A STUDENT'S GUIDE TO ORGANIZATION AND TIME MANAGEMENT

When I was attending a college admissions panel a few months ago, the speaker revealed the two major reasons that high-achieving high school students are no longer high-achieving once they reach college:  poor lifestyle choices and ineffective time management.  The second category really piqued my interest because, as we all know, time management skills are not easily mastered.

To be frank, sometimes I still struggle with making the most of the time that has been allotted to me.  I know that time management in college will be much more comprehensive than it is for me now, but I'm hoping that sticking to my tried-and-true organizational system will put me on the right track.

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1. Find Your System:  Do you love technology and built-in notifications?  Google Calendar and other apps might be your best options for time scheduling.  If you prefer writing your schedule, try using a planner and/or desktop calendar.  If you're utterly indecisive (like yours truly), try your hand at a system that incorporates both technological and written timekeeping.  I put important events (like appointments and meetings) and deadlines (usually college-related) on my Google Calendar because I love being able to set customized notifications for them;  I use a paper planner to keep track of my day-to-day school assignments and smaller tasks.

TEN CLASSIC HOLIDAY FILMS

Hello, hello!  It's wonderful to see you again!  Yours truly is on winter break and finally has a bit of time to relax--and write blog posts, of course.  All of the newfound time I have on my hands has reminded me of one of my favorite holiday traditions:  watching movies with my family, surrounded by glowing Christmas decorations and too many holiday sweets.

In recent years, there have been some solid holiday film releases and remakes, but none of them quite defeat the classic films released during the past century.  If you share this nostalgic opinion, or if you're simply in the mood for a timeless holiday movie, check out the films below (some of my absolute favorites):
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1. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Would any holiday film list be complete without this classic of classics?  If you'd like to watch a Christmas movie with lovely acting and a heartwarming message, start here!

2. The Bishop's Wife (1947)
One of my middle school teachers played The Bishop's Wife in class a few days before winter break, and I remember thinking then that it was one of the most romantic films I had ever seen.  You can't go wrong with this classic (or Cary Grant, for that matter)!

FEAR

Note:  Before I get into this post, I wanted to explain my lack of activity on this corner of the web.  Like so many high school seniors before me, I am immersed in stacks of college applications and senior year homework.  Of course, these will always be my first priority, but when I have extra time on my hands this semester, I'll try to hop on over!

Ever-constant, ever-changing:  fear is an integral component of the human experience.  Fear can be frustrating because of its dynamic nature;  it doesn't always appear in the form of a demonic poltergeist. For many of us, it comes as an inevitable phone call or the first day of a new job;  it's an important presentation deadline or the "submit" button on a college application website.

I've known fear that was light but distracting, and I've known fear so paralyzing that it hindered my ability to speak.  Neither type is particularly endearing--but no matter its form, fear can always be overcome.

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You see, fear has a very negative connotation in most of our minds.  I'm sure that glancing at the previous paragraphs is enough to give you a clear picture of the feelings that fear evokes in me.  Part of the dilemma, however, is this distinct way that we characterize fear.  Ultimately, we overcome fear by embracing it, and it's rather difficult to embrace something you hold in an unfavorable light.

A BIT OF INSPIRATION

Hello, hello!  The month of August has been accompanied by a flurry of back-to-school activities and adjustment periods--I'm sure that some of you understand exactly what I'm talking about!  Even though I only just finished up my first full week of the school year, my mind and body seem to believe that I've been attending class for at least two months:  a hectic two months, at that.  All that being said, nothing helps me overcome stress like a healthy dose of verbal inspiration;  hopefully, the following quotes will alleviate your worries--just as they did mine!

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"The world won't care about your self-esteem.  The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself." -- Bill Gates

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." -- Anne Frank

"Do more than belong:  participate.  Do more than care:  help.  Do more than believe:  practice.  Do more than be fair:  be kind.  Do more than forgive:  forget.  Do more than dream:  work." -- William Arthur Ward

FOUR AUDREY HEPBURN FACTS

Audrey Hepburn remains one of the most admired women of the twentieth century, and if you've glanced at a picture of her, you'll begin to understand why.  Although most regard her as a supreme fashion icon and actress, her life consisted of so much more than gracing cinema screens and twirling in black dresses.  Because she is an icon to so many, I wanted to shed light on some lesser-known facts about Audrey and the actions that truly make her a person worth remembering.

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1. First and foremost, she devoted much of her later life to a humanitarian cause.
Audrey Hepburn was named a UNICEF goodwill ambassador in 1988, just five years before her death.  No partnership could have been more fitting;  indeed, Audrey was one of the first children to be aided by UNICEF's predecessor, UNRRA, during the 1945 postwar liberation of Holland.  As such, she felt deeply connected to UNICEF's mission and traveled abroad to aid and raise awareness about impoverished children in communities across the world.

A GUIDE TO TACKLING INTERNSHIPS

It seems like every college-aged blogger I follow is participating in a summer internship--but who can blame them?  Summer is the prime time for gleaning work experience.  If you're planning on following in their footsteps in the future, this is a humble guide crafted from my experiences as an intern that is meant to curtail any fears you have about starting an internship on the right note.

A little background behind my own internships:  the first one I completed was part of a curriculum at my high school that involved doing modified clinical rotations at different healthcare practices for several hours each week.  I'm currently job shadowing at a local veterinary referral hospital that performs specialized surgeries and emergency care.  Now, without further ado:

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1. Start With Good Communication:  Nothing is quite as perilous as being unsure of the details behind your internship:  basic snippets ranging from the workplace uniform (provided there is one) to the entrance you should use.  If you are truly serious about pursuing an internship, take the initiative to find the answers to these questions at your workplace--the sooner the better.  Doing this will make future endeavors much easier.

2. Know Your Purpose:  Stemming from the above advice, being unsure of what your daily tasks consist of is a nerve wracking proposition.  Similarly, standing around awkwardly while desperately trying to find someone to direct you is not the best way to establish yourself at a workplace.  It's quite simple to prevent this situation from occurring:  just ask a few key questions about your role at the workplace.

LIFE UPDATES

If you've read any number of my posts, you may have guessed that I enjoy keeping myself busy (as illustrated by my borderline-excessive use of the word "hectic").  When the second semester of my junior year arrived, a new state of hectic-ness accompanied it--the likes of which I had never experienced before.  As a result, blogging slipped down to the bottom of my hefty priority list and stayed submerged there for six months.  Like I mentioned in this post, I sincerely hope that a six-month break will never again be necessary.

Now, on to the fun part:  answering some unspoken questions about my hiatus and what the future holds for the blog.

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Tori, where have you been?
Great question!  Quite simply, I've been studying.  Especially during the month of April, my time was monopolized by studying for AP exams.  On the off chance that I wasn't occupied by studying or some other task, I didn't feel up to doing anything more than lounging around.

What are you doing now?
This summer is certainly going to be a busy one (surprise, surprise), but I feel much more optimistic now that I have a definite break from school.  One of the most exciting developments has been my opportunity to do a modified internship at a local veterinary hospital.  I spend several hours there each Tuesday observing procedures and surgeries.  I'm also taking online precalculus as a review for an upcoming AP Calculus class.  To top it all off, I'm studying for a national health science competition that I'll be attending in a week.