Staying Organized and Productive

Q: Describe school in one word.

A: Busy

School has been ridiculously busy since it started up in September.  Grade 11 is no joke.  Homework has ridiculously increased (last year’s Grade 10 was pretty much a joke as far as school work goes – but that’s another story), volleyball has started up, piano is on the go, dance is on, and on top of that, I have started tutoring a few different kids and am now one of the executive on my schools SRC.

To be honest, I am pretty much barely managing to get everything done.  I am expecting one of these days to end up having a major meltdown.

Until then, I just need to improve on being organized and productive (most teenager’s least favourite words, I think).

Here are some of my tips on managing your time wisely (hey, maybe if I write some down I’ll actually follow them).

1.) Keep a planner/calendar.  I would easily say this is the smartest thing you could possibly do.  Whether you put everything into your phone, keep a calendar, or log it in a planner.  Write EVERYTHING down.  You do not know how many times I have had to scramble to finish up my math questions because I did not remember they were due next period.

I write in a journal.  It is mostly filled with to-do lists that I write every morning before I go to school and than I jot down any other thoughts that may be accumulating in my head.

For the past couple of months I have also been printing off online monthly calendars I find on various places on the Internet.  I find this super helpful because I can jot everything down for the whole month and always know what’s coming up.

2.) Get it done.  I am extremely guilty of this (especially lately) of using up my spare time to just watch TV or do who know’s what.  Then, I end up having to cram and finish everything quite poorly around ten at night because it’s due the next day.  Plus, I always end up frustrated and tend to blame everyone else for why it’s not done.  Why would my teacher set due for the next day?  I have so much stuff due tomorrow – it’s so unfair!  I’m just not going to do any of it because I think it’s unfair.  That type of stuff.  I have to learn to stop complaining (it’s not unfair at all, it’s school, and I’m just lazy) and just get it done.  Something that I have vowed on this year is trying my hardest on all of my assignments, something I have not previously done.  I am still trying to work on this, but it’s always a good feeling, even if you don’t do so great on it, to know that you completely deserved your mark.

3.) Ask for help.  This I need to start putting into action.  The first month, being our school’s activities director, I thought it was solely my responsibility for planning one of our school events (a school-wide game thing we call survivor) and completely stressed myself out about getting it done.

It went over well, but I realized at the end that there are people who are willing to help me out and that if I do mess up on something, it really isn’t the end of the world.  Thank you SRC for helping me realize this.  We have a great group this year. 🙂

4.) Decide what’s important.  Sure yearbook and inMotion would be nice to join, but I do I really want more things on my plate?  Learn to say no because it’s important not to spread yourself too thin.

5.) Don’t forget to have fun.  If you have a ton of assignments due the next day, then be realistic about how much time you can spend on yourself.  Instead of spending three hours of watching TV and surfing the web, spend maybe half an hour or an hour depending on what your situation is.  Maybe watch a couple funny Youtube videos to boost your morale or give yourself a facial and nice shower.  You’ll thank yourself later.

Do you have any tips for surviving school?

Back to School

Back to School


I’ve decided to make a little inspiration board for back to school.  Click the link above to view the items I used.  I went with a lot of blues in this set but the colours could be adjusted to whatever you like.  I thought they were all very simple pieces which I like for school because it’s easy to look at and gives off a very clean, organized vibe.  I really like taking two pencil cases to school.  I go to a small school so I have a home classroom that I have the majority of my classes in so I have my own desk and locker in that room and it stays like that all year.  I like to bring a small pencil case to put pencils, erasers, and pens in for very quick access and so that if I ever have to go to a classroom, I can just bring the things I need.  I actually am currently using a LUG cosmetic bag as my big pencil case that stores my scissors and calculator and whatnot.  It’s actually really cute and you’d never know it was a makeup bag from just looking at it.  It’s great for keeping stuff organized.  I’ll put a link down below.
Hope you like it!  What are some of your back to school essentials?
For the LUG cosmetic bag I use as my pencil case click HERE



Chances are, you’ve probably gotten hit by the green-eyed monster some time in your life.  You’ve been jealous over how someone looks, their athleticism, their smarts…the list could go on forever.

I’ve been there, and still go there.  It’s hard to realize what amazing things you have when all you do is compare yourself to others.  Jealousy has the opposite affect that you want it to have.

Recently, I was jealous of my friend for a bit.  She’s very pretty, nice, smart, athletic, and is really good at meeting new people.  I’m a little more shy and awkward in new situations.  I began comparing everything I had to her.  The number of Instagram followers, likes on a picture, grades, awards…creepy, huh?  The thing that really gets me now, is that I would acknowledge the things I excelled at, too, and would just skip over them, like they didn’t count.  I was thinking that I had to be better or the same to her in every single category that she was good at.  I wasn’t taking time to realize that we will always be different.  We aren’t supposed to be or want to be exact molds of anyone.  So why was I so obsessed and jealous?

I was watching a video (think it was by Bubzbeauty, but I’m not sure) about jealousy on Youtube, because I wanted to hear someone else’s point of view.  At the end, I think I had really understood that I am supposed to be different, and that’s not a bad thing.

I can draw okay.   I am good at school.  I think I am a good role model to my younger cousins.  I’m a good team player in volleyball.  I like playing piano.  I like blogging.  I like reading.

All of these things define me and make me different.  No one else will ever be like me and I will never be exactly like anyone else.

So I think the key to getting over jealousy, is really think about what you are good at and appreciate that you are different.  Don’t just think grades or after school activities – dig deeper.  Life isn’t a competition.  Just do your best and do what you love.

Book Review: Freaked Out by Annie Bryant

I just finished Freaked Out by Annie Bryant. It is the seventh installment in the beacon street Girls series. This book is great because it deals with topics like exclusion, choices, and struggling with school.
In this book, Maeve is fearing out about her math grades and Avery doesn’t get invited to the party of the year…which may be more interesting than anyone thought it would be. It’s really good and I totally recommend it to anyone.
Freaked Out talks about underaged drinking. I am not really a drinker, and have only had a quarter of a beer before. It brings up how dangerous it can be and how the side affects really aren’t that cool. It’s a good reminder to stay safe and in the back of the books it brings up some information about drinking.
It also discusses choices. This can be the underaged drinking or even just how you handle situations.
I really like this book because it talks about exclusion. I’ve been hit with that one quite a few times so it’s nice to see how Avery handles it. I think that with exclusion, you can either be incredibly sad about it (which is easy to do), or you can make the best of it and have a really incredible day. And, in ten years, are you really going to care which parties you didn’t get invited to?
You should totally read this!


How to Calm Down

Calming down is useful in all sorts of situations. Maybe you are about to get extremely mad or burst out crying. Maybe you’re just too loud or hyper. Learning to calm down requires a great amount of self control. Here are some ways I try to calm down:

1) If possibly, leave the situation for a few minutes. Go to the washroom for example just for some easy and quick alone time. This can help give you a clear mind to focus.

2) Take deep breathes and focus on them. It will really help calm you down and focusing on them can give you something else to concentrate on, besides what is stressing you out.

3) Put it in perspective – so you’re best friend is dating your ex, or you overslept 15 minutes and are going to be late for first class! Is it really worth stressing over?

4) Have a mantra. It’s sort up fun coming up with your own and I find it really helps. It could be an inspirational quote, song, or, if you are like me, just listing off your role models and asking yourself “What would they do?”. I like to repeat this in my head, or even say it out loud if I’m in an appropriate situation. (I like to repeat “Shawn Johnson, Audrey Hepburn, Gabby Douglas, Misty Copeland, Bubzbeauty, and then list off the entire cast of Bunheads!”)

Art Class

Tomorrow is the deadline for my distance ed art class.  I really enjoyed it, though it did stress me out a bit.  I love being challenged and this really pushed my creativity.  It gave me a good excuse to sit and draw all afternoon!  I’m not very good, but I liked learning some new techniques and reasonings behind art.

For my final project, I need to do an exhibition displaying some of the art work I created during my class.  I decided to create an Instagram account and posted the pictures there.

I would really appreciate it if you would take time and like and maybe comment on my pictures.  I love getting feedback and my project is due tomorrow.  I’d be more than willing to check out and follow your account if you like!


My user is: artbyharper5

Last Few Days of School…and How to Survive Them

I’m down to my last couple of weeks of school, and while the excitement that you’re almost done and summers around the corner is here, so is the brutally exhausting week of studying and final exams.  With my school if you are above a mark of 80, then you automatically get a recommend and don’t have to write a final for that class.  I am above 80’s in all of my classes this year so I then have to write whatever was my lowest mark.  I don’t really have much to complain about.  One exam?  That’s nothing compared to what some of you have to go through!  Only problem for me is that some of my teachers are so unorganized is that we have to cram to get the last three months of work finished in one week (Yes English class, I’m talking about you.).  I would be just fine actually doing work in class, but lately we’ve gotten so slack that it seems like a colossal waste to go to school and learn absolutely nothing.  So here we are to cram it in.  Still, I don’t have it very bad.

Here’s my list of tips to help survive these last few weeks!

Harper’s Tips and Tricks on Surviving the Last Days of School

  1. Write everything down – We all have those last few assignments in every class that we scramble to get finished before time’s up.  Write them down.  Whether it’s on your iPhone, a notepad, or a planner.  Keep a list of everything you have to do.  When you finish, cross it off (P.S. That’s the best feeling ever – crossing stuff off your list)
  2. Now that everything is written down, do it – Don’t wait to the last minute.  Use your will power and get started as soon as possible.  This will be a life saver so that when it comes time to study for exams, you can put all of your attention on that.
  3. Make your studying worthwhile – Do you learn better reading everything?  Or copying your notes down?  Maybe you like finding quizzes on the Internet or having your parents ask you questions.  Whatever way you feel helps you study best, do it.  Because if you can retain information in 20 minutes one way compared to 8 hours another way, that is a whole lot easier!  Also sort out what is the most important to learn and go over that more.
  4. Don’t be afraid to take a break – While you have to study, don’t let it completely consume you.  If you are feeling wiped or like your brain is fried, take a break and do something you like for a bit.  Maybe you want to take your dog out for a walk or paint your nails?  You will feel much more refreshed and energized when you get back to the books.
  5. Have a nice, quiet place to study – Me? I have a great big desk in my room.  I close my door and light my favourite candle (currently Bourbon Vanilla!).  I try to be very relaxed when I’m studying.  I can’t concentrate if there is a speck of noise so I always make sure to study in a quiet place.  Find your place.  If home isn’t an option, go to your local library!
  6. Remember to ask for help – If you are still having trouble remembering the difference between parallel and series circuits, don’t be afraid to ask!  It’s what your teacher get paid to do.  If you need a little more help than in the classroom, organize a time to come in before or after school.  You’ll feel way better than getting frustrated trying to figure it out by yourself.
  7. Keep things in perspective – Will this test really determine the rest of your life?  No.  So don’t get super stressed over it.  Do your best job and study hard, but keep in mind that this isn’t going to make or break you.
  8. Reward yourself – Have you been waiting to go to the beach for months?  When you finish studying, give yourself a reward.  Plan the reward ahead of time so it gives you something to look forward to.

Good luck!

Do you have any tips for surviving the last few days of school?

How to Have a Cute (and clean!) Desk at Home

I have a large desk in my room that practically hold my life. Paper, pencils, erasers, hair things, books, notebooks, art supplies, odds and ends…I have have two large drawers for clothing! I’m always thinking up ways to revamp my old desk. Here’s some tips I’ve come up with!

1) Hang cute, inspirational pictures and quotes – I have collages, quote cards, and pictures I’ve drawn all around my space.
2) Have pens and pencils in a cute container with easy access – I’m currently using an old mason jar with a green bow I wrapped around it.
3) Load fun music in iPod to play – So this isn’t really for your desk, but I have my docking station on my desk so it kind of applies. I personally like really light, happy instrumentals (dorky I know!) for a bit of background noise that doesn’t distract me (any song with words I get too distracted to do anything!)
4) Use fun notebooks – There are so many variety and colours that this should be easy and fun
5) Make sure you have all possible tools you need – Pens, pencils, rulers, erasers, pencil sharpeners, garbage bin
6) Display pictures of things that make you happy – I have a big bulletin board in my room that serves this purpose. I love looking at it. I keep ticket stubs, pictures of my friends, etc. You could also put pictures in frames to set on your desk.
7) Have a place for loose papers – I always have a couple of assignments without a home. I keep a folder for all of my misfits.