Posts Tagged ‘ school ’

School, Writing, and ‘Totes’ is Apparently a Word

I should probably start thinking of some good quality content to put on this blog after school ends. The semester has only just begun but when this year is over, well, then it’s over. Unless by some miracle I apply and get accepted to grad school, and that’s when things get really serious and time will no longer be a concept I can believe in.

Not that I really believe in it now, either.  I’m almost done with my second week of the semester and I already feel as though I’ve fallen so behind…whatever possessed me to save five anthropology classes (four 300-400 level) for my last semester…though it probably doesn’t help that I seem to have a strong case of senioritis that leads me to mistakenly believe I can easily do homework while drinking beer.

Just got to keep pushing to the finish line, though, right.

I’m scared to bits and pieces at the prospect of asking professors for grad school recommendation letters once this is all over.  I’m expecting the responses to be a toss up between, “who are you?” and “I don’t know if I’ve anything good to say about you…”maybe try someone else.

Oh grad schools, why do you need recommendation letters?  I can’t form social connections to save my life.  I was raised in the emergent digital age, I interface with computer screens and emoticons, not living people.

At least I have my writing to fall back on, is what I keep telling myself to my own maniacal laughter.  Writing is a career you pursue relentlessly while keeping a day job to pay the bills (and slowly suck out your soul, and crush your spirit, leaving you a sullen husk silently holding on by that thread of hope that one of your stories will sell like Harry  Potter one day — sorry to spoil it for young, beginning writers brimming with idealistic ambition), anyhow, it’s definitely not Plan B.

That’s why I need to finish writing something and how.  We did intros in one of the classes, stating our name, major, year, and something fun/interesting (it changes as we were moving through the class) about ourselves.  The first guy who went said he was a writer, and I was like oh-fuck, stole my interesting about me, then finished up that he worked on fantasy novels and had two manuscripts finished and I was like, well shit, now I’m just a wannabe and he’s a dedicated professional.  Of course it gets round to me and I’m like, yeah, I also write, then sadly admit, though I haven’t finished a manuscript yet.

The professor, who is also the class clown, was bantering and laughter, and he made some offhanded comment that we can network (the other writer and I) and that guy’s is all scoffing, “she’s not even in the editting stages yet”, but then the prof was kind enough to acknowledge, “but that’s not really something funny.  That’s a serious endeavor, and should be commended,” because he’s actually a nice guy- much better than other everyone-should-be-loud-and-boisterous type teachers I’ve had in the past, then he brought it back around and instructed me, “Now tell us something funny.”

To which I quipped, “Something funny” because you know, no ones ever heard that one before.  People laughed and he was like okay, whatever, moved on to the next person and immediately I thought of a million interesting/funny things I could’ve said about myself instead.

Anyhow, I guess I made the decision then that I need to either work on finishing a manuscript (and then another one and another one and another one) and getting published (my stories anyway, company blog totally does not count.  Side note, WTF is with the word “totes” all of a sudden.  First time I heard it was in the Malcolm McDowell and James Earl  Jones commercial and I’m like, “kids don’t talk like that”, come to find out, they do) back on topic, though, decision: either write something or stop telling people I’m a writer.

I think I’d die inside if I had to stop telling people I’m a writer, as though my spirit were suddenly severed from my body.  Writing is the first and foremost thing I’ve wanted to do going way back to when I was like ten years old and a teacher told me I should be a writer, and I was like, wait, I can do that?  As like, a for real profession, just tell stories all day? Yeah, I totes want to be a writer!

Okay, yeah, totes is the stupidest word ever. Jeez what is wrong with kids these days? Let’s just pretend it doesn’t exist and the people that use it, we’ll pretend they don’t exist either.

Right.  So, unless I want to be a spiritless automaton, going about my life, rank and filing bones, pretending I know something about anything science-y like, which I only partially do, I guess I have to get something accomplished, finito, published, and voila, me writer.  Yeah, I had a beer while reading about entheseal change earlier so I’m a mite loopy, apologies.  Probably start small, short story or something.  Move my way towards finishing one of the plethora of novels I’ve started but for some reason or another dropped, only to start a different novel altogether.

I’m going back to homework now.  Don’t use the word totes.

School’s Out, Time to Write

As of this past Thursday morning, my school semester is over.  It was a long and hectic year that ended on a few high notes.  A few good grades and good praise from my teachers, met some interesting people that were far friendlier towards me than I probably deserved.  In personal life, I got a new job and a new car.  The job seems to be going well, which could mean it really is going well, or I’m delusional in my hopes that it works out.

My first blog post for the new job goes up on Monday, if you would care to check it out, here’s the link.  It’s not the best thing I’ve ever written, by far, stifled by the pressure of it being my first paid writing gig and trying to situate myself into a position whose previous occupant left a severely sour taste in the boss’s mouth.  While you’re perusing the company blog, you can read some of the old blogger’s posts as well.  I’m not entirely sure how long we’ll be keeping them up, but I’m petitioning to get them removed as soon as possible.  I’d like to distance myself from her work as much as I can.  One of the earliest bloggers had some decent posts, and I’d like to spruce them up a bit, but I guess there were complications during her employment so her stuff might get removed too, we’ll see.  We’ll also be getting a freelance blogger (who I’ll be semi-managing) to write content for us.  She’s got a lot of writing experience, and thus far in our email correspondence she’s been super nice, so I’m excited to be working with her. I’ll let you know when her stuff goes up as well, let you take a look at it.  Also, you know, buy something from the store.  We’ve got cool kitchen gadgets, the kind of stuff that makes me go, “I want that…and that…and OH MY GOD THAT!”

As per my previous blog (in which I complain about my own failings during NaNoWriMo and hope the readers will take pit on me), I’m going to be doing my own version of NaNoWriMo…apparently, starting today.  Woohoo! Got to write 1600 words today.  I can kill that easy, just need to pick a story to work on.   A little torn between the one I was trying to write during NaNoWriMo and a completely different one.  UGH, I’m already sabotaging myself.  I’m just going to open a word doc and start writing, whichever story comes out is the one I’m going with, so there, take that self-imposed writer’s block!

Right.  Off I go to get some novel written.  Enjoy this picture of the kitten that wouldn’t let me do my homework.

He's a little sad about classes ending because it means his favorite napping spot - my books - is going away for a time.  Back to sleeping on my shoulders, I guess.

He’s a little sad about classes ending because it means his favorite napping spot – my books – is going away for a time. Back to sleeping on my shoulders, I guess.

School’s Out Forever…almost

I have one week left of classes and then it’s finals week.  Winter break, roughly a month long.  School starts up again on January 24th, marking, finally, my last semester as an undregrad.  I feel like I’ve been an undergraduate student forever, and my family would definitely agree.  It’s taken me about ten years to get my bachelor’s degree, I meandered at the community college taking random classes, switched my major countless times, and even took one semester off entirely.  

Few can probably claim to have taken so long finding themselves, and I’m still kind of looking.

I’d like to go to graduate school.  I’m just not sure how soon I can go.  I need to get a few professors to like me enough to write me recommendation letters.  I need to get into a field school to bolster my CV.  I need money, that’s a big and extremely scary one. Hardest of all, I need to find a school that will take me, complete with a professor interested in what I want to research.

For now, I just need to finish this semester.

Bring on the Bird


This year my sister is hosting Thanksgiving for  the first time.  She’s a good cook, and likes to go all out for big events, so my stomach is very excited.  She’s trying out a few new fancy dishes, like a pork, bacon, and apple stuffing, and a orange-cranberry sauce made from fresh cranberries.

A little less excited that my holiday weekend will be spent doing homework, but I’ve got two more weeks left and the semester is over!  After that, just five more classes to go and I’ll have my degree.  I’m already signed up for the classes and I’m anxious for them to start.  Year’s not over yet, and I’m ready for the next to begin, what is wrong with me?  I guess I just see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m making a mad, mad, mad dash to the finish line.

Here’s hoping your kitchen smells as fantastic as mine right now.  Happy Thanksgiving!



NaNoWriMo – Who scheduled this thing?

So, after my second year failing at staying on task for NaNoWriMo, I’ve come  to a few conclusions.

First of all, whoever planned NaNoWriMo in November is a tool.  Deciding to hold a National Novel Writing Month which challenges participants to pen a 50,000 word novel in the very same month that, for many college students like myself, marks the closing of Fall semester and time to be focused on term projects and finals is just plain cruel.

Second, I’m projecting my frustrations onto some ambiguous figure because it’s easier than owning up to facts.  It’s my fault for doing this to myself two years in a row.  I knew schoolwork was going to keep me occupied most of the time.  Of course, it always takes me at least two screw ups to learn my lesson.

Third, I learned from a lot of writers over the net that I spoke with that in a lot of ways NaNoWriMo is for casual writers, hobbyists, and whatnot.  Career writers and people who seriously want to be novelists don’t usually participate in NaNoWriMo.  You want to know why?  Because writing 1700 words a day is a little thing they call their job. Yeah, those guys do it everyday, not just in a predetermined month. Unfortunately, school is my job right now, because I chose it over writing.  Not going to say I made the right choice, in fact, I think I royally fucked up on that one.

Which brings me to fourth, and last: who says NaNoWriMo has to be in November?  I mean, besides the people that came up with it and promote it every year.  I like the idea behind NaNoWriMo.  It’s about sitting down and actually writing, putting every other hold up on that novel you’ve been dreaming about penning behind you, and focusing on pumping out words without worrying if they’re good or right or even make sense.  But if November isn’t a good month for me, who’s to say I can’t take that concept and drop it into a month that works with my schedule better?  Or even just, in the scope of 30 days that works for me.

My classes all end in December.  I have to check my schedule, but I’m fairly certain it’s the second week.  Next semester won’t start until end of January.  So then, starting Saturday, December 14 to January 6, I’m doing the 50,000 words on my schedule.  It’s a little thing I’m calling Novel Writing Whenever or NoWriWheEv…um…nope, uh, yeah, I’m still working on it.  Maybe, After School Novel Writing…AftSchoNoWri…oh, forget it.

Breathing, for the moment

First week of classes are over and I feel overwhelmed.  I was so eager for classes to start, as evidenced by my last post I suppose, but now I’m eager for classes to end.  Not necessarily because I’m tired of school already, though I am exhausted right now.  Waking up an hour and a half earlier than I’m used to all week will do that.  

Mostly, I just want to get started on my final projects and finish getting all the knowledge crammed into my head.  I have some interesting classes this semester, and i’m looking forward to learning all the things my professors have to teach.  One of my books is only about a couple hundred or so pages long, so I plan on reading that in its entirety this weekend.  I’ve already picked out topics for my two major projects, just got to consult with my professor on one of them.  Not to mention, I’ve already begun my reading for next week.  My goal is to ahead so I don’t fall behind.

Now for the downside of classes and mountains of homework: when the hell do I write?  

Any writer will relate, but writing is like breathing for me, I need to do it to live.  My schedule, however, barely gives me an opportunity to breath.  I rush from school to work, and back home to do schoolwork.   I’m not sure if I’m coming or going at the moment, so how can I find the time to set aside and just write?

I started out the semester planning to write during breaks between schoolwork, but as I’m settling back into school routine, I’m remembering that when I take breaks, my brain just wants to shut down.  It’s too tired and too overwhelmed with thoughts of class and lessons learned to attempt stringing a story together.  Sadly, break-time writing might be out.  Now I’m thinking writing in the morning might be my best option.  Also, I originally wanted to give myself Sunday off, just one full rest day from everything, and thought perhaps I could get a bulk of writing done then, but I’m looking over my schedule panic-attacking, thinking, I might not get to take Sunday off.  

Sigh.  School is hard.  Anyone got advice on finding writing time?

On Doing Well In College

I’ve been preparing to head back to school these past few days.  Classes start in two weeks and I’m going to have a heavy load.  Four anthropology classes, all four hundred level courses; which translate to a lot of reading and a lot of essay writing, and then to top off my schedule, I have a micro-economics course.  I’ve realized recently that I only have the one year left before I graduate, granted the last course I absolutely need is offered in the Spring semester.  Suddenly, I’m thinking about the future beyond school as fast approaching reality as opposed to a far off fantasy world.  I know I need to start making decisions about what I intend to do with myself and my degree.  My considerations at the moment are either graduate school or joining the armed forces, most likely Air Force; which is something I’ve only candidly talked about with my best friend, herself looking into joining within the next year or so.  Even despite my candor, I’m not entirely sure how serious she took me to be.  It isn’t that I’ve never thought about the military as a possible life course, to be honest, a part of me has always wanted to enlist, but I’ve always been afraid, that I’m not good enough, not strong enough, not brave enough, or just not enough.  Lately, I’ve been questioning the integrity of my own self-imposed limits, wondering if perhaps, I’ve been underestimating myself all along.

Yet, even as I prepare for my final year of university, one of my younger cousins is readying to ship off for her first year of university in eleven days.  I know she’ll do impeccably; she’s an intelligent, self-efficient, stable young woman with strong familial support.  Yesterday, however, I took the opportunity to impart on her the knowledge I’d built up from my own experiences.  In my first years of college, I’d been wholly unprepared, and it reflects in my transcripts.  My mother had never gone to college, and my father only suffered through a semester before dropping out.  My elder sister had only a year under her belt when I graduated high school, and by then, she was already floundering at the local university, directionless and overwhelmed by this new world of which she knew nothing and was offered no real guidance.  Sadly, we didn’t receive the kind of assistance from our parents that one might expect; emotional, moral, or otherwise.  When my younger sister was accepted to Ithaca on scholarship five years later, my father practically told her she would fail and shouldn’t go, then a year later crucified her as the failure he predicted when she decided to drop out.  My father, by the way, is the nice parent.

None of this is meant as an excuse for my poor academic record, more so as an explanation of why it felt important to me that I give my younger cousin as much advice as I could.  Despite my rocky beginnings and constant swapping of majors, I’ve since straightened my act.  I transferred to UNLV three semesters ago, and have made Dean’s List each one, an honorable position I intend to maintain through graduation.  I will be making perfect A’s in all my classes next semester, no excuses.  I haven’t posted a blog in a while, and I know a lot of people out there are prepping to return to school, same as myself, so I figured, what better thing to write about than the same advice I passed on to my cousin, as well as, a few tidbits on how prepare for the new semester.  Most of these tips will seem self-evident, but many first years falter by overlooking the obvious.  Furthermore, these tips are not necessarily exclusive to college, but can help a student excel at any academic level.

Bring on the Advice:

Before the Semester Starts – Everyone knows that school always truly begins before the first day of classes.  It starts with registration and enrollment.  First years may have orientation to attend.  Then there’s a lull until those several weeks leading up, as you get your back-to-school shopping done and mentally prepare (or drown in despair) for the coming year.  This is a crucial period of time; how you start your semester can define the entire course of your classes and severely impact your overall performance.  Use it wisely, and success will be yours.

Schedule/Routine – One of the things I like to do before the semester begins is to organize my weekly routine.  Figure out what time to wake up each day, what I need to do before class in the morning, after class, the night before, determine what time I will study for which classes, and most importantly, when to take mental breaks for rejuvenation, and what day and time I can take care of non-school related responsibilities, such as doing laundry.  Having a set routine in place before classes start will help you step easily into the new year with less stress than jumping in head-first without a plan.  The key, of course, is sticking to your routine, yet making it flexible enough for inevitable adjustment throughout the semester.

Work Space – Most students who go away for college and live on campus typically take up permanent residence at the library when it comes to school work.  For those of us that live at home or off-campus, depending on how far away school is, the library may not be a viable option.  Regardless, the only way to succeed in your coming school year is to have a place set aside, free of distraction and temptation, where you can focus entirely on your school work.  If you have a high tolerance for background static, coffee shops can make great work spaces.  They usually have free WiFi, and offer a steady stream of caffeine, sugar, and carbs.  But if you’re anything like me, the minutest movements, the softest whisper, sometimes the mere presence of another human being is enough to tear you straight out of the mental work zone.  In which case, setting up a ‘home office’ might be the best option for you.  Make sure it has everything you need within reach (pens, pencils, paper, books, computer, etc.), it’s a comfortable place to get your work done – but not too comfortable, it needs to exude a ‘work’ atmosphere to create and maintain a ‘doing school work’ mood, and most importantly, that your family/roommates/whoever are aware that when you’re there, you are off limits.

Note-taking Methods – Hopefully throughout middle and high school you’ve learned a few methods for note-taking, and if you’re really lucky, identified which one works best for you.  Don’t believe the hype, no one has a sure-fire method for successful note-taking, there are several to choose from and ultimately, it boils down to whatever works for you, yet, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve encountered struggle with proper note-taking.  Unless you have perfect memory, an inability to take good notes can make or break your grade.  There is only one idea, one concept behind notes, that you need to grasp in order to take great notes: no matter when you look back on them, be it the next day, a week, month, or year later, the notes should recall the lesson their based on and jar into memory everything you were meant to understand or take away from that lecture (ie. They should make sense).  If you can’t understand what the notes mean the next day, you need to rethink how you’re taking notes.  Beyond that, nothing else matters.  You can take your notes digitally on a laptop during class, or write them in a notebook, loose leaf paper kept in a binder, be as detailed or ambiguous as you want, color-code, decorative alternating rainbow, or monochrome, indent, bullet point, or rambling paragraphs.  Don’t let someone convince you to do something that works best for them, realize what works best for you.  Trial and error is the only way to figure out what works, don’t be afraid to try something new with your note-taking if your grade is slipping.  Also, what works for one class may not work for another.  Different teachers expect you to take away different messages from their lectures.  Some are very straight forward, they’ll tell you exactly what you need to know to pass their tests, they may even spell it out for you on a slide: “Take Home Message”.  Others require strong listening skills, you have to dig through what they’re saying to read between the lines.  Getting a feel for your teacher’s lecture style will help you figure out what note-taking method is best, which you can’t do until the year starts obviously, but it helps to have a few methods ready beforehand.  If your note-taking skills are shoddy, practice before the year starts.  Watch a television show or movie, doesn’t matter which one, could be a documentary or a reality show, and take notes on it.  The next day, review your notes.  If you have no clue what you were trying to say, correct the syntax so that it makes sense, and repeat until you get something comprehensible.

** My own method: I always take written notes.  I absorb the material better if I’m writing it, and I pay attention better because hand-writing takes a longer amount of time than, say, typing, which forces me to focus on the teacher’s every word.  Some people may find handwriting while the teacher lectures distracting and miss something said, if you’re one of those people, consider a laptop and/or recording the lecture (note: some professors don’t allow either of these devices in class, check your syllabus).  For instance, some people need to look at the person talking to understand what they’re saying; most of the time I cannot look at a person when they’re talking because the movement of their face and body distracts me.  I try to write down everything the teacher says, but instead of putting it down verbatim, I rephrase in my own wording to ensure I fully comprehend what’s being said.  If I can’t rephrase, I know I need to ask the professor for further clarification.  After class, this semester, I plan to make digital copies of my notes.  The lectures should still be fresh in my mind, which will allow me to make any needed corrections, it’ll also make it easier for me to create study aids from my notes, such as, digital flashcards.

Keeping Agenda – You need an agenda.  There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.  In middle school and high school, we were required to keep an agenda.  They even gave us one every year at my old middle school.  Nice ones too.  Problem was, majority of the student body didn’t know how to properly utilize an agenda, and teachers were not exactly lining up to help them figure it out, as they were too preoccupied with the pressures of getting their material taught in order to ensure their students passed those ridiculous standardized tests and they had a job next year.  Education System politics aside, agendas are incredibly handy, if you know how to use it.  You don’t need a fancy agenda, I use a spiral bound, 4”x9” inch Steno notebook as my agenda.  Professors, at least at my college, are required to give you a detailed schedule of their plans for the entire course, indicating which days homework, reading and major projects are due, and when tests will be given; these tend to be attached to the syllabus, with the appendum that the schedule may change at the professor’s discretion, I use them to build my agenda.  Agendas should be used to break down your school work into manageable daily tasks.  In the past I kept my agenda loose, I wouldn’t go by day but week; date the week at the top of my page, create a section on the page for each class, and write in that section what homework, reading, studying I needed to do for that class for the week, then cross off each task as I completed it during the week.  You should also use your agenda to further break down major projects into manageable tasks.  Plan the project one week (for example, picking out a thesis and doing preliminary research for a term paper would fall under ‘planning’), do the bulk of your research another week, write the rough draft the next, edit and write the first and second draft next , put together the final the next.  You should not use your agenda to write down Due Dates, but instead, Do Dates.  This year I intend to use three types of agendas.   I’ll still use my Steno book, but I have two apps that can be used on both Google Chrome and my phone: Week Plan and Producteev.  I recommend looking into them both, or finding one that you like.  There are several good task management apps available, free of charge, which you can set up to track your tasks, and even send you email reminders.  The beauty of online agendas is that you can use it to synch your progress on a group project with other team members.  Decide on an agenda early, so you can test it to make sure you actually like and will use it.

Class Materials – Depending on your major, it may be a good idea to hold off on doing the bulk of your school supply shopping until after the first day, when you have accurate supply lists from your teachers, but there are some staple materials you should already have on hand: an agenda, notebook(s), at least one binder to hold any hand-outs (especially your syllabi), good pens (choose a brand you know you like and a style your comfortable writing with for long periods of time.  I like Sharpie pens personally, ink comes out smooth and they’re slightly thicker than typical pens, better grip), pencils (sharpener if you use old fashioned pencils, extra lead for mechanical, don’t forget a couple extra erasers), index cards for making flashcards, stapler and staples, some kind of book bag, pencil box or pouch to keep your pens and pencils organized and easily accessible, water bottle (I have a BPA free one purchased from the school bookstore, showing off school spirit, important if you have a lot of classes spread over campus or back-to-back), and of course, your text books.  Clothes can also be considered a part of ‘class materials’.  Put together a wardrobe of clothes that you feel comfortable in, sure you can express yourself, but don’t try to impress the other students with your fashion.  College is expensive, don’t waste your time stressing over how you look and how others see you, wear something that puts you at ease and keeps you focused on what really matters: school work.  What you wear helps set your mood.  Last, get comfortable walking shoes.  Campuses are always large, and parking is never close.

Bring a notebook and pen to class on the first day.  Chances are you won’t need it, but you will definitely want it there if you do.  Always be prepared to take notes even if you think you won’t.

** Note on text books: I purchase all my anthropology books, because it’s my major and, hopefully, my future career path.  I can reference previous texts in future classes.  A lot of schools are now offering book rentals. I recommend, to save on money and valuable space, renting only the textbooks that you know you won’t need in later years.  If your bookstore doesn’t offer this option, you can always sell back later, or sell online.  Another great method for saving is ordering your texts used through online sellers, but if you go this route, make sure you purchase your books early enough that they arrive before classes start.  Some professors are sympathetic and may even provide class with the first weeks reading, others will feel you should’ve planned better, and in all honesty, they’d be right.

Mapping Campus – Print out a map of the campus if you need to, visit it a few times to get the lay of the land before classes start.  Figure out which buildings your classes are in, and what routes will get you to them from whatever starting point.  Also, find the Student Union, Cafeteria, Library, and any other landmarks of note.  If you’re spending all day on campus, or at least through a meal time, knowing where the food is can be the most important piece of information in your day.  It’s hard to focus when you’re hungry.

Parking/Transportation – If you don’t live on campus, make sure you have reliable transportation.  I have to get my car to the shop for a checkup within the next two weeks to make sure it survives the semester.  Know your parking, also, where you can park and what’s closest to your classes.  If you need one, be sure to purchase a permit early – sometimes you can get them at a discounted price that way.  Know how long it takes to get to campus, find parking, and get to class.  My campus is roughly half-an-hour away from my home, but I usually end up leaving an hour to an hour and a half early, depending on what time my classes start.  Less people take early morning classes, so I know if I get there half an hour early that I can easily find good parking.  Classes later in the day are more popular, so parking is harder to find, if I leave earlier, I may not find good parking but I’ll have plenty of time to get to class.

Skipping Class – Don’t do it.  The temptation is there, I know, because you’re an adult now and allegedly free to do whatever you want.  However, there is a direct correlation between your grade and your attendance, and real adults know to prioritize what they need to do over what they want to do.  I know better than most that getting to class can be difficult, and that finding motivation day one is not the same as finding motivation day ten.  Having a good routine can help suppress the mid-semester blues, and also, a rest day in the week, but there are always going to be days when staying home in your pajamas eating ice cream and watching movies sounds so much more appealing than listening to Professor Monotone drone on about blah-blah-blah for an hour.  You have to figure out how to keep yourself going to class.  Maybe assign someone as your task master, let mom or dad, a sibling, significant other, child or good friend know your schedule and ask them to put a fire under your bum on those lazy days.  For my sister, it was her boyfriend that never let her slip up.  I don’t really have someone I can assign that task, so I have to motivate myself.  Reminding yourself what your end goal is, either by daily mantra or with little notes can help keep you on track, but what I found that really works is to give myself little rewards throughout the semester.  If I get an ‘A’ on a test, I can watch an episode of my favorite TV show, which I’m otherwise banned from until the semester’s end.  If I get my homework done by a certain time, I can have a sweet, which I’m on probation from due to my getting fat.  And if I go to classes, then I get an hour break later in the day, free from thinking.  If I skip a class, I have to punish myself, that ‘free time’ I get by skipping, I force myself to spend on school work – there is no escape, bwahahahah.

Before the school year starts, swallow this pill: Adulthood sucks, anyone who told you different, lied.

Online Classes –  Are not easier.  Do not fall for that trap.  If you have trouble motivating yourself to show up for class, you will not be able to find the motivation necessary to hold yourself accountable in an online class. Often times, online classes require more time studying than regular classes.  If your reasoning  for taking an online class is that it’ll be easier, it’ll save you time, and you’ll be less tempted to ‘ditch class’ – these are all wrong, and you will be setting yourself up for failure, and should not take an online class.  If you are a good self-motivator, know how to structure a schedule and stick to it, and your reason for taking an online class is because you need the class and it’s the only one that fits your schedule, then, and only then, should you consider taking one.  Otherwise, bear in mind, online classes cost more money than a regular class and are much, much harder.

Last piece of advice,

Participate in School Activities – I was never much of a joiner, I’m still not.  I repelled school spirit just by looking at it.  Yet in college, I learned that by only going to classes, I was inadvertently shafting school to a periphery part of my life.  It became less important than work and socializing.  I wasn’t a college student, I was a person who took college classes.  This hurt me in ways I’ll never be able to fully heal.  When that happens, grades become periphery also.  A good way to keep yourself fully focused as a student and not lose yourself to being a person who takes college classes, is to participate in the student life on campus.  Attend school activities, be it a lecture on campus, a college football/basketball/whatever game, joining a club or campus society, or anything else on the community schedule that catches your fancy.  Maybe even buy a school t-shirt, and wear it on those days when you’re feeling less like a student.

Anyhow, I got more planning to do before the school year begins, so I better get to work.  Hopefully some of these tips were helpful to someone out there.  Good luck to any students looking forward (or not) to the new semester, and that goes double for freshmen.

Today all around sucked with a small splash of Yay!

I was on the wait-list for a highly desired class next semester (osteology – yeah, everyone in my field wants to be a forensic anthropologist.  I blame Bones), and today I got the email that I was enrolled.  Which means four people I love, as much as is humanly possible to love a person I’ve never met and know absolutely nothing about beyond they go to UNLV and don’t want to learn about bones, dropped the course and brought me three credits closer to my Anthropology degree.

Can you tell I’m excited?  

Which is odd, considering now that means I have five classes (four of which are 400-level anthropology classes and that means lots of reading, lots of writing) and that four days out of the week I have to be on campus by 8, which means I have to wake up at 5:30.  Four of those classes are also on the same day, with fifteen minutes passing time.  Lunch is going to be eaten while I’m speed walking to my one o’clock class.  

I hate myself a little.  Next semester is going to hurt.  It’s worth it right?  I got to believe it’s worth it.

I Got This School Thing Down…

Now if only I could get the rest of my life in order.

Got my grades back for the semester: 3 A’s and 1 B.  Go me!  I can almost see the finish line, my Bachelors in Anthropology hovering in the distance.  It’ll look pretty framed in a dark oak.

I’m now officially on week two of my summer break and I haven’t accomplished anything.  Well, that’s not *entirely* true.  I did about half the pile of laundry in my room and straightened some of the clutter.  I also threw out all the garbage in my car.  It’s nice to pull through a drive-thru now and not have to avert my eyes out of embarrassment because the passenger side of my car is covered in take-out bags.

I swear, I’m not a junk-food addict, I’m just a college student!  I’m now in overcompensation mode, cooking up a storm of good-foods from scratch.  Made whole wheat pizza dough from scratch, turned out delicious.  Next on my agenda is bread from scratch, and a berry cake with mascarpone frosting.  Also, I’m waiting for the doughnut pan I ordered from Amazon to arrive so I can start baking yummy breakfast pastries.

Okay, maybe I’ve been a little busy since summer started.  Only thing I haven’t gotten my mind focused on is, of course, writing.

It just goes to figure.  I’ve got an abundance of time and I’m hit with the dreaded W.B.

I could pull out my old post on dealing with writer’s block that I wrote almost a year ago…where did that thing go again….ah, here it is.

Or I could suck it up, sit down, and pound out a few pages, with no regard to quality.  Can always rewrite later, right?  Right.

I think for now I’ll read a bit, go to bed, and then work on it in the morning.  Maybe I’ll shake things up a bit in the writing realm, step outside my comfort zone and try my hand at something outside of my norm.  Horror, perhaps.  I’ve never written a horror, not a proper one anyhow.

Off I go, I’ll let you guys know how things turn out.

Four More Weeks

There has to be a pattern to my phases of sudden production tapering off into utter listlessness.  Last semester I was ahead in all my classes, or as ahead as I could get, managing to stumble across the finish line onto the Dean’s List and now this semester, with four weeks left, I’m limping behind struggling to catch up or, at least, catch my breath.

Damn you Spring with your eternal sunshine, happily chirping birds, and carefree butterflies, blossoming flowers wafting sweet smelling pollen through the air that all tempt with reckless abandon!


Ah…the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming. Spring is in the air! And I’m stuck inside, sitting on my bum, doing homework. Why did I choose to get an education? Ignorance really is bliss.

It’s almost over.  I just have to finish two term papers, speed read through my homework, cram for my tests, and sacrifice a small animal to the Finals Week gods.

Excuse me while I go find a goat.

Meanwhile, check out the pretty new blog layout.  I’m still not sure how I feel about this one, so please let me know your thoughts!  Also, check the writing tab up above on the menu bar, I threw a new piece of writing up under clips called: Photograph.  There’s other writing posted up there also if you haven’t taken a chance to read and don’t have anything better to do.  I always appreciate feedback, and someday, should I ever have the time, I may repay the favor.

And I should get back to my term paper.  Next post will be more substantial; either something on constructive criticism, or commonly given (yet really terrible) advice.


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