Monthly Archives: July 2016

Sharing the Love…

Dr. Who LayoutI am a planner addict.  I love to decorate my planner.  It is a little bit of creativity when I am crunched for time.  I have also found that decorating my planner makes it something I want to look at and use more.  For some, this isn’t the case.  Some people like fairly plain things, especially if they are using it for only work.  If you want to start decorating your planner, there are several sites that you can go and get free printables to cut out.  As a college student, money is tight and I don’t get to spend a ton of money on Etsy shops—so free is the way I go.  Remember to thank these people for their hard work.  Printables are time consuming—and time spent on the product shows.  So, without further ado, here are ten of my favorite sites to go to for cute printables!

  1. BEaYOUtiful Planning                                              IMG_20160522_140624
  2. My Planner Envy
  3. Planner Addiction
  4. My Planner Life
  5. Planner Problem
  6. Uncommon Plans
  7. Vintage Glam Studio
  8. Pretty Paper Designs
  9. Lavender Garden
  10. Mein Lila Park

IMG_20160531_230731This is only a small portion of my bookmarks, and there are a lot of places to get free
printables.  You can also toy with making your own.  I sometimes do, but I am nowhere near as creative as these bloggers.  I stick mostly to creating functional stickers for myself because I have specific things I look for.

D&D Nerds UNITE!

Ok, so if you follow me, you know I’m a D&D nerd.  The summer series of Acquisitions, Inc. is now in full swing on YouTube.  If you haven’t ever watched Patrick Rothfuss (Viari), Mike Krahulik (Jim Darkmagick), Jerry Holkins (Omin Dran), and Scott Kurtz (Binwin Bronzebottom) use verbal acrobatics to throw the DM Christopher Perkins off his game, then I highly recommend it.  Curse of Strahd is in full swing as well with DM Chris Perkins, as well as the characters played by Anna Prosser Robinson (Evelyn), Holly Conrad (Strix), Nathan Smith (Paultin), and Jared Knabenbauer (Diath).  The new one, which will tie into the Acquisitions, Inc. summer series and both will climax at PAX West this fall, is from the new Storm King’s Thunder.  I haven’t gotten a chance to watch it yet, but I am excited to do so.  All of these can be found on YouTube.

Note Taking 101

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Note taking is an important part of going back to college.  Whether one uses a computer or paper, it is important to learn to summarize as one goes and then re-write the notes after class.  While I don’t record all of my class lectures, I do record lectures from my harder classes.  If the class is more visually based, I have been known to set up my computer to record the lecture through its camera while I take notes by hand.  I recommend taking notes more by hand than I do via computer when in the classroom because it allows the brain to be engaged more than typing words on a screen.  I do tend to re-write my notes on a computer just to organize them after each chapter.  There is no one way to take notes.  In fact, depending on the teaching style and type of class, my note structure changes.  In my math classes, I tend to use a draw it out method.  In classes where I have professors who do what I call tangential-popcorn lectures (jumping from different topics and then going back) I use a mind mapping technique.  In anatomy I used a specific printout I created that was a Cornell method hybrid.

Basic Cornell notes work for classes that rely heavily on lecture.  How it is set up is that the paper is divided into three part:  a small skinny part for questions/verbal cues/vocabulary, the larger part for outline-type notes, and then a bottom section for a summary of the lecture.  These types of notes are good for teachers who are linear.  They are also good for book notes.  I used a type of hybrid of this type for my Anatomy and Physiology class.  The front was an entire page to write outline notes.  The back of the page has a place for summary, key points, key words, and a place to draw things out (ATP cycle, muscle types, tissue types, cell types, etc.).  If you have a class that is heavily visual with processes or concepts, these are the types of notes one should use.  Note taking is highly individual.  It is why when you ask for someone else’s notes from class, you may or may not understand them.  However, having a semblance of organization helps if you are letting someone borrow your class notes.  I rarely gave out my organized notes because I felt that if I did all the work, someone else shouldn’t benefit.  Also, when it came to my note taking I used specific colors for lecture notes, book notes, and clarified questions I had were all on that topic’s notes.  So in the end, my unorganized notes were three different colors before I typed them up.  It really helped for exams and quizzes.

Most people will tell you to read your book before class.  I say skim the chapter to get an idea of what is going to be talked about.  Make sure you write down any immediate questions that pop out.  During the lecture, as they get answered make note of this.  If questions aren’t answered, then ask them in class.  Then go back and summarize the lecture notes—pulling out key concepts.  Only after that do I go back to the book and read/take notes from the book.  Sometimes books are wrong—it is a fact of life.  I had a book in a class that we barely used because of information that was wrong/out of date.  So, remember to make note if the professor says that something is supposed to be the way he/she teaches it and not what is in the book.

So below are some print outs for note taking that I use.  I don’t have a mind map yet, I tend to just wing it on plain paper.  If you want me to make one just drop me a line!  Remember that these are for personal use only, so please do not try to sell them.  Also, direct people to my website as opposed to giving them the direct link for this and all other printables that I have created.  I hope you enjoy them!

Here is a copy of Plain Cornell Notes

Here is a copy of my Plain Hybrid Cornell Notes

Here is a copy of my decorated notes:   Decorated Hybrid Cornell   Decorated Cornell Notes

Here is a copy of the printout I use for Math

Something is not right…

In the interest of not drawing negativity to my blog, I decided that I’d not ever post anything political or controversial.  However, recent events have moved me to speak.  I will catch a lot of flak for what I am about to say.  I am tired of the senseless violence in this country.  I am tired of a few bad apples making bad names for everyone else.  A man in Minnesota just got shot in front of his girlfriend and a child because he had a concealed weapon and a permit to carry it.  This only happened because he was a man of color and he had a busted tail light met with an officer who wasn’t trained properly.  In the age of social media and 24-hour media coverage on everything something like this can affect all of us.  The media outlets are grabbing onto the fact that Philando Castile had been carrying a gun and that he was a man of color.  He was licensed legally.  He told the officers.  He got shot anyway.  After these kinds of shootings, violence erupts, and people on both sides of the issue rush to blame the other.

The systemic oppression is obvious to anyone who cares to open their eyes to the situation.  This isn’t me being a bleeding heart liberal.  This is me saying that the system needs fixed.  White privilege is a thing.  It is real.  Don’t lie to yourselves and say it isn’t.  Our country was founded by white men.  Our society is an “I” society.  We think that if we work hard enough and put our minds to it, we can achieve anything.  There was a reason why in the ‘90s that the words “it takes a village” caused so much controversy.  It isn’t just an individual thing.  It is a societal thing.  Our society needs to learn to work together to achieve common good for all—not just a few.  The people in power wish to stay in power, and they will do anything to achieve that.  I am not being tin-foil hat paranoid.  I am being honest.  The government preys on our fears to their advantage.  A mass of people is easier to control than an individual.

We need to stand up and say enough is enough.  All of us: White, Black, Asian, Indian, Native American, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jew.  It doesn’t matter what color your skin is.  It doesn’t matter what your religion is.  We as a collective need to remember that people are people.  Fear is the enemy.  Reach out to your neighbor; donate your time in a mentor program.  The teachings in ALL of the religions is overall peace.  To pick and choose from any religion to condemn someone else is tantamount to heresy in my book.  Do not be afraid because someone of color happens to be walking by when you are in your car.  Don’t be afraid because some white cop pulls you over.  A few bad apples make a bad name for everyone—remember that.  Treat each other with kindness and respect.  Do not judge someone because they are different from yourself.  Remember that everyone has a fundamental need to feel safe.  In other words, don’t be an asshole.

If you pray, pray for the families who experience violence on a daily basis.  Pray for the family of Philando Castile.  Above all, pray for peace.

Facebook Enabling and Reading Challenges

So, I have come across this Facebook group that basically is a bunch of planner addicts enabling each other and it is great!  There are several on Facebook as well as Tumblr and other places.  I have found them to be a mecca of ideas, free printables, and encouragement.  Having a positive environment for people who share the compulsion to buy tons of washi tape and stickers for the sole purpose of putting it into a planner that becomes obsolete in a year is important.  Not many people understand the excitement of flipping on YouTube and finding out how people set up planners and how different types of planners look from cover to cover.  So, if you are on Facebook at any point and enjoy finding free printables and ideas for your planner check out We Come in Planner Peace.

*Now for something completely different…*

I have been an avid reader since the age of three when I first picked up a book no one had time to read to me and taught myself.  By fifth grade, I was reading (and understanding) Shakespeare.  I learned to hate Romeo and Juliet at a fairly early age.  Finding it to be nothing that girls should be swooning over.  I have read classics, mysteries, horror, pop literature, and even a few bodice rippers with Fabio on the cover.  I even slogged my way through the train wreck of the Twilight series.  I wanted to know what the hype was about.  Girls kept swooning over this mysterious Edward Cullen.  More like creepy stalker that no one should ever want to date.  It isn’t romantic, it is gross and creepy.  One could make it a drinking game:  every time the words “white,” “marble,” or “stone” appear, one takes a shot of whatever grain alcohol you have on hand.  However, be warned, you will need an ambulance on standby because you will get alcohol poisoning before the ending of the first book.  I have yet to lower myself to read 50 Shades of Gray.  Since I started school, my focus has been on education and learn, learn, learn!

I have been slack on my reading since I started back to school.  I haven’t read any book that wasn’t a text book or something assigned for class.  So, I have challenged myself to get 30 books read before school starts on August 22 (Seems ambitious doesn’t it?).  I have Reading Challenge-1also created a printable to share for anyone who wants to challenge themselves to read more books.  The file has 5 colors (because I can’t decide on a color on any given day): green, pink, blue, orange, and yellow.  I hope you enjoy them and they encourage you to read more for enjoyment rather than just reading for classes or work.  Remember, reading doesn’t just need to be done because it should be but it should be done because you can.

You can find the reading challenge printable here.

Remember that these are for personal use only, so please do not try to sell them.  Also, direct people to my website as opposed to giving them the direct link for this and all other printables that I have created.  I hope you enjoy them!

Idle Hands…

I have anxiety.  It isn’t the kind of anxiety where I get panic attacks, or I freeze because I have so much to do.  It is a functional anxiety.  I have problems making a decision without the what-ifs creeping into my mind for days after.  I have problems when I feel like I don’t know what my function or place is in any given activity or event.  Some might call me a type A personality—an overachiever.  Except, in my mind, I am not trying to be an overachiever—I am trying to get my mind to calm down.  I get anxious and panicky when I have a lot of free time.  The free time allows my mind to stew on things—and not in a good way.  I am not problem solving, I am over-analyzing what I have said 3 months ago and wondering if it was really important for me to have said that.  The constant business keeps my mind from ruminating on what is really in the scheme of things considered to be minutia.  If I have a physical problem outside of myself to deal with, it helps me not to be so anxious.  I wish knitting would do it for me but unfortunately, it just keeps my hands busy and not my mind.  One can only binge so much on Netflix and sleep so many hours before these thoughts and the anxiety creep into that as well.  It is my anxiety that fuels my depression.  I have learned that if I manage the quiet anxiety by staying busy, I can manage my depression and OCD.  So the marking of the end of a semester creates a mild panic in my psyche.  The second summer session starts next week, and I only have one online class.  So, essentially, I have 7 weeks of unfettered time between now and the start of my fall semester.  These kind of things my husband isn’t able to understand.  He doesn’t understand why I have been obsessively checking for a new syllabus for my photography class that is starting next week.  He can’t understand why I randomly decide to mow the lawn even though my allergies want to kill me.  Because of all of this, I have decided that planning the next seven weeks would be a good thing.  Some of my friends think I’m weird that I have to have things planned out but it gives me more structure than I would have otherwise.  There are things I want to do, so this is a time to do it.  I plan on learning some C++ so I don’t feel stupid in my intro class.  I plan on learning some German to help me along in my German class.  I also plan on brushing up on my Calculus and Physics because I want to get good grades in those classes.  I know it sounds stupid, but I am going to treat these next seven weeks as though I am in class.  I will still have plenty of time to binge on Netflix, play D&D, and play video games.  My time will just be more structured to keep me from ruminating on what I said in Mrs. Cocanower’s freshman English class because she wasn’t explaining that Romeo and Juliet right because she was afraid of sex.  For the record, I am not a pushover- I am probably the most contrary person anyone could meet.  I just don’t do well with vast amounts of free time.

Anxiety isn’t something to be ashamed of.  Mental illness isn’t something to be mocked or laughed at.  It is real, and can be extremely debilitating.  So, if you are experiencing depression, anxiety, etc. don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor- or if pharma isn’t something you want, get yourself a therapist.  Sometimes you can find really cool ones that are worth the effort it takes to open up to them.