The Quiet Room: A Book Review

click to buy on Amazon

The Quiet Room By: Lori Schiller & Amanda Bennett

A fascinating and heart-wrenching, true story of a 17 year old girl’s struggle to find a foothold in reality.

The book walks you through the life of Lori Schiller (yes, she also helped write the book as well!). It gives you a first-hand look at what it is really like to develop and live with Schizophrenia. You see the progression of her disease, follow her progress through years of treatment, and feel for her as she slowly tries to re-establish her life.

The story begins when she was 17 years old. Lori was a normal teenager then. She came from a good home with loving and supportive parents that pushed her to do her best to succeed in life. She just graduated high school and was now contemplating her future while trying to enjoy her last summer before college. As she left to work at a summer camp, nothing was out of the ordinary – until the Voices came.

Lori tries everything she can to get away from the nagging Voices in her head. She tries running, she tries blasting music or sleeping but, nothing helps. The Voices grow louder and louder until eventually, she is unable to ignore their presence. They leave her debilitated. She loses jobs, friends, drops out of college and attempts suicide. She can do nothing to escape the torture and feels alone because no one else can hear what she hears.

Her parents believe at first that their daughter is just stressed and will bounce-back if given the time to relax. Of course, this doesn’t work out despite their best efforts. They seek help and treatment for Lori but, are unaccepting of Lori’s real need for Psychiatric help. They don’t want to believe that their perfect daughter has some scary mental disorder. No. Lori is just stressed, she just needs a social life and friends.

Lori is moved to a different hospital when doctors decide there is nothing more they can do for her. They had tried treating her for what they thought was Bipolar Disorder but, she was not getting better. The doctors assigned to help Lori at the new hospital come up with a new diagnosis – Schizophrenia and start her on treatment and require her to live at the hospital.

Her mother visits often, even though sometimes she doesn’t want to. She feels like the Lori she had raised is gone, and she wants desperately for that little girl to come back. Sometimes the visits go really well – Lori is able to hold a conversation and actually seems present. Other times she may slip away into her own world – unable to hear her mother’s voice or even acknowledge her presence. Her mother leaves the hospital in tears almost every time.

Finally, Lori is allowed to leave the hospital and move back in with her parents. Nothing is the same though, nothing can ever be the way it was before. Her parents are afraid to leave her alone with fear she might try to harm herself. Lori is depressed and alone – no longer feeling comfortable in her own skin.

In an effort to move forward, Lori finds a job waiting at a restaurant/bar. She struggles to keep up with the fast pace but puts in her best effort. The Voices are still very much a part of her every day life. She tries to ignore them as best as she can but ultimately turns to drugs to bring her the relief and silence she’s been craving.

After yet another suicide attempt, she is taken back to the hospital. Instead of being released back home, Lori moves into a halfway house through a program at the hospital. She will stay at the home and report to the hospital every day for activities and monitoring. She is given responsibilities at the home such as cleaning and cooking in order to help ensure she will have the skills necessary to eventually live on her own.

Lori tries hard to get better but her efforts are all for not after she relapses yet again. This time she is put in a long-term stay psychiatric ward of the hospital. It is there that she meets two Psychiatrists that help her get to the root of the problems – the meaning behind the voices. Their therapy combined with medications helped calm the voices in Lori’s head. Lori finally had the courage and strength to fight them off and the will to push herself to get better.

The final effort to help her came in the form of a new and experimental drug called Clozapine. When Lori heard about this drug and how it had been able to help some patients with Schizophrenia, she begged her psychiatrist to let her try it. Her Psych was hesitant because not only was there a possibility that it wouldn’t work, there was also a chance it might kill her. She does given in and decide to put Lori on Clozapine. Once treatment began, Lori showed a lot of improvement. This sort of hazy cloud she had been living under was finally starting to dissipate – and with it, the Voices. For once she felt normal, she finally felt more like herself.


One thing that was really well done with this book was the alternating narratives. Some of the “chapters” are written by other people in Lori’s life which allows the reader to understand not only how Schizophrenia affects the individual but, how it affects their family and friends as well. Her parents had a hard time accepting her diagnosis and tried their best to not lose hope throughout the entire process of seeking treatment to help their daughter.

I think this book sheds a light on the reality of mental disorders and the true torment someone suffering with them can go through. A lot of people don’t really think about the affects of trying to live a normal life when everything is far from normal in your own mind. To Lori, those Voices were Real. She could hear them as clear as anything else. It wasn’t something she made up for attention or something she was able to just ‘turn off’. Her whole way of thinking was altered – her perception of reality, all because of Schizophrenia.

Honestly, this is a really great book to read if you’re looking to delve deeper into the world of Psychiatry, to understand the true reality of Schizophrenia. Especially if you are interested in therapy. It could help you be more sympathetic and aware of what some patients and their families are really going through.

I believe it also shows strength and perseverance which can be encouraging to those who may be going through hard times in their life, especially with dealing with a mental disorder. It shows that no matter how bad things can get, there is always hope.


Capn Kelso

Is Your Relationship Healthy?

healthy relationships, is your relationship healthy

“Falling in love and having  a relationship are two different things” – Keanu Reeves

Relationships are at the center of everything in our lives. We make friends, we fall in love, we connect with people all around us in the world – it all sounds kind of beautiful, doesn’t it?

Being in love can be one of the most amazing and rewarding feelings one can experience but, sometimes love can feel not-so-great or even cause you to stay in a unhealthy relationship just because you are holding on to that feeling.

How can you tell if you are in a healthy relationship? You may think that this should be a pretty obvious thing to figure out, someone should be able to tell they are in a bad relationship.  As an outside perspective, spotting an unhealthy relationship tends to be fairly easy but, sometimes when you are the one involved, your emotions can cloud your judgements and create a skewed perspective of the situation.

Are you and you significant other open and honest with each other?

Your significant other should not only be someone you love romantically, they should also be your best friend. By this, I mean you should feel comfortable to talk to them about literally anything – without fearing judgement.

Communication is key to any relationship.

Communication helps build a foundation of trust that is essential in a healthy relationship. You should be able to talk freely and express a desire to learn the details of each other’s personalities and lives. This allows for the establishment of a deeper and more meaningful connection with you partner.

Not only should you be talking about your lives and things like the type of day you had, you should also be talking about any issues that come up pertaining to the relationship. This part can be a little uncomfortable for a lot of people because they may feel as if they may upset their partner or cause an unnecessary fight. If something bothers you, it is worth talking about.

Seriously – talk through issues!!

A relationship can only work if both individual’s involved are willing to work together through any issues or rough patches that come up. This can be hard to really, actually understand, especially in newer relationships where you both may seem to get along perfectly during the “honeymoon phase”. You may think that you will be able to work together but when the time comes, someone falls short.

Don’t be naive going into a relationship. Expect rough patches, expect to be mad/upset with your partner at some point – trust me, it will happen. This is all normal. But being able to talk through these emotions can help resolve any problems before they turn into a bigger issue. If you bringing up an issue that you have in the relationship is met with hostility from your partner, this is not a very good sign. They should be willing to work through things with you.

Main point – you should be able to talk to your partner about anything and everything.

Is your partner supportive?

Being able to support one another is another very important aspect of a healthy relationship. You should feel like your partner is supportive of the things you are involved in whether it’s school, work, or even a hobby. They should not be making you feel judged about the positive decisions you make in your life.

Do not let a relationship get in the way of your goals!!I have seen a lot of people that give up going away to a really great university solely because they didn’t want to be apart from their boyfriend/girlfriend or other situations such as that. This breaks my heart because no one should feel like they have to give up on their dreams or goals in order to keep their relationship.

Relationships, if they are stable and strong, can last the distance and time apart. Although it is possible, I am definitely not saying that it will be easy. There is a lot of trust involved and a lot of emotional support that is going to be needed (on both sides) to get through being apart for an extended period of time. BUT if that is was you truly want to do, you’re partner should be able to be there for you. Even if they are upset about your decision, they should still want what is best for you and be respectful of your life goals.

Don’t neglect emotional support

Relationships are all about emotions – hopefully positive ones. You and your significant other should make each other happy, truly happy. They should make you feel special in a way that you know they love you and truly care about you. You shouldn’t have to guess to question your worth to them.

If you are reflecting on your relationship and you see that yes, they do make you happy BUT… then there is an issue. Your partner being caring and loving towards you (or even just being nice) should not be a conditional thing.

Apart from simply making each other happy, you also need to know how to be there for each other. As sappy as it may sound, your significant other should be your safe place. You should be able to turn to them when times get hard and know they will be there to comfort you and do their best to help you in any way they can.

You should never feel ashamed or embarrassed about your feelings/emotions around your partner. Being able to express yourself, including your emotions, freely is so important not only for the relationship, but for your own mental integrity.

express an interest in each other

This goes beyond the physical attraction you may have towards your partner. I think one of the best feelings is when someone genuinely wants to learn things about you. Things like what your favorite color is or what weird quirks you may have; things that seem insignificant to you yet, they still want to know. Being involved and interested in your partner’s life is important – and visa versa.

Get to know each other.

Are you able to be yourself around your significant other?

As I mentioned before, your partner should also be your best friend. You should feel like you can be your uncensored, real self when you are around them – and be comfortable with it.

Having compatible personalities and shared interests is a great basis for a relationship. This may make it easier to feel comfortable talking to each other because you understand each other and have lot of things to connect with on.

You shouldn’t feel like you have to change yourself to be with them.

If you feel like you are constantly trying to appease your partner or trying to meet some sort of expectations that they have for you, you may want to rethink the relationship. I can say from personal experience, staying in a relationship where you feel like you are constantly trying to prove yourself to them and that you are never going to be good enough can be very damaging to your own emotions and sense of self worth.

I am not saying that you should cling to bad habits or that you and your partner should have everything in common. You may not agree with everything but, even if they may not share an interest you have – they should at least be respectful of it and not make you feel like you aren’t “allowed” to have that interest or make you feel guilty about it. Everyone has their own hobbies and interests, keep that in mind.

Relationships can be a beautiful thing, a personal experience shared between two people who love each other. Find someone who is willing to be there for you through the good and the bad, someone who loves you for who you are and supports you in your endeavors. Find someone who genuinely cares for you and is interested in learning everything there is to know about you.

Remember your worth, and do not accept being treated less than what you deserve. Even if you are happy sometimes or sometimes they make the relationship worth your while. You deserve to be happy loved unconditionally – remember that.


Capn Kelso

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A Poem From Lonely Hearts

I like the sounds that slide off your tongue

pushed softly through the air

a sea of vibrations

reverberating in the sound of lonely thoughts

words that calm unseen storms

I dream to understand the inner working of your mind

to articulate in the way you do because

darling, collections of syllables taste better

coming from your mouth

penetrating internal contradictions

with tricky perceptions of reality

but this reality could last forever and

I would make deals with the devil for a love like yours

if you at least say you’ll stay until the moon dies

-kelsey seay

Books to Read On A Rainy Day

brunch.pngthis post contains affiliate links, for more info read my disclaimer

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”- Stephen King

On dreary, rainy days I love to grab a blanket and one of my favorite books and just nest myself in. There’s just something about reading while it’s pouring rain outside that just feels so right.

I mentioned before that I love to read and I have been trying to squeeze in time to read more in between endless school work and my job. BUT for those of you who are still actively reading or looking for another great book to get your hands on, I put together a short list of some of my favorites.

So sit back, relax, and read on!

The Good Marriage Stephen King

click to buy

Since Stephen King was also the quote featured on today’s post I thought it would be fitting to include one of his titles. The Good Marriage is actually one of his short stories but, it is still an amazingly written book (obviously). I really love the writing style King has and how he so effortlessly lays out the plot.

The story is about a married couple (duh), who seem to really have their lives put together and have a great relationship. The wife, Darcy, thinks her husband is an amazing man and a great husband. That is until one day while her husband is away on a business trip and she accidentally stumbles upon what appears to be a secret hidey-hole. What she finds inside could tie him to a string of murders that have been all over the news committed by a serial killer known as Beady. Her whole world is turned upside down as she questions everything she knew about her husband and their relationship!

This short story was published in his book Full Dark – No Stars which features more of his short stories. I definitely recommend checking this book out, especially if your into reading thriller type books or have read any of Stephen King’s other works!

Identical Ellen Hopkins

Identical, twins, Ellen Hopkins, novels, great books
click to buy

While we are on the topic of thrillers, Identical is another one of my favorites and is written by one of my all time favorite authors – Ellen Hopkins. The way she writes her book is pretty unique in that she uses a poem style writing and plays around with the actual shape of the words on each page. This book in particular is one of her best ones, in my opinion. The plot twists are unbelievable, a real page-turner!

The book is written from the perspective of identical twin sisters, Raeanne and Kaeleigh. Their family is not what most would call healthy. Due to a horrific car accident in the past, their family has been torn apart. Their mother seems unable to express any sort of loving emotions and is never really home. Because of this lack of love, their father tries to find love in other unconventional (and inappropriate) ways through his daughter, Kaeleigh.

Kaeleigh struggles to comprehend and deal with the abuse from her father while still trying to maintain a good relationship with him. She becomes depressed and starts finding other ways to express her pain. Raeleigh, on the other hand, wishes her father would love her more and struggles to gain his love and affection. She acts out, trying to fill this void with drugs and sex. Both girls are struggling at home, at school and in their own personal relationships. They spiral further into bad habits and addictions, trying to find themselves. They are identical, maybe in more ways than it seems.

The Giver Lois Lowry

The Giver, Lois Lowry, classic books, great reads,
click to buy

This book has been popping up in my life forever, it seems. Some of you may have read this during school reading groups in elementary or middle school. Maybe you only watched the movie that came out a couple years ago that was based on it (trust me, the book was waayy better). Whether you’ve read it before or not, this book is always a great read!

The Giver is set in an alternate society that was developed in order to make things easier for humans and avoid conflicts within societies. They are assigned a life partner, apply for children (only 2 per family) and are even given an assigned job upon reaching age 12. Their whole lives are planned out for them. They do not even experience negative emotions or understand the feelings of pain, hunger, or even death. Everything is numbed down.

Not only are the lives planned out and simple, so is the environment in which they all live. There are no colors but, since they don’t know what “color” is they do not understand that something is missing. There is basically no weather, so they will never be too hot or too cold. Everything is simple, strategic and planned out. These emotions and experiences did not quite disappear, however. There is one man in the entire society, known as the Receiver, that is in charge of remembering this part of the history of the human race. His purpose is to help the leaders make decisions using the knowledge of the past.

The main character, Jonah, is chosen to replace the current Receiver. He begins to experience the past and feels all the pain and emotions that were taken away from him. He experiences a sort of “enlightenment” as he begins to see the world as it really is and how it used to be. He struggles with what to do next with all of this knowledge because he wants to the people to understand what is really going on!

Saint Anything Sarah Dessen

Saint Anything, Sarah Dessen, love story, young love, young adult book
click to buy

I have probably read every single one of Sarah Dessen’s books so I had to give a shout out to one of her more recent releases, Saint Anything. A lot of her books incorporate strong themes of family and self discovery and I think this book focus on that even more.

The story follows a girl, Sydney, who is desperately trying to find a place for herself in the world, at school and even in her own family. After causing an accident while drunk driving and sentenced to jail, her brother – Peyton, becomes the center of her parent’s attention. They are worried about how this will affect his future and trying to find any way they can to help him through this process. Meanwhile, Sydney is more worried about the victim of the accident. In a way, she feels guilty for her brother even when she had nothing to do with it.

In all the craziness that is going on around her she meets the Chatham family who run a local pizza parlor. They are a warm, boisterous family who accept her as one of their own. The siblings in the family all help run the family business as well as work together to help take care of their mother who has multiple sclerosis.

One of these siblings is Mac who is everything she needs. He is protective, understanding and gentle around her and they just seem to work perfectly together. This is a story about finding love and a home when you feel as if the whole world is crumbing around you.

Ghost Boy Martin Pistorius

ghost boy, Martin Pistorius, misdiagnosis, inspirational
click to buy

This is not normally the genre I go for when choosing books to read but, as I was shopping for new books a while back I happened to see this one sitting on the shelf and it’s cover really drew me in. I read the summary and decided to give it a try and I was not disappointed! His story is so heart-wrenching and inspiring. It is definitely worth checking out!

This is an autobiography about Martin’s life. When he was a young child he became very ill and doctor’s couldn’t figure out what was causing it or how to fix it. His functionality slowly declined until he could no longer do anything for himself. He couldn’t speak or walk and he basically had no control of his own body movement. What people didn’t know was that Martin’s mind was still very aware of the world around him.

He struggled with being able to see the pain and worry in his parent’s eyes but was helpless – unable to comfort them. He desperately wanted to let someone know he was still there, a prisoner inside his own body!

One day, a nurse finally notices! She said that she could see it in his eyes that he understood what she was saying to him, he just had no way to respond. She helped push for him to get training and help using certain programs that could essentially give him a voice. He worked very hard in finding a program that would actually work for him as well as trying to train the muscles in his hand so he could have better control of them.

What he could do with these programs at first, was type. He joined chat rooms were he talked with people all over the world. One of those people also turns out to be the love of his life!

Alright, I hope you enjoyed this short list of some of my favorite books! I hope you choose to check them out or have already read some of them!


comment below one of your favorite books and let me know if you’ve read any of the ones on my list!

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The Secret to Happiness | Mind Food Monday

The Secret to Happiness.png

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” – Gandhi

Happiness and success are two goals shared by pretty much everyone in our society. Some people walk around like their whole world is basking in rays of sunshine and rainbows while you’re over here under your storm cloud thinking how can they possibly be this happy…in this weather?

Maybe the key to happiness is simpler than you think.

As humans, we have a lot of instincts and drives that are hardwired into our brains. There are instincts to find/eat food (gotta hunt down some grub in the grocery store to feed the family), to raise children, and drives for competition/achievement. But we also have a drive to be around and interact with other humans. We want to form groups and make friends. We want to be liked and accepted in our community.

You may be saying if it was that easy, wouldn’t everyone be happy? And this is a GREAT question!

You would think it would be easier now since we seem to have more opportunities to interact with new people and make new friends but, the method of these interactions is very important.

It turns out that to really benefit and utilize this “ticket to happiness” you actually have to go out into the world and talk to a real human….in real life! *gasp* the horror!

Let’s think about this for a moment, cause it will all make sense, I promise. In more ways than one, online interactions via social media or whatever else you’re using is definitely not the same as talking to someone face to face. For one, you don’t see their face or hear their voice so it is very hard to figure out inflections or emotion they are putting behind their words. So, if someone replies to your long text with “fine” or “k”, you don’t know if they are mad at you, if their okay, or if they’re actually just really busy at the moment. Thinking about it that way doesn’t sound too appealing, does it? Why would you want to sit around having emotionless, and sometimes mindless/meaningless conversations with someone through a screen?

read my post about social media [here]

Another reason people aren’t around other people is because of the internet/social media. These online activities eat up too much of their day which doesn’t leave a lot of  room for much else, least of all interaction with other humans. Some people would actually rather stay home and play around online than hang out with their friends out in the real world.

This disconnection from society and lack of genuine social interaction can actually lead to feelings of depression or isolation. yikes!

The group that is really affected by this are the youngest generation in the U.S. today, iGen. This generation has actually shown a significant increase in depression and risk of suicide than any other generation. Guess when the spike in these symptoms occurred!…Around the same time as the smartphones were released and slowly started taking over the world!

Now, I don’t have anything against using smart phone OR the internet. But, obviously they have been causing a lot of problems behind the curtains.

Yes, symptoms of depression can have many other contributors other than excessive screen time, like simply having a genetic predisposition to developing the mental illness. BUT, there have been several studies that actually link increased time on social media to more feelings of unhappiness and not the other way around. This means that being unhappy does not lead to more screen time.

Not only is this overwhelming lack of human contact affecting these teens but smart phones can be causing yet another problem!

Over use of screen devices such as laptops or smartphones can actually disrupt your circadian rhythm and cause you to get less sleep which…you guessed it…leads to feelings of unhappiness and disconnect from others.

In defense of this, however, there are a lot of articles and books I’ve read saying that simple decreasing screen time before you go to bed can help you sleep better. Instead of laying in bed doing some last minute Facebook scrolls and checking if Susie posted any new pictures of her baby, you should try to read or meditate before sleeping. Basically, find something that you can do that doesn’t involve a screen and this will help your mind and body know when it’s time to wind down and prepare for some well-deserved rest.

If you want to find happiness, take the first step! Go out and experience the world! Meet some new people, maybe join some sort of club in your community. Stop texting while your walking and actually look around at these other humans that are living and sharing their lives with you on this Earth. I promise those posts and social media feeds will still be waiting for you later on.

Get out there and find your happiness!


Thankyou for reading and I hope you enjoyed this one!

Leave a comment telling me what makes YOU happy (:

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Why I Started a Blog

Why I Started My Blog

The Reason Behind the Blog

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” – Pablo Picasso

Hey guys, I wanted to post a more personal sort of blog post for you today. I didn’t really know how I wanted to structure this post in terms of what I wanted to talk about so I just decided to sort of introduce myself as a blogger and explain to you why I started this blog in the first place. Interested? Great!

Let me start by telling you that I am a full time college student and I also have a part-time job. During the week I am typically very busy catching up on school work, studying for exams, and working right after school into the evening hours.

[learn how to study better!]

I promise you I am not complaining about this busy lifestyle! I am a type of person that loves to have something to do at pretty much all times. Although, every once in a while I do like to relax and veg out on the couch just like anyone else.

What this lifestyle lacked, however, was any sort of creative aspect; which I feel is a key part of who I am. I love creating. I am fascinated by creating pretty much anything. I draw, make jewelry, attempt to paint, and even design and make coasters on the side. A more internal creative outlet I have though is writing.

I have been expressing myself through words and stories since I can remember. I have a box in my closet full of stories and unfinished books I have written over the years, starting from when I was in elementary school. I am not saying any of them were “expert author” material but I was still proud of them. (honestly, some of them are super weird)

One of my fondest childhood memories was visiting my grandmother who had a typewriter. Now, I am not old enough to remember a time without computers so I was just that weird kid who preferred to use a typewriter instead of the computer. I would stay up late at her house and spend long hours of the day locked away in the spare room typing away, creating story after story.

Now that I am older and much busier I don’t have the time to sit down and just write stories all day long anymore. When I heard of blogging and started to look into it I really liked the idea of being able to share my thoughts with people who might actually want to hear them!

I started getting more serious about starting a blog this year after doing tons of research on the matter. Choosing the title of my blog was probably the hardest, but I love the one I ended up with because I feel like it kind of captures a piece of me.

My best friend, Krystal, and I met in the 7th grade and we have been friends ever since (we are both turning 22 this year -2018). When we were younger we had nicknames that we had given to each other. I called her Krys and she called me Kelso.

I never really liked being called Kelso but it has kind of grown on me over the years, even though she is the only person that I would ever let call me that. In order to add to this nicknamed I added “captain” (capn) to the front of it. I am not really sure when that came about or why I decided on that but that is what it is today.

I had to think really hard about the direction I wanted to take my blog in terms of content. I am a pretty diverse person, if that makes any sense. I am interested in a lot of different things and the idea of being tied down to one ultra-specific niche did not really seem like my kind of thing.

I wanted my blog to be about my life or rather, life in general. I wanted it to be a place I could express myself as well as talk about the topics I am interested in, and maybe even give out some advice along the way!

There we have it! Capn Kelso’s guide to living

I hope you all stick around with me on this adventure!


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Mind Food Monday | The Science of Studying

How Your brain wants you to study

Study Tips Using Physiological Psychology

The big question a lot of students have is what is the best way to study? You may have never even been given a straight forward answer. It is true that individuals have different learning types and may have a way to study that works better for them than it does for someone else. But, how does your BRAIN want you to study? Maybe learning a little more about how your brain processes information can help you devise a great study plan that will actually work!

Repetition, repetition, repetition

This may come as no surprise but, repetition is one of the key components in pushing information from short-term memory into long-term memory in order for you to be able to recall it later on. The more times you go over your notes and information, the more likely you are to remember it for your test. Flashcards can be a great way to implement this idea because you are seeing it over and over as your practice your flash card set.

Emotional Context

Most of your life memories that you are able to recall are ones that are emotionally significant to you. This can be positive or negative depending on the memory. You might vividly remember your 4th birthday party because that’s you met your best friend and it was Elmo theme which you were obsessed with at the time so you remeber this as one of the best days EVER! You may also remember the time you almost drowned in a pool because you were trying to impress the cool, big kids and swam into the deep end. The point is, you remember these events because there is a significant and strong emotion behind them.

This may be a hard concept to apply to studying but, maybe by watching a video on the topic made by someone you really enjoy watching or someone who jokes around about the topic that you also enjoy. Sometimes, I find that studying with a friend (even though that might pose a distraction) can help you remember more of the information. As you both talk things over, the conversation might stick in your mind better than just reading over your notes.  For example, you might remember something they said about a concept or the fact that they pronounced one of your vocabulary words weird. Whatever it is, you will be able to recall the context of the conversation and therefore your information during the test.

notebook and flashcards

Create A Study Environment

This sort of goes along with the whole concept of emotional memory but, expanding on that, you are more likely to remember something if you are in the same environment that you studied in. Studying in an academic environment, such as your university, might be the best idea. Studying at school also gives you the advantage of having fewer distractions. If you can’t study on campus, for whatever reason, there may be a simple solution! Try create yourself a constant study space in your room where you do all of your studying in preparation for your tests! You don’t even really need to physically create a study space. You can achieve the same goal by simply studying in the same place in your apartment – your desk, the kitchen table, wherever you study the best. This also helps kick your brain into learning mode because you (and your brain) are used to studying in this spot so, when you are in this space, your brain prepares for learning! When you take your test, if you are struggling to remember something that you KNOW you went over you can try visualizing your study space and try to recall the memory of you studying that concept. By using this method, you might have a better chance of actually remembering it.

Smell Your Notes

Okay, I don’t mean to literally smell them..but you’ll understand. Emotion isn’t the only thing that can enhance memory retention, smells can also help as well. You may be thinking to yourself this cannot possibly be true! but, think about this for a minute. Have you ever driven past a coffee shop or smelled someone’s perfume and the smell itself starts bringing back memories. The smell is so familiar to you that you can remember some of the memories surrounding the time when the scent was present.To incorporate this idea into studying, you could diffuse an essential oil of your choice (peppermint and lemon are good for concentration) in your study space or wear a certain perfume when you study AND when you go to take the test. This may not always be the most ideal or practical strategy. Luckily, what I have found also works is chewing mint gum both when studying and when taking tests or eating chocolate. Because the senses of smell and taste are very closely related in terms of how your brain processes their specific sensory information, this can be a good loop-hole for the times when you don’t have a diffuser handy during your test (which is probably quite often).

Don’t Just Read Your Notes

Even though repetition is very important (as we went over previously) you DON’T want to just sit there and read your notes over and over again. Not only is this method super boring, it might not even be the best strategy to help your brain absorb the information. One thing I always recommend for anyone who wants to develop better study habits is to rewrite your notes. Not only does it your notes look nicer and more organized, it also allows you the chance to go through all of the information a second time and even give you an idea of concepts you don’t quite understand/may need more clarification on. Another approach to this is to add images to your notes! Pictures are very easy for your brain to process and recall later on because there are more components for it to latch on to. So, draw out processes and make diagrams! Make your notes as simplistic as possible to give your brain an easier time.

Switch It Up

Expanding a bit on the previous tip of not only reading your notes several times, you should also switch content types in order to look at the information in several different ways. Let me explain. When you read your notes, you’re looking at words, and if you add drawings – images. This is all great stuff for your brain BUT you might need to give your brain more options. You can watch videos about the topic, play games designed for learning the concept (if possible), quiz yourself, make flow charts, etc. – basically do anything and everything you can with the information. This lets you hear, read and visualize the information which is GREAT for recall because it requires the recruitment of many different senses. Ultimately, this means that the same information is being processed several different ways in severeal areas of the brain.

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Break Often

I feel like this is another obvious one. You may feel inclined to put off studying until you have no choice but to attempt to cram a month’s worth of information into your poor, over-worked brain in 8 hours. As some of you may already know, this is definitely not the best thing to do. For one, it is extremely stressful which does not help learning. Your brain (and you) do not typically work well under stress. Spreding your studying out a few days will often prove to be very beneficial. You could divide up your notes into a few main sections/topics and go over one of these a day for a few days leading up to your exam. Breaking up the amount of information that you are trying to have your brain process and retain will be much more effective!

You notes are not all you should break up, however. You should also incorporate breaks into your study time about every 90 minutes or so. Taking short breaks – about 5-10 minutes – will help to increase the amount of information being retained by allowing your brain the time to actually process what you just went over. Don’t get too distracted during these breaks because that might lead to major procrastination, which will be no help at all!

Sleep is Key

Last, but CERTAINLY not least – YOU NEED TO SLEEP! As a college student, I know from experience that some days you will realize how much work you’ve been putting off and now – it’s crunch time. You stay up all night in an energy-drink/caffeine enduced panic trying to get as much work done as you can before the sun comes up. I know we have all heard this time after time that sleep is good for you. But guys…this is true! Your brain needs time to rest and replenish it’s energy for the next day. Just think about all the work it has to do every day to keep you alive and learning! Not only is sleep a great habit for healthy living, it also helps with studying! While you sleep your brain is still active, processing information and events from your day. This information includes all the studying you did that day. So, while you sleep your brain essentially “keeps studying” and works on transferring that information into your long-term memory. Pretty neat, right?

I have learned a lot about the processes and functions of the brain over the years, being a Biology/Psychology major. I find it really fascinating to learn how these sort of behind-the-scene processes of the brain work and love to apply this knowledge to help better my own habits and life. I’m happy I have the opportunity to share some of this information with you and I hope that maybe you learned something or at least were entertained!

Leave comments below if you try any of these study tips and how it went! Also, let me know how YOU study? I’d love to hear from you!


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How Social Media May Be Ruining Your Life

Is social media ruining your life_

Ways Social Media Is Ruining Your Life

Social media has definitely been an ever-growing presence in today’s society. This has been very influential in many ways, some of them good. It has allowed us to connect and share information with people around the world. We can learn about different places and people simply by looking at their profile. We can actually feel like we know these people, understand them and sometimes, we want to be like them. We see their fancy posts when they went out to dinner or a party at some seemingly high-end place you’ve never even heard of. They’re vacationing in exotic places you can only imagine going to and doing things you dream of doing. After looking at these posts you may look back on your own life and begin to doubt yourself. Don’t let other people on social media run your life.

Posting the Positive

What we post on social media is, for the most part, the positive moments – the highlights of our lives. When you look at someone’s posts on their social media, you only get half of the real picture. You see what they WANT to post, what they WANT you to see. Only they know what is happening on their side of the screen, or “behind the curtain”. We look at these positive posts being practically shoved in our face and with that can come an overwhelming need/want to fit in with these people, even if we don’t know them. We want to have what is being perceived as the perfect life or #lifegoals. What we tend to forget are that these are real people living real lives. Life isn’t perfect, and that is okay. Every one has ups and downs. 

Likes & Followers

Sometimes it may seem like worth is measured in likes and followers. Your popularity and value to the world is strictly based on how many people (strangers) like your posts or follow whatever feed. There are even cases when people get so caught up in the numbers they forget to enjoy the real moments in their life because they are too worried about taking the perfect picture to post. Worried about what is going to get the most likes. Social media used to be a fun thing when it first started. A brand new, simple way to communicate with friends and family, and maybe even meet some new people that you would never normally meet. Social media is a connection to the world. This can be both a positive and negative thing, depending on how we utilize it. You don’t need to worry about your likes or follow count, have fun with social media. Have fun sharing the things you are passionate about or the exciting moments in your life without worrying about the numbers. Don’t go through life with your face shoved up to a phone screen – there’s a whole world out there, go explore it!  

Stop Comparing

Because of the overbearing presence social media has in our lives, it has become very easy to compare ourselves with others. Learn to reflect on all of the things you have accomplished in your own life. (Even if you think someone’s accomplishments are “better”). Be proud of what you have done. The only thing that comparing yourself accomplishes is adding to the anxiety and stress you put on yourself striving to achieve what you think is the “perfect life”. That “perfect life” your looking at isn’t real. Stop comparing yourself to that girl or guy on the internet. If you want to change your life and accomplish more, put yourself on the track to get there! Make the person that you look up to be YOU.

A strong need to fit in and look or act a certain way can be especially concerning in the younger crowd. This can lead to all sorts of problems including social peer pressures. Kids think they need to do certain things they are seeing on social media because if they do it might make them “popular”. And let’s face it, people nowadays will do the dumbest things for popularity (*cough* tide pod challenge? *cough*). At that point, you definitely don’t want to be like those people on the internet. Be your own person, even online. Do something different from everyone else and be yourself.


I have talked about procrastination before in another post here on my blog [read it]. We all have a tendency to get distracted by more entertaining or enticing activities that seem way more exciting then the tasks we need to be doing. How much does social media play a role in our distraction? Usually A LOT. Instead of doing homework or house work, we could be catching up on the latest posts on Instagram. I mean, how can we sit and do tedious work when we might miss a new post! I think we need to remind ourselves that the posts will be there waiting for us long after the work is done. Don’t be defeated by an app!

Overall social media is both a good AND bad presence in our lives. But, since it seems like it’s here to stay we might as well learn how to live with it in a healthy way. Don’t let it ruin your life.


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The Issue of Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health is IMPORTANT

I seriously cannot even stress this enough. Your mental health is so important and is just as important as your physical health. You would go to the doctor if you experience symptoms of illness but, are you also going to a therapist or psychiatrist when you experience a change in your mental health? You should know what your normal thoughts and behaviors are in varying situations so that when you realize yourself deviating from the norm significantly you can determine when you should seek help. Being shy can be someone’s normal personality trait but being so anxious about being around people that you slowly begin to withdraw yourself and avoid social situations at all costs is typically not a sign of healthy mental status. Be in tune with your body AND your mind.

Don’t Be Embarraced to Seek Help

There is such a negative connotation about people going to therapy or needing psychiatric health and there really shouldn’t be. Some people need a professional outside perspective on their situation or they may even need medication to help balance their emotions or neurotransmitter production/lack of production. There is no reason for someone to be ashamed of going to therapy or a Psychiatrist because they are actively trying to improve their mental health. When someone avoids seeking help because they are concerned about what other’s might think of them this can lead to more problems by prolonging the symptoms and repressing whatever troubling feelings or other symptoms they may have.

Encourage your friends to seek help if you notice a sudden change in their mood or personality. Usually the people close to you are going to be the ones who will notice a change.

Mental Disorders Are REAL

I that think because of the negative connotations of mental health and mental disorders people view them as a rarity and belittle their existence. When people who do not understand the severe affects mental disorders can have on a person they may not be able to sympathize with the person. Anxiety and depression disorders are probably one of the most common mental disorders being diagnosed today. These disorders can really disrupt someone’s life and everyday functioning.

If you are not affected by mental disorders, you should still be aware of them and sympathize with those who are affected. Saying things like “I am so OCD about ___” or “I just have social anxiety when I ___”, although may seem like innocent statements can express an ignorance of someone’s mental suffering. So, BE AWARE

Organize Your Life | Top 10 Apps For College Students

10 of The Best Apps For College Students : Organization & Studying

With all of the improvements in technology over the past years, school and learning seems much more readily accessible. So, if you’re ready to improve your study habits or maybe get a bit more organized just keep reading to learn about the apps that can get you there!

1| Khan Academy
khan academy

This is honestly one of my favorite apps/websites to use while studying. They have so many well put together videos on hundreds of topics! Their creators make the concepts simple and easy to learn. The topics are divided into sections with videos as well as a short quiz for each section. This helps really solidify in the information in your mind. Next time you have a test, check this out! They also have course sets for exams such as the SAT, MCAT and NCLEX which covers topics you can expect to see on those tests. This is just overall a great app for learning.

2| Duolingoduolingo

How many of us make a New Year’s resolution to learn a new language? Now you can keep it by learning a new language using this app! I have been using this to brush up on my Spanish as well as exploring the idea of learning French! The app is designed for more of a beginner level language course so it’s pretty ideal when you are just starting out a new language. The courses incorporates writing, reading, and listening questions. You also have the option to do speaking exercises as well.

3| StudyBlue/Quizlet


I have a love/hate relationship with flashcards. They are really useful for studying but sometimes I don’t find it worth the hand cramp to write them all out. Luckily, I stumbled upon both of these apps which allow you to make flashcards on your phone! And if you want to get even lazier, you can search your class or topic to see if other people have already made similar flashcards. (haha studying of the future, am I right?) So, after you’ve gone through the flashcards a couple times you may want to quiz yourself a different way. Lucky for you, on Quizlet you can generate a quiz from your flashcard set and format questions as multiple choice or fill in the blank. If you like flashcards or need a new way to study, this app could really help you out!

4| Hoopla


College students are usually so busy they forget to keep up on their reading! (people still read…right?) This app connects you to your local library where you can check out ebooks, audio-books and even movies! I personally use this app a lot because I may not have time to sit there and read a book but I can turn on an audio-book and listen while I clean, do laundry, or whatever other nonsense around the house. It could also be used for the times when you have to do a book report so instead of reading the book, you can have someone read it for you ( you haha).

5| Chegg


College textbooks are expensive and no one has that kind of money (or wants to spend it) on boring books you’ll probably only need for a few months. I found out about Chegg from another blog somewhere, ironically, when I first started college and it has been a really big help! You can buy OR rent textbooks and some textbooks are also available as an ebook. When you rent the book they make it super easy to return by printing the prepaid shipping label and stuffing those books right back in the box they came from. Chegg can be more than textbooks though. They also offer study help and even have textbook solutions for a lot of different books. (Chegg is awesome – I approve) And if you’re not already sold, they also send a free gift with your textbooks!

6| Groupme


This is a great app to use to keep you in touch with classmates for group projects and study help. It acts as a group text message so you can set up a group for your class and add your classmates/group partners. I really like this app because it connects you together even when you are out of service range by sending the messages through wifi. Keep your group connected!

7| myHomework – Student Planner


This is basically your student planner, on your phone. You add in your class schedule to get started organizing your semester. The app allows you to color code the assignments for each class and set due dates. You can also categorize the assignments by type such as an essay, or presentation. The app will notify you of upcoming due dates and you can also set a timer to remind you about an assignment (so you know when to start working on it). Cross of assignments that you finish so you can track your progress! As if this app wasn’t amazing enough, this can still be used when you are not connected to wifi! (Seriously…get this app)

8| BlackBoard


So this app is really only useful if your school uses this program. It connects you to your classes and allows you to see your grades in that course (…depending on if your teacher decides to use this to post grades and keeps up with it). Teachers can post course information such as assignment rubrics and the syllabus. Overall, it’s a really great interactive app to help you keep up with your courses.

9| Evernote


I think we have almost moved pass the days of taking lecture notes using pen and paper. Using Evernote, you can take classnotes and organize files into a notebook layout. If you’re like me and still like to take notes by hand (we are a rare species) you are able to get the best of both worlds with this one! Instead of typing up your notes you can take a picture or scan your handwritten notes and add them to your notebook on the app! This keeps all of your notes together and organized in one place. This app can also be used to make to-do lists or shopping lists if that’s your thing. Lastly, you are able to share your journal with others OR collaborate as a group to create a class journal. Pretty great, huh?

10| Mint


Although some of us may not feel like it, we are adults now, and being an adult brings many more responsibilities we have to keep track of. An important one of these is keeping track of our finances (adult word for “money”) and budgeting. Apps like Mint make this easy for us! Mint allows you to stay on top of any bills that you have as well as keeps track of where your credit score stands. The feature I like about Mint is that it shows you a breakdown of your spending habits (spending $20 on Starbucks coffee mostly). This is very useful information because it allows you to see where your money goes/why it’s always gone and you can work from there to create a budget for yourself. Get out there and start adulting!!

Guys, I really hope you found these apps useful and maybe even give some of them a try! They are all free apps (good for your budget) and very helpful! We all have a lot on our plates with university courses, work, and trying to somehow maintain a social life. Why not try making things easier?

Be sure to leave a comment if there are any apps YOU use and find really helpful! I am always interested and finding new ones!