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#NovembertoRemember: Treat Yo’self

27 Nov

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Sometimes all you need to do towards the end of the semester is Treat Yo’self. This is one thing I always forget to do, especially when finals are approaching. This time of year is so hard to do anything other than school because I feel like I do not have any free time from prepping for finals to the holidays. This month, I have decided to challenge myself to do one thing for myself every day. I know this may seem easy to do, but surprisingly, it has been a very difficult task.

I’ve been going through a very hard time lately with family issues and I have been encouraged by a lot of people to focus on myself, rather than worry about things that out of my control. This is something that is very difficult for me to do, hence why I am trying to slowly integrate things to just focus on myself into my day-to-day schedule. As you can see above, I have created a fun calendar that lists everything I am trying to do for myself throughout this month to keep myself accountable. After the day has passed, I look on my calendar and mark if I accomplished my treat yo’self task or not. If I don’t complete giphy-downsized.gifthe task for myself, I try really hard to do the one for the next day. The things I have put on this calendar are things I think are realistic for me to accomplish with my hectic schedule; some of these include: painting my nails, sleeping in, using a facial mask, and sitting out by a fire. All of these things are simple, but are fun and relaxing to me (which is much needed!).

The first week of the month all about doing things for myself, I did very well! It was fun to do things for myself and acknowledge the impact. I started to be happier throughout my day and I had something to look forward to every day that was not for anyone else or for school. I let my coworkers know about my challenge and they would do a great job asking what I did for myself that day/week, which was not just helpful for keeping myself accountable, but also encouraging to keep doing the fun tasks on my calendar. As the month continued on, honestly, I started to slack on treating myself every day. Schoolwork and family started to dominate (like always) and looking at my calendar, I was disappointed I missed out on doing things I was really looking forward to. Some of the things I was really upset about not completely were going to Mt. Lemmon (I’ve been trying to go up all semester, but have not gotten there), do my nails (I haven’t done them since September), and meditate (I’ve wanted to try this for awhile now). Even though I didn’t get to do these things this month, I always have time to do this AFTER finals week.

I have learned a lot about doing this little challenge. I’ve learned to list things out I really want to do for myself and remind myself to take a little time out of my day to do it! It was amazing to set a time of free time for myself, during all of the chaos. I’ve learned to set time to check in on how I am doing and to take a break. After this month, I definitely am going to try to keep this going from here on out.

It is so important to take time out of YOUR day to TREAT YO’SELF!!!

-Courtney

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#StudiousSeptember: Meal Prepping

29 Sep

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Bust out your aprons and get ready to start cooking! Whether you relate more to the show Worst Cooks in America or Master Chef, I can guarantee you have the capability to prep your meals for the school week. I know right now, everyone is talking about meal prep to get in shape, but there are many other benefits than that. It saves you time and money during the week.

If you are a full student, like I am, it’s very hard to find time during the week to cook and fast food ends up being the majority of you food intake. Meal prepping eliminates this because on the weekend (I usually prefer Sunday) you can cook all of your lunches for the week and put them in tupperware containers. Like I stated earlier, no matter your skill level, you will be able to do this! Meal prepping doesn’t have to be fancy and you can use your simplest recipes to save money and time.

There are many ways you can start to meal prep, but this is a break down of what I usually do for the week:

Before or on Sunday, I will plan out what I will buy at the grocery store for my lunches. (Even though I usually meal prep for just my lunches, you can use meal prepping for dinner if you have late courses, or for breakfast if you are an early riser) Remember that any meal you can make can be turned into a meal prep recipe, just cook more servings! As a college student, I have to budget constantly, which usually is one of the largest factor that controls what I buy. Along with a strict budget, another thing that controls what I buy for the week depends on my appetite. I sometimes get bored with my food during the week so I like to try to have slight variations. For example, if I cook chicken for the week, I will sometimes put green beans with it for one day and on another I will substitute the green beans for wedged potatoes.

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After a trip to the grocery store, it’s cooking time! Instead of dreading cooking a meal for the week, my boyfriend and I try to make it as fun as possible. We will put on music and make an afternoon of cooking. We will prep all of our ingredients and incorporate new spices, while trying to imitate the lovely Chef Ramsay’s cooking (we’ll also try to do our best Ramsay impressions!). Once we are all done, we will divide the meals into tupperware dishes, place them into the refrigerator, and in the morning grab our meals before we are on our way to work and school. Meal prepping is pretty straight forward and is also very versatile once you start learning how to cook more foods. 

Even though now I would rather cook than go to a fast food place, I was not the biggest cook when I first started college. I was busy with classes and I didn’t know how to make anything other than grilled cheese and the boxed mac and cheese. Cooking was a very daunting and difficult task for me until I started to meal prep. I started by looking up different recipes on Pinterest and All Recipes that were easy and simple to make. After a few months of copying recipes, I started to go off of my judgment of spices and food pairings that I like rather than just what is on the internet. I learned I really love to cook and there is so many different things you can do with meat and veggies. Now, this is one of my favorite times of the week because I am creating something new and learning how to use kitchen appliances that were once foreign objects to me like a cast iron skillet and a wok. Cooking is something I think everyone should at least try because it is fun and has a great reward: an amazing meal! Not only is it yummy, but you feel a sense of accomplishment knowing you are the one who created it!

Below I have provided a few simple recipes for you to try whether you are a veteran in meal prepping or trying it for the first time! Have fun and cook on!

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Meal Prep for Breakfast:

     Mason Jar Oatmeal                                                                          Breakfast Burritos
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Meal Prep for Lunch:

        Mason Jar Salads                                                               Pesto Chicken Sandwich

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Meal Prep for Dinner:

Chicken Fried Rice

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I have attached a recipe for chicken fried rice on the title and the photo I included is what my boyfriend and I made this week! Instead of traditional chicken fried rice, we decided to put our own spin on it. For the veggies, we used green onion, carrots, yellow squash, and sugar snap peas and we put in extra chicken! Even if you start out with a recipe, put your spin on it and include what you like!

Best,
Courtney

 

Writing is Coming.

30 Apr

So, I was casually scrolling though Facebook, as one does, and I came across a blog that was written by a girl I went to high school with.

Now I knew just looking at the title that it was going to be some absurd journaling experience about fitness or health. So, of course I just had to click on it and see what the hype was all about.

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This girl from high school was always really fit and brought super fantastic lunches to our club meetings, therefore I was sure the blog would not disappoint. And disappoint it did not. She started her introduction about how she was getting more “fit” this year, and I rolled my eyes at the thought that this already VERY fit person was trying to reach yet another goal. But then as I continued through the very short post, she described something that caught my eye: Journaling every single thing you eat, everyday.

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Now at first this sounded pretty outrageous. How could someone possibly write down everything they’ve eaten in a day. A handful of grapes? 27 chips? I mean how viable would it be to actually calculate all this stuff. But as I looked at her posted picture of her color-coded eating habits, I was enthralled by the organization of it all.

I didn’t immediately decide to start journaling my food at first. That is, until I went to Office Max  weeks before school started and laid my eyes upon the most gorgeous looking notebook in the entire store. I just needed an excuse to have one, and this was the only thing I could think of at the time.

And so it began…

Everyday, since the 9th of January 2017 I have journaled every single thing I have put into my body. And wow. It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Now I am not one of the people who count every single calorie, or never indulge in sweets and chips, but what I have discovered about my eating habits after journaling everyday has been an eye opener for sure.

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If you start writing things down, you realize a couple of things. 1. That there are generally patterns in what you eat and when. 2. You may or may not snack insistently like myself. 3. You are skipping really important meals due to time. 4. You have wwwaayyy too many sweets for one day.

Since journaling, my eating habits have improved exponentially. I am more mindful about the wholesome foods I am putting into my body and I am more mindful when I deserve a good treat.

I highly recommend journaling to anyone that is considering changing their eating habits or who are trying to reach a goal.

Plus putting in my entries every meal is like a really fun puzzle everyday! I can’t even imagine my life without my notebook!

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Here are some pics of how things have progressed in my little book so far!

~ Mandi

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Motivation in 10 Haiku Poems

15 Jan

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Be a powerhouse

Take it one step at a time

You know you’ve got this

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Time to step over

The things you used to trip on

Gain your confidence!

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Sleep 8 hours each night,

Eat balanced breakfasts each day,

Stay fit, win at school.

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Failed my math class twice

Changed my major to fine arts

Straight A’s ever since!

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Strength is knowing that

You’re tougher than your homework

and much more hardcore.

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Follow your own dreams

Let nothing get in your way

Blast through obstacles

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Doctor or lawyer?

Or marine biologist?

What am I best at?

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Mom wants me in law

Dad wants me in business school

I prefer science.

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Mind-numbing classes?

It’s only the beginning

prepare to bear down!

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College is so great

It’s hard and it will change you

Find yourself through it

 

Clean Eating for Three Days

6 Jan

I thought for the new year I would start off on the right foot and meal prep a little for a healthy week of eating. Last semester I tried to do this as much as possible and not only does it allow you to eat cleaner, it makes for an easier week of cooking if you prep everything on Sunday. Here’s what I ate this week, and I’ll also include a couple of my tips in maintaining a good diet! Happy cooking!

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Tuesday:

Breakfast: Over easy egg with pepper and salt, 1 slice of whole grain toast

Lunch: 1/4th cup of white rice, 1 fillet fish, 1 cup of broccoli, 1 half cup of carrots

Dinner: Whole wheat spaghetti with half pasta sauce and half chopped fresh cherry tomatoes

Wednesday:

Breakfast: Over easy egg with pepper and salt, 1 slice of whole grain toast

Lunch: 1/4th cup of white rice, 1 baked fish, 1 cup of broccoli, 1 half cup of carrots

Dinner: Sliced potatoes baked with seasoning, meatballs with 1 bread roll, Veggies of choice

Thursday:

Breakfast: ½ cup of low-fat yogurt with cinnamon

Lunch: ½ cup of grilled chicken, 1 cup of broccoli, 1 cup of carrots, ¼ cup of white rice

Dinner: 1 cup fried white rice in olive oil and seasonings of choice, add bagged frozen veggies and fresh tomatoes, add sliced chicken or scrambled egg if desired

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Snacks throughout the week:

  • Frozen grapes
  • Sliced apples
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Frozen blackberries
  • Carrot sticks
  • Sliced broccoli

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Tips to stay on track:

  1. Pre-slice everything when you come from the grocery store
    1. This has helped me the most this past year as I have gotten better at storing and eating my food. If I don’t do this when I get home from the store, odds are I will forget about the veggies I bought or whatever else, and stuff tends to go bad faster
  1. Buy versatile ingredients
    1. Try and buy ingredients you could throw into any dish, instead of really specific items that only are cooked well in one or two dishes. For instance, I try to buy spinach so I can throw it in anything I make: omelets, pasta, sandwiches, salads, etc. It will help you not only be mindful of using your groceries but help you stretch your dollar as well.
  1. Cheat when you want to
    1. This is perhaps the biggest tip. EAT WHAT YOU WANT. Everything is good in moderation, so don’t completely try and strip everything from your diet. Trust me you will be more likely to fail from eating healthy and you will be unhappy if you get rid of the things you love. Just remember everything in its own proportions and you’ll be fine.

~ Mandi

Start Strong this Spring!

31 Dec

Going back to school isn’t easy after a long winter of sleeping in, movie marathons, and enjoying the cool weather, but now it’s time to start the ball rolling on a bright new semester. With a little push at the end of your break, you can make the transition easier.

Here are a list of tips to help you get back to Bear Down mode!

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Start a Sleep Schedule

Instead of cracking the whip over your head with an alarm clock on the first day of class, give your body a break and prepare it for the new schedule you’ll be operating on once school starts. By setting your alarm a little earlier each day, you can work your way up to that 8am wake-up you’ve been snoozing through this winter.

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Pre-Spring Cleaning

Set up your study space before you need to use it and you’ll have less in your way when it comes time to cracking open those new textbooks. Getting the extra clutter out will help you clear your mind and get back to that razor sharp focus school requires.

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Do a Campus Walk with your Schedule

Nobody likes to walk into the wrong classroom on the first day of class. Try taking your class schedule on a campus walk before school starts to eliminate the kinks when it comes to finding your new classes.

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Review for the New

If you’re taking classes in new subjects, try doing a little research to get ahead. Buy a phrasebook before your first class in a second language, or review your notes if you’ve studied the topic before. Not only will your professor know you’re super smart, but you’ll be the best study buddy in your class.

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Start Making Meals in Advance

Start preparing lunches for the week now and you’ll have a healthy habit by the time school starts. Not only will this save money, but it will save you from a diet of fast food and vending machine snacks. Sometimes picking a day on the weekend to prepare meals for the week is the best way to streamline your schedule.

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Get Your Supplies Early

Getting those school supplies lined up before the semester starts will ensure your preparedness. If you’re like me, this will also kick start your enthusiasm with shiny new pens and notebooks you just can’t wait to use.

This also goes for your wardrobe! Instead of buying random items and trying to mix and match, lay out some outfits and see what you need to up your game fashionably.

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Start making a list of your expenses and create a budget for yourself. This will help you when financial aid comes in and begins burning a hole in your pocket. It’s better to plan wisely and stick to your limits than to end up starving during finals! If your funding looks a little weak, then you’ll know in advance if you need a student job or a loan from a family member.

Try out a few of these ideas and Bear Down for Spring!

Happy 2017!

-Amanda

 

#DreadedDecember: Winter Cleaning Session

26 Dec

For my Dreaded December blog, I decided to do something I ABSOLUTELY HATE.

Cleaning out my wardrobe.

This is something I truly dread every time my mother tells me to clean my closet at home. I really like to hold on to things. I am a very sentimental person, and because of this nature of mine, I really never let go of things like clothes. I also hate wasting things, and since I buy most of my clothes from thrift shops, I find letting go of items that were so cheap to be difficult. I always convince myself that maybe I will end up wearing a random piece of clothing later on, or maybe someone will want to borrow my obscure band t-shirt.

The reality is, you have to remind yourself none of that will ever happen, and if you continue to make excuses, more often than not it will just create more of a mess for you later.

All of this makes cleaning out my closet a real trouble for me, and something I truly put off for as long as I can. The first step I did was take all my clothes in my closet and put them on my bed. After rummaging through everything, then I started separating clothes into piles and throwing the ‘undesirables’  on the floor. There were little piles everywhere that you couldn’t even see the floor. I had to separate everything once my bed was completely filled.

I had piles for my pants. Piles for my shirts. For my dresses. For my shoes. There were so many piles I was starting to lose track.

Once I had separated everything, I had to try on some things I wasn’t sure about, and this is what took the longest and was honestly the most painful. Regardless I trudged on and kept going since I was so close.

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Clothes were flying left and right as I was trying things on, and I guess you don’t realize how much you’ve grown until you see clothes from 4 years ago buried in your drawers. Regardless, the whole process took less than two hours, which surprisingly isn’t that much time.

After I had gathered a nice-sized clothes monster at the end of this process, I placed everything in a plastic bag and now I am off to sell these clothes at Buffalo and make a nice little chunk of change for myself. I try my best to hold on to clothes and to only shop and trade clothes to reduce waste, and this is truly a necessity if I want to continue this process. It would have been fun to go through my clothes with a friend since I am letting my friends go through them and pick what they want before I try and sell/donate my clothes. I will have to remember for last time. Nonetheless, this was a great exercise in organization and determination, and I highly recommend doing this at least twice a year!

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Make sure to clean out your closet every once in awhile, you might be surprised by what you find 🙂

~Mandi

My Registration Nightmare

13 Nov

It was 5:45 AM as I turned off my alarm clock and greeted registration day with bleary eyes. I had been waking up at 4 AM to do my homework all semester, but this particular day, I had a case of the dreaded Mondays. My laptop had died at my bedside during the night, my roommate had taken the last Frappuccino and my favorite sweater was nowhere to be found. Things weren’t going my way, but I accepted my fate, plugged in my laptop and logged on to UAccess.

The wifi was crawling along like molasses, leaving me with nothing to see but a bright white page that made my eyes water. Refreshing the page, I looked over the handwritten list of classes my advisor had given me, my academic security blanket. The classes had been in my shopping cart for weeks, but my advisor warned me to be prepared for anything.

Sure enough, my student center looked like text-salad nightmare and the wifi crashed completely. By the time I logged in again 20 minutes later, a disheveled heap of stress at the café, all of my classes were full. Admittedly, I freaked right out.

If you find yourself in these shoes, it may seem like your academic sky is falling, but don’t panic! Make the schedule you can make with the course options you have left and talk to your academic advisor about it. There are still a few ways to get you on track and into the schedule you hoped for:

1. Get on the wait list, when available

Two of my classes gave me the option of being put on the waiting list. This may seem like a bleak land of limbo, but it’s not. So many students change, swap and drop their classes before registration ends. With the wait list, you’re already in line to take those spaces as they open.

2. Check on the class religiously

If there’s no wait list, keep checking on the class and accomplish the same thing manually. Keep your fingers crossed for the green circle to take the place of the angry blue square next to your class in the class search. As long as registration is still open, there’s still hope for an open seat.

3. Beg your way in

Showing up to your desired class on the first day with a Change of Schedule form is not a bad idea. Some classes are more rigorous than others about attendance, so you may even get lucky on your first day. In one class I wanted, anyone who didn’t show up for the first day was dropped from the roster so the wait-listed students could take their places.

4. Talk to your academic advisor

At the U of A, your advisors are the music makers and dreamers of dreams. They know what’s possible and they can help you see the glimmer of hope in any academic disaster. Ask them for ideas if you get stuck. They’ve seen degrees completed in the most unconventional of ways and can always help you navigate your obstacles to gain that academic success you so deserve.

My registration nightmare ended with a less-than-perfect schedule, but it resulted in the best set of classes I could have hoped for. It threw me off my 4-year plan a little bit, but overall, I still got all of my requirements knocked out without any extra semesters added onto my academic career.

If you find yourself in this position, keep calm, bear down and hang in there! That which doesn’t bend can break under pressure, so take it as an exercise in adaptability, jump the hurdles that are thrown at you and keep on keepin’ on. The commitment you’ve made to your education is a commitment to yourself, and that makes it worth the struggle. Use the resources all around you and don’t be discouraged. You may be forced to take a gen ed at an awkward time, it might shift a prerequisite over to a different semester, but overall, you’ve got this!

-Amanda

 

The Gen Ed that Won Our Hearts

13 Nov

It was 5:45 AM as I turned off my alarm clock and greeted registration day with bleary eyes. I had been waking up at 4 AM to do my homework all semester, but this particular day, I had a case of the dreaded Mondays. My laptop had died at my bedside during the night, my roommate had taken the last Frappuccino and my favorite sweater was nowhere to be found. Things weren’t going my way, but I accepted my fate, plugged in my laptop and logged on to UAccess.

The wifi was crawling along like molasses, leaving me with nothing to see but a bright white page that made my eyes water. Refreshing the page, I looked over the handwritten list of classes my advisor had given me, my academic security blanket. The classes had been in my shopping cart for weeks, but my advisor warned me to be prepared for anything.

Sure enough, my student center looked like text-salad nightmare and the wifi crashed completely. By the time I logged in again 20 minutes later, a disheveled heap of stress at the café, all of my classes were full. Admittedly, I freaked right out.

If you find yourself in these shoes, it may seem like your academic sky is falling, but don’t panic! Make the schedule you can make with the course options you have left and talk to your academic advisor about it. There are still a few ways to get you on track and into the schedule you hoped for:

1. Get on the wait list, when available

Two of my classes gave me the option of being put on the waiting list. This may seem like a bleak land of limbo, but it’s not. So many students change, swap and drop their classes before registration ends. With the wait list, you’re already in line to take those spaces as they open.

2. Check on the class religiously

If there’s no wait list, keep checking on the class and accomplish the same thing manually. Keep your fingers crossed for the green circle to take the place of the angry blue square next to your class in the class search. As long as registration is still open, there’s still hope for an open seat.

3. Beg your way in

Showing up to your desired class on the first day with a Change of Schedule form is not a bad idea. Some classes are more rigorous than others about attendance, so you may even get lucky on your first day. In one class I wanted, anyone who didn’t show up for the first day was dropped from the roster so the wait-listed students could take their places.

4. Talk to your academic advisor

At the U of A, your advisors are the music makers and dreamers of dreams. They know what’s possible and they can help you see the glimmer of hope in any academic disaster. Ask them for ideas if you get stuck. They’ve seen degrees completed in the most unconventional of ways and can always help you navigate your obstacles to gain that academic success you so deserve.

My registration nightmare ended with a less-than-perfect schedule, but it resulted in the best set of classes I could have hoped for. It threw me off my 4-year plan a little bit, but overall, I still got all of my requirements knocked out without any extra semesters added onto my academic career.

If you find yourself in this position, keep calm, bear down and hang in there! That which doesn’t bend can break under pressure, so take it as an exercise in adaptability, jump the hurdles that are thrown at you and keep on keepin’ on. The commitment you’ve made to your education is a commitment to yourself, and that makes it worth the struggle. Use the resources all around you and don’t be discouraged. You may be forced to take a gen ed at an awkward time, it might shift a prerequisite over to a different semester, but overall, you’ve got this!

-Amanda

 

#StudiousSeptember: Satisfying Study Sessions

19 Sep

Now that the semester is underway and the homework is rolling in, it’s time to study! While we usually meet this challenge without much enthusiasm, it is possible to make it an event to look forward to.

Spoil Thyself!

Have a well-deserved treat when you put your study time in! Small rewards like this will give you a little boost in your day.

Having a little caffeine can help your brain along. Try curling up in a café to do your assigned readings in caffeinated comfort. Even taking yourself out for a long lunch can make a thankless homework task into the highlight of your day.

Make Peace, Not Grief

Find a spot that evokes a sense of peace so you can study longer without struggling to sit still. The summer is almost over and the lawns are cool and green. There are tons of hidden benches and shady trees to give you a seat with sitting in, they’re the perfect places to have a meditative study session.

Having a regular study space set up at home can really help. Once you’ve established a spot that puts you in study mode, your brain will automatically know what you’re up to when you sit down. Since the hardest part is getting started, this will make things much easier in the long run.

If you find yourself getting distracted, try putting your headphones on and listening to some music. This is almost like putting the blinders on a horse so that he focuses on the road ahead.

That being said, limit your access to text messages, Netflix, and social media while you work. Maybe make a post letting your friends know that you’re getting ready to bear down for an hour or two. They’ll totally understand.

Organize to Limit Suffering

Have you ever looked at all of your papers, folders, books and handouts in a pile and felt like your head was going to explode? Getting overwhelmed is a good thing to avoid and a simple problem to solve.

If you know what’s on your syllabus, you can break things into steps and prioritize. Is it more important to study for a quiz that’s worth 15% or and exam that’s worth 40%? Making lists, writing your syllabus dates and deadlines on a calendar, or using the library’s assignment scheduler can help you. Not only will you know what to do with your study session, but you’ll be able to look ahead. Check out Think Tank’s “Semester on a Page” for a cool organizational tool.

Once you have your to-do list made, it’s time to knock it out. If you’re taking your studies out for a night on the town, be sure to pack your chargers, writing utensils, scratch paper and all of your materials for the classes you’re working on. The last thing you want to do is to get settled in only to find that you’ve brought the wrong book.

If you know you’ll be struggling with the material from a class as you study it, go where the help is! Getting stuck or stumped can be an important part of the learning process, but you want to connect to the resources around you before you get frustrated. Study near your professor’s office during their office hours, bring your work to Think Tank, or make a study group to give yourself a support network.

By spoiling yourself, seeking out your study oasis and breaking big tasks into small steps, you’ll set yourself up for success this semester.

Keep calm and study happily!

-Amanda