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

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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