Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to all! My blog will be returning when classes return next semester in January. In the mean time, you can check out my personal blog here.
Good luck on your finals and have a fantastic Winter break! : )

Friday, December 9, 2011


"You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you."
- James Allen

Our last day of classes is almost upon us, and as the semester starts to end I find myself wondering more and more about finals.  Passing my classes is the main goal I have created, not expecting to obtain a certain grade.  Despite that most people want B's and A’s, I would be content with a C or a D, just as long as I pass the class.  Some could say that I lack the motivation but I’m willing to admit that I slacked off a bit when it came to studying, and it’s coming back to bite me in the end.  At this time of year, slacking happens a lot more because of the season.
Winter break is almost here, depending on when your last final is, and plenty of students are ecstatic at the thought of it.  There are Christmas movies playing on TV, snow is on the rise, and most are cheery after getting into the holiday spirit.  Celebrating this time of year is a tradition to a lot of the population, especially with me.  I get to celebrate my birthday five days after Christmas, and this year it’s the big landmark of 18 years! The only problem is getting to that point without having an anxiety attack because of finals.
10 Tips to Maintain Your Sanity During Finals will definitely help out during this time of need.  Sanity is something that needs to be kept in order to ignore ‘bombing’ your finals, unless your ‘sanely insane’.  It may not be understood what I mean by that, but if you are ‘sanely insane’ you’ll definitely understand.  As it states on the website, ignoring caffeine and sugar is a very good thing.  There’s no use in studying while hyped up from caffeine, especially if you’re not going to retain any of the information and end up crashing during the exam.
Listening to the instrumentals of a song while studying could also help; you could imagine the instrumentals in your head while taking the exam, and remember the information you had obtained.  Try to avoid sad songs; I can only imagine how it would work out if someone listened to “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” while studying.  There are probably other tips out there that I have yet to discover and will hopefully discover soon; does anyone have any? Remember that you can always email them to me through my Frostburg student email! :)

I wish luck to all of those with finals coming up!

Friday, December 2, 2011


“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
- Mark Twain

Have you ever had any doubts about life? Where are you heading? Did you make the right choice? What would life be like if you had chose the path opposite to the one you did take? The ‘what ifs’ are an endless sea that will lead you to no shore.  Even worse, the what ifs force you to doubt yourself and your abilities.  You’ll wonder where you went wrong and how you could have fixed it.
Perhaps fixing the problem isn’t the answer.  Maybe there never really was a problem, but you’re the only one who knows.  Never doubt yourself or your decisions.  Doubting things will never end well, so avoiding it would be best.  If you feel like you’re doubting yourself, I recommend 10 Ways To Stop Doubting Yourself.  You’ll find tips on how to stop the issue when it comes to hand.  The best thing to do is to think “I chose what I did for a reason,” and keep doubt far from your mind.
Self-doubt is inevitable; everyone will come in contact with it eventually, whether they want to or not.  You just have to learn how and when to deal with it.  I’ve been going through a lot of self-doubt these last few days.  Finals are coming up sooner than I anticipated and I’m nervous that I’m going to fail my classes:  typical freshman worry.  This worry has caused me to think about the 'what ifs'.  What if I had chosen not to go to college? Where would I be? What if I fail out of college? I’ve been trying my hardest to push all of those thoughts to the back of my mind and focus on the now.  I can stop myself from failing, but I need to keep the self-doubt at bay until then.
Now is the time when I need to figure out how to keep focused; maybe make a plan/schedule marking the appropriate study times.  There’s also the issue of studying, as I am a procrastinator, which puts a tremendous amount of stress on a person.  For once, I have no resources on how to help with this issue.  To all of the students who read this blog, what are some ways that you cope with finals? And do you know of any resources on campus that could help me out?
Good luck to everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2011


“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”
-Jon Stewart

That time of year is coming up again.  You spend time with your relatives around a table, a giant cooked turkey in the middle, being thankful for what you have; and going Black Friday shopping to get all of the deals, hoping that you won’t get trampled to death by doing so.  My favorite part of this holiday is going to a store in early to mid November and seeing the Christmas decorations already out.  Not even four days after Halloween has ended, and Thanksgiving hasn’t arrived yet, you’ll walk into Walmart and see stockings, snowmen, and candy canes.  It’s very irritating to see that they don’t have any Thanksgiving decorations out, but humorous that they’re anticipating Christmas so soon.
Along with Thanksgiving, like most other holidays, comes controversy.  Normally, the controversy is based around the Pilgrims and Indians, and whether Thanksgiving should be a holiday or not.  This year, however, I saw an article on PETA’s controversial ad targeting children as their main audience.  As a member of PETA, though not a vegan or vegetarian, I do support some of their ideas; this one, I do not.  A child cannot understand the idea of vegetarianism, or what ‘going vegan’ means.  Is it really expected that a child will sit at the dinner table, holding a picket sign, protesting against eating turkey? “Birds are friends, not food.”  Why target this audience? It’s a holiday to be ‘thankful’ for, hence the name, and children love it just as much as the adults do.
Celebrating Thanksgiving may or may not be important to you, but it’s good to remember that to some, this holiday is a tradition.  Believe what you will, have your own opinion, but please don’t ruin it for anyone else.  To those who are going home to see their families, eat turkey (or a vegetarian alternative), and spend time being thankful:  Happy Thanksgiving! : )  What are you thankful for?
(Photo by Aaron Woehler, curtosey of stock.xchng)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


"Remember, you only have to succeed the last time."
-Brian Tracy

Being sick while in college can be a curse if you don’t know how to deal with it correctly.  I spent the majority of my time last week sleeping and taking medicine.  Most crave to have a stress free week, myself included, but it’s not enjoyable when you’re sick.  I had symptoms of the flu and decided to skip my classes that Friday and go home for the weekend.  I ended up staying at home longer than intended, a little over a week to be exact.  Battling an illness can be tough enough, but what about living on campus with it?
I was lucky to have chosen a college ten minutes from my house; I was able to go home and have the comforts of my bedroom while being sick.  What about students who get sick and have to stay on campus? I figure that, even though I’m close to home, the time will come where I’ll be sick and will have to stay on campus. After thinking about what I would do, and eventually drawing a blank, I decided to look up some information on dealing with being sick on campus.
6 Tips For When You’re Sick At College was very helpful and humorous at the same time.  The writer also touched base on going to the infirmary, which most students are too stubborn to do. I, for one, refused to go to a doctor until my mother forced me to.  Trying to ride it out without medication is brave but also stupid.  A similar post I’ve found, What to Do If You’re Sick in College, mentions to treat your symptoms.  Despite how that may be helpful, I’d still suggest seeing a doctor. You could misdiagnose your symptoms and even though the medication won’t make you worse, it won’t make you better either.  Wondering what to if your roommate is sick? Read My Roommate is Sick, Now What? The article gives tips on what to do if your roommate is sick and how to avoid catching it.
With finals nearly a month away, keeping ourselves healthy is very important.  Take my advice, don’t do what I did and wait until the last minute to go to the doctor.  The sooner you get diagnosed, the sooner you get medication.  Missing class in college is a lot worse than missing it in high school, especially when it comes to taking notes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Time Management

"It always seems impossible until it's done."
- Nelson Mandela 
Classes, homework, studying, work, and fun:  can we fit them all into one week? I’m still struggling to learn how to manage my time wisely; how on earth am I supposed to put fun into it? Some students say that it’s easy to do and others say that they barely have any time to breathe.  However, there are websites that can help in achieving successful time management skills.
The Study Guides and Strategies Website advises to use a planner to write down important events.  I do, although I rarely look at my planner more than twice a month. Understanding why I do this is the hard part because even I don’t get it.  Looking over the current month every time I make a new entry could be useful, but that would depend on making a lot of new entries.
I’ve been lacking in organization for years, so is it even possible for me to change? Maybe.  Do I want it to change? Yes.  Being unorganized will be my biggest downfall unless I change my ways soon.  I could always find the time to organize myself, but then the “which came first: the chicken or the egg?” comes to mind.  Where would I find the time without being organized? How can I be organized if I don’t have the time to do so? The cycle just keeps repeating itself.
There are two strategies I picked up from the website that I think I'm going to use. I like the idea of separating my day into blocks of study time and breaks. Using that strategy, I could find out what time I study best and become a better studier as well. Prioritizing my assignments would be the second technique. Which subject gives me the most trouble? I could start on it first and get it out of the way.  There are also some other helpful strategies, such as:  using your free time wisely, postponing unnecessary activities until the work is done, and performing a weekly review of due dates.  From the list of strategies on the website, which do you think you would use? Or, if you already have a successful strategy, what do you do?
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, October 28, 2011


“Every artist was first an amateur.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Everyone starts out as an amateur, right? No one can start out being a professional in any career.  There are certain qualities that a person must obtain for specific careers.  Sometimes a person can get lucky. But, in geek speak, you cannot go from being a ‘noob’ to mastering the game within a short amount of time.  Unlike video games, where you can use cheat codes, life is pretty hard to "master."
Life would be much easier if it operated like the game The Sims. In the game, teenagers become adults and move effortlessly into the work force. Sadly, this could never be possible.  But would we really want it to be possible? I think not.  Although real life isn’t as addicting to play, the Sims is a computer game and you don’t get enjoyment or praises from your achievements there.
“Your sim got a promotion? Congrats. But still not as impressing as you getting a promotion!” Hint, hint; nudge, nudge. Take that as a way of them saying, "you haven't bathed/slept in days, get off the couch and go to work."
You’re naive if you believe that life is going to be easy; life is never going to be easy.  You can’t jump straight into a career once you graduate and get consistent promotions until you’re at the top of the food-chain.  You have to work hard to achieve greatness.  Think it's going to be handed to you on a silver platter? It’s not happening, buddy.  You’re not going to operate on your first day after you’ve just graduated from medical school, you have to work up to it. When you’re starting a career, you’re starting at the bottom.
As the quote at the top says, “every artist was first an amateur,” meaning that no one is going to start as a professional.  I am going to be starting my career as an amateur who has been practicing writing for a few years prior.  Will I have a novel published within a few days of having finished it? No. Will I be given a novel to edit within the first few days? Doubtful. We all start out as amateurs but we will work up to where we want to be in life.  Today I’m blogging but within the next ten years I may have a novel published.  What goals will you set for yourself?
"Success doesn't come to you, you go to it."
-Marva Collins

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


"Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead." -Louisa May Alcott
Aspirations -- they’re different with everyone.  Mine just so happens to be similar to what I’m doing here:  writing.  Coming across this opportunity has turned out great for me; I’m doing what I love in my free time and practicing with my writing skills.  Many people aspire to do something great with their lives, but it’s all about how we get there.  The journey to our goal is just as achieving as the goal itself.
Writing has been a big part of my life since the age of thirteen, when I started writing fanfiction.  For those of you who do not know what a fanfiction is, it is a fan written story that is based off of a novel/movie/comic/TV show/etc that already exists.  I have experienced a lot through my years of writing fanfiction, including constructive criticism which can be your best friend and worst enemy at the same time.  The main thing I have learned, however, is that not everyone is going to like what you write and you have to deal with that.  The brutal honesty is that if you cannot handle criticism, then you shouldn't be a writer.
One thing that I experienced first hand is being told that I wouldn't succeed.  Downing someone's dream is pretty much the same as telling them that they’re not good enough.  When I first told my family what I wanted to do they all said the same thing, “why would you want to do that?” By saying that, it made me feel like my writing wasn’t up to standard and I was going to fail before I even started. Do not listen to them! I took everything they said as a challenge and look at where I am now.  I graduated high school with honors, I’m currently in the FSU's honors program, and I’m doing what I love.
Focus on your goals and plan to do what you love.  It doesn’t matter what others think or how far-fetched this aspiration seems to them.  I’m taking on my writing career one step at a time; first with fanfiction and now with blogging.  Every step you take is just one more piece added to the puzzle of your life.  For those of you out there who are following your dreams, what is your aspiration? And what steps are you taking, aside from school, to work toward this goal? Also, though I hope this hasn’t happened to any of you, has anyone ever doubted you?
"My favorite puzzle is trying to work out the parts myself, after all it is a solo effort. " -Adrian Belew

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” - Theodore Roosevelt.

“Failing will eventually result in more failure,” is what a concerned parent would tell their child while growing up.  We were taught from day one that failure is bad, that it would ruin our chances for a good future.  I see things differently now; I have learned that it is okay to fail. Without failure no one would succeed.  The path to success is not always as happy and clear as people would like to imagine, there are mistakes that must be made to lead us to where we want to be.
Imagine if someone has their life planned out:  what classes they’ll take in high school, where they’re going to college, what they’ll do for a living, etc.  They’ll see failure as the worst possible thing to happen to them, so they avoid it at all costs.  But really, they’re setting themselves up for failure.  Their plan would go accordingly until something would happen to throw them off.  Where would they go from there? They had never taken failure into consideration and so this small setback would ruin everything.
Failing can send us back on the right path if we want it to.  If you were never really sure about what career you want and end up failing in the one you pick, you know that it wasn’t the right one for you.  It’s the same with certain ways you choose to study for school; if your current technique isn’t working, you know to change it.  That’s what brought me onto the topic of failure:  my studying techniques.
My whole life I’ve been a ‘poor studier,’ avoiding it at all costs as if it were the plague; but I’ve always seemed to do fine on my exams... until now.  This failure, instead of being a setback for me, is pushing me to do better.  I now know that what I was doing before is not what I should have been doing.  Studying is a major part of classes and I had been lacking a lot in that department.  This failure has given me the motivation to change that part of myself and become a better student.  Sometimes it’s better to embrace the failure; after all, failure is what makes us human.

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Perspective

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

People often say that “some things just come naturally.”  I often wonder about this saying and its meaning; my way of understanding it is that some things come easier than others.  I may be wrong about the meaning and its original intention, but everyone perceives things differently.  College feels natural to me and I’ve adapted to it pretty quickly, therefore I feel as though the phrase is right.
During high school I had the schedule where the same classes took place at the same time, everyday, for the whole week.  The administration obviously felt the schedule to be effective, because they continued to use it, but a person can get tired out if they have the same class schedule every day with no breaks in between. When students are tired and worn down, they tend to lose focus. My college schedule is better. It is similar to an A/B block schedule:  I have the same classes every other day.  When you compare the two, the A/B seems to look like the better schedule.  However, according to an article I read, high school teachers feel that the A/B scheduling “vastly overloads their students.”  Overloading a student is not the intention of any administration, though they may unintentionally do so.
Classes are probably the easiest part for me, seeing as almost all of my past classes were similar.  Most college classes, as I have seen, consist of lecturing/note taking.  I have been taking notes in classes since middle school, so it was fairly easy to keep up with.  When you take a class that you show no interest in, it’s a lot harder to follow along and take notes.  I absolutely hate history, possibly because of all the dates you have to remember.  I’ve never liked it; I’ve always been an English/math person.  One of my classes this semester is about learning the history of the area, which tires me out easily; luckily, I have an amazing brother who lent me his digital recorder.  Even if I lose concentration, I’ll always have what my Professor said recorded.  I recommend investing in a digital voice recorder (if you don’t already have one) in-case you can’t pay attention in class or don’t want to waste paper by taking notes.  Also, for those of you who own an iPhone, I’ve heard that there is a recording app you could just download rather than buy a recorder.
Although what I’m advising may help, if you just don’t like the class and think you may fail because of that -- drop it.  It’s a big decision, and don’t let me talk you into it, but considering it could be very helpful.  I deem it pointless to take a class when you feel like you’re going to fail, it’s a waste of your time and your education.  In addition, do not overload with classes.  For every credit you take, three hours of studying time is recommended.  For example:  seven classes with three credits for each; you would have twenty one credits total.  Imagine studying sixty three hours per week for seven classes! Seven classes may not seem like a lot at first, but think about the effects in the long run:  tons of homework (no free time), you may excel in one class but lack the enthusiasm to do so in another, and having seven finals! Finals are something that, despite who it is taking them, will not come naturally.  I’ve given my thoughts and wish you readers the best in whatever it is you decide.

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Introduction

My name is Carissa and I am a freshman who is majoring in English at Frostburg State University.  I feel that, with as many opportunities as I have been given, college will be one of the greatest moments of my life.  Throughout some of middle school and all of high school I was a part of the Gear-Up program.  Gear-Up was set up to prepare students for college and influence them to do better in school.  Being a part of the program really helped me in becoming the student I am today.  I’m currently a part of the honors program at FSU and graduated from my high school with an honors certificate.
Adjusting to the college schedule was an easy task; it seems to be less of a hassle to go along with, not to mention only having certain classes two or three days of the week.  My classes don’t seem to be too difficult to handle just yet, though that may be because they’re the required credits and it’s just my first semester here at the school.  However, even this early into the semester I still dread the thought of final exams; but it’s nice to look at the calender and see that there’s a good bit of time before they arrive.
According to statistics only 56% of students who enroll at a four-year college earn a bachelor’s degree.  The percentage of college freshmen who drop out at the end of their first semester shocks me; approximately 35% of students who enter college will drop out within their first year.  The number is quite high and I was enlightened by my high school guidance counselor last year as to why they did.  Not many understand the importance of studying and end up partying their tuition away, which results in them dropping out before they fail.  There are many other reasons, including balancing work and school, but I feel that underestimating their time to study is the most common among freshmen.  One in four college freshmen drop out, but the real question is how can we stop this?
I know that with my honors certificate under my belt I will be able to handle anything college throws at me.  In order to succeed, I’ve decided to not put too much pressure on myself the first semester.  I only have the required amount of credits to be a full-time student and in my free time I do work study.  Once I get past this semester I’ll know that I can handle the next and so on.  It’s all about having the right motivation and keeping a positive attitude.
"The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will." -Vincent T. Lombardi