How to Take Notes: From a Textbook

You can view this post in video form by clicking here. This method is best suited for textbook or article notes, and is a version of revised notes. It is also well suited for books you plan on retu…

Source: How to Take Notes: From a Textbook


To My Roomies, With Love

Dear Roommates,

The beginning of this school year was rough, and quite unfamiliar for me. I moved, we moved, to a new home away from home that was shared with three complete strangers. I did not know what to look forward to, or, reversely, what not to. I figured (as I learned that many do) that we would all get along splendidly and that we would live, and experience part of our college career together this year. I was not entirely wrong, and it just took me a little while to figure that out.  

At first, I was not entirely sure how to feel about you guys. I came to the realization that I did not know how to deal with these new situations that presented themselves in our little dorm. I found it a little difficult to live with people who did not share the same principles and ways of living that I do.

But, really it has just taught me more about myself. Without your knowing, my sense of self and values were impacted through your actions and words. I felt myself slowly becoming more open to embracing new ideas, new people, situations, and, honestly, everything in between. I started to really define who I am as a person-what I believe in and what I don’t, how I feel about certain topics, how much I am willing to clean, if it was okay to rearrange the living room without asking anyone about it, and the list goes on and on.

And though we may occasionally have our disagreements, you have shown me what it means to accept the values, actions, and decisions of others, no matter the situation. You have opened my eyes to a world of differences, of possibilities, of openness.

It’s been enlightening to learn more about myself, and others, how we can all live together in this college, in this world. Thank you for your part in teaching me this lesson.

With love,


Let’s Talk About SEX.

Recently, I had a talk with my friend. It sparked a discussion that made us think about what sex meant to each of us. We had to look back at our ideas and beliefs and how they came to be. Here’s a look on what was brought up.

As children of Hispanic parents, we were raised in very conservative households. We were raised thinking that sex before marriage was not the right thing for us to do, that it was not moral. We learned that we should protect ourselves, and protect our virginity. Religion was something that we had been exposed to, and had grown to practice (though maybe not to the same extent, or with the exact same beliefs) ourselves. It said that we should remain abstinent until marriage, and that sex was for and with that special someone you married. But, what happens when we are also exposed to other ideas and beliefs?

Sexualization in media and in our society has become a norm. We see and hear about sex in movies, music, social media, and many more things and places. Those norms influenced our ideas and beliefs in different manners.Growing up, the norm was safe. We were guarded from outside influences. Sex was something foreign. As we grew older, we are exposed to a new idea that said that sex was a normal thing, that people do it without any restraints, and without thinking too much about it. Religion was something that was not talked about or really taken into consideration. Sometimes, it was seen as an entirely different subject. Eventually, we started to see that others think about the topic differently, and realize that maybe we do too.

The things we were exposed to with our families and with society can differ tremendously. It was up to us to decide what we thought was right. The result of this decision is a mix of two opposite views that contradict each other greatly. That complicates things. I believe that Morrie Schwartz, an author, explains this contradictory issue the best when he describes a tension of opposites. He says that it is “like a pull on a rubber band,” and that “most of us live somewhere in the middle.” That middle is where you can find my friend and I. We can’t really make up our minds. We are stuck in the middle struggling to embrace both sides.

Through this discussion, I realized that it was okay to question what you think about sex, or really anything else. Peoples views are always changing, and it is okay for your views to change too. Sex can be a tricky subject. One day, you will figure out what it means to you and it is okay if that day is not today.

Walking & Shopping

aviary-photo_131199287446714951This past week we were encouraged to participate in the Worldwide WordPress 5k event. We were instructed to be active and walk a distance of about three miles. To be honest, at first I was a little hesitant about the idea. I felt pressured as the realization that I would have to be active.  I did not think about it too long though. As the week went on, I forgot about the assignment. And eventually, I went back home for the weekend.

At home, I sat with my parents and talked. I have no idea how I came to this thought, but I realized how much I walk in my day to day life. So, we started discussing this fact. Eventually, my stepdad challenged me. He thought that he could out walk a college student with no car. HA!

The next day I remembered the assignment. My mind was whirling; how could I walk so much in so little time? Little did I know that it did not take that much effort. That day my mom wanted to go shopping. Of course, I agreed to join. What kind of person would I be if I didn’t? At this moment right before my eyes  I saw two opportunities present themselves at once. Primarily (and maybe more importantly), I may be able to convince my mom to buy me some clothes. Second, I could complete my assignment and beat my stepdad in the one day step challenge both at once.

And so, off I went. Set into full swing was a day of wandering and shopping. I knew that I had a chance to succeed. We went everywhere, and we kept walking. When we arrived back home, I figured I had my stepdad beat. At the time, I did. By the end of the day I had reached way beyond three miles, and I had thousands of steps. But somehow, my stepdad won. I now know that when we left his house, he had walked around in circles in his living room just so he could beat me. I may have lost that competition, but at least my mom bought be clothes and I completed my assignment.

My Internal Argument


These last couple of weeks have been quite tough on my heart and brain. Thoughts consume me. They don’t necessarily cause distress, but they do make me question myself constantly.  I have been questioning little things like day to day decisions, along with bigger things that really matter to me. I strive to figure out how I feel about certain situations and ideas.

This is college; I want to make my own decisions. I want to be able to make my own mind up about situations and problems. The trouble begins when I start to think about these decisions: how will they affect me, and how can I do these things when I am not completely sure of what I want or what I believe?

Making choices can already be tough. Why make it even more difficult by creating a cloud of doubt over my beliefs and morals? That’s what happening.

My thought bubble is made up of hundred of questions. Some may relate, while others stand alone. The biggest set of questions deal with morals and beliefs. Questioning those beliefs makes up the rest of the plethora of thoughts.

So, what exactly are my questions, and what am I asking myself about them? For one, I question whether I am making these decisions for myself, or for others. Peer pressure is a nasty thing; I fight to abstain from falling into it. Nonetheless, if I am making a decision because of someone else, I question what I am willing to compromise, or if I am even willing to do so in the first place. Also, how do my beliefs come into play when making said compromises? Additionally, I question how I make those choices. I start to wonder what other things I should take into consideration when determining my views on particular subjects.

These things are important, because knowing what I stand for may dictate my choices, and consequently my future. The way we handle this decision making process can benefit us or bring us down. I want what’s best for me, and what’s best for others. I think that we can clear this cloud of doubt when we make our own decisions. So, take your time, think your thoughts over, do what is best for you. This way you know what you stand for, what you believe in. We all have to make decisions; make the one that stands for you.



They rode off into the sunset. Not really. This is just what it felt like from my perspective. Let me go back and explain.

We were in Paris for a couple of days. Today was the day where we visited the well known shopping avenue, Champs Élysées. The possibilities were endless; we could shop, walk, eat, and explore. Never did I think we would end up in front of all of those expensive shops and cars alone and kind of afraid.

There were luxury cars everywhere. They were very sleek and nice, and definitely out of my price range.


Imagine my surprise when some guy starts asking my friends and I want to ride around in it (with a fee, of course). What teenager wouldn’t want to ride around in a Ferrari in Paris? But, I was scared. As we were with a school group, we weren’t really supposed to leave. What if something bad happened? One of us would have to tell the teacher. What if it had to be me? “Bonjour Madame, we paid a stranger to let us in his nice car and unfortunately…” That conversation would not end well.

Anyway, the guy started giving us more information. We could split the cost and we then go on a twenty minute ride. A problem presented itself then. Only three people could go. All of them made a decision so quickly, took out their money, paid, and picked a car. I just stood there almost astounded. Was this really happening? I wasn’t going, was I?

They were leaving me. They left some of their belongings with me and got into that car. I watched as they left my vision slowly and surely. I watched as they drove off (into the sunset) full of joy and excitement, happiness and wonder, their worry-free faces bright with beaming smiles. The exact opposite of what I was feeling. All I could think was “Geez, this really just happened.”

So, you see, they did ride off. Maybe not in the way I first explained, but my exaggerated visual representation is fully understandable when we look at what really happened. 🙂