Pre- Finals Positivity


They are around the corner. They are LURKING. They are merely a week away.

They are NOT a definition of your self worth. They are NOT worth seriously compromising your health. They are NOT going to ruin your month if you don’t let them.

Now is the time I like to practice some zen and take stock of where I am mentally, and I encourage you to do the same. I believe not enough is said about the importance of mental well being and its correlation to success in test taking.

How will you achieve this zen? or at least put yourself in a good mood before finals??

  • Surround yourself with positive energy. Find friends that uplift you and study together. Even if you only have an hour in a day free, spend it with someone that makes you feel rejuvenated.
  • Cook. Controlling everything that goes into you body is surprisingly therapeutic, trust me. Take time to make a good meal and enjoy it because you deserve it. While you’re at it make a bunch of leftovers so you’re not stressing about food during finals week
  • PLAN. If you’re a little intimidated, have no fear. I have TONS of planners, and a nice little array of finals planners for FREE wahoo! Know what studying you’re up against ahead of time! IT WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE
  • Water. DUH.
  • Plan some fun studying breaks. Hit a yoga class! Plan an ice cream date! DONT lock yourself in the library for 48 hours. Instead, aim for 2-4 hour studying chunks (stretching at least once an hour)
  • Call someone you love and tell them you love them. Get some good karma going in your life!
  • Practice Gratitude. If you’re new to it dont worry, I have a printable for this too. Appreciate the little things that make a difference in your life.


Finals got nothin on you!


College advice you haven’t heard 100 times already

I am a college fanatic. I am also somehow a senior, and it feels like I am asked amidst every day if I have some general advice. To be honest, I could talk all day, but I do have some tips that I didn’t really hear as a freshman. All of these things have been so valuable to my experience:

  • Get tight with your department. This is everyone. Professors, classmates, grad students, EVERYONE. This also includes the undergraduate advisors. Check up every quarter at least. Sometimes there are new classes offered that you would not have otherwise known about. Professors can often make opportunities for students they like if they are asked.
  • Take QUALITY pictures. Opt for taking a couple good pics on a morning hike instead of like 10 crappy snaps of a Friday night (which might be inappropriate to post on your Facebook anyways) Think of what you’re really going to miss when you’re older, and get a couple of those moments.
  • Ask people for things!!! Ask a professor for an internship. Ask your house to do family dinner. Ask your friend to calm you down after a hard week. It is up to YOU to take advantages of your resources now!! Don’t wait for something if you know you want/ need it, just ask!
  • Set goals, even if they’re silly. I could talk about goal setting all day. ESSENTIAL.
  • Get comfortable doing things alone. I am one of the more outgoing people I know and I truly savor my alone time. College is time for YOU to GROW. I personally would have had a much harder time if I didn’t do some reflecting when I had chance alone time.
  • Dive into the deep depths of course listings. I have found some of the coolest classes just browsing for hours and hours. I did the same with major listings.
  • Minimize dorm room time. This tip speaks for itself, just use that dorm space for sleeping and you’ll explore so much more of your campus and town.
  • Learn how to give good gifts. Craft! Just because you are in college and on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t show your appreciation for your friends and family. AN INSTAGRAM POST IS NOT ENOUGH! YOU CAN DO BETTER! Crafting is cheaper, more fun, and really thoughtful. Find a funny craft and just go for it. Or buy flowers. Just doing something is what counts.

Hopefully you get something out of these!


If you feel inclined, please add your tips in the comments below!!

Senior Year is like a broken scuba tank in Malaysia

I took this picture with my GoPro at the end of August off the island of Langkawi on a scuba diving trip. I think it describes the first 1/3 of my senior year perfectly. It may make no sense- but I’d like to look back on this someday, so I’ll share anyways.

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First of all, as I’m taking the boat out to this island, its a bumpy ride. This is by no means the main event, but I’m still thoroughly enjoying the scenery and people watching. We’re called up to the deck and tested on our knowledge of scuba tanks and setup. I fake it, and I kinda know how to set up my tank, but not really. I have to ask for help, but I still pass.

We get on the smaller boat, and soon were out above the reef. Its go time. This is what I’ve come so far for. I hop in the water and I check myself. Something is a little wrong, my tank is broken. I cant find the right level in the water. I’m bobbing from high to low and right when I think I have found a balance, I move again. My ears are throbbing. I stop to look at my instructor while I suppress my panic and he comes to help.

Turns out I’m gonna be okay. I breathe a little slower and look around. OH MY GOD. Its like a dream. Everything is so beautiful and although there were mishaps I still made it. It was not a perfect journey but it made me appreciate the destination that much more. My only goal is to stay calm and soak it all in while I can.

Visibility is good- not great. I know what could pop up but I know better then to make any serious predictions.

My tank is still broken, but I have enough experience now to know I can adapt. Its a game of balance- sometimes I have it and suddenly its gone. Our second dive the same thing happens, except this time I refuse to panic.

I feel so proud to have made it here. I have received so much help on this journey and I am forever in debt to those that helped me get to where I am. My dive instructor literally had to carry me for parts of the dive, but when I have my bearings I break free. I have put in work and taken advantage of the help given to me. I am swimming.

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There were a lot of things that I did not expect to happen this year (and on this dive trip to Malaysia), but these changes like others in my years before have only made me stronger. I’m gonna continue making my best effort to just soak it all in.

ESRI Oceans Conference

Calling all oceanic science, mapping, and geography nerds! If you weren’t at the ESRI Ocean Forum, you gotta get yourself there next year.


Heres what I have to take away from my first real conference:

  1. Collaboration is a true strength in science. I cannot speak to how things were in the past in the scientific community, but I believe the movement of sharing via our nearly infinite pathways on the internet is gaining speed. For my field specifically, the ESRI Living Atlas has provided me with so much data and inspiration that would have taken weeks to find otherwise. I feel very lucky to emerging onto the science field in an age where data is becoming more open, and connections to others doing similar things is essentially instantaneous. We are so much stronger together than we ever could be apart.
  2. Interpretation is everything. What good is a map that no one understands? Why should your data be shared, and how should you be getting that message out? We now have the ability to generate so much information through means other than pure print publications. If we want more people involved in our community, we need to be making a conscious effort to stretch outside of the niche scientific communities, where it can be so easy to remain in for the sake of ease and comfort.
  3. Conducting science and putting that science to use are two very different things. The thought of the sheer masses of data and resarch that have been done and just sat in some professors list of publications makes me incredibly sad. As a scientist I hope to put my findings to work, and ensure it makes it into the right hands of action if they are not my own.
  4. Enthusiasm is everything. You love your science? Say it with some passion. I am so shocked at the amazing response my presentation has received this week. My methods were simple, my project incomplete, my analysis nothing spectacular, but I explained how much I cared, and how excited I am to get so something extraordinary in the future.
  5. Science is fun. Science is SO FUN. How lucky are we to be able to analyze problems and test solutions and watch ourselves succeed and fail on a small scale for the ultimate large scale success of society. Wild stuff man.

Live stream from the Nautilus!


Astronaut and oceanographer and keynote speaker Kathryn Sullivan!

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Me! Presenting! Yay!

Clean up your NOTES clean up your LIFE

Hope that title grabbed you. I just have some tips for pretty notes, no life lessons today!

I get a lot of compliments on my notes in class. After 14+ years of school I’ve figured out a couple things that work really well for me.

  • Have a pen, highlighter, and one pen of a different color. As an oceanographer, the more blue the better.


  • Draw pictures. Especially if you’re talking about a process, physical or otherwise


  • Keep a relatively constant title, subtitle, definition scheme.


  • Box, circle, underline. Call attention to facts and figures. Did your prof say this was going to be on the exam? UNDERLINE THAT ISH


  • Go back AFTER lecture. Trying to make things look pretty and missing information is completely counter productive. Re reading your notes is a good idea anyways, so as you’re going back, highlight and add information that might have been missed your first time


Hope some of these help! Would anyone be interested in some monthly note sheet posts as inspiration? I’ve been thinking about starting a studying page but haven’t gotten the courage to do it… thoughts?

Eastern Sierra Shenanigans

*How has it already been half a quarter?? I have been behind on almost everything social media related (not a bad thing) including this blog. To be honest, I’m not feeling as inspired to write about myself and my ‘journey’ as I was this summer, so I debated not putting any more personal stories or trips online.

But then I went on a field study last weekend with some of my greatest gal pals. Although I don’t have anything poetic or wise to say, I think the pictures are worth sharing!*

I have a very strong feeling that I have gamed the college system. I could name a lot of examples, but today I am specifically referring to Earth 18, a major requirement 1 unit class, which is essentially a four camping trip.

This year we were in the Eastern Sierras and, surprise, it was amazing. I’ve been lucky enough to make some really quality friendships within the earth science department, and this trip some of my non-earth science friends caught on.

It was four days without a shower and almost perfect weather conditions. On top of everything, we were at the peak of a meteor shower, and the stars almost seemed like they were falling out of the sky.

If you don’t know what you’re doing with your college life, check out your earth science department and get yourself on a camping trip.


The squad


Alabama Hills





Gwen enjoying Obsidian Dome too much


tufa towers @ Mono Lake



Senior Year STARTS NOW

Gosh, what an insane month. Today, its a beautiful October day, and I’m working my little tush off to get in front of all that is to come this quarter. Easier said than done. I’m going to provide some details on how, as a college senior, I have formulated the most efficent methods of organizing and planning for my life.


I run on two binders, one for school, and one for work. I am currently keeping all my personal planning shenanigans in my a5 planner at home and don’t take it to school. If I need to jot down personal lists or notes to myself I have a small gridded bullet journal in my backpack, but I don’t follow this religiously. I need to cut down on my planning as is.

So lets talk about how I set up my school binder:


  1. I print up all the weekly planning inserts and monthly calendars from my 2017-18 school planner and three hole punch them.
  2. Looking at the monthly calendar, I mark out major holidays and things I’ll have to miss school for. I then fill in little personal meetings, and midterm and final dates.DSC_0270
  3. I transfer this information into my weekly school planner pages. I add in homework due dates if I have been provided those already. I color code based on class.DSC_0277
  4. In the remaining dividers, one for each class, I add the syllabus and my assignment and class planning pages. I also print out any helpful materials that I dont want to write in my notebook like a periodic table, identification charts, etc.
  5. print out my weekly school schedule, color code it, add in work times, and place that in the front pouchDSC_0279

I take notes BY HAND

  • I am working to re-use some notebooks that I only half filled. I try to find subjects that have a little overlap when doing this

My 2017-18 school planner is getting some good press at UCSB and I am very excited to be getting a wider audience for my planning supplies. A couple of requests have been made to make a physical planner. Will I do it? Only time will tell.

Make sure to check out all of my other school planning advice!

Wishing you all insanely good luck this fall quarter or semester! You’ll kill it!