It’s easy to get trapped within the QCE dome – within the game that is Year 11 and Year 12.
A lot of the time, it’s not even an enjoyable game. Wake up, go to school, study, come home, sleep. Rinse and repeat – plus the added joy (“joy”) of tests and impending exams. What I’m saying is that QCE, overall, isn’t necessarily the most enjoyable thing in the world all of the time.
That’s why you need some sort of perspective. If you’re living only within the QCE dome – well, you’re not going to have a good time. You may be able to subsist for a certain period – weeks, or perhaps even months – but not for the long-term. So to get out of the dome, it’s extremely important to maintain other hobbies. Other interests. Basically, to do things that aren’t study or school-related.
It doesn’t really matter what it is – so long as you enjoy it.
For me, my outlets were sport, writing and design. These are the things that got me through Year 12. If I was in a bad mood, I’d watch or play sport. If I felt angsty, I’d write. And if I just wanted to unwind, I’d design something – or draw.
And I never studied on a Friday night. How can I be so sure of that? Well, because I never studied at night at all! I studied best in the morning, so that’s when I studied – and that system worked for me. A happy by-product of that system was that I had each and every evening to spend as I pleased. The most important of those, for me, were Friday nights.
Friday night footy. A nice cup of tea. And no thoughts of study whatsoever. My version of bliss, and an example of the getaway of which I’m speaking.
The benefits of periodically removing yourself from school and study are many:
If you think only of school, your mind, naturally, will become all wound up and tense.
You may read this and initially think, “Think only of school? Haha, how absurd! I barely do any study at all! Lololol all I do is procrastinate.” Or words to that effect. That’s all well and good, but just because you’re not studying, it doesn’t mean that you’re not thinking about school on some level.
Even if you’re not working, it doesn’t mean you’re not thinking about working.
And if that continues for a long stretch of time, it’s understandable that things start to become stressful. Your time is consumed either by working, or thinking about how you should be working.
(Side note: if that sounds like you, it might be time to review your study techniques!)
And, indeed, practice at maintaining a more balanced life.
Next year (and beyond), you’ll still need to balance a lot of different things. Whether you go on to work, study or travel (or something else!), life will inevitably be a balancing act (#cliché).
The sooner you get into the habit of not fixating on one element, the better.
The sooner you can prioritise different things at different times, the better.
Ultimately, Year 12 isn’t just about the marks. It’s not just about the ATAR.
Yeah, I acknowledge that that’s easy for me to say now that I’ve graduated, but I genuinely believe it.
Year 12 is also about developing as a person. It’s about acquiring life skills. And even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time, living a balanced life is definitely one of those skills – and a very important one, too.
I’m not saying only to study when you absolutely feel like it, because that would be silly. For a lot of us, that would result in zero study whatsoever. What I am saying is that school isn’t the only thing in your life – and nor should it be. It’s important to provide sufficient attention to other elements, whether they be family, friends or other commitments.
Often, less is more.
By taking yourself away from school-related thoughts entirely, you give your mind a chance to refresh. And, as a result, the quality of your work will typically improve.
Imagine you’re going to the gym – you’re trying to become super buff. You could go all the time, and work out for like 18 hours per day. That’s feasibly possible. But if you think about it, it’s definitely not the smart way to go about it. For one, you’re going to become extremely tired, extremely quickly. After the first few days, it’s very unlikely that your workouts will be as intense or as effective as they once were. In this sense, you’re not working out efficiently, because you’re pushing your body in a way it wasn’t meant for.
Further, you’re very likely to injure yourself. If you went to the gym that much, it would be surprising if you didn’t pull a muscle, or if you didn’t break down.
Studying is sort of the same, except with fewer people checking themselves out in the mirror.
You could study all the time, and do practice questions for like 18 hours per day. That’s feasibly possible. But if you think about it, it’s definitely not the smart way to go about it. For one, you’re going to become extremely tired, extremely quickly. After the first few days, it’s very unlikely that your study sessions will be as intense or as effective as they once were. In this sense, you’re not studying efficiently, because you’re pushing your mind in a way it wasn’t meant for.
Further, you’re very likely to injure yourself. If you tried to study that much, it would be surprising if you didn’t burn out, or if you didn’t break down.
So what I’m saying with this strained analogy is that taking time out is actually very likely to improve your quality of work. Neat, huh?
It can be very easy to feel as though you need to study all of the time. Trust me – I’ve been there. But it’s definitely not the case, and it’s absolutely important that you take some time out. Why not start this Friday night?
P.S. Go Dees!