High School Semester In Review

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It’s been a while, but I’m back! I’ve been busying myself with school. Specifically, my finals and final tasks (summatives).

I’ve officially finished my first semester of grade 11. My courses were physics, data management, French, and accounting. I live in Canada, so my school is semestered. One semester I have four courses everyday and four different courses the next semester. At first, I thought I may be overwhelmed with the heavy focus on math-oriented subjects, but it was manageable.

I’ll go through each of my courses and explain the good and bad parts of each one.

Physics was pretty rough, not going to lie. Some units were fairly easy, and some were challenging. It was mostly lab experiments and tests. We had one project where we had to fashion an instrument to play “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. That was the only fun part of the class. My performance in the class overall was SO much better than I expected, but still not as good as I wanted it to be before I started the semester: 91%. I definitely will not be taking physics again because I know this is not for me. It’s far too logical.

Data management wasn’t the best either. The topics covered were sometimes confusing, like permutations. I had to do a lot of problem-solving questions involving them, and boy are they weird but fun at the same time. Many of the topics were straight-forward too, like analyzing graphs and finding the relationship between two variables. Unfortunately, my bad tests outweighed the good ones. Before my exam, I had a 91%. The exam was brutal and I just barely scraped up a 79%. My mark dropped one percent as a result, so I finished with a 90%. Again, it exceeded my expectations (as they’d been drastically lowered as I made my way through the course).

I love French. This year, it was different. No more memorizing and regurgitating. “Plug and chug”, that’s what my physics teacher calls it. Now, I had to analyze books and movies but in French. It was new, but I liked it. I was actually using my brain for once. This all came at a cost of course. My mark dropped this year to a 90% from a 94%. But I will definitely take French again for Grade 12, because if I’ve taken it for seven years so far, I think I can do one last hurrah.

Accounting turned out to be barely math-related at all, mostly just understanding. Once you get the primary concepts, you can pretty much teach yourself the rest of the course. I put in minimal effort, as did many of my classmates, and they too were successful. I passed this course with flying colours, a 97% to be exact. I will be taking accounting again next year because I now know it’s something I’m good at.

This semester, I have anthro/psych/socio, law, international business, and English. A very heavy focus on humanities this semester, so we’ll see how this goes. I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (My Thoughts)

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What a legendary start to an incredible book series! Rather than writing a review, I’ll be writing about what I thought about this amazing book because there is quite honestly no way I could adequately review such a renowned novel. First off, let me just say that I know that I’m most definitely late to the party regarding reading this novel, but better late than never, right?! I was hooked right off the bat as JK Rowling just has a way with words that is so eloquent and imaginative.

My favourite part of this book (and believe me, this was hard to decide on because I loved the whole book) was when Mr. Dursley was purposefully trying to ensure that Harry did not read the Hogwarts letter. The lengths he went to, so as to ensure that the letters did not reach Harry, are quite hilarious. But how can a muggle match up to a wizarding school? He actually thought he had a chance in making sure that Harry never received his letter. As if!!!

After reading the first book, I would say that my favourite character by far was Harry Potter (surprise, surprise)! I just love his personality and how he defeated ‘You Know Who’ when he was a baby. Let’s see if my favourite character changes once I read the next book.

I’m the kind of person who reads a book before watching the movie, but this wasn’t the case for this series unfortunately. I watched all the movies (not in chronological order) prior to deciding to read the novels. I truly regret this decision because I know tad bits of information about the future storyline while reading, but this does not hinder my curiosity to keep reading and immerse myself in these books. Now that I’ve started reading the books, albeit quite late, I have decided to read the book first and once I’m done, I watch the movie with my family to clear up any questions I had regarding the things I didn’t understand when reading. I feel as though this is the best way to truly understand and enter the wizarding world.

I guess you could say I’m a little obsessed at this point. I get so excited when I pick up the book. Reading is a fabulous stress reliever for me, now that university is back on. Reading these books helps me escape the real world, even if it’s just for a few hours, and I couldn’t ask for anything better.

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What I Learned in 2017

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2017 has been a pretty significant year for me. I have started to rethink what I want to do with my university degree, I’ve struggled a little closer to the end of the year, however I have also learned a ton this year. This short post will concisely go over what I’ve learned this past year, and a follow up post will be uploaded later which will outline my hopes and plans for 2018.

Importance of spending time with family and friends.  I’ve realized that family and friends should always come first and work / school should come after. I feel so at ease when I spend time with them and doing so just makes those stressful times all the more bearable. Time is truly valuable, and you won’t get that family time back in the future.

Have a designated time in the day to do something you enjoy. Some things that I enjoy doing is reading, watching movies / tv shows and spending time with family and friends. I’ve found that doing something I enjoy allows me to take a break and recharge for what’s ahead. It’s okay to take a break and gather yourself.

When it comes to university, I realized the importance of understanding concepts rather than little details. Although understanding concepts may be incredibly time-consuming, everything will come together in the end. Chasing good grades is not the way to go. Rather, chasing genuine knowledge and understanding what you’re learning is of utmost importance because the good grades will follow and you’ll have increased knowledge at the end of the day. 

School is important but your health is far more important. When you feel yourself getting stressed, take a break because there’ll always be one more test or assignment that you can work on to improve your mark. One bad grade won’t ruin your life. It has taken me a while to realize this and I’m so glad that I finally did. To take care of my health, I relax with family and friends, read a good book, go to the gym for a good workout or just totally disconnect from social media and meditate. These methods have proven to be incredibly effective in me taking care of my health.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post and I also hope that your 2017 was full of life lessons and self-improvement. Stay tuned for my post on my plans for 2018. Here’s to 2018!

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Cannot Wait Wednesday!!! (4)

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Wishful Endings! This is where bloggers discuss the books that they’re excited to read, as well as those that are not yet published. This meme is a great way to inform others of books that are yet to be released, and to hype the books up!

As I have been looking for a variety of books to put on hold at the library for the new year, I thought it was fitting to write a quick post on a book that I’m looking forward to read in the near future. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn is one book that I’m super excited for! The following is a short excerpt of the novel from Goodreads:

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What did she see?

It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?

This summary is giving me creepy, thriller type vibes, and definitely sparked my interest.  I really like the cover of this book too, but I know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. What do you think of this one? Link your CWW posts below too!

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The Accident by S. D. Monaghan (NetGalley)

Stacking it up & Sunday Post

The Accident by S. D. Monaghan
★★★★★

First off, I would like to thank Bookouture for approving my request to read and honestly review this novel! This was made possible through NetGalley! So, what an interesting novel! The beginning was very intriguing, and you get right into the book from the start. I had to take quite a few breaks while reading this one because I had a lot of things going on (i.e. interviews and presentations), but I always found myself wanting to get back to the book because it was that good. It has alternating point of view chapters, and is quite suspenseful. 

David and Tara are a wealthy, married couple who have it all. They are about to move into their new dream home and begin their lavish life together. They have a baby on the way and they cannot wait to raise their kid in this beautiful, custom home. One mistake can easily alter your life, as the cover of this book suggests. In an instant, Ryan is falling off a balcony because of a punch David just threw. What has David done? Why has he done it? He had such a great life ahead of him…… 

For some reason, I instantly liked David. He seems perfect, yet he is flawed and emotional just like everyone else, which makes his character more relatable than those goody-goody, perfect characters that make an appearance in other books. In fact, all the characters are well-developed, which makes the book all the more interesting. This book is incredibly well-written. Monaghan does a fabulous job hooking the reader in. I read every word carefully because it was written that beautifully. 

There was quite the twist in this novel, which was very unexpected. I would like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it kept me on the edge of my seat, which is why I gave it a solid 5/5 stars. Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did! 

Have any of you been able to read it in advance yet? Let me know what you thought of it! 

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About the Author
S. D. Monaghan grew up in Dublin and has travelled quite a bit. He has a degree in psychology and he has also studied screenwriting. He has taught English in Thailand, which shows how much of a well-rounded individual he is. At the moment, he is working on his novels in Dublin.
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Stay Up-to-Date with Current Events

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Keeping up with current events is an unwritten part of our role as global citizens. Current events shape what goes on around us, and how we function in society. These events shape our decisions as well as inform our perceptions of the world. An easy way to stay up to date with current events is through reading or watching the news.

Now how do you access the news / stay updated on the happenings around the globe?

We have a plethora of accessible resources right at our fingertips, yet we rely on the most unreliable sources for our news. This is not to say that platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat are inherently bad for staying updated, but rather that these sources do not always provide the full, accurate context or story of events. Use Facebook and Snapchat as a starting point for your information, and be curious. Turn to other platforms such as Twitter, news websites or even your TV news to find out more.

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Personally, I like to read the news on Flipboard (this post is not sponsored by Flipboard, I just felt the need to inform others of its’ usefulness). Flipboard is an incredible app that compiles news from various news outlets into a board-style layout, similar to the pinboards that you find on Pinterest (see the three screenshots below). Flipboard allows you to choose the news topics (i.e. Politics, Business & Tech, World News, etc.) that you’re most interested in reading about. This app allows me to read the latest news wherever and whenever I feel like doing so. It has never given me any problems, crash / bug-wise, and is the most convenient app to use.

I also like how Flipboard compiles articles from various news outlets as it tries to mitigate the bias that is so prevalent in news broadcasting. You need to read stories about the same event from a variety of articles to get a better sense of what occurred. Many news agencies have political ties, so evidently their articles will be skewed in favour of a certain ideology or political party. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read an article that was clearly so biased that I just stopped reading it because I knew I wasn’t getting the factual picture of what actually occurred.

That’s about it! There is a part two for this post, which will be uploaded soon. I hope you enjoyed this post, and let me know how you stay updated with current affairs.

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A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

★★★☆☆

This was an absurd book. In an okay way. Let me give you a summary taken directly from Goodreads before I get into my thoughts:

Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.

There’s a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good.

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won’t stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.

Home intrusion-related things always terrify me. There’s something so hair-raising about the idea of someone being in your house without you knowing. They’re right under your nose, but you’d never know they’re there. That’s the scary part. It’s kind of like a ghost. You don’t know it’s there, but it is. That spooks me out so much. So that’s why I picked up this book. I was looking for a nail-biter, something where I’m on the edge of my seat, ripping through the pages to find out what comes next.Image result for a stranger in the house

Honestly, I was disappointed in that respect. That part of the book, that I thought would be touched on throughout because of the title, was like trying to see stars in the city at night. It was barely there. I feel like I’m justified in wanting something more from the home-intrusion aspect of the book. It was lacking.

I haven’t read any other books from Shari Lapena as of yet, but I going to assume her writing style is similar through all her books. In that case, all her books could be read by a 10 year-old. I don’t mean the content itself, but the way in which she writes is so simple. When I read, I want a challenge. Something to test my vocabulary. I don’t want to read, what I think, is next to a children’s novel. Maybe her plan is to focus on the plot and not the wording. I think that writing style is important and it’s definitely something I look for.

Onto the story itself. I enjoyed it. There are many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. That’s about it though. It wasn’t the most amazing thing I’ve ever read, that’s for certain. One thing I loved about this book is the tiny amount of characters. Usually, the amount of trouble I have remembering characters and their names is astounding. It was so easy to remember everyone. More books need to be like that. You really don’t need hundreds of characters to make a good book.

Overall, this book was very average. I’m not obsessed and I don’t completely hate it. It’s alright. This isn’t a recommendation of mine, though.

Thanks for reading!

My Study Essentials

I thought it would be fitting to write a post about my study essentials while I’m actually studying for my midterm exams! My last one is tomorrow, and I’m spending today studying for it! The following list of my study essentials is in no particular order!

Laptop

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My laptop is totally essential for when I study. Although it can be quite a distraction, I use it for Spotify and to review lecture slides from my classes. Sometimes I have to just switch it off and put it to the side when I start to procrastinate.

Notes

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Most important material for studying are my notes! I take notes (as pictured) based off the lectures and the slides that my teacher uploads. I try to keep my notes as organized and straight-forward as possible because doing so makes it so much easier when it comes time to review and get ready for exams.

Pens

I make short pointers / big concept notes using my 0.38mm Muji pens. I try to keep as many coloured pens on hand for when I need to just add a little colour to my boring notes!

Highlighters

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Mildliner highlighters are heavenly! I highly recommend buying them, if you haven’t done so yet. I’ve had them for more than a year now, and I use them regularly, and not one of them has lost all its ink yet. They’re absolutely fabulous. I highlight key terms and their definitions in my notes, so I can remember to pay close attention to them (since these terms are almost always on my exams).

Sticky notes

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Sticky notes are imperative for when I forget to write something in my notes. I don’t like whiting-out my writing because it creates such a mess, and ruins the aesthetic of the notes, so I just take a sticky note, write down the point I missed from the lecture slides, and stick it right onto my notes. Doing so keeps things clean, colourful and easy on the eyes.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post! What are some things you just can’t live without when studying?

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