Monday, April 30, 2018

How to Be #StudyGoals

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, aka sponsored links that help keep Haley Marie Blog alive. But don't worry: all of the opinions are still my own!

Hello, beautiful! Once again, it's finals szn here on Haley Marie Blog, which means it's time for another study-themed post dedicated to doing well on your upcoming exams.

Lately - and especially around finals - I am obsessed with all things related to bullet journals, planners and prettified notes. In my opinion, there's nothing more satisfying than the way a Zebra Mildliner glides against the creamy paper of my Muji notebook. Can you say "stationery porn" or what?

Anyways, I digress. Since I've been so obsessed with stationery lately, I decided to compile a post that's all about being #StudyGoals. If you, like me, love the idea of beautifully hand-lettered notes and color-coded planners but are daunted by the mere idea of it, then you're in the right place! This post is all about how to create those gorgeous notes you've been ogling on Pinterest and Tumblr for months now, from the tools of the trade to my top tips for studying effectively and efficiently in style.

So, without further ado, here are my best thoughts on how to be #StudyGoals during finals week:

The Right Tools


Studying is kind of like an internship in that you should buy tools for the kind of study habits you want to have, not the ones you currently do! (Unless, of course, your study habits are flawless - in which case, good for you, boo! Just don't rub it in...)

Throughout my college career, I've found that it's especially important to me to use stationery that not only helps me feel comfortable and productive, but also looks beautiful. Personally, when I am surrounded by beautiful things, I feel so much more motivated to give back by being creative and putting even more wonderful things out there through my blog and my other writing projects! 

So, even if the idea of buying kawaii stationery imported from Japan makes some people's eyes roll, I'm going to keep doing it, because it's what helps motivate me to put my head down, work hard and do my best at whatever it is I strive to do. 

That being said, if you, like me, are motivated by having the right tools for the job, check out the two lists below: one of my favorite places to shop for the cutest stationery out there, and one of my favorite products to stock up on in bulk! (But fellow bibliophiles beware: get ready for an hours-long online shopping binge....)

My Favorite Places to Buy Stationery

  • Amazon. Classic, cheap and effective, Amazon always gets the job done when you're looking to fill an order fast. They carry some of my favorite brands of stationery, ranging from Muji pens and notebooks to Zebra Mildliners to Tombow dual brush pens. Amazon is like the Target of the Internet: you really can't go wrong! (And you'll probably leave with more in your cart than you actually meant to buy.)
  • Muji USA. Though I love Japanese-originated stationery shop Muji for a plethora of reasons, I am obsessed with Muji's notebooks above all else. Their paper is just so soft that pens practically glide across it - they're like no other notebooks around! (And at $1.50 per 30-page notebook, you can't argue with their prices, either.)
  • Mochithings. This online retailer found its way into my Pinterest feed one day - and as they say, the rest is history! I instantly fell in love with the brand's affordable prices and carefully curated selection of kawaii AF stationery and storage. If you're the kind of person that needs drawer dividers for your drawer dividers, let's just say you'll take immense satisfaction in the kind of attention to detail that Mochithings' products take.
  • Kawaii Pen Shop. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't fall into multiple shopping spirals on Kawaii Pen Shop in the making of this blog post. This site is basically a warehouse for kawaii Japanese and Korean stationery....only way cuter than that basement warehouse your mom shops at. (Sorry, Mom!) The best part? Nearly everything is super cheap - like, we're talking $20.00 or less cheap. On a college budget, that's something I can definitely get behind! 

My Favorite Stationery Products

  • 2018 12-Month Compact View Planner in Rose Parade. I bought this planner as a Christmas gift to myself in 2017...and usually by this time, I get sick of my planner and start looking into getting a new one. This year with my agenda has been the first year I haven't done that in a very, very long time! I'm so in love with its adorable designs, sleek layout and peppy compliments. It's everything a girl could possibly want in her weekly agenda, and oh-so-much-more as well! 
  • Muji Gel Ink Ball Point Pen, 0.38-mm. Black gel pens are one of those staples every college girl needs - and these are amazing! Not only are they super cheap, but they dry quickly and won't bleed through paper the way your mom's old neons would in middle school. I highly recommend stocking up before finals so you won't run out of ink in the middle of an important essay....not that I know from experience.
  • Pilot Precise V5 Stick Rolling Ball Pens, Extra Fine Point. Another favorite pen for me is the Pilot V5 Precise pen. These roller ball pens have an extra-fine tip that makes them perfect for bullet journaling or taking notes in the margins of your textbooks - and unlike most roller balls, they'll actually last you forever
  • GANSSIA Colorful Series Design 0.7mm Mechanical Pencils. These mechanical pencils come in an array of pastels that really, truly brighten my day whenever I see them. As much as I tend to prefer pen, there's a time and a place for pencils - and when I'm reaching for one, it's almost always going to be my GANSSIA 0.5 mm mechanicals. End of story.
  • Zebra Highlighter Mildliner, 5 Color Set. A cult classic among bullet journalers and studyblrs alike, Zebra's affordable pastel Mildliners are light enough that they won't bleed through just about anything.
  • Stabilo BOSS Original Highlighter. Another highlighter you've probably spotted on your favorite #bujo or #studygram pic? The Stabilo BOSS highlighter, which adds a hint of color that won't dry out as quickly as my Mildliners did.
  • Kokuyo Campus Notebook Semi B5. Kokuyo's Campus series of notebooks comes in everything from dotted paper, to blank paper, to graph paper, to lined paper, not to mention all your favorite shapes and sizes. Personally, I prefer the B5 size, college-ruled, for taking notes and jotting down to-do lists after class.
  • MUJI Notebook. Ultimately, however, Muji's notebooks are my ride-or-die product for all things class, work and school-related. I love the way their paper feels when I flip the page, and find the thin lines and creamy pages just so satisfying. Personally, I buy the 70-sheet A5 size with 6mm rules, which cost about $8.00 per notebook.

The Right Techniques

So much of getting good grades in college has been learning how to study. It was the same adjustment I went through when I switched from middle to high school: suddenly, the way professors taught shifted, and I had to relearn all of my old study habits to adapt to my new environment.

Thus, naturally, being #StudyGoals in college is all about developing good habits - and nixing the bad ones! - ASAP. I won't say that I'm an expert at studying by any means, but I do think that time and practice have helped me developed some pretty helpful tricks for memorizing, retaining and recalling information.

That being said, the skills I've learned have definitely made me a better student in my college classes. That's why I'm going to share all my best study habits with you, so you too can learn to be #StudyGoals - not just on Instagram, but on your final exams, too!

My Favorite Study Techniques

  1. Cornell notes. If you haven't started using the Cornell note-taking system yet, now's the perfect time to start! In this note-taking system, you use columns to organize your notes by subject line. Then, you write a summary at the end of each page of notes condensing the information you've learned in that reading. In my opinion, writing those summaries is one of the best ways to get information in your own words and really assess how well you know something. So, I always strive to do this when I'm taking notes - especially when it comes to self-guided readings that aren't accompanied by a professor's lecture. 
  2. Use the Pomodoro technique. Ever find yourself getting distracted from studying by, you know, everything under the sun? Me, too! If you're having trouble keeping yourself away from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Buzzfeed (because let's face it - who doesn't want to know what Game of Thrones character they are based on their horoscope), etc., try using the Pomodoro technique. In this technique, you set a timer to study for 50 minutes, followed by a dedicated 10 minute break. Believe it or not, taking these kinds of short, frequent breaks actually makes you more productive than cramming for hours on end - so feel free to take that Buzzfeed quiz in your downtime! Just download a timer such as StudyBreak to keep you on track ;)
  3. Search for flashcards on Quizlet. Making flashcards is a useful study habit, but I often find that the actual process of making 100+ flashcards for a final ends up being an ineffective use of my time. That's why I love Quizlet so much: you can easily search for flashcards made by students who previously took the same class, whether at your school or a different university, and study using their decks. Not to mention, there are some pretty fun games you can play with their flashcards (as well as practice tests) to assess how well you're doing and develop healthy study habits. I especially recommend downloading the Quizlet app for a fun, efficient way to study on the go, whether that's during your morning commute to class or on a 10-minute break during a long lecture.
  4. Explain the material to someone else. In my opinion, the best way to figure out if you know the material or not is to try teaching it to someone else. If you can explain a complicated concept to someone who's not taking the class, whether that's communications theory or organic chemistry, then you're golden. So, find yourself a study buddy who doesn't mind listening to a long rant (and offer to do the same for them!). That'll honestly be one of the best tests of how well you know the material - plus, it's always more fun to study with a friend!
  5. Go to office hours. As cliche as it sounds, developing a relationship with your professors outside of class is honestly one of the best things you can do for your GPA. Not only does it show your professors how invested you are in your academics, but it also provides a great opportunity to ask specific questions that might not have been covered in class. My advice? Come with an index card of 3-5 questions you want to touch on during your discussion. That way, you'll be able to most effectively use your time and the professor's time to your advantage.
  6. Attend TA-led review sessions. Another great way to get study hacks straight from the source is to attend any review sessions led by your TA or lab instructor. While the TA might not be able to tell you the exact exam questions, he or she probably has the best guess of anyone as to what material is going to appear on the test. Plus, it's their job to know the material covered in class like the back of their hand - so who better to ask all your burning questions during test prep than your TA?

What's your favorite way to study for finals? LMK in the comments below or @haleymarieblog on social media!