Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Things To Do Between Classes in College

One of the best things about college is that you get a break between classes rather than running from class to class all day like in high school. Sometimes that break can be agonizing though. You might find yourself with 10-15 minutes between classes or you might have an hour or two long gap between classes. Either way I have a few ideas of things you can do between classes to keep you from getting bored with that down time on campus!

Things To Do In Between Classes

1. Check your student e-mail.

If this is your first year you'll quickly find out that it's super important to check your email. Whether it's important info from your professor, campus news, or working on a group project you have to check your e-mail to be up to date! If you're involved in any organizations (which I definitely recommend!) you'll have even more since this is where your organizations will let you know about upcoming meetings and events. Take this time between classes to check your e-mail and send out a few replies.

2. Take a brain break.

Sometimes you just need a break, right? Scroll through social media, watch a video of cute cats, or play a bit of candy crush. Whatever way you like to just relax and get your mind off the craziness of college.

3. Get a snack.

College students can not survive on caffeine alone! Pack a snack if you want to save money or baked a batch of cookies the night before, hit the vending machines, or visit an on campus food stop if you have more time.

4. Get organized.

Organization is key in college if you want to keep up with classes, organizations, friends, family, work, and still have time to watch your favorite show on Netflix. Use the time between classes to write your to-do list, add an important date to your planner, look ahead at what projects and exams are coming up or organize your class notes.

5. Call home.

Calling home can get pushed off in college, so take this extra time to call home whether it's your mom, dad, sibling, grandparent, or whoever. No matter who you call back home, I'm sure it will make their day and yours as well!

6. Watch an episode of your show.

This requires a bit more time, but if you have a half hour or more between classes (and headphones) watching your favorite show is a great option! This is a popular way to just relax and maybe laugh a bit between classes

7. Work on homework or readings.

Down time between classes is a great opportunity to get started on that to do list. Read for tomorrow's lecture, do a bit of research for your next paper, or work on an assignment. Making the most of this time and being productive now will help to lessen your work load for when you're back at home!

8. Catch up on your favorite blog.

Since you're reading this post, I'll go ahead and assume you like reading blogs! Even if you just have 10-15 minutes between classes, you have time to read a post or two from your favorite blog. If you have more time you can catch up on a few blogs - which is even better, right?

9. Go for a walk.

Take advantage of those nice days outside and do something good for your health too by taking a walk during your break. Take the long way around to your next class or walk around campus.

10. Make friends.

Chat with the other people in your class! Ask them what they think of the class, if they're going to an upcoming event on campus, or how they're faring with that super tough paper. Tell them that super cute thing your dog did last night or about what you did over the weekend. Most everyone is open to making new friends and even if not, it's a great way to get to know your classmates and have someone to study with or do group projects with later.

11. Review your notes.

Another way to be productive during your break is to review your notes. Refresh your memory of what you went over last time in class or study for an upcoming exam.

12. Catch up on the news.

In college it's easy to stay inside a bubble of what's happening on campus and in your friend group. Break out of that bubble and catch up on current events during your break between classes whether that's watching a news clip, reading an article, or even just checking out the headlines.

Now you have 12 different things to keep you busy between classes in college! I know it can be a bit awkward during breaks (especially the long ones) when you have nothing to do, so I hope this list helps.

What do you do between classes? Let me know in the comments!

Related Posts: How I Take Notes, Advice for College Freshman, 6 Ways to Be Organized in College

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Struggles of Adjusting to Adult Life

I've just completed week 6 of my first full time position. While I love where I'm working and what I'm doing, I can't say it's been easy adjusting from a college lifestyle to working full time. In hopes that some of you may also be feeling the same, or have felt the same, here's a list of some of the changes I'm struggling to adjust to and accept about the post-grad life.

15 Struggles of Adjusting to Adult Life

  1. Waking up at 5:30 am everyday/
  2. No longer being able to wear leggings and a sweatshirt all day.
  3. Having to put some real effort into my appearance.
  4. Having to commute to work instead of just walking across campus to get to class.
  5. I'm now expected to greet people with a smile when I walk into work.
  6. When meeting new people you actually shake hands and say nice to meet you.
  7. Being positive and professional at work all day and interacting with others instead of being able to get away with the anti-social behaviors of showing up to class, taking notes, and leaving.
  8. When you start counting down until you can leave, it's hours not minutes.
  9. Being absolutely exhausted by the time you leave work.
  10. Changing into pajamas the moment you walk into your apartment.
  11. Being too tired to eat a proper meal when you get home.
  12. Big outings during the week include grocery shopping and picking up essentials at the drug store.
  13. Considering going to bed at 7 pm.
  14. Feeling like a night owl if I stay up until the 10:00 news.
  15. Not being surprised when you fall asleep at 8 pm.

Have you recently graduated from college? Are you struggling to adjust to the post-grad life? 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My Weekend To Do List for Blogging

For this month's Weekend To Do List we're gonna chat about what I do for my blog over the weekends to keep it running smoothly! I know most of us have other things we devote our weeks to whether it's school, work, family, or whatever else it may be. That means we have to make the most of our weekends to make our blogs the best they can be! Or you know, keep them running.

Weekend To Do List for Blogging

Draft posts.

Generally, I just don't have the time, inspiration, or energy to do this during the week. I already have my monthly calendar filled out with post ideas, so I can just take a look at that on Friday and either write the posts I had planned or write something else. At the moment I'm just writing the posts for the coming week, but I would love to get a bit ahead of the game and start writing posts a week in advance. Someday!

Take photos for blog and Instagram.

I don't have the best lighting when getting home from work, so on the weekends I try to take a few photos to use throughout the week for blog and Instagram. With blog photos, I take a look at my monthly calendar (or editorial calendar) and take photos for a few upcoming posts. I also try to take a few stock photos so if I change what post I'm writing at the last minute, I'll still have a photo I can use. Stock photos also work great if I need an extra photo for Instagram during the week. Later in the afternoon I'll edit the photos or if I don't need them right away I can even save the editing for the evenings in the week. For Instagram photos, I try to just take a few different photos to share throughout the week. I don't have any real strategy and I think it just depends on what kind of photos you like to share on your Insta feed.

Pin this week's posts.

Pinterest helps me get a lot of traffic thanks to group boards like College Lifestyle of Life Tips for Your Best Life. So on the weekend I'm sure to pin new posts first to my blog board and then throughout the weekend and during the week I pin from my blog board to other boards I have and to group boards. This is just a great way to get my posts out there and to get traffic.

Schedule promo tweets.

I schedule promo tweets to go up during the week using Hootsuite. I schedule promos for the new posts that will go up that week that include a little blurb about the post, link, and a photo. I also schedule promos for the most viewed posts from the previous month and past posts that I think might be interesting for people to read again or that are fitting for the time of year. I also need to be scheduling promo tweets for my Bloglovin, Instagram, and Pinterest, I've just been forgetting (oops!).

Catch up on my favorite blogs.

Of course one of the best parts of blogging is being a part of the blogging community! I try to read a post or two during the week, but I really try to catch up on the weekends. I'll read a few posts from my Bloglovin feed and try to leave a comment on a few of the posts I read. This also just keeps me inspired to keep blogging and lets me know what my blog friends are up to!

I'd also like to respond to comments and update past posts, but those are too things I'm letting slide right now. I just don't feel like I have time to keep up with everything, so those are two things I know would be good to do for my blog, but I'm only going to do if I find myself with extra free time.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

How I Take Notes

I have something a bit strange to admit to you: I love taking notes! There's just something about taking information, picking out what's most important, and then organizing it in a way that makes the most sense to me. The cherry on top is making notes look pretty with colored pens, highlighters, pretty handwriting, and adding doodles/charts/graphs.

Now I know not everyone shares this strange love with me, and I understand. It can be super tough to pick out what's important - you either write down every word and end up with too much info, or your notes are so sparse and bare that you can't even use them to study later because the random words on the page don't seem to make sense. 

I have to say, some of taking notes is trial and error. I've had to readjust how I take notes for a class after a bad first quiz - and that's okay. Some teachers might focus more on processes while others focus more on definitions and you just have to figure out what information they most want you to learn. But I think there are still some basic note taking tips that can help you succeed in any class and I'm going to share a few of my note taking tips with you so you can rock note taking this semester!

What to include in your notes to help you get better grades in college

Have clear headings.

You can use the headings in your textbook or on powerpoint slides your professor uses. If your teacher doesn't use headings or a powerpoint, you might have to add these in later by identifying the main idea or theme.

You can make your headings clear by writing them in all caps, writing them in a different color, or highlighting them. You can also indent or bullet all of the information you write beneath that heading to make your headings more identifiable, too.

Use good handwriting.

This can be easier if you can take your time so consider printing out slides ahead of time or note outlines if your professor provides them. Whether you can do that or not write with the best handwriting you can manage because your notes won't be very helpful if you can't read them! 

If you have a fast talking professor or long terms you can use abbreviations like w/o (without), bc (because), or even make your own - just include a key so you know what they mean later. I had a government class where I wrote LGov (local government) and NGov (national government) since they were common phrases.

Now you might read this and wonder why you would hand write notes when you have a laptop. Well writing notes by hand has been proven to help you learn better by studies (read more about that here). It also eliminates the distractions that lurk online and makes it easy to draw charts, diagrams, or images that might help you understand your notes better. 

Write down all definitions.

If you're writing notes from your textbook, it should be pretty easy to write down definitions since they're probably highlighted or bolded and have the definitions in the margins. If you're in class writing notes you might have to be brave and ask the teacher to repeat the definition or explain what words mean or you can write technical words in the margin of your notebook and look up the definition later.

Don't forget to write down the definitions of acronyms or symbols as well. If you're in a math or science class learning new equations you don't want to forget what "M" means in the equation!

Write down any and all steps and requirements.

If you're learning about a governmental process or the steps to solving a math problem, you don't want to leave any step or requirement out! Even if it seems obvious at the time, include it in your notes. It's better to have the information than not.

Write down all examples and include each step you did to find the answer.

This will be more for math and science classes, but you might need to do this in other classes as well. When you do examples in class with the teacher guiding you through it, it seems pretty easy. When you get home and are doing it by yourself...not so much. Whenever your teacher takes the times to do an example in class, copy the example and write each step in your notes. It will help you so much when it comes time for you to do a similar problem!

Write down the full name of key figures, what they did, and why they are important.

In most every class you will discuss key figures at some point. Scientists who discovered different parts of cells, characters who personify certain themes, or leaders who changed history. As a history minor I discovered you need to have all the whos, whats, and whys in your notes. You be able to rattle off what an important person did, but find it a bit harder to explain exactly why they are important. For me that's even more difficult in an English class when analyzing literature. So in every class be sure to include those three pieces of information when taking notes!

Write down anything the teacher says will be on the test.

Your teacher is not trying to trick you. If your teacher says "this will be on the test," "you'll see a similar problem on the test," or anything else along those lines WRITE IT DOWN. You might also want to put an arrow pointing to this or a star next to it, however you want to show that this is important.

Rewrite your notes.

Rewriting your notes is a way to make your notes clearer since you can better organize the information and use better handwriting. You can also make your notes more concise or add more details. I like to add little drawings, symbols, and charts/graphs because those help me remember the information better. 

Aside from improving your notes, rewriting your notes is also a great way to study. You have to actually read your notes to rewrite them (and probably remember them, even if only for a few seconds), and if you are working on organizing your notes and adding to them you will have to process that information which will help you to better learn the information!

What to include in your notes to help you get better grades in college

I hope this post helps you out if note taking is something you struggle with! I tried to include tips that will help you no matter what subject you're studying, but let me know if you'd like note taking or studying tips for a specific class or subject matter. 

Related Posts: Tips for Getting Homework DoneWhat It Means To Be Prepared for ClassMust Have School Supplies for College

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Monthly Intentions | September Goals

As you may have noticed over the past few months, my monthly goals post is a part of the Monthly Intentions Blogger Collab. The collab features some great blogs and if you haven't yet, be sure to check out the other blogs and find out what their goals for the month are!

August has been a pretty exciting month for me. I talked more about all the changes and fun over in my August Favorites post, but I'll just go over the highs and lows here. The low was me being anxious about starting student teaching and whether or not I can handle being a "real" adult. The high was definitely having my best friend over! We haven't spent time together since June because we live three hours apart so it was great to spend a few days with her, especially around my birthday!

Monthly Intentions | September Goals

As always, we'll take a look at how I did with my August goals before getting on to my goals for this month.
1. Have a great birthday. ☑ Along with my best friend coming up for a few days, I got to go to a local festival for my birthday. It's really popular, but I've never gone before. So for my birthday my family and I went there. I also got a few good presents from the fam and got to enjoy some Blizzards with them.
2. Adjust to working full time. ☑ I've gotten used to waking up at 5:30 am, to the commute (audio books really do help!), to being totally alert all day, and speaking and thinking in 2 different languages (I'm teaching Spanish).
3. Blog 2-3 times a week. This is a kind of ☑. I took a week off blogging for my first full week of school, so kind of, not really. It was nice to not worry about it though since that week was exhausting. I'm a little unsure if I'll be able to post twice a week, but I think it's doable. 
4. Read at least one book. Nope! I did really good at the beginning of August but once school hit I let reading totally slide.

Monthly Intentions | September Goals

Get a good score on my first project. 

With student teaching I have four big projects to complete. The first one is due at the beginning of this month. I'm not sure how quickly I will get the score back, so I might not be able to let you know if this happens or not by the next goals post.

Spend time with friends. 

I have to go back to my college this month for an all day student teaching meeting, so the unofficial plan is to stay with my one friend who still lives there and meet up with at least one or two more friends. We are all living in different areas, but this is kind of a central location for all of us so I'm hoping this will work!

Post at least twice a week on Instagram.

I'm not sure if you noticed, but I barely posted on Instagram this month! It kills me a bit inside when I realize how long it's been between posts there. I'm going to have to stock up on some good Insta photos to share on the weekends from now on!

Those are the goals for September. Let me know what your big plans for the month are in the comments!

Related Posts:  July GoalsJune GoalsMay Goals

Saturday, September 3, 2016

August Favorites

August has been a good and exciting month full of the ups and downs. I had a fabulous birthday weekend with my best friend driving up from 3 hours away to spend 2 nights at my house, visit the zoo, go mini golfing, watch lots of movies, laugh too much and have lots of good conversations. I turned 23. 

I started the biggest change I've had since going to college - student teaching! It was super scary and nerve racking at first, but I love the teachers I'm working with and the students are great. I'm really lucky that the foreign language department at the school I'm at is really strong and the two teachers I work with are great. I'm also loving working with high school students - they're so funny and nice. I've already connected with a few of them which is so cool to me. It's still a little nerve racking and awkward at times being in front of the class, but it gets easier all the time. The biggest struggle though is the total change in routine and free time. I'm up at 5:30 and in bed by 9 (at the latest). And I'm afraid I don't have much time to blog, so I think I will have to let a few things go - like replying to comments and keeping up on social media. I hope you guys don't mind!

Another big change this month is my sister is starting her freshman year of college! The college she's at is 6 hours away from me! That sadly means I won't be seeing her until mid-October :( But she seems to be liking it and adjusting pretty well. 

As for favorites, I'm afraid my time and focus has been pretty exclusively focused on student teaching and sleeping so there won't be a lot here, but I hope it's still worth reading.

August Favorites Courtney's Little Things


While my friend was here we rented a few movies from Redbox. My favorite was Daddy's Home. I've been wanting to see this forever. I loved Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell together in The Other Guys and the concept seemed pretty funny. After watching it, I was not let down in the least. I thought it was hilarious. The guys really are hilarious together and their tries to one up each other are great. If you're in need of a funny movie, this is the one to get!


Lately I've been watching one of my long time favorite shows - Criminal Minds. I'm actually watching my boxed sets of it, so kinda lying about the Netflix part haha. It's such a good show that I never get bored or tired of watching the same episodes over and over again (and trust me I do). The characters are amazing - it's hard to pick a favorite. Speaking of characters though,  I am upset about the upcoming season since there will be no Morgan or Hotch - so we'll have to see how that turns out!


The song I can't get out of my head this month is "Into You" by Ariana Grande. It is so catchy - I love the chorus - and I love Ariana's voice. I also just like her - she's so cute and rocks that half pony tail.


My weekend with my friend. I chose to live closer to my family for my student teaching and in an area I'm familiar with which is really nice, but the downside is I'm not close to where my friends are. That made it really special when one of my friends came up for the weekend. We also did some fun things I don't normally do like visit the zoo and mini golfing plus our favorite things like watching movies and talking/laughing way too much.


This is my favorite photo set from this month. I went for a bike ride one evening with my brothers to the river near our house. It was perfect with the sun going down and the trees seemed so green!