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How to Cope with Exam Pressure

Just over a month ago, I had… an episode… at school. It was the Friday before exam week, and I was feeling the pressure. Because my school is super organised, exam week also happens to be the last week of semester, so, as usual, we were also busy complying with our “super organised” teachers. I’m sure you’ve had the same sort of time, where every teacher decides they have an assignment that absolutely has to go towards your grade, and it’s very important, and oh yeah, it’s due in a week. For the first time, I was stressing about exams and about assignments. Not good. I learnt some things from my episode, so I thought I’d share them. Read More…

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5 Ways to Improve Your Sleeping Quality

It’s a common dilemma that students face — not enough sleep. Between homework, extra-curricular activities, and the all-encompassing social network Facebook, a student has little time for sleep, and it often shows in the morning.

Unfortunately for us, a lack of sleep can lead to numerous short and long-term health and or psychological problems, affecting every aspect of your life. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure you get the most restful night of sleep possible in whatever amount of time you have.

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4 Tips for Choosing a School

We are often told to write what we know, our past experiences, our thoughts and opinions. So today, I’m going to go anecdotal on you, and share a story from my past.

Image copyright Jascha400d

When I was in grade 5, my brother and I started talking about high schools. We were going through a rough patch at the time, and I decided that I didn’t want to go to the same school as him. I pretty much had two options: the school my elder siblings attended, which was the local Catholic school, or an all-girls Catholic school, which happened to be closer to the city, and the provider of my mum’s high school education.

Being the naïve 10-year-old that I was, it didn’t take me long to decide I would go to the school my mother did, purely and simply because it was closer to the city, and therefore would definitely provide me with a better education.

Can you see where I went wrong? Aside from the fact that I thought being closer to the city made you a better student. That I didn’t take a look at the school before deciding it would be my second home for the most defining time of my life.

Unfortunately for me, I didn’t choose the school for me. I’m a very academic person, but the College seemed to support vocational and international students more than those with high levels of expectation on their shoulders. They focused on developing their students into respectable young adults, and aside from the fact that they failed miserably, they didn’t place as much importance on academics as they did being polite and attentive. Don’t get me wrong, it will always have a special place in my heart, because the people there were some of the greatest I’ve ever known, but it really isn’t the school for me.

I’ve come to a point in my schooling where I’m just not happy with my education. I need to be challenged, I need to be around like-minded people. I need to have the freedom to learn what I want to learn, not what my school thinks is important (don’t get me started on Religion and Information Literacy classes). I want to be treated as an adult, not a silly little school-girl.

You might be wondering why I’m writing this post. Well, this weekend is the Open Day for the school I want to go to. This school is everything I’m looking for, and seems to provide me with the opportunities I desire. That got me thinking, about why I went to my current school in the first place. And then I thought, you know, there are a lot of people in the same position as me. And I don’t want you to make the same mistake as me. So here are some tips to make sure you choose the right school.

  • Decide what you want from your school. Do you want to learn better study techniques, learn a wide variety of topics, or have a strong pastoral care support group? That was my main problem. I didn’t realise I wanted an academically minded school, because it was never an issue before. Make it an issue.
  • Don’t make assumptions. Just because it’s private, or even in a fancy neighbourhood, doesn’t make it a good school. The opposite also applies. Also, don’t assume your experience will be the same as someone you talked to. Schools can change a lot in a short time.
  • See it first hand. Everyone sees things differently, so try to get out to an Open Day, or request a tour of the school. It’ll help a lot, and you won’t just be seeing what they want you to see. You’ll see the rest of it as well, even if your guide doesn’t realise it.
  • Make your own decision. My dad doesn’t think I really want to go to this school, and that I’m happy where I am. I’m not, I’m just tired of complaining. But don’t let your family, friends or even guides at the school, change your mind without a valid reason. You have to be happy at school, because you’re going to be spending a lot of time there.

So there you have it. What do you think? How did you choose your school, and are you regretting your choice?

Social Networking: Friend? Or Foe?

Social networking gets a pretty bad name in academic circles. It distracts students, cry teachers. It’s making us stupid, shout researchers. But for all the negative publicity, the concept of social networking has held strong, even growing in amazing proportions. Students are keen users of new technology, so it is unsurprising that we would make up a large number of social networkers.

Born from email and instant messaging, and growing into the longer blog, through Blogger, MySpace and LiveJournal, social networking is now facing micro-blogging. Short updates on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and the like mean that people around the world are now blasting their friends and followers with an endless stream of meaningless chatter.

Only the keen user can wade through this junk to find useful information, or an enlightening thought. But social networking doesn’t have to be this way. Our generation has the opportunity to set the stage for future networkers. We must make a conscious decision to use social networking as a networking tool.

In the current climate, users are posting in a very egocentric manner. Like little children, they claim to be carrying on a conversation, when in fact, they are not engaging with each other, instead carrying on with a conversation with themselves, while their followers do the same.

Thus, I urge you to have conversations on Twitter, or Facebook, or wherever you are.

Social networking can be an extremely useful tool as a student. I advise checking out College Thrive’s Twelve Twitter Tips if you’re interested in using Twitter effectively. Many of the points could be applied to other networks, like Facebook and Tumblr.

It’s all about connecting with people around the world. Different cultures can provide you with a new outlook on an assignment. If you’re learning a language, emerge yourself in its culture from the comfort of your chair. How about finding a study partner, and learning to read and write together? Think of the possibilities that come from forming relationships with others around the world.

What do you think about social networking? Useless time waster that you can’t stop using? Can’t understand why anyone uses it? Or feel annoyed that people use it so wastefully? Love it and can’t get enough of it? Let us know.

Attendance

BASIX: This section is designed for the study newbie. Sure, you’ve been at school for years, but that doesn’t mean you’ve been doing it properly. Get up to scratch here.

At most schools, attendance is not only compulsory, but vital to success in your subjects. When I say most schools, I am taking into account those universities in which lectures and assignments are posted online for students perusal. Lets forget about them, they are non-existent in this conversation. Today, we are going to look at the reasons for skipping class, and ways to counteract this behavior. Read More…