2016, Uncategorized

Back to School for Stressed Students: Part 2

If you missed part one, check it out! I’ll wait.

 

After a day of hard work, friend drama, work and extra-curriculars, all I really want to do is lounge on the couch, watching Food Network until bedtime. This practice is exactly what made me stressed in the past – knowing I need to do work, but not having the energy to do it. Deciding not to do any study, even just one day out of the week, led to me being too stressed to work the next day, and the next – eventually it snowballed until I panicked and worked myself way too hard, just to get things done.

Doing some quick revision of the work you’ve covered every day or week means that the workload stays steady, instead of piling up and becoming insurmountable. Strike while the iron is hot, and save yourself from your own bad habits. You might also want to consider writing study notes early – compiling a stash of them from the beginning of term, maybe, or a month out from the exam – that way, when you need to get down and study, your notes are ready and waiting, and contain relevant information from when you were studying the topic.

School can be a great way to relax with friends, learn and have fun. For an anxious student, it can also be an incredible source of frustration, anxiety and stress. The most crucial thing to ensuring a good year is to find what works for you – what time of day you best study, how you can relax at the end of the day, what bad habits you need to sort out. Good grades and hard work a great – but all work and no play can mean serious issues for your mental health.

Have a great school year, guys.

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2016, Uncategorized

Back to School for Stressed Students: Part 1

Going back to school after almost a 7 week holiday, I find myself looking forward to settling back into the routine. Structure is one of the things about school that I do like – you sit in a classroom for 52 minutes, do your best work – repeat this a few times before a break, then continue. For 200 days a year.

But as I’m currently discovering, it’s also easy to feel stressed, nervous and overwhelmed at the idea of a new school year. Here are my best tips for surviving a new school year as a stressed student.


  1. Before School Starts

This year, I’m choosing to be dedicated to reducing my school-related stress and anxiety. I have developed a habit over the years of failing to be properly organised – so when exam time rolls around, I lose it.

Being more organised is something I’ve always struggled with, and now I’ve found that doing just a few small things every day makes a massive difference to my stress. I have an alarm set on my phone to go off twice a day – reminding me to check my calendar and diary. Keeping these up to date with my life and each other helps me get on top of things early – I’m actually writing this post a few days in advance, because I knew I would be busy later.

Get a family friend to remind you of your organisation goals, or set an alarm like I have – and try to get into routine in a holiday or break, so that when school rolls around, you already have your routine going. The important thing is to build a habit, so being organised feels like routine, not a chore.

2. During the Term

In all my thinking about how I was going to de-stress my school year, I came up with a few definite things I need to practice while I’m at school.

The first is massively important but so difficult for pretty much everyone who is struggling with their mental health – talking to others. I always feel embarrassed or annoying when I speak to people about my stress, and that just isn’t right. I’ve decided to talk to one of my teachers right at the beginning of the year, and ask them to tell me when they see me starting to get stressed. I often don’t realise my own decline, and this way I already have support if I need it. Talk to someone you trust about keeping an eye out for you.

The second thing I need to work on is blatantly obvious, but something I struggle with – paying attention in class. My sister, Beanz, and I have very different study styles. She works hard in class and gets to relax at home, whereas I do the opposite. While I prefer to study in my own environment, talking to my friends instead of working hard in class means I study ridiculously hard at home and end up a panicky mess. Make the most of your time with your teachers, and there will be less to do at home when your favourite show is on.


Catch part two tomorrow!

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Uncategorized

Again

The paper sits face down on the desk.
The teacher is already moving on to the people around me.
Groans of displeasure accompany fist pumps and war cries of a job well done.
The air is thick with one question: “What did you get?”

I wait until the people next to me have turned away.
Slowly, the paper is turned.
Slowly, my eyes travel upward to the numbers circled in red.
Slowly, the cogs of my brain start to spin.

It’s a good mark. A really good mark.
I absolutely cannot complain.
I worked hard for this, I know I did.

The boy on my left turns to me.
“What did you get?”
“Oh, I did pretty well, yeah.” I smile and turn away.
“No, but what was your mark?”
“A number.” I turn away again. He moves onto quizzing the girl on his left.

It’s not that I’m embarrassed.
I’m just tired of being judged for it.
“Yessssss!! I beat her!” Well done you. Jerk.
“She got that mark and I bet she didn’t even try. What a show-off.” Of course I tried, you moron.
“She doesn’t even look happy about it! Way to make me feel bad about what I got.” It’s called modesty, look it up.
“Is she seriously disappointed? With that mark? How arrogant can someone get?” I know I could do better than this. I know I can work harder than this.

But this mark, just now, this is one I’m proud of.
I know I put in the work.
I know I tried my best.
And it paid off.

But amid the mess of voices around me, only one rings clear.
The little voice that sits between my ears.
And this is what is saying:

“Well done. But… Could you do it again?” 

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Uncategorized

Slow Down: A PSA in the Society of Rushing

We can never get enough.

From the moment the shrill shriek of an alarm clock cuts through our dreams to the second our head hits the pillow at the end of the day, we are all fighting for it. It being a spare hour, a sneaky minute, a stolen second.

You wake up with your To-Do List plastered to the back of your eyelids.

  • Feed the cat
  • Take the bins out

You consider your job –

  • Feed the cat
  • Take the bins out
  • Finish the presentation for Monday
  • Organise the office Secret Santa

Your study –

  • Feed the cat
  • Take the bins out
  • Finish the presentation for Monday
  • Organise the office Secret Santa
  • Return library books
  • Finish reading Chapter Nine for Ancient History

Your hobbies –

  • Feed the cat
  • Take the bins out
  • Finish the presentation for Monday
  • Organise the office Secret Santa
  • Return library books
  • Finish reading Chapter Nine for Ancient History
  • Learn the new piece for the gig on Sunday
  • Finish the painting for the gallery opening

And all that self-care stuff the internet thinks you need –

  • Feed the cat
  • Take the bins out
  • Finish the presentation for Monday
  • Organise the office Secret Santa
  • Return library books
  • Finish reading Chapter Nine for Ancient History
  • Learn the new piece for the gig on Sunday
  • Finish the painting for the gallery opening
  • Meditate for 10 minutes
  • Take a nap
  • Get some exercise

And eventually your brain is just full.

Too many things on your plate. Too few hours in the day.

You rush through your tasks, squeezing everything you can out of every last second; your thoughts are a mess of static and your body is moving in a frenzy. Getting things done, making the most of the minutes – this, you think, is living.

But consider this.

Your life isn’t measured in things ticked off in one hour. Your life isn’t measured in minutes – its measured in moments. It’s measured in memories.

It shouldn’t matter how busy you are – make time for making memories. They’re what will be left with you in 50 years when the work presentation couldn’t matter less. Make time for yourself and others. Do some good.

The next person you see – give them a smile. A proper, I-can-see-you-how-are-you-today-smile.

Buy someone some flowers, just because. Pick them some flowers if you’re poor.

Blow some bubbles.

Speak to a baby.

Offer to help someone else, be it opening a door, carrying books, or spotting them $2 if they’re short at the checkout.

Life’s too short to be moving so fast. It often feels like with our limited days on the planet that we must squeeze every last activity and task into the precious few moments we have – but really we need to squeeze every last memory from our moments. Another smile with a loved one. Another sunset. Another breath of fresh air. Make the moments count, not because they were full of things you got done but because they were things you did well, with laughter and joy and learning.

And when next striving to fill every moment with doing, know that you don’t have to stop; you just have to slow down. Smell the roses. Live your life. Make some memories.

You won’t regret it.

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