Studying Tips For A Successful First Semester

Studying Tips For A Successful First Semester

A simple road to better test scores.
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Let's face it, if you're a college student, quizzes, tests, and exams are unavoidable. If you've been lucky enough to make it to the end of September with none behind you, start preparing for the tsunami that could flood your life in the next few weeks. If you're anything like me, it's not the test itself that I worry about, it's the seemingly endless hours of preparation that act as a gut-wrenching precursor to any major test—otherwise known as studying. My freshman year was more challenging than it needed to be because I knew nothing about effective methods for studying. As I dive into my sophomore year, I'm leaving those mistakes in the dust. Let me share with you a few tips and tricks I have begun to use this semester that have proven to improve my study skills and ultimately boost my test scores!

Schedule a time to study. Just as you have classes that are scheduled for certain times and on certain days, it's important to set aside time to do nothing but study. Of course, it's always a great idea to try and squeeze in studying between your daily activities, such as work or practice, but if you don't make a time slot in your calendar for pure, uninterrupted studying, it won't be as beneficial as it could be. By the way, If you are a college student and don't utilize a calendar or day organizer, I judge you (and envy you—I wish my life had no schedule!). Stop telling yourself that you'll study at work or before going to sleep. Trust me, I know this from experience. Work will somehow get slammed or you'll fall asleep with flash cards on your forehead and a big fat F in front of your eyes when you get that test back.

Find an ideal, comfortable study space. Living my first few college years as a commuter, it's easy for me to find somewhere quiet to study where no one will bother me. It's wonderful. For those who live on campus, it can be next to impossible to find a place of solitude, safe from those friends who just can't get the hint that you have other things to do besides talk about what's for dinner in the caf and that attractive lad who just strolled by. If there's a silent floor at your school library, which happens to be the third floor at John Carroll, go there. Empty classrooms in academic buildings are also a possibility. Find a cozy spot, plop down, and get to work. Bring some snacks so you're not tempted to go on random walks to the vending machine later realizing you're on your fourth bag of Doritos. If you like to listen to music, I suggest some instrumental or classical music. This way, you're not distracted by belting out Taylor Swift lyrics or wiping the tears off of your cheeks listening to Drake. Spotify has an awesome variety of studying playlistscheck them out. Also, put your phone away. Make sure it's on silent. Reward yourself every 30 minutes or so with a five-minute phone break.

Practice a particular study method. Last year, I tried to re-read my notes over and over and considered that a satisfactory study method. I wasn't satisfied when I got my grade. This year, I believe flash cards are my golden ticket. Flash cards are as old as time, but can really help you ingrain that much-needed info into your brain for your next test, especially if you have to remember a lot of vocabulary or terminology. If you hate writing things out by hand, I strongly suggest https://quizlet.com/, where online flash cards are available for free. It's Eco-friendly too, so it's a win-win!

If a certain method works for you, don't hesitate to stick with it! There's no reason to stop doing something that's helping you. Maintaining similar study methods throughout the whole semester may become boring, but if it helps you on your first few tests, it will more than likely continue to do so. For example, for every PowerPoint we go through in my Anatomy class, I go back and create flash cards to cover all of the material. I make a hard copy set and a set on Quizlet, so I write and see that information many times. If you don't like consistency, maybe add on a few smaller studying methods to your successful base method to spice things up a bit.

Relax. Don't let the stress get the best of you. If you're putting in solid time and effort while studying, it's okay to take a Netflix break. If you maintain a steady schedule and methods of studying, there will be less to worry about when test time comes around. After a study session, do some yoga, take a hot shower, put some cucumbers over your eyelidswhatever you gotta do (that's legal and safe), do so.

Those are my simple and hopefully helpful study tips. Have a great fall semester!

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything
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They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.


When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.


Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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College Can Be Difficult, But Trust Yourself, Girl

Life can throw you curveballs sometimes, and times can get tough, but it is SO important to pick yourself up and trust that you can do anything.

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I'll be honest, this school year was one of the hardest years of my life. There were lots of moments throughout the year that I just wanted to go home and get away from it all. I had to be reminded that I have been raised to try as hard as you possibly can, and I was doing that. It took some determination and time, but I didn't give up.

No matter how bad I felt, I stayed and persevered.

Now that I am home for the summer, I have been reminiscing on the past two semesters of school. At the beginning of the school year, I had a much different idea of how it would go. It was going to be "my year," but somehow while the year was going on, I felt that I had been completely wrong. It's easy to come to quick conclusions when life doesn't exactly go your way. Conclusions like "this year has been the worst year ever" and "I can never get a break" were often popping up in my head. My grades weren't where I wanted them, and I was surprised by a lot of occurrences that I never expected to happen (imagine a wild ride). I found out who my true friends are and who I could rely on, and luckily, my circle only grew. Being extremely extroverted, it was hard for me to get out and just do something. Being in this "rut" took a toll on me. I had to make those hard decisions about doing what was best for me in the long run instead of doing something just for the moment. Trust me when I say, this was NOT easy at all.

Through all the tears and change all around me, I decided to proceed to the finish line because I am NOT a quitter.

I decided that it was time for me to allow myself to fully, undeniably be me. I wanted to start doing the little things I enjoy again like working out, taking pictures, and simply just going out to do anything. I started forcing myself to take any opportunity that came my way, and it helped. One of the things that brought me so much joy was kickboxing – talk about therapeutic, people! Kickboxing at least three times a week helped my mood shift so much, and it was a start to seeing me again. I am so blessed with friends who would come over at, literally, any time of the day. Spending time with them helped me more than they could ever know. We did anything from just hanging out in my living room to splurging on a fun dinner. Through everything that I was doing daily, I was learning how to rely on myself. Looking back now, I have never really had to know what it felt like to rely mainly on myself. I did get so much help from my family and friends, but what good could their help do if I didn't want to help myself first?

Even though I felt like this was one of the worst years of my life, it taught me so much more than I ever expected. Looking back now, I grew so, so much. I learned how to smile when times get tough. I learned that it really is okay to not be okay sometimes, and it will be okay eventually. I learned that it's okay to ask for help because we weren't made to do life alone. Most importantly, I learned how to trust myself. My hope for anyone reading this, you will learn from my experience that the worst seasons get better. I am in such a good place right now because I never gave up, and I will continue to never give up. In a short amount of time, I am seeing how far I have come and how much I grew.

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