EXAM PREP: That time Carissa learned Maria could write…

Hey guys:) It’s Maria! I know Carissa gave you all an update not too long ago but I figured I should give you guys some tips since our exam week starts on Monday *cue sobs*. I have always had testing anxiety so this time of year is one of my least favorites (the other one is final exams in the spring).

So the first thing I always have to do is attempt calmness; yes, it does sound difficult but you just have to go to your happy place. My happy place is imagining myself with my pup curled up next to me with her head in my lap. I know for Carissa it would probably be eating deer jerky at deer camp listening to her One Direction/Taylor Swift playlist (it’s called TayTayOne SwiftDirection). It could be descriptive or simple, all depends on what you want to imagine.

Here are the tips i’ve put together for you guys:)

  1. Exam Information– know where it will be held, at what time, who will be your proctor, and most importantly what time your exam is over. Do not be afraid to talk to your professors; most of them really don’t want you to fail (I said most).

  2. Plan It Out– most professors give study guides or review sheets. LOOK AT THEM. If you need to write down what you should study, then do it.

  3. Schedule– schedule out your time to study. Don’t just start studying the day of the exam. It’s scientifically proven that cramming before an exam does not help you on said exam. Taking a half hour out of your day to just review things can help you (even if it’s two weeks before your exam).

  4. Follow Through– follow through with your plans. Making a list and schedule is all well and good, but you need to make sure you actually complete the goals you have set for yourself.

  5. Study Correctly– don’t just skim the book, take the time to read it and repeat it. Flash cards are a favorite of mine as is teaching the material to a willing friend or relative (aka don’t use Carissa as your student). It’s proven that the best thing to listen to while studying is instrumental music, it can be pop, rock, jazz, classical, hip-hop, R&B, etc etc. My personal favorite is a compilation of Beethoven (love me some Fur Elise) and/or the Nutcracker.

  6. Study Breaks– give yourself permission to take study breaks — actually make sure you take study breaks. Study breaks allow for maximum concentration while also rewarding you for your hard work. Most colleges have “Stress Less” activities to do like making gingerbread houses, snowflake making, doodling, movie night, secret santa, puppy breaks, etc. Do not skip out on these no matter how overwhelmed you are. It is extremely important that you give yourself a break.

  7. Take Care of Yourself– yes, studying and completing assignments are very important, but don’t forget that you still need to sleep (most people who sleep between 6-8 hours a day live longer than people that sleep longer or shorter amounts of times) and to eat healthy food (not just burgers and fries, Carissa).

  8. Exams DO NOT Define You– remember that exams are very important, but they do not define you nor do they necessarily reflect your learning ability.

Okay those are my study/exam tips! If you have any questions or comments feel free to email us:) Both Carissa and I are wishing you all the best of luck on exams, final projects, research papers, and anything else that could be stressing you out. You aren’t alone, and friends, family, professors, and more are great to rant to. Much love :*



p.s- I made Carissa read my research paper for International Studies and she learned that I am capable of writing essays and sounding intelligent (apparently I sound immature on here :p)


Plants vs Planets *duhduhduuuuhhh*

What’s up guys, how are you doing?

I’m going to come right out and say this so that there is no question or doubt or confusion left in your mind whatsoever: you will not enjoy all of your classes.  It’s the cold, hard truth.  And it was unfortunately something that I was painfully ignorant of until I attended my first “World of Plants” class, which was, in all its entirety, the worst class that has ever existed.  I’m not going to go into detail about it, because even those details will make your brain cells want to commit suicide, but just take my word for it.  It was capital-A Awful.

On the other hand, the general rule of thumb is that the courses in college that you’ll take will not only be more beneficial to your specific field of interest, they’ll also be — roughly — eight times out of ten much more enjoyable than the ones you’ll have taken in high school.  That being said, though, I have to admit that Butler is a rather small university compared to others that you might attend, so we have small class sizes, smaller departments, and a really tight-knit campus.  I’d say that’s a rare thing, but in all honesty, I’ve no idea.  But here, you’ll essentially get to know everyone in all of your classes by name because the average class size is eighteen, I believe?  That’s not the case everywhere else.  However, the “general rule of thumb” I’d stated above still stands wherever you go.

I am an English Writing Major, which means my courses are going to mostly be made up of creative writing and literature courses.  There are also, obviously, the core curriculum classes you’re required to take throughout your four years.  This is what my schedule was made up of originally: Marching Band (BUMB), Contemporary Writers (my First Year Seminar, or FYS), Intro to British Literature, Poetry, Robot Programming, and World of Plants.  Our first day of classes was a Wednesday, which meant that the first class I had that day was World of Plants, and let me just say this: not a single person in that class actually wanted to be there.  Including me.  Needless to say, I ended up dropping that course.

I’m going to tell you why.  The professor was dull, stuttered, mumbled, was monotonous, and her teaching ethic was the worst I’d ever witnessed.  I knew I wouldn’t learn a single thing from her, and we were going to spend the entire semester learning about the trees on campus, so I’m sorry, but I know I’m not the only one who couldn’t care less about what kind of trees I walked past everyday.  The room that the class was held in was so white and blinding and I couldn’t concentrate on the white board where the professor projected powerpoints because, you know, she wouldn’t turn any lights off.  It wasn’t a good learning environment, and I’d only taken the class because it would count as my science credits (one of the core curriculum credits I need to graduate).  Believe me when I say that I didn’t even feel a little bad when I dropped it.  I’ll just take Astronomy next semester (which I’m actually interested in anyway).

My Robot Programming class is the one I thought I’d hate the most.  I took it for my math credits without even realizing what it’d actually entail, and after the first few class periods I was positive that I was going to hate my life every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 3:50 to 5:05 PM.  It turned out not to be so bad; each student was given their own robot (mine’s name is Maurice and he is adorable), the professor doesn’t actually have his doctorate yet, which means he’s young and not all too concerned if he bends the rules a little.  We get out early most often in that class than in any other of my classes.  Nearly the entire class is taught on our laptops, so, I mean, I’d be lying if I told you I never had anything other than our coursework open (like Wattpad, Instagram, Facebook, etc.).

My favorite class is surprisingly my FYS, Contemporary Writers.  An FYS is required for all freshmen to take at Butler, and many students just chose one with an interesting title (examples: Sympathy for the Devil, Scary Stories, Utopian Experience in Life and Literature, Rock and Roll High School, The Call of the Wild, etc.) (yes those are all actual year-long seminars, and there are weirder ones that I haven’t listed).  I happened to choose one that would not only be interesting to me as a lover of all things contemporary, but one that would actually relate to the other classes I have to take for my major.  It makes life a whole lot easier when you’re taking five English classes rather than one English class, two science classes, a math class, and a foreign language class.  Obviously, I’m going to have to take classes other than ones that deal with my major, but I thought that for my first semester, I’d organized my schedule pretty nicely.

Poetry and British Literature are enjoyable solely because, as you can probably already tell, I love English.  And creative writing.  So Poetry falls into the latter category, and I have to admit, I was sort of terrified about this class at first.  While I consider myself a pretty decent creative writer when dealing with novels or short stories or even prose, I cannot, nor have I ever been able to, write actual poems.  I think I’m awful at it, and that’s always upset me because if I’m a creative writing type of person, why can’t I do it in all applicable fields?  Why can’t I write poetry?  It’s something that’s always bothered me, but my professor for this class is fantastic and energetic and funny and basically hipster (for lack of a better term), and I really enjoy it.  British Literature is a lot duller, and as I said, I’m a lover of all things contemporary which is not, exactly, what this class is about.  It counts toward my major though, the professor isn’t horrible or even bad, and I can deal with it.  It’s not my favorite, but I can deal with it (if anyone’s a master on, say, Tom Jones or Beowulf, hit me up).

And then there’s BUMB.  Ahh, Marching Band.  This one’s hard to explain.  I love it, but I hate it at the same time.  As nerdy as this may sound, I really love playing an instrument.  I mean, I hate that my instrument of choice is a clarinet, but at the same time, I can tolerate it because it’s so much fun to be able to make music with something.  The part about BUMB that I hate is the actual marching part.  My high school never had a marching band; we had a pep band and a concert band, but those are obviously very different things.  I knew that this course was meant to cover our PWB (Physical Well-Being) credit, but I’d underestimated what I was in store for.  It’s a lot of work, I had zero experience, and I am still trying to figure out how to walk and march at the same time (forwards, backwards, sideways, and angled strangely).  It’s a work in progress.  And sometimes I really really hate it.  But at the same time, I don’t think I’d drop it if given the chance.

Wow, so there’s everything you never wanted to know about my schedule.  Long story short, you might hate one or more of your classes (World of Plants…).  You might love them (Contemporary Writers).  But refer back to my “general rule of thumb,” because I didn’t just make that up.  It’s been told to me by several other people I personally and don’t personally know who have been through college already.

To ensure the best schedule you could possibly have, I recommend figuring out when you’re able to enroll in classes and then getting to it as soon as possible.  The best classes fill up the quickest.  I made the mistake of waiting to register until a month and a half after the window first opened, and that left me with World of Plants instead of Astronomy and Robot Programming instead of any other math class that sounded more appealing (I’m not complaining, though).  Again, register for classes as soon as humanly possible.

I hope you all have a mighty fine day.

– Carissa

Even as a mega nerd, I have a difficult time enjoying my classes (okay so only one bugs me), but that’s not for the lack of trying. When I signed up for my first semester classes, I purposely picked classes I knew I would enjoy because I didn’t want a horrid first semester of college (ballet, art, FYS: endangered languages, international studies, astronomy, and French). To say I was excited was a major understatement.

I didn’t really know how I would feel about astronomy just because I am not the best at math, and astronomy requires physics and stuff (even though my dad says I should be a math major- GOOD ONE DAD). The one class I thought I would immediately love has been the one class I haven’t enjoyed. Not one iota. Which is quite upsetting considering I moved other things to fit that class specifically. Endangered language seminar. Sounds really cool, right? Okay, well it sounds swell to me *sticks out tongue* It’s not the subject, more like the lack of energy in the class and the downright dullness of the teacher (Chelsea, you know what I’m saying in my head). Just like you have classes you won’t enjoy because it’s a bad class, you’ll have classes you won’t enjoy because of the teacher/professor. That’s just the way things work. College doesn’t automatically mean fantastic professors; although they usually are better overall, there can still be some soggy chips at the bottom of the bag. Sometimes, like Carissa, you drop out because you can’t stand it. I’m suffering through it because one, it’s required to take a first year seminar and it’s too late to switch, and two I am really fascinated by endangered languages. So while dropping is an option, sucking it up is another one. It means you’ll be annoyed by that class, but you will feel proud of yourself by the end of it.

So I know you didn’t ask but here’s an update on my other classes. Ballet is kicking my ass. It’s hard, my thighs are super mad at me for it, and I wish I could wear a tutu, but I am excited about the possibility of toned legs (woo)! Art is a lot of fun, just because there are less guidelines for college art classes than high school (even though my high school art teacher was amazing). Right now I am making 3 watercolor postcards of a cigarette on an ashtray with three different color schemes. If they turn out swell, I will post pictures (let me know if you want to see). International studies is the epitome of perfection. Astronomy is blowing my mind in a great way (my professor is so liberal and hilarious). French is a joy as always.  My professor is from France and is just an adorable little man (who is probably younger than my parents but he seems so much older haha).

To sum what I said up because I know I ramble: college is fun, the classes are top notch, but sometimes they make you want to scream at a squirrel. Having supportive friends is always smart, and remember that working hard will get you places. Unless you seem too smart then your professors think you are cheating. Then you’ll get confronted and expelled. And you’ll never get a job ever. And you’ll DIE.

That was a joke. Kind of. Please laugh. I think I’m pretty funny (got the ‘slaying’ gene from my dad too).

Alrightie-O I hoped that helped, and any other questions can be emailed or commented! What kind of subject do YOU want us to address?? Comment comment comment 🙂



Healthy Habits *applause*

Carissa is in class until 8:30 tonight (which frankly is very upsetting to me), so I decided to start this post off then have her add her own section below mine. One of the first things Carissa and I talked about when we were getting acquainted with one another was eating habits, exercise habits, and study habits! Enjoy 🙂

Eating Habits

Since around the start of March, I switched from being your average omnivore to choosing the pescatarian diet. For those of you who do not know what it means, a pescatarian (also spelled pescetarian) is one who does not eat the flesh of animals with the exception of fish. I’m not particularly a ‘fish person’, but it’s a super healthy diet: salmon, tuna steaks, tuna salad, shrimp (I make some delicious fried shrimp – truly top notch), flounder, mussels, and occasionally crab cakes. I even found a new love for veggie burgers, and surprisingly I now enjoy them much more than I regular hamburgers.

Along with adopting this new diet, I cut out sodas (on occasion I would drink a root beer), mayonnaise and most sweets. You may be gawking at your screen right about now, but yes you read that correctly. However, I am not a soda drinker unless it is root beer so that wasn’t too hard, mayo was kind of a big deal, and as for sweets I made nice substitutes. Mayonnaise is my condiment of choice for most sandwiches or french fries, so that took a lot of self-control on my part. And instead of ice cream with M&Ms, I would have low-fat yogurt (yay for probiotics!) with mini M&Ms. This isn’t to say this kind of drastic change in diet is good for you, and it can be hard to make sure you still eat well. Substituting can be problematic in case you switch to a ‘diet’ or ‘high-fructose corn syrup’ version, which can sometimes be worse for you.

But eating well is imperative when entering college due to the dreaded “Freshman Fifteen.”  I lost a huge amount of weight when I switched diets, but after a week I gained a little back because I would eat a lot of avocado, which contains good fats. In all honesty, it is not about losing weight or even gaining weight; it’s about eating healthily and putting good things in your body.

Exercising Habits

I really hate exercising. I used to be able to go hours playing in the neighborhood with other kids and barely get out of breath. Now, exercise almost taunts me. But the trick with exercising is that there are 100s of different ways to do it, and most aren’t typical exercises. Back in Tennessee, the only exercise I received was through walking my dog, and walking to and from classes in high school. Over the summer, I found joy in riding my bike, playing golf with my dad, and going to the pool to do laps, which I never considered as exercise because I had fun! As of the third of September, Carissa and I have yet to go to the Health and Recreation Center for exercising, but seriously school work comes first.

I think something that is key for myself when I workout is loud music. If I blast my music I forget about how tired I am and just focus on the beat of the song. WATER. I never drink enough water, but since I have been here, I make sure to keep a water bottle filled up with water in the fridge. Hydration is one of the most important parts of good exercising habits.  I will probably make a post later on after we actually exercise (the one form of exercise I have done here is riding my bike around campus when I have far to go and only a 5-10 minute block of time), but for now I hope this helps.

Study Habits

I love studying. I love homework. I love going to class. I love learning. Yes, I am that kid. But it’s mostly because I have anxiety, and the thought of not completing homework or being unprepared for class is terrifying (I am not exaggerating). I was a little worried about how my study habits would change when I got to college, and they have changed quite a bit. Believe it or not, I have gotten more committed to completing my homework on time and studying more each night. Maybe it’s because I just yearn to do well, or maybe it’s the fact that I enjoy each of my classes (which makes the homework easier), either way studying has been relatively consistent for me.

This isn’t the same for everybody though, I know a lot of people that are having a difficult time adjusting. College means more work – no not busy work, but actually more work work. College also means the teacher won’t be there to hold your hand along the way, but the professors do have office hours, so if you need to have a question answered, they will be there (you have to go to them, though, not the other way around). Another important thing to keep in mind as you think about your study habits in college is that it’s all your responsibility. Professors won’t remind you, nor should they have to since you are technically an adult (assuming you are over 18). Regardless of your age, though, studying is important. It may not be your number one, but keeping it in your top five will ensure a smoother workload transition from high school to college. 

Hope this helps you, and if you have anymore questions, comments or concerns, I am more then happy to email you. Now I shall hand the metaphorical reins over to Carissa, darling. 





What’s up guys, how are you doing?

So let’s be real: there is no way we are all going to be as dedicated as sweetest Maria is, and there’s no way we will all be able to be as self-disciplined.  There’s no way we’ll have come to college fresh from losing a bunch of weight; I mean, if you’re anything like me and your high school was anything like mine, you’ll have just graduated your senior year with the unfortunate “Senior Twenty,” which is a thing that a friend and I coined when we realized we’d easily put on twenty or more pounds over the course of our final year of high school.

That being said, I’m sure you are all coming from loads of different backgrounds as well.  A little insight on me could give you a clue as to how different one person can be from the next, and I’m going to warn you to read with discretion because apparently Wisconsin customs are a little barbaric (still don’t see it).  

So in Wisconsin (as in other places) we do this thing called hunting, and we have legitimate seasons for it, we get off of school for it (as in the school gives us vacations for it), and we all totally and completely enjoy it.  It’s a sport at the same time it’s a necessity.  I’m sure you’ve all heard about Wisconsin’s unpredictable winters, and let me assure you that it is so convenient to have venison or bear burger in your freezer when there’s so much snow you can’t get out your front door or when the temperatures are so low your vehicles won’t start (I have not exaggerated once so far).  Yes, that means we sit in tree stands and kill deer and bear.  Yes, we eat them.  No, we don’t kill baby deer or baby bears.  No, we don’t kill them and then just leave their dead corpse rot in the woods.  Like, we’re not barbaric; it’s a Wisconsin custom and it’s so normal there that when I came to Indy and found out that everyone thought I was a total savage, I didn’t even know how to defend myself because I’ve never had to before.

There, now that you’ve been briefed, I’m going to get to my point.  Basically, I come from a place where meat is about as necessary for survival as water is, and when Maria came at me with this whole “no meat” thing, I knew that I’d be way out of my element.  However, it’s not something she’s enforcing, thankfully.  I have cut back on meat tremendously since getting here (I hope, anyway), and it’s never something I’m going to completely go without, but I’m trying to eat less of it.  And I haven’t had venison or bear since leaving Wisconsin and I might be having withdrawals but no big deal.

I can’t say I’ve completely cut back on soda as much as I’d have liked to; I probably have at least one can’s worth a day.  The good news is that I’ve discovered a delicious fruit punch gatorade in the cafeteria, so I’ll be drinking that instead of Dr. Pepper from now on, and hopefully that will help.  Did you know that if you completely cut soda out of your diet, it will help get rid of acne?  No?  Well, now you do.

As for the food, I eat one salad a day, usually for lunch although I should be saving it for dinner.  Breakfast should be your largest meal of the day, and normally it’s a good one to splurge on if you’d like.  You have a better chance at burning off those calories.  Just try to eat healthy portions; that’s probably harder for me than anybody because I was raised to eat until I was full, which means long after I should actually stop.  But once you get a pretty good flow going, you’ll become more comfortable with the new eating habits and hopefully, with exercise, you should be totally able to avoid the Freshman Fifteen.  If not, I mean dang, it’s your body.  The heart/stomach wants what the heart/stomach wants, and if that’s food, it’s food.

So those are my words on the subject.  My point is to care about your body and be healthy, but at the same time, your school work is important; your happiness is important; your general wellbeing is important.  Don’t let something like the fear of gaining fifteen pounds steer you away from being successful during college, because you will totally regret it when you’re sixty and everything begins to sag anyway.

With that, goodnight/good day.