AAA #26

Designed by: Jolene Leow (20-E1)

How do I best get myself out of a holiday headspace and into a more academic-focused one? 

Hello there! Now that we have just got into 2021, I understand that you might find it hard to get back into the study regime, especially when we’ve barely ended a one month long holiday. It may be hard to pull yourself out of wanting to have fun everyday, so here are some tips for you to try out! 

Firstly, to try jumping straight into mugging mode is definitely not easy, and will drain you out easily. Instead, you can set small goals for yourself throughout the week, from completing homework, to gradually adding more tasks as your stamina to study longer hours increases. By slowly building up your attention span again, it will be a faster way to get back to studying. 

If you are feeling stressed and lost, fret not. You have your friends and teachers around you to support you along your journey. By making use of the life coach system implemented in EJ, it would be nice to have a chat with your teacher and share with them your problems. This way, you can plan your work better and relieve some stress. Or if you are uncomfortable with communicating with your teachers, you can also study with your friends during break! By motivating each other, you will feel less lonely and lost in trying to focus on your academics. 

If none of these methods work, you can always try out a reward system whereby you try and finish what you have to do for the day before giving yourself a nice break to enjoy your hobbies. By using such rewards to motivate you, it will make getting back into the studying headspace much easier and bearable. 

Above all, try not to tire yourself out too early on in the year and try to get back into studying step-by-step. All the best in your studies and I hope this reply helps!

How should I deal with my existential crisis? I’m very stressed because it’s A Levels year and i feel like I’ve forgotten how to study. 

Hello! I’d just like to start off by assuring you that this is fairly normal and nothing to be worried about. It may feel odd that A-Levels are less than a year away and fast approaching, especially with the amount of work we have left. Moreover, it is the start of the year and we’ve had many activities such as preparing for Orientation and Spartan Race, which has us feeling more relaxed. Hence, it’s alright that you haven’t found your groove to studying consistently yet. With MCTs fastly approaching as well, I think it would be easier to get into the studying mood when you’re faced with a concrete test deadline. 

Until then though, a few things that you can try to get yourself into the rigor of ‘A’s: try attempting some exam papers (of topics that you have learnt) and to time yourself while doing so. By doing these papers in an examination setting, you’d understand the severity of the exam and the weightedness of it. You’d be able to learn where you fall short, discover more about your time management and how much you’d have left to work on it. Finding out the areas you lack in could provide you motivation to work on it, naturally getting you to study more and do more practices. 

Based on what you’re lacking as well as the new information you’re learning daily, you can try setting up study goals for yourself. Make a list of what to study and when to study them on a weekly basis for each subject and do your best not to stray from these goals. For example, if you’re trying to study for GP, you could create a google document to add in all the articles, case studies and examples that you have come across. At the end of the week, you could make sure that you have at least 2 new evaluated articles into your document. By ‘A’s, you would have a huge bank of examples that you’d be familiar with. As you are setting your study goals, do revise back on your last year topics as well. Revise them again and do a little each week and before you’d realise you’d have consistently been doing work and studying. Moreover, by looking back at the notes that you made last year, you might get reminded of your personal study habits and it would be easier to dive into a study groove. 

Another way you can get some help would be by consulting with your life coach. The teachers in this school have seen countless students taking A-Levels and are experienced in knowing how to help them study. Having a talk with your life coach may give you plenty of insights on the workload, on how to manage your time and on how to balance all your commitments. They could also help you in creating the weekly study schedules! 

Lastly, you can also study in groups. Grab a few buddies and start studying together! Exchange your notes and discuss the various questions you’ve come across, clarify some doubts. This study method would allow you to learn more on your own while you work and help you gain 2-3 more perspectives and angles when you discuss. Moreover, surrounding yourself with people who are productive may encourage you to start doing your work as well. You could push one another to take fewer breaks and to stay focused and on task too! 

I feel like I have no one I can completely trust in school, and that has contributed to more stress on top of academics. What should I do?

Hello there! First, we want to express that we believe that it is completely alright for you to feel that way. Sometimes, things can just build up, it can get stressful, and it can be hard to talk to those around you about the things that bother you. However, when addressing more complicated emotions and thoughts like this, you might want to firstly try to work through whatever reasons are causing you to feel distrustful of your own interpersonal relationships, and understand them better. You could perhaps find some time for yourself to reflect on why you distrust people and what exactly they are doing to make you feel this way. This would also help you understand yourself better. From this point, you could try to pluck up your courage to talk to them about some of the things they do that make you feel uncomfortable since open communication is key to having a friendly relationship with anybody. Talking to them about it would help you understand their point of view on the situation and they would be able to understand you better through this, and eventually this would possibly help improve your relationship with these people around you.

If you do not want to talk to them directly, you could perhaps start off by talking to the person sitting beside you in class about the issues you have been facing. Most people, especially your classmates, would be willing to listen to you. However, if your deskmate is unfortunately dismissive of your concerns, you could consider talking to your teachers or your life coach! Many of the teachers in this school are very friendly and want their students to succeed, and hence, would definitely be willing to listen to your concerns. They can also give you suggestions on how you can understand your peers better or perhaps feel more secure around them, allowing you to be more capable of making some meaningful friendships with the right people. Talking to someone would work to help you feel better about the situation.

It is admittedly difficult to move forward and acknowledge the need to talk to others about your feelings, and even harder to speak up even if you have made the decision to do so. Ultimately, however, it might help to talk to the school counsellor. There is no need to be afraid to be judged, even if you fear that you might seem weird — what is important is to get some of your feelings out in a safe space, so that you don’t bottle them up. Getting your feelings out can also help you to speak to others without worrying as much. The counsellor can also recommend some more suggestions that may be more specific to your situation than what we can provide here.

Furthermore, you could also ask the people mentioned above, such as your subject teachers or classmates, for help with your academics! It is understandable that you would be stressed out over them due to the sudden jump to J2. However, it’s best to try to address both of the causes of your stress slowly but together, in order to avoid one continuing to exacerbate the other. You can try consulting with your teachers, or if you miss lessons and need quick assistance, you can also ask your classmates! In the end, not everyone is against you, even if it does feel like that sometimes when it comes to handling social situations. Actively look for help, and when you do get it, use the chance to strike up conversations as well! Forging friendships takes a while, but it’s well worth it in the end, and it’s a step in the right direction. It’s a slow journey, but hopefully, you’ll feel better over time!

How do I manage my academics, CCA, social life and relationships? I’m already five lectures behind! 

Hi there! First of all, I’d like to assure you to not panic. It probably seems very daunting having to balance so many different commitments in your life right now, but as long as you stay calm and consistent, all will be fine! It’s great that you’re reaching out and trying to figure out how to achieve this balance in the first place, as it proves that you are actively thinking about how to manage your commitments rather than letting them snowball into one another or letting one aspect of your life take up all of your time. This is a great starting point for you as the first step to achieving some semblance of balance in your life is to think about your goals in these areas. Ask yourself what you want to prioritise this coming year, and plan around that. Keeping a planner or schedule can be great for this as it allows you to see not just the day-to-day tasks that you have but also the bigger picture. Having your CCA, academics and social life charted out on your planner gives you a better sense of how much time you’ve spent (or neglected to spend) on each aspect, so that you can continue to adjust the way you spend your time accordingly!

With your planner in hand, you will now be able to make an effective use of your time by setting aside appropriate amounts of time for studying, CCA, social life, and relationships. Other than this, you should also make use of your white spaces wisely, by planning your schedule around these spaces. For example, if you didn’t have enough time to study, use your white spaces to catch up! You could also use these spaces to catch up with your friends, if that aspect seems to be neglected recently. Moreover, you could try studying together with your friends/partner so that you can do it all at once! Even if you aren’t studying the same things, it’ll still be great to have the company. This doesn’t have to be limited to just blank spaces too. Multitasking is a great way of squeezing more time out of the day when done appropriately. Even when studying at home, you can still video call your friends/partner to spend time with one another as well as to consult on your CCA and school work. 

Keeping up with your social life doesn’t have to take up full days if you just need a breather! Just having a simple conversation over text with your friends/partner in between your school commitments can still help to maintain your relationship with them and show that you care! Even just screening a Netflix movie or series over Zoom/Teleparty allows you to spend time with your friends while saving you travel time that can be spent on studying or resting (that’s not to say you shouldn’t leave your house)! At the end of the day, your friendships are not reliant on big outings, but rather, the small day-to-day interactions and the effort that you put into them, so don’t worry too much about seemingly neglecting your friends just because you can’t go out with them as often as you’d like to.

Most importantly, I think it is essential that you remember to take the time to include breaks between your studies and school commitments, and then split these breaks up between time for yourself (to do hobbies, or even just to breathe really), your friends, and your partner. After all, the whole point of balancing your commitments is to ensure that you don’t burn out, and that you are able to maintain a healthy lifestyle despite the rigorous requirements of JC life, so you must make it a point to actually take care of yourself!

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