Studying Tips

Since the AP World Test is a week away and everyone is overwhelmed by the amounting fear and studying they have to do, I thought that maybe it would be a good idea to share my studying tips and how i make a productive study session.

  1. Put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ or put it far away from you

A lot of people say that you shouldn’t study with your phone anywhere near you, but i feel like that’s impossible for some people especially if they’re at the public library or just not at home. Plus, many people listen to music to drown out any distractions or just as a way to not be bored while studying. I always put my phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ and pick a long music playlist so that I don’t have to shuffle through songs. Personally, I like hip hop beats with no words to help me focus, and you can find 24 hour playlists of those songs, even 24/7 live streams.

2. Study for certain increments of time then take a break

Many people complain that studying gets hard if you’re doing it for a long period of time, and I agree! You get antsy and bored, sometimes it gets to the point where reading doesn’t even help stick information in your head anymore. What I do is that I set a timer for around 30 minutes and work all that time without any breaks. I make sure everything is already laid out beforehand so I don’t waste time looking for something. After those 30 minutes, I get out my seat and walk around if i’m at home, or I start doodling if i’m at school and I can’t leave my seat. It helps give me mental breaks while being productive. This can be extremely helpful if you have other things to study for too since it allows you to make a schedule for yourself. I use an app called Flipd which times and keeps track of your studying. It even has a cool feature where for a set amount of time it hides all social media, game, and whatever apps are not vital to you in an emergency. This has helped me a lot since I always pick up my phone and check my notifications out of nowhere.

3. Have a full bottle of water with you

This one may sound dumb, but I find it very helpful. Whenever I study I have a full container of water near me, maybe even two. The reason I have this is because sometimes I get hungry and want to get up from my seat. It’s annoying to get up during a study session to eat and eating can sometimes be distracting. That’s why I always have water on hand. Plus, I feel like when i’m having a hard time understanding something, I take a sip of water, relax, and try and asses what i’m learning.

4. Space out study sessions

For around 2-3 weeks now, I’ve been studying history material for 25 minutes everyday. This has been such a life saver in my busy schedule.  Not only do I get my studying in, but I also have time to work on other school work, do extracurricular activities, and so much more. I don’t feel overwhelmed when I study but the material I learn really sticks with me. I’ve heard of some people studying for hours each day, but i’m not that type of learner. This also allows me to be flexible with my work. If one day I don’t get a chance to study, I can easily move it to the next day and have a 2 in 1 session for an hour with a break in between.

5. Outline your outlines

Especially for history, I like outlining my outlines. What I do is have a notebook with a blue pen and read my outlines. If there’s something crucial I have to know for a time period or I didn’t remember something, I write it down so it sticks with me. I find this more effective studying like this then just reading or writing everything down again. Not only that, but it lets you fill in some empty holes of knowledge.

6. Know when to stop

Many people go overboard with their studying and study for insane amounts of time with no breaks. They stop doing other work or rush through it to get to studying. They get so overworked that by the time the tests comes they’re so beat up and strung up that they forget everything. I know what it’s like to study under extreme stress and it isn’t fun. One thing I had to learn the hard way was to learn when to stop. Whenever I feel extremely overworked and it’s late at night, I simply put down my books and go to sleep. I know that I tried my best to study and comprehend the material in the time I had and I simply put faith in myself that I know what i’m doing. If it’s not late at night and I just need to stop for the day, I wind down by watching youtube videos until i’m ready to sleep. It’s not the end of the world if you fail a test, as long as you put it your all and made sure you did everything you possibly could, you can only go up from there.

Junior Year- Classes

I need help.

I don’t know exactly how many people got a letter from the college board, but I got one and assumed the worst. Thankfully, it was just the college board saying that I should take AP Lang. I was flattered but then got intimidated by the fact that everyone is calling that class suicide if you plan on taking other APs with it. All my college friends are still in classes or out of state and I have no older siblings to talk about it. Plus, there’s always the gamble that im trying to take 3-4 APs. US, seminar, and psychology. I certainly don’t want to drop out of one, but i don’t want to underestimate my abilities since homework is fairly easy and fast for me depending on what the task asks for. Hopefully i will be able to talk to my counsellor soon so that she can knock some sense into me.


Testing Season; Thoughts in May

May means a lot of things. Pollen, flowers, heat, last weeks of school. But one huge thing it means is that the dreaded final exams are coming. For a lack of better words, this period of time is hell on Earth due to the amount of work leading up to the exams, the stress while completing them, and the overwhelming feeling of relief when nothing has to be done for that class anymore. Every single class has some cumulative test at the end of the year, which to me is stupid because why can’t it just be done before hand? Regardless, the fear of the tests and the excitement of it all ending is amazing to say the least. In just 2 more school years, we will be sent off to college or to the workforce, becoming our own independent people. For some it will be hard, yet for others it will be easy. Sometimes I enjoy being at school, it’s comforting when your start thinking that in just a year or two, you will legally be an adult.

But at the same time, you’re a kid right now. You have no debts to your name, you don’t have to pay bills, work, drive, nothing. We all complain about being treated like a child, but we’re scared to grow up. One day we’ll look back to our exam days and our stress and say, “man, we had it easy.” Or, you’ll say that was the most stressful thing in your life and that you hated every second of it! Maybe school was the one time in your life that you had no worries, or maybe you will have so many worries its suffocating. Only time will tell how you view your childhood and school days.

Until then though, exams suck and are stressful for no reason.

School is becoming a pain

I have nothing to write about today. I’m so mentally drained and tired that I feel i’m in a lonely simulation, just some one quietly going through the daily motions and wishing for the same thing every week, the end of it. Obviously, this is super depression, but school just isn’t as interesting anymore. It’s annoying! I miss elementary school, we’d have field day with popsicles and fun, even middle school was exciting since everyone was rowdy. Now studying and stress have engulfed us. So what is our saving grace?

Spring Break.

I am so excited for spring break. Relaxation, cleaning, reading, painting, sight seeing, all in one week. Maybe i’m insane, but i actually like cleaning. It can be a pain, but the end result is so satisfying and cleansing. I’ve always loved reading about new subjects, I can even watch a documentary if I really want to multitask. Drawing and painting has always been a passion, so now that it’s a little nicer outside, I can go out and paint the trees and the flowers. This weekend, i’m going to New York and will be able to stop by Times Square to look around.

Not only that, but i’m gonna try and work ahead. I have to order my supplies for a science project I have due in June, I have to take my drivers permit test, work on JLabs (such a pain but it’s worth it), and plan my sweet 16 (it’s supposed to be a quince, but life happened y’know?). My hopes are up for this spring break. It will be filled with things to do, but I think it will really lift my spirits and break me out of the slow, dull, school life.

Thrifting, Personal Goals, and The End of the Quarter; Ideas for April

Thrifting is not anything new. It’s basically these big donation centers where you can give anything you don’t want anymore, but don’t want to throw it away. They have things from videos, clothes, shoes, furniture, books, and so much more. I don’t know about anyone else, but I grew up thrifting. Me and my grandparents would wake up early on Saturdays and go to the yard sales around my neighborhood. They were usually hit or miss. You’d either find a bunch of brand new things or things you really want, or some old screws and an expired pop tart. Well anywho, I personally love the idea of thrifting. I usually give away my old clothes to my sister, my cousins in Guatemala, or to donation. I think it’s very eco-friendly too. This coming season, I want to shop more at thrift shops and stores like Uniqlo. Uniqlo is very ethical and sells cheap, high quality clothing. Not only that, but their clothes are very minimalistic and is loose fitting in the right places, something i very much enjoy. As for thrifting, I want to go shop at the local thrift shops more. I feel like you can find some very nice stuff there for very cheap. Need jeans? Buy some thrifted ones! Heck, if you want to spice them up you can always use fabric paint and paint something on the back pockets.


As for personal goals, I really want to remodel my room. When I say remodel, I mean I want everything to move. My house is a small home, but spacious for the 6 people that live there. I luckily have my own room, one downside is that it used to be a storage room and I was so desperate for my own room that I didn’t want it painted. Big mistake. It’s one of the ugliest shades of mint green ive ever seen, there random white patches, and my carpet is an ugly green too. Thankfully, my dad is really good when it comes to painting and flooring. I want to get hardwood instead of carpet, move my desk, remodel my closet, and buy a new book case. I also want to wipe out the disaster of shoes. Lucky for me, spring break is coming up! During that week im going to clean everything out and over the weekend, put in the wood and paint my walls. Hopefully my dad agrees and I can finally get a room remodelling.


Lastly for my April goals, I want to study more and be more on top of everything. I have my first AP test coming up in May. I’m not too scared since i’m very good at history and know a lot about it, but I want to prepare more so I can do as best as I possibly can. I also really want to get my math and science grades up. I know Bs are pretty decent grades, but I know I can do better. Another thing I struggle is being on top of things. I’d like to think i’m a pretty decent student, but I always zone off. I always doodle on everything and end up having to catch up. It’s not anything bad since i’m never that far off of the task at hand, but I hope to work on it more. Volunteering and finding a summer job is also a big priority for me since I need to get my hours up.

Hopefully, I reach my goals and i’m able improve my daily life.

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Worth Your Time: Captain Marvel

With the brand new superhero movie on track to reach 1 billion in theatre sales, it’s no surprise that it has had it’s fair share on controversy. Trolls on Rotten Tomato were giving the movie terrible scores without even seeing it. It used to have a whopping 33% until it erased the fake reviews, making it jump up to a 60%. The 29 year old Brie Larson plays the role of Captain Marvel, also known as Carol Danvers. Set in 1995, Danvers lives with her best friend Maria (played by Lashana Lynch) and Maria’s daughter. Both want to be Air Force pilots but unable to due to the ban on women being able to enter the air force. Instead, Danvers opts to be part of an experimental test flight, nicknamed Pegasus and conducted by Wendy Lawson (Annette Bening). After both are pronounced dead after the failure, the government shuts it down. 6 years after that crash, Danvers, now known as Vers, works as a soldier for the Kree civilization in space. Because, why not?

Anywho, this movie was pretty good. I wouldn’t call it amazing though. A problem I had with the movie is the production itself. It felt like Marvel blew a lot of money on its up and coming movie Endgame. The setting of the movie felt extremely closed in. For example, the beginning takes place in Los Angeles, but there’s no flair to it. If it wasn’t for a sign that shows a highway in Los Angeles, you wouldn’t know. Nothing about the setting screams ‘Los Angeles’ since there was nothing that is special to that area shown. This happens again when they go to Louisiana. There was nothing that screamed Louisiana to me. You could’ve told me that it was set in Front Royal Virginia and I would have believed it. They should have focused on making the setting they were in more alive like in other movies.

Another problem is the theme. The idea that she is too sensitive and not yet ready for her powers is not really explored. You don’t really see her having any major problems with her power, the whole spiel about her being to sensitive is never talked about again after she hang outs with Nick Fury, and I never really felt like she grew from what happened. Duh, I won’t spoil it, but at the end, she didn’t seem to grow from her experiences. She didn’t mature or “became less sensitive”, she more or less stayed the same.

All in all, I think this was a good movie and monumental for women superheros. It’s inspired many young girls, even my own little sister. Representation is extremely important now that the world is more inclusive. Yet, as the first superhero with a female lead, it could have been better on the writing and production part of it. Hopefully since times are changing, it won’t be long until we see Muslim, Latino, Indigenous, and many other types of superheros representing us on the big screen.


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Winning Nationals and the Journey Back Home

Oh my god.

Can I get a yee yee for the boys?

13 years since the dance team was created, 9 years since they’ve started going to NDA, 5 days since winning Grand National Champion. When I tell you i’m still on cloud 9,000, I mean it. I haven’t been able to comprehend what has happened, every night I stare at the jacket and wonder if it’s real. Luckily, it is. People have asked me if i’m tired after it all. The answer is yes! I’m dying! An hour before writing this I was sleeping in spanish. So, I think that I should do a mini re-cap of these past couple days.

First off, dancing was painful at times. We all had to practice outside in 85 degree weather, underneath the blazing sun, while wearing black t shirts. A lot of us felt like dying, considering that we were used to 20-40 degree cold weather and we were not used to the heat yet. Luckily, the coaches always tried finding shadier areas to practice, maximizing our energy and making sure we didn’t get sunburn. It didn’t really work, my cheeks and nose were soon blushed with pink, but at least I wasn’t as burnt as some other people, their neck red and burning. We even practiced until 12 am the night before finals. At the end it was worth it since we ended up becoming friends with Davis County High School from Kentucky, really upped our endurance, and looked a lot cleaner and more in formation.

Now i’m not complaining. If we didn’t practice as much as we did, we would have been beaten from the other teams. And let me tell you, winning it felt surreal. The coaches were so happy, crying out of pure joy. Half of us didn’t know what to do and just cried. After we took our official picture, we ran behind the venue to get our jackets. We were sweating so much but we all just threw it on, shocked about it all. We then went to the balcony overlooking the lake before you enter the universal park. There, we did our famous chant and went to take picture with the trophy and banner.

The next two days were us just bouncing around the park, loving life. We were dead tired, but enjoyed our relaxing days. At 2 in the afternoon on Tuesday, we boarded our plane and got home. I didn’t expect anyone to be there, just the parents, but I was mistaken. As i walk through the door, i hear screeching. The Seneca Dance Team was there, same with Dr. Brewer! I looked like booty since i woke up maybe 30 minutes before that picture and video, but i was so happy i could have cared less. When I got home, I had my family waiting for me with open arms, balloons, flowers, and chick-fil-a.

The next day I didn’t want to go to school, but the coaches said they wanted to take pictures. Tiredly I went, still gassed and dazed from the busy weekend. We took pictures and they surprised us with Dunkin’ Donuts, candy from Seneca, and a standing ovation from the teachers! I was so shocked and honestly a little weirded out. I love the support and wonderful words said to me, but i’ve never been one to like attention. The whole day I was getting told “Congratulations!”. They played our routine on the morning announcements and I wanted to scream. Out of fear? Happiness? Who knows!

Of course this was kinda short lived. The rush and excitement is still there, but it is very died down. I’m stuck at school again, I have a Bio test tomorrow, I have to teach myself a chapter of geometry, and i am extremely tired. But at the same time, I wouldn’t have it any other way. We made Dominion Dance Team history, Dominion history, and most importantly, let our coaches get the jacket and trophy they deserve. It goes to show, the work is worth it, no excuses.

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DHSDT: What the yearbook won’t tell you

For 3 years now, I have devoted many hours to the Dominion Dance Team and it’s sister team in Seneca. Specifically, for the two years on the Dominion team, I have been asked many questions regarding practicing, schedules, and what we even do there. So i thought, might as well answer some questions.

How much do you guys practice?

We practice 5 out of 7 days of the week for around 2 hours each practice. Sometimes it extends by 1-2 hours depending on how much we want to get done and how close our competition is. Usually, we have morning practices at 6:35-8:30 am Tuesdays and Fridays, afternoon on Wednesday and Thursday from 4:30-6:30, and Saturday practice from 10am-12pm. So on average, we spend 10 hours a normal week, 15 when we extend a bit. Again, this is rough calculations. This does not include what officers have to do, sometimes spending their whole weekend to help out the coaches for hours on end.

What about homework? School? Family? Friends?

We have a 30 minute study hall before afternoon practices and if you’re smart with dividing up work and spacing it out, your work will be easy. Of course we get stressed sometimes due to extended practices or homework, but we can always talk to a coach to meet a teacher or work a little longer on something. A big misconception is that we don’t have time for anything. We actually have a lot of time to finish things or hang out with people. Think of this, we’re only giving 2 hours out of a 24 hour day to do what we enjoy. When it’s thought like that, it’s really not that bad.

Don’t you get tired?

Well, duh. We’re not superhuman. We get worn out at times, mentally or physically. But, everyone on the team has a deep love and appreciation for the craft, so we push through it. Obviously if we are sick we don’t show up or take it easy. Plus, if we really need to take a mental day, our heads won’t get cut off.

Who’s the best?

Surprise, we all are! Everyone on the team has their own unique flair when it comes to dancing. There are no ‘bests’ or ‘worst’. It would be unfair for us to compare ourselves to each other since some people are trained in different styles. We all also come from different levels of dance experience. Let’s say someone is trained in gymnastics and studio hip hop for 3 years, while the person next to them was a ballerina for 8 years, and then the person next to them has never danced for team or studio, just at home in their room for fun. All our different styles merge to create a single piece that comes out looking amazing.

Dance is truly something else, the positivity and close-knit friendships we’ve made had allowed us to better ourselves even outside of dance. It has made me become friends with people I wouldn’t even imagine myself talking to. Not only that, but it has helped me become a more positive and thoughtful person. Trying out for the team is definitely something I will never regret.


Bullet Journalling, Is it Worth the Craze?

If anyone knows me in real life, they know that i’m extremely obsessed with all things stationery and organization. I have no clue when it started, but I have it. One things i’ve noticed is that there’s a lot of other crazy nuts like me and some that have even gone as far as to create a bullet journal!

Bullet journaling is a way to plan out your week, month, or year in advanced. It’s a personalized planner where you can decide what to add or not. You can add a calorie, book, weight, money, or movie tracker, or you don’t have to add any of that. That’s one of the reasons it’s an attractive idea for anyone who is creative and needs a better hold on their life.

But  one of the big flaws with this journal is how much time it takes to set up the new month, all it’s weeks, and a theme if you really want to. I started my january spread on December 30th and I still haven’t completed it. Not only that but if you’re not good at remembering to do a new spread, you’ll soon yourself in June with a book that only goes up to March.

So in my opinion, bullet journaling is a great way to organize and plan out your school and home life if you know your boundaries. If you know you don’t have time to create a bunch of patterns and turn your journal to a scrapbook, make it simple. If you have the extra time and want to make your bullet journal look like Michaels threw up on it, go ahead. A bullet journal can be made to you liking and can have whatever you want. If your life is hectic or just want to be prepared, buy a fancy pen and a 5 dollar journal and start planning.

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Worth Your Time: Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up

Many of us have new year resolutions that we never really do. Whether it’s working out more, cleaning the house, or getting better grades, we all hope that we magically overnight have a complete do-over of last year. Let’s be honest, no one really completes their resolution, we get lazy or it doesn’t fit into our lives, that’s normal. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of us wishes we could clean our rooms. Well January 1st, organization consultant and author Marie Kondo teamed up with Netflix to create a new show called Tidying Up.

When we think about shows like Hoarders or My Strange Addiction, people usually only watch it for the drama and yelling. But Tidying Up is nothing like that.  In the show, Marie Kondo works with different people across the country who would like to better their living space. Kondo shows them the KonMari method. It’s where you take items by category and hold them in your hand. If they spark true joy, then you keep it. If it doesn’t spark joy anymore, you thank it and gently put it away for donation. This method really opens your eyes in what you truly need and want versus the clutter you have. With her calming demeanor and positive cleaning tactics, she spreads this clean and happy lifestyle to people who live in chaos.

That being said, I think Tidying Up is a very cute and calming show. Seeing people clean and the positive transformations always brings my mood up. Not only that, but it inspires you to want to clean too since her methods are easy and very cleansing. Maybe for people who constantly watch action movies might not want to watch this, I really recommend this for someone who just needs a positive lady in a floral skirt help others. (8/10)

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