how to study.

sometimes, i have midterms. always, they suck.
but here's how i try to manage exams a little better.

  • make specific checklists that include everything you need to do. i can't just put "study for genetics" on a to-do list. i write down all the textbook stuff i need to read, homework to go over, and practice problems/exams to do. i write all of these checklists on index cards and keep them paper-clipped to my planner, like so:

    seeing everything laid out like this makes it much easier to gauge how much time i need to spend studying and how i can divide it up over multiple days.
  • start early!! take advantage of less busy days to start studying. many professors will ease back on assignments leading up to exams - for example, my problem set for orgo last week was optional - so you should use that time to start tackling your study material.
  • even when it's not a hell week, i try to spend at least half an hour on every subject every day. if i don't have a specific assignment to work on, i read or do extra practice problems. (in theory.) that way, when i do have an exam coming up, i've already been kind of studying the whole time. i keep these little calendars taped to my desk to keep track of how i'm doing with this system.
  • for me, it is most helpful to block out certain times of the day for different subjects. for example, i might study neuroscience during a long lunch break, orgo after class, and genetics after dinner. this helps me stay focused, rather than switching really quickly from one subject to another.
  • on a similar note, figure out which environments are conducive to studying certain subjects. personally, i like studying in my room for genetics, because i like to read the textbook out loud and talk myself through problems. for orgo, for whatever reason, i prefer to be in public spaces, like cafes or even the kitchen in my suite. (for physics last year, it was this room on the top floor of my dorm that i like to call my study cave.) moving from one place to another will also help with focusing on the task at hand. 
  • make time for study breaks! when i have to read a million pages in a textbook, i generally read until i get really bored/tired, and then i check the clock. if it's been at least 30 minutes since i started, i let myself have a little break - i'll watch an episode of a short tv show (new girl and the office and whose line are solid choices) or learn a song on the ukulele or walk to the student center for some fresh air and a snack. it's important to have structured study breaks, not just ~i'm bored so i'm going to go on the internet and op where the did the last 3 hours go?~ bigger study breaks are nice too, like going out to grab thai food with your suite or watching a disney movie for old time's sake. just make sure you have balance!
  • find friends who are in similar situations! usually people in your major will all be having hell weeks at the same time, so talk to them and commiserate and maybe even work out times to study together.
  • make your study place a happy place. if it's your room, clean it. (those 15 minutes it takes to make your bed and put away your laundry will make a WORLD of difference.) if i have an exam coming up there's about a 97% chance that you will find me listening to disney pandora. you're already doing a stressful activity, so try not to add any other stressful things.
  • be disciplined with your time. for me, this means cutting back a lot on internet shenanigans - i use selfcontrol like my life depends on it. (if you have a mac, download selfcontrol NOW. it's the best!) i set it for 24 hours, check tumblr and facebook when it runs out, and then set it for another 24 hours. when you have a lot of schoolwork to do, there's just not time for that stuff, and there are other ways to chill and relieve stress. 
basically, when you're studying, study hard. but make sure you make time to take breaks and enjoy yourself :)

♥ maria


if you were to take a look into my iphone, this is what you'd find....

1. Facebook
although I don't use the facebook app that often, i like it a lot because i can use it to check up on things really quick without getting too distracted. 

2. Twitter
twitter is a different story. i'm in love with twitter. if you don't already follow me, you should, 'cause i tweet some pretty clever stuff. the twitter app is my lifesaver. i check it all the time to avoid awkward eye contact in the hallways & unnecessary conversations. as you can see i'm not a social butterfly.

3. Goodreads
if you don't have a goodreads account, stop reading this post and go make one right now. if you love reading as much as i do, then this website/app will make your life 23482347 times easier. on goodreads you can keep track of all the books you've ever read, are currently reading, or want to read. the to-read list is the best because now i can never forget the names of books that people recommend to me. i just whip out my iphone, type in the name of the book, and it's saved forever! 

4. Flixster
if you go to the movies a lot, flixster is your app! flixster makes it super easy to find movie times and movie theaters near you. you can even watch trailers and read critics' reviews. super handy for those days when you can't decide what to watch or have no idea what's even playing, which is basically every time i go to the movies...

5. Instagram
if you have an iphone and you don't have an instagram, you're doing it wrong. that is all.

6. VSCO Cam
vsco cam is basically a classier instagram without the social part of it. you can edit pictures with more professional-looking effects and keep the original dimensions of the picture, which i like a lot. you can keep your pictures on the app, export them to your camera roll, or export them to facebook, twitter, or instagram. i've been taking most of my pictures with it lately and i love it.

7. PicStitch 
picstitch is the perfect collage-making app. it has a wide selection of layouts to choose from. just double tap the frame, select your picture, and place it. boom, a super cute collage of you and your dog/all the foods you ate this week/different outfits/whatever your little heart desires.

8. Whale Trail 
i usually don't have games on my phone, but whale trail is the exception to the rule. i'm warning you now, if you get this game, you will become addicted. you basically have to avoid hitting the clouds and keep your fuel up by catching all the colored bubbles. if your fuel runs out or you hit a cloud for too long, you die. the farther you travel, the higher score you get. my current high score is 1,421,124. yeah.

so there you have it! a little peek into my iphone. if you have any cool apps you wanna share with us, leave a comment! 

♥ alex


autumn is a nice season

a very harsh truth i've come to realize during my first two months in boston: the weather is everything but reliable :-( one day, it's 70 and a cloudless sunny, the next day, it's pouring rain and a chilly 40 degrees! so i tend to think a lot about how i'm dressing every morning (although this usually ends up with me throwing on a pullover sweatshirt, rainboots, and praying that it won't rain because i want my hair at least to look presentable...) so yeah, one of my favorite things about autumn is wearing fall-appropriate clothing, and for me, this means buying lots of boots, sweaters, denim, and leggings. if there's one thing i've learned at college, it's that it's OKAY to wear leggings because nobody gives a shit about anything other than comfort! and warmth! so wear leggings all you want is what i'm preachin' :-)

pictured above: this is a very typical outfit for me...floral tank top, denim shirt, black leggings, and boots. it's simple and comfortable and it usually keeps me pretty warm throughout the ups and downs of a typical day in boston weather. and if i know it's going to rain (which i rarely ever do), i just throw on a rain jacket and rain boots instead. i mean, to be honest, i actually wear rain boots 4/7 days of the week lol it's considered high-fashion, i promise! but it's kind of sad though, because whenever i try to look cute because i think it's going to be a super sunny and beautiful day based on the morning weather, it always ends up hardcore raining when i've already left my dorm and i'm just very unprepared for it ugh boston weather really messes with my mind, no joke

but on a happier note, somebody gave me this nice balloon when i wore this outfit
so that was kind of precious

hope you all have a nice weekend and a lovely autumn!

♥ pratibha  


single serving chocolate chip cookie.

is it 3:47 in the morning?
do you still have several hours of homework to do?
are you recovering from an illness that went from runny nose
to cough to earache to pinkeye in the span of a week? 
are you just having a rough day?

if you answered yes to any of these questions,
1. our lives are very similar, and
2. i know what you need.

...wait, is that what i think it is?

 could it be.....


i'm never getting over the phenomenon that is the cookie in a cup.
you just throw the ingredients into a cup.
microwave it.

anyways, enjoy!

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
3 drops of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp chocolate chips

melt the butter in the microwave. add the sugars, 
vanilla, salt, and egg yolk, and stir to combine.
add the flour, stir, and then the chocolate chips,
and stir again. (resist the temptation to just eat
the whole thing now in its delectable cookie dough
form.) microwave for 40-60 seconds. and EAT.

♥ maria


cold coffee and autumn leaves

if you don't know who ed sheeran is already, try to think of what honey mixed with chocolate on a winter's morning would feel like, and that's ed for you. he's a british singer-songwriter known famously for both his unique voice and amazing lyricism, who gained major popularity in the usa just in the past year. 'the a team' is his most recognizable song but his other ones are just as great, if not better, so you should get all of his albums anyway! and i swear to you, by the end of this post, you will want to marry ed sheeran. you will probably want to have his little ginger babies. and you'll most likely want him to sing 'cold coffee' to you every autumn morning, wrapped in warm comforters and woolen clothing, because he will give you a lot of unwanted but nice, fuzzy feelings

as i mentioned in a previous post, maria and i went to see this precious ginger soul on september 19th, and it was, hands down, the most wonderful night of my young life. i can't imagine another artist who could even come close to that kind of experience for me. it was everything about the concert, from being on the floor, so close to him, to listening to all his original songs plus a couple covers, and have them sound exactly the way they do on the album. i think that's when you know you've found a really great talent. he engaged the audience so well by making us a part of the show and we could tell he actually cared a lot about his fans and his music, which is something you don't come by often with musicians and artists nowadays.

ed being his wonderful self at the house of blues

i remember hearing about ed last october when his music video for lego house came out and the only reason i even watched it was for rupert grint to be honest heh...but thank god i did because listening to ed's music changed my life and i'm not even exaggerating when i say this. because wow he actually is such a wonderful person (i mean, i can only imagine, because i'm not actually best friends with him...although i pretend to be) and performer and i want to take him home in my pocket and let him croon love songs into my ear all day

anyway, i videotaped one of my favorite performances by him that night (and i didn't really videotape much of the show because i was too busy enjoying it but i'm so glad i got this one!) he was singing kiss me and told everybody to be quiet and not sing along. and everybody actually listened. so all we could hear was his guitar and beautiful voice and i may or may not have cried...ahem, so take a listen...

so if you ever have the opportunity to see ed in concert, do it! the $75 i spent was well worth it and i would definitely do it again. also, stick around after the show to meet him because he always comes out to say hi to the fans! this is something i really regret not doing ugh but regardless, it was a flawless show and a great way to kick off my college years :-)

♥ pratibha


senior day

i know i've been posting a lot about senior stuff, but hey, i can't help it! too many amazing things are happening this year!
yesterday was senior day. the school allowed us to skip two periods to have a picnic outside as a class. we brought food and blankets and we sat, ate, and enjoyed each other's company. we were officially "crowned" as the leaders of the school, which made me feel pretty cool. overall it was an amazing experience and i can definitely feel my class becoming more and more united every day.
i'm really going to miss this feeling; being a big fish in a small pond. in less than a year i'll be on my own somewhere. the uncertainty gets to me sometimes, and it makes me feel so afraid of what's to come, but it's days like yesterday that remind me to enjoy life as it comes, and to not worry so much about the future (which i do like, every day).

EDITED: oh and speaking of the future, i finished all of my college applications! and i only cried twice during the whole process!! i think that deserves some kind of award, right? (;

I edited out the part about people asking questions because honestly, I probably won't get any, so I'll just do a general post about college apps and some tips that I received throughout the process that I thought were helpful and stuff like that. 

i hope you're all having a great weekend!

♥ alex


an autumn ensemble



1. ballerina earrings for a touch of whimsy
2. true life: i own three pairs of gray ankle boots. no shame.
3. iphone cases count as accessories, right?
4. mmmmm shorts and tights. YAY FALL!

♥ maria
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