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Laundry On Sundaes

Every beginning is only a sequel, after all, and the book of events is always open halfway through.

Tag Archives: classes

Alright, time for some concrete advice for this week’s Take it from a Senior. You’re in college, you go to your classes (at least for the the first few weeks), you sit there in your seat and listen (unless it’s a 9am lecture), and most likely you will be taking notes. But how should you do it? Each student has his/her own methods, but here are some general guidelines that might help you take better notes.

First things first, your note-taking strategies will depend on the type of class you’re in. Here are a few ways to take your notes and what kind of class they work best for.

1. The standard notebook. You know, the spiral-bound kind, probably with your school logo on the front. This works for pretty much anything, but if your class tend to have lots of hand-outs and such, consider #2.

2. The binder. This works great just like the notebook, but with the added bonus of organizing loose hand-outs, quizzes, old exams that are given back to you, etc. It’s an excellent way to keep all the materials for a class organized in one place.

3. The printed PowerPoint. If your prof lectures with PowerPoint presentations, I find it best to print out the slides and bring them to class with you, and take notes directly on each slide. To save paper, I suggest printing 4 slides per one side of each sheet of paper, landscape orientation (so that the slides are bigger), and print double-sided.

4. The laptop. This works great for those classes where the prof speaks faster than you can write. Or if you want to go on Facebook during class (just kidding, don’t do that). But the downside is that if the class involves complicated diagrams, formulas, or other drawings, it’s probably not the best.

5. The recorder. If your prof talks faster than you can write OR type, it might be worth it to invest in an small electronic recorder. That way, if you miss anything, you can always play it back and listen again. You can also be a true nerd and studying by listening to the lecture while riding the subway.

Alright! Now you’ve found the best way to take notes for each of your classes. Now 2 other little tips for effective note-taking:

1. Use a 4-colored pen! This might be a habit left over from my high school biology class where the teacher demanded we use only 4-colored pens, but it really does make your notes better. More colors make your diagrams clearer, your key words and important concepts stand out, and your notes prettier in general! Plus, it’s more fun.

2. Make up your own shorthand abbreviations and symbols. You won’t have time to write down every single word in class, so don’t. And don’t just stick to conventional shorthands, make up your own! Your notes are for you, after all. For instance, I use arrows a lot, for signifying one thing leading to another, one thing becoming another, or even increase/decrease with an up or down arrow.

And there you go! Now go take some awesome notes!


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I haven’t been this excited about back to school probably since freshman year. Why? Here are some reasons why I can’t wait to get back on campus!

1. I’m going to be a senior!
2. Last year in New York City – time to do all those things I thought I had time to do in the Big Apple!
3. New fall clothes (fall is probably my favourite season fashion-wise)!
4. New seasons of my favourite TV shows (HIMYM, The Big Bang Theory, Community), and maybe even a couple of new shows!
5. I finally (after 3 years!) have an idea of what I want to do with my life – and I’m taking the steps to work towards that. More on this later.
6. I’m planning to take up belly dancing classes!
7. A tropical trip in November (more on that when the time comes).
8. No morning classes fall semester! I will probably be studying anyway, but still, just the idea of no morning classes is nice.
9. Even though life after graduation still looks uncertain at this point, I’m looking forward to life beyond college.

And just for fun, a few things I’m definitely NOT excited about:

1. Moving in. Just thinking about it gives me a headache.
2. Spending a fortune on textbooks.
3. The inevitable crazy amount of work I will need to do.

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Happy New Year everyone! 2010 certainly went by fast, even though it was quite an exciting and eventful year. I always like to do a year-end summary type of thing and also write down some resolutions and other hopes for the new year, so I thought I’d combine the two and create a new type of list. So, here I present some of the things, both good and bad, I did and didn’t do in 2010, and some of the things I hope to achieve in the new year.

Things I did in 2010 that I want to keep doing in 2011:

– Travel! 2010 was a great year in terms of going to new places. I went to Washington, D.C. for spring break, visited Toronto and the Niagara Falls at the start of summer, spent 2 months living in Vienna, Austria, traveled to Germany and Switzerland, and went to Disneyland over fall break. I hope the new year will bring many more new adventures!

– See a ton of movies. I saw A LOT of movies this past year. In fact, I only missed 2 of the top 10 biggest box office movies of the year (Twilight: Eclipse and Clash of the Titans, both of which I have no interest in seeing). Hope to see more great movies in 2011!

– Craft! I did a fair amount of crafting in 2010, and I hope to keep it up in 2011! I already have a ton of ideas so it should be hard :)

– Set small goals/try new things. These two things often came hand in hand in 2010. I tried being vegetarian for 2 months, signed up for a graphic novel workshop, and even made my first ever graphic short story. Trying new things can never hurt, and setting small goals make things more attainable and enjoyable while still helping you achieve bigger things. Good things to keep up in the new year.

– Finding my own style. I’ve grown a lot in terms of my style in the past year; I got rid of a ton of clothes, and bought some more that I really like. I hope to keep going through that process and build a wardrobe I’m truly excited about. Will be selling more stuff online soon and taking some clothes to the tailors to get them altered!

Things I started/tried in 2010 that I will do better at:

– Eating well. I’ve been eating fairly well for the past year, especially since I ditched the meal plan and tried vegetarianism, but I can do better. Specifically, I will not stuff my face every time I eat out and try to bring back half my meal each time, because seriously, most of the time the portion size is enough for 2 meals, and it doesn’t feel good to be stuffed anyway. Another thing is trying to snack smarter, meaning less chocolate and chips and stocking up my fridge with fruit. And also: always eat breakfast!

– Being better tempered in my relationship. I tried really hard to not get upset at the small things and not stay upset for too long, and I think I’m getting better at it. The people around me don’t deserve it and I don’t deserve it myself; it’s really not healthy all around. I’m going to keep working on it in the new year and every time I get upset, I will take a deep breath and ask myself if it’s really worth it.

Things I did in 2010 that I hope not to repeat in 2011:

– Get a B in a class. I know, I know… a B isn’t all that terrible of a grade (though it is my worst yet). But seriously, I didn’t think a B can really drop you GPA that much. I was wrong. Time to re-focus on academics and do better next semester!

– Procrastinate. Especially this past semester, procrastination got me bad. It’s probably part of why I got a B in a class. It could have been avoided. So, I’m going to make 2011 a more productive year by procrastinating less. This means not thinking of Thursday night as the start of the weekend (I do this even though I have Friday class(es)) and reminding myself how good it feels to have more work accomplished early vs. panicking on Sunday night. Also, start using Google calendar again and time block my daily tasks.

– Fret about my future. I had many crises about my future in the past year, with the last one only a few days ago, but I’ve decided to stop doing this in 2011. I know this will be really hard for me to do, especially as I inch ever closer to graduation, but honestly, fretting doesn’t help. I need to focus on the smaller things in front of me (see above for setting small goals), such as making sure I understand the material and do well in a class, without trying to project it on how it will affect my future. I need to remind myself that I’m a capable, intelligent individual, and with a Columbia education, I WILL succeed in life even if I don’t know in what way yet. I just need to focus on doing the best I can at the present moment and really think about my pursuits, not blindly pursuing something I’m not even sure about. I need to feel okay with the fact that I might not know what I want to do right after graduation, and that it’s okay to try a few different options before I find something I’m really passionate about. Things WILL work out in the end.

Things I didn’t do in 2010 that I want to start/re-start doing in 2011:

– Do more art. Only near the end of the year did I start to do some art and realize how much I miss it. So I hope to do a lot more art in the new year, and one of my resolutions for 2011 is to draw everyday. I think I’ll start going to Friday Night Sketch hosted by the Artist Society at Columbia too. It’s something I both enjoy and am relatively good at, so there is no reason for me not to spend more time on it. Time to dust off my drawing pencils and Sakura pens, go out to buy a new sketchbook, and put my new tablet to good use!

– Exercise more. Spring semester of 2010 was okay, the summer came around and I was super busy with my internship, then there was just no motivation left for fall. So pathetic. So, in the new year, I will exercise everyday. Even if it’s for 20 minutes. I’m trying to see if getting it to be a daily habit will work better than trying to get myself to go to the gym twice a week, which is what I tried before. And it’s great that my room is actually big enough to do a lot of work-outs in, including jump rope! Also, I will try to take the stairs more; it makes me sad when I’m out of breath after climbing only a few flights of stairs. No more excuses this year!

That’s all for now, I will probably think of more later on and will update as that happens. So welcome, 2011! I hope you bring plenty of adventure, discovery, happiness, and love.

What are your goals/hopes for the new year? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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First day of classes of spring semester and I’m already feeling a bit overwhelmed. My sleeping patterns are still not quite adjusted, both in terms of jet lag and in that I’ve been sleeping 10 hours a day for the last 3 weeks, so I was nodding off a little during class today. It also did not help that I have a 9:10 am class this morning. The classes themselves weren’t too bad: I had Statistics, which will hopefully go okay as I’m just taking it for a requirement, Intro to Social Cognition, which is looking to be actually a quite interesting course, and Bio, which is Bio, the bane of all Columbia premeds’ existence. I mean, I did well in the course last semester, but it was in no way, shape, or form a fun experience.

Tomorrow will be Physics and CC, both of which are just continuations of last semester. I really do not want to buy the book package for CC for a whopping $170, for a bunch of obscure philosophy work that a) I will only read 1/5 of the text of each book and b) will never read a again. What to do… sigh.

And then there’s a bunch of paperwork I need to do in order to volunteer at the hospital across the street. I absolutely loath paperwork. Ugh.

Can it be Spring Break already?

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One of my high school friends posted this message on my Facebook wall today: “Have I told you how jealous I am of you recently?” I was startled at first, wondering what he could possibly be jealous of. Then I remembered. New York.

I’m in New York, one of the greatest cities in the world. Yet, I constantly find myself forgetting what an amazing city I’m currently living in, and what amazingly bright and talented peers surround me here at Columbia. It’s so easy to take these things for granted when they’re just part of your every day life, but I really should stop once in a while to appreciate them.

Take this weekend for example. Classic New York weekend. On Thursday I went to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Despite having to get up early and brave the crowds, I still love this annual tradition, since it makes me (and, I’m pretty sure, all the other adults there) feel like a kid again.

Sailor Mickey makes an appearance!

Other floats included Spiderman, Hello Kitty, Shrek, Snoopy, and the Pillsbury Dough Boy (On a random note, I can do a pretty good Pillsbury Dough Boy laugh. But you’ll have to poke my belly in person.)

After the parade, we went to Magnolia Bakery, where I had the most delicious red velvet cupcake. As I walked down the street eating it, some guy who passed by me said to his buddy “Oh my god. Those are the best cupcakes ever!” and another lady asked me if it was good (the answer was, of course, affirmative). Mmmm now I’m craving one again.

Then last night, we went skating at Bryant Park with the Society of International Undergraduates at Columbia. Now, confession #231: I don not know how to ice skate. Yeah yeah I’m Canadian and I do not know how to skate, shame on me. But I did try to learn last night! It was really a lot of fun and I think I will be going again soon. And learning how to skate will be added to my list of things to do over winter break.

This morning, for the sake of science (ok fine, it was for an assignment for Psychology class), my boyfriend and I went out for a walk with our clothes worn completely inside out. See below for how ridiculous this looked.

The assignment was to break a social norm and see how people would react. To our surprise, besides a few stares and chuckles, nobody really gave a hoot. I guess that’s just New York for ya. Nothing’s new or different here. If I were back home, I would probably be showered with comments and perhaps a nice old lady would kindly tell me that my clothes are worn the wrong way, and I would just smile sweetly and tell her that I knew that.

This brings me to a somewhat mixed conclusion about this city. It’s a great city, for sure, but just like all other big cities, it can be cold, uncaring, and impersonal, and a lot of the times, I don’t really like that. I guess you can’t have everything after all. So for now, I’m just going to enjoy everything that New York has to offer. And at least now I know that I can pretty much wear anything I want and not be judged, and it does feel kind of liberating.

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While reading Martin Luther for my Contemporary Civilization class, I found the following notes from a previous owner of my second-hand-yet-still-overpriced book:


And then, 5 pages later:


Finally, the anger could not be held back any longer:


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So instead of writing my Contemporary Civilization paper that desperately needs to be written, I’ve been trying to think of a roller derby name for myself (inspired by the movie Whip It). I think I’m going to settle with Wendy Wildfire.

Thanks for the comments on my last post, I really appreciate everything you’ve said. I’m doing a little better now, though still feeling rather dismal towards college as a whole, possibly due to the dwindling hope of getting a grade higher than a B+ in Biology, and Monday Physics labs that end at 10:30 pm, and impossibly dense and boring philosophical and religious readings for CC.

Ah well. At least my room looks pretty:


Still looking for something to do that I can be really passionate about. I have an idea in mind for such a project haven’t yet had the time to do anything concrete. We’ll see.

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