Archive for December, 2009

Hitting the Books

December 21, 2009 1 comment

I find that every new year I always vow I’ll do better, that I won’t procrastinate, that I’ll make better choices….and I find, every year, I’m a liar.

I find strangely enough that I didn’t know how to study. I could do homework (sometimes), I can did assigned reading(when I feel like it) but I couldn’t ‘study’. But then I figured out that it was mostly the way I was trying to study that was really the issue.  I found that if I didn’t force it and waited for the mood to come and acted on it then I would actually learn all the material in one sitting, rather then repeatedly having to go back.

Ways that I could get into the moods of studying were strangely enough, playing Sims. When I saw my little Sims working so hard and putting in effort (through my skillful guidence of course) and being rewarded it made me want to work. So if I saved my game and stopped playing and went to study right at that moment miracles would occur. This won’t work for most people, I know, BUT you should find things that inspire you to study, and when that feeling hits you, USE it. Feeling like studying and actually studying are two different species, like…. a bird and a fish.

The things I do to study are far and between but for me they work in varying degrees of success and remember your mood is a huge indicator of how successful any form of studying will be. So make sure you have an environment that you are comfortable in. I like to change it up depending on what part of studying I’m on. So just try lots of different places and gauge where you feel is most comfortable for you. I personally hate people seeing or being able to watch me be productive so if you are like me, I study around 2am if I slept a lot during the day, or during class if we aren’t doing anything I would consider productive.

You can leave any of the following steps out, I just find that I’m prepared and have an easier time getting things all organized (I love organizing things) if I do things this way. The action will be in bold text. Ways of accomplishing it will be right after. I will list ways of doing it so you can choose what works best for you and the time that you have. The time it should take you is going to be in italics. Everyone reads at different speeds so don’t get toostressed.

  1. Pre-reading. Read the chapter the teacher will be going over the night or two before. This way the information won’t be new the first time you hear it in class. You can full out read the chapter and take your own notes, outline the chapter, or just skim the chapter. It’s up to you, this step can be skipped but it is a real time saver later on, especially during midterms, or finals. 15-60 minutes.
  2. Go to class and take notes. Please note you can skip this step as you please but this is not suggested for teachers that don’t give out study guides. And if you don’t know if your teacher does or not. Find out. Make sure to take detailed notes and write down as much as you can. I know, I’ve read that you don’t have to write down everything, but my memory isn’t perfect and writing down as much as I can helps keep me interested. Also, write down as much of the stuff they say but don’t write down. I’ve found that sometimes these things end up being bonus questions or just good for helping me remember the concept. However long your class is.
  3. Join the notes. So now that you’ve gone to class or done the pre-reading, or better yet both. Put that information together. Take what you learned in class and put it together with your notes. If you typed it just change the coloring and insert it into the right areas of the book notes, and/or outline. This way you will be able to see what parts of the chapters he/she is mainly focusing on. This way when finals and midterms roll around you have your own database if you will of class notes and book notes all together and can easily read this instead of having to go back through the book to recall. 20 – 60 minutes.
  4. Do Homework. Doing homework is a good thing to do because it helps you practice for long answer or short answer problems for your exams and the whole exam if it’s math. Unless you’re teacher is giving you less than 8% do the hw. If not just do it for the chapters you don’t get or just keep it as a extra study session kind of thing. 30 – 90 minutes.

If you do this for every class you will be in great shape! Some classes don’t need this kind of studying and maybe only some parts of this you need. I know this worked for me and having it broken into time slots really helped me manage my time and I ended up having more free time a day, in opposed to when I didn’t do this. Also lots less stress since you are basically getting everything you need to do over with early. A huge perk of this is that you can never fall behind even if you get sick and have to miss class.

So good luck, and I hope this helps you out for your next semester or quarter in school. Let me know how this works out for you, Happy holidays!


Saving vs. Not Spending

December 19, 2009 2 comments

While skimming my twitter this morning I found  a link that pointed me in the direction of a New York Times article in the Your Money section. This particular article really jolted a lot of speculatory thought  in my mind, I tried recalling what I had learned in Macroeconomics class this past spring. According to what I had learned, spending is good. However spending what you don’t have in the long run is bad, if you can’t pay it off that is. (common sense) But, you wanting to spend that money is good right? I mean, it boosts stock prices and estimations, more importantly we can take home a lovely new gadget or toy. So I wondered how much have people changed due to the economic conditions we now find ourselves in?

I personally haven’t changed my spending or saving habits but then again I don’t have a job (not that I haven’t tried)…I just go to college and pray the interest rate on my school loans don’t increase, along with other things. Any money I get goes to very small and simple pleasures, such as, going to a fast food chain to pick up some sort of food (if you can call it that) that has meat, since my school is vegetarian.

I’m thinking about applying for a credit card, but I’m extrememly hesitant on getting one till I have a means of paying it off. I think, in times like this it’s important to think long term, which has now inspired me to talk write about studying next… (music will have to wait)

Anyway take a look at the cheesy graphic I made, it has some basic points taken from, “Americans are Finally Saving. How did That Happen?” by Ron Lieber in the Your Money section of the New York Times. The link for the article is in the caption. Also, if you want, answer the questions I put together below, I’m curious to find out how you feel.

Image Source
Old TV:
New TV:

Writing Pains

December 18, 2009 3 comments

Ever since I learned to read, actually scratch that, ever since I knew of something called a book existed I’ve wanted to write a book. I would collect pieces of paper and fold them up like books and staple them in the middle so it would be like a mini binding. How I got the idea to do this I have no clue, all I know is that I still love writing (even though I’ve gotten considerably worse at it) and still haven’t published a thing. I like to refer to this anomoly as writing pains, kind of like growing pains. You know what you have to do, yet can’t do it for a billion or one reasons. Even though the story is in your head perfectly you still struggle to accurately represent it. I for one have seriously sat down and tried writing at least four times this year and still can’t do it, so hopefully this time I’ll do a little bit better and get past the first chapter.

So I figured I would put down some links to sites I personally thought were helpful in getting your mind in the direction of writing.  They are all made up of varying levels of difficulty, from  prose, poetry and links to help you make your dream a reality.

Book Suggestions (all can be found for under $10)

  • “Wreck This Journal: To Create Is to Destroy” by Keri Smith ISBN-13: 9780399533464
  • “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk, E.B. White, Charles Oswood (afterword) ISBN-13: 9780205309023
  • “Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly” by Gail Carson Levine ISBN-13: 9780060519605
  • “On Writing: A Memoir of Craft” by Stephen King ISBN-13: 9780743455961



For Fun

Read Online

Consider this medicine to ease your writing pains.

Feel free to comment about your writing experienes or lack thereof. Whatever’s on your mind, I’d love to hear it!