Hey there, guys. So let's take a break from all my personal encounters or experiences and opinionated posts (phew, what a relief! My blog seems to be monotonous. Sorry!) and let me give you a few tips on how to survive school.
My sister and her team placed 3.5th in MTAP quiz bee elimination round last week (I wish I had her smarts in Math) and she asked me to quiz her last weekend to prepare for the next round. As 10pm neared, I told her it's time to take a break and that we should continue the practice the next day instead but she insisted in finishing her six problem sets and we still have one to go. I noticed her scores for the last set declined and I told her that she was getting distracted and tired and she may not be able to come up with the right answers if we further continue. She suddenly cried. I was shocked. I mean, I was telling her to relax and not to take everything seriously but there she was crying telling me how stressed she was and how her coach got mad at her and the team because they did not fare well in the easy round as they are having difficulty doing mentals. I kind of laughed at this point but I reassured her that everything will be fine and that she should go and rest.
10-yr. old sister is the most studious of us three. The problem is, she gets "too" studious. She even reviewed her maths during New Year's eve to prepare for the competition. The younger brother on the other hand is the more relaxed one, he never bothered bringing home high grades back in elementary and highschool and only got serious with his studies when he got into college. Still, he maintained his relaxed attitude with studying and doing great. I am more of an amalgam of the two. I'm both relaxed and studious yet I still had those stressful moments during crunch times (who doesn't have those?). I usually go out for a few minutes or watch tv when stressed and needed to unwind. As much as I hate to say this, little sister has to learn a thing or two from her two brothers.
So, in this light, here are the tips I'd like to share to my sister and to you on how to survive school:
- Sit in front of the class ALWAYS. If the teacher did not prepare any seating arrangements, always take the advantage of sitting in front of the class. Students have this misconception that sitting in the back of the class will help them avoid the attention of the professors. Well, this is rarely correct based on my observation. Professors take this misconception to their advantage and quiz those who are the back more compared to those who sit in the front. Professors also know that those who sit in the back are most likely not listening to the lectures and are disinterested in the subject. This is also the place where cheating is most likely to occur so the teachers are on full surveillance in this area.
- Listen listen listen and LISTEN. Nothing beats this tip and this may be the only tip you'll ever need. When you actively listen, you stimulate your brain to silently discuss with the knowledge your teachers are sharing. Because of this, information retention rate is increased and you are most likely ready for the next quiz even with just skimming through your notes.
- Raise your hands and answer for MOST of the teacher's questions during discussion. Yes. When you listen, you should also talk. Most students dread this as they might get humiliated when you answer incorrectly. Well, wrong again. The worst thing is to be laughed at but you can laugh with them. Plus, the advantage to answering teacher's questions during discussion is that you can select the questions you can answer and avoid being questioned for those you cannot answer. How? Well, you have just answered most of the teacher's queries and there are high chances that when the going gets tough, the teacher's attention is on those who have not yet participated in the discussion.
- You are encouraged to dedicate your time on subjects you lack at not at the subjects you are good at. Since you're already good at these subjects, focus on the areas you're having difficulty with. This is not an excuse to skip the subjects you've done well. All I'm saying is that when allocating your time, allot more time for the difficult subjects. When I was still in college, I never reviewed the subjects I like the night before. I only read it on the day itself since most likely I will be able to recall most of the information.
- Build connections. Connections are very handy when surviving school. Nope. It's not about being a teacher's pet but rather building a good reputation so that when things get out of hand, there's always a connection to help. Back then, during the so-called hell year (second year in my case), I was really stressed out with some of my subjects that I let NSTP slipped away from my grip. During NSTP 2, classmates and I were caught cutting classes for a drinking party during a friend's birthday. We were all scolded and blacklisted by our professor. We were in hot waters and every movement of ours were monitored. Things cooled down as finals neared but the incident was long before being forgotten. During the crunch times, we were assigned a final project (a compilation of some sort) which I burned the midnight oil for. Because of the lack of sleep, I fell asleep during the bus ride that I almost missed my stop. I hurriedly got off the bus until I realized I accidentally left my project in the bus. I fell into tears literally and I had no idea what to do. The professor glared at me menacingly because of her distrust when I didn't have any project to turn in. I tried to reason her out but to no avail. Good thing a few professors convinced her to trust my story and to give me a chance which I got. Without the connections and the reputation, I could have been a goner.
- Choose your friends well. They will influence you the most and will have one of the biggest impact on your performance. This does not mean you have to avoid the queen bees of the school. You can still befriend them but be wary of getting their habits unknowingly.
- Don't forget to relax and treat yourself. Give yourself a treat. Relax. It will definitely clear your mind and unwind giving you the boost you need to conquer the upcoming difficulty and hardships. Go drink and be merry.
- Faith. Faith does things. Sometimes, everything will get out of hand, everything will be out of your control, and the only thing you can do is to entrust everything to a higher being.
So these are the tips I could share with you to survive school. Just follow these tips and everything may go smoothly and see yourself holding that hard-earned diploma. Hey, you may even graduate Magna <wink>.
The MTAP quiz bee recently concluded last Thursday and I'm proud to say that my sister placed top third individual scorer and her team placed third as well. Maybe she doesn't even need my tips. Anyway, ciao!