Hello lovelies <3,
Here we are again ! If you’re anywhere like us, you’ve probably started another long year of learning and discovering in that beautiful institution of your town.That’s right ! School ! Our good ol’ buddy. Never seems to want to leave us alone, always there to tell you that it’s that time of the year again. The time where you have to wake up, dress up and get to class. There’s nothing more dreadful as that.
Do not fret, fellow Bookidote friends ! Today, we would like to present you guys with a back-to-school special. One that might end up helping some of you guys get through the next couple of months before the highly anticipated winter holidays. As treacherous as school (high school, college or university) can be, there are a lot of things you can do to boost up those grades and be ready for the next big
challenge your teachers might throw at you.
You should also always remember that it’s not always about performing insanely well in school. A really big secret that some people tend to forget is that balance is a huge component to success. You need to learn to find the equilibrium between social life, health, school, work and pleasure. Society doesn’t need zombies roaming their streets. It needs a bunch of Sherlocks. Oh wait, that might not be a good idea. But
you get the jist of it, right? 😉
Before jumping into a world of tips, we’re going to set things off with a back-to-school book haul. These ingredients are for a great recipe. A recipe that’s bound to keep you entertained for your first semester or simply the first couple of months of school. Evidently, some people might continue to sustain their reading habits throughout their scholar years, while others might have to seize to read abundantly as time becomes a lot more precious during this period of the year. Our recent purchases from Indigo are recommendations for this years back-to-school buddies !
LORD OF THE FLIES
Clearly you can see where we’re getting at with this novel. A classic from William Golding, Lord of The Flies is a story that every student has heard of at least once in their lives. It might go through one ear and leave through the other, but there’s always a residue in the process. You have to trust in that residue and get to know it better. This classic is commonly a mandatory novel in classes. Forced upon students, it sometimes loses its splendor. But once you sink into the novel, you come to realize that it has more to offer than meets the eye. This is why it has made our back-to-school book haul and why we’re recommending you guys to check it out. If you haven’t already, of course.
Blurb: William Golding’s compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first, it seems as though it’s all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious & life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic & death. As ordinary standards of behavior collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket & homework & adventure stories—& another world is revealed beneath, primitive & terrible. Lord of the Flies remains as provocative today as when it was 1st published in 1954, igniting passionate debate with its startling, brutal portrait of human nature. Though critically acclaimed, it was largely ignored upon its initial publication. Yet soon it became a cult favorite among both students and literary critics who compared it to J.D. Salinger’sThe Catcher in the Rye in its influence on modern thought & literature. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies has established itself as a classic.
This blurb was extracted from Goodreads.
Clearly school will tend to get you to put forth your most rational, self-conscious and down-to-earth self forward. It might give some space for creativity and imagination, but as you progress in the ranks (yeh, we’re just referring to moving up all the way to university level in life), you might have to narrow down your imagination and try to focus all your creativity into your domain of study instead of exploring the vast universe you know exists. This is why Seraphina is in our back-to-school book haul. This novel will help you escape reality. As stereotypical of an explanation that might be, it’s actually very true. It’s an amazing feeling to get back home after a long day of hard work and socializing and just kick back to some fantasy story set in an intangible world far, far away.
Blurb: In her New York Times bestselling and Morris Award-winning debut, Rachel Hartman introduces mathematical dragons in an alternative-medieval world to fantasy and science-fiction readers of all ages. Eragon-author Christopher Paolini calls them, “Some of the most interesting dragons I’ve read in fantasy.”
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.
This blurb was extracted from Goodreads.
The next ingredient for this recipe is Nimona. Cover might say it all, but this isn’t your typical novel. It’s a comic. A graphic novel. As school might become a huge burden to support as time flies, you might need to get your hands on a nice, fun and relaxing read. Comics help readers indulge a different medium. It’s a movie with it’s own pace and it’s own unique specialties. Writers and illustrators work together to create pieces that get you flipping through pages and discovering stories like never before. This one might actually get you cracking a smile on the stone cold face that school might have forged. Don’t you think you deserve a graphic novel that can get your inner child rolling in laughter?
Blurb: he graphic novel debut from rising star Noelle Stevenson, based on her beloved and critically acclaimed web comic, which Slate awarded its Cartoonist Studio Prize, calling it “a deadpan epic.”
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones.
Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.
But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.
This blurb was extracted from:
THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN VOLUME 1
You surely noticed how these books have something relatable to school or serve a purpose related to academic relaxation. This next comic is one to put forth an idea a lot more creative than you think. Alan Moore is an English writer who has done more masterpieces than you can count. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen puts together a bunch of popular work of fiction that have marked the history of literature. Just to name some, you can find references of classics such as Jekyll and Hyde, Ten Thousand Leagues Under The Sea and Dracula. This comic series recollected into trade paperbacks gives readers the opportunity to see popular characters like never before. There’s nothing like reading a whole new story where these major classics that your teachers might have forced you to read, come together and set sail on an even bigger adventure.
Blurb: London, 1898. The Victorian Era draws to a close and the twentieth century approaches. It is a time of great change and an age of stagnation, a period of chaste order and ignoble chaos. It is an era in need of champions.
In this amazingly imaginative tale, literary figures from throughout time and various bodies of work are brought together to face any and all threats to Britain. Allan Quatermain, Mina Murray, Captain Nemo, Dr. Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde and Hawley Griffin ( the Invisible Man) form a remarkable legion of intellectual aptitude and physical prowess:The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
This blurb was extracted from:
- I know that depending on your field of study, your studying techniques vary. But before getting into that, you have to know your learning style. This sounds really hard to do but is actually very simple. What I mean by this is that you should determine if you are more of a visual learner, an auditory learner or a kinesthesic learner. As for me, I’m going to speak on behalf of every visual learner who are reading this and give you a really useful tip : CREATE A MIND MAP. How do you create one, you might wonder? I like to use a lot of colors (color coding method works very well for me), flow charts for remembering different steps in processes, themes and concepts always in big font and draw pictures/doodles to help you picture what you’re learning in your head. Before any mind mapping, you should obviously already be done with your readings and revisions. You should also know what’s important for the class and start to draft it out. I think mind maps are the best way to really understand the logic behind different notions and get a general idea of the situation.
- Organize your school paper and homework. For that, I assign each class to a binder and simply divide it with some tabs. I don’t buy dividers because most classes in university you tend to learn over 12 chapters and I doubt there are enough dividers for that. On the other hand, I found these cheap cute colored tabs at the Dollar Shop and identify each label like this:
- Syllabus (It’s important to always keep a copy of the syllabus near you to know all the information about exam percentages, laboratory information, books to buy, assignment directions, etc.)
- Chapters To Read (I usually just print out the pages in the syllabus where it mentions which chapters/pages you have to read for each class so I can cross it from the list once I’m done reading it.)
- Chapters seen in Class (Power Point notes that the teacher gives you, Power Point Slides printed out and my mind map. I usually put the mind map behind the notes once I’m done with the chapter.)
- Assignment/Laboratories (This section is only for classes that have labs/ or assignments to do)
- Another organization essential, FOLDERS! Yes, I use a folder for each class so I don’t have to carry my binder all the time, I just need to slip in the most important papers for that class for that day and put it in my bag… Gosh… so much lighter. Can you feel it? But once at home, do not forget to put the papers in the right place in the binder ! 😉 If you want the same cute folders as mine you can find it here.
- Finally, write down every important dates in a big calendar or get a planner. I always love this idea since it helps you keep track of what to do for the next weeks and not be stuck in despair with labs and exams to study in the same week LOL #beentheredonethat #notfun #nosleep.
- GO TO YOUR CAREER COUNSELOR so he/she can help you plan out your future through the years to come. You can ask as many questions and see if you can do things in advance to fully succeed in what you want to do or to even see if that’s what you really want to do in life. Personal Experience: I’ve been pretty disappointed in my career counselor in CEGEP (which is a two to three year pre-university college where we have to get a diploma in order to get into University. Unless you reach 21, then you can apply for university without any problems). I hesitated to see one in University. But it was completely different. She actually helped me realize that sometimes it is okay to change your preferences and change programs. She always gave me some tips on how to achieve the perfect profile for my goal. Give professionals a chance. If you really don’t want to, ask your teachers about their professions and maybe even get some working experience with your related fields so you know how it would be like when you graduate. In the end, you will have a clear goal to achieve.
- DON’T SKIP CLASSES. Yes, I’ve been there many times and I can tell you right now… when you start to do it, it’s hard to stop. So you should ALWAYS get to your classes in time even if you wake up late.. just go man. Having someone in front of you, vulgarizing it and communicating it to you is a lot more efficient to retain information later. You know what they say around town.. For every hour missed of class, you’ll need THREE hours to catch up. Don’t go through that !
- SIT IN FRONT OF THE CLASS. Yes, you need it if you want to record your teacher’s every word. And when you want to ASK QUESTIONS, it’s a lot easier. You don’t have to scream out your questions. Who knows, maybe the teacher will even recognize your potential and interest and help you out in the near future ! 😀
- YOUR GRADES DO NOT DEFINE YOU. I guess this is the hardest thing to do. I’ve dealt with failures and it’s not easy. It clouds your whole mind, it makes you anxious and you’re probably going to stress more about failing than actually focusing on studying. What I learned to do is to live the sadness and heal emotionally. It might take some time to digest but then, in the next few days, turn it into motivation ! Failure doesn’t mean you’re not good. It simply means your mind was busy elsewhere (family emergency, relationship issues, etc.) or even that your study technique/organization didn’t work out as well, so change it. Try something new. Take more time to study or to read. Adjust yourself. Everyone makes mistakes and you should use them as stepping stones instead of excuses. If you learn from it, you’ll be a step closer to your goals.
- YOU ARE GOING INTO A SELF-DISCOVERY EXPEDITION. I think this is the most important one. You are going to learn a lot in college/university and all the things are not only from textbooks. You are going to be surrounded by friends, have relationships, and all of that will come out as lessons to better understand life and where you stand. You are going to question a lot and A LOT about your future. But have no fear, just set yourself some mini-goals for now and always remember that you can always change your ideas later.
- Finally, STAY HEALTHY. This is practically a reminder for myself. I think it’s always important to keep a balance with your head and your heart. What I mean is, to be mentally stable and physically stable you need to take care of yourself. Know your moments of weaknesses when they come, seek help, talk to people you trust, express yourself. There is always someone there for you.
To finish up this really short shot post, we’d also like to add a little bonus. We recently interviewed Jonathan LaPoma, author of Developing Minds and.. a teacher himself ! 🙂 Here are some parts of the interview that we found very pertinent for this back-to-school spirit. To see the whole interview, click here !
What do you think about our current education system?
I think it needs a lot of help, but the blame for the failures needs to go in the right places. Blaming teachers or citizens living in impoverished communities for these failures, however, is like blaming weight loss for causing stomach cancer and not the other way around. Blaming the symptom instead of the disease is not only foolish, but harmful. Education reform needs to start at a national level, and until we start blaming the income inequality gap, systemic racism, etc… for these problems, we’re going to continue to be plagued by them.
Since you’re a teacher right now, what books have you suggested your students to read and why ?
I’ve recommended several books to students, but only when I know the students well enough to do so. I wouldn’t recommend a book that has protagonist suffering through drug addiction if I know this issue is close to the student and may affect them negatively. I’ve recommended the following books, mostly because they’ve helped me through difficult times and have helped me to gain a better perspective on the world: On the Road by Jack Kerouac, The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll, The Prophet by Khalil Gibran, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey, Night by Elie Wiesel, among many others I can’t think of right now.
As you can see, back to school isn’t around the corner anymore. It’s starring right in our face ! What advice would you like to share with the students who are going to high school this year?
I’d say, take this opportunity to try to improve yourself in one specific way. Maybe you want to try to develop better study habits, or social skills, or you want to learn a new language or musical instrument. It’s never too late to grow and develop new skills. At the start of every school year, I try to think of specific ways I can improve as a teacher. One year I decided to work on ways that I could communicate better with parents, and now, years later, that’s something I feel very comfortable with. I wouldn’t recommend trying to do too much, however. If you decide that you want to master ballet, the tuba, and French all in one year, those goals are likely unrealistic. But if you can set one specific, and achievable goal, you can probably learn that new skill. This will help build your confidence and soon, personal growth will be something that starts happening on its own.
What is success for you?
An absence of fear. Fear is the blocker of creativity, and peace, and love, and so many other of the good things that make life worth living. I believe success is the freedom to try new things, to express yourself in new ways, and to master current skills, without fear there dragging you down. I don’t see “success” as something that can be quantified in any specific way. There’s no dollar amount that can determine it. It’s simply a feeling that stays with you and builds and radiates the more you allow it to. I already feel like a success. I’ve faced many of my biggest fears, and as a result, I feel closer to myself and the people and world around me. If I sell a hundred books or a million, I’ll feel equally successful either way.
Thank you all for checking out this back-to-school post. It might have a been a little… too… short. But hey, we’ve put a lot of time into it. Hopefully, you might have found some nice new books to add to our must-read list, some new tips and tricks to your study techniques and some motivation for the new scholar year to come.
This originally wasn’t a tag or a challenge whatsoever. However, we’d love to turn it into something that other people could also do and share on their blog. Since going back to school can be overwhelming for some people, this might be a brilliant opportunity for people to find inspiration and motivation. Since Bookidote was created to share our passion for books, we wouldn’t miss this chance to also contribute by helping our fellow followers in their path to success. Therefore, we’d like to tag some people to do a back-to-school post (but anyone who wants to do it, FEEL FREE to do so ! 😀 We tag you all!) :
For this back-to-school post, all you have to do is share with your community anything related to going back to school. It can be tips, tricks, hauls, absolutely anything. This might even be your chance to fill in a no-post week ! Who knows ! 😉
Lashaan & Trang