College advice – part 5


Here is the fifth part of this series.

Teacher aids:

  • Some classes have teacher aids. Take advantage of them and ask them anything.

  • Be aware that they are students like you and they may not know the answers to all your questions.

  • They a great nexus between students and professors, don’t be afraid to ask for help.


  • Study!

  • Save some time in your schedule to study. Your may not need all the study hours every week, use them to re-write notes, clean your study space, meditate, or get ahead on your readings.

  • Find which type of learner you are and study accordingly.

  • The pomodoro method is a great way to study. Divide your study time into 25’ sections, after each one take a 5’ break. You will be able to study for longer periods of time without getting tired.

  • Every time you finish an unit take some time to do a round-up. If you have any doubt this is the moment to ask for answers.

  • Find some classmates to form a study group. You don’t need to get together to study if you don’t want to (I don’t). Just create a network to ask questions and share notes.


College advice – part 4


The fourth part of this series is here:


  • Choose your classes wisely, double check everything and be ready for changes.

  • The registration day get to class early and try to sit in the first row… for some high demanded classes, it will be better to have some friends helping you register and get ready to get any of the timetables available.

  • Always take into account commute time. Be aware that the bus/train/subway can be delayed.

  • Avoid 8 in the morning classes, specially 8 in the morning on Monday classes. This is the high rush hour, you may not make it on time and many teachers are not forgiving.

  • Find before hand if the professor give students some minutes for delays, if not plan your day accordingly.

  • Sit in the front rows. Some professors are not willing to raise their voices.

  • In content heavy classes, try to record lessons. They are helpful for note taking and to clear doubts while studying for exams.

  • Read before classes!!! At least, scan the text and identify main ideas. Highlight what the professor mention in class.

  • Don’t force yourself to make pretty notes. It doesn’t matter if the rest of the world can’t understand them, they are yours if you understand them they are fine.

  • Find the note taking style that suits your needs. Try different note taking techniques until you find the best for you. Don’t be afraid of trying mind maps!

College advice – part 3


Here is the third part of the college advice series.

Book and copies

  • Don’t rush to buy every book you professors ask for or mention in class.

  • First, check in the students union. Sometimes they have book and copies exchange system, where the advanced students give away their old copies and you can get them for free.

  • Second, check if the professor will actually use the book, sometimes you only need to read only a few pages and it’s a waste of money to buy the whole book for the sake of a few pages.

  • If you want, get the e-book… and just print the pages you need and done.

  • If you will use a tablet or laptop, get the digital version of the material you need. You can get it in the xerox room in the student’s union.

  • Always try to get the material in the xerox room at the university. Outside the university copies usually cost much more…. sometimes even three or four times more.

  • Always carry a memory stick with you. You don’t know when a professor will ask for something new without notice.

College advice part 2


This is the second part of this multipost series.

Make up

    • If you like to use make up every day, get a 5 minutes routine. Some days you will have no more than that to put make up.

    • Get a nice pink or nude lipstick to wear when you have long classes. It will be easy to re touch later.

    • If you wear glasses, you may get away with no wearing eye make up every day. But put some lipstick anyway.

    • Get a good concealer. Panda eyes are really normal specially after an all-nighter.

    • Test all the make-up before buying, even if they are from an “important well-known brand.” I had no idea that I was allergic to a “big company” bb cream. I was lucky and smart enough to test the product before buying it. I ended up with a huge rush all over my arm. Now I’m using a really cheap foundation that does not trigger any allergic reaction.

College advice


This is the first post in a series: College advice. I tried to write these posts taking into account my college experience.  I’m not trying to lecture anybody about what they should do or not during college, this is just a guide. This is just a sort of review of everything I had learned. I hope that it can help someone during their way through college.


  • No one is going to tell you what to wear for class, however, there are some useful advice

    • Jeans and leggings are your best friends. Just throw a sweater and some boots and you will look like you have all your s**t together… even if you don’t

    • Oral exams are situations in which you need to look confident and joggers are not a choice. I can tell you for personal experience, you can get away with some bs with a confident and grown up look.

    • Jogs are for gym and staying at home. Everyone is tired and, for some, looks are not important but you will feel better if you take care of yourself. Spending 5 minutes changing your clothes will make a difference.

    • Sales are awesome but don’t get to carried away. Buy basics or things that you can use with the things you already have. If you don’t you will end up with a wardrobe full of unmatching clothes. Like me.

    • Buy some good basic jeans. You can match them with whatever top you have.

    • Black leggings and jean leggings work as good as a classic jean. Take advantage of it… a nice top some sneakers or boots and you look good.

    • College is a great time to find your style… try new things if you want to. No one will say anything… Unless you go naked.

    • Wear comfortable shoes. You may have to climb a lot of stairs and/or queue for hours. Your feet will thank you later.

I know that some of the tips may sound obvious but sometimes you need to read it from someone else to reaffirm what you already know.

!Some of the post may be more related to the country where I am living and they should not be taken into consideration if you are not living in the same country.


Classes started a few weeks ago. I’m taking phonetics II… my karmic friend (I don’t like it and I haven’t practice dictations in a while) and Integral (it is a mix between History, Literature and Writing – I’m not completely sure about this one… for now I like it =) )

The second subject is a little more complicated than the usual subjects. The instructors do not ask for any type of writing in particular. They gives us some guidelines but we are free to ignore them… in a certain way, they are asking us to “intervene” text in any creative way(this is the moment in which the word fan fictions pops in my head).

I’m certainly at odds with all of this freedom in writing. I love to write but in college, writing is so limited and constricted by instructors’ rules that any type of freedom is unsettling.

Whatever thing writing that comes from this experiment will be shared here… as soon as the classes are over. I don’t want to have any problems with plagiarism even if it is from my own work =P

Helpful article about “The vagueness”

Great article! it’s helpful even if you are not writing a thesis. Academic writing can be a real challenge for ESL and EFL writers. (me included). I’m definitely adding this site to my following list!!

Dear Readers. Shaun Lehmann, Katherine Firth (of the Research Voodoo blog) and I are currently in the process of writing a new book for Open University Press called ‘Writing Trouble’. The proposed book evolved out of our work on the Thesis Bootcamp program, a writing intervention originally designed by Peta Freestone and Liam Connell. Over […]

via The vagueness problem in academic writing — The Thesis Whisperer

A lot of questions and no answers

Ok… this is a kind of situation that I have never encounter before.

A few days ago, I sat for an oral exam. The girl next to me was really nervous, but that is completely normal. When the oral exam began, the professor asked the girl a question. The girl answered, a very shaky answer but I does not really matter. At of the blue the professor ask the girl to explain an example he provided (with a clear sexual implication.) The girl got even more nervous and answered the professor about the example avoiding the implication. She gave him a different context to the example making it sound sarcastic. However, the professor did not accept her answer and began questioning her further on trying to elicit  the implication he wanted to hear. The girl, who did not want to play his game,  refused to answer. But he kept on…. and the girl started crying (she was now having a panic attack.) The professor was now really pissed and (probably because another professor entered the room) he stopped his assault and change the topic. At this point the girl could not control anymore and stopped him and left the room crying uncontrollably.

I was in the room the whole time. I felt so powerless. I knew the girl was really nervous and it was hard for her to answer the professor’s questions. However, I cannot understand the professor’s obsession to make her answer with the context that he wanted. The girl’s answer was possible but he was dead set to make her talk about the sexual connotation.  What it is more, when he mentioned the same example in class, no one laughed.   At the end he made a girl had a nervous breakdown and when it was my turn to talk he never let me finish a single sentence. We ended up being affected by the whole situation and he did not got his way. Or his only goal was to make the girl cry her eyes out?

So many questions and no answers to any of them. This was more than unfortunate situation… this was…. I don’t know. … I simply don’t know.

Where are you March?

March ended, and I feel that I haven’t post at all. Yes, classes began two weeks ago and it’s hard to get used to it. In the end, the week ends to be a long sequence of the same things: the long hours sitting in the classroom, the long waits in the xerox room to get a copy of all the professors booklets, all the planning to get to class in time with the bus arriving late, the weekly planning of outfits and make up, and -the most important part- the studying sessions and all the note taking to have everything read and analyzed before class… and yoga which helps you to relax and unwind, and makes you sweat like crazy -the best part-.

I’m not really complaining (well… maybe about the bus… definitely, I’m complaining about the bus… and the stationery store that was close at 3pm and I wanted to buy a color pen.)

Sometimes life is not so boring and tedious… until you write about it and you realized that maybe it is. However, I kind of like my life right now. It has more meaning than three years ago. Even if your doctors tell you to life you life normally, follow their “advice” is pretty hard and you end up spending a lot of time until you get the hang of it. I never really have any hang on life so I’m kind of lost here, but I think I’m slowly getting use to this rodeo. I hope I don’t find out that this was a circus and not a rodeo.

College, classes, and so on

Classes began this morning. Usually, the first week, the atmosphere in the classroom is relaxed. Everyone is trying to get used to work and study again, so they are not in a rush. However, it seems that the teacher did not get the memo and he rushed us throughout several dozens of new concepts no one had any idea they existed.

A happy me or, more precisely, an unhappy and extremely confused me did not have any of the material that the teacher was making reference to. Therefore, my week will have as main mission getting the material (a hazard task per se) and studying it so that I can have a beautiful set of notes ready for next Monday. I hope tomorrow´s classes do not follow the same pattern.