Monday, December 31, 2012

What I've Learned this Year

2012 has been a phenomenal, life-changing year. I started off the year determined to make my last semester at a school I intended to transfer from a positive experience. I was ready to get out of there, but I left with a few new friends and a couple of good times. I spent the summer doing my dream job- teaching sailing at camp and wouldn't have spent it any other way. I survived my first semester at UGA with a not-too-shabby GPA. But the absolute highlight of my 2012 occurred just a few days ago when I found out the best news...

I will be returning to my camp this summer in a new role as a leadership counselor! This has been my dream since the first time I went to camp in the fifth grade. I'm excited to impact the campers in a new way and help my counselors through the summer. Also, there are a lot of traditions reserved for leadership that I'm really excited to do!

I've learned a lot this year, and some of it I learned the hard way. But I wouldn't change a moment for anything.

I've learned...

  • I've definitely grown up a considerable amount in the past year, but I have A LOT left to do. I'm not nearly ready to be a real, live "adult" yet.
  • I don't know how everything is going to turn out. I can't know that, but it's ok.
  • Maybe my childhood dream of becoming a writer isn't so silly after all.
  • The cost of eating out really does add up.
  • Sometimes you make a bad decision. Do what you can to recover from it, and move on. Try again if you can.
  • There's no point of making a to-do list if you're not going to follow through with it.
  • I'm still not sure how one handles being sick as an "adult." I still text my mom with in-depth descriptions of my symptoms and ask what to do. 
  • How to study. Seriously. I was NOT academically challenged in high school and my first year of college. This year has been the first time that I've ever had to seriously hit the books.
  • Trust God. He has a plan, and sometimes that plan involves your dreams coming true. No matter what, it is what's best.
What have you learned this year?

Love and hugs, and Happy New Year!

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be." -Douglas Adams

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Finals Survival Guide: My Study Tips

My last day of classes is today. Where did the time go? Unfortunately though, that means finals are in full swing. I stayed in the student center studying until 2:30 last night (well, this morning). It's open all night during finals, which I am so thankful for because I am so much more productive outside my apartment. I'm going to live there for the next week because all four of my finals at least have a cumulative portion. All. Four. So naturally, I'm not being productive; I'm writing this blog post to help y'all out since I'm such a nice person! Edit: At the time I finally returned to this post, I'm done with finals and somehow survived them. I managed to survive by neglecting my blog though :)

FIRST, preparing to study.
To-do lists are your friend. A week or two before your finals start, begin making a list of everything you need to do to prepare. Making flashcards, reviewing notes, doing problems, what ever you think you'll need to do, put it on there! I have my list organized by class and date of the final to help me prioritize. Also, sticky notes are your friend here too! Use them to mark places in your book or notes that you know you need to review, such as summary pages or important charts.

Then, figure out what to study.
This might be the hardest part. If provided a study guide, fill it out! Writing down the information will help to cement it in your brain. If not, create one! What has your teacher emphasized on previous tests? Have they mentioned anything in class that might help? What are the main ideas? Put it all on your study guide.

Actually study.
Find yourself a nice, quiet place free of distraction. I prefer to get a table outside Starbucks downtown during the day and a study room in the student center at night. If I absolutely have to study at home, I work at my kitchen table with little distractions. I also always have some study snacks and plenty of water and Diet Coke on hand!
How do you learn best? Do you review your notes by talking them out with someone? Reviewing flashcards? Rewriting and reorganizing the information? You know what's best for you and how you will best retain the information. Exhaust all your resources. Do review questions in the book from required readings. Go over anything your professor has handed out in class. Go over old tests if you have them and your final is cumulative.
Focus! That's probably the hardest part. Download the Self Control app and block any distracting websites for a set amount of time. If you don't absolutely need your computer, then don't use it. If you know that you won't get anything done studying with certain friends (you know who they are), study alone or with other people. They'll understand; you can see them when you're done!

Rock your exam!
Wake up on the morning of your test with a good breakfast. Dress for success- whether you prefer yoga pants or a cute outfit. Breathe. You're prepared. Don't psych yourself out.

When finals are over, reward your hard work with a night out with friends, a big meal with too many calories, or just relaxing and watching too much Netflix. I might be guilty of doing all three of those when I finished my exams. Oops.

How do you study best?

Love and hugs,
"She turned her can'ts into cans and her dreams into plans"