Preparing for Finals

Finals are creeping up on us. This is the most stressful/happy time of the year. Everyone is excited for winter break and the holidays, and at the same time everyone is so done with the current semester and just wants to leave. 

My freshman year I was so done and tired and I felt like I had had a cold for 3 months that I barely  prepared for finals. I studied, but I didn't prepare, and I didn't do well. I didn't know how. Preparing physically and mentally for finals helps make studying for finals so much less stressful!

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Preparing for Finals

| Gather Supplies | 

The first thing I do (usually over Thanksgiving Break) is gather school supplies and 'other' supplies. I don't buy all new school supplies, just anything I've run out of or things I'll know I need: black pens, #2 pencils, extra 5x7 flashcards, etc. 

The 'other' supplies I gather are things I'll need for my apartment (or dorm for the last two years). This mostly consists of snacks, but this year I got toilet paper and some extra groceries. The snacks I'm LOVING right now are these peanut Odwalla bars, and Trader Joes fruit leathers! 

| Create a Fitness Schedule | 

I don't work out. I'm the first to admit it. I never go to the gym, the last time I actively worked out was when I did Kayla Instines' Beach Body Guide last spring. But every finals week I always pick up some type of little routine. Now that I work at the gym its easy to hop on the treadmill after work, but I've been pressured into taking advantage of the early morning yoga classes offered for free at my campus rec center which I'll be starting this week! 

Regardless of if you have a fitness routine or not, look into what group fitness classes might be offered at your campus' gym. They're usually free and incorporating fitness into your finals week schedule can help raise your endorphins and lower stress. 

| Time Block | 

At my university (like most) we get one day off, Reading Day, before finals start. This means that most of your studying is going to have to be done during a normal day of classes. My favorite way to prepare for finals is to "organize" my time with time blocking. 

The basis of time blocking is looking at the open blocks of time you have in your schedule and planning to do specific work during those blocks of time.

For example: on Tuesday I get out of my first class at 11:15 and my next class doesn't start until 2:30, so I have 3 hours and 15 minutes of time. I know it'll take me time to get from my first class to the library and from the library to my next class so I start time blocking for 2 hrs and 45 min. If I know I want to make flashcards for my Management class I'll block 30 min for Management, then another 30 minute block for my Accounting class, a 15 minute block for grabbing a snack, etc. until I've filled up the the 2 hours and 45 minutes. 

I never block more than 30 minutes for one subject when I'm studying (studying meaning not doing a timed assignment) because I've noticed that I start to get restless and lose interest when I do the same thing for long periods of time. Breaking my studying up into 30 minute blocks for each of my subjects helps me dedicate time to each of my classes while keeping me focused. 

| Clean Your Space | 

You know that feeling when you walk into your room and everything is where its supposed to be, and you can find everything you need and you don't trip over anything? It rarely happens in college. But that feeling is amazing and necessary during finals week for survival. 

Rather than say your procrastinating studying by cleaning, say your preparing for your finals by cleaning! Do a deep clean of your space the Sunday before finals start and your mental state will be very happy come Reading Day. 

| Start Packing Early | 

Whether it's the finals before winter break and your just going home for the month, or your going abroad, or its summer break and you have to completely move out of your dorm, you're going to have to do some kind of packing. 

Pack your non-essentials first then as you get closer pack the rest. As for me I know that at school I pretty much only wear leggings and oversized sweatshirts, so I'm packing all my sweaters and button downs that I'll need for work this week. I'm also decluttering any clothes I know I can donate and packing any binders or textbooks I'm not selling so I can store them at home. 


Finals week is stressful, but the key is to not get so caught up in the week that you forget to prepare. Getting yourself mentally ready and your space physically ready will help dramatically decrease your stress level, making finals seem just like any other week! 

Good luck!

xoxo

AME

Gift Guide for Guys

Happy December lovelies! to kick off my favorite month of the year I'm bringing your gift guide for arguably the hardest person to shop for: the guy in your life. Whether that guy be your boyfriend, dad, brother or anyone else, any of these neutral items are the perfect touch to their holiday gifts! (and they're all under $100!)

Skin Care Essentials with Clarisonic

Before I got to college I never really took care of my skin. Honestly it drove my parents crazy how little I cared about washing my face or even taking my makeup off. But as soon as I got to college it was like my skin changed. 

I HAD to start taking care of my skin religiously or I would break out. The amount of stress and lack of sleep I experience on a weekly basis means that If I didn't have a skin care routine, I would be seriously acne prone. 

Up until last month I had been taking my makeup off with a make-up wipe, using a daily cleanser, 2x a week acne scrub, weekly face mask, and daily night cream and morning moisturizer. I thought this had been an effective routine, until I started using my Clarisonic. 

Oh my gosh the first day I used my Clarisonic I could not believe how much crap was still on my face!! In order to get the best results, you're supposed to take your makeup off before you use the Clarisonic. So I used a makeup remover wipe and some eye makeup remover. Then I started using the Clarisonic and realized that even though I may have thought my face was pretty clean, or my makeup was removed, it was definitely not. My skin had never felt so clean or smooth than that day! It felt like I had just gotten a facial. 

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My new routine is remove makeup, apply cleaner to Clarisonic and use for 2 minutes, night cream and morning moistierizer, and weekly face mask. I also have fallen in love with the Clarisonic brand cleanser and clay masks! I like to use the Clarisonic every other day, and on the days I don't use it I still use the cleanser to help take off all my makeup. 

The difference in my skin is actually incredible. I've had one facial in my life, and when I use the Clarisonic Clay Mask then take it off with the spin head brush my skin feels identical to when I had that facial. 

A Clarisonic is definitely a splurge item, but it definitely makes a huge difference! If you're interested in getting one (or you want to add it to your holiday wish list *wink wink parents*) HerCampus and Clarisonic are offering 15% off using the code HERCAMPUS now through October 31!

Have you used a Clarisonic? How do you like it / Which brush head do you have? Obviously I'm obsessed! 

xoxo

AME

This post is brought to you by Clarisonic and Her Campus Media

Life Updates ( I joined a SORORITY)

(psst. this post is going to be just basically balling and life-updating because it's necessary)

Because this post is super rant-y I broke it up into chunks, so bear with me ;). 

These past few weeks have been CRAZ-ZAY. Papers, and mid-terms and meetings.. oh my! Oh [by the way] I joined a SORORITY. If you've been following along for a while you'd know that I went through Panhellenic Recruitment last fall at my university as a sophomore. Unfortunately I did not find my home last fall, but it did lead me to finding my home at Tri Sigma this fall!

rant

This is officially the 6th week of school I'm about to take my 3rd midterm for one of my 5 classes, I just submitted a project proposal, we finally heard back on a grant we had a proposal for last week for the annual conference that I help run, and I get my new member pin for Tri Sigma today, not to mention I have work at 5am. Oh my gosh just talking about my life is making me exhausted.

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But more than ever being so busy and stressed has made me really realize how truly happy I am with my life right now. Early on in my college career I couldn't confidently say I was happy with where I was: I wasn't doing as well as I wanted academically, I wasn't as close to any of my friends as I had been, I started questioning where I was going to college, and I just felt like I was going through the motions.

But now I just feel so happy being at UMass, with my group of friends, with my classes, and most importantly with my amazing relationship with my boyfriend and family. I have gotten incredibly close with my parents since I've been at school and I absolutely love it! If you're a senior in high school start spending tim with your parents now, because trust me, you'll miss it. 

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life update

So I joined a sorority! Tri Sigma just re-colonized here on the UMass campus so technically I'm a founding sister (but also not technically because there used to be a chapter here. It's complicated.) What that means is there are 110 total girls in my new member class and 110 total in the chapter. All of us accepted bids on the same day and we will all be initiated on the same day (except for my roommate because she was in Tri Sigma at her old school.) 

I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I feel like the reason I didn't find my home last year was because I was meant to do this. I was meant to put the work in to creating the framework for a chapter. I love putting 110% of myself into everything I do, and I can't wait to do that with Tri Sigma. 

(also I'm so excited to shop tf out of Etsy for some fun Tri Sigma swag! let me know your favorite places to get sorority swag!)

ending thoughts

Our greatest weapon against stress is our ability to chose one thought over another
— anonymous

I'm so thankful for all of you who have read this and everything I have in my life! Thank you guys for just being awesome! Let's get through midterms together! 

xoxo

AME

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How to be a Morning Person

I always get asked how I wake up so early so consistently while at college. If you don't already know 4-5 days a week I start my day at 5:00AM and if I don't wake up at 5:00AM I sleep in until 5:30 or 6. This is partly because 2 days a week I work on campus at 5:45 in the morning, and partly because I just like it.  

Becoming a morning person is as easy as developing a routine. 

The Night Before

| Go to sleep at the same time every night |

This is the most important part of becoming a morning person, or just developing a college routine in general. There are no consistent class, meeting, or study schedules so its important that no matter what you plan to do during the day Monday-Friday you set a reasonable 'bedtime' every night. 

I've been using the new bedtime feature on the clock app with the new iOS 10 update and I really like it! 

For reference, I try to make sure I'm in bed by 10:30 PM every week night. This doesn't mean I'm sleeping or tired, I'm just in bed starting my wind down routine. {mine involves twitter and candy-crush, but typically this is when people turn their phones on silent and read.} 

| Plan a yummy and healthy breakfast | 

Having a delicious breakfast to look forward to makes you excited about waking up and starting the day! I always make sure my breakfast is yummy and healthy so I feel good all day. 

Part of my routine is that I like to have consistency, so I have literally the same basic breakfast every morning right when I wake up, then closer to when I have class (10 AM) I'll have a second, random breakfast. 

My early breakfast is green tea and oatmeal, and for second breakfast I'll either have some eggs, toast and coffee or a protein shake to-go. 

|Set out your clothes | 

The night before plan what you're going to wear the next day. The nights before I have work I lay out my uniform for work, and the outfit I'll be changing into for class when I get back. 

Having everything already planned makes the morning so much less stressful. 

| Organize everything you'll need for the next day | 

In keeping with minimizing stress, I always pack my backpack the night before and pick up my room a little bit. When I pack my backpack I make sure I have everything printed I need for class, or I make note of anything I need to stop and print, and I pack some snacks. 

Since I spend most of the day on campus and have large breaks between classes I bring lots of snacks and all my chargers and headphones to make sure I won't have to come back to my apartment during the day. 

The Morning Of

| Wake up at the same time every day | 

As important as going to bed every night is, waking up at the same time everyday is arguably more important. I know that I can't control when I fall asleep {I know that nights before I have exams I can never sleep}, but I can control exactly when I wake up. 

By waking up at the same time everyday regardless of when you fell asleep, you'll start to almost train your body to a new schedule. It'll become easier to sleep at the same time every night, and soon waking up early will just seem normal. 

| Update your planner and Schedule your day | 

I always pull out my planner in the morning and make sure I've crossed off everything I finished, and moved everything I still need to do over to the current day. I also look over the hourly schedule part of my planner and fill in anything that's not already there. 

If you don't have a day planner you should still schedule out your day. I recommend doing this because it just reminds you of meetings you may have forgotten, and it can help you see where you have time in the day to do homework or go to the gym. 

| Take time to do something you love | 

When you wake up as early as I do you have to reward yourself. I never have time during the day to watch the videos in my Youtube subscription box so while I get ready in the morning I watch videos from all the people I subscribe to! 

Other suggestions would be to read a book, go for a run, blog {something I do the mornings I don't have work}, pretty much anything you love to do but don't normally have time to do during the day. 

Knowing you're going to wake up and do something you love will help you jump up when that alarm goes off. 

pro-tip

Hitting *snooze on your alarm actually makes it harder to wake up. If you know you're not going to be able, or want to, wake up at a certain time one morning, rather than hitting snooze for 15 minutes, set your alarm 15 minutes later. This is why I sometimes "sleep-in" for a half an hour certain days of the week.