How to Write an Essay

As an English major and a blogger, you’d assume that writing essays would come naturally to me. It doesn’t. There’s nothing I hate more than having to write an essay. Three years of college have made me create a strict no-fail routine when it comes to writing an essay. Here are my tips for writing an essay:

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1) Rewrite the essay question in your own words- Sometimes essay questions are worded in the most difficult way possible. Rewriting them helps you to understand precisely what it is that the question is asking. It also helps in writing your introduction.

2) Decide on your main points- I do this so that I know precisely what I’m going to include in my essay.

3) Write out your essay- the first two steps above should help you in writing your introduction. Your introduction should introduce the topic and discuss how you’re going to approach it.
Your body should consist of the main statements (and supporting statements) that prove the view you’re taking on the topic. Your conclusion should sum up everything you’ve said in the essay. The easiest way to remember this is: “Say what you’re going to say, how you’re going to say it (The introduction), say what you want to say (The body) and then say what you’ve said (The conclusion).

4) Edit- Be sure to edit your essay before you hand it in. I usually do a edit on my own before getting a member of the university to check my essay for me. Editing helps you to polish up your essay so you can get the best possible grade.

What’s your writing process when it comes to essays?

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Have to Attend Class

Sometimes, for whatever reason, we just can’t get to class. I don’t know about you but to me these are all totally valid excuses to not go to class.

15 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Have to Attend Classes

  1. It’s too hot
  2. It’s too cold
  3. You’re falling behind on your shows
  4. The lecturer sucks
  5. The class is too long
  6. The lecturer makes you drag your butt to class only to dismiss you after like two seconds. I did NOT leave my bed for this. Might as well just stay in bed anyway.
  7. You just need some ‘me’ time
  8. Attendance is compulsory
  9. You already did/are going to do the readings
  10. The class is too full
  11. The class is icky (this happens when you’re from South Africa and all of the cleaners go on strike).
  12. There is a strike
  13. There’s a possibility of a strike
  14. You feel like you should strike
  15. You just don’t want to go to class.

How to Take Notes From a Textbook

Taking notes from a textbook is difficult. They’re bulky and usually worded in the most difficult way possible. Here are my tried and tested tips for taking notes from a textbook:

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1) Read the summary first- Most textbook have a summary of each chapter. Read this before you begin reading the chapter. This will give you an overview of what it is that you’re studying.

2) Skim through the chapter- reading is for novels. Skimming is for college. If you read your textbook word for word, you would be wasting time. Skimming allows you to get the most important information instantly.

3) Highlight the important points- Highlight or underline the most important concepts in your textbook. Can’t write in your book? Copy the concepts down instead. Do something to make them stand out to you.

4) Read and reread- Revise the summary and the relevant concepts whenever necessary. Personally I like to copy them down all on a page so I have my own study guide.

How do you take notes from a textbook?

How to Adjust to Being Back at Campus

Sacrificing late nights out for study sessions sucks. It sucks even more if you’re returning to campus after a break. Here are my tips on how I adjust to returning to campus.

How to Adjust to Being Back at Campus

 

1) Get Enough Sleep- it’s very important that you get enough sleep. Try using a sleep calculator and follow it a few days before you go back to campus to allow your body to get used to the new sleeping time. This prevents any issues when it comes to waking up when it’s time to attend classes.

2) Stick to a Routine- For the first few days at campus, create a routine and follow it. This a) allows you to be more organised about your time and b) you’ll adjust easier when you know you have a routine you’re supposed to be following.

3) Give Yourself Time to Adjust- Rome was not built in a day and it’s unlikely that you’re going to return to campus and already be ready to be your best. It’s going to take time for your body to realise you’re giving up TV for tests and sleep for studying. I like to have atleast a week in which I let myself be lazy and not officially on “work” mode.

4) Get Working- At some time you’re going to get off your butt and say bye to your lazy days. This may happen when all your projects are due at once or it could happen days before your exam. It’s important that you start working as soon as you can to (for me I insist on doing some sort of work as soon as my lazy week is over) avoid stressing yourself out when the bulk of your work is due.

How do you adjust to being back at campus?

10 Ways College is Better Than High School

You wouldn’t know it since it’s a million times more stressful but here are 10 reasons why college is better than high school.

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1) Unlimited WiFi- if you know me, you know I’m obsessed with WiFi. Having access to WiFi on campus makes life so much easier.

2) You Get to See Your Friends More Often- it’s like you guys are living together. And in some cases, you might be. Even as a commuter, the long hours mean you’re going to be spending the entire day with your friends (so making friends who keep the same hours as you is a major advantage).

3) Food- in high school, the only food items we could buy was junk food and pie. In college there’s no end to the variety of food available. There’s vegetarian options, pizzas, pastas, etc. Don’t even get me started on the beverages. *drools*

4) You Have Interesting Subjects- my first semester at college consisted of Criminology, English, Zulu and Academic Writing. Okay Zulu was something offered in high school but I was fascinated by Criminology and Academic Writing. High school didn’t have subjects like that. Which brings me to…

5) You Choose Your Subjects- You have greater freedom choosing subjects in college than in high school. Bye bye Maths you colossal-waste-of-time.

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6) The Subjects Are All Very Different From High School- instead of basic comprehension and editing, English forced us to read and analyse text. We had discussions on Freud, Foucault and a local author who went insane while writing his last book (which made the ending of the book senseless but oddly intriguing).

7) The Dependence on Technology- remember when we weren’t allowed cellphones in classes? College doesn’t have that rule. You might even need your cellphone to take notes (or in some cases, take out photos of notes). You may also require a laptop or tablet. That combined with the WiFi makes for a dangerous combination.

8) The Strange Hours- you may start at ten. You may finish at twelve. Hell you may even start your weekend on a Wednesday. Okay that only happened to me once but it was AMAZING. College has more flexible hours which can be a blessing or a curse.

9) Attendance is not mandatory- if you skipped a day of class in high school, you were required to bring a note. No such rule exists in college. Of course there are a few classes that have registers but that’s because they’re evil. Stats, I command thee to leave my college syllabus.

10) It’s Not High School- College does not have the same drama as high school. Yes there might be experiences where you feel like you never left high school (we’ll get into the horror of my Freshman year some other time) but here’s the great part- you can leave. College has thousands of people so if you’re having issues with someone, simply remove them from your life and keeping moving forward.

What’s your favourite part of college?

Why I Love Typo

Since the very second I walked into my first Typo store (February 2015), I’ve been obsessed with them. Here’s why:

1) Their stuff has fun sayings such as this cute little notebook

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2) Typo has great organizers. This one is a daily organizer that you can use to keep track of what you want to get done in the morning, afternoon and evening as well as a more general to-do list, a budget tracker, meal planner and a shopping list.

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3) Typo has cute products. I absolutely adore their pens. Look at those patterns! The pen right on the top looks just like a pencil.

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4) I love their notebook covers as well as their variety of notebooks.

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How cute are these???

5) Their notebooks have a section for you to hide letters (or worksheets)

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6) Their sales!!!
I’m pretty sure the “Things to Do” notepad pictured above was about R20. (If not it was just really cheap and I’ve been using it for well over a year).

Do you shop at Typo? What’s your favourite product?

How to Pack for a Holiday Without Sacrificing Style

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It’s finally the time for the holidays!!! If you’re a college student chances are you just have a week (who cares?! It’s a holiday!). If you’re lucky enough to be going away for the week here are a few tips for packing:

1) Pick your style- Choose the kind of look you want (glam, boho, etc). Since my looks are always based on fictional characters, I decide my holiday based on that. Jo’burg has always been a Blair Waldorf place (hello leggings) while I chose to channel my inner Elena Gilbert for Cape Town. The logic behind this was that Cape Town required lots of walking and I wanted to be comfortable.

2) Pick your neutral- Choose a colour that will tie together all your looks. My neutral colour is always black. It doesn’t stain and I have several bags and accessories in black. Pack things in the shade of your neutral so that you automatically have something that matches.

3) Choose basic jewellery- Choose jewellery that can go with any and all of your outfits. This is why choosing a style beforehand is so important- you know precisely what look you’re going for.

4) Use versatile items- Use items that can be mixed up. A dress top can be used with leggings as well as jeans. Voila- one item with two looks.

5) Roll don’t fold- Rolling your clothes instead of folding allows you to store more items.

6) Make a list beforehand- Make a list of what you plan to take before you pack. This ensures that you don’t miss anything out not matter how small. Be sure to take into consideration the weather and any possible changes in the weather (ie if a cold area suddenly has a heatwave, etc).

What are your tips for packing? Are you going anywhere for the holidays? I’d love to know.

Amazing Android Apps: SimpleMind

SimpleMind is an app that allows you to create mind maps easily.
This app provides you with a central idea box and then subtopics which you can add more information to.
If you’re a student who learns from mind maps this is a great app to try.
For me, I personally like to use SimpleMind as a sort of brain dump. I gather all my to-do lists, ideas for blog posts and story plot lines on various mind maps. The app has never steered me wrong.
SimpleMind is available for free on the Play store.

How to Never Miss a Date Again

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Few things irritate me more than having a deadline or appointment jump out at me from nowhere. It makes me feel like my whole world is upside-down and I need to take back control of my life. Here are a few tips to help you never miss an important event or date.

1) Buy a planner- I love Typo planners but they’re a bit too expensive for me. Instead I use an ordinary dated diary as well as my cellphone to keep track of dates.

2) Write down everything- First start with concrete events that you know won’t change such as birthdays or your weekly night out. Then enter in important dates such as deadlines for a project.

3) Plan a week in advance- I like to think of myself as pretty organised. Those dates that I miss are usually family events that for some reason my mother doesn’t tell me about (am I not family? Maybe not). To compensate for her serious error, I ask her well in advance if she/me/we has any plans for the week ahead. If she gives me an event we need to attend, I list it down. If not I simply plan my week around that.

4) Use your planner on a regular basis- You could have the most gorgeous (Typo) planner but it doesn’t matter if you’re not using it. Be sure to check your planner often to keep on track with dates and to add in new ones.

How do you keep track of everything? Have you ever forgotten an important date? (I forgot my parents’ anniversary once). Let me know below.