Hogwarts Houses Study Tips: Slytherin

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Hi and welcome to the last instalment of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips series. This time around I’m going to talk about my own house (once again sounding way too geeky) which is the house of Draco Malfoy and Merlin himself. Slytherins are known to be resourceful, fraternal and careful. We’re brave but smart at the same time so we’re good at discerning when it’s worth being brave and when it’s not. I genuinely do think that Slytherins are a mixture of all the other houses.

In this post, I am going to talk about ways in which a Slytherin (and anyone else, really) can use any means to achieve their ends.

Slytherin

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Resourceful

Fraternity

Preservation

Use any means

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My first tip is to use any method that is useful to you. Everybody learns things differently and so making use of different resources will not only allow you to discern which study method works best for you but it will also allow you to gather more information and get a deeper understanding of the subject you’re learning. You can do this by trying out different learning styles such as mind-maps, reading out loud or teaching the material to other people or simply by using your school’s library. I personally like to use websites like JSTOR which is a digital library created in 1995 which I can access through my school’s website. I also use ebooks and articles I find in my school’s library and by using all these sources I can make sure my notes are extensive and detailed.

Work with others

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This is where the idea of fraternity comes into play. Slytherins are mostly seen as selfish and mean but I genuinely think that’s because nobody really likes Slytherin. It’s a mode of self-preservation, I presume. However, I think that the fraternity within the Slytherin house is a very strong one and so I imagine in the Harry Potter books groups of Slytherins studying together in the common room until the early hours of the morning. I think that working with others is useful because it allows people to share information and further solidify their learning by teaching the material to others.

Take care of yourself

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Self-care is such an important thing and a lot of people either forget about it or don’t do it properly. Self-care won’t work if you’re not in the right headspace for it – you can put on a face mask and soak in a bubble bath but if your head is swarming with anxieties and worries, well, you’re not getting the best out of your self-care routine. To me, self-care means ridding myself of all worries and just caring for my physical and mental health. I have an entire list of self-care activities which you can check out *here*. Some of the ways I practice self-care are things such as meditating, walking outside without listening to music (I always have my earphones in my ears so this is a big improvement for me), tarot reading and working on my bullet journal/kpop journal. These activities are awesome because they allow me to rid myself of everyday stressors and just live in the moment, something I struggle with.

So here it is! The last part of my back to school study tips. I had so much fun writing this mini-series so thank you for reading and I really hope the tips are useful! Feel free to let me know how you study and what works for you. Also, make sure to check out my last blog post which is a list of all the TV/literature tropes I hate.

With love,

Sonny xx

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(GIFs ARE NOT MINE! CREDIT GOES TO WHOEVER CREATED THEM!)

To Do – Year 2 of University

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As the start of the second year of university is approaching, I’m realizing that even with my 5 months of holiday I didn’t prepare enough. This happens to me all the time, I am, after all, a master procrastinator. I spent the first month recuperating from the first year of university, the second and third applying for jobs and the fourth hanging out with friends. As my summer holiday is coming to an end, so is my sense of peace, calm and my composure.

I am freaking the f**k out, internally.

So what do I do when I’m freaking the f**k out internally? I make very detailed plans on how to get my s**t together. Yep, that’s right, I make plans. I write to-do lists and wish lists and I write paragraphs all about the things I want to achieve and by doing these things I manage to collect my thoughts and put myself together again. I started doing this a couple of days ago and now that I am done, I think I finally have a sound plan of what I should do to be completely prepared for my second year of university. (I’m making myself sound like a real f**k up, aren’t I?)

So here it is, my to-do list. Feel free to use this for yourself and improve on it!

What went well and how can I improve?

The first thing I plan to do is figure out what went well in the first year of university and how I can improve in the second year. I write it all down and talk about how specific things affected my physical and mental health as well as the grades I got at the end of the year. This allows me to really think about the things I need to change and in the end, the changes I will make will be beneficial in the long run.

Finish all my reading, complete with notes

This one is a bit of an obvious one. I want to finish all my reading, or at least as much of it as I can before the year starts so that I don’t have to struggle during the semester. Instead, I can focus on re-reading the material and getting a deeper understanding of the subject and the analysis.

Refine note-taking methods

I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but the way I make my notes affects the outcome of my studies a lot. My note taking style changed a lot from secondary school when I had 9 different subjects (the way I took notes for maths was different from how I took notes for English) to college when I did 3 subjects to university where I only do 1. In the first year of uni, I struggled to find a note-taking system that worked for me and I only found something that worked decently by the end of the year and so I want to perfect my note-taking style by the time I go back to uni.

Refine assignment steps

I’ll explain. Whenever I have an assignment due, I take specific steps to complete that assignment. I write it down in my calendar with an earlier due date than what’s actually assigned, I write down everything I need to do to complete this assignment and then I break everything down into a very detailed plan. Or at least I try. This method is so long and tiring that I almost never did it. Instead, I procrastinated a lot and ended up rushing some of my assignments because of it. I suggest looking up some blog posts about it (I’ll upload mine very soon so stay tuned for that.)

Lunch ideas + budget

I go to university in a very expensive area which means that buying lunch every day would break the bank *very* fast. I only go to uni three to four days a week and some of those days are very short so I don’t bring food to school, but when I do, I want to bring something from home. This didn’t work out well in the first year because I made all these plans and came up with super fancy recipes that never worked out. I didn’t bother preparing my lunch the night before because it was too time-consuming and so this time around, I want to figure out a meal plan that’s affordable, simple and nutritious. I might even make a post about that! Similarly, making a budget is very important because let’s be honest here, we’re students and we’re not made of money. By making and sticking to a budget, I can afford everything I need and even things I want.

Stationery!

I personally don’t have to buy any new stationery since I make digital notes and I have enough stationery to last me a couple of years but going stationery shopping is not only fun and exciting because it’s a great way to start the new semester, but it’s also a great way to infuse some fun into this long-a*s to-do list.

Plan out outfits

If you’re anything like me, you’re too lazy and disinterested in fashion to care how you look in a 10AM lecture. Make-up be damned, right? Well, that was my attitude for the entirety of the first year and I have to say that half the time I felt like crap because of it. It’s not like I showed up to class in my pyjamas or anything, it’s just that after a night of studying and surviving the rush hour, I just couldn’t be asked to cake my face with makeup – it was tiring. You know how we all feel pretty when we put effort into how we present ourselves? Not for others, of course, but when we dress up for ourselves! I want to invest more time into feeling comfortable going to class but putting effort into my appearance at the same time. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a hoodie and jeans (which is probably how I’ll dress after the first two weeks) and I’m not going out to buy a whole new wardrobe. Instead, I’ll look through my closet and come up with 7 interchangeable outfits that I can put together real fast the night before. That way I get to be lazy and cute at the same time!

Make a playlist!

This one is a bit silly but hear me out. To me, music is a thing that makes me so happy, it calms me down and it puts me in the right mood for anything. I am that person that makes a playlist for anything. I have a playlist that I play during autumn, one that I play when I walk the dog, one that I play when I’m taking a bubble bath, etc. Going back to school, be it secondary, college or university or hell, even going back to work after a nice, relaxing holiday can be difficult and draining. Doing little things to perk ourselves up like a celebratory cupcake, a new playlist or reading a cheesy novel might sound silly, but they’re not. Anything to get us through the day, right?

So here it is, my to-do list for my second year of university. This post turned out to be so long but I think it’s important to put it out there, maybe as a form of inspiration, maybe for you guys to marvel at how much of a mess my life is. Either way, thanks a lot for reading and feel free to tell me how you prepare for a new beginning! Make sure to check out my last blog post which is my August playlist.

With love,

Sonny xx

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(GIFs ARE NOT MINE, CREDIT GOES TO WHOEVER MADE THEM!)

Hogwarts Houses Study Tips: Hufflepuff

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The third part of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips is all about helping hufflepuffs finding different and maybe even better ways of studying. This week I will be focusing less on study strategies such as ‘teach it to others’ and ‘ask for help’ and more on the reasons why some of us have a hard time concentrating on our studies. I think we can all agree that as students in this modern age, our attention span gets shorter and shorter as technology and social media gets better and better. I personally have days in which I sit down at my desk, ready to read a text from the 18th century and I just can’t seem to focus – or I focus for the first five minutes and then I suddenly catch myself staring at the wall and daydreaming about Sandra Oh. It’s not like I am underprepared, I have all my essentials right next to me – a notebook to jot down notes, coffee/water, snacks and my phone is far away on my bed. Still, I can’t concentrate.

I think people deal differently with this situation. Some of us get annoyed and take a nap, others persevere, maybe they even find ways to make the content fun and interesting. But I genuinely think that before we do any of that, we should come to terms with the reasons why we’re having such a hard time studying. Here are a couple of tips that might help with that.

Hufflepuff

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Patience

Loyalty

Dedication

Kindness

Unafraid

Be patient and kind with yourself

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You know how some older people tell us that our generation is lacking independence and focus? Well, don’t listen to them. Times are changing, society is evolving and technology has a very big impact on our day to day lives, even though we might not realize it at the moment. Back in the day, people had to buy newspapers to get their news, now it’s all at our fingertips. Back in the day research was done in libraries by reading tons of books, now it’s at the push of a button. Of course, we would find it harder to focus, we don’t have to sit down for hours just to accomplish one task. So be kind and patient with yourself, don’t stress too much and you will succeed.

Spend some time understanding why you’re having trouble

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Instead of just diving into whatever you have to do or study, take some time to analyse the situation. Why do you lose focus so easily? What’s distracting you and how can you make sure you keep focused for as long as you need to. Naturally, our minds can only focus for twenty minutes before our minds start to wander. I personally found out that because of my very active imagination, I tend to slip into this land of daydreams whenever I lose focus. So instead of sitting down for hours, trying to concentrate on a subject that I might not even like, I study in bursts of 20 minutes and take 5-minute breaks in between. This way I can give into my wandering mind and keep focused for those 20 minutes.

Don’t be afraid of change

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I wrote a blog post about how I stopped fearing change which you can read *here*. Change is such a natural phenomenon and it’s normal to be afraid of change because it means stepping out of our comfort zone. But change is essential to living a productive and active lifestyle – a life worth being proud of. If you really, really want to get that degree or become a doctor/lawyer/photographer/etc. then being a proactive learner is worth changing your habits for. Instead of resigning yourself to bad study sessions and going to class confused, take this opportunity to change the way you study and focus in order to achieve your dreams and your goals!

So here it is, the third part of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips series. I hope these tips helped you understand and work through the frustrations of not being able to hunker down and learn. Thanks a lot for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post which is a list of my favourite kpop groups as well as the other parts in this series: Gryffindor and Ravenclaw!

With love,

Sonny xx

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(GIFs are NOT MINE – credit goes to their creators)

Hogwarts Houses Study Tips: Ravenclaw

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Welcome to the second part of my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips series! This time, I am going to give you some studying tips and advice that relates to Ravenclaw. As I mentioned in the first instalment of this series, Harry Potter is still very much relevant in today’s society even though it’s a fiction story about a teenage wizard. A lot of people relate to the Hogwarts houses system and some people even base some of their decisions and beliefs based on that.

This list is not meant to come across as law – people are multidimensional which means that what works for one Ravenclaw might not work for another. (I realize that I’m taking this way too seriously but bare with me).

Without further ado, here are three Ravenclaw study tips.

Ravenclaw

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Engaging

Helpful

Competitive

Talented

Productive

Teach it to others

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Learning is a layered process for a lot of people. When we first learn something we add the first layer which we then revise and add the second layer. To really consolidate our learning, it’s useful to teach the knowledge we just acquired to others. Not only does it point out the parts we didn’t understand but it also forms mental cues through repetition.

Discuss

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It’s easy to learn something from a book or a lecture and then dust our hands because it’s all done but just as we are multidimensional, the subjects we study are too. It’s worth studying subjects in depth, analysing and deepening our understanding not only because it helps secure those extra points in exams and projects but also because it builds confidence in our knowledge and our ability to listen to others with an open mind.

Quiz Yourself

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This particular point doesn’t work for me but a lot of my friends swear by it. Quizzing yourself, whether by using apps or covering the answers with an object or your hand is useful because it lets you know whether you really understood the concept and it further consolidates your knowledge through repetition.

So here it is, three study tips for all you lovely Ravenclaws out there. Thanks a lot for reading and please make sure to check the first part of this series which is all about Gryffindor study tips as well as my last blog post which is about my kpop journal.

With love,

Sonny xx

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(GIFs are not mine, credit goes to whoever made them)

Bullet Journaling: My 3 Favourite Spreads

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Up to this point, I think I managed to portray myself as someone who is constantly trying to get their sh*t together be it through self-care, self-acceptance, reading and being positive. Of course, that doesn’t work every time because everyone has those days, y’know? But something that really helps me keep myself on track in every aspect of my life is my bullet journal which I carry around with me at all times. My bullet journal is part of my morning routine and night routine (blog post coming soon) and it also serves as a reminder throughout the day.

I began bullet journaling at the end of my first year of college – I remember it so clearly… Scrolling through Tumblr on the study motivation hashtag and seeing all these amazing bullet journals. It left such a good impression that I started researching and watching Youtube videos (instead of studying for the exam I had the next morning). The next day, right before my exam (and I mean, right before – I have no idea how I made it to that exam) I went and bought my first bullet journal; an A5 black Moleskine that is still my favourite bullet journal to this day. My first spread in that notebook was a June calendar.

But what is a bullet journal? According to the Bullet Journal website: “The Bullet Journal is a customizable and forgiving organization system. It can be your to-do list, sketchbook, notebook, and diary, but most likely, it will be all of the above. It will teach you to do more with less.” (http://bulletjournal.com/) But to me, the bullet journal system means something a bit different. To me, my bullet journal is a physical, visual representation of my brain. Whatever goes through my brain is written down in my bullet journal such as reminders, to-do lists, quotes, song lyrics, story ideas, poems, blog post ideas, top 5 lists, research, birthdays, brain-dumps, etc.

Anyway, enough of me rambling about my absolute adoration for this amazing system, here are three of my favourite spreads that I couldn’t possibly do without:

Calendar

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This one is super basic but I guess the basics are always the most important. The calendar in my bullet journal is one of my favourites spreads simply because it’s so accessible when I have everything in that little (not so little) notebook. Yeah, I can use the calendar on my phone but it’s easier for me to flip from my weekly spread to my reminders and then back to my calendar instead of fumbling with my phone and writing things down and then writing them on my phone – it’s just too much work, I’d rather have it all in one place. Something else I like about my calendar is that it’s always paired with my monthly page which is basically a doodle/quote that fills the whole page. I think the reason why I like the monthly page so much is that it makes it easier for me to visually separate let’s say, July from June.

Weekly spreads

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Another basic one but again, super important. My weekly spread is where my productivity lies. Everything I have to do throughout the week is there, so easily accessible. I can just switch to my weekly spread and see everything I have to do that day. I also like my weekly spreads because of the way I bullet journal; I am a very visual person, I like colours and aesthetics and even though I’m not an amazing artist, I enjoy doodling. My weekly pages allow me to be creative and so they always have a different theme/aesthetic which is super fun to look at every day.

Research/Thoughts/Poetry/Quotes/Etc.

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I feel like not a lot of people actually do these or if they do they never put them out there for people to see. You always see beautiful pictures of daily spreads or monthly overviews but you never see these. My bullet journal is my brain and so whenever I’m listening to a podcast, reading a book or watching a YT video and I want to remember what I’m hearing I just take notes in my bullet journal. Same thing with quotes and song lyrics. I also write poetry in my bullet journal and I plan chapters for my stories and describe my characters. I think that having these types of spreads in your bullet journal not only makes your notebook more unique, it also helps you stick to bullet journaling and being productive as well as it keeps your mind constantly creative and occupied.

Honourable mentions:

Gratitude log

Sleep log

Wishlist

So here are my three favourite bullet journal spreads as well as some honourable mentions. I hope this list helped you maybe by giving you some ideas for your bullet journal or maybe even inspired you to start your own. Thanks for reading and make sure to check out my last blog post which was the first post in my Hogwarts Houses Study Tips!

With love,

Sonny xx

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Hogwarts Houses Study Tips: Gryffindor

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Harry Potter culture is still very much alive and very strong in today’s society. Everyone knows which house they belong to, they know the house’s traits and strongly identify with them throughout their lives. I am not ashamed to say that I am totally one of those people, in fact, I even made my own Hogwarts house when I was younger.

I’m not entirely sure why we want to compartmentalise ourselves and put labels on ourselves based on a fictional world but I know that personally, I get a sense of comfort out of feeling like I have that one thing figured out. Since growing up and learning about ourselves, evolving and becoming different people, Hogwarts houses can become a bit of a safety net if we don’t actually know who we are.

Therefore, I came up with a way to incorporate my Hogwarts house (Slytherin) into my everyday life, or more like my everyday student life. Here is my first instalment of Hogwarts Houses Study Tips – Gryffindor edition.

Gryffindor House

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Brave
Loyal
Impulsive
Chivalrous
Stubborn
Morally Tenacious

Get up and be active

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Known as ‘do-ers’, kinesthetic learners retain information better by using a hands-on approach to short-term memory studying. To retain information for a long-term period, a multitude of different techniques could be used such as colourful note-taking, listening to a lecture/seminar, lab demonstrations, etc. This form of learning is useful for people who have a harder time focusing and for those who enjoy moving a lot and focus better that way.

Apply class knowledge to everyday life

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By applying class knowledge to everyday life, it helps information stick better by creating mental cues through association (think about the Bone Dance from Hannah Montana). Using mental cues to constantly remind yourself of information that you have learnt in class is useful because it helps your brain repeat knowledge and thus remember things better.

Change up your study area from time to time

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A different study environment is useful because the brain connects the information it’s being fed to the environment it is in. Letting our brains associate all information with the same room makes the information blend together. Therefore, some ideas for a change of scenery are coffee shops, school’s library or your local library, the park on nice sunny days or even different parts of your house. Maybe instead of always studying at your desk, you can study at the kitchen table instead.

Quick disclaimer: all the information I’m giving you guys is basically what I learnt from doing Psychology at A Levels so for proper, in-depth knowledge on some of the things I’m talking about you can just do a quick google search to find out more info.

So here it is. The first out of four blogs dedicated to study tips based on your Hogwarts house. As you can probably tell I took the words associated with Gryffindor and applied them to different study tips. Hope this post has been helpful in some sort of way! Also, make sure to check out my last post which is 7 organization skills that I find work for me.

With love,
Sonny xx

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My Role Models

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          After finding out that I have passed all my finals and made it through to the second year of university, I began mulling over the first year. Usually, we cannot be critical of a situation until we put the situation behind us, therefore, I think some introspection is well due. I believe that mapping out the things I have done well and the things I lacked in will help me put the first year of university into perspective and will allow me to prepare myself better for the second year (which actually counts towards my degree).

          As someone who watches a lot of TV shows I frequently acquire new role models after every show I watch. Rory Gilmore, Cristina Yang and Debra Morgan being a few of those role models. I think that having a role model, either a life role model – someone who inspires your personality and your aspirations in life or a career/education role model is beneficial for morale and motivation. Whenever I feel unmotivated or I catch myself slipping into procrastination I remind myself of the following five characters and remember that if they can do it, as flawed and messed up as they are, then I can do it too.

 

          Cristina Yang (Grey’s Anatomy)

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          Cristina is that character that makes me question whether I want to be like her or whether I want her to be my wife. That’s just how incredible this woman is and I could probably just talk for hours about this amazing character. She is impossibly smart and ambitious, she doesn’t take crap from anybody and she has an awesome attitude about everything. Her standards are very high and she is very focused on her speciality and that to me is so sexy inspirational. If I could emulate any of these characters I would choose to emulate Cristina Yang.

 

          Sam Winchester (Supernatural)
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I feel like Sam is a bit underrated both in the series and amongst the people in the fandom. But he is really smart and funny and just, you know, Sammy! He inspires me a lot because of his outlook on life and education. He didn’t like the life on the road so he ran away to college and was *this* close to getting a law degree. You can see how smart and passionate about learning he is throughout the series with all the research he does. I’m sure he read all the books in the Men of Letters bunker too. I think his love of education and the power of knowledge is truly inspirational, especially during the days when frankly, I can’t even get out of bed.

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

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I like Hermione because she appreciates her education. As a muggle-born, she knew she had to catch up a lot with other wizards so she read and she read and she was thankful for being able to go to Hogwarts. I hated the way some teachers (Snape) treated her in class but I love that she never ever gave up. She still participated in class, handed in excellent assignments and made up for her lack of experience as a witch through her drive and ambition. I think her attitude is so badass too, she was never apologetic about her intelligence and her love for education and I love that about her.

 

    Spencer Hastings (Pretty Little Liars)

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Spencer liked studying despite the constant pressure that came with being a Hastings. She took her education seriously and strived to be the best even though she was plagued by a murderous stalker with a posey. Spencer is ambitious and motivated and that’s a really admirable trait in someone who has the weight of a family legacy on their shoulders. The fact that she still maintains and excels at her education while also dealing with A is really inspirational – if she can deal with a murderous stalker than I can put up with a headache and do my work.

    Blair Waldorf (Gossip Girl)

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Blair Waldorf. Although her character comes across as super annoying, I seriously love her. Not necessarily for her studious nature, although it is there and she’s really smart. I love her for her blind ambition and confidence. Nobody can be Blair and Blair gets what she wants, no matter what. I personally lack that sort of attitude and it only comes out when I’m really angry but I wished I was like that all the time.

          So here are a few of my role models pertaining to education and university. Thank you for reading and make sure to check out my last post which was all about actively living in the present.

With love,

Sonny xx