Livin La Vida Broke-a

Confessions of a College Student

Category: Time Management

Do Your Research

As many of you know, I am officially unemployed. Scratch that, underemployed. I’m writing freelance for my local newspaper and I’m being trained as a bartender. I do love both jobs and am thankful that someone would hire me, but I should be doing more with my degree.

At one point a few weeks ago, I had 35 tabs open on my browser. All were jobs I wanted to apply for. As you can imagine, 35 tabs was overwhelming. So I applied for one after hours of searching and called it a night. To my surprise, they called me first thing in the morning for an interview.

Newspaper classifieds

Newspaper classifieds (Photo credit: ilamont.com)

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Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Guess what day it is! If you said hump day, please leave my page now as I am severely disappointed in you. Today is the first day of ABC Family’s Countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas. It’s the Countdown to the Countdown! Sure none of the movies on the list have anything to do with the holiday, but Up is on AND we get a Harry Potter marathon next weekend.

Christmas music is on the radio, TV stations are starting their Christmas lineups, so that means the holiday season is here. That being said, I can officially begin Christmas blogging. Hope you’re ready!

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The Most Stressful Time of the Year

Thanksgiving is 15 days away. This is pretty amazing news. We’re going to get about a week off from school, see our friends from home, watch a ton of football, and most importantly, eat. There’s going to be time to catch up with family and time to start decorating for that day in December (I promised I wouldn’t start talking about it yet). Our five days home are jam packed with fun activities that it all seems to fly by. We can’t possibly fit anything else in our schedules!

However, there is a vital activity we tend to forget during this joyous holiday. You know what I’m going to say. Studying.

Finals come two weeks after Thanksgiving this year. If you’re like me, you have a million and one assignments piled up due at the end of the semester. And if you’re like me, you haven’t started them yet.  I mean, how are we expected to get any work done when it’s supposed to start snowing soon?! This is the most wonderful time of the year, and you want me to focus on finals? No thank you. It’s the holiday season versus our schoolwork, and we’re the key factor in deciding who wins.

So, what are we to do?

First off, stop complaining about how much work you have an actually do it.

Second, find options that will make your life easier. Here are some examples:

  1. List making.
    I’ve discussed this before. Making a list (and checking it twice) will give you a visual on how much work you actually have to do. It may not be as bad as you’re thinking.
  2. Write it out.
    I have an exam today and an exam tomorrow which require a lot of memorization. To prepare for today’s exam, I typed everything I needed to know. Then, I put it all in a note on my phone (this way I always have the information with me). For over an hour, I hand wrote the definitions over and over and over and… until it was committed to memory. Now I know everything I need to know about international relations.
  3. Teach.
    Have a friend with a different major than you? Teach them everything you need to know for the exam. Make sure they understand it. If they ask you questions, even better! That makes you have to think of ways to answer and explain. I taught my boyfriend (who’s a Sports Medicine major) about the History of Journalism a few weeks ago. Sure he didn’t retain any of it, but he did understand while I was telling him. He asked me clarity questions and I had to go more in depth than I previously had thought. I ended up getting an 88 on the exam!

Third, learn to manage your time.

  1. Make another list.
    This one should have due dates and your assignments ordered by importance and how much you have to do for it. So your 15 page paper should probably come before your 5 minute presentation.
  2. Map it out.
    Use a calendar or a planner and map out when you’re going to work on what and for how long. So maybe on November 21st you’re going to work on studying for your American National Government exam for three hours. Then November 22nd you’ll work on writing your History of Journalism essay for two hours.
  3. Take it slowly.
    Don’t wait until the last minute. This adds unnecessary stress to an already unnecessarily stressful season. Start assignments early, work on them a little bit at a time, and really perfect them.  Your grades will reflect the effort.

I really hope this helps someone out there. I know my brain is fried and I’m already feeling the weight of the end of the semester. I am on the verge of insanity. I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore. I’m willing to bet some of you do or will feel the same way. Pace yourself. You’ll do just fine.

If you need any help, don’t hesitate to ask me. I’ll do my best to answer any questions.

Also, make sure you find some time for fun. You need to relax at this point of the semester, so do it. Take a nap, play a game, read a book. Do SOMETHING. Maybe you won’t sleep your entire winter break this way 😉

A DIY Holiday

I’m pretty tight on cash right now (hence, Livin La Vida Broke-a). However, I have a lot of friends with birthdays AND Christmas coming up. So how can I make sure everyone is pleased this season?

Do it yourself. Make them something they’ll enjoy. Homemade presents are much more meaningful, they’re fun to do, and you’ll know that no one else is getting them the same thing. This is typically a cheap way to please everyone during the holidays. Here are some ideas for DIY gifts.

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As if October Wasn’t Scary Enough

What’s the one thing in October scarier than Halloween? You probably guessed it. Midterms. In the next week, I have four exams and a big ol’ paper due. SO MUCH FUN. So how will I study for this week of horror? Of course, there will be a couple hundred flash cards, but that won’t help my mind keep track of what’s International Relations, what’s History of Journalism, and what’s Foundations of Communication Research. For starters, find a friend of a different major and try to teach them what you know.

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Ugh … Homework …

Week three of classes … time to buckle down … so. much. work. Will I be able to get it all done before movie night?! I CAN’T MISS PITCH PERFECT!

Step One: Relax.

Step Two: Make a list.

List making has always been extremely helpful for me. Not only can I see exactly how much I need to get done, but crossing things off always gives me a sense of relief. I started making lists of my homework at the end of my first semester sophomore year, when college was getting real. I remember I had four finals, five final papers, and presentations on all those papers. I cried a bit, then I thought, “There must be a better way”. So I thought back to the study skills I was taught in high school tried to find the most relevant skill in my brain. Then it hit me – I should make a list!

I wrote down everything I had to do in order of their due dates, and suddenly it didn’t seem so bad. As as bonus, I made Dean’s List that semester for the first time, so I stuck to making lists. I even made a few last semester as an intern. I was given quite a few projects and it was a little crazy, until I made lists. I put them in order of priority and if it was a slow day, I’d work on the projects with rolling due dates.

Google Images

I’ll let you guys get a peek at my list for this week:

  1. Read Ch. 2 for Comm Research (quiz 9/19)
  2. Read Ch. 7 for American National Govt. (due 9/18 @ midnight)
  3. Start presentation for Hist. of Journalism (due 9/24)
  4. Think of an interesting blog topic (please post soon)
  5. Maybe start paper for Hist. of Journalism (not due for a while)
  6. Breathe
  7. Catch up on International Relations readings

This actually made me feel a lot better. I’m mostly done with one, two, and four. Number three shouldn’t be too hard and I’ve already somewhat started numbers six and seven! I think I’ll get to join in movie night 🙂

Try this out next time you’re overwhelmed with whatever you’re doing and let me know. I’d love to hear if this helps!

Cheers,
Meredith

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