With finals week just around the corner, as well as my chemistry final exam (help), instead of studying, I figured I would give some advice on how to study for a hard exam. Before I start, I would just like to give a quick shoutout to AP Latin, whose difficulty truly taught me how to prepare for a hard exam, since every test I took for that class has been harder than any exam I’ve taken in college. Let’s just say it’s a blessing I’m done with Latin forever (and got 8 college credits from the AP)!!
Pay attention in class when your professor is going over the requirements or what is expected to know for the exam. Email your professor and/or your TA to ask what they suggest you study from (i.e. lecture slides, text book, practice problems). You can save yourself a lot of time by not wasting it on material that won’t be covered on the exam.
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just jot down what you are going to study on what days. Spread it out and make sure you are giving yourself enough time to cover all of the material. Start as soon as possible! Now, I’m not someone who can say I study ahead all the time, but I know cramming leads to less retention!
Separate the information using different colors. Make use of charts and diagrams. Make a study guide that is so cute that it will make you WANT to study the information. Here’s a Pinterest board with some inspiration.
Teaching the information to someone else is proven to improve memory of the subject. Speaking the information out loud better solidifies it in your memory.
Once you get into a routine in a certain spot and study there repeatedly, its easier to get distracted. Scope out a new, clean study spot whether that is a busy coffee shop or a quiet room in the library. Change your surroundings!
This means drinking plenty of water, taking time to eat, walk around periodically, and getting plenty of sleep. Pulling an all-nighter the night before the exam has proven to do more harm than good. I’m not telling you to get 8 hours of sleep (because that’s just unrealistic), but as a college student, I would say get at least 5.
I learned in Psych 202 this year that the best way to study and remember material is to test yourself. Use practice problems from your textbook, re-do questions from the past exams, or re-do practice problems that your professor has given you.
This is easier said than done, but a 5 minute break can quickly turn into an hour if your phone is involved.
What other advice do you have for students preparing for a hard exam? Let me know in the comments!
I’m not going to lie to you, sorority recruitment was on of the most exhausting and frustrating weeks of my life. Also, keep in mind I attend the University of Wisconsin, where Greek life is much more low-key compared to other schools like in the South. Despite the tough couple days, I ended up in Alpha Phi which I LOVE, and the whole process was totally worth it!
With spring recruitment coming up, I figured I would give some advice to the girls preparing to go through recruitment next semester or anytime in the future. Here are some do’s and do not’s of rush based on my experience.
In case you don’t know what these are, the 5 Bs include: Boys, Booze, Brands, Barack (politics), Beliefs (religion). This was emphasized SO MUCH while I was going through rush. The girls recruiting you don’t want to know about these things. In fact, many may drop you for making one of these topics one of the main parts of the conversation. It’s best to just stray away.
I was so nervous going into recruitment that my conversations would be awkward and we would run out of things to talk about. Don’t worry! The girls work for months preparing for recruitment. They are trained in what to say, what questions to ask, and how to keep a conversation going. You might get asked the same questions over and over again, but at least you’re not sitting in awkward silence.
At Wisconsin, two of the most important rules are 1.) do not reach out to chapter members outside of recruitment 2.) do not go to fraternity sponsored events. The rules are taken very seriously, and failure to follow them means you’ll most likely get dropped. Make sure to pay attention to and follow the rules at your school.
Forget what you’ve heard before or during rush. This is easier said than done, but the whole point of rush is to get a true feel of each chapter and what they are all about! Keep an open mind about each house and make your own judgements AFTER you’ve visited the chapter and have conversed with some of the girls.
Believe me, I know it can be tiring and frustrating when you keep getting dropped by houses. I almost dropped out of rush so many times. There was a time where I had the most amazing, genuine conversation with a girl, and then I got dropped from that chapter the next day. It seriously crushed me. The process is confusing and complex. The girls recruiting are feeling out your personality to see if you’ll be a good fit for their chapter. It’s easy to get frustrated but STICK WITH IT because it WILL be worth it.
I may have been guilty of this and I honestly think this is the reason I got dropped from one sorority. Don’t ask “Do you know _____? She’s in this sorority.” Of course they know them. Telling the girl recruiting you that you know someone in their house isn’t going to help you, only hurt you.
Some essentials I would suggest bringing with you to recruitment are: 1.) a pair of comfortable shoes (you’re going to want to change out of your heels after a couple hours) 2.) snacks (cannot emphasize this enough- getting hangry will not serve you well) 3.) deodorant and perfume to freshen up 4.) extra makeup if you wear some 5.) water
This means getting enough sleep between days and drinking plenty of water. In most houses you literally have to scream because there are so many girls trying to talk in the room. I got really sick after the first couple days lost my voice, so I kept having cough attacks right in the middle of a conversation with a chapter member! Rush takes a lot out of you physically. The days are long and tiring, so give yourself time to recover!
I can’t tell you how many times I heard these words during rush. But as cliché as it sounds, it’s true. Some houses that you dislike at first very well may become one of your favorites. Keep an open mind during every round of rush. 95% of the time, you will end up in the house that fits you best. The process is confusing, but it’s proven to work.
There is really no need to dress up like a sorority stereotype. Again, the whole point of rush is for the different houses to see if you would be a good fit for their chapter. Dress in what you think looks best. Wear as much makeup as you want, or none at all. Truthfully, you will stand out if you dress in a way true to you, rather than looking like 90% of the other PNMs.
If you truly want to become a 4-year member of a sorority, make sure to ask the right questions. Make sure to ask how much the time commitment is, the grade and live-in requirements, and about what everyone in the chapter is involved in. Find 30 more questions to ask here.
You are not going to want to come across as a negative and cynical person. Leave the big fight with your friend out of the conversation for now.
Yes, rush may get “cultish” at times. However, the ceremonies or presentations they are showing you are special to that sorority, so do not make a mockery of it. Also, if you get invited back to a house that you dislike, still be polite and gracious to the girl recruiting you. The girls can tell when you don’t want to be there and just because you may not want to join their chapter does not mean you can’t still be respectful and engaged!
I have already stressed this point, but don’t let the reputation of the house or what your friends are saying sway you. If a house feels right for you, THEN STICK WITH IT! The whole point is to find where you belong, and if you are connecting with the girls in a particular sorority, it’s likely that’s where you belong.
If you’ve gone through rush, what other advice do you have for girls preparing to go through the process? I’d love to hear what you have to say!
1. PLAN AHEAD ON COLLEGE APPS AND TURN THEM IN EARLY
Make sure you are aware of deadlines for every schools’ application as well as scholarship application deadlines. If a school uses early action that is non-binding, TURN YOUR APPLICATION IN THEN! IT WILL ONLY HELP YOU! You also will get a decision sooner! If you are set on a school that has a early action that is binding and 100% want to go there, USE IT! You will have a much better chance getting in to those low acceptance schools. I made the mistake of waiting until the day of to turn in some applications and it only added more stress and more of a chance of forgetting something where it becomes too late to change it.
2. HAVE MULTIPLE PEOPLE CHECK YOUR ESSAYS OVER
Ask your English teacher, your college advisor, your parents, a friend. Make sure that several sets of eyes look over your essay.
3. SPEND LOTS OF TIME WITH PEOPLE WHO MATTER
MAKE TIME for your friends! Set dates and make plans in advance so you KNOW everyone will be available. You all will be apart sooner than you think.
4. TAKE YOUR TIME CHOOSING A COLLEGE OR YOUR NEXT STEP
You may be sick of everyone asking you constantly what you’re doing next year, but don’t let that rush you into making a decision. And don’t let others make the decision for you!
5. DON’T STRESS TOOOOO MUCH
It’s important to still take school seriously and avoid senioritis as much as possible. Looking back on my senior year, I was too stressed out with my difficult schedule that I would study WAY too much for tests and took WAY too many years off my life worrying. Allow yourself to have fun- life and school will only get harder from here.
6. STAY OUT OF TROUBLE
Getting in trouble with the law or the school can ruin everything that you’ve worked for. Be careful with every decision you make on the weekend.
7. SAVE YOUR MONEY
You’ll need LOTS of spending money for college. When I get a paycheck, I place 60% of it into my savings for spending money for college and keep 40% for myself which allows my savings to really add up.
8. TAKE PICTURES!!
Every night out, every event, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you. You’ll thank yourself later!
9. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF AP AND DUAL CREDIT CLASSES
I luckily (and unluckily) took 3 AP classes senior year without realizing the benefits. I’m now going into college with 21 credits just from my APs and dual credit class! It can save you from taking those frustrating intro classes.
10. BE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THINGS YOU ARE INVOLVED IN
I was juggling a ton of things senior year. I was captain on the swim team, editor-in-chief of the school paper, on student council, and involved in other things around school. If you find yourself in a leadership position, MAKE THE MOST OF IT. Make everyone in the school excited about what you do. As a senior, involvement becomes less of an obligation and shows your true passion. Try to go above and beyond to get people to come to that swim meet or read the paper!
11. FIGHT SENIORITIS
A common misconception is that you don’t really have to try senior year. NO. Colleges still look at your transcript! AP scores still matter and those tests are in May! Try and fight the urge to slack as long as possible.
12. YOU WILL FIND YOUR TRUE FRIENDS TOO LATE
I read this in a tweet once, but in my experience it has been nothing but true. Soon enough you’ll all be going to college and you won’t have enough time with them 🙁
One of my many resolutions for 2016 is to get more organized. Whether that be in school, work, or blogging, I believe that the key to success is to stay organized and on top of the tasks at hand.
With my second semester of junior year already upon me, I think it’s the perfect time to get my life in order. College is just around the corner, and this semester could not be more imperative. By incorporating some simple organization concepts into my every day life, I have already seen improvement in my lifestyle, getting tasks done quicker and easier.
1. Invest in a Planner
Having a planner has so many benefits! By writing down your important upcoming dates, events, assignments, blog posts, and more, you are not only setting yourself up for a good week, but an organized one. No more will you forget that lunch plan with a friend or your genius blog post idea.
I’m in LOVE with my 2016 Kate Spade planner. I use it for everything, and I feel so lost without it. Seriously, I act like it’s my baby.
2. Set a planning day for the week
For me, this is usually Sunday. I sit down with my planner and write down any appointment, assignment, work hours, etc that I have coming up that week. This is also the time where I set up my blog posts and social media posts for the upcoming week.
3. Plan out your individual day
Sometimes, by planning out your day from the moment you wake up to the moment your head hits the pillow, you are better able to prioritize the important tasks and be held accountable for what you have to do. This can also include more specific to-do lists with small things that you need to accomplish. By doing this, I increase my productivity for the day. However, make sure to add in some breaks for phone, reading, or relaxation. Trust me, you’ll need them!
NOTE: When making a to-do list, make a section for what you need to do and what you want to do. Priorities are everything.
4. Make a study Schedule
During finals week or other tough weeks of school, I like to plan out my day by making a study schedule.
I created this study schedule on Excel for my recent finals. This allowed me to be certain that I would have enough study time for each class, and it paid off. I ended up reaching my goal for my grades!
Make sure to color code your study schedule in order to differentiate each class for task.
Note: MAKE TIME FOR BREAKS. I have to admit I even strayed from this schedule from time to time primarily due to my laziness. Make sure you set aside time for your brain to rest.
5. Download the Any.DO app
I just recently downloaded this app for my phone, and I can confirm that it is way better than any written to-do list that can easily get lost or the reminders app on iPhone, since I rarely check that.
The app allows you to get notifications like texts to remind you of your tasks, and it gives me a simple and fun way to organize my tasks for school, work, blogging, and more. Seriously, I think this app is an essential to any phone.
6. Start a nighttime routine
By doing simple tasks such as setting out your clothes, packing your lunch, or writing down a list of things that need to be accomplished the next day, you set yourself up for a more stress-free morning and maybe even a few precious minutes of extra sleep!
7. Clean up your desktop and files
This could be just me, but one thing I hate the most is opening my computer when I have lots of things to do, and my desktop is filled with random icons, pictures, and things I don’t need. Also, sometimes finding that one paper or assignment can be impossible.
As a solution, I keep as few things as possible on my desktop, and organize all of my school documents into one folder.
I then organize my assignments even further by categorizing them to their appropriate class. This allows me to find a paper or assignment quickly and easily, since the folder is right there on my clean and organized desktop.
8. Spend 10 minutes cleaning something each day
This one is a no-brainer. I will admit, it sounds easier said than done, but by taking away just 10 minutes before bed or early in the morning, you will be surprised with what you can accomplish
9. Create a morning routine
I definitely would not consider myself a morning person. It takes me 20+ minutes to get me out of bed. By establishing a normal routine for yourself, you know how much time you have before you’re out the door, and what you need to get done in that time.
10. Inspire yourself with people’s organized notes and planners
I do this allllll the time. Head to Pinterest and you’ll come across posts like this:
These make me want to sit down and take some notes for real.
What are your best organization tips?