how to stay organized in school

*This post contains a promotion for the Lightspeed Planner, but all opinions are my own.

I am HUGE on organization. I keep all of my stuff in order, and I work really hard to create systems for myself to keep my papers together.

In college, you don’t get a lot of space to keep all of your papers/textbooks for school (if you dorm), and you don’t have anyone around to tell you to keep your things neat.

I have a few tips here to help you stay organized for the rest of the semester (and hopefully the rest of your school career), which I hope you find helpful.

Use a Planner

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Using a planner is truly vital- especially in college. If you don’t write down all of your assignments, you’re going to lose track of what you have to do. Planners are so beneficial, and you can schedule out time for all of your activities. They are a great visual to utilize, and I would be so lost without mine.

Professors (almost always) give you a syllabi with all of the assignments for the semester listed on them with the due dates, so you can go ahead and mark the calendar right away. This way you won’t forget about something, especially if the Professor doesn’t talk about it in class.

Also, with a planner, you can evenly spread your time out between school, work, friends, and other obligations. You can make sure you have an even balance of everything, and see how much time you spend on each activity.

Planners are just life changing.

Buy a File Folder/Accordion Folder

I can not explain to you how useful having an accordion folder has been for me. I write so many essays and take so many exams. Eventually I don’t need them anymore for the current class, but they may be useful again for either the final exam, or a future class. I don’t want to get rid of all of the notes I have, so I put them all in accordion folders and separate them by class.

My plan right now is to have a new one for each semester, so that way I can easily find anything I’m looking for. You really don’t know when those notes will come in handy again. Obviously, there are many things I throw out and don’t keep, but I like to keep the big assignments or important works that I might be thankful for at a later time.

Pack Your Bag Ahead of Time

The night before every weekday, I pack my backpack. This is extremely important to me, because I tend to get very stressed out in the mornings, especially when I give myself some extra time to sleep in. If I put the things I need in my bag in the morning, I tend to forget things or bring things I don’t need.

Doing it the night before just helps to eliminate some stress!

Make To-Do Lists

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I have been using the Lightspeed Planner for my daily to-do lists, and I am LOVING it. It makes everything so simple and helps you to prioritize your important tasks. It contains around 280 undated pages that are all the same:

  • Must Do
  • Should Do
  • Could Do

It helps you to identify your three main objectives for the day, and will ensure you stay on track. I think overwhelming yourself with too many tasks makes everything very overwhelming and stressful. By just focusing on 3 things a day (you can always write multiple things in each box if you really need), you can fully dedicate yourself to those three things.

At the bottom, there is also a notes section, as well as a progress tracker. You can decide how productive you were for the day, which is really motivating for me.

Overall, using to-do lists really inspires you, and checking off every box on the list is a very great feeling.

Set Time to Clean

Dedicate a specific day/time to cleaning. The days go by so quickly, and sometimes it feels as though you just cleaned your room yesterday, but really it’s been almost two weeks. You really don’t realize how fast it goes by.

I usually dedicate Thursdays to cleaning because it tends to be my lightest day of workload. I have enough time in between my two classes to Swiffer my floor, dust my furniture, organize my files, and clean out my fridge. After class, I usually do my laundry, and then I have the rest of the day to do whatever else I want/need to do.

If I didn’t specifically set this time, I probably wouldn’t dust my room very often, and it would get messy very quickly.

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Please let me know if you try out any of these tips, or if you use them already! Comment some of your organization tips, too. I can always use some more suggestions.

Also, be sure to check out the Lightspeed Planner! I highly recommend it :)

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my NaNoWriMo 2018 plans // pt. 2

Hello everyone! This is the second part of my NaNoWriMo 2018 series, so if you haven’t read the first one you can click here to do that. In the first part, I talked about my goals for prepping before NaNo, and I have definitely been working on those. They are not completely done yet, but I still have a week of October left, so I know I will get them all done before November begins.

In this post, I want to talk a bit about my outlining process and explain what my novel is about!

I am calling it “Project X” for now, because it does not have an official title yet. From now on, that is what I will be referring to it as! Some of you may remember that over the summer I was working on a writing project with the same name. That project sort of turned into this one, so that’s why I am keeping the name. I combined some ideas into one, but the concept as a whole is brand new.

What is it about?

The story follows Summer as she goes to visit her father in New Jersey for the months before she begins her freshman year of college. Her father has a new girlfriend, she starts a new job, and she’s going to be moving to a new state soon. All of these changes are happening way too fast for her. Until one day she runs into Noah and starts to fall for him. He might be the only thing keeping her from reaching her breaking point. However, they’re both hiding something from each other. Can a relationship still form despite the secrets? Or will it end in disaster for both of them?

The story is still forming and a lot can change! However, this is the main gist of it. It is definitely going to be more of a character driven story, and I hope to make the reader feel very connected to at least one person. Their personalities are all so different, and they each go through a lot of growth throughout the book. Let me know what you think of it :)

Outlining Process

Outlining is so much fun for me, but it takes a long time and requires a lot of work. I have been using a notebook to outline, because I like to have a physical form of the story- it feels more personal and almost like a work of art to me.

I started with a short summary, and then created pages for my main characters. This took a lot of time, because each character is so unique and requires my full attention. I’m glad I took the time for this though, because I know my characters so well now and how they will react in different situations. It will be a lot easier to write them because of this.

I then decided about how many chapters I wanted the story to be, and I wrote out different plot points and events that I want to occur on post-it notes. This is very helpful because I can stick them on different pages, but move them around if necessary. Starting with the first chapter, I wrote out some bullet points of what would happen in each chapter. I am almost midway through at this point (I plan to have 28 chapters), so I just have a little bit more work to do.

It’s a little hard to describe how I outline through words, it would be much easier to talk about in video form, so I suggest checking out some authors on Youtube who talk about how they outline!

The story is really starting to come together, and I am excited to see where it goes, once I actually begin writing!

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Are any of you participating in NaNo this year? Let me know what kind of story you’re writing down in the comments (if you feel comfortable). Good luck!

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how do i know that im doing the right thing?

In just a few short weeks, I will be starting my first semester of college. I have never been more excited to explore and live life on my own in a new place. But, I still have my doubts sometimes.

I have doubts about my major and my future career choice. How do I know that the major I chose is the right one for me? Am I following the right path? Will I be happy with a career in this field?

Deciding your future can be so so terrifying. I know it was for me. I am a person with many different interests. I want to explore every single major that my school offers, so how was I supposed to narrow it down to just one? I love to write and read, so maybe English? But I am also so interested in the human mind. Maybe I’ll go with psychology. Buuuutt, I also think I would enjoy political science. I have never just been passionate about one thing- I have always been fascinated by the entire world. It’s hard to have to eliminate many of my interests just so that I can focus on one, maybe two if I double major.

Luckily, the one thing that I haven’t had any doubts about is my school- I am so excited to be attending such a beautiful campus surrounded by some really amazing people. I fell in love with the campus the first time I set foot there, and I knew it was the place for me. Plus, it is so close to the beach, which is my favorite place in the world. It’s such a relief knowing that I look forward to going to school next year, which means that I have made at least one right decision when it comes to deciding my future.

I realized I shouldn’t doubt myself so much. I know who I am and I know what I like. As long as I’m always working hard towards my goals, I know I will be okay. Besides, if I really don’t enjoy the classes I’m taking, I can always switch my major.

The future is a scary place. Venturing into the unknown always is. But follow your heart and it will lead you on the right path.

Good luck with your future.

Xo, Jess

dear 2017

dear 2017,

You were one of the craziest years of my life. So much had happened, both good and bad. I went through a lot. I’ve also grown so much.

So I just want to say thank you.

Thank you for teaching me to give it all I’ve got if I want to accomplish my dreams. Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself and in my work. Thank you for teaching me to slow down, take a deep breath, and take one step at a time. Thank you for bringing the most amazing people into my life. Thank you for giving me so many amazing opportunities. Thank you for showing me the importance of hard work.

Looking back at my journal, I can see that I really focused on myself this year. I wanted a chance to reinvent myself and feel like me again. However, I also lost myself towards the end of the year. I was in a strange and unfamiliar place that I am only starting to come out of now.

This year, I pierced my ear again, read more than ever before, went on a weeklong vacation with my family (over 20 of us), applied to colleges, got my first (and second) job, went camping, started my senior year of high school, got into 9 colleges, and became an adult (!!).

I am finally in a happy place in my life. I want to continue down this road, and make 2018 even more memorable than 2017.

dear 2018,

I promise to make you wonderful.

first q&a !

A few weeks ago I asked you all to ask me some questions for a Q&A, and now I’m here to answer them!

What book(s) made a huge impact on you as a kid and now?

When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was The Hunger Games. I was obsessed with it and it was one of the first books that I actually couldn’t wait to get my hands on. I was in 6th or 7th grade when I read it, but I think it would be so interesting to re-read it and see if my opinion has changed at all.

Now, there are way too many books that have had an impact on me. To name a few- To Kill A Mockingbird, The Hate U Give, The Princess Saves Herself in This One.

Has a book ever derailed you and completely changed the course of your life?

No, a book has never completely changed my life. There are definitely books that have changed my mindset or made me see things from a new perspective, but not enough to change my life around.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I am planning on going to college to be a public relations major, so I would like to be something under that field. Possible a publicist or a public relations manager. I also hope to be an author, which would be my ultimate goal in life.

Do you collect anything? If so, what?

I don’t collect anything now, unless books count. When I was younger, I used to collect many random things- rocks, nail polish, etc.

What is your favorite poem and favorite form and why!

I have so many favorite poems. There are honestly too many to choose. One of them is haiku #2 from Madisen Kuhn’s book “Eighteen Years”. I also really love poems by Amanda Lovelace.

I don’t have a favorite poetry form though. I like any style, as long as it is well written. What I look for in poetry is just emotion and an ability to relate to the subject.

If you’d like to answer any of these questions in the comments, feel free to do so! I’d love o know your answers.

Also, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and an amazing holiday season!

See you soon.

xo, jessica

journal entries about writing

the thing about writing is that sometimes you feel as though you have nothing to write. you think your words are not worthy enough to be put on paper. but writing is for you. it does not need to meet anyone’s standards. all that you need is a pen and a thought. we all have plenty of those. the rest will follow naturally.

when i write, i can feel all the energy inside me flowing. i feel powerful, indestructible.  words are a vital part of my existence. i would be incredibly lost without them. there’s something inside me that draws me to this art form constantly. this need i have for writing is inescapable.

put the pen to the edge of the paper, my dear, and let the words flow out of you. they don’t need to be perfect, but they still deserve to be said.

 

xo, jessica

my current thoughts about the book community

When I was in middle school (and even younger than that) I went to the library or bookstore at least weekly, and I picked up tons of books. I chose books simply based on the cover and the synopsis- especially the synopsis. The more involved I become in the book community, the more I find myself doing less of that.

I now tend to pick up books based on what other people think of them without even forming my own opinions or considering if I will like the book or not. I can’t even tell you how many books I bought just because I heard people in the book community like them. I don’t even know what half of the books I buy are about at this point!

I began reading fantasy books more and more often, which I don’t even like. I’m more of a contemporary and mystery/paranormal reader. Sure, there were a few fantasy books I enjoyed reading, but there were so many that I forced myself to read just so I could be part of the loop.

Sometimes I feel like I’m going to be shamed for not reading or not enjoying something that was incredibly hyped by everyone. I also don’t want to attend any book events because I know that there are a TON of books I haven’t read and I don’t want people to think I don’t belong there.

Basically, the point of this post is to say that I want to start reading for myself again. I don’t want to fall out of love with reading because I don’t enjoy what I pick up. I also want to say that this is a criticism of myself, not the book community. There are so many wonderful people and the place is so welcoming. This is just how I am currently feeling!

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Do any of you feel the same way or am I alone in this one? Have you picked up any books solely because of the book community, without even knowing what it’s about?

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change | journal excerpts

Change has always been a good thing to me. I have embraced it with open arms every time. I can not even imagine a life where I am stuck with the same routine day after day. I do not want to sit behind a desk and watch my life pass me by. I want a career where I can explore different paths daily and have new adventures. I’m not sure where life will take me just yet, but I hope that it will bring me to change. Because change is the only constant that I want in my life.

//

I keep telling myself that my life won’t really start until I’m older. When I have a real job, and I’m living on my own. But life is short. And I don’t know how long I’ve got. So what am I waiting for? 17 years of precious time have gone by. It is time to go out and make something of myself. Live a little more. While I still can.

//

Her eyes lit up when she talked about it. She was so passionate about the art she created, and she couldn’t get her mind off of it. The happiness she felt when a paintbrush was in her hand was enough to make anyone smile.

– jess

notes from my journal

i stared up at the white, wispy clouds. the sky was a beautiful shade of ocean blue. you sat beside me and took in all my features. all my imperfections. i turned to look back at your emerald eyes and smiled. we were surrounded by the world, yet you still told me i was the most beautiful sight. i never felt as full and happy as i did in that moment. you handed my all your thoughts wrapped in a neat bow while i let out my deepest secrets in an explosion. we were total opposites. but when you said those 3 words, i knew that opposites really do attract.

i fall in love with the idea i create of people, rather than who they truly are. i have too much faith in people and in love. i am definitely a romantic. i try so hard to make relationships work, expecting people to change. i get my hopes up and end up disappointed every. single. time. it also makes it so much harder to get over someone. i only want to believe they are good-hearted, rather than face reality. but i would always choose to be full of hope than completely hopeless. because maybe true love really does exist.

you don’t have to have it all figured out. in fact, you shouldn’t. life is messy. life is unpredictable. things don’t ever go according to plan. just embrace every moment with a positive mind and see where the world takes you. the universe always has a plan.

you finally told me everything i always wanted to hear, but i realized it didn’t matter. i’m not the same person as a year ago. i know who i am and what i want. it just isn’t you anymore. and i’m sorry to myself that it took so long to realize my worth. but i’m okay now. i finally got the closure i needed so desperately and i can move on with my life. it truly is freeing to feel this way. i can finally be happy and be myself again.

ending

the law of attraction

A couple of weeks ago, I watched a Youtube video about the Law of Attraction.  I was super intrigued by it almost immediately. Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the topic, and I thought I would give a bit of an explanation on it here in case you haven’t heard of it!

The law of attraction is a belief that the universe does things for you based on your thoughts. It says that everyone has the ability to “attract” the things they want into their lives. This can range from relationships, finance, and your career.

At first, I was super skeptical of this idea, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. It basically goes along with the idea that a positive mindset will bring positive things into your life. Obviously, this is just a theory, and there is no definite proof that it will work for you. However, there are tons of success stories online of people who decided to try it out for themselves.

The same goes for negative energy, though. If your thoughts are very negative, the experiences you have will show that.

Basically, your mindset is super important when it comes to your own well being. I haven’t tried out this idea for myself just yet, but I really want to see if it is beneficial. You will not achieve any of your goals if you don’t think about them and ways to accomplish them. The more you think about something, the more likely you are to do something to get there. If you visualize what you want, it will come.

Have you heard about this theory? If so, have you tried it out?

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