Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

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Sky Alton
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Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Sky Alton » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:42 am

There’s nothing quite like getting something straight from the thestral’s mouth (okay that sounds slightly gross). Questionable idioms not withstanding, advice from people with experience is a very valuable thing indeed.

Welcome to the HOL Advice bureaux! Established members: is there a neat life hack you’ve discovered during your time at HOL? How about something you wish someone had told you when you first started out? Newer members: are there any doubts or things that are making you panic about the coming term that you’d like to get off your chest? Pull up a comfy chair and tell us about it. (obviously, older members, you are more than welcome to ask for advice too if you need it).

For 5 points, please post a piece of advice or a request for advice. Try to go into detail as to what it means for you: while there is no word limit on this task, writing ‘do your homework’ isn’t what we’re looking for. This is a conversation so feel free to post as many times as you like and to react to what someone else has posted. Be respectful and encouraging at all times. The deadline is 11:59 PM HOL-time on September 30th!
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Maxim Trevelyan
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Maxim Trevelyan » Mon Sep 09, 2019 12:12 pm

Keep track of what you have to do and due dates they are due by.

It pays off if you have a planner just for HOL where you write all that you need to do, or like me, have a Word document with everything listed and due dates that they are by.

Sometimes, the projects or finals are not due when the majority is (January and June 15th), but maybe a few days before or even at the end of December/May! That way, you can keep track of everything you still need to do.

Plus, it is nice to cross things off the list and visibly see that you have accomplished something!

First two years when I thought I can remember everything, I had real troubles about missing non-traditional due dates and lost points because of it. Now that I keep the list semi-updated and decent, I can stay on top of things. Most of the time, anyway. :lol:
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Vanessa Tilley
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Vanessa Tilley » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:20 pm

It definitely pays to be organized. Like Maxim mentioned, I also have a planner that is solely dedicated to HOL. I put all my class information and due dates, events that are going around in all the houses, HOLLers and Book Club events, and daily to do lists in the planner to make sure I don't miss anything.

Also, thanks to Kendra and Gail I have learned to use Google Documents for everything! My computer crashed last year and I lost all of my spreadsheets and document that I had for HOL such as event planning, my teaching/grading spreadsheet, and it was a disaster. If you like to keep organized on a computer, Google Documents is your friend for life.

Never be afraid to ask questions and use your Prefects and Head of Houses. They are amazing resources! Thanks to my talks with Prefects and some Head of Houses, I have become co-head of the Art Department, part of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team, and a Prefect just by asking questions and showing interests.

Finally, (and I fail at this all the time but I'm trying to do a LOT better this year) try not to wait until the last minute to get everything done. I have done this so many times and I ended up not being able to finish a class or an event because life happens and unforeseen circumstances do as well such as no Internet or family emergencies.

O wait! One last thing and this is the most important. Have fun! I know it is scary being the new kid but everyone on HOL is amazing and they are a lot of fun. Please play in the house games and activities when you can because a lot of love and care goes into planning and creating each event and it means a lot of event planners to see everyone participating and enjoying themselves.
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February Fortescue
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by February Fortescue » Mon Sep 09, 2019 2:57 pm

Don't feel like you have to do everything, or beat yourself up if you aren't good at everything. Each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses. There are activities we enjoy, and others which won't appeal to us at all. And there's nothing wrong with that!

Then there are those who don't know what they'd enjoy or be good at. Don't be afraid to try new things and to volunteer for activities that look interesting.

Basically, look for a place where you feel like you would do well, and jump in! HOL is about making friends and having fun.

On the flip side, try some activities you find really challenging. Life is also about growth, and you may be surprised by what you can so! Confession: I have visual-spacial issues. Jigsaw puzzles are difficult for me. So is Tetris.

Oh, and definitely try not to procrastinate, no matter how tempting it seems. This term ends with December, and then 2 weeks into a New Year. How motivated will you be to do tasks then, compared to how much time you have now?
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Gail Allen
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Gail Allen » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:44 pm

Go to the irc chat in #hol
You will meet people there and get to chat in a way that is difficult to replicate on forums. It allows you to actually get to know other HOLers and form friendships. You will be able to get questions answered much faster than any other way and you will be able to find inspiration from both older members who've hung out in these rooms seemingly since forever, but also meet younger members with fresh new ideas. So going to the chatroom is definitely a great idea.

Pick the right classes
Alright, so this is a bit tricky, because how do you know which classes are right? That's obviously different for each individual person.
But what you need to have in mind is how hard a class is going to be for you. You have to look at the homework as much as the topic of the class to see whether the tasks are ones you like doing and how much effort they're going to be for you. And then make sure that you don't have all your classes be hard effort classes. Make sure that some of them are ones you know will be relatively low effort for you and then a couple of harder ones that really interest you enough to put in that extra effort.

Exhibit model behaviour and offer help
If you are ambitious and want to hold a leadership position at HOL, then the best way to get somewhere is not to jump up and down and ask for it right off the bat. Let people notice you. You do this by participating in activities, classes, the chatrooms, posting on the forums - without spamming - and by always being friendly to people. And if someone needs help; offer to help. More than likely this will mean people notice you and think well of you. And when you then get a chance to apply for a leadership position, people will remember you positively. This is some of the advice I personally got early on and it's been very helpful to me.

Keep organized
It's already been said more than anything else: that doesn't make it any less true. I personally am a little less organized than some of the people above who are admirably more organized than me XD
I don't have a journal for HOL stuff. Instead I have a piece of paper that always lives under my keyboard or on the foot of my computer screen where I write everything I have to do for HOL onto and then cross out as I go along. It's very true: crossing things out is very satisfying.
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Iverian Gnash
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Iverian Gnash » Mon Sep 09, 2019 3:45 pm

Try different things! I've learned how to solve so many new puzzles that I hadn't even heard of before joining. I see myself improving my writing skills because I've tried different prompts people come up with. They're a lot of fun! Also, I'd never even tried my hand at graphic designing anything before I joined HOL. I'd just gotten a computer about a month before I joined, so I was still trying to figure out the most simple of things and the internet wasn't something I had a whole ton of experience with.

Don't be shy! It can be a bit scary at first, with so many people who have all of this experience in an environment entirely new to you. You don't know people, and you don't know how to act around them. So, don't be shy, be friendly, and you'll figure it out! Most of us probably look back at our first month, maybe two, maybe we're still cringing at ourselves :lol: and wish we'd acted differently, but the thing is, we're new and trying to figure things out. So don't be afraid to talk to people. If you're awkward at first, they'll understand because, chances are, they were too.

Read the syllabus! This is a big one. Most classes will outline everything in the syllabus. This really provides a lot of information about the class and what you need to do to earn a quill. I've lost a few points because I didn't read the syllabus before.

Come on IRC! This is a big one. I didn't know what IRC was, but when I found out how to use it, I'm glad I decided to! This is where you'll really meet people. A lot of us hang out on #hol and our house channels and we have the most interesting conversations. :P
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Prof. Tarma Amelia Black
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Prof. Tarma Amelia Black » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:09 pm

Remember why you came here. Maybe (most likely?) you were looking for a site where the Harry Potter books (and movies) are appreciated and liked and/or loved. Hopefully you find folks of similar ilk here. :)

There's nothing I remember that I wish someone had told me (and didn't) when I first joined. As I asked questions, I was given answers. Some of them were accurate, and some weren't. All the answers, though, were a learning experience.
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Pezzie Wolfe
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Pezzie Wolfe » Tue Sep 10, 2019 2:15 am

I agree that first off, stay on top of activities and classes. Do not get overwhelmed. Remember, this is for fun. The real magic is making new friends who love Harry Potter as much as you as well as other fandoms out in RL.

Try not to jump into everything at once. Enjoy being a student, chatting with others. Showing respect to others you chat with. Remember, there are real people behind our HOL names. If you feel you need a Professor or Prefect-do it. Do not try to solve drama yourself. It is 100% OK to talk to us older students and staff.

Stir away from the dark forest, believe me...you can get lost in there.
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Will Lestrange
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Will Lestrange » Wed Sep 11, 2019 7:01 am

When looking for classes to take, make sure to visit the class webpage to look at the assignments that are already up! (You should find at least two full assignments already up; likely more). Because the vast majority of your time interacting with a particular class consists of doing the homework/extra credit/projects/exams, you should make sure that those types of activities that are found in the class in question are doable and enjoyable before signing up for that class. If it looks like you'll struggle to get 150 points on those assignments throughout the term... well... there's probably something that's a better fit for you elsewhere on the class list!
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Evi Caledon
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Evi Caledon » Wed Sep 11, 2019 8:28 pm

I am absolutely terrified about making a fool of myself with my lack of writing, arts and social skills o.o in short.

Edit: I was just wondering, is there any kind of study/support-each-other groups on HOL?
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Kendra Givens
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Kendra Givens » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:43 pm

Take risks and ask for help! This is a safe, supportive space to be creative and try things you've never tried before. We have so many people with different, unique talents that you can get support in the things you're not necessarily confident in. I've always felt less than confident with my creative writing or art skills, and I can honestly say I've created more visuals and written more short stories here than I have in a long time. I know who I can go to for tips on writing or creating graphics to better myself, and ultimately no one will here judge you for trying.

That being said, get to know people! IRC is a wonderful place to go to chat and make friends with people from all over the world. I've met people from all backgrounds with unique passions that they're willing to share with everyone. I've learned new languages, I'll be learning how to crochet, and I've gained some knowledge on good programs to use for creating graphics, among other things. I also know who to go to if I need a cool graphic idea or inspiration for writing.

The best part of HOL is the community. The more you put yourself out there and get involved, the more joy you'll get out of the experience. Take it from the girl who joined thinking she'd be on every once in a while when she was bored and now she's Ravenclaw Head Prefect...
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Anna Westbrook
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Anna Westbrook » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:47 am

WARNING! This is quite long!

As a first year, I think my big question is that I'm really bad with computers/programming. I only use a Mac (not a Windows girl!)
I only know very basic html codes. So something like my profile on HOL and my signature on the forums was made with basic HTML and the signature was from a site where you don't make it, but just put your information in and copy/paste. Also, doing puzzles online, making art projects, etc... I'm only like 60% tech savey, so I don't know to do any of that stuff. I'm quite fine with that, but I'm wondering if there's a site somebody on HOL has, or a class for the future that I could take on HOL that would help with coding and such?

ALSO, THANK YOU ALL FOR THE ADVICE ON PLANNERS! I'm slowly starting to realize that my Muggle self needs to add my HOL life to my planners/calendars for due dates. I definitely didn't think that would be an issue....up until I started doing homework. :P

Lastly, (and I definitely wanted to let you all know this) this is site #6 of a Harry Potter site that I joined, but the first one I'm fulling sticking too. If you're wondering why, every site I joined was good at first, but then there was a lot of drama. Much of the sites weren't updating properly and they were dying. I've always known about HOL, but since the website was .org/uk, I thought it was just a site for everyone in the UK (and I'm from America). I knew that when I would have joined, much of the due dates would be in UK time, but I didn't realize that most of the world uses this site and it's not just the UK, thank goodness! But out of every site I've tried, HOL is definitely a site with the most updates, best community, and just enough to do where it's not overwhelming. :)
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February Fortescue
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by February Fortescue » Fri Sep 13, 2019 8:56 pm

I'm going to try to answer some of this, not because I know much about coding, but because I love HOL classes and have some information most people may not be aware of.

The lady who created both my avatar and my signature offered a class on graphics. The class is still available online, but it isn't being taught so. you can't do the assignments for points.

Graphics: http://holgraphics.weebly.com

There's a class on HTML taught by someone, but I cant remember who taught it. If I do, I'll message you. Maybe someone else knows?

I see you've found Arianna's puzzle class.

I don't really know much HTML. I know we can use it on our HOL profile (and, judging by your profile, you know it much better than I do). I know all of the forums use bbcode, and I know some basic tags, but that's about it.

I do create graphics/art, but it's very average at best. I never use HTML or bbcode for that, and you can tell by looking at my (very plain) images. I have some free programs, but I mostly collect images via google and photobucket (make certain they aren't copywritten) and then I'll add layers, make changes to them, add images, text.
I use a website: www.lunapic.com
lunapic is great for scaling images, too, so the finished graphic isn't too large.
Of course, there are lots of other similar websites.

Hope this helps!
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Anna Westbrook
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Anna Westbrook » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:18 am

Oh wow!! This is so extremely helpful! Thank you so much!
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Bella Coupland
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Bella Coupland » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:37 am

My advice would be: don't be afraid to come back. If for some reason life gets in the way and perhaps you're not as active this year (or next year, or the year after that) as you would have liked, remember that HOL isn't going anywhere. The community here is so positive and welcoming that it might feel as though you never left at all! The people might be different, but the values and sense of community, inclusiveness and optimism remain.
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Brianna Caedmon » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:00 pm

Hi everyone!

I'm a fairly organised person, and I don't really care about code, so I'm not too worried about that type of thing. I do have a couple of big worries though.

The first is my tendency to take on more than I can handle. I find I'm always trying to do everything and end up with so much to do that I get burnt out and give up, or that I feel stressed that I can't do anything well another and give up.

The other is a concern about meeting new people. I wouldn't say I'm usually shy, but something about the school dynamic on HOL makes me question myself more when wanting to speak to someone. I ask myself whether that person really wants to talk to me or if they'll think I'm just an annoying first year.

I think that's really everything. I am also terrible at art but not worried about it per se- I figure I may occasionally give it a go anyway for fun, it doesn't really bother me if it's bad.
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Emily Spencer
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Emily Spencer » Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:52 am

Hi everyone!

I'm new here, so I'm not sure exactly what sort of advice I can give. But I'll share some of the things I've told myself, so hopefully you will find it of some use.

-Don't try to do everything! The world will not end if you are not involved in every activity/project. It's better to do a couple well then a bunch half-baked.

-Take only as many classes as you can reasonably handle. That being said, I've gone against my own advice and taken the maximum 5 allowed. My 'Ravenclaw' beneath the Slytherin green is showing.

-Don't be afraid to talk to people; you might end up making new friends along the way. I already have, so this is one piece of advice I'm glad that I followed. Thank you, me!

-Botting is not as scary as it sounds. Quidditch is rather fun (There, I've said it, Will!)

Well, that's my wellspring of advice, so good luck!
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Katelin Ross
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Katelin Ross » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:15 pm

In my many years here at HOL I have come across and used several HOL life hacks that I think would be useful for others to use if they so choose to.

1) Create Drafts for each of your assignments, extra credits, term projects, and finals for your classes. I complete these for ALL parts of the class (even if they are optional). This helps me to remember what assignments I have completed and turned in and which ones I still need to do.

2) Calendar out due dates for assignments (noting which ones are due at the end of the month, which ones are due all at the end of term, and which ones have due dates at other times of the year). This helps to keep track of classes that I am taking that have specific due dates besides those that are all due on the last day of term. This way I do not forget an assignment due date.

3) Don't forget to ask questions. Most teachers are more than happy to help Also, talk with classmates, go on IRC to ask questions, and lastly, it is okay to ask a question! If one person has the question, other people will have the same question!
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Prof. Rorey Padfoot
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Prof. Rorey Padfoot » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:43 pm

As I start my 14th year here at HOL. I feel like I have tweaked my "tips" and "tricks" so much to work for me.

1. I agree with everyone else, organization and prioritize. I have numerous HOL spreadsheets, but my main one has when all my assignments are due (because that brings in the most house points), other point activities and their due dates (Art and Library department, house newpapers, etc. ), I also add in HOL big monthly activities, house activities, and other house activities. I put due dates on everything, so i know when they are due to help prioritize what I work on.

2. Due things that you find fun and mix it in with other stuff. For example, in Hufflepuff, our Library has monthly jigsaw puzzles that I love to complete, so that is something I prioritize at the first of the month.

3. Join your House Common Room!! If you think HOL offers a ton to do, join your common room and see what your House has to offer. The common room if where you get to know your house members better. Even if you're shy and don't want to "post" a ton. We love seeing our members participate in house only things and encouraging each other!
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Mae Flowers
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Re: Task 6: Tips, Tricks and Trepidations

Post by Mae Flowers » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:48 am

I've been loving reading everyone's advice, and I just want to say as a first-year that I really appreciate how much time, thought, and love went into everyone's advice responses.

I'm seeking advice for getting involved if you don't always have extra time. I really love HOL so far and plan to make time for it, but I'm worried I'll forget about a forum for a week or something, which might look bad. Any advice for real-life-HOL balance?
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