College Survival: The Secret to Time Management

After finishing my first year of university, I realized that there were a lot of things that I wish someone had told me or things that people did tell me that I wish I had actually listened to. So, I have decided that instead of you guys having to figure all of these tips and tricks to survival in college/university all by yourself, I will make a series of posts about things that I learned and think you should all know. You’re welcome people.

I’m not going to begin with a college packing list because there are already millions out there that you can find but here is my favorite: Her Campus: Best College Packing List Ever. Now, that list is something I wish I had my freshman year. Instead, I just chose to buy absolutely every unnecessary item you can think of, including a toaster and oven mitts. I later learned that there was a kitchen in residence that had a toaster and they were not allowed inside rooms. Also, I did not bake once while in res. Instead, my midnight snacks consisted mainly of microwavable Kraft Dinner. I probably should have researched a little bit before or something. Oh well!

College Survival Series: The Secret to Time Management
Anyways, I’m going to start off by talking about time management. First semester of university was a lot easier than I had imagined. I had a social life, my grades were good, and life was perfect…until the month of exams came around and I realized that I was a couple of weeks behind on ALL of my readings from EVERY single class. After that realization, I think a part of me died inside. You cannot imagine how real the struggle was. I practically had to learn everything from every class during the time I should have just been reviewing it. Lord was I a mess! I managed to still maintain a high GPA first semester but it wasn’t without endless days and nights of studying and zero communication with anyone around me. However, after learning a little secret that I will share with all of you, I changed all of that second semester. I still had a very good social life that included going to parties and events, attended meetings and wrote for the Her Campus chapter at my school AND did not fall behind on readings.

Tip #1: Don’t just do the readings you have to for your assignments. Do ALL of them so that once exam time comes around, you won’t be struggling with catching up as much as I did. I tried to find a loop-hole and failed. Stop being lazy and just do them people. 

So, you want to know the secret I learned? Here it is: Treat school like it is your job. Schedule your classes around a 9am-5pm schedule. You can adjust this according to what suits you best and what is possible for you. My classes began at 8:30am and so I adjusted those timings to a 8am-4:30pm day. This is your schedule for the weekdays and any extra time you have in-between your classes, you will be at the library completing any readings or upcoming assignments. Note that this is only for weekdays. And trust me, this saved my life. I realized how much extra time I had in-between my classes where I used to just goof off or watch Netflix, but getting all of my work done along with my classes on Monday-Friday from the hours of 8am-4:30pm meant that I had weekends off for social activities and my nights solely for doing whatever I wanted — *cough cough* writing.

Again for some people, a 9-5 schedule isn’t possible, so adjust the timings to those that will suit you best. This is something no one told me and many don’t even think of, but it works and I’ll tell you from experience that it works pretty damn well. Did I have to catch up on readings once during second semester? No. Did I leave any assignments to last minute? No. Did I get to keep a well-adjusted social life through all of this? Oh yes!

To keep your schedule intact, make sure you keep an agenda/planner and actually use it! I never used a planner in high school but in university, it is a necessity. This is where you schedule your classes, what you’ll be working on in the library, when you’re going to the gym, and your to-do list. Your agenda is your life.

Tip #2: As a motive to keep up with your agenda, use a variety of colored pens and sticky notes to make it appealing to you. It totally makes a difference!

Stay tuned for more posts that are coming up for the College Survival Series and good luck to all of you incoming freshman or upper year students! I’ll leave you all with two questions:

What are you most excited about going into school (or back to school) and what kinds of tips and tricks would you like to know about? 

Dealing with Depression: Where I am Now

 
“It’s only when you’re tested, that you truly discover who you are. And it’s only when you’re tested, that you discover who you can be. The person you want to be does exist. Somewhere on the other side of hard work and faith and belief…and beyond the heartache and fear of what lies ahead.”
– One Tree Hill

 

Due to recent events regarding Robin Williams’ death, I have decided to share my own story of depression. You can never really know what is going on inside of someone. For as long as I can remember, I have lived a life not knowing what it is like to feel happy. It is a cruel way to live but I became accustomed to that lifestyle. It is almost as if I was comfortable in the state of unhappiness. To be honest, I actually preferred it. It was familiar and over time, I had learned how to deal with it. I got to the point where I refused to try to find some inner peace because of the fear that it would only be temporary. I would cringe every time someone asked me how I was doing but resisted to tell them the truth.

I then began to isolate myself more and more. I didn’t want my friends to see me this way and so I thought it would be better if they didn’t see me at all. And then, something changed. Being depressed is exhausting and going to university, I knew that there were resources available for me and so one day, I decided to go for it. It took a lot of convincing myself before I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to live the rest of my life this way. I wanted things to be different. And so, I went to my first therapy session.

That’s when things began to change for me. For once in my life, I had someone I could talk to. Someone I could cry in front of who wouldn’t judge me or look at me with pity in their eyes. Someone who might just be able to understand my problems and could help me fix them. From there, things began to change even more and weirdly enough, they were for the better. I started writing on this blog again. I know that many of my older posts are a bit overwhelming and perhaps even too personal, but I refuse to delete them only because I know that at the time, I had published them for a reason. Maybe someone somewhere will benefit from them. Maybe someone who has isolated themselves as much as I had and felt their problems piling on top of one another could have a sense of relief that they are not alone in this world.

It’s funny that I can share so much on this blog whereas in person, I would never be able to display this part of myself without much hesitation. I guess somehow, even after completely exposing every detail of my life, I still feel like I have some privacy. It’s strange that we are able to share so much of ourselves to those we do not know than to those we hold dear to our hearts. But that’s why I love it. I love being able to share all of this to a community of bloggers that I have never met in person but can connect with through my story and their stories. Writing is therapeutic to me. Whether I am writing about a fun idea, something upsetting, or exciting news, I love that I have a group of online friends that support me. I love that you guys know me more than anyone else.

I’m really happy to say that a lot of good things are happening to me now. This blog is slowly growing, I’m writing quite a lot and it is helping me more and more every day. On top of that, this summer, I got the opportunity to go to the city of my dreams (New York) for a conference about writing, I will be interning online as a Style Guru on College Fashionista. It’s all happening so fast and a part of me wants to keep resisting the urge to feel happy but I’m finally getting closer to where I want to be. I have come to what should seem an obvious realization that both good things and bad things happen in life and both don’t last forever. I am still trying to learn how to live in the moment rather than in constant fear but for once in my life, I have hope and I have all of you to thank for a lot of that. So thank you for helping me. You may not even know it but every time I get a compliment on my writing, a comment on my blog post, a follow on bloglovin or a reply on my twitter, I get really excited. Every time I read your stories and get a sense of who you are, I feel less alone and more connected. I can’t wait to see what’s to come next and I hope you guys will stick around for the rest of my journey.

If any of you ever feel angry, upset, depressed, alone, or simply need someone to talk to, please don’t hesitate to send me an email. I am still battling and struggling every day, but my life began to change the moment I decided to finally talk to someone about it. You can click the email link on my sidebar or send me one at: mishakaay [at] gmail [dot] com

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Don’t F With the F-Word

You must think, “this girl took one Gender Studies class and suddenly thinks she knows it all.” Actually, it was two classes, thank you very much. But the truth is, I don’t know it all. What I do know is that feminism comes with a bad name. I used to be one of the many people who believe that a feminist appears almost man-like but is rather a man-hater. She is against all the fairytales you grew up reading and she refuses to let a man open a door for her. And when he tries to pull out a chair for you to sit in, well that behavior cannot be tolerated at all!

The media misguides us to believe that feminism is a joke. They tell tales of females that are notably masculine in manner or appearance. They want us to believe that this should not be a movement. They want us to think that the problem has been resolved. They want us to hide in the nearest cupboard when the term is floating through the air. “You’re a feminist? Oh okay. I have to go…um…change my underwear. Yeah. Okay. Bye.”

I have to admit that I am not a fan of the term ‘feminism’. It tends to give the wrong impression of women trying to take over the world and ultimately defeat men. Truth: We don’t hate men and we don’t look like men. Feminism simply means equality. Seriously, that’s it. It includes both men and women who just want to be equal to one another. Do you support gender equality? Newsflash: You’re a feminist.

The problem is that with fewer and fewer individuals wanting to identify themselves as feminists because of shame, embarrassment, or lack of knowledge, most don’t even know that this problem exists. It’s true, women have come a long way from back in the old days. However, we have not made it all the way. There are still parts of the world where women are treated like property. But that’s not what I’m going to talk about. I’m going to talk about the little instances that you don’t notice or think twice about in your everyday life.

When I was in high school, I had limitations on the clothing that I could wear. Obviously I was not planning on going to school in my underwear but I could not wear clothing that revealed my shoulders and skirts and shorts had to be mid-length. Why? Because it was too distracting. Did I listen to these rules? No. Did that mean that there were many instances that I had to run the opposite direction from the terrifying woman with a walkie-talkie in her hand who was also known as my vice principal? Yes, yes it did. Here’s my view on it: I break rules only when I see no point in them being there in the first place. Why can’t I wear an off-the-shoulder top to school? My boobs are not hanging out and I am not being too revealing. Why do I have to cover myself up so that I do not distract any men? I went to a public school for God’s sake!

Why is it that girls are taught that they are always the problem? Why should we be the ones who are careful about our appearances, leaving our drinks at the table or walking alone at night? Why is it that we are made to look responsible for being harassed at a bar due to our little black dress? This is not okay and this is not something we should learn to accept because “that’s just the way things are”. I believe in the power of knowledge and the more people that know about this issue and fight for it, the bigger the shot we have for making a change.

I do believe that one voice can make a change but only if it is strong and knowledgeable enough to speak to a wide audience and make them believe that together, we can make a difference.