So it’s been about a week of school and I need a new bag because this one is too uncomfortable for my back and shoulders. It’s cute, but gotta go! I also realized that taking notes in a notebook is just not gonna happen for me. My profs give out a lot of handouts so I may as well write my notes in my binder with my handouts, right? Convenience !! &&& my planner was just not working for me either, it went by time and I’m more of a to-do list planner, so I ordered a different one with a better weekly layout that’ll benefit me much more, so hurray to that !! Shoutout to all the black desks that deserve more love on studyblr.
forgive yourself. whether you fail a test, eat too many cookies, say the wrong thing, fail a class, or spend a whole day in bed — learn to forgive yourself. the next day will be better. the next day will be a day closer to your next success. you can do it.
cramming the night before. do a little every day and get a good night sleep before the test
procrastinating. promise yourself you’ll do 5 minutes of a task you’ve been putting off for a while. you’ll be surprised how quickly that 5 minutes turns into 10 and 10 into an hour and before you know it you’ll be done and able to enjoy guilt-free leisure time
not asking for help. make the most of your teachers and classmates who want you to succeed. don’t suffer in silence
saying yes to everything. it’s important to try new things but it’s also important to have enough spare time to see your friends and get enough sleep
being distracted. turn off the tv. turn off your phone. focus on studying so you can get your assignments done as efficiently as possible so you can enjoy your free time
not having a planner. this doesn’t have to be a beautiful bullet journal. just make sure you have a way of keeping on top of everything you have to do so you don’t get overwhelmed whether that’s in a store-bought diary or in you phone’s calendar
eating (too much) junk. fuel your body and your mind with fruit and veg. if you’re at university try cooking in bulk to keep costs down. you’ll be able to concentrate better if you’re eating well
not taking breaks. your brain needs to take breaks, even if you have a big test coming up. for every hour you spend studying take a 10 minute break and stretch/make a snack/take a shower/call a friend
not rewarding yourself. take time tobe proud of everything you’ve achieved so far. enjoy the success you’ve worked so hard for
At university, I did English language with linguistic for my Bachelor of Arts, which was a three year course. Half split between English language and half split between linguistics, which is the science of language. It was quite scientific and it was very hard. I liked to think while I was doing my A-levels that I was quite good at work and exams and stuff like that. But doing linguistics was kind of like throwing me into the deep end because it was a completely new concept to me and there was so many different parts of it. I was good at some parts of it, I was good at the child language acquisition thing and also things with essays but there was a lot of science based analysing language using the IPA chart and stuff like that and that was hard. And also I think I could have tried harder in my lectures. If I had been going back, I would have listened a bit more because I had a lot of late nights and then didn’t listen the next day, which is not the point. But anyway, I passed it! I got a degree. Yay! And then I went on, because I really loved York and I didn’t feel ready to leave it yet and then I was also really interested in video editing. I was making YouTube videos from my university room and I just wanted to get better at the whole filmmaking thing because it was a big interest of mine. So I did a MA in post-production with visual effects. And there was only eight people allowed on the course so it was quite a selective course. But I went for the interview and got on it! And was invited on it and they had a huge green screen set, loads of amazing editing suites that we were allowed to use whenever we wanted, and it seemed like such a cool thing and I went for it and I did it. And I made some things I was really proud of as well and I got to work with other creative people, which is rare to have people that are sharing your interests in that way. So I had a really good time and I’m glad I did it. And I know I don’t make films on my YouTube channel, they're just like YouTube videos but I like to know that I can edit things in a way that I fully understand the software and I know what I’m doing. You know what I mean? I could just be going ‘I don’t know what this mean?’ but I understand it which is good. So I did that.
I think some people might forget about Phil’s time at university but I always feel so uplifted and happy whenever he talk about it, so I wanted to write this down for me to keep to look back on whenever I’m struggling at university.
what I wish someone told me going into my freshman year of college
You and your roommate might not get along.
Just because you woke up early every day in high school doesn’t mean you will be able to in college.
Conversely, you might just realize you are a morning person in college.
You should learn to examine your personal biases. Ask yourself why you have a certain opinion.
There are plenty of students who have taken 17, 18, 19 hour course loads and they have been successful; however, it may not be financially feasible.
Searching for scholarships doesn’t stop when you get to college. Keep looking for them and applying for them. Create a separate email account to receive and correspond to scholarship emails.
Don’t put off visiting your academic advisor. Mine absolutely saved me when I was going through the lowest point in my life.
Let your mom/dad/parental guardian (if applicable) make your bed on move-in day.
Get involved, but only if you want to. Student organizations in college are much more time-consuming, so be certain that it is something you really want to do.
Have fun. You don’t have to go out every single weekend. But go get coffee or study with a friend. Have some sort of interaction with others.
Getting a job really eased my financial burdens and I made friends, and established references. Having money just feels good.
Wash your face. Keep make up wipes close to your bed for nights when you are just too tired to go through an elaborate skin care routine.
Communal showers suck, but we all have to endure them. I promise you will get used to it. But you gotta bathe, friend.
Be honest with your support system. Many times, those closest to us would help us in a heartbeat, but they never knew we needed help in the first place.
Utilize services your tuition covers. These include, but are not limited to, tutoring, legal services, medical services, etc.
Sit in the front row. Just do it. Seriously. You will be less inclined to get on your phone/not pay attention to lecture/discussion material if the material is two feet away from you. You can also see better on those days when you forget glasses, or run out of contacts.
Your MWF life does not know your T/TR life. You can totally hit those clothes with some febreeze and wear them on heavy rotation.
Speaking of clothes, everyone washes clothes on Sundays. It’s a fact.
You really don’t need to bring all of your clothes, expensive jewelry, trophies from that time you did soccer in 2nd grade, etc. to your dorm. Just enough clothes to fit in your drawers/closet for all seasons, and a couple sentimental items to remind you of home.
Save the boxes you use to move into your dorm/apartment. You will need them come move out.
Live and die by the syllabi, but know that professors will change things up randomly. They will also announce things in class that are not on the syllabus at random.
Do invest in some good plates and Tupperware.
The freshman 15 is real and it is coming for you. But it’s okay. You’re still awesome.
Parking in college is universally limited and unforgiving. Be mindful of this.
Many retailers will have sales on microwaves and mini fridges when fall comes around. Invest in them.
Storage containers are a must.
Respect quiet hours.
If you will be living on campus, and your campus is dry - RESPECT THAT. Seriously, it’s such a dumb mistake to make. I have friends who started out on probation because they decided to drink in their dorms their freshman year.
Get a power strip. Or three.
There’s no dress code in college. So you can totally wear that crop top. But be mindful that those surrounding you are potential professional connections. A lot of college is networking.
But, in all honesty, no one really cares what you are wearing.
You are an adult now, so setting boundaries is necessary.
Don’t stay in that toxic relationship.
Keep in touch with your friends/family from back home.
Do ask your professors questions in office hours, during class (if able to), or via email.
Stand up for yourself, what you believe in, and others.
Get the number of at least one person in each class during syllabus week.
Expect to stay the entire 2-4 hours of your lab.
Be respectful of your roommate’s space.
Be respectful of other’s differing opinions in Blackboard discussions.
Be a point whore. Do the extra credit. Do it.
Remember that college is a new beginning.
Realize that grades do not define your intelligence.
Realize that sometimes we fail classes, but it does not mean that we are not “smart enough.”
Know that college is not for everyone.
It’s okay to take a couple semesters off to better yourself. I did, and I am so thankful that I made that decision.
Buy your textbooks and access codes and lab manuals as early as you can.
Use a planner!!!!!!
Mental health is just as important as physical health.
Remember that college is not supposed to bethe best years of your life. College is meant to set you up for the best years of your life.
It’s no secret that grades suck. In courses that are highly subjective, we’re essentially at the mercy of someone else who is given the task of marking our work. In other cases, our grades come from tons and tons of memorization. While we may not agree with grading systems, they’re inevitably part of our academic career. So, heres how I managed to go from an unmotivated barely passing student to one who is thriving and happy.
I got real with myself. — Once I realized that my performance wasn’t my best, I did some self-reflecting. Was this really what I wanted to do? Should I even be at university? It took a little bit of time to realize that I wanted to be at university, but I had put myself in a position that wasn’t allowing me to succeed. Sometimes it can be hard to do, but the first step usually involves taking a good look at certain things that may be influencing academic performance.
I started exploring other fields. — Whenever I had the opportunity to take an elective, I always ensure that it was outside of my program. This really helped me hone in on my interests and later led to me deciding to pursue a career in Public Health. If you have the option to do this, do it. Take courses that actually interest you.
I cut toxic people from my life. — This sounds super extreme but for me, the source of my poor academic performance was specific individuals in my life. When I look back on it, I see that there was a direct correlation between the time I was with this person and the decline in my grades. We would skip class and I would be made to feel guilty about wanting to go to class. You should always surround yourself with those who support you. If they don’t, bye-bye!
I devoted time to studying. – Surprise! Actually studying beyond the night before and exam does help you remember the content and perform better. It took me a while, but I started to make studying [early] a priority and an increase in grades followed.
I started planning. – I’ve always been a horribly unorganized person. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I realized I needed to start keeping track of all the things I needed to do. I bought a planner and started keeping track of tasks and to-dos. Keep in mind that this doesn’t need to be fancy. I used to get so caught up in decorating my planner that it really lacked all practicality (for me). I know some people love the bullet journal method but keep in mind, that a plan old paper and pen planner works just as well!
I invested in a whiteboard – Yes, a whiteboard. It’s mounted to my wall and when I’m studying something that is heavy in memorization, I’ll write every single thing I can remember. Sometimes I’ll even stand there and just talk to myself, reciting everything that is on the board until I can do it without the board.
I went to class regularly – When skipping class becomes a habit, it becomes a problem. Also, when you’re investing thousands of dollars into your education, skipping class becomes silly. Valuable information is said in class. I realized that I shouldn’t be relying on the professor to post their slides so I could learn from the comfort of my bed. I needed to take the initiative to go and take my learning into my own hands.
I realized that there were some classes that just weren’t for me. – This one is a big one. Sometimes we take classes that are just difficult. No matter how much studying you do and no matter how much time you devote, getting that A is just out of reach. Recognizing that sometimes this happens and that it’s perfectly okay is something that took me a while.
These are just some of the things that I did that helped me go from a C/B student to an A student. Everyone is a different type of learner and that’s totally cool! I’d love to hear what sort of things work for you when you’re studying or trying to improve your grades. As always, my messages are always open if you have questions about anything academics, life or school!
March 1, 2017 >> A little early morning early morning studying of my favorite body system for my patho test later today ft. breakfast smoothie. Pro-Tip: there’s spinach in that smoothie adding all kinds of nutrients and you can’t even see or taste it 👍🏼
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.
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.
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 possessfunctionality. 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.
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).
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.
Today is the day! I have two quizzes this afternoon. I did study but I dont feel ready since I have no clue what kind of test it will be. Im used of essay question. I know it will not be an essay. So I took the day off to do a revision. Do you guys have advice to memorize ? We can do this!!
It’s weird to know that school is about to start in a few weeks, isn’t it? I’d like to share some of my own insights to help you have an enjoyable, balanced, and productive year.
Take care of yourself
Everything seems like it is the end of the world - whether it is not succeeding your goal on getting an 80% on a biology test, being so close to the SAT cutoffs, or just feeling tired out, I can assure you that there is so much more to life than just one thing. Don’t give up - there are always alternative pathways to achieve a goal.
Don’t wait to learn - it starts now
Be curious and research the psychology concept that you have always wanted to learn, the requirements of admission to your dream university, or map out what it takes to fulfill your goals. The internet is right at your fingertips and it’s up to you to take advantage of this resource! If it helps - find someone that inspires you and research their story.
Be open to new ideas
Be patient, be understanding, and be accepting of an unanticipated event. It happens! It’s all about the mindset. (Thanks, Dr. Carol Dweck!)
You don’t need to be best friends with your roommate.
Friendships seem to come naturally.
Don’t rush things like studying, when you know that it did not work in the past. Intuition never really fails me, but at the same time, I try to be a cautious risk taker.
Please feel free to reblog and comment - I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
P.S. We are sometimes too caught up in something to realize even the most obvious things, which is why I took time in the summer to reflect & share a post dedicated to the future student.
This photo is from a study session that happened on Tuesday!✌🏻My weekend plans are quite exciting as I’m currently packing for my friends bachelorette party which will happen on Saturday! Sunday is going to be dedicated to reading book because booktubeathon readathon is coming to an end!📚
The book is called The Human Brain Anatomy Coloring book by Diamond, Scheibel and Elson and you can find it on Amazon or Book Depository!