AAA #27

Designed by: Jolene Leow (20-E1)

Where are some good places to study during my long breaks in school? 

Hi! Long breaks are seemingly omnipresent in many timetables now due to the many asynchronous lectures, as well as COVID-19 restrictions. This might be good or bad depending on personal preference. However, to stay on top of work, it would be good to use these breaks for studying or revision. Not all places in the school are equally convenient though. So, what places might be better for studying?

Firstly, while this may seem like an obvious answer, many of the school’s benches are definitely good places for you to settle down and study. These benches are well ventilated while also being bright enough to not make you too drowsy. If necessary, you can also charge your laptops at power sockets near most of these benches, allowing for longer stretches of revision and discussions. Furthermore, the biggest selling point of these benches is that they are on almost every floor with a classroom, allowing you to study there while still being able to get back to class on time! Of course, since these benches are out in the open, there is a chance that you might encounter some wildlife (insects and birds) and not-so-wild life (other noisy students) while studying. However, most of the time, this is hardly an issue, and the benches remain a good place to study.

But what if you wanted to study in a place far from all the noise? Well, if you would like a quieter environment, the library is a pretty good option as well. While there is the restriction of having to wear the school uniform (and not PE attire) in order to go in, the library definitely has its advantages. It has many tables and sitting areas, ensuring that if you want to study there, there will always be a seat for you. It also has its own power sockets, and provides ready access to research materials, which can be helpful for those wanting to read up or find sources on certain topics. Additionally, air conditioning is provided, though you might want to bring a jacket, as it can get very cold otherwise. Overall, the library is good for focused periods of studying, though do study there in moderation, and step out for defrosting occasionally before you become a popsicle.

Finally, the cafe can also be a good place to study.  With your drink of preference in hand and a snack to go, the cafe definitely wins out in terms of study snacks. The cafe, however, also boasts many types of tables and chairs, allowing you to find one that you prefer. One downside, however, is that it is also constantly windy there, which can cause slight problems while trying to work on physical worksheets. Despite this, as long as you weigh down your papers properly, it should still serve as a good, comfortable place to study.

So then, you may wonder—what is the best place to study out of all of these? Well, I really think that there is no ‘best place’ that suits everyone. We all have things that we prefer in our environments, and things that put us at ease may put others off when it comes to studying there. Who knows? Maybe the wind at the cafe is actually something that you like. Maybe the benches are not really comfortable for you. Either way, Agony Aunt Agatha will not preach to you. Instead, take this advice. Explore, experiment with and experience all the amazing places that this school has to offer! In the end, your favourite place to study may be different from everyone else’s, and that is completely fine, because it will be your place, and no one else’s.

How can I better fit in with my CG? 

Hello! As the school year starts, everyone is eager to make new friends, but getting comfortable in a new environment and stepping out of your comfort zone may be tough for some of you, and I am here to help! It is important to have a good support system in JC, and finding a close group of friends from your CG will be a good place to start, especially since you guys will be together for 2 years. 

Firstly, I think a good habit would be to allow yourself to be open to interacting with new people, even those you may not have a good impression of. You’ll never know — some of them may surprise you! Having an open mind will help you to be more relaxed and provide you a higher chance of meeting people who you will form great bonds with. One good place to start would be with the friends sitting around you in class. All of you are seated near each other during most of the day, which will allow for a good number of opportunities to get to know each other! If you are shy, you can always start with small interactions with your shoulder buddy. 

Secondly, do not be afraid to approach your classmates if you bump into them after school hours, and feel free to walk up to them and start a small conversation. Your classmates will definitely appreciate your friendliness, and would be open to talking with you. It would be nice to leave school with them as well, as it gives you uninterrupted time with each other! Alternatively, you can always start the habit of going to school with a couple of classmates who live around the same area, which will make your journey to school a more enjoyable one. 

Lastly, as your class has the same breaks, it is a good idea to spend your breaks together, whether it be studying or eating or hanging out at the basketball courts. This is a good time to bond with each other and get comfortable. On late days, you can also have breakfast together once in a while, or go to school early to do your homework together. Spending time to help each other with school work not only allows you to forge deeper friendships, it also helps you to stay on top of your work. 

I know that trying to make new friends may be daunting and stressful, but do not worry — everyone in EJ is as willing to find friends as you are. I hope this helps you out and I wish you the best in forging new and lasting friendships! 

Any tips for staying on top of work? CCA hasn’t even started and I’m already feeling overwhelmed.

Hey there! I understand that it may seem scary that JC life has only just begun and yet already seems so hectic. However, do take some time for yourself to breathe and relax! It may seem like a huge waste of time but this will help you to relieve stress and prevent you from burning out too quickly! 

Of course, talk is cheap and you may find it hard to even find the time to take a breather. It can be really hard to balance all your different workloads and commitments, so here are some tips for managing your time so you stay on top of your work:

First of all, be sure to make good use of to-do lists which can help you to keep track of everything you need to do. This not only ensures you don’t miss anything out (and get stressed by it later!) but also lets you see how much you’ve already completed, as you check items off the list one by one. It can be important to not just focus on how much you have yet to complete and instead focus on what you’ve managed to complete, so that you aren’t lost in the negatives.

Secondly, you may want to start using a schedule to plan out when you want to do what. Make good use of the blank spaces in between classes to get your work done as well! (As always, be sure to leave yourself some breaks here and there every day so you don’t get overwhelmed!) Planning out your workload ahead of time is useful because it helps to put into perspective just how busy you actually are. Sometimes it might seem like we have an impossible amount of work to do, but with the proper planning, the workload we have won’t seem as insurmountable anymore. Planning out your time also means you’ll be using that time more efficiently, and that you can always check back to see that you are on track with your schedule. 

The key to using a schedule is to not stick to it too rigidly, as that can cause you immense stress — learn to be flexible and adapt to anything. Be it more work being assigned, you taking longer on something than expected, or even you just needing to take time for yourself, your schedule should be flexible enough to adapt to these changes! This is also why ensuring blank spaces in between tasks are important, because it helps to make your schedule less rigid. Some easy ways of creating a schedule include using apps on your phone, or simply writing it out in your diary. There are many types of schedules (ones with tasks broken down heavily, ones with very broad task overviews for the day, etc) and it’s important to experiment until you find one that is right for you!

Lastly, do not be afraid to ask for help! It is inevitable that you feel stressed by the heavy and oftentimes unfamiliar workload in JC, but having a good support system around you is oftentimes what will help tide you through tough periods. Personally, I’ve found myself relying heavily on the support of my friends whenever I feel lost or stressed out by all the commitments I have. Reaching out for help may seem too vulnerable for some of you, but I can assure you that it isn’t something to be ashamed of at all! I’m sure that your friends would want to be there for you if you were suffering. Ask for help from your teachers too — clarify any doubts you may have or even just ask for advice about a particular area. Our teachers are all very amiable and caring, so they’ll probably be happy to help you! Don’t be afraid to ask, for unaddressed confusion may snowball into bigger problems later on. If you’re struggling to meet a deadline, you may also want to try negotiating for extensions from your teachers (or even CCA leaders in the future) so that you are given the time you need to complete the tasks you have.

JC life may seem daunting now, but I promise you will only find yourself more adaptable and resilient at the end of it! The rigor here is high, but with a good support system and some planning ahead, I hope that you will be able to feel less overwhelmed by it all. Good luck with the year ahead!

What can I do to stay motivated with MCTs coming up?

Hello there! I understand that times can be tough sometimes and with the MCTs coming up, it’s hard to keep the momentum going and continue being focused when you’re tired and would rather not have to spend time studying every day. 

Firstly, one thing you could do to up your motivation levels would definitely be to change your studying habits if your current studying habits do not seem to be working out for you. For example, if you notice that always studying in the same location seems to be making you more drained and less motivated to continue studying, you could perhaps try to change your study location after a while. Also, if you notice that there are certain distractions present in your study area, wherever that may be, do try your best to remove them or find another study area. 

If you usually study with friends and find it too distracting, you could perhaps lessen that and do more studying alone. Procrastination — commonly resulting in cramming — is another habit that you should do your best to avoid. If you know there is work that needs to be done, try to at least start on it instead of leaving it all for the last possible moment. 

Secondly, when you study, you might want to vary the study tasks that you wish to complete. Instead of only doing one subject in one day, you could try to switch subjects after a certain amount of time so that you do not get too tired out. Breaking up your study goals into different time slots with a different task in each time slot can help you stay more organised. Additionally, knowing exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it can be good in getting you to stay focused on completing your bigger goals in smaller bite sized segments. 

Thirdly, you could find time for some hobbies that you might have. You could motivate yourself by rewarding yourself with breaks to do things that you enjoy. For example, you could decide that you want to complete your lectures/ assignments in a certain amount of time when you focus fully on your work and then get a break for you to do something that you enjoy. You could also find other ways to reward yourself by treating yourself to good food or bubble tea at the end of the week when you know you have worked really hard. Rewards as such would make you more willing to put in the hard work and persevere.

Lastly, another possible thing you could try to keep yourself motivated is exercise! This eases your stress levels and gets you more concentrated on your work. Even though you may feel that it is not the best idea for you, there is no harm in trying it out if you haven’t before! It is a great (and scientifically proven) way to relieve all the pressure that you may have from work thrown at you. 

All in all, see what works for you and what does not. Try talking to your friends or teachers to find out what more you can do to counter feeling this way. I wish you all the best in your preparations for the MCTs and all your tests! You can do this!

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