Will this term just end already!

I’m in struggle town at the moment. I’m tired, grumpy, and on the countdown until the end of term. I see a student walk toward me with a piece of paper in their hands and I want to run the other way. I thought this year would be easier for me, but boy, I was so wrong. You would think I’d have it all figured out after doing this gig for over 20 years, but nope! Still working as hard as ever if not harder. The thing is though, I love it and I wouldn’t work hard if I didn’t. In fact, I’m sitting at my computer after a long day at work and instead of watching Married at First Sight (my favourite train wreck of a “reality” show), I’m here writing a blog for you to let you know that you can get to the end of this term, and even though it will be a hard slog, you’re not the first or the last to do so.

I’m a procrastinator. A procrastabaker. A procrastacleaner. I will do anything but the work I’m meant to do to avoid doing what should be done. I love baking (my Year 12’s from last year know this as they fulfilled my greatest wish with the gift they bought me), so now instead of marking I bake cakes. I bake carrot cakes, cookies, and chocolate cake (but I won’t be making that ever again as that resulted in an awful night of food poisoning – long story, but it won’t be happening again – offending cake is pictured above). My point is, my house is never cleaner and the sugar high is up there when I have deadlines to meet. They get met, but ever since I was in high school I would do anything to avoid the school work I was meant to do. Nothing has changed. And I still avoid school work even though I need to do it because it’s my actual job.

I hate handing back SAC results. I know it’s not a great analogy, but sometimes I feel like a doctor giving test results back to a patient. Mostly it is good news, but sometimes even though you have done everything you should and could have, the results still aren’t what you expected. It actually breaks my heart. But it is the first of many SACs that you’ll get back and for some, it’s the boost that they needed but for others, it’s somewhat disappointing knowing that they put in the effort but it didn’t convert to the grade that they hoped for. But it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t determine your final study score. It’s the start of you taking control of your future and making the most of what the rest of the year has got in store for you.

But it’s not just about English. Yes, English is the most important subject that you are undertaking at the moment, and it will count towards your ATAR (no pressure), but you do have other subjects and your really mean teachers have scheduled SACs to fall around the same time and do your teachers even know how busy you are???

I mean, you have 18th birthday parties to go to, you have extracurricular activities, you have friends to see, holidays to plan and your selfish teachers are making you prepare for SACs. Seriously?? Yeah, we are, but wait until you actually become adults with real adult jobs and your boss really isn’t as caring (Disclaimer: I’m not talking from experience here, my bosses have all been very understanding and empathetic so I’m just generalising – a persuasive technique to make my audience understand the point I’m trying to make – so many things are wrong with that sentence).

Anyway, yes I’m rambling (that’s why it’s called Ronnie’s Ramblings), so I’ll give you some advice going into the next couple of weeks and how to use the break effectively as you prepare to enter Term 2.

  1. If you are stressed then talk to someone. Talk to your friends, a teacher, your year-level coordinator, your parents anyone who will be able to listen to your concerns without judging you and offer you advice as to how to handle how you are feeling. Do not struggle with stress, instead, face it and admit it when things get too much. There are ways to deal with it effectively, but not dealing with it is ineffective and will eventually lead to burnout or maybe even sickness. You are number 1, your health is your top priority. You can not do well if your body isn’t coping. (BTW a good cry is pretty cathartic, so let it out if you have to)
  2. Sit down and write a list. Start with writing everything down that you have to do in no particular order. Once this is done prioritise your points (it might seem really overwhelming at first but it’s worth it). What needs to be done today? What can be done on the weekend? What can wait or be deleted? What can you ask for help for? Then rewrite your lists with a list for today, the rest of the week, the weekend, the next week, and the holidays. Do these on different pieces of paper or notes on your phone. This way the tasks won’t seem so daunting and they’ll be manageable.
  3. Avoid procrastinating. If you do procrastinate, then give yourself a small task and don’t begin to reorganise your wardrobe, the pantry, the bathroom, the linen closet, or your parent’s/siblings’ bedrooms. As I say to my students, do as I say, not as I do.
  4. Organise a schedule. Make appointments with yourself. Give yourself realistic windows of time to get things done. for example on Saturday from 11am to 11.15am read and annotate articles for argument analysis. 11.20- 11.35. Write an introduction. 11.35 – 12pm Have a bite to eat. Schedule your time and be accountable. But also be realistic. You are allowed to be human and take a break and socialise and go to family events.
  5. Review your study planner. What is coming up in the next week? Write down SAC dates, due dates, events, etc. Colour code it. (I find that a cheap whiteboard that you can hang up over your desk at home is excellent in helping you see what is coming up and you can adapt it during the term).
  6. Sleep. I can’t stress how important sleep is for young people. Don’t deny yourself sleep it will be to your detriment if you do. You can’t pull an all-nighter and expect to perform at your peak the next day. (This should actually be point number 1 but I can’t be bothered changing it)
  7. Eat well and regularly. Nutrition is also a key ingredient for a healthy and functioning brain.
  8. Take a break. Balance is key. Enjoy your holidays by giving yourself some time off. Not the whole time off (you are in Year 12), but days off where you do no school work and focus just on you. I will be doing the same, as it is important to switch off every now and then.
  9. Don’t spend hours writing whole practice SACs. Break it down and get feedback on these sections. This helps as it means you’ll get the feedback returned to you faster, but also that you’re not wasting your time by making the same mistakes over. Focus on small parts and perfect them before moving on to the big parts.
  10. I can’t think of a 10, but it makes it look even so I’ll make it a 10.

I think I will need to take on some of this advice myself and practice what I preach. We need to remember that we are human and our lives are not defined by the job we do or the score that we get. As long as we know that we have tried our best, and been our authentic selves in doing so, we can’t ask for anything else.

If you have any questions or have a question about how to deal with the hectic life of Year 12 please reach out and let me know. I’ll consult with my fellow ramblers if I don’t have an answer and give you advice from their perspective. I don’t know everything, but I know enough.

As always, keep it zesty.


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