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QCE is a challenging time.

Life as a teenager is complicated – balancing school, work and social life – all while somehow retaining your sanity.

I’ll admit that some days are better than others. The endless busyness 
of participating in school life is rewarding but exhausting: sport, musicals, part- time work, public speaking. The noise and activity of each term is only punctuated by the thick, hanging silence of exams.

Caught in the tumult of daily chaos, sometimes it’s hard to step back and see the bigger picture.

Maybe you’re like me and find it hard to switch off. I’m often wide awake on a school night, dwelling on burning anxieties or imagining fantastic possibilities. In the dark, my brain disassembles into utter chaos, buzzing with white noise and existential questions.

Who am I? Where am I going? The future ahead is vague and unknown, the past unchangeable.

Such is the mental state of a QCE student.


At this point I need a reality check. I know that in the morning I will rearrange myself into a functional human being. On autopilot, I will smooth the creases from my blazer, pour my cereal, and take the bus to school. I will have no problem sitting through two tests, attending my music lesson and helping out at a soup kitchen.

Coping with QCE is kind of like living through a zombie apocalypse; it’s not meant to be easy, but it is possible, if you have the right tools available to you. At some point in the year most of us are going to succumb to fatigue and stress, reverting to an ‘undead’ state.

A recommended cure is watching
the hilarious movie, Zombieland, and taking a piece of wisdom from its 32 rules of survival. Rule #1 is cardio: exercise is a great motivator (plus, it helps you run away from zombies). Mostly importantly, though – Rule # 22: know your way out. Don’t get stuck in a study rut or you might get trapped. Burnout can happen to anyone.

These past few weeks of term break have afforded distance and time to reflect. Perched at this vantage point,
 I have a different perspective. I have close friends, teachers and a supportive family. My report card looks promising. The chaos in my life is temporary, but the rewards of my schooling will last forever.

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