Friday Rambles: On Balancing School, Writing, and Life

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dog animated GIF

(HAHA. THERE ARE SOME GREAT BALANCING GIFS OUT THERE. JUST SAYIN’.)

Guess what? It’s not impossible!

Well, yes, it’s going to be hard, frustrating, and on more than one occasion, you’re going to feel like throwing your textbooks across the room, but that’s okay, because they’re just textbooks. So, to all the other people out there who are struggling to balance their life, school, and their writing (including blogs) I thought I would compose a list of things that have helped me through my HSC (Higher School Certificate) year.

(First off, I just need to point out I was SO proud of myself for coming up with this. :) )

(First off, I just need to point out I was SO proud of myself for coming up with this. :) )

1. Lists. DUH.

So, this year, because of my exams, I have tried to become a much more organized person. And you know what?! It’s working! I’m lazy, so I don’t handwrite my lists. I use Wunderlist. And it’s absolutely wunderful. (HAHA.) And also, I really like the Ping! sound that happens when you tick of something on your To Do list. Here are some guidelines for making to dos (What?! Lists within lists!?):

Don’t be an overachiever. Sure, if you tick off all your list and then some, that’s great! But try not to be unrealistic with what you’re going to put on your lists. That’s not going to help anyone.

Try very hard to finish everything on your list, but don’t freak out if you don’t. Here’s something I’ve learned: You’re going to have bad days. Awful days. You’ll look at your school work and wonder why you chose these ridiculously ridiculous subjects; then, you’ll open up your writing and realize that it’s complete and utter crap. (Things will look better in the morning. Promise!)

panic animated GIF

2. Give. Yourself. Breaks.

For reals. Don’t try to be me and write study notes for A WHOLE SUBJECT in one afternoon. It ain’t gonna happen. Or, like me, try to write a weeks’ worth of blog posts in an hour. HAAAH. It can take me a loooong time to draft posts, so I need to take breaks. Think, relax, eat some chocolate. Get some sunshine! (Sun? What’s that?) Go for walks! Go to the library!

3. Chocolate.

Um. Does this one even really need explaining? I THINK NOT.

4. Talk to people!

…Just not too much. Don’t spend hours on Facebook or on the phone or Twitter. But sometimes I find it helpful to talk to other people who are, for example, going through the HSC, or are having writing troubles, or whatever — because a) you know you’re not alone, and b) it’s a nice break from actually trying to balance school and writing and life.

5. DON’T PANIC. IT GETS YOU NOWHERE.

 

panic animated GIF

fire animated GIF

Unless you’re Spongebob. Then you can panic.

Also, isn’t he underwater? HOW CAN IT BE ON FIRE? Kara is confused.

6. Do ALL THE SCHEDULING.

This year, I’ve had some blog posts scheduled weeks in advance, and boy, it was really helpful. Especially around times where assignments were due, or I had to take exams. The last thing you want to do is complete a three-hour exam, and realize that you haven’t scheduled a post for the next day, knowing that you’ll have to take another test tomorrow.

7. Also? Don’t freak out if you miss a day’s blog post.

Pfft. What does it matter?! Readers will understand. Life is busy and hectic and stressful.

8. The amazing book blogosphere… what about that!?

Sometimes, along with everything else, to read and comment and enjoy other people’s blogs. THIS IS SOMETHING I LOVE LOVE LOVE DOING. And so, I reserve it for late afternoon/night times, where I’ve ticked off most things on my List of Awesomeness, and can finally settle down to read all the amazing things you guys have posted. So in a way, for me, it’s a bit like a reward for getting through the day still mentally sane. But again, if things get hectic, and you’re too tired and you just don’t have the time… that’s okay. Completely okay.

9. But Kara, how am I supposed to balance writing novels on top of all this!?

Well. Now this is the tricky bit. Most likely your attention will be fully focused on school. Which, if you ask any teacher, is a good thing. Me? I’m not so sure about that. School, while important, does not, apparently, define your future (or so people keep telling me…), and with this in mind I think it’s OK to relax once in awhile and write. I wouldn’t recommend “forcing” yourself to write, though. For me, writing is a stress reliever, so if I worry about trying to write something… then it renders the whole idea of writing useless. Although I’m in my final year at school, I’ve still managed to write heaps.

I got this

10. What about reading?

Another stress reliever! Here’s the funny thing, actually. Last year (Year 11) I read 122 books. Thinking about it logically, Year 12 has been much more stressful… so shouldn’t I have had time to read less? THINK again. It’s October 24th, and I’ve already read 138 books. And the year’s not even done yet. Here’s why: I need something on an evening to calm me down, to take me away from the stress of school, so I believe I’ve been reading more to compensate this.

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SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. That’s how I’ve managed to deal with my last, and stressful, year at school. Now I only have two more exams to go, then I’m freeeeeee!

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22 thoughts on “Friday Rambles: On Balancing School, Writing, and Life

  1. That post comes at the exact right time – I am downloading Wunderlist to my phone as I type. :D Funnily enough, I had absolutely no problem balancing things at school because I never studied (and I didn’t have a blog either), but now that I’m at university I actually want to stay on top of things. It’s week one of the semester and I’m already behind, so I’ll definitely be trying some of this. :)

    And boy do you read a lot more books than I do. :D

  2. If I can manage to follow all this, then I think I really would be able to finish things. But either procrastination takes over, or I try to do too much and then end up… procrastinating. >_<

    Anyway, good post! :D

  3. Omg…I AM SO WITH YOU ON #10!!! I was actually just saying that to my mum the other day when she said I read too much (!! Bah, like that could ever happen…although, she was more asking how I didn’t get sick of reading). So I explained that it’s kind of a way for my brain to stop for a minute. I always have 2 million thoughts rushing through my head but reading kind of pushes that aside and I can be calm and read a book, have an adventure, “research” (hey, reading is totally writing research) and just enjoy myself. ^-^ I love books. The more stressed I am, the more I read! HA.
    I love lists too, so this post is, of course, my favourite.

  4. I don’t know how kids do it today, there’s no way I could have balanced exams, doing my VCE, maintaining a blog and reading, nevermind writing a novel of my own. I was lucky back when I did my VCE, a lot of people still didn’t have the internet at home, back then it was just being introduced into schools. We didn’t have social media distractions either. It was basically balancing school and socializing. I think teens today with so much going on, forget that they need real offline social interaction too and to try to make time for it. Great tips for those going through exams at the moment and wish all the students well.

    I think the most important point too is that even if you don’t get the score you were after, it’s not the end of the world. Where one door closes, another one always opens. Great post Kara <3
    P.S. Love the Lists? Lists image, very cute :)

  5. Good job on almost finishing your exams, Kara!! That is so awesome. It’ll be great to be free, I’m sure. I struggle with balancing everything as well – school, work, blogging, reading, writing…and I split my time between two different households which complicates things even further. I’ve found that reserving Friday night as my night off from schoolwork works really well. These are all great tips as well! (chocolate and lists = best combination)

  6. I admit, I don’t have
    a super busy life but I still find myself procrastinating for no reason at all *shakes head*

  7. YES. I LOVE WUNDERLIST *high five* That being honestly makes my day. Woohoo seems like you found the perfect combination this year! To be honest, I don’t even know how I made it this far. A miracle, really (hahaha, no it’s just called a lack of sleep). I hardly read anything but a bunch of “classics” last year and some YA here and there and then this year I read a whole bunch. It’s crazy because I’m supposed to be crazy busy but hey, books are a stress reliever! Fantastic post, Kara! x WE’RE SO CLOSE TO THE END! :D

  8. I feel like we should all just carry around DON’T PANIC buttons, Hitchhiker’s Guide style. ;) Some great tips here. I am totally in awe of your book count – I’m actually a pretty slow reader (although I flatter myself that I absorb more than most people!) so unfortunately I don’t get through nearly as many books as I would like to. :P Ah well, we have to sacrifice something, no? ;)

  9. This is great advice. I’m not in school, but I need a daily list or nothing gets done. And I love how you point out not to be hard on yourself when you don’t get things done, sometimes things just get in the way and you cause yourself too much stress by worrying about not completing your list. There is always tomorrow, which will hopefully be better. And I also agree with not worrying about missing a blog post, I do that a lot.
    I find not watching TV helps fit everything in. I’d rather read then watch TV (don’t get me wrong, I have TV shows I watch but I don’t sit for hours everyday watching TV. I’d say I only watch a couple of hours a week tops.)

    • I have to confess, I do watch quite a bit of TV. >.> Though, in saying that, I don’t just sit down and watch it for hours — I tend to have my laptop on my lap, and work through stuff as I’m watching things. (I think I’m a little strange like that, but I do like background noise.) I think not getting stressed over not completing lists is very important, especially for someone like me, as I’m always expecting WAY too much of myself. :)

      • I’m the same. when I watch TV, I’ll have my laptop on and am usually blogging. I would watch more TV if I had time, but something has to give and I chose TV.

  10. Awesome, practical and very true advice Kara! Life itself is definitely a balancing act, and trying to get everything done, while still managing the ‘work/play’ ratio to something manageable can be difficult at times. Luckily books are there for a break/relaxation though, and chocolate obviously helps too ;) I’m also a list-writer, though I usually make them by hand and include my own little tick-boxes :)

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