Tips for Study for Midterms without Dying

October is almost over. I don’t know about you, but my midterms are not over yet. October is generally a whirlwind of a month. So many things to do to celebrate the season–apple picking, hot cider, warm sweaters–and then academically–mid-terms, mid-semester haul, homesickness–it is exhausting. I’ve always been pretty good at studying. I’ve never been the kind of person to overly stress and be a zombie living on two hours asleep during the week. The reason for this is that I’ve learned to manage my time the right way. Here, I share some tips to help you out.

1. Get some sleep!
There’s literally nothing worse than being overly exhausted. It’s such a vicious cycle that can sometimes be hard to break. My rule of the thumb is to get about 7-8 hours of sleep every day. This means I usually don’t go to bed late studying but try to wake up earlier. Studying after waking up from a good night’s sleep is always way more productive than trying to not fall asleep while studying.

2. Take breaks!
I love learning but I hate studying. Usually, when I’m going over notes for a midterm, I get extremely bored because I feel like I’ve heard it all before. When this starts to happen, I make a note to do something fun for about thirty minutes–watch an episode of Weeds, take a twenty-minute nap, organize my room. It’s important to be a bit active and do pleasurable things while you’re studying otherwise your focus will go down and you will not learn anything.

3. Use colors!
I like taking notes in pink and using all kinds of cute methods to organize my studying. It makes me put some effort into what I’m doing and I then associate things which, to me, is a great way of learning.

4. Write!
When you’re studying, use note cards and write down study guides. You might not have time to reread everything after you write it (especially if you’re cramming) but writing it down already makes it way easier to learn. I heard somewhere that when you write down something you’re learning, you’re more able to retain it longer. It kind of makes sense because you have to read, analyze, and then write it down so you’re ultra exposed to what you’re doing.

5. Learn!
I cannot stress this enough. You are not actually learning anything if all you’re doing is trying to memorize stuff. It’s best to really internalize what you’re trying to study. Look at it this way, if a random friend asks you, “How does X work?” you should be able to give her a wholesome answer in your own words. Along those lines, if you have a study buddy and you explain things to each other, that makes for a great studying technique.

Hope that helps. Just rememeber, don’t overwork yourself. If you managed to break things down well and organize yourself, you’ll do fine.

What study tips do you have?

xo, Patricia

When In College…

…you’re too busy to even breathe.

As you can tell by the lack of posts, college is taking the life out of me. Between school, friends, and Model United Nations, I barely have time to do anything else. And, let me tell you, I really enjoy my sleep. Sometimes, I find myself wanting to write a post but then I realize that it might not be in my blog’s genre. So I’ve been thinking, instead of stopping this blog and starting a new one, I’ll just refresh Me, Myself, and Boston, and make it a more personal blog about my thoughts and stuff bouncing around my head. There will still be some talk of fashion but I want to be able to blog without having the constraint of a specific theme because that discourages me from posting. I enjoy the blogosphere too much to limit myself into a topic or two.

With that said, here are some things that I have been thinking about in the last few days.

Sweaters
Sweater weather! I’m not completely enthusiastic about the cold but this weather means that I have a legitimate excuse to go shopping. As I’m typing this, a huge order of clothes is going through with sweaters, jackets, scarves, and tights. My favorite right now is this fisherman sweater that I just bought. The color, the texture, oh! I can’t wait.

Inspirational Quotes
I’m currently looking for inspirational quotes that I can use to decorate the walls of my dorm. I have a bunch of posters but my room needs a little extra. Here are some to inspire you, too:

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Golden Hair
I really want a hair redo. I’ve been looking at golden tones to lighten my hair but still give it some fresh breeze. I have dark brown hair and I don’t think going too light would look good but I want something to brighten up my face a bit. And no, I do not follow the whole dark hair in winter and light hair in summer. Who cares?

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Of course, I can never look like Adriana Lima. Still, I love her hair color.

What’s been in your mind lately?

First Photos

So I’ve been playing around with my new camera for like a day and it’s been so fun trying to get the right mix of settings to get a good photo. I have no idea what to do when it comes to editing on Photoshop so these photos are all unedited. Bear with me, they are absolutely amateurish but I think it will be fun to show my starting point and then slowly record my progress. Plus, you get a peek of my room and my cutie of a boyfriend. Oh, and some awesome friends on our first night out. Enjoy!

IMG_2496 IMG_2502 IMG_2503Extra love to my A Beautiful Mess Book as well as my favorite styling books, Lauren Conrad’s Beauty and Style.

IMG_2508Keeping these pictures and memories from prom is extremely important to me. Make sure you have pretty framed photographs for your dorm room, especially if your dorms don’t let you hang pictures (with other than tape, which could damage them).

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New Year, New Goals

I’m always excited to start the new school year. Not only am I a school-supply freak but I also love the feeling fresh starts. Even though I’m going to sophomore year (already?!), I still feel like there’s so much more to discover this year. And, after a pretty tragic year in my family (I will share about my story sometime, I promise), I’m ready to tackle this new year with a new mindset. There are several upcoming things that I’m looking forward to like Model United Nation conferences and Andrey’s and I first year anniversary (again, already?!). There are some goals I would like to accomplish this new year, though. I know what you might be thinking, “Isn’t the actual new year meant for new goals?” and my response is, yes, but not really. For me, going from December 31st to January 1st, although there is a sense of newness, it isn’t as much as a big deal. I feel that, with school, you can learn so much and open so many doors.

So, that said, I have a few goals I would like to share with you. Here they are!

1. Start photography: So as you may have seen on this previous post, I’m really looking forward to starting photography and developing that skill. I plan to do a 365 photography challenge to get me started practicing. It’s going to be a fun adventure.
2. Write more: I used to write all the time (novels, poetry, short stories) but I feel like that’s been lacking lately so, although I don’t know how realistically I can expect myself to write with so much else going on during college, I hope to at least write more than I have for the last few years.
3. Get good grades: This almost goes without saying but I really want to get the best grades. This year is crucial for me because it’s the last year I can totally guarantee I can afford so getting good grades would open so many doors for me for scholarships and loans. I’m really hoping to make it!

What are your goals for the new school year? If you’re not in school, do you have any goals you want to accomplish by the end of the year?

xo, Patricia

What About Photography?

61QD1V6sZtLI‘ve been obsessed with A Beautiful Mess for more than a year now and the second their book, A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book, came out, I dashed to the nearest Barnes and Noble to buy it. I devoured the book in a few hours and then I was left with a really empty feeling…

So for a few years (more like five) I’ve really been wanting to tackle photography. I’ve read so many books about it, been to so many websites and learned all about f/stops and shutter speed and ISO. But, there was a big problem. I never really got the DSLR I’ve always wanted and my parents (who, for their credit, keep getting me good point and shoots with high megapixel counts) always thought it was too expensive for me to get one.

But now, with the fact that I’m working, I’ve decided to splurge myself at the end of the summer and finally get a DSLR. I’ve done some reading and I’m pretty sure I want to get a Canon Rebel T2i (I’ll probably buy the kit at eBay.) Yeah, I know the kit lenses aren’t the bestest but I figured that I should be cut some slack because a) I’m just starting and b) I’m a college student. So I know my parents (or boyfriend for our first year anniversary *wink wink*) will probably not want to spend a whole bunch of dollaz for a fancy camera when they might be a bit skeptical of my photography skills. So, while I get the hang of things and develop some nice skills and good results, I plan on saving and then convincing my loved ones to gift me a lens (or two? Christmas, anyone?)

Do you have a DSLR? What kind of camera do you use? What lenses do you use? Comment below!

xo, Patricia

P.S. I’ll be doing a detailed review of the book soon.

Having a Relationship First Year of College

Having a relationship during the first year of college can be nothing short of challenging. When my boyfriend and I met, we didn’t imagine at all that we would ever get together. We were both under the mentality that we were going to have fun, party, and date around our first year of college to get that real ‘college experience.’

Once my boyfriend and I started hanging out more and more as friends (and the occasional hook-up) we realized that we both had stronger feelings for each other than we had ever let on. We knew that getting into a relationship while it was still mid first semester of college was going to be challenging (were we both ready to settle down?) but we decided to take the challenge because we cared about each other and we knew we didn’t want to lose the other person.

Now, almost 10 months later, both of still can’t believe we’ve grown so much and we’ve lasted that long. College is already so new and challenging and being in a relationship takes a LOT of work. Andrey and I are very serious about each other and about our future together and, to some my age it may be weird or too serious, I’ve always thought that if I can’t think of myself with a person far into the future, then it isn’t worth it to begin with. So, I’ve decided to share a few tips that have helped me through this year:

Never go to bed angry
We’ve made it a point that we’ll never go to bed being angry at each other. If we’re having a disagreement and things feel like getting out of hand, both of us agreed that we would step back for a few minutes to think and tackle the problem right then and there. Going to sleep being angry at the person you love just makes everything more difficult for the next day and the days it takes to solve the problem. Usually, Andrey and I talk everything out and we’re so happy to go to bed satisfied that we have handled the situation.

Schedule
I know it might seem weird to schedule time for a relationship, but especially during college where everything can get a bit hectic, scheduling a date or time for yourselves is extremely important. You want to make sure that you’re giving your loved one the time they need and deserve. On the flip side, you do want to also schedule time for yourselves. If Andrey wants to chill with his boys and have some boys time, I tell him to tell me in a few days in advance to make sure I plan a girls’ night. That way, neither of us feel like the other is being left out or put into the backburner of priorities.

Talk
This seems like the obvious one but I’ve learned the hard way that saying what I feel is really important. You want your loved one to understand you, not guess what’s going on in your head and then guess what’s the best method to solve it. Tell your loved one what you’re feeling and how you want it resolved. Once both of your feelings are out in the open, talk it out and develop a compromise!

Hope these few tips help, especially right now when we’re getting close to the new school year!

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P.S. To this date, this is still my favorite photo of us, taken back in December.

Being Away From Home

Being away from home is a tricky thing. When I started college last September, I was so excited that I barely ever even thought of going back home. You see, for me, it’s really easy to detach myself from something and focus on another thing. When it came to starting school, I was determined to make new friends, learn great things, and have amazing experiences.

Even when my family tragedy (which I’ll decide to share with you guys some day) happened, even though it was a difficult time, I was able to focus completely on my schoolwork and my relationship. My friends, thankfully, always kept me busy as well.

But this summer, something (or more than one thing, actually) has changed. I went from focusing on schoolwork, Model United Nations, my friends, my boyfriend, and my work, to focusing just on work and my boyfriend. I’m living with him and his family during the summer and although I love all of them to death, being in a home that is not mine has caused me to become stressed and anxious. More often than not, I have missed going into my parents’ room and giving my dad a hug or talking to my mom about boys and gossip, and nerding out with my sister about books. I’ve missed my own personal space more than ever and–given my family situation–it has all been magnified.

Here’s the thing, though: even though I’ve broken down a year after the tragedy more times than I ever did during the months after it, I’ve learned so many things this past year, some things that I’m sad that most people my age don’t learn. Maybe I am older than most people my age now, with what I think but sometimes I feel like a little girl still who just needs her dad to hold her while she cries and reassure her that everything is okay.

i know many freshmen feel homesick, especially during those cold winter months where you have to tread through hail and snow to get to class, but I think it’s important to recognize that people grow and mature and change but that doesn’t mean they stop missing their childhood. I know my life will never be the same, I’ve slowly and painfully tried to accept that I’m still trying to. Life experiences make everyone a better person if they decide to take it as a learning lesson.

You must be thinking, why is this 19 year-old girl preaching about learning lessons, she’s barely lived a quarter of her lifetime. To that, I say: that’s so true. Many of the things I have lived recently should not happen and does not happen to most people. I don’t feel ready to share that story in this new blog but I promise one day I will. This post is mainly to express my thoughts about how difficult it has been for me to be away from home this summer and how sometimes I want to curl up in a ball and feel like this is all a dream.

I don’t know how to make being away better: I’ve always been an independent spirit and I’ve never minded being on my own–life just gives you lemons and either you drink it with vodka* and have a party or let them rot.

I choose to live.

I choose to party.

Love,

Patricia

*Note: I’m 19 and yes, that’s underage, BUT in PR, where I lived until last September and still visit several times a year, the legal drinking age is 18 so yes, I’ve had vodka and all that legally.

What Fashion Doesn’t Teach You

Here’s the thing: I love fashion and art and I believe there’s no better way of showing your personality to someone in less than a second than by wearing your personality. However, what fashion doesn’t teach us is that we are all different. Fashion magazines are filled with models who are size 00 and sometimes, that can be really hard to relate to. Not only do magazines put this pressure on us, but us women are constantly being scrutinized by our appearance. Whether it’s by calling a girl a slut or a prude, there’s no happy medium. And what’s worse? It’s us who are criticizing our appearance. Sure, men sometimes yell nasty things at us on the street but that’s different than having your best friend making you feel fat or your mom saying you have to lose weight. So how do we fix this mentality?

I’m hispanic, which almost always means that I’m going to have a big butt, wide hips, and boobs. Although the last one in that list is not really true, I do have wide hips, thighs, and butt and most of the time, I love them. The other times, though, especially if I’m trying t get into a pair of cuffed shorts, I don’t. Although I have a rather soft belly, I have a small waist and, if it weren’t for my big thighs, I’d assume I’d be a size less. The thing is, I can hardly get a size two past my butt and when I do, even if it might sit comfortably on my midsection, my thighs feel like I’m busting out of my pants.

It has been a struggle for me to love and accept my body, it still is. But I’ve learned that not two bodies are the same and that I will never be stick thin. That’s just not the way I am built. So I’ve vowed to take care of my body as much as I possibly can without restricting myself and feeling unhappy because I need to eat a salad.

Loving your body is not easy to do, especially when you have thousands of ads and celebrities talking about their size 2 bodies. But that’s not fair to you or those who love you. For example, my boyfriend loves that I have big thighs and a soft stomach. There’s more of me to love and I don’t feel fragile. He can rest his head on my belly or my lap and he falls asleep. I find this very endearing. I still struggle to accept my body but here I’ve compiled a list of how to love your body:

1. Embrace the good parts and accept that you can only change the bad parts so much.
2. Stop comparing yourself to models.
3. Don’t be afraid to eat that piece of cake. It won’t kill you and it will probably make you really happy.
4. Give your body a break. Don’t suffer in the gym.
5. Embrace how powerful your body is. Can your legs sustain running a marathon? Do you have flexibility? Do you love the way that cute top looks on you?
6. Treat your body like a temple. Accepting your body does not mean you can let it shrivel up and die. You need to respect it and not do stuff that would damage it.
7. Buy clothes that fit you! Don’t worry about the tags, There’s nothing that would make you feel worse about your body than wearing a size that’s not your right fit.
8. Learn that you probably do not look bad. Sometimes we see a whole other person in the mirror. That person isn’t off. The best clothes you could ever wear is confidence.
9. Love other people’s body, too. There’s nothing better than seeing someone who is confident in their own body. Try to take inspiration from the people who love their bodies instead of those who starve themselves because they’re unhappy.
10. You are beautiful! No matter what size or shape or color or ANYTHING you are.

A Thing or Two About Being A College Student

I just wrapped up my first year of college this last May. Let me tell you, this was a year of many firsts. Many things happened this year that changed my life and I truly realized what college is really about: making memories. You’re going to have some good memories and some bad ones, but please please don’t regret a single one. As I see the Class of 2017 go to orientation here at BU, I can’t help but think of my first year and a few things I would say to them if I were given the chance. So here they go:

01. Get out of your comfort zone. Going into college, especially if it’s away from home, is the best way to re-invent yourself. Now, I’m not saying to do things that will be dangerous, but hey, have a little fun. High school was that weird phase where I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do and where I wanted to fit in. Now, I’m not saying you’re supposed to have it all figured out by the end of senior year of high school but freshman year is the year to truly be yourself. Join the clubs you were never able to join because you feared judgement, go to the dining hall alone and people watch. The point is, get comfortable with being yourself, instead of trying to be someone else. You have a bunch of interests at this point, explore them all because you can!

02. Don’t be afraid to fall in love. I thought that freshman year of college was all about going out, having fun, and not getting stuck in relationships. That mentality would have gotten me very bored and to a very dead end if it hadn’t had been stopped on its track mid-October when I got into a serious relationship with my boyfriend. We were both not looking for anyone which I think is exactly the way love is supposed to happen. You never know what you’re missing until you actually have it. I’m not telling you to go look for love, heck, have all the fun you want, but once it arrives, even if it arrives a little bit sooner than you expected, do not turn it away. You never know how great it will be until you actually experience it.

03. Be international. So, I might be a little bit biased because Boston University is one of the most diverse schools in the US. But meeting people from all over the world is truly one of the most enlightening experiences ever. I have Italian friends, Asian friends, Hispanic friends, and, to say the least, my boyfriend is Armenian but he was born in Ukraine and speaks Russian (and three other languages, total). Talk about diverse! In the small world that is college, you truly cannot afford to NOT get to know all these amazing cultures.

04. Get everything that is free. I cannot stress this enough, you truly don’t know how absolutely broke you are until you have to pay for everything! From the T to my mid-day snack, I feel like I blow off around $100 weekly. Believe it or not, many student activities have free stuff and swag that can save you a ton of money. BU students have free access to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and I have been there so many times to see all the great exhibitions. I am paying big bucks to go to this university so I’m always the one to make the most of it.

05. HAVE FUN. College has been one of the best experiences of my life. Although my Freshman year was tainted by unfortunate family situations, it was still the best year of my life. I wish I could stay in college forever. I loved taking classes that helped me further discover and explore what I was really interested in and I’ve met some pretty awesome people. I am not into that big party scene right now but I still go out sometimes and have fun with my friends. It’s not all about binge-drinking and doing other stuff. You’ll be surprised to discover all the ways you can have fun at college.

Much love, Patricia

Summer Reading List

Summer, to me, is the perfect season to catch up with my reading list. This year, my freshman year of college, I highly overestimated my free time. I brought all my favorite books from home and got to read at most one and a half. Now that I’m working but have plenty more free time and less responsibilities in my hand, I plan to read some really good books. Here are some of the ones I’m planning to read:

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