Finals Prep

It’s almost finals time! Or maybe it is not…. I still have a month of schooling left before that happens but my mind is already there. I don’t know about you but during finals season I get really really good at getting side tracked, scary good. Procrastination becomes my finest quality. This year I am determined to spend as little time as possible locked away in my room “studying”. This is said every year but this time I mean it. I’m in Japan now where I actually want to get out of the house. Besides I only have a year or so left until I graduate and will most likely end up back in the US. That is beside the point, here’s my tips for staying focused and getting the most out of your studying time.

1. I highly highly suggest listening to foreign music when you study; music that you won’t be able to understand the lyrics to when you are half paying attention to the background noise. I’m telling you this works miracles. When you can’t fully get caught up in the words, they don’t stick with you, you can have the same song on repeat for hours. It has the same effect that instrumentally music has, just more exciting.

I personally binge on French music. (Yes the person who speaks Spanish and infant level Japanese, and maybe two words of French.)

My English teacher showed me this song. Sounds super lame but it’s not, she is a very cool person. Listen here.

My second go to French song— and yes the blue means it’s a link.

And the last song that I have on the rotation. And maybe my favorite.

2. EAT while you study. I’m not kidding, you will be more awake and retain more information. By eat I do not mean binge on potato chips, finger fruit would be ideal. My personal favorites are blueberries and raspberries. And if you are feeling extra adventurous get a second bowl throw a few pieces of chocolate in it and heat it up for 40 seconds. Then voilà, you have a chocolate dip for your fruit.  Or even chew a piece of gum. There are studies that show gum chewing improves test performance, the chewing motion helps get blood flow to the brain.

Don’t believe me? Google it. Better yet, here’s an article on it, I’ll save you the trouble.

3. Get organized ahead of time. Sort out your papers and make yourself a simple game plan. We are trying to avoid this


4. Take breaks every so often to get up and walk around without diving into some distraction that will take your mind 30920203 miles away.  And don’t just read from you textbook, vary your studying methods . Make some monsterous  color coded flashcard timeline if you have to.

I've done it. And massively helpful. This was only a third of my AP US History exam timeline

I’ve done it. And massively helpful. This was only a third of my AP US History exam timeline

Oh yeah and 5. mute all Facebook chats. Just put away your phone and turn off at notifications, they won’t help you here.

You can clearly tell I was only excited about points one and two, to be fair they are the most exciting. But with those food and music in the background, how much more exciting can studying get? Really how much more excitement can you get from this predicament?

Hope this will help and good luck.


Dear Japan,

Dear Japan,


It’s been almost a year and I’m comfortable.  I no longer have to think long and hard about what floor button I have to press when taking out the trash. I have the train system figured out, I can start a basic conversation in your language, and have fallen in love with your culture. It has been almost a year and I have changed greatly. I’m still the loving optimist just now with added experiences. I’ve been to that otter-hand holding marine park I had once raved  and was overly excited about. I drink tea constantly, eat rice almost daily, ride the train regularly, watch Grey’s anatomy when I can, and reconnect with old friends back home. I came to this country with expectations, immense hype, and I am proud to say that I have not been disappointed. My life hasn’t turned out exactly as I had planned but it never does.

I’ve gotten to the point where I recognize this is my life now and I’m living it.