A Note on Failure

hello dead blog of mine, let’s talk. I started this blog to share some random experience or knowledge that I might have as a college student, you know like every other girl in college does. I thought it would be a fun little side project that would give me a nice outlet for frustration or creativity or whatever I needed but I made a mistake that kinda made me suck as a blogger, I started researching.

Before I started my blog I read tons of Pinterest posts about how to be the best new blogger, how to make 2400 dollars in your first month of blogging, and basically how to blog like everyone else is blogging. The thing is, that’s fake and disingenuous coming from me. I tried my best to do everything and write everything the other bloggers said to do but it just didn’t work for me so I quit. I failed. It seemed like I had waisted money paying for a self hosted website for no good reason, I wasn’t blogging so my website was just collecting digital dust. It felt like this pit in my stomach of not being good enough. That feeling of not being good enough goes right along with failure and it sucks. Here’s the thing though, we might fail in our tasks we set out for ourselves but that does not make us failures! We are created by a God who knows who we are and loves us anyway, failures and all. It’s not about failing, it’s about what you do after you fail.

The truth of me blogging is that I don’t know anything. I’m not good with grammar, I don’t really care about SEO, I’m not about to pay for advertising, but I’ve come to realize that that’s okay. The main point of today is that failure is okay, everyone fails at one point in their life. Failure doesn’t matter today, what matters is how you come back from that failure. What did you learn from failing that you can use in the future? In my failing with this blog I learned that I truly cannot conform to the patterns of this world, I can’t just fake my way through this. I have to be real, I have to be me. So here I am, my name is Tayler, I’m a biology major, and I’m just trying my best.

The Summer Between Freshman and Sophomore Year

Summer in College, summer

Freshman year came, you had fun, made new friends, lived your life, and now you’re back home. The question now turns into what to do for the summer until you go back? That’s where I am in my life right now. I have about a month until I have to go back to school and I’ve done my share of relaxing and bumbling around. I figured with this post I would make a list of things I’m going to do in the next month to get me ready for the upcoming school year.

 

Organize and evaluate.

I need to look through everything I had my freshman year and see what I will need for my sophomore year. In order for this to happen, I have to go through all my boxes from move out day and organize what is inside. I also want to look through all the random things in my house that I could use for my new dorm in order to keep me from spending unnecessarily.

 

Meal Prep

The first few weeks of my sophomore year are pretty busy. This, mixed with the fact that I have a smaller meal plan for the semester, is why I am going to be making a few meals that I know I love so that after a long day of hitting the books I can just pop a good meal in the microwave and not worry about food. At least that’s what Pinterest tells me, we will see how it actually goes.

 

Order my textbooks and actually read them

I’m not taking a bunch of classes this semester so I don’t have a whole lot of books. I prefer to have hard copies of all my textbooks in which I can actually write notes and highlight. Once I receive said textbooks I would like to read through as many as I can as to better prepare me for the school year.

 

Register to take a pre-calculus class online

This is quite specific to me and really needs no comment other than I am not looking forward to this at all.

 

Figure out how to make money

I might get a job, I might find out something else, who knows!

 

That’s about all I can think I need to do this summer. I’ll probably be reading a bit as well but that’s another post. I hope this post helped give you some idea of what you could do for these in-between months.

 

Have a great day,

Tayler

Making Juice From Scratch

Making Juice

One of my favorite things nowadays is juice. Specifically, I really like this one juice made by Ocean Spray called CranEnergy. CranEnergy is juice mixed with green tea and it is the bomb dot com. As good as this drink is, there are two major problems with it, it has a good amount of sugar and it is kinda pricey. These reasons combined with boredom lead me to try and recreate CranEnergy myself. It didn’t work and I’m still trying to find the magic recipes for this great drink but I did end up making a good juice drink that in my case is better for your body and your budget.

I started by doing a little research on Pinterest to see what all recipes were out there. I wanted something that would be easy to make but have to same consistency of juice you would buy at the store. I found this blog post for Confessions of An Overworked Mom about how to make your own cranberry juice and with a little tweaking I basically followed along with their recipe. If you want a more concise version of the recipe, feel free to check out their page!

Instead of cranberries, I used some blueberries that were in my freezer and a couple of frozen strawberries for added flair. This fruit mixture was put in a pot with about 4 cups of water to simmer for 15ish minutes. I let it simmer longer than that because I am lazy.

After the berries were done simmering, I set them to cool for a little bit and then took a really wide spoon that had a bunch of holes through it (professional sounding, I know) and scooped all the big fruit bits out of the pot.

I added in about a half cup of fresh, local honey and at this point, you have juice, if you want to strain it now and drink it, you can. I didn’t just want juice though so I added four cups of water and four bags of green tea, putting the pot back on the stove at a low heat for the green tea to brew for a while. After I felt the tea had brewed long enough, I strained the juice mixture into a pitcher using both a hand sieve and some cheesecloth.

Like I said, while this doesn’t taste exactly like CranEnergy, it is pretty darn good. The berries and honey were from my family’s garden and beehives so I know that they are all natural and organic. This recipe yielded just under two quarts of juice and it probably took 15 minutes of active cooking time. I loved this process and the juice that came from it, if you’re looking for a good juice recipe I would check out Confessions of An Overworked Mom’s.

Happy sipping,

Tayler

Freshman Year

After several long nights, either for studying, watching Game Show Network, or countless other reasons, I am proud to say I survived my freshman year of college! There were highs and lows, my grades were by no means perfect but they are fixable. I made friends that I can not wait to see in three short months, I would say that’s pretty great as a former homeschooler who stayed in her room all the time.

All in all freshmen year was pretty great. I wanted to talk about some stuff I did this school year and what I plan on doing over the summer.
Over fall break I was able to go on a mission trip with my school to a town called Nederland. We helped clear out houses that had been affected by the hurricane that swept through earlier that year. It was a lot of work and at times it was incredibly heartbreaking but I am glad I went.
Sometime after Halloween but before Thanksgiving, I cut my hair the shortest it has ever been. My best friend just graduated from cosmetology so I had her cut my almost elbow length hair to resting right above my ears. I’m very excited to not do anything to my hair and just see what happens.
I joined a sorority. I’m officially a part of Delta Pi Theta. I love it!
My future roommates and I got THE LAST dorm room that has a kitchen which is just a blessing.
I did a lot of things, met a lot of people, it was super fun and I cannot wait to see what sophomore year holds but alas, summer has come and with it, my new friends have gone.
I only have a couple plans for the summer, I think that’s okay though.
First, my school’s library is doing this reading challenge where they want the whole school to read a million minutes and I plan on contributing to that quite a bit.
I want to make a quilt out of a bunch of old T-Shirts that I have laying around but will never wear.
I want to help at my church whenever I can, I want to try to blog more regularly, and I want to just relax and get ready to rock this upcoming semester.

I’m so happy that I have had the opportunity that a lot of people don’t get in going to college and I am happy that I am still excited about school. It has been great and I can’t wait to go back.

Sincerely,
Tayler

Life Update (College is Busy)

So, it’s been a while. While I understand that I’m the only person that has ever seen this blog I still feel bad for not posting. I made those two posts over spring break and haven’t really touched this since. I feel like I haven’t been posting for two reasons, the first being I don’t know how to fit blogging into my schedule so I haven’t tried. The second reason is that I just don’t know what to post about. I’m not really feeling the format of the first two posts I made even though that’s what every “how to blog” Pin said to do. It feels fake, that’s not how I talk at all. I would feel weird telling people about it because it just doesn’t sound like me. I’m going to post to this blog when I can but I can’t promise a consistent format or theme at all. It’s finals season here and grades are way more important to me than this blog currently is. I’m working on a post that I think will be good, maybe I can have it up by Sunday (no promises though). For now, I figured I would just talk about what I’ve been up to lately.

This semester has gone by so fast, it’s pretty bittersweet. On one hand, I’m happy that I’ll be home and won’t have to do any homework for three months but on the other hand, I won’t get to hang out or see all my friends for THREE MONTHS!
I joined a sorority this semester and am very excited about what that has in store. Everyone is so nice in the sorority and some of my friends are also in it which is always a plus.
Through the sorority, I met the people I will be rooming with next year. We were able to get the last dorm room that had a kitchen and I am so happy about that!
I have decided to try out for the school’s dance team even though I have no formal training. Tryouts are this weekend and I feel very unprepared but I’ll do the best I can and hope for the best!
I have planned on writing a children’s bible study for my church to use over the summer and I’m very excited about that.
Since I made this blog to talk about getting better grades, I’m going to talk about those.
Overall I am doing better than last semester! I have B’s in most of my classes and am close to getting an A in biology which is great! Turns out, I forgot to send on of my transcripts from my dual enrollment courses over. It was a class that I got an A in so once we finally got that sent over it brought my GPA up to a 3.0. I am so happy with that! Let that be a lesson to make sure you get everything transferred that needs to be transferred.

I think that’s enough updating for now. I’ll post again soon (hopefully).

Have a great day,
Tayler

What You Should Bring To College

college move in day, freshmen move in

I cannot believe that my freshmen year of college is almost over! It seems like just yesterday that I was scouring the internet for every move in day shopping list on which I could click or old move in vlog I could find. If you’re like me, you have been looking at those lists and videos for at least a year, I mean there is just something so interesting to me about what things people use, it’s like an estate sale but in cyberspace. Enough with my gabbing though, here are the top things I use in my everyday life on campus.

*This post contains affiliate links, by using them you help support my blog*

An Electric Kettle

Throughout high school, I learned to appreciate a good cup of hot tea (I’m all about earl gray) so as I got ready to go shopping for my first dorm room an electric kettle was high on my list. Since purchasing my electric kettle, I have used it for tea but I’ve also used to make soup, oatmeal, red beans and rice, and even the occasional cup of coffee. I am so happy that I invested in an electric kettle and while I wasn’t able to find my exact kettle, here is the link to one that I know is good:

A Bathrobe

I really do not like being cold. I can usually get by because I have clothes on but I do not shower with my clothes on and my pajamas just aren’t as warm as I would like them to be. That’s where the bathrobe comes in, it is the last thing I put on after my pajamas and most nights I keep it on while I sleep.

A Heated Blanket

As I mentioned before, the cold and I do not get along. Mornings can get pretty chilly so having a thin blanket that heats itself up is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. I’ve heard tale of heated mattress pads but I don’t use a mattress pad so I’m happy with my headed blanket for now.

Rubbermaid containers

I know Rubbermaid is a brand, but I don’t know what else they’re called. Image with me if you will, you have made a cup of ramen noodles but don’t eat all of them. That is where these plastic containers come in, ramen leftovers aren’t great but somehow they’re still better than whatever the dining hall is serving.

Snacks

I love snacks! I am pretty much always snacking on something. I know, I know you have a meal plan but believe me, you will want snacks. My favorites are pretzels, rye chips, and any type of fruit flavored candy.

A rolling laundry basket

I bet you didn’t even know this was a thing until I told you. The rolling laundry basket is one of my favorite things I own, I don’t really have the arm strength to lug a laundry basket with (let’s be honest) two weeks of laundry all the way to my dorm’s laundry room. Now I can just roll my laundry to and fro with ease. As great as these things are, they’re pretty hard to find in my neck of the woods so I’m just going to drop a link here if you’re interested.

Upon starting this list, I have realized how little I actually use. Of course, there are school supplies here and there, notebooks, highlighters, all that jazz, it just seems like a lot of things you NEED are common sense. Hopefully, this little list helped you at least a little bit. You don’t need a whole lot for a dorm, a lot of the stuff people say you need just turns into clutter and that isn’t great to have around your dorm.

Happy shopping,

Tayler

How I (nearly) Tripled My Grade in One Test

Grades, GPA, Bringing up grades, college, hard classes, passing classes, studying tips, studying, test, testing

I intend on telling you what I did differently that took me from a horrible grade to a mediocre grade but first, a little backstory. I am a freshman environmental biology major in my second semester of college. Since it is the first year, it is mostly medical students in all my classes A.K.A all my classes are made to be hard and weed out who actually wants to be a doctor. I am sure that is great but it means I have to work super hard to get good grades. The hard course for all us science majors is General Biology.

That’s right, simple biology. For the first test of the semester, I filled out the study guide and made flash cards and did all the things the internet told me top students do. I got 41 out of 150 points on that test, I believe that’s somewhere around 28%. Let’s just say I didn’t do much homework when I got that grade back. So, when the time for the next test came along, I worked all week and my grade was almost triple what it was on the first test. I got 107 out of 150 on the second test, that is around 71% and probably my highest grade the history of my biology career. I know it isn’t great but it is progress, and this is what I did differently that helped me.

How I (nearly) tripled my grade in one test:

Rewriting my notes.

I know, it is boring, tedious, and no one really likes doing it. The thing is, rewriting your notes can help you remember concepts your professor rushed through in class, offers a clean place to look back on instead of the jumbled mess that your in-class notes can so easily become, and will help come finals season because you have a clean, easy to read refresher to help with those all-night study sessions.

Going to power hours or study sessions.

If you’re like me, you don’t like getting help because you don’t want to look dumb. That mentality is ruining your grades. I am not saying pester your smarter friends night and day for tutoring sessions. That is a great way to not have any friends. Power hours are made for you to look dumb! I went to a power hour for the second test and the tutor asked questions from the last test and that really helped on test day.

Looking at copies of the same test from last year.

I’m lucky enough that my biology professor, while he doesn’t give out copies of old tests, is fine with us having old copies of tests. Old tests are great because while they might have the same questions as the new test but it can prepare you for how your professor writes their questions as well as helping you to know what you need to study.  If it is okay with your school, I would get your hands on the same test from last year.

Starting before the day before.

This one is a given. Start reading your book, going over your notes, drawing any diagrams, and doing whatever else you need to do at least three days before your test. If you start early your brain can hold that information better and you might even get some sleep (sleep is important).

Making and labeling diagrams whenever I could.

This test was a lot of lifecycles, that is something that is easy to make diagrams of. In the days leading up to the test, I drew those lifecycles with details about each different stage over and over again. When I got my test, I start filling in my answers and almost all of the questions were about lifecycles.

Making my own study guide.

After filling out the study guide for the first test with horrible results, I was a little anti study guide, that is until I made my own. I grabbed a notebook and started writing things I thought would be important, by the end of the day I had thirteen pages of facts, diagrams, and definitions to go over in prepping for my test. It is not much and by no means is it perfect but it got the job done.

Eliminating distractions.

In the days leading up to my test I did something a little drastic, I deleted every social media off of my phone. Whenever I wanted to be on my phone, I just read a PDF copy of my textbook. I also didn’t listen to music at all while I was studying and I honestly think that helped so much because I wasn’t constantly thinking about the best song to be playing or whether or not I needed to refresh my music style.

Sleeping.

Some of my friends stay up all night before each test to study and go over notes. I can’t do that for every test, I’m usually in bed by 12 at the latest. Instead of staying up late to study, I got up early the day of the test, bought a large tea and read and rewrote my notes and important diagrams.

 

To be clear, I made a C on my test which is not that great but I wouldn’t have done it without employing these things into my routine. Who knows, maybe in a few weeks I’ll have a post all about how to bring a C to an A.

Happy studying,

Tayler