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I’ve wanted to write a post about dealing with anxiety for a really long time.

So long in fact, that I’ve had a post sitting in my drafts for as long as this blog has been online. I’ve never hit publish on that post and I probably never will because it’s just a hot mess of jumbled thoughts and wrongly worded explanations due to the fact that I can never write exactly what I want to say when it comes to anxiety.

This post is also chaotic, doesn’t make too much sense and is a bit of a mess but I’m having one of those days where I just need to get this out of my head and written out somewhere. So, here goes.

Truth of the matter is, I cannot remember a time in my life where I didn’t have anxiety. I can think back to certain periods of my childhood and remember exact moments of anxiety. I didn’t know at the time it was anxiety, nor did my family. I was just a shy kid. Fine in most situations but there were certain things that filled me with complete panic and dread, like having to pay for things and talk to a cashier was a nightmare for me at eight years old. I remember having breakdowns – tears, hyperventilating, the whole lot – over it every time my mum or grandparents would ask me to run into the corner store or order an ice cream cone on my own. Meanwhile, my younger cousins would swoop in and order with no problems.

I can remember being eight or nine and having a teacher who didn’t like me. Every morning for that entire school year I would get that inevitable wave of anxiety wash over me. If you have anxiety, you’ll know what I mean. It’s that weird tight feeling in your chest, the swirling, uneasy stomach and the ‘somethings not right’ dread you can’t get rid of that makes you feel on edge all day. I didn’t know how to explain it to my mum at the time, so she just assumed I was didn’t like my teacher and I’d get over it. I didn’t.

That all makes it sound very dramatic and like my family never noticed but honestly, it was easy to assume my anxiety was either me being a shy kid, or just a bit of a brat. Which, not gonna lie, as an only child who was spoilt for a good eleven years of my life, I was. Big time.

This also makes it seem like my anxiety was a bigger deal than it was. I feel like up until I turned, maybe, fifteen/sixteen, my anxiety was manageable. It was only triggered by a few certain things, it wasn’t bad enough that it impacted my daily functioning and it didn’t happen all that often, but it was there.

When I did hit fifteen/sixteen there was a lot going on. My relationship with my mum wasn’t the best, my home life was rocky, my grandad was battling prostate cancer, I’d only just found a good friendship group after struggling with the stereotypical bullying and bitchiness that comes with being a teenage girl in a public high school. This is where my anxiety turned from being background noise to taking over my thoughts.

I started locking myself in my room to avoid the family drama, I would constantly overthink every negative thing someone said about me because it all felt like a personal attack, I wasn’t sleeping, my grades dropped, my eating habits were horrible, I was having horrible panic attacks, everything was negative and I couldn’t do things I loved, like going out with friends because I would get so anxious about nothing.

It was like this until I hit nineteen. I was at university studying to be a teacher and on placement. I’d written my lesson plan, spent hours printing, laminating and cutting out all of my teaching props but there was underlying feeling of impending doom that I just couldn’t shake. I ended up having a major panic attack over my laminator in front of my mum. Not exactly one of my finest moments but after years of just dealing with anxiety, it felt good to just let it all out and tell someone what was going on in my head. I went to my doctor the next morning, got a mental health plan, a prescription for anti-anxiety medication and a referral to a psychologist and that was that.

I’m going to be honest here. I’ve had a very hit and miss journey with anxiety treatment. This first attempt did not go well. It was mostly because despite the fact that I was seeing a psychologist and understanding my anxiety more, and I was on medication that was neurologically making me better, nothing in my environment was changing. The family drama continued, the issues I was having at uni continued and because of all that I really struggled to stay in a good head space.

Eventually I stopped seeing my psychologist because I felt like there was only so much she could do, and we’d gone well beyond that point. Then I did the worst thing anyone on any antidepressants or anxiety meds can do. Came of them cold turkey without notifying my doctor. Not only did this make me extremely physically ill, it also really badly messed with my mental health. I have never felt as low as I did in the 14 days after coming off of my medication.

I ended up dropping out of my university course and spent two years in a blur of anxiety. I can’t remember anything significant happening in my life in that time but I know for a fact, I also wasn’t doing too much other than just existing. It was a really low point.

A few months before I turned 21, I decided to move interstate to live with my aunt, uncle and cousin (whom I refer to as my sister, because that’s what she basically is). It was the scariest decision of my life but I knew I couldn’t continue living the way I was. I did okay for a few months, the anxiety was still very present but manageable until it wasn’t. I don’t remember what the trigger was this time, but not long after my birthday I had a bit of an anxiety break down. Not a full-fledged panic attack but the crying, stress, hyperventilating, tight chest, impending doom kind of breakdown.

Again, I went straight to the doctor, got on different medication, was handed another mental health plan and a referral to a psychologist and got back on the treatment bandwagon. This time was better. I could feel things falling into place and improving. I still had bad days, I still had negative thoughts and cycles of overthinking but I overall felt things becoming easier. I stopped seeing my psychologist after I’d used up all of my free visits but the timing was right and I walked away feeling on top of things. I stayed on medication for another year and a half until it came to a point where my doctor and I felt like I could come off it, after dropping to the lowest dose possible.

It’s now two years after that and I can easily say, at twenty five years old I’m still dealing with anxiety. Note that I wrote dealing and not struggling. Majority of the time, everything’s fine. I’ve learnt to understand my triggers and cues, I can differentiate nerves from anxiety, I know what to do when my anxious thinking kicks in and I know how to handle things better now.

I still have bad days. Today, is one of those. I’m stressed and overwhelmed with uni at the moment and that always leads to a period of anxiety. I woke up at 3 am last night and out of no where had a panic attack. I don’t know why, I can’t even explain it. But I know that these moments will pass. That my workload will calm down, that failing won’t kill me, that even the worst possible outcomes to things can be fixed and solved and I can try again.

I’m not entirely sure what the point of this blog post was but if you made it all the way through, you get a virtual hug because woo, I don’t know how you did it. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, please reach out and get help. You don’t have to just push through and survive. You don’t have to struggle. I know my story doesn’t have a fairytale happy ending but I’m still hoping to get there someday. You can too.

Some really great organisations that help people with anxiety

(feel free to leave me a comment with any others that you know of and I’ll add it to the list!)

Mental Health Online (www.mentalhealthonline.org.au) provide information, assessment, resources and treatment programs for anxiety.

Headspace (www.headspace.org.au/) specifically aimed at 12-25 year olds, provides youth-specific, low cost services such as doctors, counsellors, psychologists, psychiatrists, family support and vocational care.

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Can you believe March is over already?

I feel like I blinked and now suddenly it’s Easter and the entirety of March was just a dream. That being said, so many exciting things happened in March, so let’s jump straight into my favourites!

As always, anything marked with an asterisk (*) is an affiliate link which simply means I make a tiny commission if you use the link to purchase something.

What I did Turned 25

I’m officially old. On the 4th of March, I turned 25 years old and handled it surprisingly well. I had a week of mourning my youth and realising that I am not equipped enough to be a full-fledged adult and now, after a series of annoying but ego boosting incidents in which strangers think I’m 16, I’m feeling okay about it all.

I think I’ve come to realise that age is but a number and nobody full ever feels adult enough to be an adult.

Started the final semester of my undergrad degree

March 5th was the beginning of semester one, 2018 – my last ever semester of my Bachelor of Psychological Science. It’s been a crazy busy ride already and I’ve spent way too much time stressing over life after graduation but I’ve still got three or so more months till that happens.

I’m taking some super interesting classes this semester including one all about Relationships and another all about the neuroscience behind being conscious, which is turning out to be a lot more fun that I expected.

Stressed a lot

March has been the month of stress. Most of it self-induced but it is what it is. I’m naturally one of those people who doesn’t deal with too much stress well, and I tend to get overwhelmed really easy, so I’ve been trying to take any time I can to just chill out, breathe and remember that everything can be worked through and these stressful, busy days don’t last forever.

What I love Target Pink Faux Fur Throw Blanket

So, there’s been a viral infection that spread amongst my family and friends at Uni. I thought I was safe, I’d manage to live and work with a bunch of coughing, sneezing, whining, snotty-nosed people… until I finally got sick and became one of those coughing, sneezing, whining people.

I tried to push through, because there’s not much you can do for a viral infection but to let your immune system fight it but I struggled big time. So, as you do when you’re feeling sorry for yourself, I bought myself the softest, fluffiest blanket I could find at Target, and took a nap.

I love this thing so much that it’s bee featured in the last four or five of my instagram posts. I’m ridiculously in love with this blanket and it was only $29. Bargain.

ColourHide Binder

I mentioned my love for the ColourHide Binder in my Notetaking 101 blog post but I’ve been carrying one around for five days a week for the entire month of March, that it just doesn’t feel right not including it in my favourites.

I throw this thing around like you would not believe and it’s still in perfect condition. Highly, highly recommend if you’re a fan of using binders for note taking or storage to check out ColourHide.

Keep Cup

I’ve talked a lot about Keep Cup* in the past (they were featured in my Student Gift Guide) and I finally got around to replacing the one I had stolen from me last year. Obviously, the coffee addiction is in full flight at the moment and this little thing is not only cute but also saving the environment!

I love mine because it’s easy to wash, keeps my coffee warm for longer and it’s also saving me 20c a cup each time I visit my favourite coffee shop on campus! It’s a win all around!

Rugby League

My family are massive sports fans but we’re even bigger Rugby League fans. It’s not a sport that super popular unless you’re in Australia,  New Zealand or certain parts of the UK but if I had to compare it to something, I’d say it’s kinda like the NFL except without the helmets and shoulder pads.

At the beginning of the month, the new season started and while we haven’t been able to make it to a home game yet this year, we’ve been watching it on TV and screaming our heads off every time the Melbourne Storm score a try.

What I watched Full House & Fuller House

Being a child of the 90’s I’ve obviously heard about Full House before. I just didn’t get to watch it growing up as I was a bit too young to really understand it. So, when I saw it on Netflix, I figured I’d give it a chance; after all, everyone raves about it, so it has to be good, right?

I loved it.

It’s an easy, family friendly watch with lots of episodes. I really enjoyed having it on in the background as I did work as there’s no major continuous story line that you have to pay attention to. The late 80’s and 90’s fashion and hairstyles are amazing to see as well. Definitely one to watch if you’re a kid of the 90’s and want to see some nostalgia.

Girls Incarcerated: Young and Locked up

Studying psychology has left me really interested in the factors that lead to people making certain decisions. So, I obviously have a major interest in documentaries about incarceration and being locked up. I really, really enjoyed this series. You get to see the girls grow up and change, and how much care is involved from this particular system when it comes to their welfare. There’s some tragic back stories and it’s sad to see how some really poor decisions can lead to something as serious as being locked up but it’s also really nice to see how much the guards, teachers and social workers care and how genuinely happy they are to see the girls change and eventually get released.

If you’re into documentaries, I’d highly, highly recommend.

Married at First Sight

I’m not a massive fan of trashy reality TV. I don’t like The Bachelor/Bachelorette, I hate the bajillion cooking and renovating reality TV shows there are and I absolutely hate Real Housewives. I just can’t stand half the people on these shows.

Somehow, I got suckered in to watching Married At First Sight and boy did I get addicted fast. The whole idea of marrying a stranger is not something I’m completely into, and I think you’re crazy if you want to put your life onto TV for anyone and everyone to comment on but this season of MAFS was full of so much drama, I couldn’t help but watch it.

It was like watching a train wreck. I didn’t want to watch but I just couldn’t turn away.

Oh, and I’m 100% team Ryan. Davina did not deserve him.

What I’m eating and drinking Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

As you can tell, I still haven’t kicked that caffeine addiction. At this rate, I’m tempted to just give in and wait until the semester is over to try and cut back. I’m back to spending long hours in front of a laptop and a lot of early mornings on campus, so coffee has been my saviour to get me through the day. It’s getting cooler here in Melbourne now, so I’ve traded in my caramel macchiato for a caramel latte. Warm, cozy and so delicious.

Picnic Ice Cream

Look, I’m still trying to be healthy but we all have our weaknesses – cough, coffee, cough – and Picnic Ice Cream just happens to be one of mine. If you’re unaware of what a Picnic chocolate bar is, it’s basically a wafer biscuit, caramel and some peanuts covered in Cadbury chocolate goodness. They’re not as good as Snickers bars but they’re a close second.

Now, imagine all of that in ice cream form. I’m talking 1/2 of the tub chocolate ice cream, the other caramel with some chocolate covered wafer biscuit bits and peanuts mixed in. So delicious!

What I’m wearing Cotton On Archy 4 Pullover Sweater

I’m starting to notice a trend here in the What I’m Wearing section of Life Lately. It’s that Cotton on is featured a lot. I just love their clothes – cheap, on trend and is really good quality.

At the beginning of the month I bought myself this bright pink pullover sweater because majority of my winter clothes are black, grey or navy. I figured it was time to inject some brightness into the dreariness that is the cold, wet and miserable Melbourne winter. It’s not quite winter here yet but we’ve had some cool weather happen, so I’ve been wearing sweater quite a lot and I love it. So nice with a pair of leggings and a denim jacket thrown on top!

Unfortunately I can’t find the sweater in this colour on their online store, so I’m not sure if it’s an in-store exclusive but here’s the link to check out some of the other amazing colours available.

Ohio State University Sweater

Sometime earlier this month, I had family go to Ohio for work and as a souvenir, we all got Ohio State University sweaters, shirts and hoodies, to be that family that matches. I absolutely love my sweater because it’s the cosiest, warmest sweater ever and for some reason, the arms are really long, so I get unintentional sweater paws every time I wear it.

I’ve tried searching for the exact sweater online and all I can find this one which is a mens sweater. I have no idea where it was purchased or the price, sorry!

Nike Sneakers

One of the things I asked for as a birthday present was a new pair of sneakers. I’ve never been a big sneaker person, instead opting for converse or boots but I love the basic black and white Nike Free Run sneakers*, so figured I’d ask for a pair instead of buying them myself.

I’ve been wearing these sneakers pretty much non-stop this March. They’re so comfortable it feels like you’re note even wearing shoes half the time and they look good with every outfit! Comfortable and classic!

What I bought Clinique Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil

I don’t know where I first heard about the Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil* or what lead me to buying it but I did and it’s probably the greatest lip gloss I’ve ever owned. Yes, it’s a bit pricey, yes, it’s a little self-indulgent and yes, I did not need another lip product but I used a gift voucher from Christmas, so that makes it okay, right?

Honestly though, if you’re looking for a nice gloss that’s long lasting, moisturising and not sticky, you’ve got to check out the Clarins Lip Oil.

New Skincare Bits

I don’t know how but I happened to run out of some of my favourite skincare products at all the same time. After a little bit of research, i decided to change things up and purchase some new products instead of repurchasing some old favourites. You may have already seen these on my lifestyle/personal Instagram account Lysh_Loves!

First thing I bought was the La Roche Posay Toleriane Caring Wash. Holy heck, this is one of the nicest cleansers I have ever used. It’s so gentle and leaves my skin feeling amazing, afterwards. I wouldn’t recommend this as a first cleanse, though as you can’t use it on your eyes and it’s not very good at removing make up.

I also bought The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane*. This is like the 2% retinoid I mentioned in my Skincare Routine, only The Ordinary’s newer, updated version. I’m loving this stuff so much more than the 2%, though. This one is based in Squalane oil which just makes it sink in to the skin and apply so nicely.

I also picked up The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%* because I have a skincare addiction and couldn’t help myself. Niacinamide is meant to be good for reducing blemishes and skin congestion. It’s also said to be good for reducing the appearance of pores and fine lines, evening out skin tone, brightening the skin and strengthening the skins surface. It’s basically a miracle worker in a bottle. I haven’t used it long enough to tell you if I’ve seen these effects on my own skin but I can definitely feel a difference in regards to blemishes and evening out my skin tone.

Mac Pro Longwear concealer

I am a concealer addict. It’s that one thing in my make up collection that I own 60 of but I continue to use my two favourites on a daily basis (NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer* or the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer*, in case you were wondering). I’ve heard everyone rave on about the MAC Pro Longwear Concealer* for so long and I’ve had it on my wishlist since forever, so I finally bit the bullet and bought it.

It’s ridiculously high coverage, so easy to blend and it does not budge until you come at it with a form of make up remover but I find it a little bit drying, so I’m still working out how best to use it. If you have any tips, please let me know!

What I listened to

Now that I’m back at Uni, I’m listening to Spotify a lot as background noise. This March included a few top 40 hits, some really chill indie hits and some new discoveries from bands and artists I have fallen in love with.

There you have it, my monthly favourites for March. What have you been wearing, loving, doing or listening to in March?

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The Bad Break by Jill Orr was kindly sent to me for the purpose of this review. However, this is no way changes any of my opinions or thoughts on the book. All opinions are 100% my own. 

I think it’s pretty well documented on Bookish & Bright, that I love a good New Adult fiction book, so when I read the blurb about The Bad Break I was instantly hooked.

Riley Ellison has taken a great leap of faith by giving up her comfortable job at the Tuttle Corner library for the exciting world of print journalism. Except that so far it hasn’t been very exciting. All that changes when Riley’s former co-worker Tabitha finds her soon-to-be father-in-law dead on the floor of his office, and Riley is asked to write his obituary. And when they discover Tabitha’s fiancé’s knife sticking out of his father’s chest, Riley finds herself with a murder investigation to cover as well.

Riley Ellison is your not so typical young adult, living in the small town of Tuttle Corner. Working at the local newspaper and desperate to get her break in Obituaries, Riley finds herself caught up in the town’s latest murder investigation. Throw in the fact that Riley somehow finds herself signed up to an online Millennial life coach, with whom she shares some hilarious emails and you’ve got yourself one heck of a read.

There are so many things I loved about this book. Firstly, the main Character, Riley. Often I find when reading YA or NA books, that the main character is written in a way to make them so desperately relatable to the audience that they then become annoying, whining stereotypes of millennials. Riley had her moments of youthful naivety and pure stupidity but not once did I cringe at something she did or said, nor did I find myself wanting to strangle her for being self-absorbed, like I often do when reading books of this genre. Riley’s also well-rounded. You can tell that she and the other characters have depth and are well thought out, something I think is often missing from YA and NA books for the sake of pushing the plot along faster.

I also really loved the small town setting. The characters were all diverse, the town is painted to perfectly that I could imagine living there and I think it sets the perfect backdrop to the murder-mystery plot.

One of the final things I loved is that it’s not your typical book. It’s not a typical murder mystery and it’s not a typical NA self-discovery book. I feel like the two are so different from each other and the two plots – The murder of Arthur Davenport and her hilarious emails with Jenna B, her personal success concierge – normally don’t sound as though they’d fit together in the same book but they work in a way that endears you to Riley and really helps you understand her more.

There are a few minor things that bugged me about The Bad Break. All very insignificant things like Riley is completely clueless about current pop references (everyone knows who the Kardashians are and if you don’t you’re a liar) and how sometimes the Millennial life coach emails from Jenna B can give you a bit of second hand embarrassment because the girl is written to be a stereotype of a millennial. You know what I mean; dim, vapid and a life that revolves around popular culture. I’m not sure if she’s written this way to make Riley seem smarter, more interesting and just generally better than your average young adult but it did get a bit annoying to read. Both tiny little things that I found bugged me while reading, but not bad enough that it changed my opinion on the overall book.

All in all, I did really enjoy The Bad Break by Jill Orr and would highly recommend it. If you’re a fan of murder mysteries, or even if you’re not, The Bad Break was a funny, gripping read about a young adult trying to find out how to get where she wants to be in life while stuck in the middle of her small town’s crazy murder mystery drama.

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I’m often asked a lot about note-taking.

Things like if I prefer to type or handwrite my notes, how I keep my notes organised, how I store my notes and why I’ve chosen to do things the way I have. I’ve touched on some of this recently on Instagram, where I explained that I tried to go electronic with my notes this semester and then switched back to my old system because I found electronic notes less engaging and harder to keep on top of but I thought I would write a post explaining my methods a little more to help answer some of these more frequently asked questions about note taking.

Handwritten or Typed?

Personally, I do a mix of both but it depends on the class.

I print out my lecture slides and hand write on top of those. I find this is most effective for me because I don’t get distracted by the internet but I also don’t have to write a lot of information because all of the important stuff is already printed onto the slides for me. This means I can focus on what the lecturer is saying instead of rushing to write down information already provided to me. I also find that handwriting on printed slides means that I don’t have to worry about font size, highlighting, text placement or any of the technical things that comes with typing your notes, I can just dump out the information I need to where and how I want with a pen.

For class notes, I handwrite my notes in a notebook. These notes are rarely neat, often include scribbles, a mess of highlighting and poorly drawn diagrams. For me, as long as they’re legible and I’m able to understand what I’ve written, I’m happy. I do also print off the powerpoint slides from my tutorials, if these are made available to me because I’m able to consolidate them with my own notes and revision is made a little bit easier.

My notes for weekly readings varies. Being a psychology student, I’m often assigned journal articles which I prefer to print out and hand write annotations on in the margins but on the odd chance that I do get textbook chapters to read, I will type those and print them out.

What Is Your Note Taking Method & How Do You Use Your Notes?

My note taking method is super simple. The first thing I do is the weekly reading. If it’s a journal article or academic text, I’ll read through it once while highlighting the parts I feel are important – things like aim & hypotheses, definitions, reasons/need for study, sample size, reliability and validity/other important statistics, results and limitations are what I focus on when highlighting journal articles because I feel like they’re the things I will go looking for when rereading, analysing or evaluating or using the article for an assignment reference.

Then I’ll read it again and annotate. For me this simply just means either explaining things a little more simply so that I can understand them more easily or linking back to theories, topics or ideas that are relevant. I’ll also occasionally write questions of things I don’t understand, so that when it comes to reviewing them, I’ll hopefully be able to answer any question I left myself or I’ll ask my tutor or lecturer.

Then comes lecture notes. This is pretty straight forward, I print out the powerpoint slides and simply write down anything I think is important on those notes. I also highlight things a lot because while everything in the lecture should be considered important, there are key points that your lecturer will emphasise more than others. I make sure to take note of anything that is mentioned as being on the exam or examinable, so that when it comes time to review the content, I know that that topic is something I have to have a good understanding of.

Class notes for me are hit and miss. A lot of what’s discussed in my classes is taken directly from the powerpoint presentation, which I print to consolidate with my own notes, so I generally don’t have to write too much. There is however a lot of class discussion and tips shared about assignments from my tutors, so I do always make sure to write things that I feel are useful or important. As I said earlier, my class notes tend to be minimal, messy and really basic.

As for how I use my notes, I’m not one who learns from just writing out my notes. You’ll probably know this if you follow me on Instagram, but I’m not the biggest fan of rewriting notes aesthetically for studying purposes. I don’t find it practical, efficient or even that useful. I do however, use my notes for review purposes at the end of semester. I also use them to create a study guide for my exams as well.

How Do You Keep Your Notes Organised?

Since I print nearly everything I have a lot of paper to keep organised and to do so I use binders. I have a really simple system that I’ve perfected over the course of my undergrad studies.

At the beginning of semester I designate each class a colour – pink, purple, blue or green. Each class gets a Lever Arch Binder that stays on my desk and houses the entire semesters work. This binder has five dividers in it and I use to seperate my syllabus into one section for easy reference, then lecture notes, tutorial notes, readings and assignment related things such as references, criteria sheets or marking rubrics and overviews. Everything gets put in order, so content is easy to find from week one of the semester to week twelve. It also means that I can easily cross reference with the weekly outline from my syllabus to find a particular topic or section from my notes.

I also have a single two ring half lever arch binder in black that I use on a daily basis. This is the binder that comes to class with me and it houses all of my notes, readings and other important documents for that week. It’s also split up into five sections using colour coded dividers, so that I have one section for each class and then a spare section which I keep spare paper for note taking.

Every Sunday, I’ll spend five or so minutes taking things out of my daily use binder and put them into my semester, colour coded binder. I’ve found that this is the best way for me to keep on top of it all.

As for putting things in, this happens through out the week. A lot of the times lecture and tutorial notes aren’t uploaded until the night before the class, so I’ll add things as they become available to me.

How Do You Store Your Notes?

As I mentioned above, I have four binders, one for each class that I store my notes in. These sit on my desk within easy reach for when I’m working. I have used a drawer method in the past, where I had a clear drawer system with a drawer for each subject but I found that hard to organise and keep track of things. I’ve also used manilla folders and a folder organiser but again, I felt like it was hard to keep things neat and organised.

How Do You Know What To Write Notes About?

It gets hard to know what to actually note down as important when writing notes, especially if you’ve been assigned long chapters from a book to read. My tip here is to know what the learning outcomes or key knowledge for that topic or week are. They may be available to you in your syllabus or on your lecture slides for that week but you may have to email your professor for them.

A few examples of some learning outcomes taken from the syllabus of my Neuropsychology class this semester:

This lets you know all of the important topics that you not only need to know but also understand for the week/topic. From this I’ll read through the assigned reading, making sure I take down the important parts relating to these points. I’ll make sure to include other related points if it helps me to understand things a bit better or I just feel like it’s important.

Another tip that I’ve found helpful for note-taking is to read the chapter first, not taking any notes and then use the chapter review to make your own notes, adding in relevant parts from the chapter if you need more explanation or understanding. I find this a time-saving but still effective study method for those really long chapters you’re often assigned.

How Do You Find A System That Works?

Trial and error. I think naturally you kind of tend to stick to what is most efficient and beneficial for yourself. For instance, in my first semester of my undergrad degree, I gravitated towards separating things by class because that’s what I had done in high school. I started off with just having four notebooks, one for each class and that worked but I knew I needed something more comprehensive for print outs, so I tried out folders and then the drawer system mention above and then finally binders.

The same thing goes for figuring out how I best prefer to take notes. I preferred to do things by hand in high school over using an iPad or computer, so when I started attending lectures it was natural for me to want to handwrite my notes as the lecturer presented the slides. I found that I really struggled to take down al the information, so I moved to using a computer but I didn’t feel like I was taking in the information and I was easily distracted, so I started printing my notes to annotate on to them.

I think my only advice here is don’t try to force things that don’t work and trust me, you’ll know when they’re not working.

What Products Do You Recommend?

Disclaimer: As always, affiliate links are marked with an asterisk. All this means is that I earn a tiny commission if you use the link to purchase something at no extra cost to you.

Okay, I’m not a stationery snob. I don’t generally have brand preferences for many things and in most cases, I’ll just buy whatever’s cheapest but I do have some preferences for the qualities of my stationery.

For binders, I prefer two rings*. Mostly because it’s the easiest to hole punch. I did used to use four ring binders but without a four ring hole punch, it just gets tricky. I also prefer lever arch* or half lever arch binders for storing content because they’re big enough to hold a decent amount of paper but also because they have the little compressor bar which keeps things secure. They’re also easier to open and close as you don’t have to pull the rings to insert or remove paper.

For the dividers I use in my binder, I also have a preference of using plastic dividers* over paper ones. The plastic ones are a little more expensive but the plus side is they last longer and don’t tear at all.

As for pens and highlighters, you can check out my Instagram to see what I’m currently using or check out a previous post I’ve written on my favourite note taking tools.

Hopefully that helped a little and answered some of your questions. If you’d like to know more information about anything or have any more questions, leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure to answer them.

Let me know what your note-taking system is like. I’d love to know if you do things similarly or different to myself.

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The post College Note Taking 101How I Take & Store My Notes. appeared first on Bookish and Bright.

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I’m officially old.


Old enough to be confused as my 13 year old little sisters mother (I wish I was joking about that one but I’m unfortunately not).

I’m no longer a young adult and that’s kind of scary. I don’t feel adult enough to be 25.

I have learnt quite a bit in my quarter of a century on this earth, despite not feeling like I have my life together enough to be an adult and since I love reading these posts from others, I thought I would share some of the things I’ve come to realise over the past 25 years.

  1. Not everyone is going to put the same effort into their relationship with you as you put into them. Sometimes that’s okay, sometimes it’s not.
  2. Gossip and drama doesn’t end in high school. Avoiding people who thrive on that is important.
  3. Making your bed will make you feel like you have your life together, even when you don’t.
  4. Saying no to things you don’t want to do actually feels really good.
  5. People will have opinions about everything you do. You can never please everyone, don’t even bother trying.
  6. Social media is deceptive. No one’s life looks exactly like their Instagram feed. Trying to emulate their filtered life will only make you miserable.
  7. You can never have too many pillows on your bed.
  8. Everybody hates doing dishes and laundry but it only gets worst if you leave. Just do it.
  9. Be nice to people. You don’t know how a simple smile or gesture of kindness can change someone’s day.
  10. Bad days are sometimes followed by even worst days but eventually they end. You’ll get through it.
  11. Self-care isn’t always pretty. There are days were you may need to be a little mean to yourself, force yourself out of bed or to go to class. Don’t ever feel bad about it.
  12. There’s nothing wrong with being a quitter, as long as you learn from it and try again.
  13. Getting older means that you’re parents and grandparents are also getting older. Cherish the time you have with them. Schedule in family time. Make that phone call. Don’t let life get in the way.
  14. Comparison is the root of all evil. There will always be someone prettier, with more followers, more successful,  or better at something than you. If you continue to compare yourself to others you will never be happy.
  15. Giving up on people is sometimes inevitable. Not everyone can be saved. Not everyone wants to be saved. Not everyone realises they need to be saved.
  16. Being on time shows that you respect the other person and their time. Make an effort to be on time.
  17. If you’re going to do something, give it you’re all. What’s the point of doing something half-assed?
  18. 15 minutes in the sun and fresh air can do wonders for your mood.
  19. Your life isn’t a series of right or wrong decisions. You can choose to change things whenever you want to.
  20. Get a planner. Stay on top of dates and your to do list. You’ll feel more in control of your life for it.
  21. Print photos. Journal moments. Write down important memories. Don’t forget the little things that made you happy.
  22. There’s nothing wrong with liking things that aren’t age appropriate. Read that YA book, wear that Fandom T-shirt and enjoy blasting music from that boyband.
  23. It’s never a good idea to send that text when you’re drunk/sad/angry/hormonal. Write what you want to say in the notes section of your phone, set an alarm for 24 hours and see then if you still want to send it. Chances are you’ll be thankful you didn’t send it in a moment of overwhelming emotion.
  24. You can fake being confident. Then faking that confidence leads to actually being confident. Fake it if you have to, you’ll eventually make it.
  25. You can never be overdressed. Putting in time and effort into your appearance, even when the situation doesn’t ask for it only shows that you care.

See related: 24 Things for my 24th YearBucket List. 

There you have it, the 25 things I’ve learnt in my 25 years of life. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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Being a student is often used as an excuse to live a pretty unhealthy lifestyle.

I’m no stranger to using my status as a student to be unhealthy. I’m too busy to exercise or too poor to buy healthy food are probably some of the more common excuses I’ve used but at the beginning of this year I decided that I wanted to live a healthier lifestyle, my student lifestyle be damned.

I started small, making the changes gradually instead of doing an overhaul of my entire life because I wanted this to be something I stick to and that I would do long term. For me, making these changes over the past two months has worked wonderfully, although I will admit, I’m still struggling with some changes (cough, cutting down caffeine, cough).

Hopefully these little lifestyle changes show you how easy it is to be healthier, at no added cost to you or your lifestyle.

Eat breakfast

I mentioned in my January Favourites post that one of the things I was loving in January was eating breakfast. I’ve never been a big breakfast person, instead preferring a coffee instead of actual food. Basically, I’ve just never been a big breakfast person. I’ve always preferred having a coffee and then eating breakfast later – or skipping it all together. So not healthy.

There are so many benefits to eating breakfast though!

  • Improved concentration and memory
  • Improved metabolism
  • stabilised blood sugar levels
  • reduced likelihood of over-consuming high caloric foods later in the day to compensate for not eating breakfast

All  of my favourite breakfasts are quick, easy and budget friendly. Things like granola, apple slices with almond butter, toast and overnight oats are all really simple, really cheap and really easy to eat on a busy morning.  Something as simple as a banana or a cereal grab and go bar are also perfect for those mornings you need to eat on the run!

Keep healthy snacks accessible

One of my biggest issues is snacking. I tend to gravitate towards the unhealthier snacks because they’re easy, no prep required and they’re generally pretty cheap but they’re so bad for you! I decided to just stop buying chocolate, crisps and other junky foods because if I don’t have it in my kitchen, I can’t eat it. Simple as that.

Not having unhealthy food accessible has stopped me from binging on things that I should eat in moderation. It’s also stopped me from craving it because I physically cannot give in to those cravings without all the extra added effort of going to the shops to buy it.

Obviously, that did then leave me with the issue of finding healthy snacks. Other than fruit, which is an obvious go-to, I’ve turned to things like muesli bars, trail mix, popcorn, crackers, sweet potato or kale chips, yoghurt, rice cakes and cheese sticks. These are all great alternatives to the typical study snacks that students normally turn to BUT I would definitely recommend checking out the nutritional information of anything you buy as packaging can be deceiving and things aren’t always as healthy as you think.

I’d also check out the recommended serving size of your snacks, too. Sometimes things can say they’re low in calories but you’ll be consuming such a insignificant amount that it’s just not worth it.

Drink more water

Nobody drinks enough water. It’s just one of those things that we all know we should do but we don’t.

We all know that drinking enough water helps with increasing energy and relieves fatigue, improves your skin, boosts your immune system and flushes out toxins.

Yet, we all find it so hard to actually drink enough water. But what is enough water? Well, the recommended guideline from health agencies around the world seems to be 6-8 glasses but if you’re living in a warmer climate, are exercising regularly or you’re ill, you’ll probably need to up your water intake more.

A good way to know if you’re drinking enough water is to check your urine. If you’re wee is clear or a pale yellow, you’re all good. If it’s a deep yellow, you’re probably dehydrated!

I know from personal experience the only way I drink enough water is if I carry a bottle of water with me, so that’s what I started doing. Choosing a cute water bottle can make all the difference but even just using a single-use plastic water bottle like a Fiji water bottle or a Pump water bottle would work just as well. Also, adding fruit, such as lemon, strawberries or even blueberries, to your water can also help improve your intake and add some extra flavour to your water.


It’s so easy to make excuses as to why you can’t exercise as a student.

I’m too tired.

I’m too busy

I need to prioritise studying.

I can guarantee we’ve probably all used them. I know I certainly have but making excuses can be so detrimental to health when it comes to exercising.

There are several things you can do to help fit in exercise into a busy schedule.

  1. Schedule it in. Set a time, add it to your planner and just get it done. You may need to wake up earlier, you may need to squeeze it in after class but when you schedule it in you’re more likely to go and do it.
  2. Find an exercise you enjoy doing. Maybe you like going to the gym, maybe you like running, heck even just going for a half an hour walk around campus or your local neighbourhood is better than nothing. Finding an exercise or a routine you enjoy doing means that you’re less likely to push it aside for other things.
  3. Track your exercise. Something that’s helped me a lot with fitting in regular exercise into my routine is tracking in my planner when I have done exercise. I find this not only keeps me accountable but I’m also able to physically see how often I’m exercising and if I need to change things around to make everything work.
  4. Find an exercise buddy. If you can, find a gym or exercise partner. This way you’re not only going to enjoy exercising a little bit more because it’ll be time to socialise but you’ll also find yourself being kept accountable by your friend.
Cut down on caffeine

Look, caffeine is basically a source of life as a student. I’m addicted to coffee – caramel latte’s are my poison of choice but drinking too much caffeine is not the greatest for you.

Caffeine is notoriously bad for you for several reasons. It increases anxious feelings, blood pressure and your risk of type 2 diabetes. It also decreases your quality of sleep, mood and is also bad for your teeth.

I don’t have any real tips for cutting down on caffeine. I’ve tried not buying coffee, limiting myself to one cup a day, swapping coffee for tea, only buying the smallest cup possible and even cutting out caffeine completely.

Unfortunately, none of that has really worked for me yet but if you have any suggestions, let me know! I’m open to ideas!

Get enough sleep

Students are notorious for not getting enough sleep. There’s just too much to do and not enough time but getting 7-8 hours of sleep helps improve your immune system, memory retention and decreases your risk of disease.

It’s not always possible to get that much sleep but making sure that you’re getting 7-8 hours on a regular basis is best for your long term health.

There are some easy ways to ensure you get enough sleep. Things like getting into a routine and having a regular bed time and wake up time can improve your quality of sleep, as can not using your phone for at least an hour before you go to sleep.

It also goes without saying that pulling all nighters are really bad for you and aren’t all that helpful as they increase stress and irritability, lead to an inability to focus and decreases your ability to remember things.

What are some healthy lifestyle changes you’ve made to improve your lifestyle?

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It’s officially the end of February and honestly, it felt like the longest month ever!

It’s probably because I have so many exciting things happening in March and April that I’m looking forward to doing that made February feel like an eternity but I’m so glad the month is over and that we’re moving into March!

As always, I’m sharing with you some of my favourite things, moments, purchases and songs from the last month!

What I Did Got addicted to YouTube.

I’ve been watching YouTube for years. It’s my go-to place when I just want to chill out, relax or waste some time. I’ve been watching the same kind of popular youtubers for years, though and had grown a bit bored of the same recycled content.

Then in February, I discovered InTheFrow and oh my God, I am obsessed. Victoria’s a fashion Vlogger and Blogger who just looks so chic and fashionable all the time. She’s also super sweet and I just aspire to look that good at some point in my life.

I’ve also been watching a lot of SprinkleOfGlitter/Louise Pentland. Her weekly Vlogs are just so genuine and realistic which is a nice point of difference when most Vloggers just show you the best bits of their lives. Her two daughters, Darcy and Pearl are also absolutely gorgeous!

Finally, I’ve also been loving Lucy and Lydia’s channel. They have some really good tutorials and ‘Get The Look’ kind of videos but the travel videos they post are insane! I seriously love their style and the editing on their videos is amazing. Love, love, love!

Organised my wardrobe.

Organising my wardrobe has been one of those annoying little tasks that has been on my to do list for almost a year now. So, when I finally had some free time, I decided to get into it, blast some music and clear out the clothes I didn’t wear or like anymore.

I donated majority of my old clothes as well as donating some unused notebooks and stationery from my desk clear out, to a local women’s shelter and not only do I feel like I’ve done a good deed, I’ve also finally got a neat and organised wardrobe that I don’t spend half my morning rummaging through to find the same two shirts I wear every day.

Got spoilt on Valentine’s Day… by my family.

I’m single and while I don’t really care about Valentine’s day all that much, my family are really into holidays in general, so we all got spoilt. I was lucky enough to get a set of pyjama’s from Peter Alexander that say ‘Dogs before dudes’, a box of roses chocolates and some hand wash and lotion that smells amazing.

It was a super sweet surprise that definitely made my day!

Worked on my mental health.

I don’t know if it was because the high of January and the new year had worn off or if it was just me but my anxiety hit me with full force at the beginning of February.

I mentioned in my 2018 goals post that working on my anxiety was something I wanted to do. This month I decided to start a technique known as thought stopping. All you do is imagine a big red stop sign every time you find yourself having obsessive, anxious thoughts. There’s nothing else to it. You don’t try and understand your thinking, you don’t try and rationalise, you just stop it.

It’s working really well for me so far as I do have a tendency to overthink and overanalyse things which feeds my anxiety. If you want to know more about thought stopping, I’d highly recommend talking to a trained professional but here’s an insightful little post I found about it that my help you out as well!

What I Love Candles.

I started working on my nightly routine towards the end of February due to my sleeping schedule becoming completely messed up. Part of this included lighting some candles, putting on my fairy lights and turning off my phone in favour of a good book.

Now, I’m no candle aficionado, so my go to candles tend to be your run of the mill budget candles. Some of my all time favourites are the Vanilla candles from Ikea and Target Australia’s French Vanilla and Pomegranate Mimosa candles. I’ve had my eye on some more fancy, bookish candles from Etsy but if you have any recommendations, let me know!


I began exercising properly at the start of the year, going to the gym and doing the Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide but I’ve found a genuine appreciation for a good 30 minute walk around my neighbourhood this month. I’m really lucky in the fact that I live right on a river and next to multiple walking and cycling tracks and through out February I’ve been taking advantage of that and going on (nearly) daily walks. It’s been great for my mental health and I find that unlike going to the gym, I don’t have to search hard for the motivation to go. I just stick in my earbuds, turn on Spotify and go.

It’s super relaxing, I get to enjoy some of the sunshine and it’s really good to just put one foot in front of the other and not have to think about anything else.

Spotify Premium.

Look, I know I’m late to the game but I finally gave up my Apple Music subscription and got Spotify Premium. I didn’t have any issues with Apple Music, I just honestly find Spotify easier to use and I love that when you create playlists, Spotify gives you song recommendations which has helped me find so many new songs.

I also love that Spotify has a discounted student pricing, so that’s a bonus!

What I’ve Read

As always, links marked with an asterisk are affiliate links. This means that I make a small commission if you purchase a product using my link! 

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.

I’ve had What Alice Forgot* on my bookshelf for a ridiculously long time, so I decided it was time to finally read it. I’m kind of in two minds about this book because I really enjoyed the story and the characters but I hated the ending. To me, it kind of felt the whole story was for nothing because the ending was predictable and didn’t demonstrate any growth or change with the characters.

I did really, really love that there were so many Australian references since it was set in Sydney but I still don’t like the ending all that much.

Silence by Natasha Preston.

Silence was a free book I found on Apple Books which I read while I had some free time. I read through the blurb, thought it looked interesting and not like your typical free book, which is why I gave it a read.

I have so many issues with this book.

One – it touches on some serious issues that are dragged out for no other reason than to further the relationship between the main character and the love interest. Seriously, this book could have and should have been half the length but for the sake of a relationship and giving a storyline to the sequel, it wasn’t.

Two – There’s some serious timeline issues. Apparently the main character stops talking around the age of five but the trauma that occurs to cause her to stop talking happens somewhere between ten and thirteen? I don’t get it.

Three – Her family and friends don’t know that she’s been through something traumatic but don’t question why she doesn’t talk? Like, it’s just accepted? 110% not realistic. If you were fifteen/sixteen and hadn’t spoken a word in a undetermined length of time, people would be concerned. I just don’t get it.

In the end it was an okay book, writing was nice and the plot twist wasn’t much of a plot twist but it was better than other free books online.

Those Were the Days: A TATM Short Story by Jenny Bravo

Another free book I downloaded when I had some spare time. I honestly wouldn’t recommend Those Were The Days, even though it is a short story and a prequel for another book (and most importantly, free). Mostly because I feel like the characters were lifeless and you never really get a sense of what their feeling or what the motives behind their actions are. You just roll along through the story like “oh, so she likes her sister now, why?” and “Wait, was it ever explained why this is happening and she suddenly feels this way?”. I spent most of the book confused, not knowing who the characters were and wishing there was just more life to this book.

I think I’m going to stick to paid books in March, since free books just seem to be a bit of a let down at the moment.

What I’m Eating and Drinking Kombucha

I am addicted to Kombucha. If you don’t know what it is, it’s basically a fermented tea that’s meant to be packed full of probiotics. For me, it’s a healthier alternative to soda or soft drink, so I’ve kind of replaced all of that with Kombucha. My all time favourites are the Parker’s Raspberry Kombucha or the Remedy Kombucha in Pink Lemonade. That being said, though, I’ve tried so many different brands and flavours of Kombucha through out February and I’m yet to find one I don’t like!

Iced Caramel Macchiato

February has been the month my caffeine addiction has overtaken my life. Mostly because a Starbucks opened up down the road from my apartment. This means I have had way too many Iced Caramel Macchiato’s to count and it’s been seriously bad for my bank balance.

I can’t help it. They’re just so good.

Frozen Yoghurt

Another guilty pleasure for the month of February. It’s the end of Summer here, although the weather hasn’t made it feel like that, and I’ve been loving having a frozen yoghurt and enjoying the occasional bit of sunshine we’ve been getting. They’re probably not the healthiest but they’re cheap and they’re not as sweet as ice cream, so they hit the spot when I’m craving something sweet without killing my sweet tooth.

What I’m Wearing Cute But Psycho T-shirt from Ghanda Clothing.

My little sister and I go shopping together a lot but we’re rarely able to shop at the same stores. Mostly because she’s thirteen and built like a stick and I am neither of those things. But Ghanda opened a store at our local shopping centre and we’re both obsessed. They have a teen section for her and a, a great selection of fashionable but decently priced women’s shirts that are so, so soft. I picked up a couple but I’ve been wearing the Cute But Psycho cropped t-shirt pretty much non-stop since I bought it.

It’s been my go-to shirt for February!

Kmart Starlet Sneakers.

I wear my white low-top converse trainers every where. I’m kind of in desperate need of another pair but I’ve also been eyeing off buying a pair of Adidas Originals Superstars instead. I’m not quite ready to part with $120 on a pair of shoes I’m not even sure I’ll wear as much as my converse, so when I saw these in Kmart for only $20 I bought them. These have got to be the most comfortable cheap pair of sneakers I have ever worn and I’m constantly getting compliments every time I wear them. Definitely recommend if you’re looking for a cute, cheap pair of basic white sneakers!

What I Bought Cotton On High Waisted Denim Shorts.

I know I’m late on the trend here but I’ve always thought that high-waisted shorts and pants make my hips and thighs look huge, which used to be a massive concern for me. Now, I kind of just don’t care, so when I saw these on sale for $15 at Cotton On, I decided to buy them. My whole mindset was that even if I don’t have the courage to wear them out and about, they’d be super comfy to wear around the house. I was right. 100% a good purchase this month.

Bioderma Micellar Water.

Priceline had their massive 40% off skincare sale this month and well, I really didn’t need anything. I’ve managed to get my skincare routine down to a science (you can read all about that here!) and since nothing needed topping up or replacing, I wasn’t planning on buying anything when I went in store to have a little look. It’s kind of impossible to leave Priceline without buying anything though, so when I saw that Bioderma was only $25 for the huge bottle*, I caved and bought it.

I love this stuff.

It’s like the Garnier one only 50 times better at removing make up and it just leaves my skin looking and feeling amazing. I think I may actually cry when I run out of this bottle because I can’t justify paying $50 for Micellar water, so I definitely won’t be replacing it any time soon.

What I’m Listening to

The music I listened to in February got a bit weird. There’s some Electronic, up-beat songs for running, some chill indie music, a few rap songs and some absolute pop hits.

What have you been loving this month?

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It’s officially the end of February, 2018 and that means that University is about to be back in session here in Australia!

It’s also my very last semester of my undergraduate degree, which is a little crazy. I’ve learnt so much over the past almost three years but one of the biggest things I’ve learnt is how much of a difference being prepared at the beginning of semester makes things.

Seriously, I feel like the beginning of the semester is looked at by students as an excuse to fly by and then suddenly you’re hit with 2 essays, an in-class exam and a lab report all within three days of each other, on top of the normal required readings you need to keep on top of. Oh, and you may have also forgotten that compulsory group meeting you needed to have with your tutor. Oops.

Getting prepared before you even step foot onto campus for the first time since exams ended last year can make or break your entire semester, so I’m sharing my super simple steps to starting the semester off right.

Assess last semester

The very first thing you should do when getting ready to go back to University for the semester is to assess what did and didn’t work for you last time around.

A good example of this is last semester I didn’t jam pack my schedule. Instead of forcing everything into two days, I worked around the lectures and stretched my schedule out to four days. This worked for me because it meant that I physically attended the lectures but it also meant that I wasn’t as stressed and I used my time better. I’m doing a similar thing this semester because it worked so well.

Something I’m changing, however, is my notetaking system. Last semester I printed EVERYTHING. I’m not gonna lie, it worked for me. I was able to engage in the material and learnt really well but it was really, really expensive and time consuming. This semester, that’s just not going to work. One of my classes – Neural Bases of Consciousness – has a ridiculous weekly required reading list. I’d be printing off hundreds of pages a week and that’s just not environmentally or budget friendly. So, instead I’m going to try doing notetaking on my laptop and use Microsoft OneNote to organise everything like an electronic binder.

Being able to figure out things that did and didn’t work for you last semester, and then changing these things can help improve your grades, your work-life balance and your mental health.

Use your syllabus

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on your syllabus (syllabi? This will forever be a word that confuses me!) before the semester starts, you should firstly send a little thank you letter to your professor or lecturer and then happy dance – because you now have access to the very thing that dictates your academic life for the next 12 weeks.

Once you’re able to move past the fact that you can now map out a good portion of your life and know exactly what you’ve signed up for by taking the classes you enrolled in, it’s time to grab out your planner (or Google Calendar) and start putting in all of your due dates.

Now, I know not everyone’s syllabus will be the same. Heck, even some of mine are different from class to class, but if you’re like me and are lucky enough to be given out a week by week guide to the semester in your syllabus, you’d be stupid not to use it.

Normally, I make a table like the one below to stick in my binder or Arc Notebook, kind of like a semester overview for each subject, to keep myself organised. I would break the semester into 12 weeks and then write everything I had to do for for that week into the table. It was easy to follow along, I knew when everything was due and what had to be done and I didn’t have to reference anything else. It was all there for me.

This year, going electronic and all, I took it a step further.

I’ve got a table for each class, in a OneNote notebook, which breaks down the lecture and tutorial content, the readings I have to do each week and when I have assignments, quizzes or other assessments due. It’s my go-to guide for the entire semester which I’ll see every time I write my notes. This way I have everything I need, taken straight from my syllabus, to help me guide my notes and to help me review at the end of semester. Also, having a checklist for readings is super helpful, too!

See related: How To Use Your Syllabus to Improve Your Grades! 

Think ahead

Once you’ve figured out what you need to improve or change, it’s time to think about the future.

There are other aspects of your life you need to think about when planning for the semester ahead. Part time jobs, family commitments, hobbies, holidays and even just general down-time.

It’s so important to find a way to balance all of these things as a student but it can be tricky when studying can seem so time consuming.

One of my biggest tips is to map out the 12 or so weeks ahead of you in your planner. Figure out when there are holidays or family commitments or when you have certain obligations. Added in with the previous points, you’ll know exactly when you’ll be so busy with school, or with other life commitments and can plan to either study ahead or postpone/reschedule things in order to fit your schedule.

Personally, I think one of the keys to good grades is time management and being able to see things in advance is definitely helpful for this.

Get organised

Finally, it’s time to get organised! I bet you’re thinking ‘hang on, isn’t that what we just did in the previous two steps?’

Technically, yes but what I mean by getting organised is getting things together. You’ve got your schedule, you know how crazy your life is going to be for the semester and now it’s time to get the little things organised.

Things like buying school supplies, organising transport plans, organising your desk or even just cleaning out your bag from last semester.

Write yourself a list of the things you want to get done before the start of semester, especially if it’s something that will save you time and energy doing now before school starts, to get done and slowly work your way through it.

My list currently looks like this:

  • Draft March blog posts
  • Clean desk
  • Service car
  • Research healthy lunch ideas
  • Start week one readings
  • Take back up Instagram photos

All things that will make my life that tiniest bit easier if I do them before the semester starts. None of this is absolutely vital but I find that if I get a head start on readings, or have a few blog posts drafted make life a little less stressful when I’m back to living in the library and drowning in due dates.

It’s also a good idea to organise things like parking permits, student fees, loans, textbooks, etc before semester starts because that gives you ample time to get forms, deposits, etc organised without feeling ridiculously stressed about it all.

I’ve also got some more tips over on my How To Get Organised for a New Semester post, which talks more about some of the ways you can get more organised before classes start.

What are your tips for starting the semester off right?

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The post 4 Steps to Start the Semester off Right! appeared first on Bookish and Bright.

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When I started my Bullet Journal for 2018, I knew that I wanted to incorporate some form of memory keeping into my system.

Disclaimer: This post features affiliate links (marked with an asterisk*) which means that I make a tiny bit of commission, at no extra cost to you, when the link is used.   

I toyed with the idea of using my Instax Mini Camera more often but that’s a huge pain to carry around and is a bit hit and miss with the quality of the photos. I also contemplated actually printing out my photos in store or online but that just seemed like a hassle and wasn’t something I was likely to keep up.

Then I found the HP Sprocket Photo Printer*. I’ve featured this little beauty on my Instagram and in my January Favourites, which should tell you how much I love it but I thought I’d do a more in-depth review to explain the positives, the negatives and if I think it’s really worth it.

Let’s start with the break down of the cost and specs:

The HP Sprocket photo printer costs around $180 AUD, or $120 USD. It’s available in three colours – black and silver, red and silver or white and rose gold and comes with a single 10 pack of HP Zink paper*.

The HP Sprocket prints tiny 2×3 inch sticker-backed glossy photos that are water-resistant and tear-resistant simply by using an app on your phone. They take about 10-20 seconds to print and are ready to use the second they are printed.

How does it work?

It’s super simple! All you do is download the app, Sprocket, and that gives you access to all the photos on your camera roll, Instagram feed, Facebook feed and Google.

From there you select the photo you want to print and can edit it right in the app. You can add frames, stickers, filters, type, draw and even change the brightness and saturation.

There’s even an option called ‘Tiling’ which enables you to make bigger prints of your photo by using 4 or 6 prints.

Once you’ve edited and perfected your photo, all you do is click the little print icon and out comes your photo! So easy!

My Opinion on the HP Sprocket:

I love my HP Sprocket Photo Printer but it definitely does have a few drawbacks. I think if you’re aware of them when buying it you’re less disappointed with the printer because you accept it for what it is – an easy way to print little photos.

  • No ink – The fact that there is no ink to replace in this tiny thing is great because it makes it even easier to use and slightly more cost effective than printing your own photos at home with a traditional printer.
  • So convenient – It’s so, so easy to use and the fact that you can print photos right then and there almost makes the cost worth it in my opinion.
  • Great app – The Sprocket app is really user friendly and has some great features to perfect your photos.
  • Battery life is good – The battery life on this little thing is amazing. I’ve had mine since the beginning of January and only had to charge it twice now. Considering how often I use this little thing, I’m actually surprised at how well it lasts.
  • Sticker backed paper – For me, this is a huge positive. I use my HP Sprocket exclusively for my Bullet Journal and the fact that I can print and then stick the photo straight into my journal, no added fuss, makes it so easy.
  • Easy to carry around – The HP Sprocket is tiny. So easy to slip into your bag if you want to carry it around and print on the go. I’d say this is the one benefit it has over a traditional polaroid style camera.
  • Cost – The initial cost is ridiculous. I could print 2,000 4×6 photos in store for that price and that doesn’t even include additional paper.
  • Print quality not the greatest – The HP Sprocket is a bit hit and miss with it’s quality.
  • Paper is also expensive – Maybe it’s just because I’m in Australia and everything is expensive but a 20 pack of paper is about $12 (around $1.60 a print), while the 50 pack is $28 ($1.78 a print). This is ridiculous when you can print a 4×6 photo at any major retailer for 10c a print. Honestly, if cost is a factor for you, I really wouldn’t recommend buying a HP Sprocket.
  • Tiny photos – the photos are so small and you can only print one size (unless you tile but honestly, seeing the cost per print, it’s just not worth it). This is cute if you’re using solely for journalling or decorating your planner but if you’re wanting something for more comprehensive memory keeping or scrapbooking, you’re probably better off printing your photos in a more traditional manner.

In the end, I’d say if cost is no issue for you and you’re not looking for perfect quality, than the HP Sprocket Photo Printer could be a really fun. It’s portability, ease of use and convenience are definite positive but I’m not entirely sure they outweigh the price.

Do you have a HP Sprocket Photo Printer? Let me know your thoughts about it in the comments below!

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The post HP Sprocket Photo PrinterReview appeared first on Bookish and Bright.

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Everyone has those special books that changed their opinions on reading. They’re those memorable books that either enthralled you as a little kid or changed your mind completely about reading – going from being a bore to something that excited you.

For me, there are three books that changed my opinion on reading and turned me into the book enthusiast I am today. These are those books.

Disclaimer: As always, links marked with a asterisks (*) are affiliate links. 

Charlotte’s Web by E.B White

Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.

This was the first ever novel I read on my own. I was young, probably about seven or eight and just enthralled by the story. I just remember not being able to put the book down and feeling so invested in Wilbur, Charlotte and Fern and their world. It was a book that really got me interested in reading, simply because I was so sucked in to the world that was so different from my own. I genuinely cared for the characters, and well, if you’ve read Charlotte’s Web*, you’ll know why I was absolutely devastated by the ending.

This is a book I still hold near and dear to my heart. Even the movie tugs at my heart strings every time I see it.

Related: Books to Read in 2018

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis

Journeys to the end of the world, fantastic creatures, and epic battles between good and evil—what more could any reader ask for in one book?

When I was eight, I hated my teacher. It was a personal vendetta because he only ever chose the boys for the student of the week awards handed out at our weekly assembly. Still to this day, I dislike him a little but there is one thing I’m thankful for. He introduced me to The Chronicles of Narnia*. It was read to us for the last fifteen or so minutes of the day before dismissal. I was instantly intrigued and by the time we were three or four chapters in I had begged mum to buy me my own copy so I could read ahead.

I did read ahead. And then I read the second book and the third. And the fourth, fifth, sixth and final book. All before the class had even finished reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe*.

The Chronicles of Narnia were the first set of books that I refused to put down. I hated doing anything that wasn’t reading these books. This series showed me an entirely new world that sucked me in and took over my entire life at eight years old.

Harry Potter by J.K Rowling

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard.

It wouldn’t be right to write a post about books that turned me into a lover of books, if I didn’t include The Harry Potter Series*.

My introduction to Harry Potter wasn’t as typical as everyone else. I was nine or ten years old and the hype of the Harry Potter books had overtaken the entire world. Since the internet and social media weren’t as prominent in everyone’s life, I had no clue about any of that. Due to an unfortunate work accident though, my mum had injured her back and was completely bed bound for a few weeks. I remember she asked my aunty and I to go buy her some books to read and I was instantly drawn into the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone* display at the store, so we picked her up a copy.

She read it. And then read it again to me. And then I read it on my own. Over and Over again.

Thankfully, at this time in 2003, there were already four books released in the series, and the magic of Harry Potter completely overtook our lives. I remember sitting in bed with my mum, just talking about everything that happened and about what we thought was coming up next. I even remember the excitement of going to the bookstore to pick up The Order of The Phoenix, dressed up as Hermione Granger, of course.

These books are still so special to me. Partly because they’re books that are so special as part of my childhood, but because it’s also something I shared with my mum. I still find myself reading them again when I have nothing else to read.

What are the special books that shaped you into the reader you are today?

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The post The 3 Books That Got Me Into Reading appeared first on Bookish and Bright.

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