My Favorite Pens for Note-Taking

In the last post I talked about taking notes in a journal and some things to remember when doing that. To expand a bit more and answer a lot of your questions, I’d like to share with you my most favorite pens that I use for school in a few close-up photos.

I tend to write in cursive way more than in print: it’s faster, easier for my hand, and doesn’t look half-bad. It’s very satisfying to flip through the pages of a finished journal and see everything written in the same style, with the same pen, and with the same note-taking structure . Some time in the winter I bought a couple of very simple-looking G-TEC-C4 Pilot Pens at the UW Bookstore. These pens are amazing and I love them so much that I haven’t lost a single one in the last few months (new record!).

Taking Notes: Things to Keep in Mind

Hey everyone! These kinds of posts seem to be the most popular and requested posts all in all, so let’s focus a little bit on the tips now :)

With the school year rapidly gaining speed, I think this is as good a time as any to review some tips on taking notes by hand, in class. It’s one thing to type on the computer, where the only option to do it quickly is with an outline method. When using a journal, however, we have more freedom about how and where to write things down, which note-taking system to use, etc. No matter what the preferred way is, there are some things I like to keep in mind when starting a new class.

Taking Notes- keep in mind

1. Figure Out Your Method.

~There are several ways of structuring your notes. Here are a couple to get some ideas, but a simple Google search can really expand on that.

2. Keep the Structure

~ Once you pick something you like and try it out for a couple of lectures, it’s important to maintain that structure. Otherwise notes will be disorganized and will be hard to focus on the actual info

3. Highlight and Comment Later

~We all like to highlight and use pretty pens, make the class notes look perfect from the very start. I found that for me personally, leaving the highlighting and marking of notes till the evening actually helps with studying and is a good reason to review those notes afterwards. Not only will simply rereading those notes help the new info settle better, but also you can take your time with the marking of the text.

4. Look Up What You Don’t Get

~If you missed something in the lecture or simply don’t understand what the professor is saying, don’t be afraid to raise your hand to clarify. Even if it seem like a silly, awkward thing to do at the moment, no question is stupid enough when studying. You’re learning stuff to gain knowledge, not to look good in front of people. So ask away. And if this problem comes up during a review, take the time to reread the section in the textbook or look it up on the internet!

Looking Pretty Without Makeup

Hello hello! A few days ago I stumbled upon some random slideshow of famous actresses and singers without makeup, going about their days and doing their stuff. Some of them looked completely different from their Red-Carpet faces, and that didn’t really surprise me. I looked at them and thought, “Wow, she does look better with makeup on, poor lady.” But then there were these other photos, which I looked at and smiled. The stars didn’t look ugly, grumpy or gray – and there was one common pattern among them that made it so. Read more

Travel Update

Hello guys! I haven’t had any opportunities to get online behind a good computer and post something study-related, so here is a quick update on my latest travels. I’ve been taking photos only on my iPhone (5) and they’ve been turning out surprisingly well.

We got to Munich on Sunday the 12th and have been traveling around the area since then.

Today (Wednesday the 15th) we checked into the YoHo Hostel in Salzburg and immediately set out to explore. It’s a very pretty city, with cute shops, beautiful architecture and a lot of cafe’s. Since we only have one full day here (Sound of Music tour tomorrow!!!!), we tried to get a glimpse of the city as best as we could.

If all goes according to plan, we should be heading out to Berlin, Cologne and Amsterdam in the next few days! Stay tuned here or on my Instagram, @kbakh7

5 Ways to Hack Undergrad Studies

* This is a post written by my friend James from Homework Market. Whether you have just been admitted to college or have been studying for some time, read through these tips for help!*

From study groups and final exams to frat parties and sleep deprivation, there are many worries on the minds of undergrads. Social media feeds seem to be filled with tips on how to clean things, how to pack things, and other quirky little life hacks (like, clever things to do with binder clips and duct tape). But there are five hacks that make the undergraduate years more fun, more successful, and even less expensive.

If you need better sleep, better homework answers, better food, and a better overall college experience, then keep reading!

1.      The Food Hack

Read more

My Study Abroad Story: The Beginning


Looks like it’s official now: I just signed my contract to go on an exchange at University of Sussex in Brighton, UK. Of course, there are still a few details left, like submitting some documents and visas and all that, but from what I understand I am now financially obligated to pay for my exchange in Spring 2016.

It’s really exciting and I thought that to honor all the study abroad students out there as well as tell you all about my experience with it from the beginning, I thought I’d start a whole new series of posts (right now I’m also working on Tip-sy Tuesdays, you may have noticed those).

As of now, there are a million things I am concerned about: courses, housing, extracurriculars, meeting people and of course paying for the whole thing. Even though I’ll be paying my regular UW tuition, there are a few additional catches like the conversion rate from dollar-to-pound being absolutely horrific and everything in the UK costing a ton. So right now the main thing on my mind is finding scholarships to pay for the housing and personal expenses. I’ve started a new “Resources” page up on the top of the page if you wanna check that out, and the “Scholarships” section will be updated right as I look for my scholarships. Meanwhile, does anyone have any recommendations for good websites? I linked a few in this post

Other than that, I am completely pumped to do this. I feel like this experience will be very important for my education and personal growth, and I am feeling very good about doing this for myself. I also think that I would be kicking myself my whole life if it didn’t work out. So, here is a shout-out to my wonderful parents who work so hard to give me all the resources I can get in my college career!

This summer I’ll also get a chance to visit London, which will give me an opportunity to explore the area a bit and get a glimpse of what I’ll see next Spring. Surely, the tourist view is completely different from a student’s point of view, but at least it won’t be a crazy shocking thing to dive into.

Coming up next: choosing a program

Has anyone gone on an exchange or any study abroad program through university or even an independent company? What were your experiences?

My Summer Travel Plans & Reads

Travel Post

This coming Friday I will embark on a crazy exciting trip to Europe, so this is my last week in the US for a good couple of months. I know I’ve mentioned it a bit in a few posts, so now is as good a time as any to get into the details.

Travel Plans

As many of you know, my family moved to Washington from Moscow, Russia, so we’ve been going back there to visit the rest of the family and friends. So on Friday I’m flying down there to see my grandparents and some old friends. The week after that my lovely boyfriend will arrive to Moscow, and I will show him around there. Hopefully it won’t be too hot! Moscow is such a beautiful city, especially the old town, so I hope he will enjoy it. From my experience I know I’m not a very good guide, as it’s very hard to translate things I’ve known in Russian for years into English on the spot, so it looks like I’ll be using a guide book myself. I’m picking the Top 10 Moscow Mini Travel Guide since we will only have 4 or 5 days in the city, plus my parents gave me some great tips! Stay tuned if you like to see some photos and such :)

After Moscow we will be flying to Munich and traveling between there and Salzburg for the next 6 days. It will be exciting, we’re planning on visiting the Neuschwanstein castle (the real version of Sleeping Beauty’s castle), Dochau concentration camp (dark, but needs to get done I think) and of course The Sound Of Music Tour in Salzburg! I’ve never been in the South of Germany, so hopefully there will be some other treats in the evenings after our day trips as well!

Alright, moving on to Cologne to see my friend and then up to Amsterdam for a couple of days. I bought a Rick Steves’ Pocket Amsterdam Guide, since I’ve had very good luck with it in Paris. I personally don’t care for the tips or hotels since we actually found those on our own, but I do enjoy the way he organizes the book in walking tours. We will pick our three favorite ones for each day and follow the guide/map to see the city.

Next we’re flying from Amsterdam to London through RyanAir. Has anyone ever used this airline in travels? I never have and turns out it’s very limiting in the amount of stuff we can bring with us. Right now my belongings fit into a big backpack but I have a feeling that my bad shopping habits will change that. From London we fly to Dublin for a few days, and then back to London for a day. I don’t have much experience with Irish culture, so this will be all of boyfriends’ planning. Fingers crossed!


Also, I recently received a great book on study tips by Judy Fishel, called “Straight A’s are NOT Enough”. I’m planning on reading it on the long plane flights from the US to Moscow and back. This book includes a lot of tips for studying and explains why learning is much more than just plain memorization. This topic is near and dear to my heart, since for the last few weeks I’ve been just ‘getting by’ in my classes without actually learning. I have big hopes for this book, so stay tuned for a review and a giveaway in the next couple of weeks!