Best Studying Tips | The SECOND Day of Blogmas!

On the second day of Blogmas, Leeann's blog gave to me: the best study tips... As I've struggled through studying and paper writing, I've hoped and prayed for some solution to my agony and dismay. "Please," I say to anyone who passes by, "tell me how to stop this!" My friends and fellow students pat me on the back then go into their finals sob stories of two finals in one day and a project with a group that won't meet.

I needed a hero, and it came in the form of this article from my dearest mom. It lists "scientifically proven" methods to success during study week, and while it had quite a few suggestions I already knew it also gave me the proof that I was making the right decisions (I've never had an all-nighter and I plan to keep that streak; this article told me why that's a good thing).

But it got me thinking, what else is out there that can help all of us suffering under the biggest tests of the semester? So here is my list of the best finals studying tips I found across the Internet:Best Studying Tips for Finals | Scribbling in the Margins blog

What are your top studying tips?


On the second day of Blogmas, Leeann's blog gave to me:

the best study tips and 10 Christmas songs to sing!

Below the Line:

  • One test down, one test and two papers to go
  • #2days

5 College Posts You Need to Read

If you're anything like me, you're in the midst of crazy college stress and are wondering how the heck you got into this mess. (Or maybe that's just me :)). Today I wanted to share with you a few posts I've found on the World Wide Web about surviving the four years that is college: 5 College Posts You Need to Read | Scribbling in the Margins blog

  • 5 Things I Wish I Knew: Planning Ahead in College- Some really great tips that apply even if you're already in college.
  • Anything at My College Advice- I've mentioned her before, but Katie has posts on about every question or topic you would ever want to know more about.
  • How to Plan for a Busy Week {college students}- a great post for when you have those super crazy weeks. For those of you who have crazy weeks every week, stay tuned to next year. Hopefully I will have figured that out myself by then!
  • You know, I have some pretty great posts too... ;)
  • A Love Letter to College Freshmen- This was posted right at the beginning of my freshman year of college, when I was scared, stressed, and desperately homesick. My mom emailed it to me and I liked it so much I taped it up on my wall that year. If you read any of these, it should be this one. If you want to see more of these types of letters, check out More Love Letters' Dear College campaign.

What are your favorite college posts?


Below the Line:

  • Better late than never, right?
  • History presentation: accomplished
  • I went home this weekend for my dad's homemade beef stew and some family time. It was great to get away from DePauw for a little bit and hang out with my family. Plus, I happened to make it to our neighborhood farmer's market. That means tamale time!


College Organization Tips (+ My School Supplies!)

The college blog posts continue with an exciting ORGANIZATION POST! If that doesn't push you to the edge of your seat, how about a peek at my very own school supplies? :) I just want to start by saying organization is a very personal thing. I know people who throw caution to the wind (I mean, they don't use a PLANNER) and somehow wind up getting everything done on time. I know people with flash-card obsessions and detailed, color-coded notes as pretty as they are useful. I am somewhere in-between.

You know where you fit on the spectrum. I encourage you to take these suggestions and make them work for your personal organization style (or lack thereof :)).

Without further ado: the tips

Color-code. While my notes are black and white, my folders are a different story. I assign a color to each of my four classes each semester (blue, red, green, and purple). I use that color for two things: my folder for that class, and the assignments I write on my wall calendar. I can quickly glance at the current month and see what class has something big coming up.

Give everything a place. My folders and notebooks go in my magazine holder. Books line up next to that. My planner is either in my backpack or on the left side of my desk. My laptop is always on the right. My letter organizer sits in the top left corner. And so on. Giving everything a home (on your desk and throughout your room) makes it less likely you'll lose something. It also lets you know where to put something (thus avoiding too much clutter).

Put what you're using in front of you. New assignments go in the front of your folder, as do printed readings. Books you're currently reading sit at the top of the stack/front of the row. This goes for class, studying, clubs, anything! Life gets a lot easier when you're not constantly searching for a frequently-used item.

A planner is a girl's (and guy's) best friend. I'm a very forgetful person. I'm constantly over-correcting that flaw with alarms, reminders, emails, a dry-erase weekly calendar, and my planner. A planner is the best way I've found to remember what I have to do and when I have to do it. How you decide to use it is up to you, but writing things down means it's way more likely you'll remember them.

If at first you don't succeed... try, try again! The system you think is going to work doesn't have to be the one you stick with. Freshman year I had decorated, color-coded binders I loved, but never really used. I had single-subject notebooks for each class, but never filled them up. It took a little trial and error, but now I have a system I love. Don't be afraid to try out different organizing styles before settling on one that works best for you.

Speaking of the system I love, now we move on to the show-and-tell portion of this blog post: my 2014/2015 school supplies! (I apologize for the sub-par photo's been cloudy in Indiana :))

College Organization Tips | Scribbling in the Margins blog

  • Five-Star three subject notebook. I used to have a one-subject notebook for each class, but I never needed that many pages. This three-subject suits me well (not too big, not too small). I've been reusing a one-subject each semester for my writing classes, since they don't involve many notes.
  • Two-pocket folders. Here's the color-coding I was talking about. If a folder starts to get full (I'm looking at you, writing classes), I move old papers to manila folders.

College Organization Tips | Scribbling in the Margins blog

  • Pen and pencil. Basic, but oh so important. I use a pen for notes, a pencil for- you got it- scribbling in the margins of my books. My new favorite pen is the Pilot Acroball, but I also like the Bic Round Stic. My pencil of choice is also Bic; I'm not sure what model. It's just a mechanical pencil :)
  • NEW Lilly Pulitzer Agenda. I could seriously write a whole post on this planner. The struggle to find it this summer was intense (in tents...)I might dedicate a post to it once school gets into full swing and I start using it more (let me know in the comments if that's something you'd like to read). I'm lost without a planner. I can't imagine surviving college without it.

College Organization Tips | Scribbling in the Margins blogWhat organization tips do you have for school? Any favorite school supplies?


Below the Line:

  • Tomorrow is the big day- I move in for my junior year. I made a packing list yesterday, so... that's a start :)
  • Yesterday was also my back-to-school dinner with my family at The Old Spaghetti Factory. I just can't get over how amazing their pasta is- that Mizithra Cheese, man...
  • My friend Sarah and I got pedicures Tuesday and I opted for this beautiful bright pink (the only place I really like the color is on my toes :)) I keep peeking at my toes!
  • Have you started classes yet? How have they been going for you?

5 Tips for the Best Fall Semester Ever

5 Tips for the Best Fall Semester Fall semester is my favorite semester now, but freshmen year it was nothing but stress, stress, and homesickness. Being prepared for what's going to come is a huge help, and I recommend finding out what life will be like at your particular college (your college's website and other blogs will help with this).

But fall semester can also be a ton of fun and more of a learning experience than a stressful one. Here are the five best things you can do to make your first fall semester awesome:

Talk to your professors during the first week. You'll hear this advice from everyone: your mentors, your peers, your professors, your parents, and especially your school. But it's the best advice you'll hear.

Establishing a relationship from the start gives you an idea of what your professors are like and what they will expect from you in class. It also gives you people you can come to during the semester. When you have three tests and a paper due on the same day, you'll feel better about coming to a professor and asking for help if it isn't the first time you've seen them out of class.

Figure out a time management plan. I always say my high school prepared me for the difficultly of my work in college, but not the quantity. I was a mess trying to get everything done freshmen year. I lived in the library until 6:00 except for class and lunch. I did not need to do this. I over-planned, thinking I needed to put more time in than necessary.

The next semester, I developed a plan that worked for me (reserving the library for my hardest work), but life would have been a lot easier if I did that sooner. So learn from my mistake. Set up your study/activity plan before all your "to-dos" take over your life.

Study outside the library. As hinted at above, my university's library sucked away my soul. (It looks like the 1980s touched it and never went away). But I assumed it had to be the best place to study- it's the library! Not until later would I understand how much better I worked at the Starbucks in town. When you're looking for a place to work, venture out from the library and try out several spots until you find the spot.

Go home (but not too soon). You need time to adjust to your new lifestyle, and going home the first four weekends isn't going to accomplish that. But once you make it a least a month (or two), feel okay about going home for your sibling's choir performance or your town's winter festival. Taking a break away from campus helps you to recharge, and some time with people you love.

Also, if you find yourself getting homesick (like I did- heck, like most freshmen I know did), you can also ask your family to come visit you. My parents and sister drove down to see me two weeks after I moved in for a Sunday lunch. It was such a relief to see them, but I avoided the anxiety of "going back to campus" you can get when you visit home.

Say yes to (almost) everything. Now this goes against what most of you have heard: "Don't be afraid to say no!" I'm here to tell you that fall semester is all about saying yes. When your floormate asks if you want to go to dinner, even though all you want to do is order pizza and watch YouTube? Say yes. When you're overwhelmed by the activities fair and just want to run in the opposite direction? Say yes to at least three sign-up sheets. When your classmate asks you to study together even though you already have the material down? You got it- say yes.

Fall semester freshmen year is all about new experiences. You'll never feel at home at your chosen university sitting in your dorm room day after day. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone this semester when given the chance. You never know what you might like.

Plus, meeting new people (even for you, introverts!) is so important those first few weeks. Friends going through the same changes as you make the whole process easier. Unless you know something will hurt you (i.e. a party the Thursday night before your chemistry midterm? Yeah, that's a no. Or if you're already an active member of two clubs and really can't take on a third), a "yes" will never be as regrettable as a "no."

What tips do you have for fall semester?


Below the Line:

  • Four days until my big move in! I'm both excited and anxious for the new semester :)
  • Took a food allergy test yesterday :( I feel like I need to stuff myself with bread just in case gluten is taken away from me...
  • Cookie butter= DELICIOUS. But then again, what did I expect? It's called cookie butter. ;)
  • Coming up on Friday: a post for all you organizational/stationary fans out there.