School Year Resolutions

Forget New Year’s Resolutions, let’s talk about School Year Resolutions!

I know it’s a new year and everything which makes people want to turn over a new leaf but when you’re between the ages of 4 and 22ish then change in your life is really dictated by the school year starting every September. You have to adjust to different classes and different people so why not change up a few more things in order to make your life a little better.

Here are a few of mine for my third year of university! If you feel inspired to do the same, please put the link to your post in the comments so that I can check it out!

Write everything down. This ranges from due dates, ideas and journal entries! I know for school especially that I will easily forget about a project or assignment as soon as I leave the threshold of the classroom which tends to be a bad thing. So by physically writing it down somewhere (aka an agenda or wall calendar) that I look at often will alleviate me of future stress! I adore looking back onto old memories – I should give you a room tour at some point because my walls are covered in this sort of thing – and a journal is the most compact way of keeping them. These are some of the years I would love to look back on so this is me telling myself to write it all down.

Set aside time for socializing and being alone. If these moments are already predetermined, life just gets a heckuva lot easier. It’s easy enough to schedule time to hang out with people and go out and have fun but this tends to squeeze out any time I need to be alone and recharge. I’ll often just give people all of my availability and book it up until it’s a Thursday and I’m grouchy and I just want to go home but I can’t because of previous commitments. It’s not healthy to be alone all the time just like it’s not healthy to always be surrounded by people so I need to make sure I keep this in mind now that I have actual university friends.

Read and go outside!! As soon as classes start, I
have a real excuse to be on my laptop all the time and my time spent reading and exploring the outdoors severely drops. It’s easy to get sucked into the black hole of checking every five seconds for notifications that will still be there in a couple of hours.

Cook one meal from scratch each week. This is not my doing, this is my mother’s. I am not a cook. I like to spend the least amount of time in the kitchen as possible because there are just so many other things to do! But since I live at home still and she wants my sister and I to recognize the importance of having some cooking skills, I will need to plan and prepare one meal per week that did not originate from the freezer. I’m only against this in theory cause I also see the value of knowing your way around a kitchen. Still, it’s gonna be hard.

DON’T PROCRASTINATE. It ruins your life and everyone else’s too for that matter. There is not much else to be said here except try harder to stay on top of things! Limit your internet usage! Reward yourself after you’ve finished something, not before! Pleeeease let’s not let the stress build up! There needs to be a support group or something where we just guilt trip each other.

note to self
note to self

Help out around the house. This is something I’ve been steadily improving on since I do live here free of charge which is not something I should take lightly. I’m not renting out my room from my family, I’m living in a house with them and I need to continuously do my part with the workload that comes with it. I don’t care if that’s not how other families do it, but here everyone pitches in (supposedly without being told to) to keep the house well-stocked, clean and functioning.

Man, writing this all down already makes me feel more calm about the new semester and all the work that’s going to come with it. Hopefully I stick to my guns and you won’t see me here 3 weeks later crying about how hard school is when you pretend you have no responsibilities!

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Oddly Specific Questions

I want to know everything.

And that includes everything about a certain person. Doesn’t matter if you’re one of my besties or the friend of a friend that I’ve been left alone with until the mutual friend comes back and we’re just standing there awkwardly. I will always be interested in what you have to say about a vast amount of topics.

I satisfy this curiosity by having random questions on hand to spark these conversations. Some regulars include “What is your favourite tree?” and  “What is your ideal ugly sweater design?” and also “What store would you live in for a week?”.

I like when people really put thought into their answers and make it a personal thing instead of just giving me a look and shrugging some easy answer. It’s my way of getting to know who the person is through what kinds of things they think about. Like for the tree one, I legitimately have a top 3 so you know I like nature and lists for starters. Also people that clarify the questions even further gives me even more insight to who they are and how they think. For example, with my last question, someone who thinks more logically than impulsively might ask if they can bring anything while they’re living there or if it’s some weird type of camping where you have to survive off what’s there already.

It’s a really great way to simultaneously break the ice for what they’re getting into when being my friend/acquaintance since weird is my bread and butter while also fast tracking the learning about each other phase. I can find out what you’re doing in university later, let’s talk about which one you think is more gross: worms, snakes or spiders.

I know my answers and what it probably says about me and I’m always ready to give them if my conversational partner decides to bounce it back to me. (In this scenario: 1) Aspen, Willow, Birch, 2) Yellow, orange and purple with hot dogs and teabags and a pretentious quote and 3) IKEA)

If we get all psychoanalyze-y here, I’m pretty fairly certain that the reason my questions are so specific, as in they can usually be answer in one word or sentence, is because that’s the kind of question I like answer. The open ended ones are too broad and I never know what to say and I assume the other person doesn’t really care anyway so what’s the point. When I’m given specific questions, then I know exactly what is being asked of me and I know they want that information. It’s a win-win!

Also would you rather have a conversation about flying squirrels versus regular squirrels or about what you’re thinking of doing with your life once you graduate.

Procrasti-peeing

Oh hello friends. Let’s pretend there wasn’t a 5 month hiatus on this blog and get straight to what we like talking about most: procrastinating and peeing.

I am currently trying to finish a paper for my business class that is actually worth 20% of my final grade and seriously I had this assignment from the beginning of the school year yet it is only in the last week that I have actually looked at it. Go me. I’ve already gotten tired of perusing social media in attempts to distract myself so at this point I have resorted to reading my own blog and drinking water.

I’ve literally peed 4 times in the last hour and then read an article on how too much water is actually bad for you so my water bottle is going to remain untouched for the next few hours.

What a great way to ease back into the blogging life. I bet this post will get everyone excited for what’s to come. Who doesn’t want to read about someone’s bathroom habits???

Man I get sarcastic when I’m stressed.

Happy Dance

Today I found out that I had the 4th highest mark in my mechanical engineering class!! This is a real pick-me-up after school being pretty tough for the past while!

April Fool’s was yesterday. I got pranked once but it wasn’t even that good and then I was on guard the entire rest of the day so I saw through all the internet ones out there.

Youtube and Goodreads went hardcore with theirs though!!

What about you guys, prank anyone? Did you fall for anything??

Smart Person Magnet??

So this is a thing.

Y’all know I’m in school for engineering, yes? Yes. And I have lots of friends (well some) that are all kinds of smart. Oooh! Remind me to do a Different Types of Smart People post later. Anyway, I’m usually in the middle of the smartness scale meaning there are a few people that are incapable of messing up they just know everything and some people that on average get lower grades than me.

This is not the point.

The point that of those friends that are smarter than me, there are two that stand out. They are just so naturally gifted at what they do it’s insane. I can genuinely say they’re probably the smartest people in the Faculty of Engineering and actually back that fact up with evidence:

So there’s these scholarships offered to the best of the best where even to be considered your mark had to be above a 92% in high school. (I was so close :( ) Obviously a bunch of people applied but only two came out victorious. You can probably see where I’m going with this: the two people that won those scholarships just happen to be those two dudes that I’m friends with.

Let that sink in. I am quite possibly on a talking and joking around and comparing assignments and sitting beside each other in class basis with the top 2 smartest people in engineering.

And if you don’t think that’s cool then I don’t know man.

Taking “Make Yourself Comfortable” To A Whole New Level

Pyjama style.

Let’s start from the very beginning. (a very good place to start. when you read you begin with abc when you sing you begin with do-re-mi….anyways) Today is Pi Day. The 14th day of the 3rd month of the year, making it 3.14!

The Christian group on campus that I’m part of had the brilliant idea of having a Pi-jama Party where we melded celebrating everything Pi – which included eating a wackton of pies and watching Life of Pi (yes we majorly milked it) – with making a blanket fort and wearing our pyjamas!

Part two of the explanation story is that last week, my economics prof cancelled our 7-10pm lecture (yay) and rescheduled it to 5-8pm on a Friday (boo)

So we come to the conclusion which is probably not as exciting as I hyped it up to be. We figured that since we had to go to the pyjama party right after the lecture and since economics is not the most fun of classes that we would spice it up by wearing our pyjamas to it! Got some weird looks but man were we comfy.

Cancelled Class

You don’t understand, this isn’t a thing that happens in engineering.

Except for the fact that it’s happened twice this week. And the best possible times too. I have a 7-10 night class on Thursday and it’s economics which I usually dread and then I only have one class Fridays total and that one’s vanished as well!

The only thing now is that I’m slightly stressed about the material we have to catch up on later…

Teachers

They really do make or break your school life.

I think everyone who went to school and had either an amazing teacher or a horrible teacher knows that this is true. It’s actually amazing how much  of an impact they have on your life.

If a teacher is enthusiastic about the subject and cares whether or not their students learn and understand the material, no matter what you’ll enjoy yourself there more than if the teacher is just doing the bare minimum and you can tell. Even if you’re an English superstar and less than good at math, if your math teacher takes the time to make the lesson fun and easy to take in chances are you’d rather be in that class than if your English teacher just went around the class asking each student a random question from their homework and then slapped some notes on the board for everyone to copy down. Doesn’t mean you actually like math more, it just means the atmosphere is better when the teacher puts in effort.

They also can influence where your passions go. I, for example, had absolutely amazing math teachers all throughout high school. They were funny and warm and always wanted everyone to excel. This included making hilarious practice questions that, if you were lucky, had your name in it, and helping students with their questions outside of class hours. It made me want to make them proud of me and pushed me to do well and eventually fall in love with the subject.

It’s actually crazy how much of your life is shaped by teachers though. You spend the majority of your day with them for long months and it’s not surprising that they basically mold who you are. Makes me wonder how much of my personality is the way it is. Maybe I hate french because my grade 3 french teacher was super annoying. Who knows!

Just some food for thought.

Olympics

It’s that time of year that only comes around every 4 years that Canadians go ballistic over…

The 2014 Winter Olympics have begun!!

I’m filled with the crazy sense of national pride where I just want to shove it in everyone’s faces that I’m Canadian except everyone around me is also Canadian so that doesn’t really do anything except annoy them and then I’d have to apologize and buy them some timbits or something.

Seriously though, this is the place where Canada gets to shine and get recognition for being an actual formidable country and not just nice versions of americans. It’s very invigorating.

Because obviously my university and whoever planned the Olympics conspired together to make sure that I would be too busy to watch anything until reading week, I haven’t actually seen anything happen live. I did get the recap of all the highlights and blunders (Bermuda in bermuda shorts, the countries with only one representative, the glitch with the olympic rings, etc, etc) through tumblr along with everyone’s commentary and do make an effort to google the medal standings at least once a day! And, of course, whenever Canada wins a medal there is no way for escaping hearing about it within 0.2 seconds of it happening so I’m totally always up to speed on that.

Luckily, the Olympics run until the 23rd which gives me plenty of time to sit around and be lazy while I watch amazing athletes compete in the different events.

Some quick stats for y’all:

Alex Bilodeau who was the first Canadian to win gold on Canadian soil 4 years ago in Vancouver 2010 also became the first to defend his title two years in a row in men’s moguls!!

Mark McMorris, who claimed the first medal win of Canada’s for these Olympics, HAD BROKEN HIS RIB 2 WEEKS EARLIER (plus he’s a cutie)

– This actually is the first time in history the Canada has lead in the medal standings this early into the Olympics (summer or winter) with 7 medals and almost half of them gold as of right now. We come out on top at the last winter Olympics but it took us a while to get going.

So are YOU watching the Olympics? What’s your favourite event? Who are you cheering for?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P08B_lBUL0E

Study Tips

Having just had three midterms in the past four days, I think I can classify myself as a sort of expert in this kind of thing.

And now I’m about to pass my expertise down onto you guys, do with it what you will. These are the things I usually do to stay focussed and to actually get the information to stay in my brain when studying for tests. Let me say now that it’s a really good idea to study before the night before a test because you’re hardly going to retain any information like that, even with all the tricks in the world.

1. Figure out what kind of learner you are. This is super important when studying!! I cannot stress that enough! You could be totally visual, auditory, kinesthetic or any combo of the three in how you learn. This really affects how you should go about preparing your notes.

–> Lets say you’re more visual. You should definitely try to use lots of colours and flashcards because those things tend to stick in your mind better. I’m like this and I always colour code my notes and organize them on an unlined sheet of paper (why I am saying that in the singular, it was definitely a plural amount of paper) so that it’s really easy for me to physically picture the paper in my head and pretty much read off the information I wrote down from memory.

–> If you remember things by hearing them, you’re an auditory learner. If you’re really a go getter, you could totally record your lectures and listen to them later. Otherwise, just reading the textbook and/or your notes out loud to yourself, family or even pets helps ideas stick in your brain.

–> If you’re the type of person that can’t sit still in class, it’s likely that you’re a kinesthetic learner. I am also very much this. And I know how much it sucks to make yourself sit down and memorize stuff. That’s why I like to rewrite my notes. Yes, it’s pretty time-consuming (even though I do condense them quite a bit) because writing is moving and my brain seems to remember things once I’ve written them down rather than just looked at a paragraph of text. Also, by putting little notes all over the house with things you need to know means that you don’t have to be sitting down at your desk the entire time you’re studying. Whenever you go to the fridge, you can read your list of strong acids and bases. Every time you open your laptop, you’ve got your list of formulas necessary to memorize for calculations. Works like a charm.

2. Set goals. When all you have on your to do list is “study”, not a lot is going to get done. By breaking up everything you need to do into smaller, more manageable chunks, it makes it easier to stay on track. Seriously, if your closest goal is to just “know everything I need to know for this test” then, man, you’re doomed. Try things like “finish notes on this chapter” or “do every second example on page 455” or even “understand  this one concept” because not only does tell you exactly what you have to do but you feel a little more motivated every time you finish something, no matter how small it is!

3. Reward system. Related to the above tip, treat yourself!! Let’s say you’re kind of hungry and there’s a container of strawberries in the fridge you would just love to demolish. Instead of rationalizing your ability to both eat something messy and stay focussed on the task at hand (which obviously you won’t do) just tell yourself that after you finish this one thing, then you get to go feed yourself guilt-free! Works with watching an episode of your favourite show or chilling with your pet. You’ll be really excited to go do whatever it is that you’ll just have to finish what you set out to do first.

4. Schedule. When you plan out your day/study time, it’s a lot easier to stay on top of things. You can set expected times to be finished with certain things and can even schedule in free time in there. That way it’s not 1am with you wondering where the time went.

5. Examples! Some things are pretty much just memorizing (looking at you, bio) but other things are just practical applications of skills. There are infinite situations that can arise and it’s next to impossible to have them all memorized so the best thing you can do is examples. By repeatedly using the same method tweaked a little bit for each question you try out, it becomes all the more easy for your brain to recognize what to do in that kind of situation or something similar. (I’m looking at you, integration)

6. Background music. Definitely put on music if you’re the kind of person that listens to music while studying but be careful about what kind of music it is! I know you really like Elle Me Dit by MIKA but do you really think you can quietly read your notes while the music is begging to be danced around to. And don’t even think about Disney soundtracks because there is no way in heck that you won’t break out singing to Let It Go. I suggest quiet music that doesn’t really demand to be heard like Owl City’s quiet songs or wordless soundtracks. (The How To Train Your Dragon one is phenomenal)

6. If you’re going to procrastinate, do something useful. With all these previous tips, I’m making it sound like I am the jedi master of studying and nothing ever gets to me. Could not be more opposite! For instance, I’ll be writing blog posts or thinking of hilarious tweets when I should really by thinking about differential equations. And I’ve been known to discover new music instead of memorizing the properties of inverse matrices. But my advice to you is that should you find yourself in a situation when you just physically cannot make yourself be productive school-wise, be productive elsewhere! Make your bed! Make a sandwich! Make a scarf! Yes, you’re not studying by something good still came from it and you will feel 400% less horrible about yourself than if you just sat staring at your papers or playing flappy bird. Trust me.

So there you have it! My surprisingly long-winded post regarding everything I know about shoving information into your head so that you can later regurgitate it onto a test! Let me know if you find anything helpful or if you have some super secret technique that I didn’t mention here!

//If you’re nowhere in the mood to study and nothing can change your mind, check this post about Procrastination Tips out