July 30, 2012

Tips for Studying Better for an Exam

Oh, the dreaded exam. The one that keeps you up at night, and makes you study in the morning. If you're anything like me, exams are pretty tough. The reason: I get distracted very easily. Trust me, I always want to get a high mark in exams (preferably 100%), but even with that kind of motivation, it's still really hard for me to study persistently. So, I've made up a few tips that will hopefully help you (and me!) study better and with more organization!

1. Make a schedule!
I have taken a few music history exams now, and they all require a lot of memorization. What ends up happening is that I push all of the stuff that I have to memorize at the last moment, which is not fun to do. So this is where the first tip comes in: make yourself a schedule! It doesn't have to be a super complicated schedule. It's like a to-do list. For example, today I will challenge myself to memorize *this* essay. And when I do manage to memorize it, I can check it off my to-do list! It's actually very satisfying, and it's a great way to stay organized. You can choose to make a day-by-day list, or a something more prolonged, like a week-by-week one. I prefer the day-by-day one, because looking a schedule for a whole week can feel a little stressful.

2. Focus on the studying!
Now I know that sounds a bit obvious, but like I've said before, I get distracted very easily. I have learned from previous studying mistakes that I always lose focus of my studying if there's a good book beside me. So these days, I skip the library if I have an exam coming up. For example, if you love your cellphone and you can't stop texting, you could just put your cell in another room while you study (and put the speakers up in case someone calls).

3. Choose and organize your study place!
The place where you study will definitely affect how you study. Studying in front of a T.V. or in a loud and crowded room will definitely not help your studying (unless you're a super-human and you're not distracted by these things). Choose somewhere calm, where you can study in peace. Organizing the desk/table where you're studying is important. Studying in a clutter of mess makes you more stressed out (at least, for me).

4. Look at your exam in the big picture!
It's always great to look at what you have to study in whole, because then you'll know how much you have to study everyday.

5. Take a break!
Studying for hours straight can take a toll on your brain- and body. Take a walk around your house,  or go outside for some fresh air. I think it's definitely easier to study when relaxed.

6. Put it in your own words!
Understanding the material of what your reading is key. I find it much easier to study/memorize something that I can actually understand.

7. Make yourself a nice, big glass of iced water!
I have a pretty sensible head, and when I study for a long time I will get a slight headache. Water with ice cubes always seems to help, because it really cools me down. (But I never do this during those cold Canadian winters!)

8. Study in the morning!
Now, I only recommend this if you're studying during the summer. I think studying in the morning is better than at night, because you're mind is still fresh and awake, and when it's the evening, it's more tired and jumbled with thoughts.

Well, these are my tips for now. If you have any tips you want to share, feel free to do it! I'm always looking for new ideas to make studying something more enjoyable!

July 29, 2012

Food Network Show: Chuck's Day Off

Food Network is like my comfort "food" (except sadly, I can't eat it...). And one of my favorite show from it is "Chuck's Day Off". When I'm looking for new a cooking show (or any kind of show) to watch, I'm looking for something that will attract my attention immediately. "Chuck's Day Off" succeeded in that. The show's cook, Chuck Hughes, is full of happy energy, and might I say, even a little swag. And his recipes are vibrant, deliciously looking, and all of them are relatively easy to make. Chuck makes cooking seem really fun and cool, and his food is always pretty top-notch. Every show is always unique and different, but never boring!


Athlete. That word pops into your head. You think, Michael Phelps, with his amazing 16 Olympic medals, including an 8 for 8 gold medal perfomance at the Beijing 2008 Olympics; Michael Jordan, basketball player-extraordinaire; Usain Bolt, world record holder for the 100 m. and 200 m sprints; and Nadia Comaneci, the first female gymnast to be awarded a perfect 10.

These people were/are all very successful in their sports, gaining a lot of media attention. But alas, the sports industry cannot be portrayed as something as perfect as it seems. Most athletes, although very hard-working, will not achieve the greatness as those four athletes have. They will not live in mansions and eat filet mignon everyday. They live in a world of pressure. Pressure to do better. Pressure to keep their job. Pressure to not fail.

And with that pressure comes doubt, which could ultimately cost the athlete their job. The life of an athlete is tough. Training, training, and more training.

I recently read a article in Time magazine concerning athletes from China. Some are taken from their homes at a young age and sent to special training schools. One athlete has not seen his parents for 3 years.

The harsh reality is, the sports industry is not as great as it appears to be. But, I know that they're making changes, and one day I hope that all athletes will be treated with the respect, and the pay, that they deserve.

July 28, 2012

Our Misunderstandment of Bugs

When a veterinarian puts a dog to sleep, we protest and claim it's unfair. When a horse gets abused, we are outraged by the mistreatment of such a wonderful creature. But when an innocent bug is senselessly killed by the stomp of foot, we feel unaffected.

I have always been baffled by this strange theory that humans have made to let themselves believe, that killing a bug is extremely different than killing a dog or a horse, for example. But why? Insects have a place in this world too. They're small, but mighty, and they have no rights to be treated like this. At school, if somebody sees a bug outside, they will just squash it, despite my protests. I mean, it's not like the bug is getting in your way or something. But after all, humans have always been attracted to power and dominance, and maybe killing a bug is just to show that they have more power than that bug.

All that aside, I'm not saying that people who kill bugs for no reason are mean and cruel, it's just that I don't understand why they do that.

July 27, 2012

Time through an Hourglass

So my mom just recently bought an hourglass, something that she's been engrossed by for the past couple of months.

And today I was staring at this hourglass, and it struck to me just how fast time was passing by. When you look at an hourglass, it's a constant flow motion, never stopping (until there is no more sand left, that is). Like time. And I think of all of the precious time I have wasted, lying around, too lazy to do anything, and I get a little sad. I may have stopped, but time hasn't. Time will never stop, and it's your choice to choose to cherish it or not.

This humble hourglass has definitely taught me a very important lesson that has always been right in front of my eyes- yet I chose to keep a blind eye from it. Until now.

The London Olympics 2012: Opening Ceremony!

The Olympics. Grandiose. Monumental. Unforgettable.

I think the Opening Ceremony plays a very large part in the Olympics. I mean, it's kind of like the reflection of the amount of work that has been done for the Olympics. Luckily, this Opening Ceremony did not disappointed.

Directed by Danny Boyle (the director of the film "Slumdog Millionaire"), it was no surprise that the ceremony was very cinematic. Complete with historical reenactments, some kind of family sitcom, and the Queen starring in her first cinematic role (more later).

My Highlights of the Night:
 -J.K. Rowling reading the opening paragraph of the classic book, "Peter Pan". When I saw her, I literally freaked out, fan-girl mode.

-Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean!!) playing the piano during the performance of "Chariots of Fire" by the London Symphony Orchestra. It was absolutely hilarious! He was checking his cellphone, blowing his nose, and he was even featured in the reenactment of the scene in the film "Chariots of Fire" when they're running along the beach.

-The Queen with James Bond! It was kind of like a mini-movie, starring the Queen as herself and Daniel Craig as James Bond. They were in a helicopter, and the scenery was absolutely breathtaking; London through the eye of a bird/helicopter. I found it absolutely brilliant, very creative.

-The lighting of the Olympic flame. Man, what a genius idea. They had these bunch of "petals" (they looked like oddly deformed bowls), attached them to some kind of poles, and then when the fire spread across all of the petals, they all slowly rose, started to bind together, forming this awesome Olympic flame.

Overall, it was definitely a great show that was humorous, fun, and really creatively genius!

Classical Piece of the Week: Vltava

I've had a love for classical music ever since I started taking music history lessons. I feel like classical music is not appreciated enough in the now modern world, which is more dominated by pop, rap, etc. Now don't get me wrong, I love listening to all kinds of "modern" music, but I feel like classical music is so underrated. A lot of people think of classical music as slow, boring, and with absolutely no excitement. But if you look further and deeper into the music, it's so much more than a different bunch of notes played in some kind of rhythm. The piece can be calm and serene, or strong and dramatic. That's the thing, one of the reasons that makes classical music so amazing is the diversity. From the middle-ages, to classical era, to the romantic era, and so on. Another thing is the effort. The effort that these composers put into their pieces is undeniably great. These pieces are like finely crafted works of art. Masterpieces.

I hope that these posts will inspire you to go discover the world of classical music, because trust me, you don't know what you're missing on. :)

Finally, let's get on with the classical piece of the week. This week, I have chosen "Vltava".
It's composed by Bedrich Smetana, a Czech composer who was a naturally gifted pianist and an incredible composer. "Vltava" is symphonic poem, which is a kind of composition meant to illustrate a non-musical content (for example: a poem or a painting). In the case of "Vltava", the pictures evoked are those of one of Bohemia's great river: Vltava, of course. The piece starts with a wonderful introduction by the flutes, accented by pizzicato from the strings. And then the main melody is heard. I absolutely adore the main melody, it actually gets me a little emotional every time I hear it. You can almost feel that flowing feeling of the river just by listening to the music. An incredible piece. Enjoy!

July 26, 2012

(Why am I) Obsessed with Big Brother

I check for updates about twice a day. I record all the shows. I google past and present houseguests. But why do I do this? Why? At the end of the day, I'm just watching strangers, living in a house, trying to win half a million dollars. Why do I care about who's going to win? I don't even know them! Ah, so many questions, yet I am the only one that can answer them. But at the end of the day, I know that humans' (including me) thirst for entertainment outshines the fact that we are watching shows that are completely pointless.

Well, I'm off checking for some Big Brother updates! ;)

Syria at the Olympics

With the on-going civil war in Syria, I couldn't help but question: Will Syria be participating at the Olympics? Well, the answer is yes. There will be 10 competitors in 7 sports. Of course, the whole point of the Olympics is so that countries can have better relations by participating in sporting events together. So, what will be the reaction of the crowd-and also the other countries- when Syria comes in at the Opening Ceremony? I'm thinking either a standing ovation (for the brave Syrian athletes who had to endure the pain of war) or silence (because booing would be much too disrespectful). But in conclusion, the Olympics does not have the purpose to reflect badly on countries, instead, it just might be the best time to know more about them.


Well, here it goes, my first blog! As far as the name goes, I don't really have an idea of how I came up with The Humble Watermelon, but I like it, so, The Humble Watermelon it is!


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