Alyssa J Freitas

May 5, 2016

End Of Semester Checklist

Believe it or not, we're at the end of another semester. As cliche as it is to say, time really does seem to fly by faster each year. I start finals next week and am mentally preparing myself for hours in the library (check out a complete guide to getting through finals here), but there are other, non-academic matters to attend to before the close of the school year. Here is what you should add to your agenda to finish the semester strong!
End Of Semester Checklist

Thank professors

I am fortunate enough to have absolutely amazing professors who truly care about my development and academic performance. I am sure you feel the same, as professors provide us with a great service over the course of the year. The least we can do is thank them! While it would be nice to give gifts, some colleges (especially public colleges) may have policies in place that prohibit this. A thank you note, visit to their office, or complimentary email will all do the trick.

Start packing early

This is so important! You may not think you have a lot in your room (especially if you followed my minimalist packing list), but you'd be surprised. Start getting your things together as early as possible so when your kind parents arrive to move you out, you are ready to go. 

Set expectations with friends

You're used to seeing your friends constantly; going to the dining hall, walking to another dorm on campus to hang out, and attending campus events together. When you break for the summer, that easy proximity goes away. To combat the pain of separation, set some expectations. How often will you call/FaceTime? Will you hang out twice a month if you are close enough? Laying this out before the end of the semester will allow you to know what the plan is and be more apt to see one another!

Clean out

Along with my earlier point about packing, the end of the semester is a great time to clean out. You can go through anything you've accumulated and decide what to keep and what should go. Purging your notes also feels really good. Whether they are digital (and you should seriously consider going paperless, if you haven't already) or physical, sorting through your notes is a therapeutic process. I would urge you to be highly selective in what you keep, because what is the actual likelihood that you'll need to refer to your notes on insert inane subject here ever again?

With this end of semester checklist in hand you'll finish off strong and be well prepared for your much deserved break!

What do you do at the end of the semester?

-AJF

May 3, 2016

How To Prep For Finals

Finals are almost upon us ahhhhhhhhh! Which means it's time to get our acts together, get ourselves out of the beautiful sunshine and into the library, and get our little noses into the books. Hopefully you have been keeping up with your school work all along and getting academic help if you need it. If you're feeling behind or overwhelmed, it's time to kick it in to high gear and get ready to crush your finals!
How To Prep For Finals

Step One: Know HOW to Study

While I won't claim that the way I study is the only way to study, I will say that there are some methods that are more effective than others. Check out my extensive college study tips post to get yourself on track!

Step Two: Know WHO to Talk to

I never was really a fan of study groups until I became part of the right ones. It pays off to be friendly with your classmates, observe who participates in class, and join forces to study. Start suggesting to others that forming a study group is a good idea and get together (ideally 3-5 people) to review material. I find it incredibly helpful to talk through concepts with others to make sure I understand it myself!

It is also a good idea to get clarification from your professor if necessary. Begin rounding up questions you have and look over my office hours etiquette guide before meeting with your professor.

Step Three: Get Your Bum into the Library

Prepping for finals means a lot of hard work. For me, there is no better place than the library to do this. Get yourself in the zone, and remember to break up your studying with small rewards, like watching youtube, or chatting with friends. I have a complete guide of finals week library essentials you may also want to take a look at. Plus see: The One Tool You Need To Increase Productivity and 5 Ways To Increase Your Focus.

What advice do you have for prepping for finals? 

-AJF

See all of my college posts here.

April 28, 2016

All About Taylor Swift

I have been a fan of Taylor Swift since the days of Teardrops On My Guitar and Our Song. I remember my excitement when my best friend Carly would get the newest Taylor Swift cd and she would let me borrow it so I could put it on my iPod (I didn't buy cds because minimalism was a thing for me, even as a preteen haha).
All About Taylor Swift
I've grown up loving Taylor Swift and relating to so many of her songs, as nearly every girl I know has. It is a beautiful thing to sing along to lyrics and be called back to another time in your mind, whether good or not so great. Through heartbreak and fun days, Ms. Swift has been a continual companion of mine. I've stumbled upon some great Taylor Swift videos, quotes, and the like, so today I thought I would do a "Taylor Swift is the absolute best, listen to everything she says" sort of post.

Here is a video of 73 questions from Vogue (they've done so many good ones with tons of actors and artists, you should totally browse them all on youtube).


And here are some quotes that have been inspiring me lately, all from the mouth of Taylor Swift.
And, lastly, here's my all time favorite Taylor Swift song and video (seriously, I relate to this song like no other! Plus, this music video takes me back to my private school days). Enjoy this throwback to the Speak Now album!


Do you love Taylor Swift as well?  I mean, come on, she's just the cutest :)


-AJF

April 26, 2016

The #1 Way To Get Stuff Done

Have you ever found yourself trying to get things done, but losing focus (check out 5 ways to increase your focus)? Or how about knowing that you have a million and two things to do, but not knowing where to start? Although I've posted about productivity in the past (here's a post from 2014 on the topic), I have found myself struggling recently. I've been bouncing from task to task, not really getting anywhere and feeling frustrated at the end of the day when I haven't accomplished much. So what's a normally productive girl to do when this affliction strikes? Here's how I've addressed it and effectively gotten myself back in a productive groove.
The #1 Way To Get Stuff Done
We often complain about how "busy" we are, but I'm sick of being busy. Of feeling like I need to run from one place to the next, with no real intention. Granted there will be jam packed days where a bit of running is required, but when I do have long spans of time to work I want to make the most of it. Finally I've figured out how to do it: setting priorities.

I'd read a lot about how people will identify the top tasks they need to get done, but I have always thought "ALL of my tasks are important. I must do them all immediately or else the world will end" (or, you know, something like that). However, I developed a new nighttime routine that allows me to see not all tasks are created equal.

Each evening I now look at my schedule for the next day as well as my upcoming deadlines and my to-do list. From there I pick out 3-4 tasks which are most important/time sensitive. To prioritize I ask myself:
  • When is this due (it's essential to set your own due dates even if one isn't formally given to you)?
  • Does this getting done affect other parts of a larger project (i.e. completing your slides in a group project so your group members can move on with their parts)?
From there, I look at my schedule and see if it would make sense to do it in the morning or afternoon. I write these tasks down, indicating generally when I want to work on them and giving myself some wiggle room for unanticipated interruptions (you're basically guaranteed to always have one of those).

By setting these 3-4 priorities, I have been consistently meeting my goals and getting far more done than before. I go to bed knowing that I've done what I needed to that day AND having a solid idea of what the next day will bring. My mind is more at ease and I'm getting more accomplished! To make this work for you, use those questions above and get your task completing groove on :)

How do you pursue productivity?

-AJF

April 21, 2016

Listen Up: Cleopatra

It's been a while since I've made a music recommendation, but it's also been a while since The Lumineers released an album ;) Since hearing Ophelia and seeing the accompanying video, I've been beyond excited for the rest of the album. Now that it's been out for a few weeks (and I've been listening to it literally non-stop), I have to say I'm impressed. While their first album will always have a special place in my heart, their second, Cleopatra, was worth the wait.
Listen Up: Cleopatra

My favorite song is Angela and I absolutely can't wait to see it live! I'm going in August, at The Stone Pony no less, and am pretty much besides myself (when I tweeted about how excited I was, The Lumineers retweeted me, adding to my undying love for them!!!). Anyway, here's Angela


And here's the awesome video for Ophelia. Now, apparently this song is about fame and how she can be a temperamental mistress, but my best friend Ally and I prefer to think of it as a true love song haha


And here's a throwback to one of my favorite songs from their first album.


Are you seeing any summer concerts (I'm checking "go to a folk concert" off of my list of dreams!)? What are your thoughts on The Lumineers' new album?

-AJF