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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I just got plagarized!

I did a search for one of the most popular articles on my blog titled "How to Study for Long Periods of Time." Someone submitted my article to a free article site and then advertised for their site. My article is up at another site because I chose to submit it requesting that blog's owner to credit me and give a link to my site. This person stole my article and just put it up to advertise their website. If you want to share my articles with someone, feel free to email them. If you think it'll be helpful to others and you want to put it up on your site, contact me and ask for my permission before you use my work.

All in all, I have to admit, it is a bit flattering when your content gets stolen though. It means it's worth something to someone. But don't steal my stuff. I'm amicable to sharing it but not for someone else to take credit for it especially someone who stole it word for word. If you're not Serendipity,  you can't speak serendipitinese!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How to wean yourself off coffee

That jolt of energy you get every morning after drinking your first cup of coffee is a sign of dependence. Caffeine has become a socially acceptable drug as places like Starbucks bloom and pop up on every street corner. Don't get me wrong, I love coffee. Really. It's been a love and hate relationship between us though. If I drink too much of it, it has no effect on me. If I don't drink any, I feel like I'm missing out on the extra boost that will get me through my hard days. So what to do?

If you're already dependent on coffee, you can figure this out as my friend R did. No coffee for two days and see if it has any effect on your body. If you start getting headaches and such, then you are going through withdrawal. Your body has become coffee addicted. To stop that, you can drink coffee but slowly decrease the amount. So you might be drinking 2 cups a day. Cut it down to one cup for two weeks. Gauge how you feel and go from there, slowly decreasing the amount of caffeine you take in.

If you're only a little addicted to coffee but want to use it for its maximum benefit of giving you energy, then here's what you do.

Drink coffee only when you have to. Do it on hard days, days when you have to push but feel like you can't anymore. Don't drink it everyday. It won't have the same powerful boost as to someone whose body hasn't become accustomed to the regular supply of caffeine.

But what about meeting my friends at coffeeshops to talk? What do I do? You can get organic tea instead or a blended drink that's coffee free. Either way, the point is to talk to your friends, not to drink actual coffee.

Stopping the coffee addiction can also greatly help your pocketbooks, not to mention your waistline (especially if you're in love with frappucinos and such.) But if you're really craving a frappucino, then indulge or make one from a recipe. Either way. be kind to your body and use coffee wisely.

Other recipes for frappucino can be found here and here and here.

How to study for long periods of time without boredom!

The past two weeks I have been studying for my microbiology and immunology miniboard. I focused mostly using the Lange review book since I find it the most comprehensive without assuming you know the details. (I'm getting through this program by learning hardcore cramming skills.) While some people may read and understand and remember, I am not one of those people. I need time and repetition to drill it into my head. This takes time and patience. I greatly need the latter. So this is what I did.

I broke it into chunks.

To really focus, I wrote out what I was learning in my own language, Serendipitinese. It made it easier to find out what I was missing in understanding the concepts and much easier to read later on to review.

The problem with writing is that your hand gets tired. To conquer that, I read. This meant, when I wasn't writing, I was reading and vice versa. But even that get boring so I set up stations.

Stations are 20 minute intervals where you do different activities at each station. Think of circuit training.

I would spend 20 minutes doing questions and writing down things that I didn't understand, the holes in my knowledge. Then I would spend another 20 minutes rereading what I wrote from doing questions. Then I would spend another 20 minutes reading and writing from another section of the book directly. The last station is simply just reading ahead. I had four bookmarks and after awhile, I knew the material that I had written down from questions well enough to test myself on it. That created the fifth station: the one where I test myself to see if I really remember what was going on. The fifth station functioned as a review and a test but more importantly, it helped reduced the amount of material I was rereading in station two (rereading knowledge gleamed from questions).

Since it's all done in twenty minute intervals and alternates between reading, writing, and thinking. I wasn't bored with it. I can easily do two rounds of these stations without realizing it. My concentration was maintained and I was able to get my repetition in.

Let me know if you've tried it and how it turned out for you.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

How to procrastinate effectively

Burned out? Dreading doing that paper? I'm sure as a student, we've all been in that type of situation before. It finally hit me this past week how I can use that dread more effectively to motivate me to use my time wisely. There's only x number of hours in a week. To be super efficient and do the work you have to do in a short time would be terrific. Here's how you can use your procrastination skills to your advantage:

1) Choose a paper or project that requires minimal effort. By this, I mean, it's not a large part of your grade and no matter how much time you spend on it, you'll probably get the same grade anyway. For me, that's my pathology essay. Spending 8 hours vs spending 4 hours has gotten me only a 0.5 difference in grades. The tradeoff in time was not worth it.

2) Plan how long you need to complete said project. Overestimate by 30% for good measure.

3) The day before it's due: Decide on a time to start your paper. Choose the latest time possible to give yourself the extra epinephrine to get you through the night. Nothing works like a deadline to get my booty in gear.

4) Relax the rest of the day and enjoy planned procrastination activity until it's time to do the project.

5) Complete project in allotted time giving yourself a few more hours for good measure.

My first how-to. Hope it's been helpful. Please leave me comments so I can improve my writing skills. Thanks!