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    I’m Back

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    I am not dead. Nor have I quit Blog Squad. Like Mary said in one of her posts, I hate to use the excuse of life, but it must be thrown out there. However, I have about an hour to breathe right now, so I’m going to try and be useful and give you a list of some of my study habits. Clearly you’re not me, but maybe some of my habits will help you out? Yes? Yes. Oh and I know that midterms are (for the most part) over, but it’s never too early to start mentally preparing oneself for finals.

    What Jen Does To Successfully Study For A Test/Midterm/FINAL

    1) I have a study shirt. It’s nothing lame like this

    but it’s a shirt I wear when I study nonetheless. I’ve found that wearing it reminds me of past study-wins, and it inspires me to continue the trend.

    2) Munchies! My personal favorites are toast w/peanut butter, sandwiches, and those little square caramels; anything that can be eaten without really looking at it. I’ve found that noodles are a big NO NO when studying; you have to pay attention otherwise the soup gets everywhere, it requires usage of a dominant hand (well for me at least..), and really you’re just eating sodium. But anyway, I usually keep munchies at hand when studying. I’ve also heard that it’s good to keep your snacks at least 10 feet away from you, that way you have to actually get up and get them (unless you have freakishly long arms, in which case you don’t really need to be in school and can make millions playing basketball or something), which gets the blood flowing and offers a brief respite from studying.

    3) I have an epic playlist that I only listen to when studying. If you’re one of those people that needs to study in silence, just skip ahead to number 4. But hello fellow person that requires noise to study! I’ve found that listening to songs with words in them can get distracting; even if you don’t realize it, as you’re working on that super-long equation or scanning a page for a definition, you’ll slip and subconsciously sing right along with Katy Perry as she tells her guy to shut up and put his money where his mouth is. I personally prefer to listen to instrumentals and songs in languages I can’t understand, but maybe you can try listening to “sounds of nature” (haha..haven’t tried that yet..), or just put your music (with words) to a very low volume. As a side note, I dig anything by Schubert. Just sayin.

    4) I don’t study on my bed. Ever! It just doesn’t work. I associate beds with chill-time and sleep, so every time I attempt to study there it fails miserably. My desk is a relatively better place to study, but I find that I get the most work done when I’m at the kitchen table. Point is, I wouldn’t recommend studying anywhere you do anything else, because then your mind will start to drift, resulting in an epic fail. Pick a “study place”, keep to it, and don’t let it become a “sleep place”, “Youtube place”, or “Facebook place”.

    5) I try to use the same pens/pencils I used while studying, during the actual exam. I swear it’s happened where I’ll erase something in a test, and remember erasing something else with the same pencil, and that’s jogged my memory of the material. Brilliant.

    and finally..

    6) I sleep. I know it’s painfully easy to fall into the trap of doing marathon-bouts of studying with no sleep and those 5-hour energy drinks, but you really will retain so much more information if you sleep. Also, you’ll be so much happier overall. No one likes a grouch grouch.

    Who says grouch grouch? wth.

    Kay but anyway, those are my six little tips. I’m sure you’ve heard them elsewhere, but..well now you’ve heard them again. Happy studying!

    HELLO UBC!

    It’s hard to believe that summer is (almost) over! I refuse to acknowledge the end of summer until I step foot in my first class, which will be on Wednesday at 9AM. So woo hoo about 1.3 more days of Jen Summer!

    The past couple of days have been really crazy, but one thing that’s constantly been on my mind is how different moving and settling in this year has been compared to last year.

    Last year I moved into Totem Park (represent!) I think three days before everyone else was supposed to move in, but I just put my stuff in my room and chose to stay with my parents in our hotel room until like the day they left; I just wasn’t ready yet. My parents drove me around and took me to Walmart, to a Rogers store, etc etc, and helped me organize my room a bit. They stood in line with me to buy my books and get my UPass and UBC card, and they sat with me at the International Students orientation for parents (does it have a name?). After my parents left I was kind of in shock for a few hours, but I decided that I felt fiercely independent and woman-of-the-world-ish, but by nighttime when I was alone in my dorm room (my roomie hadn’t moved in yet) I found myself freaking out and wondering if I would EVER feel at home here.

    This year, I took a bus alone from Los Angeles to Vancouver, and checked myself into a hostel for a night. I met up with two of my friends within an hour of being in Vancouver, and the next day I was off on a three-night retreat with my sorority. After crashing a a friend’s place in North Van for a week, I moved into Fairview Crescent. Within 8 hours of checking in, I was hosting a friend’s birthday party in my apartment. Slowly but surely I’ve retrieved my stuff from my “storage” (aka I gave my stuff to my friends who don’t live too far away, promising to retrieve it when I came back to school), bought my books, and gone on mini-shopping trips to the grocery store (more on this later on in the post).

    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the differences between moving in last year and moving in this year.

    College is a completely different experience from high school; even if you’re not living on campus, your classes are cooler, the times are crazy and sometimes all over the place, and the overall atmosphere and attitude of campus is just different. If you are living on campus you’re dealing with even more: learning to live with people from all over the world, not having the convenience of mom to cook for you, and the whole being-on-your-own-for-the-first-time thing. Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here is directed to any first years that may be feeling lost, homesick, or even simply overwhelmed at how freaking HUGE college is. Yes, UBC is huge and you’re in a graduating class of a few thousand students. Don’t worry; give it time. In time campus will become smaller for you, and in a year you’ll most likely find yourself flying/driving back onto campus and find yourself thinking “Yay I’m home!” I know I totally did.

    Inspiration over, though. Back to my shopping experiences.

    I’ve never really grocery shopped for myself before. I mean I’ve gone for my family before, armed with a shopping list and mom a phone call away (“Did you want 1% or 2% milk?!”), and of course I’ve run out to the store because I had a craving for waffles or whatever but there weren’t any at home. Totally different from now! Today and yesterday have been my first times grocery shopping to keep myself alive, and it’s basically been epic fails both times. The first time I headed to Safeway and came home with four frozen dinners (4 for $8!), a loaf of bread, and sandwich meat (honey ham and turkey, in case you’re wondering). Today I tried again, this time at Save On Foods. I returned with four cans of sliced pineapple, apple juice, oatmeal, and body wash. What is wrong with me!

    Even worse because we don’t have a can opener yet. So sad.

    This post has gone on way longer than intended, so I’ll make my exit now. I hope everyone else is doing well settling in and getting ready for school to start! Seeya at Imagine Day!

    I fail as a blogger! But I’m back so it’s time for updates I suppose.

    First off, I survived my seven papers! My total word count came out to about the length of a doctoral dissertation, and I did it in two weeks! Near the end I think I started going a bit crazy, but right after the 8th I took two FULL days off to clear my head, where I watched the entire first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Good stuff! I don’t think I left my room much those two days.

    Anyway but after that I plunged headfirst into studying hardcore for finals, and that’s where I am now! Story of my life though: I have four finals in a row, one each day from the 15th-18th, and then I have like a week until my EASIEST final. Where is the justice in this! I like to look on the bright side of life though, so I’m thinking I’ll devote three days or so to completely finishing Avatar. Wooo!

    I also can’t decide what I’m going to do with my stuff over the summer. It’s not worth it to pay $180 to store my stuff; I’ll have ended up paying more to store my stuff than it cost to buy it. So here’s my master plan!!! I shall lend my printer to someone for the summer, like “Hey ____, want to use my printer for the summer?” Perhaps that same person will want to use my Brita filter! I already have a friend who says she will take this clear plastic box I have, SO I shall put my toaster and a set of plastic drawers in there! I shall give my mini-coffee maker to someone for safe-keeping, and my larger set of plastic drawers to another! The only things I’m worried about are my mirror and my bedding. My mirror is actually made up of four pieces, and it’s quite heavy, so I have nooo clue what to do with this. And my bedding is just random..”Hey buddy, can you hold onto my blankets and pillows over summer? I do have those suction-bag things (you know, the ones where you put your stuff in a bag and then use a vacuum cleaner to suck all the air out?), so maayyyybe I can just take my bedding back home with me? Hmm. If anyone would like to help me out and store  my mirror or something in the back of their closet for four months, do tell me!

    Need a laugh?

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    Usually I turn to failblog.org or fmylife.com when I need a quick pick me up, but my roommate showed this to me the other day and I laughed for about an hour straight.

    Worst Burglar Ever: http://warmingglow.uproxx.com/2009/03/buckle-up-kids-were-goin-to-awesome-town/

    It’s been so long since I last blogged! In my defense, it’s crunch time for all of my classes so I scarcely make time to feed myself! For example: I have a philosophy paper due Friday, an English draft due the following Monday, an anthropology portfolio due the next day, a history paper and the revised English paper due 4 days later, and an archaeology paper due that next day. Not to mention finals in a couple of weeks! I HATE MY LIFE.

    Although I must say I’m doing WAY better in classes this semester than I was doing last semester. Or maybe it’s just because I have more confidence? Either way, I’m doing far better. Last week I almost cried when I found out I got an A- on my philosophy midterm (SCOOORE!), but of course then I got mad at myself a bit because after looking at the questions I got marked down on, I realized I HAD known the rest of the answers, but I had either blanked a bit or rushed myself because we only had 50 minutes. I don’t care who you are, 50 minutes is not enough time to write 7 decent short answers and an essay!

    My non-academic life has also been spiffy! (Did I just use the word spiffy?) my sorority won Greek Week (booya!) a couple of weeks ago! VICTORY! I have very fond memories of the 7-legged race..lol. We also had our Formal this past weekend, where I realized a new dream of mine: TO BECOME A DJ. I have about a million dreams though, so I don’t know how soon I’ll be able to accomplish this one. Oh and I’m not particularly proud of this, but in the space of two weeks I have not only watched the entire Ouran High School Host Club anime series, but I’ve also READ all 69 published chapters of the manga. TWO WEEKS. I don’t even know what to think of myself! Forget what I said earlier about academics ruling my life; apparently my mind has been at Ouran High. The main characters are all at the top of their classes though, so I have actually been inspired a few times to stop reading and get back to work. So loophole: it’s been good for me! baha

    Lately I’ve also been stressing about my future, mainly my major and what I’m doing after graduation. I have this nagging idea that I should switch into the faculty of science and pursue astronomy (which I love), but I really want to graduate after four years, and switching and getting all the classes would be a major pain in the ass. But I’m also seriously considering applying for the school of Creative Writing, since another dream of mine (see previous paragraph) is to become a novelist. This one is the scarier option, because there’s only a very small chance I’d ever be able to support myself as a writer and I don’t want to wind up working as a toothbrush restocker at a dentist’s office.

    Although that wouldn’t be that bad. I imagine I’d get free toothbrushes and toothpaste and stuff.

    Anyway. So I’d like to go for the Creative Writing program, but then (dream alert) I’d also like to be a lawyer, so I don’t know how that could work out? Plus if I went with CR I don’t know if I could double major..not that I’d know what to double major in since right now my mind is floating around anthropology, English, and philosophy. I wish I could like quadruple major in four years, while simultaneously learning languages (I want to learn Italian and Japanese), and still have time for random fun classes (like the wine tasting class or an art class!), all of which would get me into a top law school!! And of course having a killer fashion sense and fabulous parties the whole time. Oh yeah and I’d have time to read/watch manga/anime, study abroad, and work as a skydiving instructor during the summer. A girl can dream.

    Oh and the rest of the Blog Squad got together on Friday but I wasn’t theeere! 🙁 Although I was at Formal, so it’s not like I was sitting at home reading Ouran (ha!), but still. I should propose another get together just after classes end but before finals begin. STUDY DATE! We could rent out a room in Irving and put a sign on the door with a witty, catchy slogan that entices people to visit our websites and peek in the window, amazed at how scholarly we look with piles of books, crumpled papers, towers of coffee cups, wearing our glasses (we’ll all mysteriously require corrective lenses that day), and periodically having passionate discussions about the effects of GMOs on the suffering economies of the world (complete with pie graphs and utilization of white boards)!!!

    ^^My imagination astounds me. I need a vacation.

    This morning I decided to take a quick shower before heading to the caf for breakfast, and in my little rush it slipped my mind to grab my keys just in case my roommate woke up and left. Once I got out of the shower I realized I had forgotten my keys, but figured that my roommate hadn’t woken up and left in the 20 minutes I’d been gone. I go to my room, and baha, I’d been locked out of my room. I was wearing nothing but a towel and flip flops.

    I waited around for my roommate to come back for about 45 minutes, during which I showered a second time, hung with several girls on my floor, fixed a friend’s computer, and wandered around.

    Eventually I sucked it up and, wearing only the towel and my RA’s jacket, I walked to the Commons Block to get a temporary key, receiving a myriad of odd looks along the way. FML.

    Moral of the story: make sure you ALWAYS have your keys with you when you shower. That is all.

    I am SO glad that Britney Spears is back.

    I just really needed to throw that out there. I know this isn’t exactly breaking news, but whatever.

    If anyone wants to get me tickets for her Circus tour, feel free. 🙂

    Oh and I just noticed that the date on the womanizer’s iPhone in the beginning of the Womanizer video is April 20th….4/20. And the whole video is kind of wonky because Britney keeps appearing as various vixens in his 9-5 workday, and of course there are the kinda trippy scenes at the end where all four Britneys are clawing at him. Concidence? I think not.

    On another note, I can’t help thinking about the Womanizer video from an “academic” standpoint.

    In the video she’s getting all angry at Mr. Womanizer because he’s doing as his name implies, womanizing, yet Britney is traipsing about in sexy outfits, not to mention those scenes where she’s naked in some sort of sauna. Regardless of her intentions, she’s using her body to sell her song, therefore empowering womanization (is that a word?). However, it could also be said that she’s using her most powerful means to her advantage: like it or not, one of a female’s biggest sources of power is her sexuality; wouldn’t it theoretically be smart to use whatever means you have to be succesful?

    ^^a combination of ideas from my English, anthro, and philo classes

    Enough Engthrophiling though. I just made up a word.  I-I have a test to study for. 🙂

    So I forgot to put a title on a philosophy paper I turned in yesterday.

    WHO forgets to title a paper! I’ve spents days thinking of proper titles for papers before! Mind you not full 24-hour days, more like days where it’s always at the back of my head. I mean it’s the second thing the prof sees! So when my TA or prof or whatever is reading this it’s going to be like “Okay on to number 16. Geez I’m hungry..okay I’ll eat right after I grade this one. Jennifer Ayala. *check off little box on a sheet of paper* ….WHAT?” The “….” referring to his general confusion at having such a small space between the heading and the first paragraph, with NOTHING inbetween.

    And it’s even more fail because it was like the 4th or 5th copy I printed out. I spent a couple of hours revising and adding to the rough draft, and the whole time I had the first page sitting on top of my desk, staring at me, but apparently I wasn’t staring back. Oh, OH! And later on when I told my friend, she said “Oh yeah that was the first thing I noticed when you showed me..but I thought that was what your professor wanted.” Excuse me while I SLAP YOU.

    I’m hoping I don’t get points docked off or anything. I’m praying for just a little “Title?” note where it should be, and that my grader will instead concentrate on my deep philosophical quanderings into the three forms of conventionalism in relation to a medical ethics case.

    But now I’m not sure what I should do to prevent this from happening again. I’ve been writing papers for how long and I still fail? I’m hoping that this was just a minor mental slip due to my recently defective immune system (although today I think I’ve been at my best since I got sick! Win!). Just in case though, maybe I’ll stick a post-it to my printer that says “Look at first page of paper. If no title: add title and reprint. If titled: you didn’t fail :)”

    I don’t know how this happened exactly, but somehow every single one of my classes are tying into each other this semester. And not in vague “oh this kind of relates to an idea that was brought up in a tangent discussion the other day in my __ class”, I’m talking we’re discussing the same ideas in all of my classes. Let me explain.

    I start off my week by going to Intro to World Archaeology, where we’re basically learning about human origins, and why various early human species died out (specifically, perhaps it was due to integration between other human species nearby, or maybe it was an inability to adapt to new environments, social turmoil, etc etc). My second class of the week is philo (Intro to Moral Theory), where we’re discussing (duh) moral theories; are there any ethical truths, are there any universally accepted beliefs or laws, are things “good” or “bad” because society says it or because God says it? etc etc. Next is Intro to Cultural Anthropology; right now we’re reading a book (mentioned this before) about culture clashes, and learning about different cases where Western influence isn’t necessarily a good thing in some indigenous societies. Fourth I have English (British Literature to the 17th century…I think), where we keep running into the theme of how women were treated and represented in literature in the ‘olden’ days, and we discuss how (or if) this relates to modern days. Lastly I have history (Contemporary Global Issues in Historical Perspective), where we’re talking about climate change and how it’s affecting smaller societies (such as the Inuit), specifically how our actions contribute to the demise of their home lands, while they’re contributing practically nothing to the global climate change.

    Do you see how these are all connecting? BAHAHAHHAAA I feel like I’m taking one giant class talking about human relations, truth, and the consequences of our actions. Hence I’m calling this my Semester of the Mind, which I guess every semester is supposed to be, but whatever.

    Anywhoodles. I whole heartedly recommend that you take my exact semester right now (except maybe you could drop archeology, it relates the least). So yeah, get on planning this into your timetables for next year. 🙂

    I feel like I’ve dropped off the face of the Earth for the past few days. Why, you may ask?

    RIP LAPTOP

    Backstory: My roommate and I bunked our beds, she on top and I on bottom. I may have blogged about this before.

    What happened Wednesday night: My roommate came in from a night out, while my friend and I sat on the floor leaning against my bed watching The Princess Bride on my laptop (Inconceivable!). Anyway so she got into bed, fell asleep, la la la, then out of nowhere she fell out of bed and landed on us (and the laptop). Computers are pretty sturdy things, mind you, but she must have landed like RIGHT on the spot where the internal hard drive is, because the computer froze and didn’t even respond to Ctrl+Alt+Delete (which brings up the task manager). So I decided to just shut it off completely and turn it back on, but EPIC FAIL, this black screen came up and said that it couldn’t detect an internal hard drive. I couldn’t recall removing an internal hard drive, so my worst fears were confirmed: my roommate had killed my laptop.

    I’ve since opened it up and looked around, and nothing seems to be wrong with the actual computer. Although when I opened the slot to where the hard drive was, a random little screw fell out..hm. Upon reflection I never figured out where it went, but I was able to find another place where it fit so I didn’t really care. Oops.

    ANYWAY it’s now been about three days and I still don’t have a laptop. I’m using my roommate’s right now, as she is out eating sushi and going to Best Buy to see if she can buy me a new hard drive, because I’m assuming that’s the only problem. Today I found out that my laptop is under warranty (yay, right?), BUT since I’m in Canada right now I’d have to pay to get an International Warranty before Dell could send me a new hard drive. And their offices are only open Monday to Friday, so I’d have to wait another two days, call, then wait like a week while they’d ship it to me. Does the universe not understand that I am in college, and have two papers due this week, as well as three other large research projects that I need to work on! Not to mention two of my classes have required readings and discussions online!

    Bah. But I digress. My point is that I would like all of us to pray that my laptop gets fixed SOON, and if it doesn’t, that God grants me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the freaking patience to wait until things do change. Oh and that my friends don’t mind me using their laptops whenever I see that they’re not using it. “You’re going to the bathroom? Can I use your laptop kay thanks!”

    Oh and I suppose I should include words of wisdom or whatever. If you’re an international student and worry about the future of your electronics, make sure you get all warranty-things sorted out BEFORE you switch countries of residence. -.-

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