I got it at the gift shop in the New York City Public Library! It hadn’t been used until now so I think I’ll use it to collect information, scraps, pictures, plans and dreams for Europe, or as a diary when we’re actually there :)
To the anon who just messaged me about their friends - I’m not going to reply to it publicly because I feel like it could potentially trigger a lot of people who follow me but I definitely want to try and help or at least talk things through. Would you mind messaging me privately? I promise I will reply back into your inbox and will keep everything confidential. I’m definitely here for you and able to chat <3
imagine being in ravenclaw and going back to your common room stumbling drunk in the middle of the night after a magical night of partying and having to answer a fucking riddle in order to get in your own goddamn bedroom
Starting a new school (whether that’s beginning high school/college or transferring) is a GREAT way to make a fresh start and begin with a clean slate. In fact, starting a new year is a perfect opportunity for anyone, even if you’re going back to the same place of education, job or lifestyle. There’s always time to improve :)
Part 1 - Working hard and staying organised.
- Buy a planner! Not only will it help you keep track of important dates and goals, but it’s also FUN to decorate and write in them. You can schedule absolutely anything you want; exam dates, assignments, study sessions, social occasions, birthdays, sleepovers, workouts, appointments, work, grocery shopping with food lists and meal plans etc - if you write it down and schedule your time, you’re more likely to stick to it, especially if you can make it a routine.
- Highlighters are your new best friend. This kinda goes hand-in-hand with the planner, because you can use these bad boys all over it. Personally I liked to colour code different things, either by subject or a different category (sports games/training in orange, parties and social stuff in blue, etc) which just makes it easier to focus on how you divide your time.
- Organise your study space. If your room or desk is cluttered, your mind will be too. I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to have things like natural lighting, a plant nearby, neatly stacked books and a clear area to work. You can hang up a cork- or pin-board with anything that inspires or motivates you, just to keep you going when you need it.
- Study things that interest you. I don’t know if you’ve already chosen your subjects for next year but I think this has such a huge impact on how you feel about school, studying and learning in general. If you have no interest in something, or you just absolutely hate it, do not choose to study it just because you think you’re supposed to, or because it gets scaled up. In Year 12 every single subject I did was a subject that gets scaled down (one of them -8 I think!) but because I was passionate about most of them and enjoyed learning those things, I worked my butt off and got a great score. You’re so much more likely to want to sit down and read about something you’re fasciated by or want to know more about, so keep that in mind when you’re choosing subjects/courses/majors. It doesn’t matter what your friends/family/teachers think if you know in your heart that it’s not for you. Follow your own path and it will be so much more enjoyable.
- Get into a routine. Obviously the tasks, assignments and test study you have will be constantly changing, but try to figure out a system that works for you - then stick to it! Our brains are wired to be trained just like any other animal, so repetition will strengthen the connections, making it easier and more natural to stick to the habit. You might like to get up early before anyone else in your family and utilise the quiet, you might get your homework done at school and use your night for reading, or get your favourite subject done first. Just figure out what suits your lifestyle to ensure the most convenient plan of attack.
Part 2 - Keeping fit and healthy
- REMEMBER THE BASICS. There are so so so many fad diets, e-book ‘plans’, gurus, tutorials and various theories on the best diet or workout routines to follow, but at the end of the day we really just have to go back to what we learn at a young age. I think this can be broken into 3 main principles.
- Get enough sleep. We hear this all the time, but we still don’t do it (at least I know I don’t). We need a solid 8 hours a night or more, ideally getting a few before midnight to get into the really deep sleep. Insufficient sleep levels can impact cognition and concentration, memory, mood, judgement, weight, and lead to a range of health difficulties. I know this one can be hard, especially thanks to youtube and tumblr, but if you find staying on the internet too late is affecting your sleep, try downloading an app that will shut you out at a certain time. Sometimes will power fails us, and we have to fight fire (technology) with fire (technology). When we’re run down or exhausted, everything else in our life tends to suffer. We’re too tired to exercise so we just crash on the couch instead, or we hit snooze for the extra Zzz’s in the morning. We can’t be bothered going out for fresh groceries or planning and making a healthy meal, so we order in or reach for a less nutritious option. We’re probably less fun to be around too, with less energy and enthusiasm to run around and do fun things. I think we could all use a little more sleep!
- Drink more water. Another lesson we have drilled into us since beginning school. Water is basically a miracle worker in liquid form, and can help prevent and cure just an insane amount of things. Just a little reminder of some of the health benefits we can get from h20: balances body fluids, aids in digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, maintenance of body temperature, helps generate healthy skin, energises muscles, assists kidneys and promotes bowel movements (yay for regular poop!). To get into the habit of consuming more water, try to drink a glass or two before breakfast, a glass or two with every meal, keep a bottle in your bag or at your desk, and eat more fruit and veg!
- Maintain a balanced, healthy lifestyle. The food pyramid, national dietary guidelines, nutritional requirement posters and advice from most doctors is pretty consistent across the board. Depending on your religious/moral beliefs, dietary requirements and preferences obviously things will differ, but I’d say the standard advice is to get the majority of your nutrients from vegetables, fruits and whole grains, have some lean meats or dairy (or vegetarian/vegan/lactose free alternatives) in moderation, and the occasional treat because life is far too short not to eat cake and chocolate. The key word here is ‘lifestyle’, so you want to ensure that these healthy choices is a long-term (ideally permanent) change in behaviour and preference. To help you stay on track, you can try planning meals ahead of time and packing your school lunches the night before, so you don’t get caught out the next day. Exercising is one of the best things we can do for our minds, bodies and souls, and we reap the benefits in all aspects of our lives - including our studies. Try to find a way of activity that you enjoy; that could be walking, yoga, hikes, fitness classes, gymnastics, soccer, rollerblading, running, there are a million ways that you can get your body moving. I think it’s really important to remember not to get too obsessive with anything here though, because I’ve seen a lot of people fall into the traps of that and it can ruin a good portion of someone’s life. Eat all the salads you want but if you’re terrified of gaining weight or can’t even imagine skipping a workout to see friends/making your oatmeal with milk instead of water/eating meals that you haven’t prepared yourself - recognise that this is not health, it’s self-destruction.
- Other tools for motivation: get cute workout clothes that make you excited to wear, recruit a friend who’s also into fitness and will come along on walks/runs/hikes or to a class with you, join a sports team, look up new cafes and recipes you want to try, create a vision board, and most of all make sure you’re having fun.
Part 3 - Balancing school and social life
- Balance is one of the most important elements when it comes to staying healthy. It’s quite common for us to focus on just one realm (i.e. physical health) when really we should be devoting time for all 3 - physical, mental and social health. Imagine yourself like a stool (the chair, not poop. I realise I’ve mentioned poop at least 3 times in this post now, i’m okay with that), that is supported by 3 legs. If any of those 3 legs is damaged, the stool will collapse. No matter how sturdy one or two might be, all three need to be tended to. This means that while sometimes a run might be the best thing to clear your head, sometimes having a cry, venting to a friend or watching your favourite movie in bed is the best option. It’s all about listening to your mind, body and soul, getting in tune with what you need, and giving that to yourself.
- Prioritise. Ask yourself when you’re planning your schedule, what is more important to me? Maybe you can miss one shopping day to get a handle on your assignments and feel a lot less stressed. Don’t miss your friend or auntie’s birthday to cram for a test, you’ll know about both in advance so it’s just a matter or preparing! Remind yourself how good it feels to complete a task, and you can reward yourself with the fun activity afterward.
- Quality over quantity. There’s no good in sitting at your desk for hours on end if you’re not focused or producing good work. If you feel like you’re not in the zone, often you need a change of scenery. Maybe take the dog for a walk, get a snack, try a different location or switch subjects, but most importantly focus on the work that’s getting done, not the time you force yourself to spend on it. Rather than dedicating an hour to a subject, try telling yourself that you’ll do x amount of words or problems, and then you can reward yourself with a break. I find this to be way more motivating to actually get work done, as I’m actually pushing to reach my goal, rather than just staring at the clock.
- Break things up. A 3,000 word research paper may seem scary (especially when it’s worth 50% of your grade), but by doing the work in smaller, more manageable chunks, you can save yourself a lot of unnecessary stress. Assign yourself certain goals or points to reach over time, so you’re not left doing it all in one night. For example, on the first day you get an assignment, you could just jot down your initial thoughts and brain storm potential ideas, the next day you could formulate a potential plan, on the third, you begin hunting for research sources, and so on. You will be so grateful to your past self for doing this because it means there’s no last-minute cramming, and it frees up time to do things with friends too.
- Communicate. This is a really important one, especially when it gets down to crunch time. If you can’t make it to a social event, explain that you’re feeling under the pump and just have a lot to get done, apologise and let them know you’ll be there next time. If you take the time to explain your situation and that it’s nothing personal, they will understand - they’ve probably been through the exact same thing. This goes for family too; if you’re drowning in homework and can’t see time on your agenda to babysit your brother or wash the dishes, use your words, rationally explain and offer up an alternative - you’ll wash and dry the dishes next time if you can have tonight off to study for the test.
- Learn to say ‘no’. Saying YES to life and all the experiences that come our way can be great, but it can also have its downfalls (did we all learn from Jim Carrey in Yes Man?). We often feel pressured, whether internally or externally, to accept every offer we receive with the belief that turning something down is rude, but really that’s not true. We are in control of our lives, only our own, and it’s up to us to shape them how we want them to be. By learning to say no to things sometimes, it means we can say yes to the more important things down the track.
Sorry this ended up being so long! I made a post here with my study habits, there are a few more here, and I totally recommend checking out Ajita’s page because she has some awesome tips too. Good luck!
Recently I’ve been asked about what YouTube channels I subscribe to, and I can’t believe I forgot one of my absolute favourites. I only found these gals pretty recently, but I stayed up late watching every single video and was inspired more and more with each one. Even if you’re not really into spirituality or mindfulness, I think everyone should check out some of these videos.
They are hands down one of my favourite articles of clothing :) If you like overalls and you like sunflowers, then get all up inside them.