Sage Sarah

Sage Sarah: Stress Relief

Hello fellow humans! Welcome back to this hot mess. As many people know, it's a stressful week. We're all losing our minds a little. Guess what, that's okay. Do you think the person who figured out the edibleness milk was sane? I sure don't. Anyway, here are some things I do to help deal with stress. Take them or leave them.

1. The One Month Strategy

My go-to way of de-stressing is the one-month method. It's easy. Whatever problem is really stressing you out, think about how it will affect you in a month. 9 time out of 10, it's barely or not at all going to affect your life. Fail a test? Low grade? Is it going to have any sort of lasting effect on your life in a month? How about two? How about three? Guess what, it's not so calm down.

2. Try Some Quiet

Personal fact, I deal with anxiety. It's not fun. It's like a really irritating person whispering things in your ear all the time. When things pile up, I had a bad day, or something is really bugging me I just stop. I take a few minutes of my time and I just stop what I'm doing. If I'm in public, I will take a moment to either sit or stand quietly, take a few breaths, and then ease back into what I was doing.

Sometimes I wait until the end of the day where I can sit down alone, make it quiet or play some music, and just do nothing for a while. I know it might feel like you're wasting time, but it's good to give your brain a moment to catch up with your body. Life can be race and sometimes your brain slows to a jog. It stopped for a water break around lunch and just never caught up. Give it a minute.

3. Visualization

A good way to help prevent stress is to put it in a physical form. Lists are a popular way to do this. Write down what you have to do in a planner, a list, heck you can scribble it in crayon on the side if a water bottle for all I care. Just take all that mess out if your head and leave it on the paper.

If you're not that type of person, I'd suggest alarms and calendars on your phone. If I have something I need to remember I'll set an alarm. That way I know there will always be something ready to remind me throughout my day and I can push that worry out of my head.

If you have trouble staying motivated with things, tell a friend. This does help. Let someone else know, so they can remind and encourage you to get it done. Find a way to take the worries and schedules out of your head and manifest them in a physical form. It allows you to take a step back and look at your time as a whole in a more organized way.

I hope some of you find this helpful. Let me know if it did or if you just enjoy my rambling in general. Another week of my wisdom has been bestowed upon you, my subjects. Go, young grasshoppers, go forth into this world with gusto. Okay, this is getting weirder than usual, I'll spare you. Bye!

Sage Sarah: Group Projects

Hello Friends! Yes, that’s right, I called you a friend because at this point we’re all friends whether you like it or not. You all know the drill. I’m here to throw some advice in your face that you’ll probably never use, but hey at least we had fun doing it. Or at least I did. Today we’re covering everyone’s least favorite thing, group projects. Specifically, what to do and what not to do.

1. Splitting Up The Work

You’ve reached the point in the project when you have all your group members chosen, hopefully by the students. The teacher picking groups is just the worst. You can never quite recreate the moment of sheer panic when you realize you can’t work with your best friend and the two of you have a Titanic moment. Reaching towards each other across the classroom as the other drifts further out of reach.

I’m speaking from my public school days, ye olden days of middle school and junior high when I had to actually put on normal people clothes and leave the house. It was truly a traumatizing experience. Now I’m an old lady who goes to class in penguin PJ pants, good times.

Anyway, now that you know what fellow delinquents you’ll be suffering with, you’ll have to split up the work. Everyone gets equal parts and in our dreams, everyone sticks to that plan. All is well, everyone does their part, and the sun shines down through the clouds mixing with an angel choir as you perfectly present your wonderfully laid out project.

HA! Yeah sorry bud, let me just use gravity to my advantage so you come crashing back to Earth. Try as you might, we all know someone is going to end up doing way more than their part, but go ahead and split it up anyway. Can’t hurt to dream.

2. Meeting With Your Group

Ah yes, another part of a group project that nobody wants to deal with; speaking to people you don’t usually speak to. Unless you’re one of those strange humans who’s good at social interactions (If so, teach me your ways), the best course of actions when formulating the meetup battle plan which you shall use to forge your path through this natural disaster we all know is about to ensue, create a group chat.

Add all your members, so nobody has any excuses. Don’t even try it, Janet, we all know you left us on read and we ALL saw that you were active on Facebook the entire time! Ideally, everyone will be diligent with replies and willing to meet-up either in person or in a video call. Heck, even just having a shared document that everyone can use will work if you not everyone can make it to a meeting.

And for the love of all our sanity, don’t be that person who changes the fonts and colors constantly or messes around with pictures because we might be laughing now but secretly we’re cursing your name. We just want to get this done as fast as we can so we can go binge watch Netflix, so focus!  

3. Slackers

Oh yeah, you all know what I mean by slackers. If you’ve never had to deal with one, count your lucky stars, my sweet summer child. They’re the worst! The person who doesn’t do their fair share, who waits until the last minute, who doesn’t do a good job, and just generally seem like they wouldn't be able to read the textbook if you threw it right at them.

If you are experiencing the plague of the group project slacker, tell your teacher. It’s best if you do it early on, but if you have to do it later I would suggest emailing when you hand it in. Make sure all your group members also let them know, and if you have proof it’s even better. 99% of the time, the teacher will understand and not hold it against the rest of the group.

I’ve done this myself and luckily I said something early enough that I could move to a new group. Bless my new group, they were wonderful human beings and we did such a good job. From every single person who does their fair share in group projects, DON’T BE THE SLACKER! If you’re the slacker, you’re the worst, it is confirmed by the very stars in the sky.

That’s all folks! My colorful summary on how to conduct yourself in a group project setting. It all boils down to simply not being the worst. I don’t understand the levels of disregard it takes to make other group members pick up your slack. If you expect to get full credit for doing nothing, well you’re in for a rude awakening.

It’s me, here to pull the metaphorical chair right out from under you. I’m not going to stand for it anymore, and since you’re on the floor after you tried to sit in the chair, clearly you aren’t going to stand for it anymore either. Glad we could reach this agreement. Signing off, see you non-slackers next week. Have a happy Wednesday, my dudes.

Sage Sarah: Note Taking

Yup, it's me again. I'd go through the whole dramatic intro but this series is on a schedule. We all know what's going on at this point.  At least I hope so. If you're new here, I'd suggest checking out the last articles. Read at your own risk. This week I'm tackling the ever useful, note-taking. Here we go.

  1. Organization

    Guess what, keeping things neat can solve some of your problems. Crazy right? Yeah, cleaning and organizing isn't always a top priority, but at this point in our lives, I think we can handle it. Have designated notebooks for different subjects. If you mix algebra with history you're going to end up with George Washington as an answer to an equation and teachers are really going to question your sanity. Make it color coded because it's fun and we're all secretly five-year-olds. If you have a binder, awesome, even more opportunities.

  2. Online Notes

    If you're someone who prefers to take notes online, well this one's for you. Personally, I'm old fashioned, writing on paper type of gal. I know right, I'm practically living in the stone age. Call me Wilma Flintstone. Anyway, online notes are fun because they can be collaborative. I recently came across a really cool idea. Create a document that's shared with your classmates and everyone can add notes as they see fit. If anyone is confused about something they can mark it and another classmate can explain it. Whoever came up with this is one sneaky genius. I approve.

  3. Just Don't Be A Mess

    Based on this title, I'm sure you can tell this is truly professional advice. For real, just don't be a mess like me. My notes from freshman year look like morse code crossed with hieroglyphs that only I understand. If you're an old lady like me who still uses pencils, keep your handwriting neat. Actually, write out what you're trying to convey. As I have a tendency to write a small snippet of something I want to remember, come back later and have no idea what the frick frack I meant. As the five-year-olds we are, highlight things with fun colors. Notes may seem boring, but things can only be boring if you let them. Make it fun. Colors? Fonts? Spice it up!

Yet another week of advice coming to a close. Parting is such sweet sorrow. Never fear, I'll be back next week. Until then, go highlight something or whatever. Honestly, I'm only here for suggestions. You can lead the student to the ridiculously sarcastic advice but you cannot make them highlight their notes.

Sage Sarah: New Semester

Hey there! Welcome to the new semester! I'm back with some more questionably effective advice on how to survive the first few weeks of a new semester. Fair warning, these are ways that I keep up so they may not work for everyone. If anyone has any tips additional tips, feel free to share!

  • Go To Class

    Sure, this seems obvious, but seeing as it was only me and my teacher in one of my classes this morning I figured I should add it. As you probably know, first two weeks are mandatory, so go to your classes. The best way to keep up with what's going on is to actually go to the place where they're telling you what's going on. Classes are like those people handing out pamphlets on the street. Hey, you may not need the information but you'll never know about the free tacos down the street if you don't take it.

  • Get Back Into the Groove
    It's not easy falling back into your work routine after a break. I know the motivation is low after all the suffering of first semester finals. Believe me, I get it. After my geometry final all I wanted to do was lay on the floor while my brain fell out of my ear. To counteract this I like to ease back into homework. Work a little bit ahead if you're feeling up to it. Do the subjects you're most interested in first. For me that's my electives. I find if I'm more interested in the topic, the easier it is to stay focused and motivated. I usually save things like math or chemistry for last. However, it can also help to get the ones you're least excited for out of the way. For me, it depends on the length of the assignment.

  • Keep Up

    I can't stress enough how important staying on track is in the first few weeks. Falling behind early on only encourages falling further behind later. Stick with it in the beginning and your motivation will get better as you go. Depending on your class number, work is usually relatively light in the first week or so. If an assignment is a little late, it isn't the end of the world. That's such an important point! I used to get so stressed about handing things in earlier and panicking when something was late. Homework isn't a race, the world won't stop spinning if you miss something. As long as you get it done as soon as you can, you'll be fine. Remember a late assignment isn't worth your overall health. Take care of yourself first.

  • Don't Burn Out

    Burnout is real. Generally it means that you work yourself to the breaking point. Doing too much too fast can very easily lead to this. Some people like to work ahead in the beginning, and that's all good. However, it can very easily turn bad if you aren't equip to the amount of work you are doing. I have seen so many people do this to themselves. Being a student isn't easy. No matter what people say, school is stressful and we get overwhelmed. Make sure to give yourself time and space to breath between assignments and classes. Personally, I have hobbies outside of school that I always make time for. Even just stepping outside or taking a short break can be the difference between burnout and motivation. Go ahead, work ahead but always be sure to stop to assess how you are doing. If you're tired, nap. Hungry? Snack. Frustrated? Take a breather and come back to it.

That's all I have for you now! This was a bit more on the serious side, but sometimes that just happens. I can't always be a beacon of sarcasm. Anyway, go have a snack. You deserve it. And go to class, do you people know how weird it is to be in a class that's just you and the teacher. Teachers are great but I wasn't prepared for a one on one. Until the next, this has been Mildly Entertaining Advice.