Grad School Update and the Disney Stuff That Gets Me Through it All

Geez. Long title.

If y’all don’t know, I’m pursing my MFA in creative writing (fiction concentration).

It’s crazy. I’m crazy. You’re crazy. Wait, what?

Grad school is tough, but I’m learning so much. I know, know, you guys are probably like:   “Kaila, you’re at school, of course you’re learning a lot.” But learning is not always a given, I’ve found.

But I am. I’m learning. AND I LOVE LEARNING!

As a budding fiction writer, I’m learning that not all I write can be about sunshine and rainbows and happy happy happy. Of course, there could be moments of happiness, or there could happy(ish) undertones to literary fiction. But happy doesn’t always make a good story, and I’m finally finding my groove when it comes to the themes I want to tackle. (You’d think I’d know this by now, but hey. I’m admittedly a novice when it comes to making up stories.)

BUT. I feel like my writing is already improving by leaps and bounds. I’m constantly working on my stories–before class, after class, at home, in the student union, in bed, while Ellie chews on my feet. I’m either thinking about writing, actually writing, or editing writing. I read, too. Not much for fun, but I still make time for a bit of recreational reading. Workshopping is scary/tough/disheartening/empowering. But I’m learning to love the process.

My blog’s taken a backseat, I know, but I’m changing that right now. I miss talking about Disney on the daily–okay, I actually haven’t stopped talking about it, but the subject isn’t as much of a priority anymore. At least in my daily life. I gots school and work and stuffs. Sometimes I tell the students I tutor in the writing center that I worked for Disney (they see my stickers on my laptop), and that’s always a fun icebreaker.

Anyways. Here’s a list Disney things helping me get through my first year of my MFA:

  • Music. Always. Currently been loving the new Duck Tales theme song–Donald’s my favorite, so listening to this while I put my makeup on is a way to start the day, let me tell ya.
  • Club Mickey Mouse! Those kids make me smile! It’s sad that I’m so old that I call 16-18 year-olds kids. Ha.
  • My apartment is so cute, and it’s filled with mostly Disney crap. I’m just now figuring out where to display my Tsum Tsums. Once my living room is sort of decorated, I need to take some pics and show you guys. I love it.
  • I bought Bambi recentlyso that was nice.
  • The anticipation of Coco and The Last Jedi. Goodness I can’t WAIT for both!
  • Ellie. She’s my dog, but she’s got a Disney name, so it works. She got fixed the other day, poor baby, but she’s doing great.
  • My backpack. My Vera Bradley Disney print backpack actually broke (darn zipper), but my student union carries the JanSport DISNEY COLLECTION! I died of happiness inside. I bought the print with Mickey and Donald climbing up a mountain; I’ll insert a link to a photo here.  (Ignore the horrid price tag, I was desperate and it was cute, okay?!) Donald’s face cracks me up and makes my heart happy.

There you have it. A quick list of Disney stuff I’m loving.

I’ve missed you, blog. I’ll try to write more often, because you make me happy.

See ya real soon!

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Encouragement

Today, around 10:00 a.m.

Hi, blog! Long time no write. Well, I have been writing, just not for you. Which is dumb, but I’m remedying this problem right this very second! Yay!

Grad school has been a whirlwind so far. Truly. I’ve loved it, but it’s been an adjustment. Ellie and I are finally settling into a little routine (I think), and I’m really good at heating up Lean Cuisines and Stouffer’s French bread pizza.

Right now, my stomach is in knots and I’m just a nervous bundle of energy. Today, I turn in my first bit of fiction for one of my classes.

I’m so terrified, guys! I just hope my piece is sort of up to par with all the PhD and the second or third year MFA students in my class. I just hope that my school didn’t let me in by accident, and that my professor and my fellow students won’t read what I wrote and say, “Holy cow, where did this girl come from? How did she manage to get here?!” I know this is a common thought and fear among grad students–“imposter syndrome,” it’s called–but I hate it! I hate thinking I’m not good enough. I hate thinking that other people might think that I’m not good enough.

Isn’t that silly?!

Here’s where the title of this post comes in: encouragement. I’m going to write a bit of encouragement to me and to all of you.

Dear You,

Maybe you will be horrible. You might not be good enough. There’s always that chance that you won’t be good at something. There’s a chance  you’ll fall flat on your face. 

(Wow, strong start, am I right?)

BUT. Even if you are horrible, why is that such a big deal? If you want to be good at something, just put your head down, work like you’ve never worked before, and you’re bound to get better. You might never be the best, but gosh darn it, you can be your best!

(So much cheese; I cringe. But I’m a huge fan of all things cheesy.)

What you wrote is your very best at this moment in time. That’s all you can do. Take the criticism, take the feedback, and then run with. Get better. Work at it. Keep your optimism and grit and your stupid little Pollyanna smile. 

(I smile a lot. Former cast member probs, I suppose.)

You got this. Work! Know that you won’t always get gold stars, and embrace that feeling of uncertainty. You get to work at what you love to do, and you’re going to get better. 

Sincerely, 

Me.

annnnnnddddd….

Today, around 4:29 p.m. 

UPDATE: The class went well! I did a happy dance in my car before I drove home! I got some great notes and good feedback, and everyone was so nice. I’m happy to be here, and I’m so happy to be learning from such talented writers.

My anxiety has been lifted (for the moment, at least), but the bit of encouragement I wrote this morning is still relevant. I hope it helps you, because my little pep talk really helped me “buck up” and embrace my fears. If I acknowledge my anxieties, I can face them head on and accept them. Why stress about being good enough? What’s the worst thing that could happen?

I hope you have a great day, my friends. Do your best today and every day.

 

 

Adventures

I just want to share this photo of my pup, and I want to caption it with one of my favorite puppy (and adventurous people) quotes of all time:

Behold, the cutest photo in this world, taken by my sister (follow her at @klemsonphotographydesign on Instagram, people!):

untitled-7

And here’s the caption:

“There’s a great big hunk of world out there with no fence around it. Where two dogs can find adventure and excitement. And beyond those distant hills, who knows what wonderful experiences? And it’s all ours for the taking, Pige.” 

It’s from Lady and the Tramp, and I absolutely love it. And I love little Ellie’s face in the photo–it’s like she’s saying, “Oh! There it is! The biggest and prettiest world I’ll ever know…I’m just…kind of…frightened. Can I go? Will I go? Should I go?”

And, if you’re like me and Ellie, you might think these kinds of things right before you embark on new adventures. I’m about to begin grad school and a graduate teaching assistantship and a new life and in a brand new town and have to meet new people and do new things and shed fear of failure and experience apprehension and step out of my comfort zone all over again so…yes. These thoughts and feelings are quite relevant at the moment.

I’m human–of course I’m afraid of failure. I’ll be working on an MFA in creative writing and I’m already nervous–will I be horrible? Can I keep up with my fellow writers?

Will. I. Fail. Miserably?!?!?

I hope not. And if I do, hey. It’s cool. It’s fine. I’ll be okay. I’ll just work harder and find my way and my place in this big, fence-less world.

There is a great big hunk of world out there with no fence around it, so new adventures will always be limitless. I’m excited to try my hand at this new venture–let’s write stuff! Lots of it! Let it be horrible or wonderful or kind of okay! Either way, it’s a start and a new beginning, and I love those suckers.

You ready, Ellie?

 

 

Writer

I recently changed a few bullet points under the “about me” category.

First: “recent college graduate” transformed to “graduate student in creative writing.” Yes, you read that right! I’ll be heading back to school in the fall, and I am thrilled to continue my education. Who knows? Perhaps a doctorate is in my [distant] future?

I like school, okay? Let me stay forever.

Second: I changed “aspiring writer” to simply read “writer.”

Because I realized something.

I don’t have to wait until I’m a “grown-up” to fully realize my “grown-up” dream. And heck, I am a grown-up! Painfully so. I’ll be 24 in less than a month, and that’s scary. And kind of cool. But mostly terrifying.

You see, reader, I’m a writer because I write. I am not published in the sense that I have novels under my belt, but I write. A lot. At least I try to.

I do have a few articles published in a local magazine, and that’s cool. I’m so grateful for  the opportunity to contribute to a wonderful publication. But I still have a hard time considering myself a full-fledged writer.

But I am. And now that I’m realizing it, I’m so excited about my future and all the possibilities yet to be.

I write stories before bed! Fiction! And I love doing it! I’m using exclamation points because I think I found what I love to do! Making up stories to fill our dark little world with hero[ines] and characters that came to be because I used my brain muscles and created them out of nothing!

Now, yes, eventually I’d like to be semi-successful in this writing endeavor. But I can’t become successful or good at anything without a little elbow grease and a whole lot of doing.

And the doing–the writing, the doing the writing–makes me a writer. It’s the same concept as running. I’m currently training for a half marathon, and the act of running makes me a runner.

I’m slow as dirt, and it’s hard to wake up early before work to “pound the pavement.” (That’s runner’s speak.) But I run, so I am a runner.

I’m a writer, I’m a runner, I’m a dreamer. And I love and cherish all of those titles.

Have a magical day, my friends.

 

 

 

College Grad

I’m officially a college graduate.

I have completed my Bachelor’s degree in English (with an emphasis in literature) and I can say I’ve learned so much over the course of my education–I can analyze a poem in a heartbeat, write an essay in [hours] flat, and dissect books in order to discover the deeper meaning hidden within their pages. Being an English major was like an identity, a comfort. It’s so weird to say that I’m not an English major anymore. I’m a”has been.”

I don’t get the chance to walk in an actual ceremony due to my participation in the Disney College Program. I think I’ll manage. I’ll be near my beloved castle, so I think the trade-off is more than fair.

Imagine my excitement when my mom surprised me with a graduation cap and supplies to decorate said graduation cap:

I chose this quote because I absolutely love the song. I’ve actually never ridden Disney’s Carousel of Progress, but I know of the song and I absolutely love its message. It’s so optimistic: “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day. There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, and tomorrow’s just a dream away! Man has a dream, and that’s the start. He follows his dream with mind and heart. When it becomes a reality, it’s a dream come true for you and me!”

How could that song not put a smile on your face and a can-do spirit in your heart? I thought it was perfect for a college grad. I’d like to think that every morning holds the opportunity to do something wonderful, something great. Every single night holds the promise of a brand new start in the morning, a “great big beautiful tomorrow.” I just love it.

Yesterday we had a little graduation party, just me and my family and a little bit of cake. My mom surprised me with a huge Mickey Mouse, my future boss, and I am just in love with him. He’s so soft and cuddly, and I know he’ll make a great companion in Florida. So far I have a slew of companions: my old Donald Duck, purchased on my very first trip, my Sorcerer Mickey purchased in Minnesota at the Mall of America, and now my huge Mickey to commemorate my graduation. And my Tsum Tsums. Can’t forget those little guys.


My mom surprised me with one more precious thing: This journal with one of my favorite quotes.


I can’t wait to record special memories of my time as a Walt Disney World cast member.

Thank you for everything, college. It’s been pretty awesome to say the least. You’ve equipped me with more than enough to make it in the real world (hopefully). Along with analyzing poems, I’ve learned to analyze situations and make pretty sound decisions. Because of all the literature I have read, I am now more empathetic to the world around me and the different cultures that inhabit my surroundings. Because of the papers I have written, I am able to communicate effectively and passionately when need be.

College, you have been a magical experience. Now it’s time to go make a little magic (quite literally) for others.

College Tips from a College Senior

I’m entering into my senior year (technically) of college. I’m actually debating on adding another major, so I could still be in it for the long haul. That doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a lot, however. Now I want to pass on some of my knowledge– no matter how incomplete and imperfect it may be–to you!

I know how scary everything can be. New places, new faces, new teachers, new experiences. “New” can be scary, but “new” can also be wonderfully exciting! I’m here to help ease your worries and help get you excited about all the new stuff you’ll inevitably encounter.

Without further ado, here are some of my tips to conquering college–we’re not merely surviving here.

Have A Motto/Mantra 

This just got really cheesy really quick. Let me explain:

My freshman year of college, I was scared out of my mind. I had a volleyball scholarship and something to prove to myself, my coaches, and my friends and family back home. I also just wanted to have fun and find myself; I was ready to figure everything out and really make it on my own. I was moving pretty far away from the comfort of my hometown, and I was terrified of the homesickness that I was sure would inevitably come. I wanted success at this college thing, and I wanted it now.

Here’s a secret: nothing worth having comes easy. But that doesn’t mean your enthusiasm should change.

My mom emphasized this as we had endless talks leading up to my departure. She said she didn’t give a rip roar if I played or not, or if I was perfect coming out of the gate. The only thing that should matter was my effort and my enthusiasm. Momma whipped out a copy of a newspaper article about my grandpa (a football coach in his day) with the headline: “[Grandfather’s Name]: Hard to Discourage.” She said not everything would be peachy keen, but I had to try my best to be “hard to discourage.” Effort and enthusiasm.

I wrote “Hard to Discourage” underneath an old photo of my grandpa and hung it in my dorm room. That single saying got me through rough practices, lonely days, and tedious study nights. It truly helped me transition from the effortless halls of high school to the slightly more laborious college classes. “Hard to discourage” reminded me to tackle each day with a vigor and a vim; I was hardly homesick and really made an effort to be the most upbeat, enthusiastic version of myself each and every day.

Choose a motto that means something to you and cling to it for dear life. It can help you focus on your goals and help keep you grounded when you’re trying to figure out life on your own.

Find Your Niche

The glorious thing about college is that nobody cares what you do. I don’t mean breaking the law and all that jazz. I mean something much more authentic; I truly think college is a place where being the version of you in which you are undeniably yourself is a little bit easier.

The moment I stepped into my first English class (I’m a proud English major) I immediately felt at home. I can talk about books with my English peeps, about musicals and other nerdy things, and just truly be myself. I’m a girl who loves to read and talk about my obsession with Disney and Idina Menzel and Sutton Foster and Parks and Recreation and Gilmore Girls. I feel like I’ve found a group of people who will listen and reciprocate the love. Our English club meetings are a blast: pizza and literary talk and nerdy tangents. My heart’s happy just thinking about it.

Find what interests you and find that group of people on campus who have similar interests. Often they’re within your major. Sometimes there’s an obscure club that you feel inclined to join. Don’t worry about what’s “acceptable” by societal standards–I believe most of those don’t exist in college. Go out and be yourself and find people who love what you love. They are there; it just takes a little bit of looking around.

Know You’re Not Alone 

Every single college freshman is scared. Just know that you’re not alone in this process–far from it. Your friends from home are going through the same thing. Take comfort in this unspoken solidarity; It’s a comfort to sit next to your classmate who’ve you just met and just revel in the knowledge that your experiences could be adding up; chances are they’re scared about the same thing. All college freshmen are in it together–they’re all trying to figure out how to work the laundry machines, eat a decent meal in the cafeteria, or sleep while their roommates are snoring. Take comfort in knowing that every college senior (like me) went through exactly what you’re going through and survived. You can do this. I know it.

Accessorize Accordingly 

My favorite thing about back-to-school has got to the be the fresh school supplies. I love seeking out pens with Disney characters on them, a new planner, maybe a fresh laptop cover. Get excited about the stuff. Who doesn’t love stuff?!

Work Hard and Love It

You’re going to college to get an education, first and foremost. Find a major you love. I know it’s weird, but I truly love the feeling of planning, drafting, and writing a paper because I love my major. Hard work becomes easier when you know you are truly enjoying every second.

Strive to do your best in the class room. You won’t regret the headaches and the studying when you have that 4.0 at the end of the semester.

Relax–Take it All In

Do everything you want–football games, all-nighters with some pizza involved, trying out for a university theater production, anything you want. You’re only a college freshman once, so really go after everything with a newbie-esque enthusiasm. Try everything (lets keep it legal, here), do everything (legal, people!) and be anything you want. This is your fresh start. Your college experience. And, as the Division II NCAA slogan suggests, “Make it yours!” 

Now that I’ve written the most cliché college post ever, I want to wish everyone a happy “back-to-school.” If you’re a college freshman, just know that everything will be ok. Sometimes the worst part is the anticipation of all the “new.” Instead of worrying, embrace it. You only get to anxiously anticipate your freshman year once, so you might as well enjoy it.

The Perks of Small College Towns

I love where I go to school.

The school is small, the town is small, and the class sizes are small. I’m sure many couldn’t learn to love all the quintessential quaintness that I have come to adore, but I could care less.

I like to believe I live in my own little version of Stars Hollow (if you don’t get this reference, go watch Gilmore Girls NOW). Everyone is so friendly that it’s slightly insane. When I’m driving down the street, strangers will almost always nod their heads and raise a finger or two (no obscene gestures here) in the typical friendly small-town manner. I always drive off and think, “Do I know them?”

Our college is the heart and soul of our little town. It’s incredible–the town loves us and we love the town. Flyers for events going on at the college plaster the windows of Main Street’s many small-businesses. Except for a few fast food restaurants, there are only local eateries. On each table in most places, a card informs what is going on in the town and in the college during the month. You need to plan your busy schedule and litter it with social events? Head to a local hotspot and browse the many quaint events going on in the community.

Guys. It’s so much like Stars Hollow, and that just makes me incredibly happy.

Homecoming is an event, I tell you. The whole town gets involved. Main Street shuts down for the parade, and student athletes become celebrities for the entire week.

Bliss. Pure bliss.

No, I didn’t choose a huge university famous for a rowdy student section, or an expensive Greek life, or classes the size of my entire university. Don’t get me wrong; I think a huge college experience would have been great in a different way. Instead, I chose a home away from home, a place where everybody knows your name (at least in my English department, anyway). I chose a place where I could play the sport I love and get involved in the student body. I chose a town that backs the university one hundred percent. I chose a home that makes me feel as if  I am safe constantly driving me to participate outside of my comfort zone.

Will I stay here forever? No. Probably not. I have very big dreams to pursue, and who knows where those dreams will take me. But this small college town has been the perfect experience for me. I love feeling like a bigger fish in a smaller pond–I’m succeeding, I’m thriving. Even when I become a teeny tiny insignificant fishy in the immense pond I like to call adulthood, I know that I will be prepared thanks to the supportive small college town that I have chosen.

The NCAA Division II’s slogan used to be “I chose Division II.” I love it. I really did choose this experience, and I’m better for it.

I can proudly say, “I chose Division II,” and I have loved every second of my college life.

Life: It Gets Busy

I’m just a little buzzin’ busy bee!

Seriously. These past few weeks have been non-stop projects, practices, and obligations. And Easter. Easter just consisted of delicious cookies and candy, to be honest. Anyways. Long time no blog, my friends! Here’s a few things/obsessions/fun stuff I’ve been thinking about lately:

  • I’ve discovered/binge-watched/fell in love with the television show Parks and Recreation. It has cracked into the list of my top three TV favorites of all time, I believe. Season 7 isn’t on Netflix yet, so I just have to wait to see the final season and cry because I didn’t get to experience it in real-time. Why do I always wait to find out the good stuff is really good? Take Harry Potter, for example: I didn’t even read the entire series until my senior year of high school, right after the final movie came out. I missed out on so many midnight premieres! Oy.
  • I’ve become a Disney Etsy addict. Not really. But I can’t help but be blown away by the talent some people have and the want-to they possess to literally start their own business from scratch. I keep discovering new artists and entrepreneurs via Instagram. If you love Disney and want to grab some custom ears or painted Toms, just browse Etsy to discover your own obsessions.
  • Summer is so close yet so far away. I can’t wait to read recreationally and not be burdened with a billion trillion gazillion papers and projects.
  • I’ve been browsing Pinterest lately for the perfect professional, yet young and fun, outfits. I’m almost a grown-up now (sort-of), and being a grown-up means going after internships or starter jobs while looking put-together and stylish and awesome. Also, it means just being awesome in general and figuring out that you are not a snowflake. For more grown-up tips, I suggest you check out the book Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown. Good stuff.
  • Sleep is hard when you are just so stressed/excited about all the happenings of life.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day, despite any elevated levels of busy-ness. The semester is almost over. We can do it. We can succeed. We can even smile whilst among piles of papers. Take a cue from Leslie Knope, my favorite character from Parks and Rec, and be proud of everything you’ve accomplished thus far:

“I am big enough to admit I am often inspired by myself.”

Now keep on buzzin’, you busy little bees!

“Keep The Faith, Sweetheart”

The above quote is from Disney’s The Rescuers, and it just fits so well with what I want to write about today.

Today marks the start of Catholic School’s Week!

While I’m not in high school anymore, I still like celebrating this week–I’m a Catholic school girl through and through, and I am so proud of it. Catholic school gave me so many opportunities. I did so much: three sports, academic team, theatre, dance, choir, Ambassadors (I got a name tag with this one), student council, you name it. I wanted to do it all. And because of the small size of my little Catholic school, I could.

Catholic School’s Week was always the best week of the entire year, especially when I was little. For an entire week, we got to ditch the plaid jumpers (these are real, people) and dress up according to various themes, eat ice cream, play school wide bingo, and have a special Mass where the Bishop of the Diocese paid a visit. I loved those church services–the prettiest songs were always chosen, other Catholic schools in the area gathered together, and my little spirit was so high off of the week’s festivities that I could hardly sit still due to the overwhelming amount of happiness abounding.

Some of my best memories are from Catholic School’s Week, if that wasn’t apparent.

Because this week is Catholic School’s Week, I want to talk about how I continue my faith away from the structure of Theology classes and Friday Masses.

I’m one of those people who truly believes that good people are good people, no matter their religion. I think religion is just a way for a person to become their best self; I just happen to identify with how the Catholic faith operates. I love the routine and the peaceful rhythm of the Mass. A Catholic service is one event I could always attend alone without feeling uncomfortable and judged; it’s just so quiet and nice and reverent. Catholic Masses are almost an hour-long meditation for me. While many say that the Catholic tradition consists of  “cult” like responses and prayers, I view the Mass as a repetitive action to come up with your best ideas and revelations about your relationship with the Creator. Almost like taking a shower (weird, but hear me out): you’ve taken a shower so many times in your life, that the act of taking a shower leads to your most mind-blowing, deepest, and revolutionary thoughts.

College is a collision of cultures, ideas, races, and lifestyles. I love it. Because of this extraordinary collision, I’ve gone to a few different protestant services throughout my three years of college. I’ve come to appreciate the different viewpoints, but I always have come back to my Catholic upbringing. I can appreciate different faiths because, to me, no one has it exactly right. None of us really know what’s really and truly out there and what the Creator of the universe looks like. I happen to like Morgan Freeman’s interpretation of God in Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty. He’s got such a good voice.

Anyways. Like I said, I don’t think Catholics are the end-all, be-all. Neither do I think protestants. Or Wicans. Or anybody.

Religion is a way to become your best self, and find the relationship with God that works for you–Catholicism, in my opinion (mine…it doesn’t have to be yours, that’s the beauty of free will), has got a lot of it right. I believe you need good works to achieve salvation. I truly do. I don’t  believe you need to identify with one religion or another to get to that place we call Heaven. I think being nice and good to people is honestly one of the few things you need to know to achieve happiness and a purpose in this world.

Whatever faith you identify with, “Keep the faith, sweetheart” {Rufus the cat from The Rescuers}. College will introduce you to many different faiths other than your own; understand the different faiths, listen to different points of view, and find what works for you.

As for me, I’ll always be that Catholic school girl who received so many opportunities because of her Catholic education. I’ll never forget it–plaid skirts, Friday Masses, eccentric (but loving and absolutely awesome) Nuns, Theology classes where we had the freedom to voice any religious perspective, and the most fun week in the history of weeks.

Happy Catholic School’s Week, everyone!

“I Can and I Will”

If you’re a college student, there’s a good chance you started classes this morning, like I did.

It’s cold. It’s windy. It’s gloomy. But none of that matters–it’s the first day of a brand new semester. I love the beginnings of anything; the feeling of knowing that endless possibilities and opportunities to succeed exist without you even walking out the door. Failure hasn’t happened yet, and success is just at your finger tips if you put in the work. It’s comforting and exciting.

My morning actually started at 6 AM for my last first day of volleyball offseason. Ever. It’s incredible how fast time flies. It just feels like a short while ago that all I cared about was getting a volleyball scholarship–now I begin my last year as a student athlete.

This semester also marks the first of the two semesters I have left to earn my degree in English literature. I cannot tell you have excited I am about this semester’s classes. I love everything about school: the material I get to read, the fresh supplies, the blank page of a notebook, the meticulous upkeep of a planner.

Here are some of my tips of staying organized and motivated for school:

  • Keep a planner. Seriously. Do it. I happen to have a Kate Spade agenda, and I absolutely love it . It was worth every penny–I write down everything. Assignments, personal appointments, holidays, birthdays, my volleyball schedule, the days the movie I want to see comes out. I recommend writing these in ahead of time, in the space allotted for the day that event falls on.
  • Use highlighters for scheduling your busy life. I color code accordingly: yellow for school, pink for personal, blue for volleyball, and green for work. I can take one glance at a week and have a pretty good idea of what I have on my plate.
  • Take notes. I have five classes I am taking this semester, so I just bought one five subject notebook. I’m telling you people, taking notes simply keeps you engaged in the class. Even if you don’t use these notes later on, actively participating helps you pay attention.
  • Have a folder for each class. This keeps papers and assignments separated; I’m all about compartmentalize-ing.
  • If you have an online class, set a time for each day/week to work on your assignments. I plan on pretending I have my Intro to Film class (which is online) on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoons for about an hour and thirty minutes, instead of trying to cram all of my work in on Saturday night at 11:00 (my assignments are due at midnight Saturdays).
  • Find what works. All of these tips work for me, but we are all different people. Experiment.

I hope everyone has a bright, shiny, wonderful first day of the new semester! Arm yourself with coffee and the right attitude: to quote Gina Rodriguez, winner of the Golden Globe for best actress in a television series (comedy or musical):

Today is going to be a great day. I can, and I will.” 

Have a great day, friends!