Lauren: A Bittersweet Farewell to COM

Knowing full and well when this blog post would be published, I set out with the original intention of getting a head start on it and being able to edit, rewrite, and revise my words to make it the absolute best, most profound it could possibly be. To be completely frank, in the typical “Lauren” fashion, I blatantly forgot that it was due, and am now writing it on my phone while out of town — on a BU-sponsored event, if that betters the situation.

To some, it may seem like a last-ditch effort to get my work done. To me, I think it couldn’t have worked out better, because the sentiments that follow are raw and unedited, my true reflection of my short time at COM and how it shaped me to be the journalist I am today.

But allow me to introduce myself, to those who may not know: my name is Lauren Frias, I’m a senior studying journalism at COM, and I’m from Chicago, IL — if you got to know me in person, I can assure you that the hard “A” that I use when pronouncing my hometown can verify my Midwestern status. I came to BU back in 2016, fresh out of the Midwest and ready to start my post-grade school journey on the East Coast. It was a terrifying endeavor at first, but through the extracurriculars I’ve joined, friends I’ve made, and experiences I’ve had, I can safely say that the residual fear I feel is simply apprehension for the future, not out of terror that my future isn’t set, but rather the excitement for what opportunities lie ahead, all thanks to my time at BU.

What have I done at BU, you might ask? Well, a lot. I got involved in a bunch of organizations that gave me the foundation I needed as a pre-professional journalist: the Daily Free Press, the independent student newspaper at BU; BUTV10, the student-produced television network; BU Today, the news and information website at BU; and of course, the COM Ambassador program. These activities not only prepared me for my more professional opportunities to come, but also provided me with close friends who became colleagues and co-workers alike.

My time as a student came to an abrupt halt when I accepted a full-time co-op at the Boston Globe as a staff writer for Boston.com, where I reported on news, arts, sports, traffic, and even real estate in Boston for eight months. I had my own desk at the Globe’s brand new downtown newsroom, which overlooked the lively crowds at City Hall Plaza.

From there, I continued my “non-traditional” student experience by studying/interning abroad in Sydney, Australia. I hate to stoop to the level of pretentiousness as those who say, “study abroad changed my life,” but I honestly feel that that statement doesn’t even do my experience justice. Studying in Sydney introduced me to the media landscape and allowed for educational experiences at ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) —one of the largest networks in the country — as part of my Australian Mass Media class. Interning in Sydney introduced me to the culture in and around the city, as my assignments allowed for conversations with Australian locals and suburban residents. The best part of the experience as a whole was having the opportunity to travel across the continent. I pet a koala in Tasmania. I went scuba-diving at the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns. I surfed at the most beautiful beaches in the Gold Coast. I went sight-seeing in Melbourne. I swam in the coves and waterfalls of Auckland, and hiked in the mountains of Queenstown, New Zealand.

After an eventful — albeit somewhat tiring — semester abroad, I came back to Boston to quietly live out the rest of my college career. I’m part of the BU Statehouse Program, where I report on political affairs and legislation at the Massachusetts Statehouse, but I’m no longer a part of the organizations that led me to where I am today. Instead, I decided to take some time to smell the roses, to spend time with my college friends and enjoy the city for the few weeks I have left.

Quite frankly, I am fully aware that my BU “legacy” will be no more than a blip on the prestigious timeline that both precedes and will follow me. But the impact that BU has had on me as a student, a journalist, a Bostonian, a coffee enthusiast, and now a graduate will last well past my final footstep on the stage at Nickerson Field. So thank you to my professors, to my mentors, to my editors, to my peers, and to COM for leading me to where I am today, where I am more than honored to say that I’m #ProudtoBU.

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Stephen: Robby’s Philosophy

While I was thinking about what to write my blog post about, I wasn’t really sure what to do. For past blog posts I seemed to focus on more outward topics such as organizations I’ve been involved in, places to go, or things to do. I wanted to avoid that this time around so I decided to focus more inward. I then thought of one of my brothers, Robby, who has a great way of thinking when it comes to goals, resolutions, or mindsets. It can be summarized in three words:

Thinking, Reading, & Doing.

My brother utilizes these three terms in a fantastic way that clearly lists what he hopes to accomplish or realize in this upcoming year. You can see his specific blog post about his most recent plan at his website here: https://robbyhume.com/

His tagline for his website is “Constant Questions, Occasional Answers” which I love to make fun of him for because of its pretentiousness, but it contains some truth to it as well. Again, go to his website to see what I’m talking about. Now for my own thinking, reading, and doing list.

Thinking –

In terms of thinking, there is a lot that needs to be taken care of for myself. I’d like to spend more time self-reflecting for one. This can be a simple weekly task to assess if I accomplished my goals for the week, but I would also like to spend more time thinking about the future. It is of course important to think about and focus on the present, but how I envision my future often shapes where I focus my time and energy. One thing I have noticed that I do is constantly shift my attention drastically from one passion to another (photography to BUTV10, vice versa) instead of spreading my focus more evenly. I would like to fix this by thinking more about my priorities and what is truly important to me, and in a year, I hope to have a much more solid and constructive system for myself.

Another thing to think about is personal growth and development. I highly enjoy learning new things and taking on new challenges, and often times these end up falling into the artistic or creative category. With that in mind, I would like to establish a basic understanding of graphic design. I have always found digital art and design to be interesting, and I think it’s about that time to put it into practice. Through YouTube and other online sources, I can gain basic knowledge of Photoshop and other programs which would enhance my other creative passions. I do not want or expect to become an expert, but learning some would be fantastic.

Lastly, I’d like to think more about the environment. I have always made it an effort to care for the environment and keep the planet in mind, but I could be doing more. For example, I could be utilizing my filmmaking and photography skills to be an advocate for conservation and a voice against increased carbon emissions. Documentaries such as Planet Earth are also a great example of higher-level environmental works that I can strive to take part in. In the next year, I hope to make at least one type of PSA or video that focuses on the environment.

Reading –

This is a tough one. I used to read all the time in elementary, but as high school came around I slowly stopped. Now it is quite rare if I end up with a book in my hand that isn’t required reading. I believe that reading and engaging with stories can be extremely rewarding and beneficial for who I am personally and professionally, and would like to incorporate books back into my life.

There is a book I actually started over winter break called “The Peregrine” which shares the story of a man keeping track of falcons near his home. I got a great start on the book but let myself fall out of my reading habit when I returned to school. I’d like to finish that book up in the last month at BU before summer, and then read at least three books over the summer itself.

At first, I expect to read about topics that specifically interest me such as photography or read genres that I know I like such as fantasies, but I hope to eventually delve more into other types of reading. This could include simple news or other genres such as history.

Doing – 

This section somewhat encompasses different things mentioned in thinking and reading, but focuses more on making things come to fruition. Listing out what I would like to do would be an easier way for myself and others to understand what I really mean, so here goes:

  1. Film

Going out into the world to capture things through my camera is the entire purpose of my major, yet I fail to do that in so many situations. I choose to leave my camera at home or just choose to stay home altogether. Sometimes I’m blocked because of not having a plan or subject in mind to shoot, but creating more content in general would help me grow and would leave me feeling more fulfilled with my time.

  1. Explore

This ties in with my last point in the sense that I often have opportunities to get out into the world and see something new, even if it is only thirty minutes or an hour from wherever I am at the time, but I often choose the comfort of what is familiar. Changing this by going on three new adventures this summer would be a great start to get out of my current rut and also get new content for filmmaking and photography.

  1. Plan Ahead

Planning is essential to life. Whether it be a daily plan or long-term plans, it sets you on a course for success. Following through with plans you create as well typically always feel rewarding and leave you with a sense of pride or accomplishment. Personally, I’d like to create more day to day plans and be more focused on my schedule on a week to week basis, as I usually focus on what I’m doing in a given month but not how or when I will be doing those things. I hope that makes sense. I’m also going to London this fall and need to plan out trips and excursions now so that I don’t sit around the whole time. That would be such a wasted opportunity and I get scared thinking that I might mess it up somehow.

Thinking, reading, and doing. These are simple words we all think about in our daily lives, but taking a moment to think properly about what they mean for you and your life can be so beneficial. It can lead to positive change that can in turn set your life in a new direction that you’re happy to follow. I know that’s the case for me at least. Simply writing this blog has me eager to fulfill what I have talked about and embrace the future with open arms. Take 15 minutes to sit down and do the same thing and I’m sure you’ll feel the same way.

Malaika: When in Boston…

Do as the Bostonians do. Traditions, customs, and festivals – this city has them all.

This Monday, April 15th, was Patriot’s Day and the Boston Marathon. The return from a 3-day weekend is rough. Your schedule is telling you to “go, go, go,” but your mind is constantly thinking about naps in your cozy room. See, that’s the downside of vacations and holidays. The upside? Well, everything else of course.

Aside from federal holiday observances, Boston has a unique set of traditions you can take part in, if given the chance. Here are just a few of my favorites:

  1. Marathon Monday

I’ll start with the obvious. Marathon Monday is one of the few days in the year nobody minds waking up when the sun rises. Watching the Boston Marathon is a great experience, and Boston University is located at mile 25. The finish line is at Boylston Street in Copley Square.

2.  Allston Christmas

Allston Christmas, the move-in extravaganza, happens every year between August and September, when renters’ new leases begin. As Summer comes to an end, previous tenants leave belongings they can’t bring with them on the streets for others to take for free.

3.  Victory Parades

Boston is a major sports city. This past year, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, and the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl. To celebrate, the city’s residents gathered together for victory parades.


4. Holiday Tree Lightings

Seasonal cheer begins with the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremonies in Downtown Crossing, Copley Square, Faneuil Hall, Boston Common, and the Seaport.

5. The Pumpkin Float

Every Halloween, bring your decorated jack-o-lantern to the Frog Pond at the Boston Common for some floating fun. At the pond, an electric candle is placed inside your pumpkin and released onto the water. As you watch your pumpkin pass by, enjoy some treats from local vendors.

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6. The Boston Tea Party Reenactment

Every December 16th, celebrate and re-enact the most important event leading to the American Revolution – and enjoy a cup of tea while you’re at it.

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7.  St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Dress in green and join the fun. Watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade from the heart of the city, and enjoy the dancers, bands, and entertainers that pass by.

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Have fun!
 
-CA Malaika

Sophia R: A Stray in Shanghai

As I took my sixth blurry far-away photo of a street cat on the way to class one morning, I had a realization. No, not, “I should stop using all my phone memory on cat photos”, although that’s also probably true. I realized, that I was one of those street cats. No really, hear me out.

No matter where you go in Shanghai there are street cats roaming around, but all these strays have one thing in common, they found a place to call their own. From back alleys to fruit stalls, these cats all have a home. As an American living in China for the first time, I desperately wanted that comfort. Back in Boston I had a tight circle of friends, a great gyro place, a routine, but in Shanghai everything was new. The language was new. The food was new. The streets, the sights, the Ayis, all new. I spent the first week overwhelmed and lost. I worried these feelings would never go away, but I was quickly to be proven wrong.

One morning the perpetually sunny woman selling jianbing complemented my Mandarin. She did it offhandedly, and I’m sure she had said the same to every foreign kid who found themselves stumbling through an order at her stall, but I had never heard such sweet words before. Suddenly every little victory, from buying a flat iron on taobao to finding the best bao stall by campus, made me feel a little more at home. I developed a routine (which of course included the jianbing lady), and like the street cats I so love taking pictures of, I found my own little place in Shanghai. Now, almost two months into my time studying abroad, I can’t imagine having gone anywhere else.

While COM has five great study abroad programs, BU offers semesters on almost every continent for just about every interest. Look into where you can go. Madrid, Ecuador, and Shanghai, are just some of the many possibilities. You may just find a new city to call home, or better yet, some cute strays and delicious new treats.

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Avery: How to Master Time Management in College

If you’re at all like me, then you’re probably involved in seven different clubs and working three jobs on campus while also balancing an internship and multiple social events. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I am definitely involved in a lot of stuff on campus, and I’m sure you are too.

So, chances are you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed. Yes, we just came back from a long break, but things will start speeding up before you know it. When life gets busy, it can be easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of stuff happening. So, without further ado, here are my tips for mastering time management in college.

  1. Compartmentalize. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you actually think about all the stuff that you have to do, so don’t think about it all at once! Think about things in groups or compartments. For example, I group my weekly assignments by each of my four classes in my mind. This way, I can think about the amount of work I have to do one class at a time, which narrows down the total amount of schoolwork that I have to think about. Additionally, studies have shown that using this method regularly helps our brains manage the amount of information they have to process.
  1. Know when to stop yourself. If you’re already overwhelmed by a bunch of stuff on your plate, don’t agree to do more things! This can be hard to do, especially if you’re someone who is a people pleaser. It’s important to put yourself first, which means limiting the amount of work you take on! Know your limits, and say no to things if you think they’ll be too much for you.
  1. Eliminate distractions. If you’re someone who gets easily distracted by technology, friends, or other things, know how to balance your social life and schoolwork. If you can’t do work when you’re around others because you know you’ll just end up socializing, set some alone time aside for schoolwork. If you get distracted by your phone, then keep some distance from technology so that you can get your work done! Know yourself, and know where you need to be when you need to get schoolwork done.

I hope these tips were helpful in getting you to manage your time better! College can be quite overwhelming and busy, so being able to manage your time wisely is essential. If you need more tips and tricks, email me at averyms@bu.edu!

When one door closes, another opens: CA Tyler’s final goodbye

This is it, folks… My final post as a COM Ambassador. It’s strange to think that my journey is ending while this blog’s audience is primarily applicants waiting on their admissions decision (which is coming soon! I promise). Your journey is only just beginning. So, instead of writing a sappy post to say goodbye, I’m writing a sappy post to say goodbye AND make it relevant to you. After all, this entire program is designed to welcome YOU to the College of Communication.

After every experience, I ask myself, “what were the takeaways? What have I learned?” Sometimes with a film degree, I wonder what this was all for (not knocking it. I actually have learned so many tangible skills and built connections because of my degree. I wouldn’t be out here hustling in LA if that weren’t the case). But college was about so much more than what I learned inside the classroom.

Of course, asking myself those same questions in the context of college has made these past few months deeply reflective, melancholic, euphoric, daunting, and necessary. So, what I have put together for you are some of my key takeaways from the years 2015 to 2019. I hope that they may guide you through the years ahead.

  1. College is about asking the questions. At the end of high school, my English teacher advised us on our next steps: “High school was all about finding the answers to our questions. Now, college will be about finding the questions to ask.” Before coming to BU, everything was simple. So many things seemed to be black-and-white, clear right-and-wrong, dos-and-don’ts, ways to be or not to be. Right from the beginning, BU forced me to debate that mindset. My world and all that I believed in were turned upside down. From an academic context to a social context, this rings true. Use your time in college to approach subjects with respectful curiosity. Learn empathy. Try new things. Reflect on what you know and what you can do with that knowledge. Find the questions that matter.

  2. It gets better. Graduating high school should feel like you’re on top of the world––and, hopefully, that’s what it will be like for you. For me, however, it was quite the opposite. The summer after senior year of high school I fell into a deep depression, and it largely had to do with coming to terms with my sexuality. I truly did not see a world where I could be happy and comfortable with my identity, but things changed. Arriving at BU, I made a promise to myself that I would never hide who I am. Although it took time, I now own my queerness with utmost pride. So, this is a message to any reader out there who has been in these shoes or even to those in a dark place: I promise that it gets better. Truly. I’m here––and I’m sure there will be many at BU––to support you.

  3. Friends from College has some truth to it. Maybe we aren’t screwed up enough to get canceled by Netflix, but we are close enough to know that our friendship will never fade. College is the time where you’re going to meet authentic, true friends that will still be by your side whether you’re right next door or an ocean apart. Make sure you’re diving into your first semester ready to do some friend speed-dating and join every single club. It’s okay if some friends and groups don’t stick at first. In fact, it’s bound to happen. Once you find those true amigos, you’re going to make memories you’ll never forget. You’ll learn new ways to sing happy birthday, hold each other through the hard times, and build something beautiful together.

  4. Love where you live. Boston is my home, always. My time at BU made me embrace that fact. Boston is where I found myself, and I owe it all to that great city. If you’ve read any of my other posts, then, of course, you know about how I learned to connect with my city and what it means to be an active citizen. I truly believe that you cannot thrive in a home where you aren’t connected with its people and its environment. Nurture your city and cherish what it gives you. No matter where you go or where you end up, love where you live because it will make a world of difference.

My takeaways are not specific to my BU experience. No matter where you enroll, readers, take these thoughts with you. The next four years will shape your identity, and if I could go back to do it all over, then I would. But now, it’s your turn. I hope that you have the best time.

Magdalene: Relearning to Love Being Alone

As someone who had always considered herself an independent person growing up, I’ve been surprised at the discontentment I’ve felt being alone as of late. I think these uneasy feelings are a byproduct of my experience attending a school with fewer than 2,000 students prior to transferring to BU. I’d always felt like I was under a microscope there – the smallness made me feel uncomfortable with the public displays of solitude that I had cherished previously. Going to meals at my other school was an event. It felt almost mandatory to go with friends or else you’d be considered strange or people would cast pity looks at you.

Now having had around a semester and a half here, I think BU (and Boston as a whole) offers fertile terrain for getting back to being comfortable with being alone. The sheer size of this school offers a certain sense of anonymity. When I leave my apartment it’s refreshing to acknowledge to myself that the people I see outside may or may not be affiliated with BU. Alright, so I’m not expert but here are some tips to feel more comfortable being “seul” (alone) by me, Magdalene Soule:

1) Walk down Comm. Ave. with no music

Gasp. I know. But hear me out…This might feel quite awkward seeing as I’ve noticed the vast majority of people listen to music walking between classes. In addition to the enjoyment of listening to music and the reprieve it allows one from the academic world, it’s also a safety net. Try doing it a couple times. Look up and observe and really be present in the hustle and bustle.

2) Take yourself on a coffee date

Some people have absolutely zero issue doing this. But often people who are alone at coffee shops have something to occupy them – whether it be work or a newspaper. As a student myself, I think starting small is good. Bring your work to a local café like Pavement, Café Landwer, or Tatte. Once you’re feeling more comfortable with that, try going alone without any explicit work.

3) Take yourself on a museum or movie date

Here in Boston we are fortunate enough to have many museums that are quite accessible. Also, if you show your BU ID, you can get into places like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Institute of Contemporary Art for free (and other arts institutions like Boston Symphony Hall for a reduced rate). Going to the movies alone can feel especially daunting, but it’s super empowering. You don’t have to have a date (friend or romantic) to enjoy a film in solitude.

4) Go to a sit-down restaurant

Don’t sit at the bar. Ask for a small table and order something off the full menu! I know that’s a terrifying thought. If you don’t want to spend money going out to eat, go to one of the many dining halls here and eat by yourself.

5) Cry in public

I’m not joking. Okay, please don’t force yourself into crying, but also don’t repress your emotions if you’re feeling something very intensely and you’re in public. I know this might seem bizarre, but don’t hold things in! Also, I want to make it very clear that I’m not advocating for you to go through whatever you’re going through alone. There are so many resources here at BU. I will link them at the bottom of this post. Be okay with not being okay and live your life out loud. Just know there are always people around to support you.

What do you think of these tips? Do you have any suggestions? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Resources at BU:  

http://www.bu.edu/shs/behavioral-medicine/behavioral-resources/

http://www.bu.edu/shs/sarp/

http://www.bu.edu/scnc/all-services/

http://www.bu.edu/ombuds/

http://www.bu.edu/shs/wellness/general-health-programs/wellness-program-kits/

Hannah: A Love Letter to Non-COM Classes

Dear non-COM classes,

It was not love at first sight. At first you seemed like pain in my butt. I came to Boston University to study advertising! Why am I taking history and English and statistics classes? You seemed silly and a waste of my time.

Yet as I got to know you I realized how you made a big impact on my college experience. Let’s start with our first date. I took playwriting as a writing requirement and oh boy, did we have a blast. I got to practice creative writing skills that I can pull out for creative advertising projects. You helped me realize that non-COM classes teach techniques that I can use in my COM classes and COM career. For example, I was able to practice in-depth reading, extensive writing and research.

Our second date was a gender & sexuality class. And guess what? I found a whole new passion! This class made me understand that I can’t be a communicator unless I have something to communicate about. It inspired me to start a sex positivity radio show on WTBU. Love Is On The Air is currently one of my favorite things I do on campus! 

For our third date, I was enchanted by two amazing history classes: one on the Italian Renaissance and one on U.S. History from 1890-1945. Not only did I find my minor, but I learned the pleasure of learning for the sake of learning. Yes, it’s true, I don’t really want a lifetime commitment, since I don’t plan to become a professional historian. But not all of college is about training for a job; it’s about being enlightened by captivating classes like you. Now, wherever I may travel, I can find connections to my history classes and have an overall feeling of understanding and let me tell you, that feeling is beautiful.

So, yes, I have fallen in love with you, non-COM classes. I have moved past my stubborn desire to be exclusively a COM nerd and have become a COLLEGE nerd. I now look forward to my non-COM classes because I know they will help me grow just as much as my COM classes.

Yours truly,
Hannah 

Lilah: It’s Okay to Take a Breath

pasted image 0It’s application season, and students are scrambling to find employment for the summer. At COM, it’s expected that students have 2+ internships while they’re at BU.

When I give tours for COM, I speak truthfully when I say that it is a competitive environment but not dog-eat-dog. We are all mutually motivated by each others’ drive to succeed, but we are not beating each other down in order to reach our goals.

I picked BU because I wanted to be in an environment where students supported each other. Since day one, I have found this kind of energy to be the core of COM’s student body. I love working with my peers, and we all want each other to do well.

I knew this kind of environment was right for me. Naturally, I’m disgustingly competitive and it is kind of like Abbi from Broad City where she goes Hulk. So… just bad. Now, I’m finding myself in the middle of internship applications, and so is everyone else.

How can I do my best to get what I want without being overly competitive with the people I care about?

The conclusions I have come to are:

  • We are 20, 21 years old. Careers happen over lifetimes. If we don’t get one opportunity right now, that’s OKAY!

  • Take a breath.

  • Friendship > jobs. Be supportive of your friends. Peace and love, baby.

Finally, BU prepares us so well. A lot of people worry that they’re not ready for the real world. However, I truly believe that COM’s students are naturally career-driven, and we will be fine – even better than fine! Great!

Can you tell I’m graduating soon? Zoinks.

Maddy: How To Trick Yourself Into Doing Homework

Absolutely no one wants to sit down and do homework, but it’s a necessary evil. It can be extremely hard to motivate yourself to get it done, especially if you’re a chronic procrastinator like me. Luckily, I’ve devised a few ways to trick myself into doing homework, which I will share with you now. You are a dog, your homework is the pill, and these tips are the cheese wrapped around it. Does that make sense? Here goes!

  • Start homework the day it’s assigned

This is a great way to trick yourself into getting ahead! You don’t actually have to do the thing yet, but it feels good to convince yourself you’re ahead of the game. if you outline your paper or do one of your readings, then in a few days when it’s actually time to work on it, you’ve given yourself a nice little head start.

  • Set reasonable goals for how much you’ll get done

Trick yourself into feeling good about what you’ve accomplished by accomplishing less than what you actually have to do! It’s tempting to write out all 25 things you have to do by the end of the week and plan to knock out as many as possible by the end of the night. However, that’s an easy way to overwhelm yourself. Don’t do it! Write out MAX 4 things you think you can realistically get done by tomorrow, and you’ll feel great when you accomplish them all. I also suggest knocking the easy stuff out of the way, and/or doing little bits of larger assignments.

  • Set a timer for 20 minutes

My friend and I were having a study bool and we absolutely could not focus, so I decided to set a timer for 20 minutes where we’d totally focus on our work. When the timer hit 15 minutes, I turned it off, but we were so focused that we kept working for another hour (she totally forgot we ever set a timer.) This is a hard trick to pull on yourself when you’re alone, but you’ll find that even if you leave the timer on and it rings, you’ll be so focused that you won’t want to stop.

  • Plan to reward yourself when you finish

Promise yourself that as soon as you get everything done, you’ll do something fun. Get some mochi ice cream from Whole Foods. Have your friends over for a movie and face masks. If you’re looking forward to something at the end of your study session, you’ll be way more motivated to get your work over with.

Happy (ish) studying! 😉