 videos are exactly made in the early 2014 and late 2014 and how nicely we can see the change of Jungkook’s behaviour in it. 

The video starts with Jimin visibly trying to get Jungkook’s attentions and Jungkook not really being into it. 

At first I thought he was being shy or not really in the mood to play around but even if that’s the case he still found a way to tease Jimin back.

But then later on we could actually see that maknae was not having it. And he was kind of annoyed and later he left. 

Actually I don’t want to be one of those fans who would be pointing out look in this video Jungkook doesn’t like Jimin’s attention and in this video he does. No that’s not my style at all. I don’t want to talk about it because we will never know what was the base of the video. Why Jimin was even filming Jungkook and why Jungkook was really kind of annoyed. In my opinion it went like this. Jungkook was kinda tired or didn’t feel like filming and Jimin being his clingy caring hyung was trying to make his mood by playing around and annoying him. I don’t think there is more to it and I don’t really wanna go deep into this. The thing I really wanted to point out in this comparison is the body language and the weight of the situation. In this video we definitely could see that Jungkook had still this kind of friendship relationship towards Jimin or that’s what he was still going for. I think he was really not trying push it at that time. 

And then we have this JIMINTV video from which was posted in 2015 but actually was made during Danger/WOH era.

1st of all the awkwardness of the video. The tension in the video was so obvious somebody would be able to cut it into slices. In my opinion Jikook at that time even though they still were friends started to develop further feelings for each other and therefore the moments between them got more cringy and awkward in my opinion. The way Jungkook even looked down is showing he is kind of awkward around Jimin. 

For the 2nd of all and I really want to point this out because this is going to take a huge part of my analysis in the future.Can we talk about HOW Jungkook’s way of staring at Jimin changed? When I think about moments before yeah maknae is quite known for his intense stare and even me and my friend were talking about how Jungkook has this really beautiful eyes and intense stare towards people he finds interesting. BUT Jungkook’s way of staring on Jimin went from “let’s be bffs and make friendship bracelets btw i secretly like you” to “I had secretly a wet dream about you this morning” and I can really prove it. 

We can see the progression of his stare on these and I don’t think it is just me who noticed the change. I am not trying to say that Jungkook wasn’t staring lovingly at Jimin  before but I am just trying to point out the huge change.

Another thing that I noticed about Jikook during this era was that it was the beginning of the so cold tension between them that we are used to address mainly now. Many Jikook fans tend to say that the real blooming of Jikook was during Run era. But I have completely different opinion. The early blooming of jikook was actually in this era. 

The start of Jungkook checking out Jimin.

The grown affection and care from Jungkook towards Jimin.

The grown affection and care from Jungkook towards Jimin.

So I think I pointed the main parts of how I think Jikook progressed in this era and now I would like to talk about my kind of theory of what actually was going on at that time. 

In my opinion this was the time of the huge change in Jungkook’s thinking. I think he slowly started to realize what was going on and he kinda came to conclusion that there is no point to fight against it. Maybe he had some deep conversation with someone accepting or he just found it exhausting to fight his feelings. Of course I don’t think this was the era in which Jungkook came out to Jimin. I assume that even though he accepted himself he wasn’t prepared to talk about it with Jimin. That’s why he was trying to act towards Jimin. Yeah I was saying that Jungkook’s affection towards Jimin changed but that didn’t change the fact that Jungkook was still lil shit  and pulling Jimin’s strings most of the time. When it comes to Jimin I think in this era Jimin started to realize too that Jungkook might mean something more for him than his favorite dongsaeng. And now we have Jimin in his existential crisis. I think this was the point when Jimin went through a huge confusion and unfortunately he had not much time to think about it further because of their busy schedule. That’s why he was trying to act normally most of the times. But I kinda could sense the tension from his side and also him being a bit annoyed by all that Jungkook’s bickering sometimes.

Like we can see here.

To be honest I would really like to talk way further about this in the next part where I am going to make it sort of more like theory and personality analysis more than actual relationship analysis. 

Day 1 of back to school series

Ah, school. Love it or hate it, this place that we spend so many hours in is important and the grades that we get do affect our future in some way. So, it’s advantageous to have the best notes possible. This post that I’ve released will definitely help all of you become the crème de la crème of your classes. 

  • Find a study space. This can be anywhere. Your bedroom, another room in your house, a library or even a cafe. Just make sure that this space, is mostly quiet, uncluttered, has natural lighting and is comfortable. You want an area that you can study in without getting distracted. 
  • Attend all your classes. This might be a no-brainer, but unless you’re sick or have any obligations, that’s keeping you from going to school, you should always attend your classes and on time. Showing up late or not showing up at all will not only keep you from learning the class material properly but also make your teacher think poorly of you. 
  • Establish a proper study schedule. Dedicating just fifteen minutes to an hour a day for studying even if you don’t have any tests or exams in sight will help you better understand your material as well as keep you from cramming later on. Plus, you’ll have plenty of time to ask your teacher questions if you don’t understand something.
  • Get organized. There’s nothing worse than needing to study but your notes are nowhere to be found. Thankfully, this can be easily prevented. Throwing your notes, assignments, papers, etc in your locker or your backpack is a recipe for disaster. Instead, use notebooks, binders, folders and never lose anything ever again. 
  • Use some sort of planner. Whether you buy one, use an app on your phone,  printables, or a bullet journal, it will be useful for keeping track of due dates, exam periods, your study schedule and you can even jot down things you need to do on a specific day. I can’t stress on how important this step is. 
  • Become friends with your teacher. By that, I don’t mean eating lunch with them every day or kiss their ass. But doing simple things like being respectful, participating in class, and just overall being a good student will make them more inclined to give you good grades. 
  • Take care of yourself. You can’t do your best in school if you are sleep deprived, hungry or simply in a bad mood. So take care of your physical self. Eat often, get at least 8 hours of sleep, exercise often. And don’t forget to take care your mind too. Meditate, talk to someone if you’re having problems (my inbox is always open) and most of all, take a break once in a while. Work hard, but don’t work so hard that it’s compromising your health. 
  • Do work outside of school assignments and homework. School only teaches you so much. Broaden your knowledge by taking some specific classes outside of school whether it’s online or walk-in. Join a book club, if you’re into that. You can even get ahead of your classes by reading an extra chapter. By doing this, you will ultimately become a smarter person not only during your school days but when you graduate you can apply those skills in the real world too. 
  • Get a study buddy or join a group. Having someone to study with can be very helpful as long as you’re actually doing some work and not goofing around. You guys can teach each other the material, answer each other’s questions

Those are all the tips I have for now. Hopefully, this post was informative and helped all of you become the best students that you can be! By the way, this is the first post of my back to school series. If you loved this, and want some more tips, check-in tomorrow or any other day of this week.  xxx

From a Certain Point of View

Or, how Ben Kenobi’s boldfaced lie prevarication saved the Galaxy (but not in the way he thought it would).


Part One

  • Shortly before the beginning of ESB, Luke accidentally winds up in the past, conveniently appearing right next to Anakin Skywalker, new Jedi Knight. 
  • After convincing Anakin that he is indeed his son from the future – this takes a great deal of time and no small amount of effort – Luke begins to warn him about the Dreadful Future that awaits the galaxy… only to be returned to his own time/universe before he can finish the story.
    • But hey, Luke is sure that Anakin won’t have any problems figuring out the Emperor’s true identity. At least he was able to get across the important information, yeah? 
      • At least he got to warn his father about Darth Vader.
  • There’s just one little problem: Luke doesn’t know that Vader is the same person as Anakin Skywalker.
  • So when Luke warned his father that some student of Ben’s was going to go Dark Side, destroy the Jedi, betray and murder both Ben and Anakin himself, and probably kill Luke’s mother while he’s at it, Anakin drew the obvious conclusions:
    • #1: He (Anakin) is the only padawan Obi-Wan has ever had.
    • #2: If that Dreadful Future of his son’s is to come true, that obviously means that Obi-Wan is going to take on another padwan in the near future. 
    • #3: Therefore, in order to prevent the nightmare that is Luke’s world, all Anakin has to do is make sure that Obi-Wan never gets another padawan.
      • Easy, right? 
        • …Right?

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anonymous asked:

Hi! How are you? I saw the pictures of your previous trip to Japan. They are awesome. I plan to visit Kyoto this April and I would like to ask which Shinsengumi related places are worth the visit? Are there any places where I can buy Hakuouki related things? Last year I watched the whole Hakuouki anime series (all of the seasons, movies, specials) and I became a fan and I would like to visit the places which were mentioned in the anime. As you were there in April was it crowded? Best wishes, Éva

Thank you! I didn’t post nearly enough of them, honestly, I have so much more to talk about because the whole experience was just… completely surreal, but what is time? 

There are books dedicated to touring Japan to visit significant sites relating to the Shinsengumi, including two Hakuouki ones (one of which JUST came out). Of course, the biggest issue is that this information is all in Japanese and that’s something you’re going to come up against if you want to visit these places. You definitely don’t have to understand Japanese (I’ve heard of people managing) but it honestly helps.

My personal trip started in Tokyo, then we went down to Kyoto, back up North to Aizu-Wakamatsu and then onto Hakodate. We really just focused on many of the big spots but there’s just so much to cover, two weeks was never going to be enough, especially as it was my friend’s first time in Japan too so we had other things to do. 

As to the crowds, being hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season Tokyo and Kyoto were crowded, but I feel like that’s always a thing since it’s Japan, but the more you go off the beaten path, and the Shinsengumi sites kind of are off the beaten path, it’s not so bad. Aizu and Hakodate are definitely not as crowded, especially with foreign tourists. My friend and I were definitely standouts.

As far as being able to buy Hakuouki related goods, if it’s related to the Shinsengumi your chances of finding Hakuouki things to buy is high but it really depends on the location. I had the best luck in Kyoto, Aizu, and Hakodate since… they’re kind of big Shinsengumi hot spots, but we didn’t spend a lot of time in Tokyo for me to really go looking for stuff there. (I will say there is a disappointing lack of stuff in the Animates I went to.) I’ll be going back in April and focusing more on the sites in Tokyo so I’ll have to report back on that.

Here’s some of the major highlights of my trip that might be most worth noting:

**Warning: Long post is long! Click the location names for relevant links!**

Tokyo

Hijikata Toshizou Museum

The Hijikata family residence where Hijikata’s family resided during his lifetime has evolved to include a museum. Since the site is still a private residence, the added on museum is only open during certain days of the year. Typically two Sundays each month. Hino is considered part of greater Tokyo, but it’s quite a hike from the city itself. This is one of those places you have to be prepared to go to and spend a good chunk of your day at. The museum is small and you won’t be there long but it’s a wonderful place to go. The family runs it and is very pleasant to visit with. This is also where you would go to see Hijikata’s beloved sword, Izuminokami Kanesada. 

Sekiden-ji

Being that Hino is Hijikata’s hometown, there’s more than just the museum to visit. Just a few minutes journey from the museum is the Sekiden-ji or Sekiden Temple which is one of at least four places, I believe, with a grave for Hijikata. It’s a temple with a cemetery, containing many members of the Hijikata family, so it’s important to be respectful but it’s easy to find the stone marker and the grave itself is nearby. 

Hino also has a big Shinsengumi festival every year in May. One of these days I’m going to go to it. 

It’s good to wander around the city a bit. There’s so many houses with the Hijikata name plate and it’s clear this town is proud of it’s famous historical figure. I’m looking forward to going back and exploring it more on my own to see what I missed last time.

Itabashi - Kondou Isami’s Grave Marker

Itabashi is where Kondou was executed and after the war was over, Nagakura Shinpachi built the grave to memorialize the commander in 1876. Hijikata’s name is also inscribed on the stone pillar. Nearby is also a grave for Shinpachi as well. It’s a straight shot from Itabashi station so it’s not too difficult to find. The grave honestly is a memorial to the entirety of the Shinsengumi, but being that this is where Kondou was executed, it has special significance for that reason.

Other places to visit in Tokyo, that I intend to visit when I go back this year, include: 

Shieikan dojo - There’s nothing much remaining here beyond a stone marker, but this is the origin of the Shinsengumi and worth visiting.
Ryuugen-ji - Kondou’s body was brought here (sans his head) after his execution and buried. 
Imado Shrine - This site is primarily famous for being the birthplace of the manekineko or ‘lucky cats’ but it’s also significant for being the site of the hospital where Okita Souji was supposed to be recovering from tuberculosis. It’s not his grave or where he actually died though.
Sensou-ji - But his grave is close at the famous Sensou-ji, however, it is only open one day a year.
Chofu/Mitaka City - Birthplace of Kondou Isami and many members of the Shinsengumi. 
Kashio Bridge - Former site of the Battle of Koushuu-Katsunuma, the battle the followed the Battle of Toba-Fushimi and Kondou Isami’s last battle before his execution.

Kyoto

Mibudera / Yagi House

One of the sites of the Shinsengumi’s headquarters, these two places are a must see. The nice thing is that once you find one, the other is right down the same road, practically around the corner. You’ll see big “makoto” banners that signify they’re Shinsengumi sites. The Yagi House does do tours but they will not be in English (hopefully you get the nice man with the strong Kansai accent–he’s super nice). After the tour you get to go to the little shop that’s out in front for some tea and a treat as part of paying for a ticket for the tour. There’s a little garden in Mibudera that you pay 100 yen to get into but that’s where all the statues and memorials are that are the highlight. Including this really neat prayer board:

Nishi Honganji

The second headquarters of the Shinsengumi. It’s HUGE and it’s beautiful. Definitely worth a visit. Seriously, my pictures do not do the size of this place justice. It was immense. No wonder the squad wanted to relocate here. 

Ikeda Inn/Hana no Mai Restaurant

Now the site of the Hana no Mai Ikeda Inn branch but there’s a stone marker outside that states that this is the site where the Ikeda Inn used to stand. You need to make reservations but worth it for a good meal and where I drank my way through the Hakuouki Shinsengumi XD

Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle is a good place to visit just because it’s Kyoto and it’s where the Shogun lived when he was being protected by the Shinsengumi. As I recall it’s the site in the Hakuouki game where Kazama and the other demons reveal themselves to Chizuru while the Shinsengumi are guarding the Shogun.

Sanjo Bridge

We weren’t able to make it here, being on a time crunch, but it is near the castle. A site that is also famous to the Shinsengumi and all of Kyoto in general. This is the bridge where the notice was that Sano protected in Hakuouki. It’s also said that there’s a sword wound on one of the pillars on the east side from the Ikeda Inn Incident. 

Shimabara

Our ryokan was here so we got kind of an intimate experience of the area but it’s a nice little area to explore if you have the chance. The infamous red light district, this is where many men, the Shinsengumi included, would go to relax and drink off-duty. The entrance gate is kind of the major tourist attraction but this is where you can find the Sumiya.

Sumiya

This is the ageya famous for being visited frequently by Serizawa Kamo and the location where Hijikata and Kondou got Serizawa drunk before later assassinating him at the Yagi House. It’s also the oldest remaining example of an ageya still in existence. There’s sword marks inside made by Serizawa on the first and second floor. You need to make a reservation to see the second floor but it’s so worth it. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside (which is pretty typical) but there’s one room that is just covered all over with inlaid mother of pearl and it’s just insane. And they still don’t know how they did it! 

You are allowed to take pictures on the first floor and this is supposedly one of the sword marks from Serizawa:

Our ryokan was literally two houses down from this site and when I realized where we were I might have had an emotional freak out… >_>

There’s soooo many places in Kyoto though, one day I hope to go back and find the others that I know we missed. Fun side-story, one of the things one of my friends wanted to do what do some Shinsengumi cosplay, so he found us a shop that did it and on our last day in Kyoto we dressed up and got to visit the Mibudera in our outfits, it was pretty embarrassing but I’m glad we did it XD

Here, have a picture:

Ironically, it was the one day in our stay that it was RAINING LIKE CRAZY -_-

Aizu-Wakamatsu

Tsuruga-jou (Tsuruga Castle) aka Aizu-Wakamatsu Castle

When Saitou talks about defending Aizu, this is the castle at the center of it all. Tsuruga Castle was the home of Lord Matsudaira Katamori, who is the man responsible for sponsoring the Shinsengumi in the first place. He is the man that they feel indebted to and is basically the man they answered to, ultimately, and this is where he and his family resided. And for me, this is where my fascination with this period in history started, so naturally I had to go back. The original castle had been so riddled artillery fire during the Battle of Aizu, that it was demolished by the new government in 1874. The tenshu, the largest tower of the castle, was reconstructed in 1965 and currently houses a museum on the inside. It really is a must-see for anyone interested in the Bakumatsu and the Shinsengumi. 

Iimori-yama (Iimori Hill) / Byakko-tai Memorial

The Byakko-tai was a squadron of young teenage boys from the Aizu domain that fought to defend Tsuruga Castle and the city of Aizu during the Battle of Aizu. They were fighting along with the remnants of the Shinsengumi that stayed behind (such as Saitou), perhaps not directly though under the same banner of Aizu, but tragically, when the boys saw Tsuruga Castle burning they assumed the castle had fallen and each committed ritual suicide on the hill. While the castle would eventually fall, the tragedy is the boys’ death was premature. At the top of a long path of stairs climbing up the side of the hill (mountain? Feels like a mountain lol) is the memorial dedicated to them. This was the site where I really felt my first interest in the Bakumatsu and the Boshin War blossoming, so while not exactly a Shinsengumi site per se, it’s still related history and worth visiting. 

Hakodate

Goryoukaku

The famous site of the last battle of the Boshin War. Goryoukaku fort is where Hijikata retreats with what remains of the pro-Shogunate forces when they flee to Hokkaido, at the time called Ezo. Now the site is a park that is infamous for it’s gorgeous cherry blossoms. I was sad that unfortunately we were there a little too soon for the cherry blossoms but practically all the trees on the site are cherry blossom trees so when they are in full bloom it is quite a site I’m told. 

The Magistrate’s Office (lower picture) was only recently rebuilt as a museum over the site of the original office and is the location of Hijikata and Chizuru’s infamous kiss in Hakuouki ;) Though in reality it is the last stand of Hijikata and his beleaguered men. Walking through it is rather incredible as much detail was put into the restoration and one of the rare sites that lets you take pictures throughout the interior. They had DVDs for sale that went through the details and the lengths that they went through to reconstruct the Magistrate’s Office and it is beyond fascinating, I purchased a copy and hope to be able to share it some day.

Goryoukaku Tower

Not necessarily a Shinsengumi site historically speaking but if you want a nice aerial view of Goryoukaku Fort this is where you want to go. Also, personally, there’s two wonderful Hijikata statues here that are worth seeing, and a whole blow-by-blow of the Battle of Hakodate that’s really neat and that I have pictures of that I hope to share at some point.

Shomyo-ji (Shomyo Temple) / Memorial Monument for Hijikata Toshizou and the Shinsengumi

Here’s a description taken from the sign on site:

“After joining Enomoto’s army, Toshizo Hijikata (deputy leader of Shinsengumi) was killed in the battle of Hakodate. Opinions are divided regarding the exact location of his burial; Ippongi in Wakamatsu-cho, Tsuruoka-cho, or Eikokubashi in Jujigai. A record taken from the Kongoji Temple in Hino, Hijikata’s hometown in present-day suburban Tokyo, only noted that Hijikata’s memorial monument was erected in Shomyoji Temple in Hakodate. The monument did not survive three fires during the Meiji era, and the present monument was erected in 1973 by volunteers. 

Four others names of Shinsengumi members’, whose tombstones in Shomyoji Temple were destroyed during a typhoon in 1953, were also engraved on the monument.”

Monument Marking the Site of Hijikata’s Death

Located in front of a rather normal office building, this was the end of our pilgrimage, which I’m not a religious person necessarily but the weight of standing here and having come so far, I cried. Finding this was a little difficult but we had managed to get lucky and when I explained to our taxi driver why we were there and what we were doing and he literally drove us to our last two destinations pointing out highlights and patiently waiting for us at each site. It’s really cheesy, I know, but coming here was the pinnacle of a long journey and I really hope I can go back again one day to pay my respects again.

This person’s blog has some great suggestions of things to see in Kyoto relating to the Shinsengumi: 

http://matome.naver.jp/odai/2140320228711779601?&page=1

Of course, as I said earlier, the only downside is that none of it is in English, which is going to be the struggle for anyone really wanting an immersive Shinsengumi or Bakumatsu experience. While you can get around not knowing the language I feel like, honestly, there would be a lot lacking. Especially if you try to venture further North to Aizu or Hakodate, Aizu in particular would be tough for non-Japanese speakers. 

There were so many places to see and since I was not on my own there was just not enough time to hit them all, but these were the major stopping points on our tour along the path of the Shinsengumi. 

HOW TO STUDY FOR THE ACT

And now finally, after 495803493 years (okay it was four-ish weeks), I am back with a new post! This one tackles one of the woes of a student’s existence: the ACT. It’s standardized testing season again so I thought I would share some of my studying tips and advice that will hopefully help you improve your scores! 

1) GET A PREP BOOK

This is really, really important. Buy a prep book or borrow one from the library. I believe there’s even a post here that has some online versions. You may be thinking “Nah, I got this.” but it’s not that simple. I personally don’t know anyone who’s scored really well on their first try. Most people have taken the ACT multiple times in order to reach their desired score. Most if not all of those times were with intensive studying. It’s extremely hard (not impossible) to get a top score on your first try. Don’t waste your time and money, get a prep book. I don’t know much about ACT classes because I’ve never taken one but I’ve done just fine without one and so have many of my friends. I know they can be very expensive and I don’t know how worth it they are. It depends on you as a person and your learning style. I personally would recommend the prep book. My choices are

  • Princeton Review’s ACT (The Newest Edition if possible because they changed the test)
  • Princeton Review’s ACT Elite 36 (If you’re looking to nail those last few points to get a top score)

Now I have only used Princeton Review. I have no experience with any other review materials so I can’t say how good they are. But, in my studying, I found Princeton Review to be very helpful. Their explanations were clear and concise, they had a little bit of humor thrown in, and their practice tests were pretty close to the real thing. Plus, their testing strategies were on point. I strongly recommend them.

2) MAKE A STUDYING SCHEDULE

Be organized. It’s going to make a huge difference in your preparedness. School and extracurriculars are hectic enough as it is and it’s going to be hard to find time to study. If you just say “I’m going to study when I have time” or “I’ll do it later” you’re most likely not going to get anything done. 

  • First: How much time do you have until the test? Ideally, you want to start studying a month or two before the test. This will allow you to learn all the strategies and take a sufficient amount of practice tests. But if you have a week before the exam, fear not! Although not ideal, If you’re organized you’ll study enough to do well. Once you’ve determined the days/months you have to study,
  • Make a study schedule. Plan out exactly how much time each day you’ll dedicate to studying for the ACT. I know things happen and you’re schedule can change, but you should be pretty aware of when you have free time. The amount of time you dedicate per day is up to you, but I would suggest at least a half hour per day (with more if you’re taking a practice test). If you have more time to study, you can devote less time whereas if you have less time to study, you want to devote more time. Again, it’s up to you.
  • Stick to the schedule! Don’t procrastinate. When it comes time to study, study. Put away all distractions and focus. You’ll get more out of your studying sessions if you’re more focused versus being distracted and checking tumblr every five minutes.

3) LEARN THE TECHNIQUES

Believe it or not, there are strategies to approaching each part of the test. This is where the prep book comes in. The prep book details all of these strategies in detail and gives you examples. These strategies usually work! They help you approach the sections in the right way in order to maximize your time and minimize your errors. Learn them well. Some say to focus on your weak spots and ignore your strengths when doing this. It’s up to you, but I disagree. I think spending time evenly on all the sections will maximize your score. But definitely don’t ignore your weakness. They will bring a really good score to a mediocre one.

4) TAKE PRACTICE TESTS

No matter what you do, don’t skip this part. Even if you refuse to learn any strategies, take practice tests. It’s the best way to get a feel for the test and to see the format. Don’t show up on test day not knowing anything, or very little, about the format and types of questions. It will bring down your score. Take at least 3 timed practice tests, where you sit down as if it were the real thing and take the whole test in one sitting. These practice tests (although not the best indicators of your score) will indicate the range of scores you’re in. If you did learn techniques, and even if you didn’t, the practice tests are the place to see what techniques need polishing/what you need to work on (this includes the essays!).

5) WHAT TO DO ON TEST DAY

Have your registration ticket, number 2 pencils (I usually go with four just in case), an eraser that works, a calculator FULLY CHARGED OR WITH NEW BATTERIES, your ID, a water bottle, a snack for during breaks, and a jacket if you think you’ll need one. The night before is up to you. Numerous places say to relax and “watch a movie” but again, like so much of this test, it’s up to you. If you feel confident in your abilities, feel free to watch a movie. If you’re slightly unsure, go over the areas you’re uncertain about. I always study the night before and it works for me. Usually I take a practice test or two and see how well I do, and I go over weak spots. Regardless of what you choose to do, get a good night’s sleep. The next morning, eat a good breakfast - something you know will last you four hours. In the testing room, turn off your cellphone and double check to make sure it’s off. You wouldn’t want to invalidate your scores because you left your phone on vibrate and your best friend called you in the middle of the test. And last but not least, be CONFIDENT! You’ve got this! You’ve studied for months/weeks/days and you know your stuff inside out! No matter what happens, you’re going to ace the test! Don’t let the pressure get to you! Be calm and focused and you’ll do well!

I hope this post was helpful and that you all improve your scores (or get really good ones on the first try!). Let me know if you have any questions and good luck!

Pen Pal

The majority of Elsewhere U. students really interest me. Those who live in a liminal space and refuse to see anything out of the ordinary.

This is my first time writing in second-person POV (it happened on accident) and I hope you like it.

————–

It started dully enough. Someone had written ‘Hello’ in the bathroom (in fancy curly purple script, so extra). Juvenile, but it was the single-stall Everyone bathroom in the second sub-basement of the library, so you were willing to write it off as a bored freshman or something. And maybe you were a little bored yourself. Or lonely. Because you replied. You bought a green Sharpie specifically to respond to the purple word on the light orange paint.
‘Hey. W/ u studying?’

You went to check the little-used bathroom a few days later.
'Humans’ was written in beautiful purple handwriting under your green message.
'Psych major, cool. I’m eng-his double major’
You hoped the janitors wouldn’t clean off or paint over this little conversation. It was a little like having a pen pal. A couple days later you had another reply in purple swirls.

'Would you do something for me?’
The request was weird, but so were college kids; and you could always just not do it, you didn’t know who you were talking with, and were pretty sure you weren’t being followed. Like 75% sure. 70% sure.
'W/ u need?’
'Bells NOT silver candy cream beads appreciation’
It took you a few seconds to understand that the beautiful words written at all angles on the wall were a list. (Seriously? Upside down?) It was a pretty cheap request, aside from 'appreciation’, but most college kids lived off dark humor, so you didn’t pay it much mind. Maybe they were doing a psych-sociology experiment; you didn’t want to screw up their data.

You got some cheap gold-painted aluminum jingle bells, thread, and a package of plastic beads at the craft store. They were the same kind of cheap beads a lot of the art majors wore on necklaces, so you figured that’s what your pen pal wanted. At the grocery store you added a box of unflavored single coffee creamers and a bunch of candy, including caramel with creme centers (you couldn’t tell if 'cream’ and 'candy’ were meant to be combined on the bathroom wall or not). You brought it to the single stall bathroom in the second sub-basement of the library and left the bag in the corner. You threw out the receipts, thought a second, then tore out a piece of paper from your notebook and grabbed your green marker.
'I appreciate you :)’ You wrote, messily folding the paper into a crane, the only origami you know, and leaving it on top. 

You went back to your dorm, finding a small pile of pretty-looking junk on a huge leaf on your pillow. Your roommate wasn’t there. Must be a weird prank or some new internet challenge or something. You sorted through the odds and ends. Pretty rocks, tiny animals carved from wood, marbles, pieces of broken safety glass cracked through with green-blue and so fragile that some crumbled off the sides when you picked them up (you cleaned the miniscule slivers of broken glass off your pillow with some duct tape)… Eventually you found a little purple origami turtle. You opened it to find writing inside. 

'Your assistance is appreciated*’
There was no other asterisk anywhere else on the paper, so it must have been a stylistic choice, not a grammatical one. You put it out of your mind and carefully refolded the turtle and set everything on your desk to deal with later. Maybe you’d give it to an art student, they always seemed to have little trinkets like that. Or trade, the student body really liked trading, or maybe most colleges full of poor college kids were like that.

———–

In the week before midterms you suddenly awoke one night. You almost groaned and rolled over to preserve what sleep you could, but when you grabbed your blanket your hand landed on paper. You squinted at the post-it in the dim light, making out swirly fancy handwriting. Across the room, your roommate was asleep. Whatever. You stuck it to your phone and went back to sleep.

You read the post-it the next morning.
‘*I can help’

“What does that mean?” You asked your roommate, slightly accusingly. He frowned at the note.
“You should probably leave this alone.” He tells you seriously.
“Then why did it you stick it to me last night?”
“What? No I didn’t. My handwriting looks nothing like that.” He had a point. 
“Are you having a friend write the notes? Is a friend of yours messing with me by way of you?”
“No, I have no idea what that’s about. But if I were you, I’d steer clear of it. And make sure you have iron, salt, and cream on you.” Pippin was a theatre major, so he may be lying, but if he wasn’t lying his superstitions were true to his nature. The only group that could rival theatre majors for superstitions were D&D players.

You frowned at the post-it, debating what to do. You decided to stick it to the backside of the dorm door, adding your own post-it below in your green marker.
‘Help how?’ You didn’t think your roommate was the plagiarizing type, hopefully he only meant studying together because of how english, history, and theatre all came together.

You checked the back of the door after lunch to find a new post-it.
‘If you want to find out, come to the pool party tonight. I’ll find you.’
You debated. You knew you needed to study for midterms, but what if your roommate could help? What if he was trying (in a really weird roundabout way) to take your mind off midterms and get you to relax? You decided to go.

The pool party was more fun than you thought it’d be. You jumped in the deep end and swam around there early in the evening, before you could get drunk. They were playing good music, had more than just cheap beer in the coolers. You were genuinely having a good time.
“Hey.” A smiling girl in a bikini put her arm around your shoulders. “You’re Green Marker, right?”
“You’re Purple Marker?” You asked. She nodded. “How do you know Pippin?”
“I know all the theatre majors in passing. And I know anyone down that deep in the library could use a hand come test time. What do you say?”
“You’d help me study? Without plagiarizing?”
“You’d have to provide me with something, too. Fair’s fair.”
“What would you want?”
“What are you willing to offer?”
“More candy?” You tried.
“To help you ace your midterms?”
“Okay, um…”

You tried to think. People were always saying to never wager something you couldn’t bear to lose. What was something valuable enough to get studying help, but that you could bear to lose? You glanced around and realized you’d been slowly walking away from the party, into the darkness.
“I’ll give you…” She wanted appreciation. “I’ll give you my friendship. How’s that?”
“Wonderful.” She sighed, her eyes gleaming in the moonlight.

 (x)