New Semester, Sharing my favorite study tips, tricks, websites and apps.

Alright ladies and gents. It's one of my favorite times of the year... back to school. This specific back to school season will be especially fun for me. I am just returning to Mississippi State after a semester in France. I am so excited to see all my friends, get settled back into my favorite bars and coffee shops. This is also the last semester I'll be with most of my friends. Even though I am a senior by hours, I am in a 5 year program so I'll be a Mississippi State bulldog until May 2017 (actually for life, but you know what I mean...)

As a college senior, I obviously have been in school for a while. I've had time to learn the best ways to study as well the mistakes of studying. I'm going to share my best study tips, tricks and my favorite websites and apps with you. Think of it as my senior gift.

Tips & Tricks

  1. Take notes. I know this may seem like a no brainer but so many people don't take notes! I don't get it. Write something down from your lectures whether it's on paper, on your computer, in your textbook. Actually writing something down helps you to remember the information. Everyone has their own way of taking notes and a way that works best for them. Experiment with paper vs. computer, colors of ink, etc. 
  2. Own a planner. In college you have so many different things going on and some of them aren't even school related. Work. Clubs. Sports. All that of top of having 4 to 6 courses. I highly recommend owning a planner with enough space to write down your homework, important school dates, sporting events, work shifts, etc. 
  3. Get to know your professors. They like it. That being said, don't go see them if you're just going to suck up or waste their time. I try to work ahead (as much as I can) and if I have questions about a reading, if I'm unsure about an equation- I just make a sticky note reminder and pop in to their office to ask them. It shows that you care about your school work (because admit it-- that's why your parents send you to college) and you're not afraid to ask for help. I think a lot of people my age are afraid to ask for help, but after being on my sorority's EC, working in an office and just life taught me that you have to ask for help. It is not a weakness to ask for help, it is a humbling sign to your teammates, classmates, professors, employers. Believe me there have been countless times where spending a few minutes out of my week to talk to a professor has turned into interviews for potential jobs or other cool opportunities.
  4. Make friends in your classes and definitely in your major. Knowing at least one person in your class is always a great plus: you have someone to sit with, study with, if you get sick or something terrible happens on the way to class (or you just don't wake up for class) then you can always have that buddy to call on. That being said: Don't abuse your buddy. Don't decide not to come to class and just always ask for notes or study guides or to teach you the information. That is classmate abuse. I have been taken advantage of in that way from all the way back to middle school. People thought I was too nice to tell them no, and everyone knew I cared about my schoolwork. Well, let me tell you by senior year of high school I was sick of it and it did not bode well for some people... not me, my grades were well-earned. Having friends in your major is seriously the best thing. By the time you get to your junior or senior year, those are the only people you'll see. You think I'm kidding... I'm in a Supply Chain Gain GroupMe. They are the people you see all the time so they understand exactly what stress you're under and how awful that one class is, they are the people you support when they land that job interview with their dream company or get a spot in a ballin' MBA program- however for the most part they are the people you are competing against, keep that in the back of your mind but don't let it interfere with your relationships. The dreams or goals you had as sophomores change by the time you graduate.
Websites & Apps:
  1. Spotify. okay, so I know it's not a website or app exactly but it can be a great study tool. They have great playlists for literally everything. I love 'Afternoon Acoustic' and 'Intense Studying'. You can also make your own playlists, so I have a playlist with all my classic favorites, then one with all the music that reminds me of France, a Christmas playlist, my favorite Christian songs with the day is just too hard and just a general 'jamz' playlist.
  2. Quizlet. So this one is both a website and an app. You will need to set up an account if you don't have one already (but it's free no worries). It is a site that allows you to make your own flashcard sets. It is a portable study tool and you save paper ( and money-- index cards can get pricey y'all). The site offers a lot of different study ways to help you learn, like games, tests. The spelling setting is great for foreign language vocab words. As an added bonus you can search for other people's published flashcard sets. So since I am taking the GRE soon, I have added so many different GRE vocab word flashcard sets to my profile. 
  3. Duolingo. Whether you're a foreign language major like me or if you just want to learn a new language, this app is awesome. It is free and it includes so many different languages. Like I have French and Norwegian linked to my account. I mean how many free iPhone language apps can let you learn Norwegian for free?! Duolingo. It makes learning or refreshing your language skills fun! It includes all facets of language learning: listening, reading, writing and speaking. I usually curl up in bed and complete a few exercises before turning in for the day. It will remind you if you haven't done an exercise that day and it keeps track of your progress. 
  4. Productive. This one is great if you're trying to reach a New Year's resolution or make something a habit. You can enter a habit or something you have to do. For example I have: Bible Devotion, New Blog Post, New Recipe, Duolingo Practice, Get Movin' all as 'habits'. You tell Productive what your goal is: complete once a day, once a week or even once a month. Every time you complete a habit you check it off for the day and the app sends you a fun message of encouragement. The app keeps track of how many habits you've completed and how many 'perfect days' you've had. Definitely a great app for people who need some motivation (ahem me). There is a paid version of the app, but I haven't seen a need yet to pay for it. 

Have a great semester everyone! 
Let me know if you try any of my tips or websites,
or if you have any tricks or apps that you'd like to share!


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