Look, I get it. Studying sucks. We all hate
studying with a passion.
I’ve been watching a bunch of BTS (Not the kpop
band, but back to school) videos with “study hacks” but they’re all the same.
ESPECIALLY with the gum method. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have this
fear of gum at school. It kinda stemmed in middle school where if you were
caught chewing gum, the teacher would call you out IN THE MIDDLE OF A LESSON
and you had to do the walk to shame to the trashcan and spit it out. Me, being
a middle schooler filled with anxiety, hated it. So I just got in the habit of
not eating gum at school.
So, here are my tips on how to study and in
essence, survive school for fun.
I never really studied that much in high
school—but I did study smart, which helped with my grades.
I guess I should give you my credentials to you
guys to let you guys know that it did in fact work for me. So, I want to let
you know that I went to a (broke as can be) college prepatory high school
(Which is a whole lot harder than a normal public school) and for my freshman
year of high school, a Christian school (Anyone that has gone to religion school
knows they don’t joke when it comes to studying. I used to do 30 math problems
a night, along with English assignments, Biology assignments, ext, EVERY
NIGHT.) I took as many AP classes as I could my Junior and Senior year, and
during my upperclassman year, I managed a 4.0 (Don’t talk about my
underclassmen year, I was a terrible underclassmen)
Anyways, so, here are my tips on how to study:
In Class Notes
your doodles for your advantage
I discovered this idea as while my US history
teacher was showing us political cartoons.
As an artist, I understand pictures better than
words. Also, as an artist, I would sometimes (Okay, all the time) doodle in
class simply because doodling is just more fun then just sitting there,
listening to the teacher. I also know that everyone doodles in class. So,
here’s an idea: Draw something that’ll help you remember what you’re studying.
I would use this, so here are some examples
Teddy Roosevelt holding a bat
Big Stick Diplomacy. See how Teddy Roosevelt is
looking intimidatingly at you? Well, the big stick diplomacy was the US’s
international plan to keep peace—as while showing everyone their navy power. In
essence, imagine you’re on a playground as a kid, then there’s this little kid
with a bat. Now, he may not hit you with a bat, but he’s going to show off his
bat just to tell you, “Hey, if you piss me off or do something stupid, I have a
bat that I can attack you. But that’s only when you do something stupid.”
USSR and USA singing, “Anything you can do I can
Cold War Era. During that time, the USSR and the
USA tried to beat each other in “Who can make the most nukes?” Scary? Yes. But
it makes sense with the song that I really don’t have to explain that much.
Voltaire being a badass.
Voltaire may be a dick, but he was an advocate
of freedom of expression. I don’t particularly remember what else he did, other
than he was an advocate of freedom of expression—but hey, it just shows you how
helpful this was for me because I still remember this about Voltaire to this
a.) Another alternative if
you don’t art, is to have something to remember it by.
Such as, for me, when I
had to remember the Sympathetic Nervous system, I would think about being eaten
by a bear. Why? Because if I were to say, see someone be eaten by a bear, I
would feel rather sympathetic to them because they’re dead. Sympathetic I say?
Sympathetic! Because their sympathetic nervous system would had kicked in
before they got killed and eaten by a bear.
speaking of stupid and tiny things that would help someone remember things,
puns also work. Such as, “What started the Protestant revolution? Martin Luther
nailed it” (Get it? Because Luther nailed the 99 grievances to the church door?
2.) So what? Why the
heck should I care?
This mainly works for history, but you should
always question history—mainly the part as to why the heck should you care
about what happened in the past. Not only that, but this helps on tests. I
haven’t had a history class that was all dates since…Well, since middle school
I suppose. But here are some examples:
Why was the US Congress disagreeing on Woodrow
Wilson’s 14 points detrimental? Because the world blamed everything on Germany,
and if we would have accepted Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points, it probably wouldn’t
Why was the shooting of Archduke Ferdinad so
important? Well, believe it or not, but there was a completely different world
before WW1. I don’t remember much, but if you’ve taken European history, you
would understand. The world would not be the world as it is today if it wasn’t
for WW1. The “Church” would have probably still been in charge (although,
Just always ask yourself, “So what? Why should I
give a damn?”
3.) Don’t highlight
A lot of youtubers tell you to highlight everything.
I, on the other hand, am going to tell you TO NOT DO THAT BECAUSE THAT IS A
VERY BAD IDEA!
Have you ever highlighted something, and before
you realize it, you’ve practically highlighted the entire page—therefore making
that effort of highlighting so pointless? Yes? Have you ever read something and
then stop yourself as you realize that you read it, but didn’t retain any of
Here’s my tip. Read everything first on your
notes before you highlight things.
a.) What should I highlight?
Definitions. Most of the
time, teachers are just trying to see if you know said thing
“Keywords” which are
mainly the things that are bolded in the book
That thing your teacher
won’t shut up about and keeps on mentioning over and over again
4.) Using a book? Use
tabs and sticky notes!
If you were anything like me, then you never use
the highlighter to highlight your book because you don’t want to pay $100 for a
damaged book that probably has a dick drawing (IN PEN, URGH) from the person
who had it before you did.
So instead, use tabs and sticky notes to put in
That way, you won’t have that, “HOLY CRAP, I SAW
THAT DEFINITION A SECOND A GO, WHERE DID IT GOOOO????” moment.
5.) Pencil and eraser
Again with the book, another alternative is
circle said word with a pencil, and erase it later with an eraser.
Quick tip: Use a white erasers, because pink
erasers suck and will probably ruin the page and ink. White erasers are
smoother, and won’t damage the book compared to a pink eraser.
6.) Study groups
Study groups are something I wish I would had
done in high school. In high school, I was the overachiever so I took a bunch
of AP classes. That being said, I also suffered alone.
When I went to university, I somehow managed to
jump into a study group, and it was the best thing ever. Why? Because we were
all suffering together. Whenever someone needed help on something, another
person would chip in and tell them what they could do and give them advice.
You’re not suffering alone, which is absolutely
I think in high school, I only had one study
group, and that was (sadly) right before the AP euro exam. Seriously, while we
were doing some last minute studying for the test, we all said the same thing.
“We should have done this earlier. URGH.”
Honestly, you make better lasting friendships
that way. Plus, what parent wouldn’t say yes when you ask, “Mom, I’m going to
my study group at the Library/at Starbucks to study”?
Oh, and just FYI, don’t do a study group at a
restaurant. Just don’t do it, unless it’s between the hours of 1-5 PM. And if
you do, you better tip your waiter/waitress real well. As in, it better be more
than a 20% tip. Just, just don’t do study groups at a restaurant. Just don’t do
Crash Course helped me in so many ways, mainly
because I’ve had crappy teachers who didn’t know how to teach. But it’s also
great because you can watch it way before a
test while, let’s say, eating in front of your computer. It’s great
repetition, and it’s just a blessing.
Is it possible to make a strong female protagonist but still make her mega insecure?
You also never need to ask permission. You want to do something? Just go.
I’m tempted to just leave it there, but we should probably talk about character traits, flaws, and development. The issue with the term “Strong Female Character” is that it’s misleading and often misinterpreted. Very often, in certain circles, it’s presented that strong = flawless. Combined with the whole pressure cabin of worries surrounding the “Mary Sue”, it can lead to some interesting places. Usually into either too much or not enough territory.
When someone says “Strong Female Character” what they usually mean is “Well-written Female Character” which is, I admit, almost as intimidating. However, it’s not just that the well-written female character has flaws, it’s a matter of how those flaws interact with their narrative.
You want to write a female protagonist with insecurities? That’s great! There’s plenty in this world for a woman to be insecure about. However, the development doesn’t stop there.
The next questions are the most important ones when working with any flaw and all flaws. Ask yourself:
What is my character insecure about? How does that affect how they view and interact with the world around them?
One of the biggest issues with the ways that flaws get handled in some fiction, especially with younger writers, is that they assume the key way to escape the dreaded Mary Sue moniker is to give a character flaws. The problem often being that those flaws often don’t affect anything. The difference between a well-written character and one that isn’t (but may still be compelling to some like wish fulfillment characters) is that their flaws directly affect how they engage with other characters and the surrounding story. They influence their judgement, cause them to make choices which may be dubious, build tension, and are often a direct source of character conflict.
The flaws serve a purpose rather than just existing in an effort to deflect criticism or to make the character seem more human. It’s important to remember though that the more deep seated the insecurity then the more difficult it will be to overcome. The same is true of any other kind of flaw and, really, any other kind of story. The bigger it is then the bigger the impact will be. The more powerful the characters then the bigger the narrative must be to accommodate them. (Or we go in the reverse and have human drama be the focus as it often is with characters like Superman.)
So, the deeper seated the flaw then the less easy a fix will be. They are the only one who can really decide whether or not their insecurities matter and no matter how many times someone else tells them that they’re amazing, confident, powerful, or strong, it might not take until they start to believe it themselves.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
Sara has been training at the military academy since her parents sent her when she was six, she’s now 17 and approaching graduation. Though she ranks in the top or near the top of her class, and is constantly complimented on her fighting prowess, she worries about how well her skills will translate into the field. Being near the top, she’s been trained to take charge of other cadets but the thought of possibly having to decide about her friends makes her feel a little sick. She works hard and doesn’t have time a for relationship with boys or girls, but every so often she stops and stares in the mirror as she’s getting ready. The face staring back at her looks nothing like the girls she’s seen crossing the street from the Prepatory, the ones all the boys and some of the girls sigh over, or the ones on the movie posters. The clothes at the mall never fit quite right.
Whenever she looks at herself a nagging feeling slips underneath the surface, is this a face anyone could love?
Jenna’s been scraping the bottom of the barrel since her parents pulled strings with the General to get her in. She never wanted a military life and she’s tried her best to washout. Blew off her training sessions. Skipped class. Flunked gym. Maybe she can put together her rifle in a few minutes, but it’s not the rigid coordinated thirty seconds of her classmates. Still, graduation’s approaching and the bottom is still a direct line straight into the army. She doesn’t want to be a jarhead, shaved is just not a good look for her. Maybe her family’s from a long line of career military, but she never wanted this. Sure, knocking a few good looking guys and girls around the training floor is fun but put a gun in her hands and ask her to shoot? That’s another question entirely.
The question here is how these insecurities present themselves and often our fears lead to deeper seated fears at the bottom of that deep, dark internal well. Then, there’s the question of how they deal with those insecurities in their day to day existence. Do they avoid them? Do they ignore them? Do they repress them? Do they try to find some other way out of these entanglements? A character labeled as lazy might be actually be trying to find a way out that doesn’t involve admitting they’ve quit.
However, the passage of thought often leads to more questions which allow you to explore the character and those surrounding them more fully.
If Jenna is so determined to drop out then why doesn’t the Academy let her quit or toss her out?
Are Sara’s insecurities a result of the fact she’s dedicated herself to an ideal and cause but never really stopped to evaluate herself and what she wants? Or is she just insecure about her looks? Either way, it’s lonely at the top.
Whatever you do, try to think about how it affects their personality, their interactions, and the way they behave in the world around them. Character flaws inform a lot about a person and their journey in overcoming those fears and adversity is what defines a character as “strong”.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with a character being weak, either.
It’s mostly just a question of the kind of story that you want to tell.
Your style is so unique, magical yet classic! Where did you go to school? You're amazing!
I’m actually in 2nd year at george Méliès, an Animation school in Orly (near Paris). But to be sincere my school didn’t taught me anything or guide me to do what I’m doing right now. I learned a lot when I did my prepatory class Atelier de sèvres. And now I try to work on my own to improve etc… :) and to do what I want to do, but your comment motivates me a lot :) Thank’s ! it’s really encouraging !