Shoutout to trans and other non cis people who have changed their names and have exams coming up or recently had exams where you’re forced to write your birth name. You are super valid and incredibly strong and I hope you do well on all of your exams
1. See it as a process, not a one time event. When you make a change in your life, there are lots of small adaptations to be made. It takes time to process and adjust to those changes – so be patient with yourself.
2. Change the way you think about change. Try to see it in a positive light. Even although there are lots of negatives and challenges, you’re likely to benefit in the end.
3. Face your feelings, and especially the negative ones. If you don’t, they’ll simmer beneath the surface and make it harder for you to cope. Feelings are neither good nor bad. They just are. If you feel bad, you feel bad!
4. Notice any areas where you have control as that will help you to feel less trapped or boxed in.
5. Pay attention to your thoughts and attitudes – and choose to look for the positives, and to frame uncertainties in a hopeful way.
6. Stay in touch with people who care, and can act as a support in this time of change.
so 2017 is here, and that means we’re all going to try to change for the better. we all know that most people don’t succeed, but why is that? my theory is that a lot of people don’t know how to keep their motivation consistent. turns out many psychologists have actually figured out a kind of equation for motivation, factors that play into whether or not we keep our resolutions, habits, and goals. i read this amazing book about this equation and“hacking” your motivation and made notes of some of the main takeaways. enjoy and happy 2017!
take advantage of “success spirals”
set yourself a series of achievable goals and then achieve all of them until you expect only success and failure is no longer familiar. this is a great way to get started living a motivated life. example: start out your new year by changing one habit that’s small enough where success is likely, and use that success to propel you to larger goals.
commit early on
choose now to limit your later options, preventing yourself form making the wrong choice in the face of temptation. signing up for a public speaking engagement that you know you should do is much easier 2 months beforehand, thereby forcing you not to chicken out when the going gets tough.
surround yourself with motivated people
have a workout or study buddy with similar goals as you. you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. example: read or watch biographies of inspirational people whose lives you would like to emulate. go on a social media diet, in which you only see motivating and positive posts by motivated and positive people.
visualize the success you want to achieve, contrasting it with the life you currently live. Add in implementation intentions and process visualization for more oomph. michael phelps does this for every race, “playing the video tape” of the perfect race in his head. this allowed him to break a world record in 2008 with water in his goggles.
get into flow
flow is a psychological state characterized by being completely absorbed in whatever it is you’re doing. musicians, writers, and other creatives often report this while making their best works. how to get into flow? tasks which are too easy or too hard are not engaging, so find ways to make tasks challenging but possible. compete against yourself, or against others. getting into flow is most achievable when something is familiar to you and you can do it automatically, but it still contains mentally stimulating elements.
connect your goals to passion
look for ways to connect tasks with major life goals, so that you can remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. set up extra reminders of those connections where you’ll see them (ex: every day i make my goal of saving 100 dollars i am that much closer to financial freedom). make sure you’re on a path to goals you actually want and that the journey is making you happy. If it isn’t, consider something more intrinsically motivating.
care for yourself
everything is better when you’re alert. sleep well, eat well, move your body every day, guard your circadian rhythms, and avoid burnout. cure energy lows with quality breaks, movement, sunshine, and good music. match intensive tasks with periods of high energy.
if you can’t bring yourself to do your main task, at least get some other things out of the way. it’s not perfect, but perfect is the enemy of good. get used to the act of doing consistently, rather than having things be perfect, so it doesn’t paralyze you. do not be afraid of failure, because it is the fastest way to learn.
celebrate your successes with any reward that will motivate you (treats, crazy dance parties, an hour of social media or video games?). we all know the feeling before a deadline where it seems as if our life for the next week is just a never-ending tunnel of drudgery and work.
this one is related to rewards – plan times to have as much fun as you can - this leads to more efficient recreation, and it also lets you focused on your goals during the other times, rather than just having low-grade leisure constantly tempting you as an option. ex: rather than taking a “break” every two minutes to check your instagram feed, do something that will actually burst your mood, make you laugh, or release some of the tension in your body.
1. Money will likely be in short supply. You’ll find a student loan doesn’t stretch very far.
2. It’s likely that you’ll feel a bit homesick at first, but for most individuals that doesn’t last too long. Just throw yourself into the activities around you and try to avoid any visits home.
3. Your first week of classes will be a huge let down. They’re usually uninspiring – but get better with time. Expect to do a lot of work on your own as you don’t get taught at university. (They just spew out information and facts).
4. When you first meet your room-mates or the others in your class, expect long pauses and awkward silences. You will still be total strangers with no knowledge of each other – but that will pass in a day or two.
5. Your old friends will change as you’re all on different paths - so you’re bound to have fewer things in common now.
6. Romantic relationships will need a lot more work if one of you moves when you start studying. Also, distance relationships can be hard to maintain so think about whether the relationship should end.
8 AM classes really aren't that bad:
It may take some willpower (and coffee) to get there, but really, 8AMs aren't that bad. Get a decent amount of sleep the night before and you will be okay. If I can get myself and my 4 year old out of bed, get ready, drop her off at preschool and arrive on time for an 8am, you can too!
Taking classes that meet once a week for long blocks:
If your learning style is such that sitting in a long lecture once a week is something you can handle, then these are the best classes to take. Personally, I have done 3 semesters of these and they have been my favorite and the ones I have gotten the best grades in.
Scheduling back-to-back class periods:
These can be beneficial if you're the type of person that just likes to get everything out of the way at once. However, the downside is that you will not have time to eat between classes, and you may have to grab something and eat during lecture. If the buildings for your classes are far apart, this may not even be an option. Having breaks between classes is important to allow yourself mental relaxation and to eat, or catch up on work.
Don't be afraid to change your major:
I've changed my major a lot, like maybe 8-10 times. The downside is that I am graduating a year late, but I took A LOT of fascinating classes and became a much better rounded student. Colleges know that student change their minds. If you switch majors 2-3 times, you won't end up behind. I'm a special case.
Take long-hand notes:
You may feel strange taking long-hand notes while everyone else is typing away at their MacBooks, but long-hand notes are MUCH more beneficial as far as long-term memory goes, and you don't run the risk of being distracted by Facebook.
Dress appropriately for class:
The college stereotype of everyone attending class in their pajamas isn't true. At least make the effort to throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Your professors will notice if you look like a slacker in class, and dressing nicely (or at least not in your pajamas) shows them that you value your education and respect their lectures. People wear anything from casual clothes to ties to class, and everything inbetween. Don't be afraid you'll be overdressed, being underdressed is much worse (in my opinion).
Cultivate relationships with professors:
ATTEND OFFICE HOURS. Close relationships with professors are massively helpful! Professors are much more willing to write letters of recommendation, look over rough drafts, or help you out via email at 10pm for students that they know than ones that they don't. Additionally, professors can be some of the most interesting people you will ever meet.
Along the same lines as above, attending class is very important. You (or your parents) are paying for you to be there. You should try to get the most out of that by attending lectures that you have signed up for. Additionally, when it comes finals time and you need to boost your grade, no professor is going to help you if you haven't attended their lectures.
Invest in a water bottle:
Nothing is worse than sitting in a lecture dying of thirst.
Invest in a messenger bag, tote bag, or backpack:
You don't have a locker in college and chances are your dorm will be far away from your classes. Make sure you have something to carry anything you'll need, from books, to pens and pencils, to a laptop, or even snacks like granola bars.
Do it. Your professor knows more than you, that's why they are at the front of the room. Listen to them, and write down what they say. Then study it. This is how you learn.
Utilize the library:
Other than during finals week, the library is pretty much a guaranteed quiet place to study. Additionally, college libraries have databases for research papers, printing services, and a whole lot more for students.
Eat alone if you want/have to:
No one will judge you. I promise.
Annotate your books:
Especially if you are an English/literature major! It is a lot easier to simply take all of your notes in the novel than to copy down page numbers and quotes into a notebook. Textbooks (like science ones) can be annotated too!
Don't let anyone shame you about your major:
Each major is difficult in its own way. Don't let anyone make you feel like you're taking an "easy" major or that they are more intelligent than you because they are in a "hard" major. STEM majors are not better than Liberal Arts majors, and Liberal Arts majors are not better than STEM majors. Ignore anyone who says otherwise. Ignore anyone who says your major is pointless. This does not only apply to fellow students, but family, friends, and the world in general.
Prepare for advising periods:
Class offerings are usually posted before registration is open. Take an hour to become familiar with the requirements of your department and the individual college it is in (if applicable), as well as University/institutional requirements (IE at UMass, my "college" is the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, while my department is Anthropology. The university itself, SBS, and Anthro all have different specific requirements I must meet to graduate) and make a list of classes you would like to take that satisfy these requirements. Advisors will appreciate it.
Take advantage of campus resources:
Many colleges and universities have numerous extremely helpful resources, such as employment services which will help with resumes, or counselors for when you're having a hard time. Use these. They are there for you.
Keep yourself organized:
Notebooks, highlighters, a planner, flashcards, an expandable file, binders, folders, literally whatever you need to keep track of all your papers, assignments, due dates, and what you need to help you study is important for you to have. If you don't know what helps you study or what keeps you organized, try some different systems or do some research.
Keep your syllabi:
Every semester I buy a different notebook for each class I am taking, and I always keep my syllabus folded in half in the back of each notebook. It has saved my ass numerous times.
Check your email or the course website before class:
Nothing sucks more than being the only kid who didn't know class was cancelled, especially if you're a commuter and you drove in/took the bus to a class that isn't happening.
Give yourself plenty of time:
Whether its getting to class, doing homework, or writing a paper, make sure you give yourself enough time. This is especially important for commuters. I can promise you that you will need more time to drive to class than you think. I live less than 40 minutes away from UMass and I still leave 75-90 minutes before class starts.
Understand your learning style:
Do flashcards work best? What about mindmaps? Answering questions at the end of the chapter? Understand what allows things to sink into your mind the best, and utilize that method of learning.
Honestly, you can get by with SparkNotes:
I was an English major. We had to read, a lot and I didn't always read the novels. I used SparkNotes and skimmed chapters. While I wouldn't recommend relying on this entirely to graduate, it can help in a pinch.
I know I just told you to go, and I do mean that. But sometimes you need to skip class and be lazy or frivolous, and that's fine. Don't make it a habit. I usually allow myself 1-2 "mental health" days per semester. HOWEVER you should be VERY clear on the absence policy of your professors. Some don't take attendance, and others will kick you out if you miss 3 classes. It's always in the syllabus.
It's okay to withdraw from a class:
Getting a W is better than getting an F. If a class is too much for you, then it's best to step out of it. Most professors will understand, and most grad schools and jobs will too.
Be kind to yourself:
It's easy to only value yourself through school, as in what grade you got on a test, or how your GPA stacks up against others but we are all human and sometimes we fuck up and sometimes we do poorly and thats alright. Learn from it and move on.
Take care of yourself:
!!!!! This is very important. Eat as well as you can/enough, sleep enough, don't become addicted to or dependent on drugs/alcohol, exercise (even if its just walking to class), take showers, etc. Sometimes taking care of yourself takes a back seat to taking care of your grades OR to having too much fun, and neither is a good strategy. Yes, college is a time to assert your independence and have fun and party, but if you do too much it will begin to affect your grades and your health.
Try to get internships or research assistantships/independent studies:
These will look great on your resume and a lot of them are quite interesting/enjoyable. It shows initiative, drive, and motivation! Professors usually have independent studies and career/employment services (if your campus has that) can help with internship placement.
These are basic things that I have learned during my college career. I'm sure I could come up with more, but I hope this is helpful!
So, re that convo that keeps occurring about whether Queer is a slur and should not be used.
When I came out, everything was Gay and Lesbian.
We all called ourselves Gay and Lesbian because that was what had been yelled at us as youths. The symbol was the pink triangle.
The pink triangle was used by hate groups and oppressors to identify us.
We took it back. We took gay back.
During my time at Macalester college the student group name changed from Gay and Lesbian Alliance to LGBT Union.
We listened, we learned, we included more people more explicitly. The symbols were the pink triangle and the AIDS ribbon.
Two badges of death. And you would take them from our cold, dead, hands, motherfucker. Right?
After I graduated, the rainbow flag became predominant. Made by AIDS activists, by the way. Still coming out of death.
And Queer became the thing. It was more inclusive, and the T was moving from transsexual to transgender, and what about married Bi folks… (I mean, when I came out I knew people who called themselves trannies, because that was still a thing then.)
So, anyway, Queer. Queer was the word, like Gay, that got shouted from passing cars.
But when accused of being a hated, vile, thing, you can take two paths. You can deny being the thing,
and agree with your accuser that being this thing is AWFUL. The WORST. Of course you are not that thing.
You can INCREASE BEING THE MOTHERFUCKING THING.
Am I a dyke? Really? WATCH me cut my hair and buy a leather jacket and wear silk ties, you sonuvabitch.
Call me queer? Really? YOU CAN NOT HANDLE THE QUEER.
Some time after that, other acronyms and terms started being used. QUILTBAG, for instance. Ace/Aro, these are now in use. Lots of terms.
But nearly all the things we call ourselves have been used as weapons against us.
Nearly all the symbols we use for our resistance have origins in our deaths.
Not just oppression.
So when you say you want the term dyke, I will try to remember that. If you call yourself a flaming faggot, I will nod and move on.
If I call myself queer and you flinch, I will try to respect that, but you don’t get to tell me to stop. Everybody who came out before you has taken the rocks and bottles and made them into shields and wind chimes.
If I am unashamed of being queer, you do not get to give that word BACK to the fuckwits who made it a slur.
Resistance, jubilation, and freedom go one way. We grow more expansive, more inclusive, louder, larger, brighter.
We don’t have to all like each individual sequin, strobe light, or pixy stick at this party. But you sure as shit don’t lock ANYBODY out.
The concept is basically that the student chatter effects change, as do their dialogue based on the current school atmosphere. Additionally, when you walk by a student, sometimes a bubble will appear over their head, and you are given a button prompt to listen (if you want, it’s not required). Sometimes it’s useful information (”I saw rat poison in the gardening shed–you think the school has a rat infestation?”), and sometimes it’s just everyday chit-chat. Said bubble will change according to the school atmosphere.
High School Atmosphere
Students have a normal, round speech bubble appear above them.
The chatter effects and speech bubbles are bright and cute.
Students’ dialogue is casual, bubbly, and sometimes dull.
Medium School Atmosphere
The chatter effects and speech bubbles will change to darkened puffs. This is to indicate students are whispering, and keeping hush-hush on recent events.
Dialogue changes from easy-going to wary and uneasy. Students alternate between regular conversations, and recent events.
Low School Atmosphere
Chatter effects and speech bubbles devolve into erratic scribbles.
Students are clearly traumatized and paranoid, and this is reflected through dialogue.