Organize, Agitate, Educate: #2 “School/Work”

See post #1 here!

I’m taking an overload of regular classes, two online classes, and working two jobs.  For some reason, I’m often asked how I juggle it all!

I have made the decision to trust you [A horrible decision, really].  Come closer and I will reveal my secrets.

If you’re caught up in the series, you know already that I really love color-coordinated everything (and polka dots, but that’s another story!).

This holds true for my schoolwork!  Here you've got my English work, but we've also got History (grey), Latin (navy), Civil War Era Studies (orange), and Environmental Studies (purple).

This holds true for my schoolwork! Here you’ve got my English work, but we’ve also got History (grey), Latin (navy), Civil War Era Studies (orange), and Environmental Studies (purple).

As a Bookstore employee, I get a discount on all of my binders/folders/notebooks/etc., which proves to be amazing when it comes to my love of office supplies and my need to coordinate them all.

The same system transfers to my agenda!

The same system transfers to my agenda!

And these fun little flash card holders (and trust me, I go through A LOT of flash cards!).  Check out the wonderful label from my label maker!

And these fun little flash card holders (and trust me, I go through A LOT of flash cards!). Check out the wonderful label from my label maker!

I also use Reminders to organize my school work, along with my various to-do lists and the like.

The program even has the option to organize by due date--- perfect for assignments!

The program even has the option to organize by due date— perfect for assignments!

Though my lack of syllabi for this semester made it impossible, a Semester Spreadsheet, as inspired by Organized Charm, was indispensable last semester!

When it comes to non-school work, I use the same planner I featured in post #1.

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The bookstore is light blue, my job in town is orange (the most “spooky” of my many colors).

To incorporate my work and  social activities, I also use this wonderful dry erase calendar!

To incorporate my work and social activities, I also use this wonderful dry erase calendar!

To make everything extra special and coordinated, I've got some Sharpie highlighters!

To make everything extra special and coordinated, I’ve got some Sharpie highlighters!

So there you have it— there’s a method to my madness!

The Unfinished Work

I spent this afternoon and will spend most of tomorrow at a conference titled “‘The Unfinished Work….’ 24 Hours Dedicated to Fighting Modern Slavery.”

Photo via @GBCFTS on Twitter

Photo via @GBCFTS on Twitter

Full disclosure:  I’m only attending because of a class requirement.  I was not in any way excited to attend.  After spending the rest of the week nursing a sinus infection, the last thing I wanted to do was sit around with others and discuss modern slavery.  As a Civil War historian, I get plenty of time to talk about slavery from a historical perspective— far more than anyone could ever want.  Truth be told, as much as I love history, this aspect gets really depressing really quickly;  I’m perfectly capable of depressing myself without it, so the thought of spending my weekend surrounded by it was as far from appealing as possible.

But, I’d missed more class in the last few days than I had all year— I couldn’t miss this too.  So I bought myself a new notebook and pens for motivation, and headed into the first lecture.

My first surprise was the crowd:  the place was packed.  I’d feared being one of few attendees, honestly.  Yet, as I walked into the room, not a head was turned.  Dozens of activists from across the country milled around or sat in folding chairs, preparing to discuss this topic for which they share a passion.

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As the afternoon continued, I was certainly intrigued.  The panelists and attendees were the definition of “activists”…except for those like me, who were there entirely for class.  Holden Caulfield would have been pretty upset with me as I sat there, diligently taking notes…. I was a phony.

The speakers so far have been interesting, unquestionably. I have the utmost respect for the work these people are doing;  as a human being, I can’t help but care about their cause.

That being said, it’s not my cause.  Not that I shouldn’t take action, not that I wouldn’t if the opportunity presented itself, but simply because it’s impossible to advocate for literally everything.  As my extensive collection of Pura Vida bracelets reveals, I care about a lot of different causes.  Realistically, though, you can only throw yourself entirely, heart and soul, into a few.

For me, a lot of these are animal-based.  I volunteer with PETA and the local SPCA.  I’m a quiet advocate, signing petitions and making personal choices rather than throwing fake blood on people and protesting outside of a circus.  I’m a vegan, for crying out loud, primarily by moral choice.

I totally respect what these people do, but I can’t give my all to every cause that tugs at my heart.

I’ll go to these presentations, I’ll hear what they have to say.  I’ll take their suggestions to heart, and make the morally just choice when it’s available (though I try to do that in all of my choices).  I’ll do my small part, but I’ll still be nothing compared to these incredible people.

I like to think I’m incredible in my own way (don’t we all?), but I’ll stick to freeing Lolita for now.

Photo via @GBCFTS on Twitter

Photo via @GBCFTS on Twitter

For more information on the issues and organizations discussed at this conference, visit:

https://twitter.com/GBCFTS

http://theihti.org/

http://www.iom.int/cms/en/sites/iom/home.html

http://historiansagainstslavery.org/

“Just what makes that little old ant think he can move that rubber tree plant?” #TFT

“Next time you’re found with your chin on the ground, there’s a lot to be learned, so look around! Just what makes that little old ant think he’ll move that rubber tree plant? Anyone knows an ant can’t move a rubber tree plant, but he’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes;  he’s got high apple pie in the sky hopes.  So any time you’re gettin’ low, ‘stead of lettin’ go, just remember that ant…. Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant….” -Frank Sinatra, High Hopes

This song, along with the wonderful Frank’s Greatest Hits, immediately brings to mind images of car rides with my grandparents.

When I was very young, my mom and I lived with her parents, and they and I have been unusually close ever since.

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Though they’ve both had a tremendous impact on me, this particular post is about my grandfather (Nan’ll get her own soon enough!).

Pop and I have plenty of memories. When I was little, he and I had a tradition of recording tapes (yes, on a little cassette recorder!) together.  Even today, “This is Pop-pop signing off!  This is Julia, signing off!”

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Pop and I after my high school’s production of “The Pajama Game.”

He & I share a love of books.

Post-book sale :)

Post-book sale 🙂

Possibly the most notable of his inspiration is my love of history;  I don’t know if I would have discovered my love of Gettysburg without him.

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From music to books to presidents, I owe plenty to Pop.

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Thank you, Pop, for everything!

#TFT

Throwback Thursday has been a trend for quite some time.  People love reminiscing with the “perfect” picture.

For example:

#ThrowbackThursday to this little kid!  #TBT

#ThrowbackThursday to this little kid! #TBT

Earlier today I asked myself, “Why not take advantage of this trend?”  And so, TFT was born.

For as long as it lasts, I’ll be posting #TFT posts here at TO&E.  A rather obvious play on Throwback Thursday, Thankful Thursday will give me a chance to highlight some of the awesome people in my life and to share them with you all!  Feel free to try it yourself— let’s spread the love!

Versatile Blogger Award: Take Two!

Soon after starting here at TO&E, I was nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award.  Yesterday, I was nominated by a variation of the award by the wonderful Little Miss Unsure!

The Rules:

1. Nominate 15 other bloggers relatively new to blogging [warning: “new” is a subjective term!]

I nominate….
Hessianwithteeth

GolNoran

Random Writings On The Bathroom Wall

I Do and Adieu!

Flowers and Wanderlust

Hogrider Dookes

Natalie’s Blog

truetheatrekid

The View From Duffy Square

Dinosaurs and Woodlice

Subdued Flamboyance

Abby Has Issues

Go Jules Go

A Little Place Of My Own

Laissez Faire

2. Let the bloggers know that you’ve nominated them

Will do once this has been posted!

3. Share 10 random facts about yourself

Here goes!

1.  I’ve been vegan for roughly a year now— I’m allergic to dairy as well as loving animals, so it’s not as difficult as people assume!  Vegan options tend to be just as good (if not better!) than the originals!
2.  I once performed at a festival (attended by 3,000 people!) on my ukulele and singing.

Photo compliments of the local newspaper, the Pottsville Republican & Herald

Photo compliments of the local newspaper, the Pottsville Republican & Herald

3.  I’m unquestionably addicted to iced tea, especially Dunkin’ Donuts’.
4.  I have a really hard time picking favourites of just about anything: songs, movies, musicals, books, people, colour…. It’s just far too difficult.
5.  I find cemeteries to be unbelievably calming somehow.

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6.  I take a plethora of photos of the campus Chapel.

Isn't it pretty?

Isn’t it pretty?

7.  There’s one thing of which I can pick a favourite:  flowers.  White roses 🙂
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8.  I’m a football fan, believe it or not.  My teams are the Packers and the Broncos, and I love the Jets’ Eric Decker.
9.  Baseball’s another of my enjoyed sports.  The Phillies & Red Sox fill out that group!

10.  When I’m not watching Gilmore Girls, I love Adventure Time, The Tudors, Friends, Supernatural, MASH, Graceland, Pretty Little Liars, Ghost Hunters, and more, though I rarely get to see any of them regularly!

4. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog

Once more, thank you, Little Miss Unsure!

5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your post

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Happiness is a warm puppy.

I’ve been missing my Cooper an awful lot lately.

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So, with today being a traditionally depressing Monday, I planned to make today’s post entirely puppies.  Conveniently enough, today is also National Puppy Day!  To celebrate, enjoy plenty of puppies!

Organize, Agitate, Educate: #1: “Life”

From my research, it seems like many wannabe-organizing junkies search for a secret to organizing their entire lives.  Posts and pins abound on the subject, but there’s no clear definition (that I’ve found) that describes just what “life” entails [yes, internet, what is the meaning of “life?”].

My dictionary says, “life, n. pl., lives.  quality of being alive; period during which things exist;  person’s history;  vitality;  prison sentence;  course of living

Hmm… “Prison sentence” is awfully accurate at times.

For now, though, we’ll still with “period during which things exist.”  And by “things,” we’ll focus primarily activities, commitments, etc., plus some basic “stuff” (great English here today, guys).  Without further ado, here are my strategies for organizing “life:”

My secret not-so-secret weapons:

I use file folders  (these come in packs of three with different designs, from Walmart!) to organize my miscellaneous non-school papers:  takeout menus, maps, brochures, official documents, and more!

I use file folders (these come in packs of three with different designs, from Wal-Mart!) to organize my miscellaneous non-school papers: takeout menus, maps, brochures, official documents, and more!

I’ve currently got eight main file folders:  Curriculum (course checklists, major booklets, etc.), Financial (mainly bank statements), Local (maps, brochures, and menus for off-campus [plus the bus schedule!]), Manuals (these things accumulate quickly!), College (non-curriculum college things), Receipts (for the big [usually online purchase-based] pages that won’t fit in the small organizer), Official (the actual important stuff), and Mementos (ticket stubs, programs, and the like).  I’ve got a few more folders hanging around for when the categories need to expand!

My binder is truly my best friend when it comes to organizing two jobs, a plethora of extracurriculars, and something that resembles a social life!

My planner is truly my best friend when it comes to organizing two jobs, a plethora of extracurriculars, and something that resembles a social life!

My life is crazy busy 99.9% of the time.  The only way I manage to manage that is by utilizing my planner to the fullest extent.

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On the monthly page, I utilize color-coded checkmarks, for example,  a light blue check for the date I changed the filter in my Brita pitcher.

On the monthly page, I use color-coded check marks, for example, a light blue check for the date I changed the filter in my Brita pitcher.

On the weekly pages, I fill in my activities, social events, and obligations- color-coded once more.  Obligatory (usually school-based) events are red, extracurriculars are primarily pink, purely social events are green, and so on.

On the weekly pages, I fill in my activities, social events, and obligations— color-coded once more. Obligatory (usually school-based) events are red, extracurriculars are primarily pink, purely social events are green, and so on.

I use sticky notes for everything and anything:  bookmarks, reminders, motivational quotes…. There is never not a need for sticky notes, preferably of fun shape or color.

A plethora of sticky notes is always helpful:  always.

A plethora of sticky notes is always helpful: always.

When I have a million little tasks to accomplish— not major enough to make it into the planner, but too much for a sticky note reminder, this notepad comes in.  Depending on what needs to be accomplished, I’ll sometimes use the “do it later” section as schoolwork and the “do it now” as misc. tasks (which may or may not contribute slightly to my procrastination).

This little notepad has been a lifesaver--- I get more anxious than usual when I can't write things down!  Get your own here!

This little notepad has been a lifesaver— I get more anxious than usual when I can’t write things down! Get your own here!

Birthdays and budgets and bargains, oh my!  My Life Binder is quite often my saving grace when it comes to sanity.  When is so-and-so’s birthday? Check the binder.  What day of the week is this date? Check the binder.  What do I need from the grocery store? Check the binder.

This is the inside cover of my amazing Life Binder.  This one truly deserves its own post (soon to come) to fully cover all it has to offer!

This is the inside cover of my amazing Life Binder. This one truly deserves its own post (soon to come) to fully cover all it has to offer!

As an incredibly anxious person, I like to cover all of my bases.  Is it likely that I’ll need a Dunkin’ Donuts receipt ever in the future?  Probably not.  But is it possible.  Sure.  For that reason, I keep my receipts in this fun little organizer, categorized into Banking (atm deposits and the like), Bookstore (I work in the on-campus bookstore and may or may not spend half of my paycheck in the process at times), Coffee (vital), Fast Food (a necessary evil at times (plus Dunkin’), and Shopping (groceries, clothes, books, and whatnot).

"Would you like your receipt?"  Why yes, yes I would.  From there, I will store it in the proper category within my lovely receipt organizer ($1 at Dollar Tree, then labelled)!

“Would you like your receipt?” Why yes, yes I would. From there, I will store it in the proper category within my lovely receipt organizer ($1 at Dollar Tree, then labelled)!

A few unpictured tools have also been deemed essential:

On the side of my micro-fridge, facing my desk, is an ornate dry-erase calendar (also color-coordinated).  Filling it out each month is almost therapeutic, and it allows me to quickly view my month at a glance!

As you can tell, I do a lot of color-coordination.  For this, my multi-colored pens, sticky tabs, and highlighters are crucial!

In addition, what I cannot stress enough is a need for paper clips.  They seem like a rather mundane office supply, but I absolutely adore them.  Pile of related papers? BAM, they’re conveniently combined with a pretty little clip (because, of course, mine are multi-colored, to fit in!).

So there you have it folks, my basic secrets to maintaining what my friends consider to be the world’s busiest schedule!