by Dakota Nash

Studying is a chore, and let’s be honest for a second…NOT FUN! It’s stressful, time-consuming, and a mandatory task if we genuinely want to succeed in our classes. However, we can take the negativity out of studying if we give ourselves an area that is entirely ours.

It transforms studying into your personal oasis of learning.

We will want a space that makes us feel comfortable and focused. Having a designated space for studying in your room/house will set you up for success. The trick is to only use this area for studying/work. Doing so allows our brains to recognize this space as a time for study.

 I have a central spot in my room and office, which keeps it familiar and isn’t as jarring as jumping from spot to spot, such as coffee shops, parks, or even the library. I need isolation; I’m too much of a people person to be in a busy place.

Now this area can mean lots of different things to many of us. However, a space that contributes to your learning style will make study/work a little bit more appealing.

As a student and even as an employee, I’m constantly being distracted by numerous things that surround me. It’s nice to have a distraction-free zone that will allow me to focus on my work. No Phones, No Social Media, No Snacking until break, etc. This will help keep your mind in the zone.

 We should keep Items on our desks that are essential to the task at hand and readily available. It takes me out of the zone to go searching for a textbook, therefore eating up more time than intended. My study session became less efficient because I didn’t have the necessary materials at hand.  

It is suggested to have natural light by your desk as well as a low maintenance plant. I personally keep succulents on my desk. They are super easy to maintain and add some life to my space. According to NASA, having a plant on the desk will help with Indoor air quality, breathing, and de-stress an already stressful study situation.

I even recommend having an alarm clock to keep you on track, a piece of paper not for your studies, but to write down any extraneous thoughts (schedule, snacks, and reminders) and a paper calendar to keep you from opening up your phone. Positive, inspiring quotes will help keep your motivation levels up and add some personal flair.

You should want your space solely focused on studying/work. Some like to have their desk cluttered, and others suggest having minimal to no clutter. I’m definitely on the minimal side, but I do need to have all my supplies and materials at hand when I begin my study session. It keeps me organized. On the other side of the spectrum, having a cluttered desk can spark creativity and imagination. It is said that creatives enjoy a cluttered desk. Do what is best to keep you in your workflow.

The bottom line is to decorate your space and design it in a way that sets you up for a successful work session. OWN IT. DO IT. ENJOY IT. 

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By Nigel Maplethorne

1.  Documentary Editor: History is not often connoted with the entertainment industry, which is awfully silly when you consider the number of television networks dedicated to just that: history. As an editor, you would run the various accounts of your subject, look for careful edits that reveal themes, inspire rapt attention, and, most importantly, tell the necessary truth.

2.  Think Tank Researcher: This is a broad and vast field, yet not often one that gets much thought as a career option for history majors. I find this unfortunate given how think tanks can develop research and advocacy on topics such as culture, technology, social policy, and economics. What helps flesh out and define these myriad fields? Historical precedent of course.

3.  Paralegal: After all those years toiling on historical research papers, you can finally put your analytical and research talents to concrete work. That is to say – you can support lawyers by doing research and paperwork on cases. This is especially relevant when dealing with history, as many instances strongly rely on historical, legal precedent.

4.  Political Speechwriter: If there is any job that requires extensive knowledge of history, it is that of a political speechwriter. After all, there are hundreds of years worth of political rhetoric and speeches, not to mention that politics are inherently inseparable from history.

5.  Park Ranger: The position of a park ranger is hardly the first thing that comes to mind when you search for jobs attaining your degree in history. However, many aspects of the job can benefit from such applications. Consider the number of parks that have a rich and varied past. Not only that but consider how many parks offer historical tours and written historical backgrounds. Want to work in the natural beauty that is the great outdoors while utilizing your learnings? Look no further.

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“It looks great on college applications.”

I ask you right now, how many times have you either A) said this to your student or B) heard your student or one of their friends say this about an activity?

“Join that club, it’ll look great on college applications.”

“Take that extra class, it’ll look great on college applications.”

“Well, I’m only in three clubs. I should probably add a few more because that looks better on college applications.”

Increasingly, this is the trend among students that leave them overworked, stressed, and going through the motions instead of dedicating themselves to activities that they’re truly passionate about. Not only do they suffer, but they’re doing the organizations and clubs that they’re involved with a disservice by going through the motions and not truly dedicating themselves to the activity.

This myth, this trend has to stop.

Why do we keep urging students to be as overworked as possible? Is it the competitive nature of college admissions? 

College admissions officers aren’t interested in the student who can balance fifteen activities anymore. They want students who have developed a passion for something and demonstrated an independent, in-depth interest in that passion. Being the president of five clubs on campus is no longer seen in the same favorable light that it was fifteen years ago. In fact, admissions officers would much rather see a student who had an interest in film and started filming small documentaries about his than five club presidencies under his belt. 

We’re doing students a huge disservice by forcing them into activities for one reason and one reason alone instead of encouraging them to further develop their passions and learn in a way that speaks to them. In fact, all of my clients light up the minute we start planning out how to take one of their interests and turn them into activities to further their expertise instead of joining more clubs or activities at school that they’re not interested in joining in the first place. 

Take my brother, for example. His entire life, he loved video games. That’s all he did in his spare time growing up, other than the occasional skateboarding trick or sports team. Developing that interest against the advice of nearly everyone around him, it paid off: he was a subject matter expert in his field, won competitions for a particular game, and is now working for the industry. It was his interest that kept him going school, made money to pay for school, and eventually turned into a career. 

While not every student will turn their hobby into a career, the journey that they take in learning more about a subject interest will do far more for their own self-development than sitting bored in a club meeting at lunch for twenty minutes a week. 

I know you’re thinking to yourself: how do I help my student find this passion? He/She doesn’t seem to be interested in much.

Here are a few ways to find that interest and brainstorm activities to make that interest grow into something incredible. 

1. What does your student spend most of their time doing? If it’s not a particular activity, is there a skill set or a quality about many activities they do that appeal to them?

2. Do they have an interest that you’re not sure you want to because you can’t match a career to it? Be careful here, because even students who have an interest in training homing pigeons will learn something about the nature of animals, develop responsibility, and might even develop teaching skills later on as they pass their wisdom on to future homing pigeon trainers. 

3. Does your student have a unique expertise that they could teach to others?  The expanse of the internet has opened up opportunities for entrepreneurs, giving your student the chance to write an ebook or develop a YouTube channel teaching their expertise.

Now, take that particular expertise and start brainstorming ways to develop new activities around that field. For example:

Does your student like taking pictures? Perhaps they can document the history or social events in your town. They could teach younger kids about photography, even if it’s how to take amazing iPhone pictures. They could compile a collection of photos and enter photography competitions or see about getting their work in a gallery. The list goes on and on…

Before school starts this year, sit down with your student and list out all of the activities they’re planning on participating in and ask them why they picked each one, or the reasoning behind each one. Then start narrowing down the list by the activities that your student is truly interested in pursuing as opposed to the activities that would “look good.” Brainstorm new or exciting ways your student can develop their own interests in activities they want to be a part of. Also, don’t be afraid to make suggestions or cross activities off of the list to make room for new ones or extra time. Your student should have time to be a teenager too.

Remember, admissions officers want to know what you’re truly interested in doing, not a list of activities that “look good.” Or, as quoted in a recent New York Times article:

“Be authentic. We want to know what your real interests and passions are, not what you think we want you to be interested in.” — Dr. Tom Bowling, Vice President for Student and Educational Services, Frostburg State University

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A March Consulting Ode to Having a Planner

Personally? I love office supplies. New pens, new folders, new desk organizers – the list goes on and on. But if you’re not someone who loves spending hours deciding whether this year’s theme should be rose gold or March Consulting green for your school supplies, there is one thing that has to make it on your list this year: a planner.

While everyone is different, what I suggest is browsing a few planners to get a feel for what would best serve you. During the school year, you need to be able to plan out your assignments, when you’re going to study for tests, and when big events are, so you’re not spending the whole night before a project is due actually doing the project.

Yes, there is a better way.

Below are a few planners that have worked well for our students in the past. We also have a guest post from one of our former students, Sophia Caputo (who is a junior at Mercy College) to show you from a student’s perspective how a planner can work for you. 

Ready? Set? Plan!

Bullet Journal – Great for students who want more freedom and less structure in their planner. What we love about this one (other than that freedom), is a brief guide at the beginning and future planning that allows you to set goals and decide if you’re meeting them.

Clever Fox – A more traditional planner with flare, the Clever Fox allows you to plan out your weeks and months accordingly while also giving you room to document your goals. You can also document your personal goals at the same time, and evaluate whether or not you’re reaching them week to week and month to month.

Day Designer – While originally designed for managing the day-to-day of adulthood, Day Designer has made an academic planner that allows you to – you guessed it – plan out each day. There’s ample room to write down assignments, events, and even your to-do list, along with monthly and weekly plans. The Day Designer is more expensive due to being daily, and includes stickers, a customizable cover, and other additions.

Ultimate Student Planner – Designed for high school students, the ultimate student planner gives you a weekly and monthly view, as well as a place to keep your class schedule. It has space to plan out assignments and extracurriculars and runs from August to June, just like the school year.

Mead Planners – Last, and certainly not least, is the good old fashioned Mead planner that you can get at any store, including Target. They carry weekly and monthly versions of their planners. They get the job done and are extremely durable.

There are only a few suggestions. Don’t be afraid to look for one that fits your personality, organizational style, and needs. Remember that what is most important is that you USE your planner. 

As promised, here’s a word from a former student on what a planner can do for you (even if you’re not a senior yet).

The First Step to Conquering Senior Year

By Sophia Caputo

Do you have $8.09? Oh, perfect! You can afford a planner to keep your life in order.

    That’s right, it’s time for you to buy a planner (you too, dudes!). If the extremely basic Mead pocket planner is unexciting to you, try Kate Spade’s website or take a trip to Ross or Burlington. (I got one for $4!) Still not thrilled about buying an empty book to keep your life organized? Then use your phone’s calendar– easy peasy. 

    So you say you hate planners…

Coming from someone who perceived all organization tactics, especially planners, to be Satan reincarnate the first three years of high school, I can assure you I survived many deadlines and due dates all thanks to my trusty Target planner I purchased a month into senior year. This year is filled from top to bottom with obligations and assignments, with applications for both college and scholarships– and unfortunately neither the University of California Los Angeles or the Coca Cola Foundation are too forgiving on missing those deadlines.

…because it’s so tedious…

    Believe me, it takes a serious adjustment period to get into the habit of writing down the mundane tasks we’re required to do each day (homework, laundry, ASB meetings, etc.), but it helps in the long run. Avoid turning in assignments late or begging your classmates for due dates and details by keeping tabs on your own. By jotting down important things, you’re deeming them important– and you’re not simply affording yourself the excuse of “I forgot” anymore. 

    …and you’d just end up forgetting to actually write things down.

    Like I said, using your phone calendar or reminder app is just as good. One of my best friends set reminders on his laptop– one time I was at his house and we were studying for the AP Environmental Science test and a reminder to “GRIND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” popped up. If something was super important, I’d take the time to utilize the “remind me at a location” feature on the reminder app. 

    Senior year will be epic for you, and it’ll be crazy stressful, too. You’ll be wishing for more hours in everyday; you’ll soon become painfully aware of the fact that, in a year, your siblings and parents won’t be down the hall from you. You won’t be able to just hop in the car and grab a Dewar’s milkshake before heading to your best friend’s house. Every single moment is valuable– try to make the most of every one.

So dig up $8.09 and get ready for an unforgettable senior year.

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CameraOccasionally you may have heard us mention the benefits of completing a summer project or program: Have a great experience! Meet new people! Learn new skills! Discover your passions!

You might even agree with us an think a summer project would be a great idea! But now it’s practically July… and you’re still watching Netflix 7 hours a day…

No more excuses. You’ve still got plenty of time left to take on a fun and meaningful summer project. Here’s a list of 21 things you can do THIS summer:

Volunteer: You don’t necessarily have to travel half way around the world to find a place to serve. If you’re from the Bakersfield area, we just made your life easier and included links to local organizations looking for high school aged volunteers. Not from Bako? A quick Google search pulls up more volunteer options than we could count! Try volunteering at:

1. The humane society (Bakersfield SPCA)

2. A local museum (BMOA)

3. Your place of worship

4. A hospital or nursing home (San Joaquin Community Hospital Adventist Health)

5. A day camp (List of Bakersfield area camps)

Job Shadow: One of the best ways to learn if you’re cut out for a certain career is to follow a professional along for the day. Make sure to ask lots of questions, introduce yourself to other employees, and record your thoughts and experiences when you get home. While shadowing someone doing EXACTLY the job you dream of would be ideal, don’t be afraid to spend an afternoon learning about a field you don’t know anything about. You might be surprised at what interests you. You can shadow:

6. Your parents

7. Other relatives

8. Your parents’ friends

9. Your neighbors

10. Alumni from your high school

Learn/Develop a Skill: Never tried cooking calamari? Always wanted to take your pogo stick technique to the next level? This is your summer. Do it.

11. Learn HTML

12. Pick up a new instrument (or an old one you’ve set down!)

13. Film a movie with friends

14. Start a podcast or blog

15. Make your parents or grandparents’ day and ask them to teach you to cook

16. Write a sestina (What’s a sestina? This.)

17. Learn how to ride a unicycle

Plan Something Different: Alternating with friends between swimming in the pool and going to the movies can get old eventually (and we love movies). Change things up and start something new!

18. Start a running group to train for a 5k/10k/half/marathon/triathlon/jump rope across America race

19. Start a band and host a concert for friends and family

20. Plan a block party for your neighborhood

21. Host a book and movie club with friends to read and then watch books turned into movies together. Host a discussion and battle over the ever-present controversy: Was it better than the book?

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