Tuesday, September 18, 2018

How to be Successful in College

Seeing as it's my fourth year in college, I thought that I would share some of the things that I do to stay on top of everything that I have going on with classes (homework, tests, due dates, etc.), work, friends, and all of that good stuff. These tips may not work for everyone, so if you have any other tips that I don't have in this post feel free to share them! That way this post can be a sort of list of good ideas for people to try out.

It's hard to be successful if you don't have the proper supplies. For me personally, it helps to have one multi-subject notebook (I use the 5 Star brand, but if there' a different brand you like then go for it) so that I can have one notebook with all of my notes for every class in it. That way I don't have to worry about forgetting a notebook, or grabbing the wrong one. or anything like that. I also like to get the FRIXION brand of pens because they're erasable but they don't smudge or bleed through the paper, and I think that the writing is easier to read than with pencil. I think having a great pen or pencil that you like and a great notebook or notebooks. For some classes I find that taking notes on my computer is the best options, so making sure that I have a charger in my backpack and a good working computer can be just as important for my school supplies as having the right pens and notebook.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but when it comes to knowing what's going on in a course you have to read the syllabus. In the past I have had professors put a major assignment in the syllabus along with a due date but never talk about it in class, so the only way to know was to have read the syllabus. Some professors set up their syllabus like a calendar, which is really awesome because it lets you see what you need to do prior to class each day. One of the main keys to being successful is knowing what's expected of you in a course, and all of that is in the syllabus.

If the syllabus is set up like a calendar then you could get away with skipping this step. For me, unless I have something written down then I completely forget about it. I have a planner that I write everything in for the school year and that I use to help ensure that I do all of the homework I need to and have my work schedule laid out. A lot of people will use the calendar app in their phone and have reminders set up, or there are some great white-board or desk calendar options that are available as well! The worst thing ever in college is forgetting about an exam, or when an assignment is due, so it's great to be aware of what's going on in advance. Plus it's fun to decorate planners and calendars, or get fun pens and markers and such.

Seriously. Go to class. I'm not kidding. It's worth it.

When people talk about their college experience they talk about how much fun they had and all the friends they made. The thing is... It's REALLY easy to spend all of your time studying or in classes or at work. It's important to say yes when you're invited to things, and to hang out with friends even if all you do is watch a movie or eat food or something lowkey/relaxing. It's also important to take the time out of your day to do some self care, which can also be something you do with friends as well. Someone once told me that "You Don't Remember the Nights You Got Enough Sleep" and that's really true. You may be tired the next day, but the memories are amazing. (This is something to be done in moderation!! Don't stay up every single night, but the occasional night will be okay. You don't want to sleep through your classes!)

Do I really need to explain this one? Ramon Noodles and Mac & Cheese are not good to eat for every meal. Maybe I'll do a post at some point about what recipes I normally make that are easy for a college student, but finding ones that work for you is really important! You'll feel better and have more energy if you're eating well. My roommate and I will sometimes make a big amount of something and share it, or we'll help each other with meals if one of us is short on time.

This was something that took me a long time to get used to. For some reason I had it ingrained in my brain that asking for help would mean that I was failing, which I came to learn wasn't true. For this tip, it's important to know what your resources are. Know when your teachers are available to help you, know which friends are willing to help you, know what mental health services are available, know what you have access to. If you need more time to take exams than other students, don't be afraid to ask for that time. If you don't understand something don't feel like a failure going in to see the professor or a friend for help. If you're struggling with mental health don't be afraid to talk to someone about it.

I'm sure that I could com up with more, but for the time being those are the predominant things that I think about when it comes to being successful in college. I know that the school year is already under way for most people, but it's never too late to get some advice and help when it comes to being successful!

I hope you enjoyed this post and I would love to know if you have any more tips!

I'll see you on Thursday

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Mice

One of my coworkers found two baby mice in one of the parking garages on campus (there are a set of owls that live in that garage so we knew what happened to the mom and the others in the litter)  they had their fur but they hadn't opened their eyes yet. He put them into a box and brought them to our office, where he was promptly told that they couldn't stay in the office. My roommate wasn't super happy about it, but I brought the mice home.

They spent a lot of the time that they were initially in the box huddled together, but and they seemed extremely small!

I got a 5.5 gallon tank to keep them in. At first I just used the box to be able to cover the top because their eyes weren't open so I didn't think they would be trying to escape, but after they opened their eyes I invested in a wire lid for the top which did the trick.

I got a 1mL syringe (without a needle) and some puppy formula to be able to feed them. I got it from the pharmacy and they didn't charge me anything for it! The pharmacist was thrilled to hear about my plans to keep the mice alive and said that it was the smallest syringe that they had. 

The mice had really big appetites and were eating like champs! At first I would feed them every 3-4 hours including over night, which was really killer, but I was determined to keep the little guys alive. 

I was really happy to come home during my lunch break from work to feed the mice to find that their eyes were open! They were looking right at me when I came! (It was at this point that I switched to the wire lid from the box - I didn't want them to be loose in my apartment)

I had the mice for about a month and every day they were getting bigger and more active! I weaned them off of the puppy formula and onto various berries and veggies that I had available in addition to a seed mix made specifically for mice. I tried to space out when I would feed them, and to spread out/hide the food so that they would be able to use some of their natural foraging behaviors in addition to keeping them from getting totally bored.

For a while I was on the fence about whether or not I was going to keep them or release them, but after a while one of the mice started to do backflips in the tank and I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep them happily in captivity with me. I decided to release them, and worked on finding a good location to do so. 

Now when I made that decision, I was faced with a lot of people who were involved in the mice's story saying that I shouldn't release them because they would get out into the world and be killed by predators or starve, etc. But I knew that I had given them the best chance that I could to be able to survive, and that they would be happier out in the world even for a shorter amount of time than they would be if I had kept them for their entire lives.

Once I found the location that I thought would be good for them to live, I put them into shoe boxes for travel (It was easier to catch them separately - I never handled them so they were strongly against being picked up or touched) and then I let them go.

I took a video of when I released them because I wanted to be able to look back on it when I think about this experience. I also thought that it would be an incomplete story without something documenting the conclusion! 

I don't know what happened with the mice after they were out of site, but I like to think that they're doing well out there (which I know is probably wishful thinking).

I'm really happy that I was able to gain some new knowledge and experience from these mice, and that I was able to give them a fighting chance after being found in the parking garage! It was also really nice to be able to have some smaller rodents again. I had hamsters and dwarf hamsters growing up but I've gotten really used to the size of my guinea pigs which are significantly larger.

If you have any questions about the mice let me know! I'll see you on Tuesday

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

August 2018 Overview

I'm back once again after a really long but much needed break. I'm on a new computer now, which is technically for school work but I'm excited to use it for blogging as well. So far it certainly makes editing photos a lot easier, and I can get photos off of my phone a lot faster and with better quality.

I know that I did this at the beginning of August for missing posts throughout July, but I'm going to be going over the basics of August and what happened during it.

One of the major things that happened was I started my senior year of college - My 4th Year! Although I know that I'll still need more time after this year to be able to complete all of the schooling that I want I'm still proud that I've made it as far as I have.

So far this school year has already been really rough. I've accidentally missed some classes due to going to the wrong room (I ended up in an economics class when I was supposed to be in a forest plants class - and on the first day of school!) and I've missed some classes because of car trouble... My car has worn out three of the mounts (transmission and two in the engine) so my car makes a horrible noise and rattles a lot - which makes me less than enthusiastic about driving it (Don't worry it's going in to get fixed tomorrow) and I've missed a lab or two for health reasons.

I don't want to talk too specifically about it because I do want to keep my privacy when it comes to my mental health, but my anxiety increased a lot in the past month so I spent more time on myself and working through some things that were going on. I'm feeling a lot better now, which is the important thing!

Moving right along... I talked briefly about the mice a while ago, so I know some of you may be curious about what happened with them - I have a post coming up soon with everything about them! They took up a lot of my time in August as well, alongside my two guinea pigs who I was also giving a lot of my attention.

I love my guinea pigs so much! Gus has settled in perfectly with me and she really lets her personality shine - Her VERY strong and independent personality! Pepe's age has really started to show and he's mostly interested in eating and taking naps - and the occasional cuddle. I've been having a fun time working out what fresh veggies to feed them because, as it turns out, most of the things that Pepe likes Gus doesn't, and vice versa. Aside from the typically lettuce and cucumber, I basically have to get different veggies for each of them because they won't touch what they don't like!

That was pretty much everything that happened in August... I also was able to get my hands on a copy of Louise Pentland's new book, which I haven't read yet but I'm definitely excited to read! I loved her first book, so I'm sure that this sequal is sure to be just as amazing! I'm also looking forward to getting Hank Green's book, so I'll be sure to update you guys on what I think about them after I've read them.

What happened during August for you? I would love to know that you had going on!
I'll see you on Thursday
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