Sunday, August 25, 2013

10 Back to School Tips!

the 2013-14 schedule!! leggo! the phone numbers are wrong so don't try calling ;) 

Hello everybody! It's the end of August and time to go back to school. I'm going to really miss sleeping until 9-10 am. If you've been following me for a while, you'll probably know that I like to post things a bit early. I get really excited about everything and once an idea takes place in my mind, I have to carry it out. So this post is all about getting ready for school. It's my last year of high school and I have accepted the fact. I was really dreading this moment but I'm prepared to make every single moment of senior year count. I had the best junior year in the world and it just doesn't seem like senior year can top that but I'll definitely try. Stay tuned for my tips on starting school interwoven with my favorite school supplies! 

Have you guys missed this jump break? I feel like I haven't given a substantial post for the longest time. Even if I seem like a total material girl (hehehehe), I have a special spot for school supplies (stationary stuff) and cookware. Shopping in Korea is also really fun! I love all the cute stuff and I just can't resist.

1: Stay organized!
the inside!! 
I feel like you get this tip all the time from every single person ever. However, it's number 1 on my list for a reason! I am an organizing freak (even if my room is an upside down mess. I'm actually suffering from my cluttered desk) and I have fallen in love with planners since middle school. Planners have always been my haven from scary classrooms and boring moments. You should've seen my planners growing up. They contain explosions of color and drawings. Last year, I combatted my habit of drawing instead of listening by getting a really cute planner that was in no need of my doodles. This year (as a "serious" senior) I got an actual study planner (stationary shops didn't really have regular cute planners anymore).

I personally hate having 1 huge binder for everything. I usually have 2-3 binders and a bunch of accordion style folders. I have tried the huge binder so many times and each time I fail. I always lose papers and get things mixed up. Dividing the binder between two classes is fine but be careful! At the end of the day, I make a little note in my planner about which binders/folders to take home. This is where writing down your homework assignments is a lot better than just keeping them in your brain or relying on the school website.

I understand that backpacks are a fashion statement but make sure to get a sturdy enough one. I have a lovely red Longchamp bag and I was debating whether or not to use it as a school bag. I was afraid it would break and so I went with a traditional backpack. The prettiest things may not be the best things. That's really difficult for me to say and even harder for me to accept.

This one immediately drew my attention! Hehe do you guys like my wall decorations? I really hope it stays sturdy and doesn't break during the school year. Sophomore and junior year, I used a green Northface backpack. It was very durable and I highly recommend one!

2: You can never have too many pens!
Maybe this is just the material girl in me but I have three favorite in the pen department. I've spent a long time trying to find pens that I really like. My whole class experience changes with the pen I'm holding. The feeling I get while writing an essay with a good pen is irreplaceable. I feel considerably less nervous when I'm holding a certain pen during a super important test like the AP.

6 color ball point pen. Pilot G2 pen 07. Staedtler pen. 
Okay here we go! Have you guys ever had a review of pens? Lols, I am eccentric. These three are my absolute favorite pens, ever. I met the G2 pen merely by chance! I was using a uniball gel pen (that I loved at the time, that line has been discontinued). I ran out of it (I also use pens really fast..) and wanted another one. My dad couldn't find it anywhere and my mom gave me one of her G2 pens. I fell in love instantly and it's been my go to pen since fifth grade. I like the 07 (equivalent of 0.7) thickness because it makes my handwriting look nice. The thick one is just hard to write with (I like to write small..) but the 0.35 is just too thin for me. I tried using 0.3 pens once (my dad bought me a whole set) and I never particularly liked the feeling. Sure I had to squint to see my handwriting (this is a good thing) but overall I think 07 makes my handwriting look best.

I met the Staedtler pen in 7th grade! My friend gifted me a pen and a notebook set for my birthday. It was a magenta pen that I still sometimes use. It's almost dead now but that definitely makes sense regarding how much time has passed. It's a combination of a pen and a sharpie. This pen is a bit thicker and can bleed through paper. It's not the perfect companion to write lots and lots of notes with but for occasions where aesthetics really matter. I use this pen for taking notes on one sided printer paper a lot. I edit student paper articles with this pen (since I'm feature editor, woot woot). 

The last pen that I love is the 6 point pen with 07 thickness. I met this pen this summer but I've been keeping my eye out for one of these since last year. I took AP Bio and that is definitely a class where you need lots and lots of colored pens. This pen is good for taking notes when there are a lot of diagrams. One colorful pen also looks super nice in an array of boring (sorry G2 and Staedtler) pens. 

3: How to take notes 
heheh I love these.They have 2 sides, one
for writing and one for highlighting. 
Everyone understands that note taking is super important but no one really stresses HOW to take notes. Of course note taking is something you learn for yourself but tips are pretty useful.
-Cornell notes: this is how I got through biology (notice, not AP) without studying. Basically you divide your paper up (my biology teacher forced us to do these...) into two columns with one column being 1/3 of the other. The large column is for your notes and the small column is for questions based off the notes. These questions should be used for reviewing the material. Then at the very end, you write a summary of the notes. My teacher was really picky and expected all the details to be there. That effectively made me look at the notes again and answer all my questions. Yes this took a while but I saved time because I didn't have to study extra.
-Annotations: DO NOT JUST HIGHLIGHT. I love my highlighters but I can't take notes just with my highlighters. Highlighting tricks your mind into thinking that you're studying when you might just be moving your hand across the page. I had this problem in the first semester of AP European History. Writing little blurbs next to the highlighted piece of information helps. Writing (contrary to highlighting) helps your mind remember the fact and drills key dates and tidbits into your brain.
I love sticky notes. I'm so obsessed with putting them every-
where, but it helps!!! Try it :) 
-Color coordination: Color coordination is so helpful when highlighting! I love to divide colors for key people, dates, and major events. That way when you're quickly skimming before a test, the important information jumps out at you. I used to read the text once before highlighting so that I wouldn't highlight too much. Highlighting too much is useless in my opinion (the guy who got 100% on all his AP Euro tests would highlight his whole book so it's really up to you...). Color coordinating notes also helps in that same way. The key bits of information should pop at you. As I mentioned earlier, drawing out diagrams in color really helps too.
-Take notes...: It really does help to write down information on pieces of paper. I can't really do electronic notes. Even if I type something up, I end up printing it. It's also a lot more effective and you can easily see what you should memorize. I was taking notes for Comp. Gov and I did a 3 way plan: read and highlight (with a few notes in the margin), look over highlights and transfer important bits of information to a notepad (I love notepads. I can't live without notepads), and type up the answer to the questions.
-Study groups: On a slightly unrelated note, study groups are so helpful! When you need to memorize a large quantity of information, it's so helpful having someone else there who is taking that class. My ap biology teacher made us a checklist of all the important pieces of information and encouraged us to quiz each other. I started doing a lot better on tests once I joined a study group. Sometimes it was just one other friend and me, but that didn't really matter. If your teacher doesn't make you a check list (this has only happened to me once..), make your own or quiz friends on bolded terms or key events.

4: Manage your mornings & tips for staying up
This pic really has nothing to do
with the tip but I didn't know where
else to put it. It's my little friend/
pencil case! Sho cute! @_@
I am not really a morning person. Sure I'm excited at all times of the day, but I don't necessarily like waking up in the morning. I haven't met very many people who like leaving the warm, soft comfort of their beds. It must be done though so here are a few tips to make your morning as painless as possible. The first thing I would advise is to prepare for the morning at night or whenever you sleep. The line between morning and night has become blurred over the years. Preparing is basic. Print stuff before you wake up. Put papers back into folders/binders and put binders/folders into your backpack. If you have time (or care?), pick out an outfit for the next day. Make sure you aren't forgetting any papers before you sleep.

Staying up late studying is difficult. Drink lots of water and make sure to take little breaks along the way. I don't mean study ten minutes and then go on youtube or tumblr but get out of your chair and stretch. Walk down the stairs or into the bathroom and take a deep breath. Your mind resets and is ready to take in more information.

My friend H is really brilliant. I look up to her and her brilliance. She sleeps around 11 and wakes up around 4am to finish her work. Sometimes that is a lot better than staying up till 3am. I can't get myself out of bed again if I were to sleep at 11 so the staying up tactic is the one I picked. She also finishes most of her homework in other classes and lunch . . . I wouldn't advise that. It's a lot harder to do homework knowing it's due next period.

Don't think that staying up late means you're smarter. If you can finish all your work (that also means studying..) and sleep at 9, I would consider that true genius. My sort of boyfriend S (who is now a junior) was taking Calculus AB and physics (nott easy classes) and still slept around 10.

Studying ahead is actually really increases your chances of sleeping earlier. Studying on the weekends is not fun but it means you'll sleep a little bit earlier in class. It always helps to learn information before you learn it in class. When you have a general idea of what you're learning, you can take in more information and the information is way more familiar to you. One of my other friends watched Khan Academy videos for the math concept the day or two before it was taught in class.

5: Help your skin.
these are so fun :) 
I get so stressed during the school year and stress makes my face break out like crazzyyy. Since I sleep late, it really doesn't help. I wash my face a lot, especially since I'm wearing a bit more product these days. While studying at late hours, I just put on a facial mask. These stick to your face well so they're not a bother while studying. I'm not sure if I like sheet masks or actual face cream (erm it's the same thing, just in a container). After 10-30mins, you take it off and wash your face.

I also don't wear that much makeup. Basically my morning "routine" would be bb cream, some concealer, mascara. On special occasions, I'll wear eye liner& eye shadow and face powder. I was really going to start wearing more makeup during this last school year but I'm way too lazy for that. I love my sleep too much to wake up an extra 20-30 mins.

6: Snacks are the best.
I hate large meals. Something about large meals makes me feel uncomfortable and really bloated. Even if it's the same amount of food, I like it broken up. I eat lots of snacks during the day which is a lot better than 3 square meals. I eat a bowl of cereal or toast in the morning, a granola bar during brunch (after 2 periods), half a sandwich and some fruit for lunch, another granola bar during a later period (whichever teacher lets me eat in class). I come home and eat some fruit and then have dinner around 6pm. I eat more fruit or nuts to keep myself awake at late hours. I always get so hungry at night! That way you don't eat fatty foods and it's also pretty good for weight loss/maintaining weight.

7: Make a time schedule plan. Set some goals!!
It's helpful to set up a plan for your day. I procrastinate a lot and do things I shouldn't do (youtube..). I am more on track when I have a definite goal I'm working towards. I work better when I reward myself with bathroom breaks, snacks, 10 minutes of a video, etc. I work so well from the hours of 12-1am because I am so motivated to sleep.

8: Are you afraid of vocab? Worry not!
:) vocabbbb! 
Hehe, I love vocabulary. My mom made me memorize vocab ever since I was a small child and so I'm pretty good at memorizing hehe. I was helping S memorize his ridiculous amount of vocab for his SAT class and I definitely taught him the ropes to successful vocab memorizing. Like the tip above, I set a reward for myself. If I get 5 vocab right, I can eat a blueberry. You need to find your own motivation but it helps! I'm also uber competitive (even with myself) which plays a role in memorizing vocab. I love to think of it as a game.

9: Don't deprive yourself of fun.
go on coffee dates :) can you guess
where this pic is from? 
This might be a little hypocritical coming from me but a little bit of fun doesn't retract from your studies. One awesome weekend at Great America (amusement park) does not mean you are a terrible student with terrible grades. Friends are great stress relievers and necessary in a functioning person's life. If anything, being cooped up at home studying all the time is NOT good for you. Try to do something fun every month or have some sort of relief system. Managing time is important. Depriving yourself is not a good step in managing time! Motivate yourself to work harder so you have time to play.

10: Get involved in school activities!!!
Some of the public speaking team! 
Since I started with a cliche tip, I decided to end with one. I would not have loved high school as much I do if I hadn't joined so many different programs. Challenge yourself :) That is really important. High school is only four years and a crucial moment to find yourself and the things you love doing. My high school career has been far from perfect but it's a story of overcoming fear and finding myself. After a terrible sophomore year, I wasn't expecting much from junior year. I completely loved all my classes and teachers. My junior year teachers inspired me to keep challenging myself and to grow more. I joined journalism and public speaking and am planning to join mock trial. Get the most out of high school! Participate! I never thought I'd be someone who actively took part in school activities aside from studying but I'm so glad that I did. Take 7 classes if it means you can take an awesome class like foods or digital arts or crafts. I really wish that I could've taken psychology but that'll come later. Good luck everybody :) If you guys have any tips, leave them in the comments below. I'd love to hear them! I have never suffered from learning more and taking another tip into my toolbox.

Pop culture time! I have an updated music playlist for all of you :) In the very late hours of the night (almost like now..), upbeat music really helps! Thanks for reading all the way down to here! I realized I didn't put this on my state of the union for August so here it is!

Treasure by Bruno Mars
Roar by Katy Perry
Royals by Lorde
22 by Taylor Swift (I still listen to this obsessively, yes)
Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke, T.I, Pharell
Michael Buble (lol not new but I'm so hooked)
Come and Get It by Selena Gomez (hehe it's grown on me...)

Phew! I finally got a real post in! It's almost the 1 year anniversary of my blog (and my computer). I don't know how many posts I'll write once the school year hits. Like last year, it'll probably fluctuate with certain months. You should look forward to a post about all the cool "makeup" products that my friend D (smo I guess) from Muddy Panda got me. We did a cool trade off where I got her $50 of Korean products and she got me $50 of non Korean products lols. You can see all the things I got her on her blog :) I'd like to say that all these photos were possible because my phone loves me. xx


  1. Senior year, it's exciting, isn't it? We'll be graduating in the same year :)
    I wish my school organized some activities, but there's nothing except the schoolpaper, which totally sucks (I tried saving it with some friends, but we failed miserably). I'm going to do some kind of pre-college study in English literature this year, I'm really looking forward to it :)

  2. Ah really? That's so exciting! Heheh I am really excited for college even if this year is pretty daunting.
    Awh! I'm really lucky to go to a high school with a lot of extra curric classes.
    Ooh that sounds really fun though :) I love English. That's seriously what I'm most looking forward to, too!
    Good luck for senior year :)