Friday Links.

Happy Friday (:

Here’s my favorites of the week:


20 Things I Wish I Had Known When Starting Out in Life  –  Zen Habits

Do you REALLY need to get more things done?  –  LifeHack

9 Reasons Why You SHOULD adopt GTD  –  LifeDev

Fixed Schedule Productivity: How I Accomplish a Large Amount of Work in a Small Number of Work Hours  –  Study Hacks

enjoy!

Productivity: Snow Day Style.

So in my neck of the woods, it snowed last night. Although I already had school, I and all of my friends am snowed in (I had an accident in the snow a few months back, so snow = no transportation for me). There are two things one can do when snowed in: 1) sleep and do nothing. 2) turn it into a chance to be productive! The first one is self explanatory. Five ways you can be productive on a snow day:

1) Sort things out. Go through folders and notebooks and your desk, and put everything in it’s right place, where it can be found. Doing this now instead of your stuff being unorganized when you sit down to work will save you a lot of time.

2) Catch up. If there’s a reading assignment or a paper you’re behind on, seize this opportunity to catch up on it. You’ll thank yourself later.

3) Study. Is there something in school you’re having trouble with? Take this time to do some work to get better at it!

4) EXERCISE!  Shoveling, and walking through the snow to a friend’s house who is nearby will give you a good workout. 🙂

5) Help Others. If there are people on your street who are older or can’t do it themselves, go shovel for them! It’s good exercise and it’s a very nice thing to do.

Have a good snow day, guys. Well, if it snowed wherever you are. 🙂

**note: I’d like to thank my good friend and neighbor Michelle for numbers 4 and 5.

SAT Hacks – Stop Worrying and Start Succeeding

So I’ve taken the SAT once in my life so far. It was the old SAT, and I was in eighth grade in the John’s Hopkins “Talent Search” thing. I sat among a group of nervous juniors, and I didn’t really care how I did on the test. Next Saturday, I’ll go and be one of those nervous juniors. The difference between me and most of my peers is, I’m not nervous. Sure, I know there’s a lot riding on how I do on this test. But being nervous does pretty much nothing to help your score. Here are my suggestions for taking the SAT to the best of your ability.

Take a Class – I took a class since January, and I think it really helped me. SAT classes don’t teach you facts, they teach you test-taking strategies that are extremely useful when it comes to taking the test. The class will also force you to do work to prepare, when you might have procrastinated on your own with it.

Get a Book – I have the one the Collegeboard made. It has a bunch of practice tests. If you sit and time yourself, you’ll have a pretty good idea of how you’ll do when it comes to testing day, and what you need to improve upon before the day comes.

The Night Before – My SAT teacher told us this: The night before the test, don’t review anything, and don’t hang out with friends who are going to take the test. Personally, I’m hanging out with my boyfriend who isn’t taking it the next day, because he is not one to talk nonstop about the SATs, and so he’ll help me to keep it off my mind.

The day of the test – have breakfast, bring number 2 pencils and a calculator, and one more thing no one told me but I learned when I took it in eighth grade – wear pants and a t-shirt, and bring a sweater of some sort. You never know what the temperature of the room you’ll be in is going to be. It could be freezing, or really hot. If you are uncomfortable, then you won’t be as focused.

For everyone taking their tests the same day as I am, good luck 🙂

The End of My Cellphone ADD

So today, I purchased a new phone – which isn’t new, because I go through phones like you wouldn’t even imagine. But today was my actual upgrade day. And I finally got a phone that fits my needs. No qwerty keyboard or fancy touchscreen or anything like that. It’s the simple LG vx 8350 in red. It’s small, functional, and doesn’t have a hundred unnecessary buttons.  It has a simple calendar, and it holds like a million texts, which suits me well. 🙂

Just thought I’d share my joy.

Posted in random. 1 Comment »

How To Avoid Facebook Drama

So recently, at my high school, there was a big “scandal” with some very questionable pictures of some girls on a school trip. Where were these pictures found? None other than Facebook. I love Facebook as much as the next teenager, so I’m not going to preach that these kinds of sites are bad and you shouldn’t have an account. Facebook is a good tool, actually. I moved in middle school, and it’s really cool to be able to talk with the people from my old town, see what they’ve been up to, and see what they look like now. But there are certain ways to be smart about it.

  • When posting pictures on Facebook, ask yourself if your grandmother saw it, would she like it.
  • Same goes for posting on people’s walls.
  • Keep your profile PRIVATE. Only friend people you KNOW.
  • Watch what you send in Facebook messages. They may seem private, but they can be printed and showed to anyone.
  • Don’t talk about someone badly to another friend. Even if the person you’re talking about doesn’t have a Facebook, someone else could show them.
  • Don’t put any information like your phone number or address on Facebook. Things on the internet can be seen by more people than you think.

I really hope no one encounters bad drama because of Facebook. I’ve seen friendships ruined over it. Try to be safe with it, and it’s a great site!

Posted in life. 1 Comment »

Starting Your Own Club – A Crash Course.

Is there something that you’re really passionate about, but there is no club in school for it? Make one! This year a friend of mine and I founded a club at our school to raise money to help those affected by the genocide in Darfur. If you have something you wish there was a club for in your school, here’s some steps in starting off:

Step 1: Find other students who are interested. 

Many schools have a minimum requirement of people before they will let you make an official club. Ask around your school to see who is interested. Make a group or an event on Facebook to see what kind of interest there is in your school. I know that when we started our club, we didn’t know such a large number of girls would be interested in joining! Find a group of people, and maybe form your executive board. This will show your administration that you’re serious about this club.

Step 2: Find a Faculty Advisor.

This was easy for us, because my history teacher is very actively involved in different efforts to end the genocide in Darfur. Find a faculty member that is willing to help you organize the group and hold meetings. Also, make sure this is a faculty member that you get along well with, because there will have to be a lot of contact and collaboration with them. Once you’ve found your faculty advisor, you can go to the administration.

Step 3: Get your Club Approved.

I can’t say too much about this, because every school has a different procedure in approving new activities and clubs.  Do what ever is necessary to get your club approved, and set up a date for your first meeting.

Step 4: Advertise.

Put something on the morning announcements, make signs to hang in the hallways, make an event on Facebook, tell all of your friends! Get the word out about your new club so that you’ll have a good number of people come out for it.

Creating a club and being in charge is a lot of fun, but it’s a big thing to take on. Make sure you’ve got the organization skills and support from others, and you’ll make it happen!

Moleskine.

So I just ditched all the fancy productivity software, and bought myself a moleskine. I couldn’t be happier. It’s exactly the kind of notebook I’ve been looking for, and it completely lends itself to my personalized organization technique. I’ve definitely always been a stationary geek, and this is my favorite notebook I’ve ever purchased. I’m on Winter Break for school right now, so I’ve had a lot of free organizing time. Needless to say, I looked up some great moleskine hacks. Here’s some I found to be very useful, if anyone is interested:

Getting/Staying Organized: My Moleskine PDA from Creating Passionate Users

PigPog PDA’s Moleskine PDA

Create a Moleskine PDA: The Student GTD Hack from Gathering in Light

Simple Moleskine GTD for Students from David Giesberg Dot Com

Have fun 🙂

How to make your break productive

So, with midterms, term papers, and everything else, I forgot to update for a while. Right now my family, my brother’s friend and I are in the Poconos on vacation. After a not so great fall skiing last night, I’m stuck in the room while they are all in the indoor water park. Most breaks my school has are a time when people sleep late, go out every night, and forget about school. The problem with that is that when school goes back in session next week, most people will be exhausted and bogged down by the workload. Especially for me and most of my peers, a week from Saturday is the SAT. Here are some ways to make breaks more productive, and your return to school more pleasant:

1. Read. Anything. If you have a school reading assignment, read it. If not, read something. It doesn’t matter what it is, but reading will sharpen your mind while you are off from school. It will be 100 times easier to focus when you get back to school.

2. Make Lists. If you have work to do over the break, make a master list of everything that needs to get done. I’m a big advocate of putting everything on paper. Once you write it down, you’ll have a visual of what you need to do. Then you can:

3. Create a master schedule. Make a schedule, and add appointments, vacations, and hanging out with friends. Make time slots where you will do work, and stick to them. Don’t just write “Do work,” put a specific task such as “take notes on chapter 7 for history” or something like that.

4. Leave at least one lazy day. This will be a day free of school work. It’s vacation, so leave at least one day where you don’t do any work. Relax, unwind, sleep, and have fun.

5. Study. Force yourself to study what ever you did before break, so that when you come back, it’ll be fresh in your mind.

Follow these tips, have some fun, and when you get back to school you won’t have that feeling of unfocused chaos that most students have.

How I fell in Love with To Do Lists (and you can too!)

In my family, I have always been the unorganized one. At the start of the year, our school issues to each girl an academic planner. I was one of the kids who left it in my locker all year long and remembered my homework or wrote it on a sheet of loose leaf somewhere in my notes for each class. I have a good memory, and though I never forgot assignments, I was terrible at managing the time, because I never realized how much I had on my plate with nothing written down. I didn’t really understand the concept of to-do lists, but I knew my mom was a list person. She has a notebook that she keeps on the counter in the kitchen with shopping lists, lists of phone calls that need to be made, important deadlines for things, and doctor/dentist/haircut/whatever else appointments that need to be made for my siblings and me. I started to realize that she got things done so much more efficiently than I did. But I hated writing things down, because I would always forget, or I’d run out of room, or I just didn’t want to really see the workload I had because I thought it would be too stressful. But one week this year I had the week from hell: Monday, three tests, Tuesday, big paper due and a test, Wednesday, two tests and an in class essay, Thursday, giant physics lab due and two essays due, Friday, test. Add Chorus til 4 Monday and Wednesday, tutoring Wednesday night, SAT class Tuesday night, and work Thursday and Friday, and I seemed to have no room for all this studying, never mind homework.

It started innocently enough. I took a big post-it note and put it on my desk. I wrote down what tests I needed to study for, noting the date of each test. I then added another post-it, writing each paper and assignment for the week. I did something I’ve never done before – I took out my school-issued planner, and I opened to the week. I wrote out times when I would study, work on my essays, when I had activities, and when I would breathe. Each day that week, I put a new post it in my planner, writing only task I had to get done that exact day. I added times, and got through the week with ten times less stress than normal. Needless to say, my planner and post-it notes are now my best friends. Here’s my fool proof to-do list advice:

1. Write everything down. Everything. everything. If you don’t have a realistic view of how much you need to get done, you won’t be able to budget your time correctly. Write it all down throughout the school day. When you get home, you can sort out your list. For now, it’s about knowing everything you’re responsible for.

2. Pick out what needs to be done TODAY. Make a list of things you need to get done today. Use a post-it, a note card, a wipe board, a notebook, it doesn’t really matter. Just write only the things that have to be done today.

3. Prioritize. I never understood making prioritized lists. So I simplified the idea of a prioritized to-do list: Take your today list, and number it. Write 1. for the first thing you need to do, and keep numbering. If there are two things of equal importance, do the hardest thing first. you’ll thank yourself later.

4. Write Times. This is very important. Include extra-curricular activities such as chorus or track practice, and write times. This will show you exactly how much time you have to work with. Estimate how much time it will take for each task, and add on a little more time so you’re not rushing. write times for each task.

5. Congratulate yourself. When I finish something on my list, I cross it off and celebrate to myself. Nothing is more gratifying than seeing your list shrink task by task. Make a deal with yourself. Say you have ten tasks. After 5, go lie down for 20 minutes, or ride your bike, or call a friend. This will motivate you to get things done and not waste any time.

6. Smaller Lists. If you have a very large task, make another list. I recently had a term paper for British Literature class. I made a separate list called “TERM PAPER TO DO!” and I put smaller tasks such as “revise thesis statement,” “photocopy sources,” “edit grammar in opening,” and so on. any small task, I would put on my list, because it was something I needed to take time to do. Writing “term paper” on my main to do list isn’t very practical, as it takes many smaller tasks to do this large task.

I hope that my new found love of to-do lists will help someone else out there. They really do help increase productiveness and reduce a lot of stress!

-kaitlin

Making Precalc More Enjoyable – a Math Hater’s Guide.

I have been a history buff for my entire life. My late grandfather was a big history enthusiast, and I guess I inherited it. I’m pretty good at English, and though I’m not a fan of science I somehow get A’s year after year. But I have always had trouble with math. If you’re like me, and can’t find any interest in math, then these tips should help you. They can be applied to any math, but I’m in precalc so that’s the inspiration to this post.

Tell Stories.

This helps me more than anything. When you come across a difficult problem that you know is going to take long and is really boring, then make a story out of it. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, but make it interesting. It makes you think more, and usually it will help you understand the problem better, leading to you getting it right! Stories are good because they apply the math to something tangible. When you can think of something in terms of real life, it make it more relateable, more interesting, and much easier.

Pictures.

My math notes are absolutely filled with pictures, drawings, and doodles. This isn’t because I don’t pay attention in class. As with the stories, it makes things easier to understand. It lays everything in the problem out for you to look at and understand what’s going on. When in doubt, draw a picture. It will most likely help. Seeing things helps the brain process the whole picture of what is going on. Most times, if you come across a problem that seems impossible, drawing a picture will help you. Usually.

Buddies.

There’s a group of girls in my precalculus class that frequently goes for our teacher’s extra help  sessions. We do lots of problems on the board, tell our math teacher stories that are completely irrelevant to the subject, and laugh a lot. The best part of this group is that everyone of us is bad at something different. Together, we can understand the entire problem, and have a lot of fun doing it. Get together with a group outside of class, or go for the extra help your teacher offers. It will always pay off to see other people’s points of view.

Although this still won’t take away the work load involved in taking a hard math class such as precalc, it will make the work seem less difficult, and get you better grades. I’ve been a math hater my whole life, but using these tips and some self-discipline, I’ve worked my way to peace with mathematics.