Back to School/Uni Tips!

I’m headed into my 3rd year of uni, so I thought I’d make a post sharing my tips on how to do well in school, not burn out, and keep your mental health relatively stable.

1. Snacks - seriously, don’t leave home without at least 2 substantial snacks in your bag. If you’re go-go-going all day and suddenly your sitting in a lecture about to crash cause you haven’t eaten anything all day, you’re gonna want snacks. Some suggestions: Cashews (they’re not super loud/crunchy, so they’re perfect for lecture snackin’), a granola bar, an apple, cherry tomatoes, trail mix.

2. Don’t buy the textbook before you go to your first class - I’ve worked at a university bookstore for 2 years, and every year, people end up buying 700$ worth of first year text books, and then they don’t even use them. Wait. and then wait some more. If there are required readings, then get the textbook, if your prof says there will be questions from the textbook on the exam, then get the textbook, but trust me, for 90% of first year classes (and a lot of other ones) you don’t need the textbook. SAVE YOUR WALLETS

3. Take notes efficiently - honestly the best way to take notes, is type up the lecture notes that are provided, BEFOREHAND, and then during lecture, fill in the blanks/add information/take down any important things your prof is saying as you go through the lecture on your laptop in a different color. This way you’re much less likely to miss any important information, you won’t be confused about what to take down, and you won’t fall into the trap of taking down notes that are already being provided to you. After class, or while making study notes, copy these notes out by hand to remember what you learned.

4. Keep it simple - pretty notes are GREAT if you have the time, but once you get to upper level uni, and you have 100 slides of notes to turn into study notes, you will not have the time to make your notes look aesthetically pleasing. Just get the info down so you can focus on learning it.

5. Have a designated study space - i did all of my highschool homework and studying in my bed, and 90% of the time, I ended up falling asleep. My bed wasn’t going to cut it for uni, so I got a cheap ikea desk, and it’s made me so much more organized and productive.

6. Take as much ‘you time’ as possible - take a bath. light candles. binge watch a tv show. veg out with a book for 4 hours if you have the time. do your makeup super special one day. get yourself that venti pumpkin spice latte with extra whip whenever you feel like it. Uni is a shitty time I’m not gonna lie. It’s stressful as f*ck, and whenever you can spare a couple hours or a couple dollars to TREAT YO SELF, do it.

7.  If you have anxiety, CUT THE COFFEE. caffeine is a huge trigger for anxiety. Caffeine takes away from your sleep, messes with your adrenalin systems, and can make you super paranoid and anxious all the time. 

8. If you think your in the wrong major, change it - I started in geology, and I HATED IT. Now I’m in psych and I love it. It is never too late for a change of program. If you think you’re doing something you don’t wanna do, or your not enjoying it, don’t do it.

9. For mornings you have to be ready and out the door, or if you’re a person who always runs late, have a getting-ready routine and get it down pat. Have a mental list of things you need to do, and things you need to remember, and find out how much time it takes you. Get up at 8am, shower, wash face/brush teeth, get dressed, do makeup, pack bag, remember keys, wallet, laptop, notebook, pen and train pass, have breakfast, put on shoes, leave by 9am.

10. Utilize your time in transit. - finish a reading, go over flashcards, read study notes, listen to an album you’ve been meaning to listen to, read a book, read some fanfic, idk but don’t just sit there unless just sitting there is what you need.

11. Find a hobby or passion that is separate from your school/uni life. Whether its playing sports, or running, reading, collecting plants, making scrapbooks, curating a refined taste in tea, having baths, writing in a journal, find something that if you’re bored with watching shows or studying, you can go do it, and enjoy it, and get your mind off all the other shit that’s going on in your life for awhile.

types of study breaks for every situation

if you realize you’ve been studying for hours: grab a snack to refuel your body and watch a sitcom to refuel your brain. then back to the books.

if you’re feeling stressed out: take some deep breaths, text your friends, maybe stare at a wall for a few minutes. gather yourself.

if you can’t seem to focus: get moving and get outside. take out the garbage, check your mail box, maybe walk your dog. just get moving and get fresh air. it’ll help bring you back.

if there’s something else going on in your life and you can’t get it off your mind: write down what’s going through your head, sort of like a diary entry. it’ll help you work things out.

if you’re just mentally and physically exhausted: set a timer for 25-30 minutes and take a nap. any longer and you’ll hit REM and you’ll wake up feeling just as tired. once you wake up, get some caffeine in you.

if the material is boring as hell: find another way to study. see if there’s a crash course video online about it or draw out what you’re trying to learn in diagrams and pictures to make it fun.

if people around you won’t shut up: listen to some music. soundtrack and classical music is always good because they won’t absorb you as much as music with lyrics. white noise (like ocean waves, rain sounds, etc.) also works.

if you only half understand a concept: call/message a friend who’s not in the class and try to teach the material to them. this will help you mentally work through the material and will help you remember it as well.

college advice from someone who’s been on both sides of it

So Iโ€™m finishing up my Ph.D. and preparing to depart for the real world (no, just kidding, Iโ€™m going to be in school forever, only in a different capacity)ย and I thought Iโ€™d put together a list of some college tips to share with you all. I graduated with my B.A. in 2012, magna cum laude, with 2 majors, 1 honours thesis, 2 on-campus jobs, and 3 music things. Since then, Iโ€™ve gone to grad school and also taught six semesters of first-year seminars. Now Iโ€™m going on the job market for teaching positions. All of this means that Iโ€™ve seen both sides of the college experience, as a student and as an instructor. There are a lot of great & useful college advice posts going around studyblr this time of here, and I wanted to add my own. I hope itโ€™s useful. So here we go, with a โ€œread moreโ€ because itโ€™s long (sorry if youโ€™re on mobile):

academics

  • find your classrooms ahead of time (profsโ€™ offices too)
  • figure out how long it will take you to walk between places
  • figure out where your best seat will be & claim it
  • say hi to the people next to you, learn their names
  • take notes in class
  • take advantage of extra credit
  • try your best not to fall asleep in class (and if you do fall asleep, apologise to the prof afterwards)
  • bring your glasses if you need them, donโ€™t be stubborn about it
  • check out the library, wander in the stacks, talk to the librarians
  • figure out how & where to print
  • buy used books/textbooks, or rent them, but be careful with ebooks (some profs donโ€™t allow them)
  • plan breaks into your class schedule, or block everything together, whichever works best for you
  • work out the pros & cons of 8am classes and/or night classes
  • plan ahead โ€“ have a planner, put things in it, do them
    • fake deadlines are a thing (write down earlier deadlines, trick yourself into meeting them, bask in satisfaction)
  • grades wonโ€™t be what they were in high school
    • keep in mind GPA values: a 3.5 will see you graduating with honours
  • be nice to the departmental administrative staff, thank them for helping you (even with small things)
  • office hours versus emailing profs: both will get your questions answered (probably) but if you can go and talk in person, do it
  • profs & TAs are people too, they have lives, they have bad days
  • if something comes up, talk to your prof, be honest but donโ€™t overshare, just show them youโ€™re trying
  • on that note, try

Keep reading

Tips to study in one week or less

Exams and finals are fast approaching for many people and we’ve all been in a place where we have too much to study and too little time to do it. I am an avid procrastinator so more often than not, I let all material build up in my desk and then I stress out to go over everything before the exam! Fear no more! I have the perfect formula for you!

  1. Stop procrastinatingGoing through productivity/study tips youtube videos or studyblrs is not going to do the work for you. Stop obsessing about it, leave your phone out of your study space and organize everything you have to do.
  2. Make a list with all the chapters/topics you have to study. That way you can have a notion of everything you should know. Once you get over them, you can cross them out and feel productive enough to keep going. Trust me, that feeling is one of the best when you are studying!
  3. Study smart, not hard — Understand what are the most important ones and focus on those. If you have little time, there is no way you can go over every material (if it’s too much like usually happens in college/uni) and also, no professor will question everything with the same detail in the exam.
  4. Distribute the amount of material for the amount of days you have — leave at least 2 out. It’s important to organize the material during the amount of time you have so you don’t get too lazy in one day and then stress too much over the many things you have to study on another. Evaluate well what might take longer or not and if it doesn’t work as planned, adjust your plan in the end of the study day. The last two days before the exam are important to leave free for revisions and exam preparation.
  5. In those last 2 days, test yourself. It can be previous exams from previous years (they’re the best option), tests online, quizzes with a friend. Exams from previous years are my favourite option - professors aren’t very original so it’s highly possibly that they will repeat questions. The line of questions are also very similar and even if there aren’t many repeated, at least you already know the basis. Tests online similar to what your professors use are also a good option as well as quiz a friend and vice versa, however, this last option might take longer and not work in little time. If you work well with a study buddy, testing each other would be beneficial for both.
  6. REVIEW ONLY what you’re less prepared for, what you did wrong in the tests, what professors ask the most. If you don’t have enough time, you don’t want to waste it reviewing what you already know. If you know, you know. Believe and trust yourself!!
  7. Don’t stress yourself, it will be alright. Stressing over little time can be a good pressure and motivator but too much can do the opposite effect and that’s not your intention. Find a balance, use your study breaks well enough to rest and relax so you won’t be too overwhelmed in the middle of an afternoon and do nothing the rest of the day.
  8. GET A GOOD NIGHT SLEEP THE NIGHT BEFORE. You can wake up earlier to review but make sure you have at least 7 hours of sleep that night. Sleeping well the night before the exam is essencial for your brain to process everything you’ve studied. It will also allow your brain to be fresh and ready to work by the time you take the exam. If you are too tired from an all nighter, your brain will be tired and not work as quick and efficient as you need it.
  9. Trust yourself. It doesn’t matter the amount of time you had, you still know the material. If you believe in yourself, you’re halfway passed!! You have to remind yourself that you did the best you could with the time you had. As long as you know that, you’ll feel so much lighter and the exam will go so much better. And if it doesn’t, you won’t feel guilty because you know you gave your best. In college/university, we never know everything or get out of an exam feeling like we scored the best grade ever.
10 Angry College Tips For Incoming Freshmen

(I finished my freshman year this spring with a 4.0 GPA, an off-campus research internship, and three professors contacting me suggesting that I apply for a fulbright scholarship.  These tips aren’t coming out of my ass.) 

1. LISTEN TO ME WHEN I SAY THIS: YOU DO NOT NEED TO “GET INVOLVED” IN STUPID CLUBS IF YOU DON’T ENJOY THEM.  Hear “get involved! :)” for the 1000th time and just barf in your mouth a little and move on.  If you work hard and get good grades, and socialize with people on campus when you have free time (it comes more naturally than you think) YOU WILL.  BE.  FINE.  Actually better than fine.  You’ll have time to get a real job/internship, which by the way, is what the real world wants to see you prioritizing.  Moral of the story: Only join clubs if they help your personality thrive and feel healthy.  Don’t do them because you feel pressured.  

2. DON’T TAKE SHIT FROM A N Y O N E. I know you’re trying to fit in and take the stance of trying to make everyone happy to make sure you’ll have plenty of friends.  But you have to realize that you literally just met these people, and they just met you.  If they create an uncomfortable environment for you that makes college harder to cope with, get them the fuck out of your life. Ain’t nobody got time for people’s high school-ass drama.  

3. SKIP YOUR CLASSES SOMETIMES.  If you really have your shit together, it won’t matter.  Your school will say the amount of skips you can get away with before it harms your grade.  Use. Them.

4. BECOME THE MASTER OF WRITING ESSAYS IN ONE NIGHT.  You will have to.  I’m telling you right the fuck now.  And you can get an A, if you work your lil ass off. I’ve done it many times.  

5. DON’T CARE FOR EVEN 1 SECOND WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF YOU.  If you wanna wear sweats and no makeup, do it.  If you want to dress up and take time to put on makeup, do it.  If you want to stay away from partying, do it.  If you want to party, have a good ass time.  If anyone has enough time to judge you, they need to be studying harder or getting a hobby.  Make yourself comfortable and happy as fuck and enjoy your time in college worry-free. 

6. BE THE ASSHOLE WITH A TABLET OR LAPTOP IN LECTURE.  You won’t have time to copy it all down.  You’ll be miserable.  Just trust me.  I know studies say its more effective to write stuff down for memory, but, write them out later or something.  Learned that one the hard way.

7. DON’T REWRITE YOUR NOTES IF IT DOESN’T HELP YOU STUDY.  If you know doing that doesn’t help you memorize, don’t do it, period.  Or, if you have a collossal asston of notes (like I did) it isn’t even worth rewriting them all in the first place. I’ve fallen down that hole and lost motivation and time.  Just reread them or make flashcards or whatever.  Study for effectiveness, not aesthetic.

8. BE PREPARED FOR LAB TO GO THE “WHOLE TIME.”  Yah, you’re gonna see 3 hours on that brand-shiny-new schedule of yours and be like there’s no way it’ll go that long, right? LOL about that.  Just mentally brace yourself.  Eat and drink beforehand for the love of god we don’t need hangry people handling chemicals.  

9. COMMUTING DOESN’T MAKE YOU A LONER.  Just.  No. If you live close to campus, are comfortable with commuting, and know you’ll save yourself MAJOR debt by doing it, do it and don’t feel a fucking ounce of guilt about it.  It’ll be some early mornings, but your fresh out of college broke ass will thank you, and you’ll use your time more effectively.  (Plus you get a non grimy shower like??)

10. LOVE YOUR NEW FINE ASS SELF.  College is a fresh start.  Put energy into who you have always wanted to be.  And don’t compromise that out of social anxiety and embarrassment.  You’ll be happy and thank yourself if you step out of your comfort zone to be the person you’ve always had in mind.  

college study tips that actually help
  • put your phone on silent and put it across the room
  • listen to classical/soundtrack music without lyrics
  • make index cards for important vocab
  • wear pajamas
  • make diagrams and pictures. they don’t have to look pretty, as long as you understand it
  • make timelines for historical events
  • have a light snack
  • drink coffee or tea to keep you going
  • take a break every hour or so
  • have one pencil/black pen and one colored pen or highlighter. anything more will just distract you. the aesthetics aren’t important, your knowledge is
  • don’t be afraid to email/message your teacher or a classmate if you don’t understand something. the last thing you want to do is learn the incorrect information
  • know that sleep and health is more important than your grade. you cannot perform as well on a test if you are tired or sick. take care of yourself
  • it’s not a race. it’s not about who can learn something in the quickest time, it’s about learning
  • take a deep breath 
  • prioritize your homework by how long it will take you and when it’s due
  • plan some you time in between studying and school
  • if you’re mentally exhausted, set a timer for 30 minutes and take a nap. any longer and you’ll wake up even more tired
  • don’t understand something? that’s perfectly fine, don’t stress over it. ask for help rather than complaining
  • have a goal in mind and write them down. say things like “i am getting an education so i can get the job of my dreams. the life that i want. the happiness that i deserve”
  • be thankful. it is a privilege that you get to go to school and get an education. 
  • you got this.

recover from ‘burnout’ in five steps

1. reward yourself for working so hard. take a long bath with your favourite bath bomb, take time to cook your favourite meal, paint your nails. recognise that you worked hard and it was tough and that you deserve time for yourself

2. catch up on sleep. nothing makes studying harder than being exhausted. clear your schedule and have a lie in. even if you don’t sleep late, stay in bed and enjoy a guilt-free lazy morning

3. do something fun. invite your friends over for a movie night, take your dog for a walk. remind yourself that there is more to life than textbooks and notes

4. make a plan. start getting ready to get back into study mode. make a todo list, a study schedule, and a list of your deadlines

5. organise your space. declutter your desk so you have a clean space to be productive in. tidy desk, tidy mind

start again.

Things to expect in your first year of uni:

1. Sometimes you don’t make a solid group of friends straight away, so don’t feel too upset. I’m a second year and I’ve only really now started adding people on Facebook and forming casual friendships. It happens. If you do make good friends - awesome.

2.  Pre-readings and online modules prior to lectures and/or tutorials. DO THEM. Skim through readings if you’re short on time, and do the prep work the week before. Trust and save yourself from having to go through everything within days (multiplied by X units) before your exams.

3. Realising once you’re in your new home no, you did not need to pack every belonging you have, because yes, everything DOES. NOT. FIT.

4. Realising how much stuff you have but don’t need.

5. If moving out of home, bills and rent or paying for accommodation can be STRESSFUL.

6. ~Adulting~

7. How sometimes boring general core units are. It sucks but have to be done.

8. Your tutor not haggling you about studying more and stuff, ‘cause that’s all on you. If it’s the tutor’s fault, I would suggest bringing that up with the head of the school/faculty or even your student guild to think of solutions.

9. By approx. week 5 to week 6, class numbers begin to exponentially drop, most significantly within the last three weeks of semester.

10. Yes, older people study at uni too. Most of them are nice, genuine, and nervous. Yes, sometimes they do older people things.

11. There are many, many intelligent and kind people in university.

12. Some people have significantly different work ethics.

13. Going to the wrong class across the year is a-OK. I walked into an upper year math lecture and realised the lecturer wasn’t who mine actually was. Whispered very loudly “OH MY GOD” and walked straight out. We’ve all been there. Just kindly walk out and pretend nothing even happened.

14. University life is more than academics. Take a leap and do things.

15. You’ll have to do more than your degree to get to where you want to be.

16.  People party a lot, you can be one of them but if you want to keep up your grades, please balance it with your studies, work and other commitments!

17. University can either be harder or easier than high school. For me? Easier so far. Further units will be difficult. But you’ll learn a lot of useful and enriching knowledge which is worth something more than what you might learn in high school.

18. Seating plans don’t exist, but if you’re gonna change seats every week, you’re most definitely messin’ up the system.

What other things can first years expect? Whether you’re fresh out of first-year like me or a tertiary education veteran, I’ll make sure to update this continuously with all of our input!

study hacks for college/uni

So you’re struggling to study efficiently away from home? Finding yourself getting distracted easily? Having difficulty creating a study schedule in this new environment? I know finals season is coming soon for university students, so I thought I’d share my personal study hacks that helped me during college! 

  • Find the least popular library: while the fancy main libraries have great appeal, the truth is sometimes you really only need a desk, a comfy chair, an outlet, and some peace and quiet
  • Go higher up for quieter floors: usually the higher you go, the quieter and more serious the floor
  • Always pack the essentials: during finals week, finding a good study spot is a commodity, so make sure you can stay as long as humanly possible and bring supplies: laptop, chargers (phone and laptop), water bottle, snacks, layers (including a huge comfy sweater that can double as a pillow), headphones, notes, pens and highlighters, and blank paper
  • Don’t be afraid of caffeine pills: caffeine pills can sound scary, but that venti coffee at Starbucks also has a shit ton of caffeine. Opt to finding caffeine pills that are each 100 mg (the amount in 1 cup of coffee), and save ~$50-100 on buying coffee all the time
  • Find (only) 1-2 good friends and make a regular study group: even if you guys don’t share classes, it’s nice to have people who are reliable, quiet, and fun to be around when studying. Also, libraries allow small groups to rent private study rooms which are clutch af
  • Use the Pomodoro method with a timer or app: this is wonderful for people who have difficulty focusing. Set an alarm for 25 minutes, and block all forms of electronic distraction from that time. The idea is to have 25 minutes of pure work with a 5 minute break to do whatever you want afterwards, and this helps train you to maximize your ability to focus and minimize brain fatigue
  • Empty classrooms and lecture halls on weekends = substitute library: on the weekends, college campuses are super dead. I’ve found that lecture halls and classrooms are deserted (and usually unlocked) during these times, which make for great quiet places to study
  • Listen to music WITHOUT lyrics while you study: you’ll be less likely to be sucked in to the music and distracted
  • Wear pajama or workout clothes: just trust me on this one
  • Have a few achievable goals for the day and know when to stop: college burnout is real, so remember that college is a marathon, not a race

🎒Backpacks 101🌻

Essentials for Class

  • Your laptop/spirals/tablet/your preferred note-taking medium. For professors that speak quickly and cover a lot of information in a short amount of time before moving on to the next slide, I always like to use my laptop. Some professors prohibit the use of laptops (even for note-taking). So, I like to use a cheap spiral for class in which I will write information/graphics with the knowledge that they don’t have to be perfect. This is just to ensure that I get the information down. When I get home I transfer all of the notes into a nicer spiral to look over later. This also works to help me retain the information! 
  • My all-time favorite spiral notebooks are the Exceed Five Subject Notebooks. I love these because in the front they have a world map, a punctuation chart, a metric unit conversion chart, spelling rules, a ruler, and a glossary of general reference and research sites.
  • Loose-leaf paper. This is especially helpful for me because many of my professors will give pop-quizzes/pop-writing assignments. Also great for when a classmate needs to borrow some paper. You can whip it out and make a friend for all semester. 
  • Personally, I like to use Five Star Reinforced Filler Paper by Mead.
  • Pencil Bag. Naturally, not having to frantically dig around your backpack for a pen/pencil/highlighter makes your day go so much smoother.
  • I prefer the Mead Five Star Organizer Pencil Pouch.
  • My pencil bag comes complete with an assortment of pens, pencils, highlighters, two flash drives, a pencil sharpener, and an entire 50 pack of Crayola Super Tips. Yes, my pencil bag fits that much. 
  • Laptop charger & phone charger. I recommend purchasing a powerblock as well to ensure that you don’t have to compete over the use of limited outlets. Thousands of college students across the nation fail to charge their electronics nightly, don’t get caught in the crossfires of that feeding frenzy.
  • Headphones. Something about not having my music while I’m on the bus or walking across campus really kills my mood for the day. 
  • My planner! Stop writing stuff on your hand or on random pieces of paper. Get yourself a cheap planner. Even if you are not a planner user right now, just forcing yourself to use one for 30 days will forge an unbreakable and life-changing habit! Take it from me. 

To Make Your Day Easier

  • A small umbrella for those days when the weather goes from 75′ and sunny to raining cats and dogs in 3 seconds. 
  • A wallet with your IDs and change. I always kick myself when I didn’t have enough change for the vending machines on campus. I kick myself even harder when I have to ask random strangers for 50 cents to buy a scantron/blue book. Also just a good idea to always have some form of ID on you. 
  • Water bottle. Invest in a super cool, trendy, refillable water bottle to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day. Or just keep refilling the same plastic one. 
  • Deodorant. This is so silly but I am always forgetting to put on deodorant before I walk out the door and I’m 22. When I get to class I realize I’ve forgotten and panic as the Texas heat encompasses me. Travel-sized deodorants are so beneficial. 
  • An emergency tampon/pad. Or two!!! Goes without saying. Surprises are always fun until it’s your period. I keep emergency tampons in my truck, in my apron for work, in my backpack, in my horse trailer. I do not play around. 
  • Ibuprofen/Aspirin 
  • Light snacks. We’re talking a granola bar or seven to keep your stomach from gurgling when you’re taking that exam and of course everyone showed up to class. 
  • A flashdrive.
  • Chapstick, sunscreen, or lotion can also make you more comfortable sitting in class. 

Quick Tips About Backpacks

  • While, yes, those little fashionable ones are cute, they don’t hold the essentials and can be damaging to your back, causing soreness and discomfort. Buying a Jansport absolutely saved my back and stopped my chronic pain from progressing! 
  • Obviously there are hundreds of amazing brands of backpacks out there, but I strongly urge you to purchase a bag with:
  • a sleeve inside for your laptop
  • at least three pockets - so everything has a place
  • those little mesh side pockets
  • adjustable (preferably PADDED) shoulder straps! 
  • Another thing! I always place my heavier items (laptop & textbooks) CLOSEST to my back. That way the weight doesn’t drag you down backwards and cause back pain (my doctor literally told me this). This is where having multiple pockets is so helpful. 
  • Adjust your shoulder straps so that you can also maintain good posture while walking. The weight of your backpack + where it sits on your back should not cause you to lean forward or sway backwards in order to compensate. Also fun fact - when I was in middle school I thought it was cool to have a backpack that hung really low (?) and it created a pinched nerve in my neck! Awesome! Don’t be like me! 
  • Remember that backpacks -while they can absolutely be super cute and trendy- are meant to possess functionality. Your backpack should carry the essentials you need to have a successful and comfortable day at class.
  • Lastly, 10/10 would recommend cleaning out your backpack frequently! Make sure it stays organized and free of clutter. I also like to make sure I take all of my spirals and planner out of my backpack each day after class so that after I rest for a bit - I know I have things I need to get to. 

Organizing Your Backpack - By Pockets

-Largest pocket (closest to your back): 

  • Heavier items such as your laptop, binders, textbooks, loose leaf paper and planner. Laptop should go inside the sleeve (if applicable). 

-Second largest pocket

  • Items such as your pencil bag, chargers, and umbrella.

-Smallest pocket

  • Items that you won’t be pulling in and out too frequently, such as headphones, deodorant, chapstick, a flashdrive, snacks, wallet, keys, painkillers, and your emergency tampons (if applicable). 

-Side pockets

  • Here I obviously like to keep my water bottle or coffee thermos. If you have more than one pocket this is also a great place to keep your little umbrella.

Happy studying, realistic students!

types of note takers

a: spend more time picking which pen and washi tape to use than actually taking notes. their notebook is a giant rainbow explosion.

b: simple. one pen, one notebook, maybe a highlighter if they’re feeling fancy.

c: takes notes on their laptop. organized, minimalist, timely. they have two windows open at all times: homework and tumblr.

d: doesn’t take many notes because they zone out for half of each class and is on their phone for the rest.

e: audio records the classes as well as taking notes by hand. later re-writes notes and types them *just in case* they lose their notebook. they never do.

f: never actually shows up to class, and if they do, they somehow forgot to bring a pen and paper.

g: you never see them taking any notes, instead they are always eating chipotle or mcdonalds in class. yet somehow they have the highest grade in the class.

Random tips/things I’ve learned as a university student

  • Believe it or not, your old notebook is enough. If you’re like me, you’re mostly tempted to buy new ones because AestheticTM and also because you’re worried that you will run out of pages. Trust me, your old notebook will be enough!! 
  • 36458734 stationery and pens are not necessary because you will not get time to use them in class. However, if it helps you, you can buy 36458734 pens to rewrite your notes from home. 
  •  Rewrite your notes. 
    This always helps!! Even if you don’t have plans to make your notes aesthetic and colorful, you will need to rewrite your notes because 
    a) notes you take from class are 100% going to be scattered 
    b) when you rewrite your notes you can compare what your proff said in class and ppts/textbooks/google, etc
    c) rewriting helps you remember stuff better and helps you understand what topics are important and what are not. 
    Also, I generally rewrite my notes at the end of the week. This way I can join one or more topics together, do my extra research and put them in the notes as well. 
  • Google everything. 
    Learned a new topic in class today ? Great. Now google it and see what you find. You keep finding terms you don’t know on google ? Great. Google those terms as well. 
  • Sit in the first row. 
    I know, I know, if you sit in the first row you might be labelled as the “nerd” of the class or the teachers will keep asking you questions or back benchers have all the fun! But, sitting in the first row has helped me A LOT in ways that I can’t explain. I’m someone who has attention disorder and I find it extremely hard to pay attention when I have 2-3 hours of the same class, and sitting in the first row makes my attention span 10 times better. 
  • Prepare your CV. 
    If you are a new uni student then you definitely will not have much (if anything) to put in your CV but still DO IT! It will put in perspective where you stand and how far away from your goal you are. Don’t forget to keep updating your CV. 
    Here is a masterpost on making CV and resume that I think is very helpful. 
  • Learn outside your syllabus. 
    What I mean by this is that stick to your course but do don’t stick to your syllabus. I am a computer science student and in the first semester we only had Python (as a programming lang) to learn in class, but I went ahead and learned HTML as well (let’s not focus on how well I learned it) ………… because why not! 
  • Surround yourself by people who are hardworking and are a positive influence. Your friend group/squad will influence you in a huge way so make sure those influences and changes are actually good for you. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help from teachers or your fellow students. And if you have a friend who is really good at a certain subject then make sure you sit with them during those classes. 
  • Make study plans a month prior to your exams. Even if you know that there is only 50% chance of you following the timetable, make it!! Visualizing your study journey will help maintain a mental sketch of it. 

For all people in college, university and school

Today I talked with my professor, a truly wise woman with decades of experience in theatre.

She’s told me that she noticed that when I perform I try to please her and other professors. She told me it’s bullshit and I must stop doing that if I want to make progress.

Time of education - she said- whether you pay for it or not, is your laboratory. This is the time and space for you to find out things - what you can and can’t do, what you want, who you are.You may and you WILL fuck up, but that’s ok. You’re still learning, you’re growing, and you have to communicate with the world to do so.

She’s said she’s 70, and she’s still learning. Sometimes she stays at home all day eating chocolate, falling asleep, eating more chocolate, calling her friends who don’t pick up bc they’re too busy. Sometimes she fucks up too. And that’s fine. You have to get bad things, to learn what is good

You must eat junk food to know it’s better to get veggies. You must stay at home to go out. You must be alone to feel a difference when you’re with people.

I for example, did an utterly shit project last week and the cringe is real. But she said - girl, it was shit. But now you know what to correct. And if you don’t want to - screw it. Start a new project. With new rules, new world, new mind. Every day you can reinvent yourself.

anyway, I’m only repeating what she said. she knows her stuff tho. real inspo. will throw in some more later.

what i learned from the first week of college

1.) you’re in charge of when you do your work, so dude jus do it asap. get ahead if you can & get a planner that you actually use

—–> also schedule how much work you can do specifically and when! like “read 2 chapters of book after breakfast, take notes on section 4 after class, start research for essay after dinner) and schedule your free time/ when you’ll hang out with friends

2.) when you feel yourself not concentrating anymore, your work isnt going to be beneficial. go eat or take a shower! talk to someone! then get back to it when you can focus. don’t waste your time

3.) eat to fuel (u know pizza or ramen for every meal isnt rly doin much for u) , sleep (because you need to), move around, take the stairs

4.) everyone wants friends (mostly everyone anyways) so literally make small talk with anyone! participate in welcome week events, talk to your floormates, and introduce yourself to your RA (and your professors) <3

5.) get off ur phone during the day (unless ur calling your mom. then carry on luv ur mom) social media wastes ur time tbh like if you need a break, go for a walk or watch a movie or play frisbee or hang out w your roommate etc. but literally get off social media, you’re not getting much from it

ACADEMIC PHRASE BANK MASTERPOST: CONNECTING WORDS

Addition

  • To begin with, 
  • In the first place, 
  • Firstly, 
  • The first reason
  • Additionally
  • Furthermore, 
  • Another reason why
  • Secondly, Thirdly, 
  • Next, 
  • Pursuing this further, 
  • Also
  • Lastly, Finally
  • In the same way,

Comparison

  • Similarly,
  • In the same way,
  • Likewise,
  • As with,
  • Equally,

Contrasting

  • However,
  • Nevertheless,
  • On the other hand,
  • Even so
  • Alternatively
  • At the same time
  • Otherwise
  • Instead
  • Conversely 

Result

  • Hence
  • Therefore
  • Accordingly
  • Consequently
  • Thus
  • As a result
  • In consequence 
  • For this reason
  • For this purpose

Time

  • Meanwhile
  • Presently
  • At last
  • Finally
  • Immediately
  • Thereafter
  • At that time
  • Eventually
  • Currently
  • Subsequently
  • In the meantime

Importance

  • Importantly
  • Especially
  • Above all
  • With attention to

Example

  • For example
  • For instance
  • That is
  • Such as
  • As revealed by
  • Illustrated by
  • Specifically
  • In particular
  • For one thing
  • This can be seen by
  • An instance of this

Literary

  • Clarifies
  • Conveys
  • Depicts
  • Demonstrates
  • Determines
  • Displays
  • Emphasizes
  • Establishes 
  • Explains
  • Exemplifies
  • Highlights
  • Illustrates
  • Indicates
  • Potrays
  • Represents
  • Shows
  • Signifies
  • Suggests

Beginnings/Causes/Effects

  • Affects
  • Generates
  • Ignites
  • Impacts
  • Imposes
  • Influences
  • Initiates
  • Introduces
  • Involves
  • Launches
  • Leads to
  • Presents
  • Promotes
  • Prompts
  • Results in

Summary

  • In conclusion,
  • To sum it all up,
  • To summarize,
  • In the final analysis
  • You can see why …
  • Finally,
  • Therefore,
  • In summary, 
  • In short,
  • In brief,
tips for public speaking
  • take a deep breath
  • it’ll be over before you know it 
  • pretend like you’re obama (it’ll help you talk slower)
  • stand up straight
  • in a class setting, people don’t typically pay attention anyways so it’s not like your classmates are watching your every move. they don’t care.
  • don’t lock your knees
  • bring up a note card with important topics or quotes
  • make eye contact if you can
  • or look at people’s hair. it’ll make it seem like you’re making eye contact, but it’ll be less awkward
  • don’t memorize your entire speech. instead, memorize a couple bullet points of topics you need to hit
  • project your voice as if you’re speaking to someone sitting in the back of the room
  • talk with your hands to help you feel more warm and welcoming
  • don’t put your hands in your pockets
  • walk around a bit, but let it come organically. don’t force it.
  • don’t bounce one leg the whole time, it’s distracting
  • spit out your gum
  • smile
  • don’t eat a big meal prior
  • if you have to present for a certain number of minutes, have a friend sit in the back of the room and hold up finger signs for how many minutes you’ve been up there
  • don’t wear loud jewelry
  • practice your presentation/speech to a friend or family member who is unfamiliar with the material. if they don’t understand your presentation or don’t follow, you need to be more detailed
  • stick to the built-in themes on power point. yes, colors are pretty, but some color combos can be hard to read, and you won’t know it until it’s up on a big screen/projector.
  • put pictures in your power point. they’re more entertaining to look at than a paragraph of text.
  • speak with formal language. stay away from curse words and slang.
  • remember that everyone in your class is going through the same stress.
  • if you absolutely cannot handle the idea of public speaking, talk to your teacher and see if it’s okay for you to do your presentation after class.
  • it’ll be okay.
  • you got this.
University Tips (non-conventional)

If these help anyone, great!

  1. Set your timetable as your phone background for the first few weeks. Use this method for no. 6 too if you can be bothered. 
  2. Wear sports bras/bralettes to lectures instead of the ones with a buckle at the back. They tend to poke and prod your back after a while if you’re leaning back. Sports bras don’t. 
  3. Lay a towel on your bed a few days before your period is due. If you leak on a towel you can just wash it or throw it away. Easier than washing and changing the sheets (esp. if you’re in a rush to get to a lecture!).
  4. When you’re in a lecture taking notes on a laptop remember to turn down the brightness on your screen, especially if the lecturer has dimmed the lights. Otherwise you’ll annoy others and drain your battery. 
  5. Save your recordings at every given break instead of making one continuous one through pausing. Sometimes files are too large to save and you don’t want to risk losing the entire lecture recording. Save as you go along.
  6. If you need to remember something (e.g. a library book, USB, locker key..) write it on a post-it note and stick it on your shoes before you sleep. Make sure they’re the shoes you intend to wear the next day!
  7. Don’t shoot me: if you have left an assignment really late, stay up as long as you can completing it (yes, that means an all-nighter may be needed). Sleep as soon as you’ve handed it in. 
  8. If you use tech in a lecture e.g. phone for recording or electronic notetaking on your laptop, then mess around with it before uni begins. Know what buttons to press and when, otherwise you’ll mess up your notes and annoy others, with your excessive clicking. 
  9. Always, always, ALWAYS carry a plastic bag/carrier bag. You might need to make a trip to the library, drink may spill in your bag so you’ll need an alternative. Seriously, just carry one.  
  10. Find out where coursework/assignment are submitted within your first week on campus. Ask admin how the procedure works and make sure you know it inside out. 
  11. Spend a day wondering around campus (before timetabled lectures start). Find out where the library is, talk to the librarians and ask them how to borrow/return books and also how to reserve!
  12. When you get your timetable be sure to visit the lecture halls and seminar rooms a few days before the term starts so you know where to go. Find out where the toilets are in those buildings too. 
  13. Find out where your lecturers offices are. Know the building and floor that they’re on (they’re usually all in the same place). 
  14. Carry cereal bars and other non perishable foods that take up little room. Sometimes your tummy rumbles really loud in a lecture, give it some love.
  15. Volunteer in your first year of university, these is the least hectic year (usually!). You want something to put on that CV and those post grad applications! 
  16. In the UK the first year generally doesn’t count toward the final degree classification but those grades WILL show up on your transcript. Make sure they look decent. When you apply for post grad courses, if you don’t have the certificate yet (because you’re still completing the course) the university/institution will ask for your grade transcript. First year grades come up first! 
  17. A huge part of your degree classification/GPA comes from the final year thesis. Talk to as many older students as you can and ask them what topics they picked and how they went about it. A great thesis/dissertation will literally move you from a 2:1 to a 1st. 
  18. When you have a meeting with your supervisor take notes and write up a short summary of what was said, similar to writing up “meeting minutes”. This will be helpful for you and your supervisor. Especially if you take long breaks before meeting again. 

I’ll update this list as things come to me. I hope it helps.