My college experience: an open letter to myself

College can be overwhelming. Well, actually it is overwhelming. It’s full of life changing experiences that are both: positive and negative opportunities to learn. Maybe, if you are near to graduate like me, have learned a lot from failure and success that you wish you can travel in a time machine and give some advice to your “past you”.

Also, if you are reading this, and you are about to start college maybe you can learn a few things from my experience and avoid going through the tough situations I put myself into.

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Keeping that in mind -and reflexing about the last three years- I think it’s a good opportunity to write down a letter to the 17 year old Valeria that was just about to start her career.

Dear Valeria, (it sounds so cheesy! But I’m terrible at starting letters haha)

You have just graduated high school and already believe you can eat the world. Don’t lose that fierceness, never. When you are feeling like you will not be able to finish a project or complete your practice hours, recall that optimism you had at the beginning.

Don’t forget why you are there, why you chose that career. Even when you know it’s going to be hard to find a job. Remember that passion can’t be bought, and in the end you will dedicate your life to do that job, so better be one you are happy at. Nothing it’s sadder than knowing how many people chose a job without be truly passionate about.

Also, be financially stable it’s a priority for you and I know that -and it’s going to be that way for the rest of your life. But right now you shouldn’t be worrying about paying your debts. I mean, working and studying it’s so hard (and you will eventually give it a try haha) but you will figure out there are other options for you, like refinancing your study loan as many of your friends will. Don’t let this to distract you from your goal.

You will meet people from different places, cultures and opinions than yours. And that’s awesome. You will have the opportunity to go out of the bubble in which you grew up and open your mind to the amazing diversity that it’s out there. Give yourself the opportunity to work with them and knowing more than just their faces, in a few years you might regret it.

Independence it’s a great responsibility you are now up to. It’s not easy but it’s worth it. In college you will never stop challenging yourself. And it’s ok if you fail, but never give up.

Please, please, surround yourself with people that see and appreciate your worth and help you to reach the best version of yourself. I know right now you are afraid of not making friends, and you feel alone. But trust me, God will put in your way the friend you have been asking for so long, and you will never feel that way again.

Finally, never settle or conform to a “success”. Get out of your comfort zone and explore your abilities and virtues. During this years you will get to know yourself more than never. Sure, you are going to be afraid, and it’s the perfect opportunity to be brave. Trust me, you will never believe where you going to be in 3 years!

I really hope you enjoy this journey. There are no magical recipes to make it “perfect”, but I’m sure you will remember with nostalgic that first week ever on college and all the crazy stories and memories you lived.

Well, the truth is college it’s an unpredictable time of our life. And as I was writing down this letter I was super curious in 3 years from now what would I say to my present self?

I really love making this type of posts that make me think and make changes in my life! I hope that sharing my experience may be helpful for anyone who’s thinking enter college and it’s afraid of how their life can change -specially monetary.

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Life update!

Well, Hello! Since I’ve been absent for-I don’t know… centuries already- I feel I should introduce myself again. LOL!

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Honestly I’m so so sorry I disappeared for so long and without an explanation. I tried, as hard as my human energy let me, to keep on blogging weekly or at least monthly. Sadly, and as you probably noticed, I failed.

So, since you have been so so patient with me and keep on reading my posts (& making me extremely happy for it) I felt I had to share with you this part of my life I’m going through and the reasons why I’ve been gone for this past months.

Okaaaay, let’s get to it:

1. I started working!- and quit.  

Before you can judge me let me explain myself. First of all, I wasn’t looking for a job -since I’ve always been really into be a full time student- but my college was hiring a receptionist (like a 9-6 pm worker WHOA!).

Long story short, I had an scholarship (for the last two years and a half) and they asked me if I wanted to work with them. And I said yes!

Of course when I started to work I had NO idea how tired I was gonna be and how much I was gonna miss my “me time”. Seriously people, working & studying (+ mantaining a social life) it’s not a piece of cake at all!

I really enjoyed my job, don’t get me wrong. I was so happy on my desk, helping people and I even woke up motivated everyday. The point is, I wasn’t in college to become a receptionist and working- even though was a incredible income for my family- wasn’t my priority.

After a few months I had to decided between keeping my job or finish my Bachelor on time. I guess you already know what I chose.

2. I’m currently on my last three courses for my Bachelor! 

Linked to the last point… I WILL ACTUALLY GRADUATE NEXT FEBRUARY! (Well, if I pass this last courses- but yeah, you get the excitement).

And of course, as you can imagine, I have tons of work to do daily and the triple to do during the weekends. Seriously, it’s crazy.

Since I’m studying special education I need to do a professional practice. In my school that implies I have to do a total of 150 hours of practice, from which 120 are me giving classes to the kids. And ladies and gentlemen I can only translate that into two simple words: STRESS & ANXIETY. But I’m just 6 weeks away from finishing! 😀

3. Adulting it’s hitting me like a tsunami. 

If you are going through these years you will definetely understand what I’m talking about. Responsabilities are tough, you have to learn to balance all the areas in your life (by yourself!), you have to make a ridiculous amount of decisitions and have to manage to look like you know what are you doing- but let’s be honest, NOBODY knows what they’re doing.

So, yeah… I’ve been trying to figure out how to settle my life these past months.

I admit during this time crossed my mind the idea of closing this blog, but I also realized that I didn’t wanted to throw away all the effort and time I put into it. Plus, I really like -and enjoy- writing and sharing my life with you! I can’t give up so easily! So here I am!

For sure I can’t promise I will post two times a week or so… but I’ll put my best effort to post more frecuently and work harder for this blog! Again thank you so much for your patience and support during the ten months this page has been up! 😀

 

 

6 Lessons you will definitely learn in college

Since I was small I dreamed of college; I wanted so bad to be a “grown up”. When I finished high school I had so many expectations of how my next year was gonna be. I started watching videos in youtube of how to study succesfully, hacks for college, how to decor your notebook, etc. You can picture how anxious I was of finally start my freshman in college!

Of course, my college experience had been different from the one I planned for me three years ago. Some of the videos I watched were useless or just didn’t fit my situation. Seriously, it’s hard to find tips or advices that work for everyone, but I realized that no matter your major, your college characteristics or the country you belong there are lessons that you learn through those student years.

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Photo from Wanderlass.com, isn’t it just perfect or what? 

Now, I want to share with you some of those lessons I have learned that were not included in the course contents (LOL).

  • You will have more extra time than in high school BUT you will spend that time doing assignments. It can be a class of 4 hours and a homework of 2 + a project of 8 hours or even more. It’s endless.
  • You will have less money than expected. I don’t know why but at college we spend more money on food (maybe because we are more anxious). Still, you will have a lot more to pay like the bus, food, books, presentations, materials, etc.
  • One’s bestfriends as an adult are usually made during college BUT they are a small percentage. You will meet many many people in this years, you might even like them, but truth is that during this years a lot of  situations can happen and as a result you and your friends can take different paths.
  • You find yourself doing things you didn’t know you could. Like organizing a fair and a festival, write a enormous essay, work half-time, read a couple of books during a month, or make choices (a lot of them, actually). At the beginning it might be hard to manage the time and one can feel overwhelmed, but as you overcome all the obstacules and you look back: the satisfaction it’s incredible and you also learn a lot of what you are capable of  do.
  • Professors are very different from high school BUT you can learn much more of them. I have been in courses with good and bad proffesors, both can teach you a lot of your career and about yourself. Some teach for your intellectual development and some teach you about life. Having a lot of proffesors can actually be something you can take advantage and learn more about patience, the kind of professional you want to become, effort, tolerance, respect and how different people can be in their opinions.
  • THE WORLD BECOMES BIGGER! Before college I believed I knew about how life was, how people lived; I thought I knew the answers to all the questions, that I had my life solved, that I had experienced all that was out there. One person told me when I finished high shool “there’s a whole new world that you don’t know, it’s so big and different you will not want to come back to this one”. And he was SO RIGHT! You meet new people all the time, you experience new situations every day, you have to take decisions -and they aren’t easy by the way. You are now an adult and the world sees you like one.

College can be overwhelming and take time to adjust yourself to the changes it brings, it is a big responsability but those are the best years of your life -yet.

If you know from your experience more lessons you learned in college (or that you are currently learning) please tell me! I will update the post.

See you next week, and good luck in your classes!

7 ways to stay motivated while studying

Probably you already know that I’ve been very busy lately. This is my last year at college and as you might imagine classes get harder and harder. And, of course, it’s getting harder and harder for me to stay motivated and focus enough to do homework, studying or even going to a lecture (LOL!). I must confess I have no idea how I’m gonna do to during finals (or even how I will stay alive until then).

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Photo courtesy from RekitaNicole.com 

Sooooooo, since I bet I am not the only one having this struggle I have so suggestions for you to try that had worked for me.

  1. Motivation starts before doing homework or studying. Let’s say you know a terrible and busy week it’s coming so you take cautions like: sleeping enough, doing some small homeworks so they won’t accumulate or start working on a project that has a due date in 2 or 3 weeks. Trust me you will not regret the free time you spend overtaking any work to do.
  2. Prepare yourself & your mood. I don’t know you but if I wake up in a calm way (not by my phone ringing or something like that) I will instantly be in a good mood for the rest of the day. The same happens if I take a delicious breakfast. So, I will 100% recommend to you to start your day doing something that put you in the right mood for a study day. You can try going out for a small walk, take a hot bath, eat your favorite fruit during breakfast or anything else.
  3. Comfy clothes vrs bad mood. Seriously, there’s nothing better for your hormones, tiredness or lack of motivation than your comfy clothes (I am not saying pijamas but I can’t blame you LOL). It’s easier to study when you are confortable and you will feel better for sure!
  4. Food is bae. What can be more motivating than eating a yummy snack while writing an essay; I mean, ideas just start flowing and flowing. Just make sure you eat the right ones like nuts, fruits, cereal. Eat food that give you energy and do not have  a massive dinner or lunch because, trust me, your stomach will “drag” all the blood from your body into digestion and your brain will slow down it’s activity so you will get sleepy:  MAY DAY MAY DAY! If you are as creative as me at cooking here are some ideas for you to try.
  5. Let’s jam.  I know it’s can be difficult sometimes to have a playlist on during study time or while writting a paper because we always end up singing along and dancing around the room. But, actually there’s a type of music you can listen to without losing your focus or losing your vibe. Hans Zimmer does this type of music,  he had done the soundtrack for movies such as Batman, Inception, Interstellar and Gladiator, I totally recommend his tracks: very relaxing yet motivator. Also if you want here it’s my spotify playlist for doing homework.
  6. Reward yourself. I use this one a lot, and by rewarding yourself I am not talking about put candies on every paragraph of your reading so you can eat it when you finish. I am talking about put yourself objetives. For example: I will finish this essay at 2 pm. If you accomplish it you can get something that “clean your mind”, like eat some icecream and watch a video on youtube or anything else you like.  They are your rewards so I can tell you what to choose (;
  7. Satisfaction comes in form of a “to do” list. Seriously, there are few satisfations bigger than be able to cross out something in a to do list. I am a fan of lists, I made them daily so I can stay organized, have goals during the day and also because they made me feel productive. As I cross four or five tasks I get more and more motivated because I know soon it will be over.

Aaand those were my collegeproof tips to do homework or studying  without die trying. I hope you enjoyed, let me know in the comments and also hope they are useful for you! If you have any other suggestion or personal practice for me to add and try just let me know! See you next week! Don’t forget to shareee.

4 tools for concept mapping

Here’s a confession: Besides been totally obsessed with stationary (I have like 20 different black pens, I know it’s crazy!) I enjoy studying and doing homework using colors, images and all kind of methods that make easier to memorize the contents.

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If you, just like me, are a visual learner you know what I am talking about. How delightful it’s when you have important info written in a different color, arrows that connects concepts, illustrations that explains or exemplified a term… Well, you get the point.

And, since my college classes started three weeks ago, I can’t believe how fast the time it’s going!, I tought it would be nice to share with you some of the websites and programs I use to make my concept maps for studying or assigments.

1.Cmap tools

It was the first one I used and I’ve been using it for more than 4 years. You have to download it (some computers already have it) but it’s really simple to install and free. Works perfectly if you need a concept map with a medium-large amount of information on it. You can personalize it but not too much. It has a limit in this aspect. Also, if you want to add an image it’s kind of a problem (I don’t know how to add one yet!). A big pro it’s that you can print it directly from your screen or download the map in a png format to make it “bigger” or smaller.

2. Coogle.it

Colorful, easy to use, free and via internet. It’s excellent for concepts you already know or a small amount of information. Why? Because you can’t edit the size of the font (or type), so the program automatically makes the more specific terms smaller and smaller as you add them to a bigger one. For example: Animals (font size: 18)>mammals (font size: 16) >acuatic (font size: 14)> dolphins (font size: 12). And, in case you print this, it would be harder for you to read it. Also, for using it you have to create an account (using google for example). But a big pro it’s you can add images from dragging them from the desktop to the webpage.

3. Goconqr.com

This one it’s my favorite! It have been helping me for 5 months and I am so happy I found it! You just need internet and create an account (using facebook, google or your email). In contrast with the other two programs this one allows you to create not only a mental map but summaries, tests, flashcards and much more. You can customize the font, size, color, background and much more. Also, add images it’s easier! Plus, you can add another concept map you already made. The only con to say about it, it’s that when you download your creation in a png format the quality and size of the text becomes a little bit smaller. So you have to struggle a bit to fit the image into a A4 sheet of paper.

4. Piktochart.com

Ok, so this one actually it’s not an specialized website for concept mapping, but it can work just fine. I use this more for infographics than for personal studying, but it has everything you can possibly need. You can login using your facebook or google account (or with your email). It’s really easy to use and has it’s own images to add, an enormous amount of backgrounds, fonts, templates. This gives you an infinity of ideas and tools for your own purposes. You can download it easily in a png format, which actually do have a very good quality (Big pro!).

Those were my top 4 based completely in my own opinion and experience. If you use another one that you can suggest me, please let me know. Trust me I will be happy to try it.