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Successful Study Tips

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Let’s talk grades. When it came to my scores on assignments, I’d always been a total Type-A perfectionist with high expectations and pressures on myself. But throughout my time at UCLA, I experienced a total shift in the way I viewed grades. I realized that easy A’s and devastating low scores were influencing me far more than actual learning, and that my experiences of frustration with a subject, hard work, and then final “light bulb” moment had been more rewarding than high grades ever were. When I invested in my learning, my education began to mean so much more to me. I have adjusted how I study, have been able to adapt to more challenging classes, and now can take advantage of thousands of study resources at my fingertips thanks to Cengage Unlimited. When I realized the importance of a mindset that didn’t measure success by grades, but by how hard I had worked, the funniest thing happened: I found that my grades were higher than ever before. In college I’ve really had to learn to press into challenges and use every resource I have in order to feel that I’ve done my absolute best on a project, paper, or assignment. Cengage Unlimited will help me do just that. With the beginning of the school year right around the corner (or for some, already beginning), I thought I'd share some study tips that have been useful to me!



Stay Organized 
Half of the battle is in taking useful, organized notes and keeping your thoughts focused while you are in class. If you do that, studying is so much easier. For me, staying organized includes using a great day planner (I LOVE this one), keeping a to do list of all upcoming assignments, and immediately reviewing and revising my notes after class. If you take it one task at a time, studying for an exam is much less intimidating.  

Avoid Procrastinating
I know, I know... It is so hard to do that reading assignment when Netflix is calling your name! Although it is so much easier said than done, staying on top of your assignments and doing them ahead of time really is key to feeling prepared for a big test. Distractions are bound to come up, so make sure to start studying early so that you're able to cover all the material and avoid cramming at the last minute. 

Study With Others 
I do most major studying by myself, but combing brain power can be a great way to test your own knowledge, break up the monotony of studying, get new perspectives on a topic, and make sure that you didn't miss any key information! 

Use Your Resources 
A resource that I can’t wait to use this school year is Cengage Unlimited. Basically, Cengage is a platform for students with thousands of online resources and course materials. A Cengage Unlimited subscription gives you access all of the products and services they offer. The best part is, no matter how many courses you enroll in, or how many ebooks you use, the price stays the same.  

This post is brought to you by Cengage and Her Campus Media. 

How This Miss USA Finalist Shines

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Meet my friend Megan Gordon. I had the privilege of meeting her when we went on a volunteer trip to India together in 2015 when she was serving as Miss Collegiate America. I was so impressed by her heart for others and desire to uplift those around her. She went on to win Miss South Carolina USA in 2017, becoming the third African American in history with the title. At Miss USA, Megan finished in the Top 5. While serving her community as both a RN and Miss South Carolina, Megan accomplished another milestone: publishing her first book, "The Ultimate Crown: Living for the Audience of One." Megan embodies what it means to use your talents and passions to serve others, and I am so excited for you to get to know Megan and see how she shines. 

What has been the most surprising aspect of your career? 
When I stopped trying to pursue something that God didn’t specifically create me for. I’m in a really great space where I nurse, model and write so I enjoy interacting with people from all different backgrounds. One day I’m talking to a designer, the next day a doctor and then the next day bonding with another author. It’s really cool. If you have multiple passions, don’t let anyone tell you “there’s no way you can do that”. You can! And you’ll meet some amazing people along the way. 

A piece of advice you’d give to your younger self? 
Relax! You don’t have to have it all figured out. Enjoy your life and establish a solid relationship with God. Everything will work out.

How do you approach unexpected challenges? 
With open arms. Challenges are inevitable. I’ve learned to embrace those moments and face them head on through prayer and perseverance. It’s not always fun but I’ve learned to just relax, enjoy the process and learn as I go.

When did you experience a turning point in pursuing your dream? 
We all have been created for a specific time and purpose. When I stopped trying to compare mine to that of someone else’s I was able to find peace and more joy in what I have been called to do. 

Why did you want to write a book?
I’ve honestly always resorted to writing. When I’m happy, I’m writing. When I’m bummed out, I’m writing. During that hard breakup, I was writing. When I’m in the airport, I’m writing. When I’m overfilled with joy, I’m writing. When I don’t have words to verbally say, I’m writing. So I thought why not write about what you experienced during this monumental moment at Miss USA? And that’s what I did. I looked through all of my journal entries during my year as Miss South Carolina USA and during my time at Miss USA and realized that I was not the only woman going through this rollercoaster of emotions. I wanted to share how I reconciled some things in my life during that time and also encourage others to do the same. 


You’ve achieved so many dreams at such a young age. What are some dreams you are now pursuing? 
I’ll be writing & creating more, so I’m extremely excited and grateful for what’s next! I truly believe the best is yet to come. I’ll never stop dreaming or working on my purpose.The beauty in evolution is that things and desires do change. As I’m growing, I’m learning to just enjoy the season I’m in and prepare as I pray. I think that’s a major key. A lot of people pray (or wish), but rarely do I see young people putting in the work and actually preparing. You have to do both. 


How do you shine? And how can you help others shine?
I notice that I shine the brightest when I’m being my true, authentic self and when I am operating in the optimal potential that I was created to operate in. I help others shine by attracting & encouraging them to connect to our Creator and understand that they have a unique, beautiful identity. What a beautiful world it would be, if we all decided to shine and not allow anyone to dim our lights! 


Megan has so much encouragement and wisdom to offer not only about her professional experiences, but about keeping your faith at the center of every passion and pursuit. I love her advice about having multiple passions and how beautiful that can be. Staying the course and dreaming big is engrained into Megan's story, and we can always use more inspiration to pursue our dreams, whatever those dreams may be! 

You can connect with Megan on her website and purchase her book here

The Best Way to Pack for Camping

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I spent my childhood camping in Northern California during the summer time with the whole family. Some of my best memories were spent sitting at the campfire roasting marshmallows or jumping in the ocean at the little beach near our campsite. Now, I've started going on camping trips of my own and I'm realizing that it's cheap, a fun challenge, and one of the best ways to spend quality time with the ones that you love. If a trip is budget friendly and adventurous and fun, sign me up! Getting all the supplies may seem like an expensive up front cost, but the good news is that family members or friends probably have some gear you can borrow and, if/when you do decide to buy your own, it is a one-time expense. Since it seems like you're venturing into the wilderness, it can be tempting to overpack and easy to get overwhelmed. The best way I've been able to take the stress out of camping is to keep it simple and actually never unpack from camping trips. All the main supplies can stay in a large bin that just loads in the car day of. Making a little camping kit saves so much time and hassle. Also, keep in mind that if you're anything like me, you will always seem to forget at least one thing, but that most campsites are usually a short drive away from a market/convenience store that will have the necessities. I've found it's better not to overpack, and just make do only using what you absolutely need. It's less time consuming, less of a mess, less stressful overall.


Keep packed all the time in large bin:
Tent
Tarp for under the tent
Sleeping Bags
Air Mattress
Camping Chairs
Lantern(s)
Ice Chest
Camp Stove
Propane Tanks for Stove/Lanterns
Lighter
S'mores Roasting Sticks
Towels
Coffee Pot
Frying Pan
Sauce Pan
Spatula
Wooden Spoon
Knife
Dish Soap
Scrub Brush
Paper Towels
Disposable Silverware/Plates/Cups

Pack on day of:
Pillows
Clothes
Toiletries
Groceries
Ice
Water Bottles

Shop all the camping supplies on this list below: