My Holiday Budget for Happiness 

As a university student, I take budgeting pretty seriously. While I was fortunate enough to receive a four-year scholarship for my undergraduate study, I still want to make sure I have an emergency fund, and that I am spending responsibly. Particularly around the holidays, my spending can get a little out of control as I go on the hunt for Christmas presents for family and friends, but I have a holiday gift guide/budget plan that minimizes overspending and maximizes happiness. I was introduced to Earnest.com with this post, and they have a great student loan refinancing service that can help university students save money and pay off loans with custom payment plans. Who knows, I might need this service after grad school. 

Setting Limits

Each month, any incoming money is divided into separate accounts for living, saving, and emergency. It is important for me to set an overall spending limit of my savings on presents, as well as price caps on gifts for each person so I know going in how much I am going to spend. 

Resist the Call of the Red Starbucks Cup

This one is so hard for me, especially around the holidays when the Christmas cups come out and my favourite drink, the peppermint mocha, is officially back, but this is an easy cost cutter. While I am by no means a daily drink purchaser, I still think that saving money in little ways like this can amount to big savings at the end of the year. That being said, I do treat myself to the odd one though, and maybe even a frosted snowman cookie. 

Gift Experiences, not Items

Something new I have been doing the past few Christmases is gifting someone an experience like a travel voucher for a weekend getaway, a certificate for an adventure like camping or zipining, or even something simple like a dinner out together. This really helps with coming up with gift ideas, plus I find the memories last longer than giving someone an item that won’t last as long. 

Homemade Presents

The past month or so, I have fallen in love with Pinterest and all its Christmas knitting patterns. One in particular that I think is just adorable is for little stocking christmas tree decorations. I have made about 7 so far in various colours and patterns and I am planning to give them to my family members, particularly my grandparents who, at ages 86 and 87 don’t need clutter but would love something sentimental. 

Homegrown Gifts

While I am not much of a gardener myself, people like my grandparents gift jam made from raspberries they grew themselves and small spice plants, and other people I know gift handmade candles from backyard bee hive wax. I think this is such a nice way to gift something special and useful while not having to go out and battle the shopping malls. 

Essentials and Splurges

Instead of trying to think of unique gift ideas for people, think about what they use on a daily basis like a particular beauty product and gift that. Some might say this is unimaginative, but it is guaranteed that the gift will be loved, appreciated, and used. Another great gift idea is purchasing something that you know someone would like but would never buy for themselves. These splurge purchases make such nice surprises and show that you were paying attention, plus stores usually have really good sales going on so you can scoop up splurges at fractions of the original price. 

Gifts From All of Us

I remember as a kid thinking that a group present was just a way for people to get off the hook for finding someone a unique present, but really it is genius. Luckily my grandparents don’t have Internet so I don’t have to worry about ruining the surprise for my grandfather, but my mother and grandmother and I all pitched in and bought him a DVD recorder that he can use to convert his 800 or so VHS tapes to DVD format. While this item was more pricy and well over the price cap the family set for presents, pooling our money and getting him a nifty gift like this that he will get so much use out of is a great way to save money and give a gift someone will love. 

What are some ways that you budget for the holidays while maximizing happiness???

5 Ways to Backup Assignment Files

October 2016 5 Ways to Back Up Files imageAfter completing three years of university, and a decade of grade school before that, I have come to learn that one of the biggest universal fears among students is the terror that follows the loss, or potential loss, of an assignment. 

Because of this, I wanted to write a post about 5 ways I go about backing up my files so that I am spared the frantic search through recovered files for my assignment, or dread of having to re-write the assignment if it is lost in the void. 

1. Email to Yourself

I love doing this because it is so quick and easy. The only downside is that it can clog up your inbox if you have a lot of drafts for one assignment or multiple assignments on the go. However, once the assignment is completed and handed in, you can always go through your inbox and simply delete the drafts, keeping a final copy just in case. 

2. Backup on a USB Drive

This is a super handy way to not only back up an projects or assignments you may be working on, but also to transport them. USB drives are especially helpful when working on a group project because each member can write their own portion and bring them to a group meeting on a USB drive where they can be put on the same computer and combined. Of course, just make sure you keep the USB drive in a safe place like on your keychain or in your pencil case, because the only flaw in this system is if the USB goes missing. 

3. Transfer to a Hard Drive

This is a great long-term solution for keeping all your assignments saved and secure. For instance, I am still using the laptop I got back in 8th grade and it had a ton of files on it from my high school years that I didn’t need to be bringing to university with me everyday. So, I purchased a hard drive, transferred all my files onto it, and then deleted the vast majority of them off my laptop. Now I have much more free space on my laptop and a backup of all of my assignments. 

4. Print Out Drafts Throughout Writing Process

This is not the most environmentally-friendly way to back up files, and can be time-consuming depending on the length of the assignment due the time required to re-type out the draft if it did get lost, but it is a sure way to have hard copies of an assignment and ensure that no technology gets in the way. 

Drop in the Cloud

The cloud is probably the easiest and best way to back up your files. As much as I don’t like the idea of my documents floating around the digital atmosphere, I am forced to admit that dropping assignments in the cloud is a good way to save them, access them anywhere, and send them to others. 

How do you back up your files???

How To Take Good Lecture Notes

Good morning, and happy Friday!!!

By now, many of you should be back at school or college/university. Having spent the first week going through course syllabi and getting started, professors launch into lectures and teaching course material. This means that everything discussed in class may be important for future studying and getting a good grade.

All professors have different teaching styles: some hand out worksheets, some stand at the front of the lecture hall and just talk, and some display slideshow presentations with notes (and even post them online if you’re lucky). Information presented in lecture is typically the central concepts of the course most likely to be included on exams. The key is to develop a note-taking system that enables you to perform the three R’s: review, remember, and reflect.

By review, I mean that you can flip through notes after class and make sure you understood all the concepts covered and mark those you need to seek clarification on from a professor during office hours.

Notes also have to be conducive to remembering, so having short, to-the-point notes in bullet-form or numbered off are a real asset. I remember in my first year, all of my notes were in full sentences. Looking back, I was just wasting time in lectures and cramping my hand for no real reason because no one but me was going to see them, and thus I didn’t need perfect grammar and punctuation.

Finally, reflecting on notes is a step that I know a lot of people either skip over or don’t know about. Finding ways to connect lecture concepts to notes and readings from earlier in the year or even from different classes is an excellent way to test subject matter knowledge and to better understand how the concepts learned fit into the larger picture.
There are 7 main techniques I use to take good lecture notes that will help accomplish these three R’s:

Be Prepared

Look over your notes from the previous class and prepare for the day’s lecture, anticipating themes, concepts, and ideas that the lecturer will likely present.

Be a Keener

I know no one likes the idea of sitting up at the front of the classroom but it is a great way to guarantee you will see all of the professor’s notes, be able to hear them clearly, and not be distracted by people on their laptops.

Be Specific

Lecture notes should be the bare-bones outline of the professor’s key ideas along with any examples discussed that make them easier to understand and apply. Jotting down particular terms used and their definitions, and class contributions are both helpful ways to expand upon what is covered in lecture and better prepare for exams. Writing out index cards for a course is another good way to specify the important concepts of a class and test your knowledge of them throughout the term.

Be Selective

Trust me, I understand the temptation to scribble down every word of a professor’s slideshow notes, but this isn’t an effective use of time. Sure, you have all the notes, but odds are you didn’t really think about what you were writing down, or how it fits in with the rest of the course. A much better idea is to write down the main concepts first and then add in filler words if you have time later on. Also, leaving blanks in your notes is a good way to indicate that things are missing and can be filled in after class using the textbook or other learning resources.

Be Old-School

By this, I mean take notes using the tried-and-true pen and paper method. Typing out notes is an awesome way to make sure you get everything down from lectures, especially if you are a slow writer, but studies have shown that people learn much better from physically writing out the words than they do hitting lettered keys to form them.

Be an Active Listener

Actively listening to a professor is a good way to study during the lecture itself. By learning the material as it is taught, less memorization will be needed when it comes time to study for an exam.Plus, professors often have little “tells” that indicate when they are about to cover an important topic, such as long exhalations, change in intonation, sits down, and so on, so those portions of lecture notes can be marked as essential to review.

Be Questioning

I for one detest raising my hand in class to ask questions but it is the best way to seek on-the-spot clarification of a topic not fully understood. This will also help with making more specific and useful notes that highlight difficult concepts.

And those are my 7 tips on taking good lecture notes that will help with effective studying for tests and review for exams.

How do you take notes during classes or lectures???

Back-To-School Supply Haul

back to school 2016Good afternoon all!!!

Today is my first day of my fourth year of university. One of my favourite parts about getting ready to head back to school is shopping for supplies. I don’t know why, but I am weirdly at peace in stationary and office supplies stores. I think it has something to do with how all the products are nicely stacked on shelves according to size and colour, appealing to my need to have everything just so.

Something that I learned about myself while shopping for school supplies is just how picky I can be. For instance, if someone hands me a pen, I write with it, regardless of the brand, ink colour, ink type, or grip configuration, but when it comes to picking out pens for my exclusive personal use, I know exactly what I want and cast aside all other pens as inferior writing utensils.

While perusing my school supplies drawer, I noticed that some of my favourites were dwindling, so I hit up a Walmart to replenish my stock, and I wanted to share the supplies that I love using.

school supplies 2016 pencilsMy writing utensil of choice is a Dixon HB pencil. Yes, it must be a Dixon brand pencil. They are easy to distinguish from other pencils because the eraser islight pink, as opposed to white or dark pink both of which smudge the pencil when erasing. I do use mechanical pencils on occasion though, particularly during a multiple-choice exam where the professor uses those Scantron sheets that necessitate a completely filled-in bubble to recognize the correct answer. Each have their own pros and cons: regular pencils require sharpening and the shavings can be messy; mechanical pencils need to be refilled with graphite of a certain size. Personally, I like to stick to regular pencils as much as possible.

school supplies 2016 pensLast year I strayed from my classic pen choice (Pentel R.S.V.P. medium line) and gave erasable pens a try Well I fell in love. The only trouble is that they run out of ink so quickly, so I picked up the ones that come with a refill. They write really smoothly and evenly, and have that gel pen quality to the lines. However, the ink does not always dry instantly and, for a left-hander like me, this means that I may end up smearing the ink with the side of my hand. The savings on white out tape though neutralize that con, and the smears can easily be erased away.

school supplies 2016 splurgeEach year I treat myself to one splurge purchase and this year it was the Bic Marking Permanent Ultra Fine 8 pack. I love using permanent markers for labelling and all through concept maps, and these colours are just so lovely and diverse. I hope they don’t bleed through to the other side of paper too much but I am really looking forward to using these. I didn’t notice until I got home but my package contains two green pens, so I wonder if it is just a coincidence or if all packages come with two greens.

school supplies 2016 highlightersAlso, I picked up a ton of highlighters because I go through them like nobody’s business. I have a strict system: yellow for words that are defined, pink for headings, blue for information, green for names, orange for processes, and purple for stats. The purple rarely gets used but the blue is always out halfway through teterm so I am planning ahead. These are also great for sectioning parts of concept maps into related topics.

school supplies 2016All the school supply goodies:

  •  Pilot FriXion Point 0.5mm Extra-Fine needle point Erasable Gel Ink Pens in blue and black
  • Bic Brite Liner Grip highlighters 
  • Post-it Notes in Rio de Janeiro colours (3 in x 3in) and Miami colours
  • Post-it Notes Cube (1 7/8 in x 1 7/8 in) in pink, blue, and sea foam green
  • Bic Marking Permanent Ultra Fine 8 pack (pink, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, black)
  • Bic Gel-osity Retractable Gel Pens 
  • PaperMate Replay PREMIUM Vibrant Gel Ink Pens (Pink, turquoise, orange, purple)
  • Bic Wite-Out Correction Tape 
  • Dixon HB/2 Pencils 
  • Bic Extra Precision Mechanical Pencils

What school supplies are you using this year???


How To Stay Financially Fit This Summer

With the end of classes and the arrival of sunny summer weather, many people put together a fitness plan to get swimsuit ready, however, far fewer people create a financial fitness plan for the summer to help budget for school, travel, and living expenses. I was contacted by Credit Card Insider with the idea to publish a post to assist young people such as myself with managing credit cards and making sound financial decisions.    

Credit Card Insider is an excellent online resource for unbiased consumer and commercial lending options. Many financial things are complex and so we tend to avoid them,  but Credit Card Insider makes financial education simple and easy, helping customers understand credit and debt and how to use credit cards responsibly. They provide research and comparisons of credit cards for various financial lifestyles, along with assistance with applying for a credit card.  In its simplest terms, there are different types of credit card, such as for students, business, travel, or rewards. In other words, the primary purpose of the card. Then there are different issuers like American Express, Capital One, and Discover. And both of these rest in credit rating, which ranges from excellent to limited or none. 

Getting involved with money and becoming financially savvy was an important part of growing up for me and helped me learn to make good decisions before I began attending university, which involves more financial responsibility. I find the summer months to be the best time for a mid-year check-up on my finances when I can set and adjust financial goals based on short-term needs for the summer and long-term needs for the coming year. So here is an outline of my financial plan:

Find a Summer Job

I have returned to my summer job that I have now held for the third consecutive summer. Being financially independent from my parents is really important, while also making sound choices. Not only does this job in the tourism industry provide me with a bi-monthly paycheque but it has really improved my interpersonal skills, professionalism, customer service, and organization, abilities that will look good on my résumé when I look for jobs in the future.

Direct Deposit

While many employers directly deposit paycheques into into employees’ bank accounts, some still give paper paycheques, which does not help curb unnecessary or impulsive spending. Arranging a direct deposit can help avoid overspending, and also means that there is no need for a trip to the bank to deposit the cheque.

Have a Separate Savings Account

I have two bank accounts: one that I operate out of and pay my bills from, and a high-interest savings account where I squirrel away a portion of my paycheques for a rainy day, a big purchase, or in case of an emergency. I pay myself as though I am paying a bill, transferring 10-15% of each of my paycheques into this account so I always have a little nest egg of cash.

Research Different Types of Bank Accounts

From student accounts, to high-interest savings accounts, to tax-free savings accounts, to chequing accounts, there is a myriad of account options. The simplest way to compare accounts and select the best one for your financial lifestyle and goals is to make an appointment with a financial advisor at your bank and seek their recommendations. Some accounts offer no annual fees, while others offer better interest rates, unlimited transactions, free e-transfers, and so on.  

Find Ways to Save Money on Products and Activities

There is a plethora of sources for rewards programs, coupons, and student discounts, which have greatly helped me save money on everyday items and on things I have wanted to do like movie theatre ticket discounts on Tuesdays, vouchers for a free game of bowling, and 2 for 1 dinner coupons in the local newspaper. Every little bit helps.   

Apply For and Use a Credit Card

This may sound counterintuitive as many kids are warned early on about the danger of using credit to purchase things, but starting early to build up a good credit score is really important, especially if one is looking to apply for loans for school or a vehicle or a mortgage in the future.  One method I use is that I only purchase things on my credit card that I know I can afford and immediately pay it off online. That way, I am building a good credit score while never having to worry about missed payments or accruing interest. An automatic monthly payment can also be set up through online banking, but my one issue with that is it doesn’t force you to look at your purchases for the month and evaluate which were necessary and which could be avoided next month. 

Learn Self-Control

This goes hand in hand with what I wrote just above about purchasing something on credit. It is an easy way to build up a good credit rating, but it is important to learn to delay gratification, i.e. waiting to purchase those to-die-for shoes until you actually have the money to pay for them up front. There is nothing worse than getting shoes on sale, only to pay for them on credit, forget about making payments, and then having to pay all that you saved on the shoes to the bank in interest. 

Know the Ins and Outs of Your Money

By this, I mean keeping track of the sources and amounts of money that are deposited into your bank account each month, and the sources and amounts of money that are withdrawn or spent. Doing this makes it really easy to see how small daily purchases like coffee or lunch can add up to hundreds of dollars in a month, and provide a big picture view of where expenses can be cut down to ensure expenses never exceed income, and clearly show where savings can be made. 

Prepare your own Tax Returns

Honestly, I haven’t done this one yet, but I plan to for the 2016 year. I just think this will help me better understand my finances, income tax, and the calculation of net pay in relation to monthly expenses. That, and then I can save myself the fee each year by having a company do it for me. 

What is your summer financial fitness plan???  Blog logo  

5 Tips for Creating a Course Schedule

Good morning!!! 

Earlier this month, I received an email from the university about my registration date for courses: June 17th at 9:30am. I already have my alarm and backup alarm set to ensure I am up in plenty of time with my schedule in hand so I can register for the courses I want to take as soon as possible before they fill up. I know I can always change them but I have a huge fear of not getting into classes. 

While I have now mapped out three (soon to be four) years of courses, I wanted to write this post for anyone new to university or looking to maximize their course schedule. So, without further ado, here are my 5 tips for creating a course schedule: 

1. Make a list of all the required courses and block them in first.

I am guilty of this, but sometimes I schedule in electives that I really want to take before I block in required courses I have to take for my degree. However, some required courses may only be offered at certain times or in certain terms and should be planned around before electives that could be taken anytime. 

2. Leave yourself some time in between.

Typically, classes are scheduled so that there is 10 minutes to travel between them, but it is so not ideal if you have to sprint across campus to get to your next class. To avoid this, I like to note the building the class is located in so that I can plan classes close by immediately following. Personally, I like having blocks of time in between classes for readings, homework, and relaxation, but for other people it is best to have all their courses back-to-back so they can head home immediately after.

3. Work around your schedule, not your friends’.

I love being in classes with my friends as much as anybody, but at the same time, my schedule comes first. If I can be in a class with a friend that works for me, then that’s great, but I don’t want to rearrange my entire schedule so we can be in the same class.

4. Think about transit.

If you take the bus or other modes of transport to school, consider how long it will take you to get to school and what a realistic start time is. For instance, I try to avoid 8:30am classes because it is no fun waking up at 5am to get an early bus to campus.

5. Consider the workload.

Many course outlines from previous terms can be easily found through a quick Google search. This is especially helpful if a course is offered by multiple professors. Rate My Professors is a great way to research which professor might be best for you, and a previous course outline from their class will indicate how they like to allocate marks. I am someone who likes having my grade come from multiple sources: assignments, online quizzes, in-class participation, and exams. For others though, three exams and a final is just fine. But a mix of both types of courses makes for a manageable workload. 

What are some of your tips for mapping out a course schedule??? 

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10 Ways to Save Money at University

The decision to attend college or university is the most expensive choice many young adults will make until they decide to purchase a new vehicle or a home. Classes cost hundreds of dollars each, making each semester of classes costing in the thousands. Because of this, I, like many other students, look for ways to cut back costs in other ways, so I wanted to share with you 10 of the ways I save money while attending university.

1. Pack a lunch and snacks

Admittedly, the library café’s muffins and sandwiches have beckoned to me from time to time but I really try to bring my own food with me each day. Those few dollars spent each day on food amount to hundreds per month that could easily be saved through some savvy meal planning. I have found leftovers to be a saving grace.

2. Bring coffee or tea in a travel mug from home

Similarly, the money spent on coffee or tea on campus could be saved by bringing drinks from home. Many universities have places on campus to get hot water so always pack a few extra coffee grinds or tea bags in case you want another cup later in the day.

3. Look for used textbooks or online versions

I think the most expensive textbook I have ever bought was around $200, and I seriously contemplated testing my luck by going into the course without one. The publishers say that students get a reduced price, but that didn’t soften the blow when I gave up $200 of hard-earned money for a required text that we only ended up using maybe three times. Thus, please please please look for used textbooks at the university bookstore or online, or try to track down a free PDF or an e-book for a much lower price. 

4. Take the bus

I cannot stress enough how big of a money suck driving a vehicle to campus is. At my university, a parking pass costs around $800. That doesn’t even factor in gas, insurance, maintenance, or any repairs that the vehicle might need during the terms. Comparatively, my student card is a bus pass from September to April for one automatic payment of $75 as part of my tuition. I believe other universities have similar setups so it baffles me why people would drive to school if they can help it, barring of course if they live too far away from campus to bus or if they have to drop others off first on their commute. 

5. Try to opt out of courses

University courses are really expensive, so see if any of the courses you have previously taken allow you to bypass others. For instance, I took AP English in grade 12, which let me skip out on paying $500 for a mandatory introductory English course that covered basic grammar and essay writing. 

6. Carefully map out your courses

Electives can be really tempting. Like my plan is to get a BA in Psychology and Linguistics, but that hasn’t stopped me from taking courses in astronomy and American literature. Problems can arise though if you don’t prioritize the requisite and prerequisite courses for your program, so plan out which courses are mandatory and make sure they fit in the class schedule before you start looking at electives. This can end up costing extra money if you have to spend an extra term taking the required courses you missed. 

7. Stash money away in a high-interest savings account

For some of my friends, seeing money in their bank account is enough motivation to go and spend it, not because they blow through money easily, but because they forget to subtract their monthly expenses first. I mean, I don’t think many people in their twenties are expert money managers yet. But squirreling money away in a savings account means that you can be generating interest while blocking it off from being spent on a new lipstick shade or a newly released hardcover book. 

8. Create a spending syllabus

Similar to planning out classes, make a detailed chart of the necessary monthly expenses and monthly income if you work a part-time job, and then budget how much money is leftover for you to spend on luxury items. 

9. Plan fun evenings at home

Going out for dinner, to the movies, or for a drink at a local bar with some friends can be fun, but also expensive. Instead, try planning a night in with everyone bringing something to snack on, or a game to play or movie to watch. 

10. Collect coupons and take advantage of student discounts

There are so many opportunities for savings, and even more for students. From restaurants to retail stores to recreational activities, many establishments offer students a reduced rate, which is always nice when money is tight. Having a bulletin board to keep all coupons sorted by product type or expiration date can also help save a bundle on groceries and other necessities. 

What are some ways that you save money at university or college??? Share them in the comments below 🙂 🙂 

Taking Summer Courses: Yay or Nay??? 

With my third year of university now at an end, I have potentially only one more year to go before graduation. Yikes!!! Of course, I could tack on another major and a minor and delay graduation by at least another year.

In the event that I want to graduate next spring though, I may need to take summer courses. I have managed to avoid them during my three years in university, but I have been giving them a lot of thought as of late, so I wanted to share with you the list of pros and cons I have come up with about taking summer courses.

Pros

  • Shorter course duration
  • Expedite completion of required courses or electives
  • Exposure to different professors and teaching styles
  • Smaller class sizes
  • Different course syllabi from fall/spring courses 

Cons

  • Limited course selection
  • Longer lecture duration
  • Information-dense lectures
  • Less time between tests/exams 
  • Are not usually covered by a scholarship unless a full course load is taken 

Have you taken summer courses before??? How did you find them??? Would you recommend them??? Picture 19

Third Year in Review 

Three weeks ago today, I wrote my last final exam of my third year of university. Since then, I was in Banff with my mother (you can read my travel diary of the trip here) and was waiting for my final grades to be up on the university website. I checked today, and they are all in, so I figured I would review the past year of university here on the blog. 

For starters, I loved the courses I took this year. I was in 5 courses each term: psycholinguistics, research methods in psychology, biopsychology, an introductory philosophy course, and an elementary computer science course in the fall; an introductory sociology course, cognitive psychology, history of psychology, psychological disorders in adulthood, and a first language acquisition course in the spring. My professors were all wonderful and made me even more passionate about psychology and linguistics, if that were possible. 

This year I stumbled upon a saving grace: scheduling blocks of time between classes. This year, I had gaps between course times from as short as 50 minutes to as long as 4.5 hours.  Initially this was not intentional, but just how my courses lined up in the fall term. Having blocks of prime time for my brain to do readings, work on assignments, and draft papers made my terms so much easier. It made managing my time a less daunting task, and meant I could schedule social outings after classes because I had already studied earlier in the day. I am working on booking similar free blocks between my classes for next year, and I find myself hoping my courses allow for these time gaps. Ironic, isn’t it??? 

I also lost a very close friend this year. We had been drifting apart for awhile, but finally we stopped talking and seeing each other. This hurt because he meant a lot to me, but it was a toxic friendship. “We accept the love we think we deserve,” wrote Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and it took me a long time to realize it, but I deserve better. 

I did make several new friends this year though, and strengthened friendships with people in my programme. This has made planning classes for next year so much more fun because I can coordinate them with my friends and be in the same classes with them. This also means that group projects will be far less daunting since most professors let you pick your group members. 

I also began thinking about grad school. I really want to go to law school, but I am also really interested in speech language pathology and audiology. I am getting excited about planning my “future,” but it is also kind of daunting. Thinking ahead to courses for the coming year is one thing, but considering what I want to do for a career is something else entirely. Part of me just wants to keep going to school and learning different things for years to come, essentially being a professional student, but the idea of having a job I love that allows me to help people is important to me. 

Mind you, after watching a bunch of crime shows on TV like NCIS, Chicago PD, and Law and Order: SVU, graduate studies in Forensic Psychology are looking more and more appealing. 

Finally, this year I purchased a ton of books that I wanted to read this summer. I am currently about 300 pages into The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, which I found tucked away in a little used bookstore, and I am loving it thus far. Her writing style is very unique, but I find the character details and development to be very intriguing. 

Of course blogging has been on my mind a lot recently, and I have a long list of posts I want to write and publish this summer, so I will be getting started on those soon. 

How has your past year of school been??? 

5 Things I Do in the Final Week of Classes 

  Today is my final day of spring term classes!!! 

I have loved my courses, but I am looking forward to being able to study in my pajamas and bake cupcakes during my breaks. Until I can do that though, there are five things I like to do in the final week of classes so I thought I would share them here 🙂 🙂

1. Locate all my notes

No matter how organized I am, a few pesky pages of notes or handouts get misplaced. In the final week, I gather all my notes from the term together, separate them into classes, and figure out any gaps. Before friends go back home or get tucked into their study caves, I want to make sure that I have everything I will need to prepare for finals. 

2. Read through notes and mark with questions 

While classes are still in session and professors and TAs still have office hours, I like to read through all my notes and mark any questions I have so I can get them resolved as early as possible. There is nothing worse to me than studying for a final and then finding a giant hole in my notes about a topic I thought the prof would elaborate upon but never did. 

3. Clean Up My Computer Desktop

Maybe this is just me, but I have a terrible habit of dragging links and folders onto my desktop for easy access and then never putting them where they belong in my university folder, or just never trashing them. Before I sit down at my desk to study for finals, I like to make sure that everything is in its place to avoid the panic that accompanies a missing assignment. 

4. Stock Up on Post-It Notes and Erasable Pens

Post-it notes are my study strategy go-to because I can colour code things, flag important sections in textbooks, summarize chapters, and so much more. Between post-its, highlighters, and coloured pens for headers, definitions, etc. my notes are essentially a mini rainbow of information. Haha takes the learning rainbow to a whole other level. And erasable pens are my saving grace. I used to go through white out like it was going out of style because I like my notes to be scribble-free but now I get the dark lines of pen writing without the hassle or waste of white out. I know I could write in pencil instead, but as a leftie, my writing often smudges and I can’t stand the look of blended pencil on a page, or on the side of my hand. 

5. Map Out a Study Schedule for Final Exams 

Classes let out on a Monday April 4th this term, and exams start up on Thursday April 7th. Usually exams are scattered across several days in the exam period, and this can create the false illusion that I have more study time than I actually do. I make a calendar of each day in the exam period, block off the days I have for exams and the days immediately before for relaxation, and then schedule in study time for each of my exams. Not only that, but I detail what I am going to do each day like draft essay answers or create concept maps for a certain number of chapters. Keeping these goals on-task and realistic gives me a sense of accomplishment when I complete them and can check them off, and it keeps me focused to avoid the last-minute panic of night before studying. 

What do you do in the final week of classes???

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