Thursday, 21 August 2014

College Series #1: Time Management

Hello friends! So back to school season is upon us again and I decided to start a college series for those who may be entering into college/university, providing tips on dealing with issues that affect us as students such as study techniques, friendships, anxiety etc. These topics can also be useful for those who are already in university. Today, I'll be writing on time management while at university.

University is a big change from school - we have more freedom, we are immersed in a new environment, we meet new people, we get involved with clubs and societies, we have to balance our social life while trying not to fall behind in our academics and so on. I speak from experience when I say it can be overwhelming. How does one balance it all? How does one keep it together without losing one's sanity?

Here are a few things I've learned in my time at university, helping me balance extracurricular activities along with my school work.

#1 - Become ORGANISED
Keep track of everything. Write everything down. This is the single most important step to ensure that you don't forget anything. At the start of every academic year, I buy a planner and I write down when I have exams, assignments, meetings, events....everything. Go crazy and make it colour coded if you want. If you aren't old school like me, you can use your phone, iPad etc.

#2 - Develop a ROUTINE
Once you have your college timetable, develop a schedule. Figure out when you study best and put it into your schedule. Schedule in meetings/training sessions for clubs and societies, your workout sessions and don't forget to schedule in time for fun! All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! They say it takes 30 days for us to get into a routine but once we develop good habits it makes our lives easier. I like routine, it has definitely help me manage my time more effectively. I like to plan ahead, so every Sunday evening, I'd schedule my week ahead, it keeps me organised and on top of things.

#3 - Choose your PRIORITIES
It's very easy for us to become engulfed by university life and lose sight of the important things, putting ourselves under unnecessary stress. I've learned to just take charge of the situation and focus on my main priorities. While it is important to get involved with extracurriculars, our number one priority in uni should be our education. All other activities are secondary to this. Prioritising means deciding on tasks that are urgent and important i.e your college work and dealing with those first before tackling other things.

The biggest one of them all. Let's be real, every student has and will procrastinate - it's our thing. I procrastinate too. What is procrastination? It is the act of avoiding doing things that need to be done or leaving things undone for as long as possible. Procrastination may not necessarily be a bad thing, for example some people say they work best under pressure and tight deadlines. I ain't one of those people so I'm trying to overcome my tendency to procrastinate. If you find that procrastinating is affecting your ability to be productive then you need to work on it. One way that I deal with procrastination, especially during busy times is that I make daily to-do lists and only when I complete my to-do list do I reward myself with something that I would much rather do.

#5 - Learn to let things GO
A lot of the time we like to please people and take on too much tasks than we are able to manage. Remember it's OK to say no to people. It's OK to decline that party invitation if you know there's an important exam that you need to study for. Skip a few society meetings or sports games or whatever if you must. (Remember, what is your main priority?) Also, avoid the drama that comes with being involved with so many people. This can lead to major time wastage. There will be confrontations and people who will step on your toes and push your buttons. Sort out the issue and move on with your life. Ain't nobody got time for that!

There will be unexpected situations that arise, unplanned emergencies, etc - such is life. Make adjustments for them in your schedule and don't be freaked out when they occur. You may not be able to complete all that you would like to in a week, it happens, move things around so that you complete those which are urgent and important.

“You can’t save time, you can only spend it wisely”

This post has been in collaboration with Jenny (Jennos Health) & ID (iolatunji) who are also doing back to school posts.

Monday, 11 August 2014

So You Want To Lose Weight At Uni - How I Lost 17 pounds!

University can be the most exciting time of your life with the thrill of new experiences, new friends, living away from home and the freedom to make your own choices etc. But weight gain is a very commonplace issue that comes with adjusting to the change and new environment. Many students use food as a coping mechanism to deal with the new stresses they are under. In the United Sates, the weight gain in the first year of uni is often referred to as the "Freshman 15" (as in 15 pounds). I was a victim of this, gaining weight in my first two years of college due to poor diet habits and lack of exercise.

However, over the last academic year (2013/2014) I managed to lose 17 pounds. My starting weight was 78kg (171 lb) and I currently weigh 70kg (154 lb), a healthier weight for my height. I've had a lot of people asking about the "secret" to my weight loss, so I decided to share my weight loss story - what I did to get the weight off while in university.

First off, there is no "secret" - just plain old exercise + diet. The key thing I learnt over the whole process is that weight loss is truly 80% diet and 20 % exercise. Over the period I lost weight, I focused mainly on my diet and tried my best to workout as much as I could.


#1 - Stop OBSESSING over weight loss
I've had many tries at this weight loss thing and each time I failed. Why? Because my mind was too preoccupied with trying to lose weight, that I gave up each time when I didn't see quick results. This time around, my focus was on trying to be healthier. I rearranged my mindset and forgot about the weighing scale. I got more involved with societies at uni, so that took up a lot of my attention and I focused on eating a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner.

#2 - Portion Control
This has to be the most important. I cannot stress this enough but portion sizes has a very big role to play in weight loss. To help me in reducing my portions, I would use a smaller plate, drink water before my meal to help me eat less. And over time, I reduced my portion sizes drastically.

#3 - Watch your grocery shopping
I lived away from home while in university, so I bought my own groceries. When shopping I made sure I would buy more fruits and veggies and I avoided buying junk foods that would always be readily available when I lived at home. This helped me because if the junk food wasn't in my kitchen, then I wouldn't give myself the opportunity to eat it. Once in awhile I would indulge myself in a little junk food, especially when my housemates would bake hehe. Like I said earlier, the key thing is to watch your portions!

I started drinking a lot more water. I made sure I drank at least 2 litres a day. Although it meant more trips to the toilet, it kept me fuller for longer and I also saw improvements in my skin - double win!

#5 - Exercise
This wasn't a huge factor in losing the weight, it was mostly my diet. My goal was to go to the gym at least three times a week, there were some busy weeks when I made it to the gym only once in the week. During study week and exam periods, when all my focus was on the books, I did home workouts instead of going to the gym. For example, I would do 10 min workout routines during my study breaks.

Weight loss takes time and in my case it was a very gradual process. I hope this helps someone, especially as it's back-to-school season, and motivates them for the next school year!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Liebster Blog Award!

Hellooo guys!

How are you all?! I know I 've been M.I.A for the past two weeks, I apologise. I was away on vacation with the fam in London! I was unable to post and interact fully on the blogs due to inadequate Wi-Fi connection where I was staying smh and also because I was enjoying too much hehe. Anyhoo, I'm back and excited to get back to the blogosphere.

While I was away, my lovely friend Jenny nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award! Thank you!
I've seen the Liebster Award on a few blogs but never really paid attention to it. From what I gathered on Google, it's sort of like a chain passed around in the blogging community to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers, to learn more about them and also a way of discovering new blogs.

The rules of the game
1. Thank the blog that nominated you and link them.
2. Post 11 facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions provided by the person who nominated you and create another 11 question set for your nominees.
4. Choose people to nominate and link them in the post.
5. Let your nominees know they've been tagged - no tag-backs.
6. Nominate blogs under 200 followers.

Sounds fun, lets get started!

11 facts about ME
  1. I am Nigerian - Igbo to be exact.
  2. My full Igbo name is Chiamaka.
  3. I am a Christian.
  4. My birthday is in March.
  5. My favourite season is summer! (The sun does wonders for my skin).
  6. My favourite Nigerian food is yam - boiled yam, roasted yam, yam & egg, fried yam, yam & red oil, yam porridge....dang, I;m hungry for some yam now lol. 
  7. I have natural hair - relaxer-free since January 2013.
  8. I love reading (currently reading I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou). 
  9. I'm not a big fan of movies (especially if they take too long...I just fall asleep). 
  10. I want to take up boxing as a hobby.
  11. My favourite social media platform at the moment is Instagram (follow me @preciousamaka)
Questions I was nominated to answer

If you had to change one thing about blogging what would it be?
Nothing, I'm loving it at the moment. 

What makes a good blog post? 
One that is pretty straight to the point and also when the blogger isn't being pretentious in their post. A little bit of humour is also entertaining :)

If you could eat one thing forever without gaining a pound, what would it be?
Cake. I have a weakness for cake.

Do you have a style icon?
Hmm, not really. I pretty much wear what I feel comfortable in and what makes me look good. 

What super power do you wish you had + why? 
Ooooh, I would love to be able to see into the future, just to be able to see what my life turns out to be like.

What was the most recent thing that made you happy?
Spending time with my family and relatives in London, just having banter. I love memories like those.

Mention sports you'd like to try? 
Like I said earlier, boxing! Surfing, race-car driving, sailing all seem like good fun too haha.

What would you change about society?
The fact that society can be self-obsessed and materialistic. Everywhere there are ads selling us the latest gadgets, promoting unrealistic body images to aspire to, etc without telling us to appreciate and be content with what we have.

Three things that you are thankful for?
I am thankful for being alive, my family & friends and for the achievements I've made so far as a person.

A book/movie/tv-show that made you question life?
I would say Ben Carson book/movie - Gifted Hands. This didn't really make me question life but rather inspired me.

One thing you'd like to do before you get old? 
I would love to be able to set up a foundation of some sort to help a particular cause.

Now I nominate:
ID from
Yemisi from

My questions for you guys are:
  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. Who are your favourite bloggers?
  3. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
  4. What do you notice first when you look at a person?
  5. Name a book/movie/tv-show that inspired you.
  6. If you could, what advice would you give to your younger self?
  7. What is your most favourite thing in the world to do?
  8. Name your favourite singer/actor/celebrity/public figure.
  9. What was your favourite childhood cartoon/tv-show?
  10. What calms you down if you are upset/angry?
  11. Summer or Winter? Why?
Get crackin' girls!