School · Writing

The Life Of A Student Writer

Being a student and a writer isn’t easy. When I’m not studying, I’m writing. Of course, I have to write a lot for university as well.

I continue to wonder how I’ll manage to balance both identities. Some days, I have no idea how I do everything I want to.

I can’t give up writing. I don’t think I ever will. If worse comes to worse, I may not write as much as I’d like. But a little is better than nothing at all.

I already know the next couple of months won’t be a breeze, but I’ve been in school for most of my life. I have also been creating for a long time. So I like to believe I’ll be fine.

Besides, some of my happiest memories come from telling stories.

Problem being there aren’t enough hours in the day. Why can’t we have twenty-five instead of twenty-four?

As of late, I’ve been thinking m about my writing career. My non-existent writing career. I stand corrected. My mind loves to worry about my life after graduation. Isn’t the unknown great?

Rest assured I’m not going anywhere. I won’t be making drastic changes anytime soon. But I will continue to progress day by day.

Right now it’s enough that I enjoy my writing sessions. I want to experiment more. I need to venture outside of my comfort zone.

As for school, I’ll do the best I can in my classes. I just have to time manage well.

I have plans I hope to execute in 2018. Of course, I’ll keep you posted if and when I publish or republish anything exciting.

A long time ago, I made the conscious choice to start writing. I’m not going back or giving up now.

School

Am I Happy With My University Grades?

I’m not sure what overcame me a while ago, but I decided to check all of my grades at once. I needed to rip off the band-aid. It wasn’t satisfying.

They aren’t bad. They aren’t amazing.

I feel like I have room for improvement though, and I intend to improve. Easier said than done however.

To be quite honest, I’m happy. I maintained good habits. I looked after my physical, mental, and emotional health. I also lived my life, did the things I loved.

I’d even go so far as to say all things considered, this past semester is my favourite one thus far.

I worked hard and smart.

Even though my grades aren’t as good as they have been in the past, it’s not the end of the world. There are more important things to me than my GPA.

I’m a month into 2018, and a part of me already misses last year.

I still can’t believe it’s over. I had a fun ride. I’ve learned a lot.

I’m glad I can look back on 2017 with a smile on my face. There’s a ton to be grateful for.

Now that I’ve had some time to digest my grades, I realize I’m fine with them. Obviously, I wish they were higher, but I can live with my GPA. At least, I can’t complain.

I’m ready to see how the rest of 2018 pans out.

May this year bring joy and cheer. May you learn and laugh, live and love. May you be happy and healthy.

School

Education, Ego, Expectation

We’ve reached that point in the semester where professors start crushing my fragile ego.

What a time to be alive.

But I’ll manage somehow.

I still don’t know how I did so well in my first year. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t as jaded. I’m much more cynical now as well. Or maybe it’s because I actually read the assigned articles and books.

Second year was an inconsistent one. I was all over the place with my grades. I did better in some courses than others, which makes sense. But the negativity bias gets me every time. So I tend to focus on all the bad marks rather than the good ones.

I’m not sure how the rest of this year will play out, but if I’m failing miserably and drowning in school work, you’ll hear all about it.

As someone who prioritizes my passions among other things, I’m still content with where I stand right now. Although if you give me another month, I might change my mind. I’m human after all.

Let’s talk about opportunity cost, shall we? I’m aware the time I spend dancing every day could be spent studying. But I choose to dance. And that isn’t going to change even if I’m not getting a 4.0 GPA.

Many things matter more to me than my grades. My health. My happiness.

Because I have high expectations for myself, I’m not sure I’ll ever be happy with any mark. Oh, a 90? That’s not a 95, is it? An A-? Why not an A+?

Maybe I should never check my grades ever again. I’m fairly confident I won’t fail anything. I don’t have to worry about that. If I did, I’d be a complete wreck.

Ignorance is bliss. What you don’t know can’t hurt you.

Or perhaps I should check all my grades and have my ego destroyed every single time.

Either way, I don’t benefit. You just can’t win as a student, can you?

All this being said, I love learning. I’m grateful to be able to get an education. I hope I never take that for granted.

I’m fortunate. I’m lucky. I can’t imagine not being able to go to school. I can’t imagine not knowing how to read or write. And my heart breaks for everyone out there who aren’t in a position to learn.

I still think I’ll jump for joy and do cartwheels around my house when I graduate in 2019. I can’t wait. I’m excited to experience life after school.

There’s so much I want to do. And turning down full-time job offers because I’m a full-time student isn’t something I want to do my whole life.

For now, I’ll try to enjoy the good things about being a student and embrace the bad.

School · Writing

Separating Writing For Fun From Writing For School

I try to keep the two separate from each other as much as possible. Otherwise I’d lose what’s left of my sanity. But sometimes when I’m pressed for time, I wonder if I should consider what I write for school as fulfilling my creative quota for the day.

Who am I fooling? Not myself obviously. And it’s sort of cheating in my eyes.

Come on. Do better, Herminia.

As much as I love what I’m studying (Book & Media, English, Writing & Rhetoric), there are areas of overlap in my personal interests. So everything mixes into one giant mess.

Personally, I blog for a lot of reasons. I clear my head when I write. Well, I try to anyway. I know I can always turn to pen and paper, my best friends when school gets to be too much. It didn’t help my non-existent patience that I hated the second sentence of an essay I had to edit.

Writing is hard. And if you are a writer, it’s even harder. Yet I still put myself in the same position every day, staring at a blank page or a white screen.

I was just thinking to myself if someone gave me the choice to do just about anything, writing would be a top priority. Even if that list of potential tasks was a million items long. I’d still choose writing over a ton of other things.

Over the years, I like to think I’ve fallen more in love with words.

I used to tell people I want to publish a book. I do. But as of late, I tend to say I just want to write and blog. Is that too much to ask for?

I digress as I often do.

Back to the point of writing for fun and for school. I won’t let university stop me. The whole process of creating something takes time and effort. But it’s also so incredibly rewarding. More than anything, writing is worthwhile.

School · Writing

Tips For Academic Writing

Blog posts are the only things I know how to write, but even that is questionable. It depends who you ask.

So whenever I have to write for academia, you can imagine the ensuing panic. And if you can’t, I’ll try to describe it.

Never mind, I can’t.

Safe to say I’m no expert when it comes to writing research papers or literary essays. But somehow I’ve gotten by.

How? I have no idea.

Do I have any business giving advice on writing? Nope. Will that stop me? Never.

Follow instructions. Follow rules. Follow whatever your professor says.

I hate following with a passion. But I’ll do whatever it takes to pass. Academic writing will never be as kind to you as creative writing is.

If you’re ever unsure about a fact, double check.

When you’re unsure of the meaning of a word, look it up. It’s always better to err on the side of caution. Always.

When in doubt, cut it out.

Try to delete anything you don’t need. It’s hard to detect sometimes, especially if you’re editing your own writing. But you’ll thank yourself later. Besides, everyone is better off without unnecessary adverbs. Seriously, your lovely teacher will totally understand that your really amazingly awesome point is very important.

Know your weaknesses.

Also, try to learn the words you fall back on as a crutch. You know what words I’m talking about. In elementary, my teachers pointed out my love for the word “then.” Then this happened. Then I did that. Then you get the idea. Now for some reason, I have a mildly unhealthy attraction to the word “that”. It’s more obvious in my essay writing when I’m not careful. Using the same words again and again becomes redundant. If you use them too much, the word loses power. After all, not every sentence needs to begin with “then” followed by “that.”

Even if you follow nothing else I’ve said, hopefully you’re able to do this:

Write about something you care about, something you’re passionate for.

It doesn’t have to be a topic you know like the back of your hand either. That’s why research exists. I realize students don’t always get a say in the matter. Still, finding an interesting subject that makes you want to write is half the battle.

Personal Reflection · School

A Terrifying Transition

One of these days I’ll stop talking about my 20th birthday. Today isn’t one of those days.

To be honest, I feel good about where I am right now. Better than I have in a long time.

A while ago, I was talking to one of my high school teachers. Somehow my birthday in August came up. He made a point that stuck with me. I wish I remember his words exactly. Something like my having a birthday during an anxious, stressful time of the year. I couldn’t have agreed more.

I used to feel horrible in the mornings right before school. It’s not that I hated school inherently. But the thought of having to deal with people sent my heart pumping even faster than exercise.

My special day is and I suspect always will be a transitional time for me even after I graduate from university in two years. Yes, I’m assuming I’ll graduate. Allow me.

The memories I have of my childhood mornings are not fun or easy. I realize I can’t change the fact that I used to dread going back to school. But a part of me thinks it’s messed up that I and many other students feel anxious or afraid.

There’s a difference between not liking something and being terrified of it.

I felt terrible for so many reasons. My overactive imagination deserves a medal or trophy. More often than not, I scared myself because I thought of horrible situations. Most never came to pass.

When I think about school now, I’m not as worried or nervous. I’m not too afraid or scared. I am excited.

I’m looking forward to the rest of this upcoming academic year because I know that regardless of what happens, the sky won’t fall on my head. The ground isn’t going to open beneath my feet and swallow me whole.

I’ll be fine. The world won’t end. And if the sun will rise every day, so can I.

School

Some Reminders About School

You go to school to learn, not to prove that you’re some perfect, infallible human being.

So it’s okay to make mistakes, to fail. That’s when you learn the most or should anyway.

Stop focusing on your grades, your GPA. Start focusing on getting a good education.

Learning doesn’t stop after graduation. It shouldn’t stop ever. Keep your eyes and ears open. There’s always something you don’t know.

Figure things out on your own. Don’t give up right away when the going gets though. You have to solve some problems by yourself without anyone else helping you. Still, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Do great work.

Don’t cheat. You’re only cheating yourself. Not just in the traditional sense either.

Be your best.

School

Thoughts I Have About The First Day Of School

I’m writing this before I go back to school, but by the time I edit and publish it, I’ll probably have survived my first day. Or not. I don’t know. Even though I want to predict the future sometimes, I can’t. Ever.

(I survived.)

While the first class is an easy one in some ways, I’ve never felt great in the days leading up to it. Nervousness and excitement don’t mix well for me. I’m just a ball of stress in the mornings.

Fortunately, university hasn’t been as horrible as high school.

I think I’ve experienced enough first days to know I’ll get through another one without the world crashing down on me.

I’m going into my third year of university. Been there, done that. Twice. So I’m not as nervous or terrified. I think I’m more excited than scared at this point. I just want to make this year the best one yet. At least better than last because second year is not one I want to relive. Thankfully, I don’t have to.

(Now I only have one more first day to go. That’s insane. I can’t wrap my head around it.)

I’m wondering if I was more worried about my first day of work. Technically, first days. I think not. There’s something scarier about school, I guess.

To all the students who have gone back, I hope you had a great one. To all those yet to go back, I wish you the very best. If you already graduated, congrats on making it through.

I don’t really know what else to say, except that I’m looking forward to seeing what this year has in store. I have no idea what to expect, so I’m not expecting much.

I know it won’t be easy. But challenge makes life interesting.

I’ll write about my trials and tribulations, so you can laugh at me as I wallow in my misery.

I like to think whatever happens, happens for a reason. I can’t control everything, but I can control myself.

Over the course of this semester, I will do my best to look after my health (physical and mental). That’s important to me. And my happiness too, of course.

Here’s to an amazing year. May you achieve all your goals, academic or otherwise. I hope 2017-2018 is everything you hoped for and more.