Making the Most of Required Reading | Seven School Books I’ve Actually Enjoyed

Most people don’t like required reading. Not even English majors. There’s nothing that kills my motivation more than someone handing me a paperback and then telling me I will be graded on my ability to read, comprehend, and analyze the words inside. I love reading. I wish I could do it more often than I do. It’s just that I have the kind of personality where the instant someone tells me something’s required, even if I will probably enjoy that something, I’m determined to dread it.

Sorry, professors.

Actually, I’m not all that sorry, because in sprite of my bad attitude, I have enjoyed a lot of my required reading. At the very least, I’ve only hated one or two books (and generally with good reason, so I don’t feel all that bad). Since school recently started for a lot of us Americans, I thought I’d take some time to talk about the books that make me love being an English major.

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Junior year soundtrack

Junior Year Soundtrack

Every school year, when I get to the end of the spring semester, I think, “there’s no way it could get any tougher than this,” and then somehow, it does.

That’s not meant to be a complaint – my years in college have been some of the most challenging, but also the most rewarding years of my life. Still, the rewards are easy to forget when you’re drowning in multiple 10-15 page papers and group projects while working two jobs and a maintaining some excuse for a social life. A lot of times, I find myself listening to music for encouragement, motivation, or just comfort.

As is my tradition every year, today I’m sharing a short playlist of the songs I listened to this past school year that encouraged and inspired me. As is NOT tradition, this post comes halfway through the summer. Even though it’s been a few months since the semester wrapped up, I still think this is worth sharing (and I’ll never let myself live it down if I let this school year go by without a playlist.

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Why Group Projects (Usually) Don’t Work

I enjoy an academic challenge. If I hate an assignment, it’s usually not because it’s too hard, but because it’s boring or feels meaningless.

The one type of assignment I just can’t bring myself to like, however, are group projects.

If you’ve never had to survive a group project, I envy you. The name is pretty self-explanatory: it’s an assignment that involves collaborating with other students in order to achieve a (usually shared) grade.

On paper, it’s a great idea. After all, knowing how to collaborate with others is a good skill to have – whether or not it’s as important as people say is something I still debate, but that’s besides the point. Knowing how to work with others and bring people with different skill sets together can allow for more productivity in a project. At least, that’s how it should be.

The problem that I’ve encountered is that in my experience, group projects have been more frustrating than educational. I always come away from a group assignment feeling like the final result would have been better if I had done it myself. Part of this is certainly a character flaw of mine, but I think it goes beyond that.

On the other hand, I’ve had many experiences with collaborative projects that have gone very well. I can think back to some group assignments in college that I enjoyed and learned from, as well as from activities outside of an academic setting, like video games and writing. Based on that, I don’t think the problem is so much with group assignments themselves – as I said, they do have their benefits – but rather with how they’re presented.

So, what makes a group project enjoyable and beneficial? (Or, if not enjoyable, at least not terribly frustrating.)

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Winder scene with text "February 2019: Month in Review"

February 2019 Month in Review

I was going to make some kind of remark like “wow, the month went by really fast!” before I remembered that February is in fact the shortest month of the year so of course it went by fast. Anyway, even though it was short, February was a good month with a lot of cool stuff happening.

Before I get into that though, if you missed any of my blog posts this month, I blogged about…

Oh, and don’t forget to check out my 1 Second Everyday compilation for February!

 

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Christmas in College

Christmas in College

It’s December, you’re in college, the last thing you want to think about is celebrating Christmas. There are exams to study for, papers to write, group projects to suffer through… who has time to think about the holidays?

Look, as much as I hate to say it, but the busy end-of-semester rush doesn’t delay the passing of time. Christmas will continue to get closer, and if you happen to have a late semester (like I did this year), it’ll be upon you almost as soon as you’re home for the holidays.

It’s hard to celebrate Christmas in college, but fortunately there are some ways you can still have holiday cheer while passing all of your exams.

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September 2018 - Month In Review

Month In Review: September 2018

Happy October! Depending on where you are in the world, it might finally be starting to feel like autumn for you (yes, we had 80-degree days here in the middle of September). Midterm exams are coming up at my school, but I’ll be going home for Fall Break in less than a week! I’m looking forward to it.

And in case you missed anything on Maggie’s Musings this month, I blogged about:

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I Took A Vacation And I Refuse To Feel Guilty About It

This week marks a month into the school semester, and trust me, I can feel it. Things have calmed down since that first overwhelming week of class, but I still find myself pretty busy with my jobs, classes, homework, and other commitments. Some days I float on, totally fine, situation normal. Other days, I have to work to keep my head above the ocean of tasks.

Each week has its mix of good and bad days, but the past week in particular felt like I was barely treading water. I had some fun things planned for the weekend, so I decided I was going to take a “vacation” – I wasn’t going to worry about all of the nonsense that was cluttering my brain, I was just going to enjoy the things I had planned.

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Sophomore Year Soundtrack

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you might know that music is a big part of my life, despite the fact that I’m probably tone-deaf and can’t play any instruments. I love listening to music pretty much anytime, and it’s one of the things that encourages me on a regular basis.

Around this time last year, I wrote a blog post about my Freshman Year Soundtrack, where I just had a list of songs that inspired me, motivated me, or I just listened to them a lot over the course of the school year. I thought I’d do something similar again at the close of my second year of college, since my music tastes are always changing and new songs are always being released.

If you’d like, you can listen to the full soundtrack on YouTube here. Otherwise, keep reading to see my list and why I picked them!

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Week In Review – May 18

Happy Friday, everyone!

I’m pretty excited about this week – I finished my sophomore year of college on Monday, and I started working at my summer job on campus later in the week. So far, things are going really well! It’s a bit different than other jobs I’ve worked in the past, but I love it and I’m excited for what the summer holds.

This week, in celebration of Mother’s Day, I shared some of my favorite moms and maternal figures in fiction! If you didn’t get the chance to read it on Monday, be sure to check it out!

Also, today is the LAST DAY to enter my blog survey and giveaway! Read all the details here, I’d love to have your feedback!

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Week In Review – May 4

Happy Friday, everyone!

Congrats on making it through this week AND through all of April! Go ahead, give yourself a pat on the back. It’s a busy time of year for many of us, but we’re all making it through.

Speaking of April, I compiled my 1 Second Everyday clips from the past month into a short, 30-second video. If you’re interested in seeing how my 1SE project is coming along, you can see my progress below!

This week, I shared some thoughts about Myers-Briggs types and INTJs in particular, especially when it comes to the idea of “being nice.” I had a really good time thinking about this one, so I hope you enjoy it as well!

There are also just two weeks left to participate in my blog survey and giveaway! Be sure to read all the details here.

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