school style inspiration

study tips for different learning styles

Here are some study tips for different learning styles that I’ve gathered from talking to friends and from what some professors have recommended their students to do:

VISUAL

  • draw pictures in your notes
  • benefit from illustrations & presentations that use color
  • use diagrams, graphs, underlining, mind-maps, etc
  • study in a visually appealing place

AUDITORY

  • study in groups, discuss things out with other people
  • record lectures, take part in a study group, go to tutoring
  • reduce lecture notes to only the main ideas
  • read texts out loud, pretend to teach someone else
  • explain ideas to other people
  • recite, recite, recite
  • create jingles or mnemonics 

READ/WRITE

  • take notes during the lecture
  • underline, highlight, or circle printed material
  • borrow other students’ notes to compare and contrast
  • use a variety of colors, pens, highlighters, note cards, etc
  • write it out, re-write your notes, create mind-maps
  • make and use flashcards for studying

KINESTHETIC

  • trace letters and words to learn spellings, etc
  • take several breaks
  • write everything out
  • move around to learn new things
  • use non-distracting movement while you learn (like shaking your leg/foot, chewing gum, tap your pen/pencil)
  • listen to non-distracting music
  • study while walking or working out

MULTI-MODAL

  • write things out but also use colors and diagrams
  • move around, study in an isolated space, work at a standing desk


If you have any additional tips, feel free to add it and/or let me know!

How to become a good student (again) 4: Layer Yourself to Merge Yourself

Hello, fellow ex-good student!

Hide yo kids, hide yo wife and hide yo husband, cause I’m about to drop the p-bomb:

That’s right… p…p…pro…

PROCRASTINATION!

I know. I know. The moment has come, man. Procrastination has cost me so many hours of my life that I will never get back and I guess it’s the same for you.
Here’s a bit of a secret - the first three posts so far? They were actually also about procrastination. Specifically, they were about WHY you or I might procrastinate.
1. Because you’re overwhelmed by choices
2. Because, goddamnit, it’s HARD to to start
3. Because you have a screwed up relationship with studying

Now, in this post, we will be tying these threads together by looking at the WHAT and the HOW. You’ve examined the roots, you’ve gotten rid of the pesky little bugs living down there, so… WHAT is procrastination really and HOW do you defeat it and actually start studying?

Procrastinaton, for me, is a state of mind, a surround sound and most of all: a place - it’s LIMBO. It’s physically being unable to do something. Being caught in a web (very often the world wide one). Drowning in water. Being pulled apart, gaining momentum, losing control, cotton in my ears, the heat of shame in my chest, a thousand voices in my mind that I try to silence.

“You should be -”
“You have to -”
“You must -”

“Do something, do something, do something, anything, anything, anything, anything”
“You loser, you can’t even -”
“YOU USED TO BE GREAT and now you’re just-”

I hate myself while doing it. I feel horrible. I feel useless.
But at the same time, at the very bottom of my mind, there is something that I’ve refused to acknowledge for the longest time: a sense of pleasure.
Why
do I feel this weird sense of pleasure when I procrastinate? Why do I feel pleasure when I know I’m sabotaging my future through inaction? When I’m digging myself into a deeper and deeper grave? When I hate myself at the same time? Why do I procrastinate at all? Is it because of that underlying ironic pleasure?

Well, to find the answer to those questions, we first need to ask ourselves a bigger one: what is the OPPOSITE of limbo? If limbo is being caught in the middle of nowhere, floating, glitching, slowly imploding, then what is the opposite?
I’d say it’s movement, direction and action - you being in charge and moving things along, having agency, being alive and powerful and energetic and hot. I’d say it’s FLOW.

When I was a child, I had little to no problem syncing in and out of flow. It just came to me like second nature and I LOVED it. I loved the way my brain buzzed and I completely forgot about my surroundings. I loved disappearing into ideas, books, stories, video games, homework, a teacher’s lesson, a friend’s story, my own projects. I went in and out as I pleased and could turn it on and off like a light switch. It was so. much. fun. and I was so, so lucky to have had the privilege of such a talent.

Back then, I used to ache and hunger for a challenge. Things were smooth and easy and fun, but I wanted MORE - harder exercises, deeper questions, more challenging teachers. When I told my father about that, he smiled and said

“Be happy. You have put so much work into this. This is the moment it’s all paying off - you’ve turned and turned and turned your wheel and now it’s running smoothly along the street without even noticing how uneven the ground is.”

He was right, of course, but as time went on, I became more and dissatisfied with my smooth little wheel and started to procrastinate more and more. Why? And, again: where does the pleasure at procrastinating come from?

I’d argue that there are two main factors and one huge reason:

FACTOR 1: The wheel didn’t deliver on its promises

I already mentioned this in the very first post, but basically: disillusionment. I loved working hard, but I also expected it to pay off at some point. However, apart from the occasional pat on the head from a teacher or my parents’ smiles, there wasn’t all that much to be gained. There were no harder exercises, no special treatments, no big revelations - even university, my very last bastion of hope turned out to be a glorified bouncy castle.
I was just bored and the work I put into it wasn’t worth the outcome anymore. The system had failed me.

FACTOR 2: Suddenly, there were a lot of wheels

It is easy to glorify my younger self, but, really, child-me had it a lot easier.
Child-me only had one wheel to spin (school) and as I grew older, I realized that there were, well, many other wheels I had neglected.
I had a lot of catching up to do in areas like empathy, charisma, self-confidence and self-worth outside of academia, humour and fashion. And when I left school, there were even MORE wheels: suddenly, I also had to keep my job, my apartment, my much more complicated social life, my manifold hobbies and a somewhat healthy sleep schedule going.
I wasn’t prepared for this abundance of wheels. I’d grown up thinking that as long as I could keep the one wheel I was good at spinning (academia), I’d be juuuuust dandy. Well, I was wrong and I realized that, once again the system had failed me.

If only I’d had better teachers. If only I’d listened to the good ones. If only I’d worked the problem earlier. If only I was part of a better system that would recognize and foster my talents. Who knows how much I could achieve? Who knows how much I could have ALREADY achieved?

And that’s where the pleasure of procrastination comes from.
It is defiance. It is rebellion. It is a big “FUCK YOU” to the system that failed me. It is a “Look at me! I’m operating outside the system and I’m STILL getting semi-good grades. I don’t need any of you. I don’t need any of this. I’m playing by MY rules. I’m getting shit done MY way. Because YOUR way disappointed me. Because I am FREE.”

If, at this point, you’re starting to feel sorry for me (or yourself for being in a similar situation) …that’s exactly the problem. There’s really no way to say this nicely, so here we go:

PROCRASTINATION IS NO MORE AND NO LESS THAN A GLORIFIED VICTIM COMPLEX.

Let me explain.
When you procrastinate, doesn’t it feel like you HAVE TO do things? Like you’re being FORCED to do something? Like you’re POWERLESS? Like you’re STUCK? Like you’re SUFFERING? Like you’re AT THE MERCY of your negative thoughts, the system or you’re conscience? Like you’re being WHIPPED AROUND? Like you crave recognition of your SUFFERING? Like you don’t have a choice except RUNNING AWAY and not facing what you’re FORCED to face?

All of these thoughts and emotions put you in the position of a sufferer - a victim.

You see yourself as a victim of the system, the school, the state, the assignment you should be working on. You deliver yourself unto their power. You submit to a simple dichotomy: I HAVE to do this or I SHOULD FEEL like shit.
I HAVE to do this, so I MUST suffer and accept the infringement of my freedom.

Well, let me tell you something that just about changed my life when I fully, deeply and profoundly realized the truth behind these words:

YOU 
DON’T 
HAVE
TO 
DO 
SHIT. 


…or a bit more eloquently put:

You’re the one in control.

No, honestly. You are. 

If you wanted to, you could throw it all into the wind, take the next train to nowhere and see where life takes you. But do you want to do that? 
And, the even bigger question: why do you feel SO powerless that this small, stupid act of rebellion against The System is enough to intoxicate you SO much that you keep coming back to suckle on its sweet, sweet bitter nectar?

It’s because you feel trapped. It’s because you feel lost. 
It’s because you feel like you have so much potential and it’s all going to FUCKING waste and if somebody were to just give you a FUCKING hand you could really show everybody just how much you can FUCKING do and-

-let me stop you right there and let me ask you 4 questions:

QUESTION 1)
You keep going on and on about how intelligent you are …but what’s the use of your intelligence if you can’t use it to improve your own life?

If you’re anything like me, you find it very easy and rewarding to help other people with their problems. You easily see the roots of problems and the ways that conflicts could be resolved. You’re an excellent trouble-shooter and a strategist in video games and for your friends… but what about your own life? Why do you ACCEPT playing the role of the victim in your own life?

Why do you accept this suffering?

Long story short: because you’ve grown used to it.

You’ve forgotten what it feels like to make active choices, to exert your full agency and to take full responsibility for whatever mess might come of it. Leading me to…

Question 2)
You keep going on and on about how intelligent you are… but what’s the use of your intelligence if you don’t take anything seriously?

Be honest: when was the last time you took anything seriously and gave it your all? …no? Nothing?


Well, if you’re anything like me, I’m sure you know the neat excuse of “eh, I was just winging it, but if I REALLY tried-” and do you know what that is? It’s cowardice and it’s self-victimization.

I know I’m coming on very strong.
But the truth is this: I know this. I know this because I’ve been living this. I’ve been living a second-hand life that I allowed to be ruled by “the system” and guilt and made-up obligations …and I almost lost myself in the process.

Maybe you can realize it with me: It’s some time ago, I wake up in the middle of the night and randomly feel like taking an IQ test online. I’m still half-asleep, I roll onto my stomach, I don’t even sit up, I meander my way through the questions. Shit. I realize that time is running out and I haven’t even finished ¾ of the questions! I panick. I feel guilty. I finally sit up. I start trying harder. I’m getting faster and faster - faster than I ever thought possible. And despite 5 minutes of good effort - 
I fail. Hard.
And as I sit there in my dark room, my unbelievably sucky result glowing on the screen of my mobile phone and I look out of the window, I realize: this has been my life for the past 5 years. Winging stuff at not even 50% of my capacity and being hurt by the results. Honestly, when WAS the last time I took anything really seriously? 

The next day, I get 8 hours of sleep, sit down in front of my laptop with a bottle of water, search for the most professional IQ test I can find and concentrate from the very beginning. I score 30 points higher. 

Let me repeat that: I scored 30 points higher on an IQ test because I actually tried. Magical things can happen if you take stuff seriously.

Leading us to

Question 3)
You keep going on and on about how intelligent you are… but when was the last time your intelligence has brought you joy?

Maybe you’re familiar with the phrase “The burnt child dreads the fire”? When I thought back on my academic progress in the last years, I realized that there really hadn’t been much joy anywhere. Pretty much everything had sucked. 

Big time.

Of course I wouldn’t want to invest my energy into something that didn’t yield any good results … right?

Wrong. My lack of good results was only an indicator for the real problem: my lack of effort.
The simple truth is this: 
We are smart. We enjoy doing what we are good at. We enjoy hard mental work, REGARDLESS of the results.
But once I started to focus too much on the results and thought it was all about having a great CV and min-maxing my grades… I just didn’t have fun anymore. I didn’t allow myself to have fun anymore. To disappear into a world of thoughts like I used to as a child. To invest way too much time into a project, to have an absolute BLAST creating something complex and outstanding and super cool. 

Bringing us to…

Question 4) 
You keep going on and on about how intelligent you are… but can you really create something extraordinary?

See that’s the thing: when I was a child, I didn’t just take school seriously.
I wanted to go the extra mile. 
And honestly? That was the whole secret. I wanted to create something that wasn’t just special but mind-blowingly special. It’s not like I knew I had it in me, but rather that I wanted grow to have more and more in me and I knew that the only way to do that was to challenge myself again and again.
That’s the difference between viewing your intelligence and your capabilities as stagnant or growing. There is no joy and no truth in regarding yourself as stagnant - the best of violin players started out sounding like a dying cat and the best athletes kept stumbling. If you want to create and become something extraordinary, you need to know that it will not happen overnight. You need to know that it will be a slow, hard and challenging hike up a hill and the only thing that keeps you climbing is your willingness to go the extra mile so you can see the view become more and more beautiful.

The real pleasure of studying is not getting good results and bragging rights - that’s just a cool side-effect. The real pleasure of studying is studying and that means working and knowing that working gets you one step ahead one step at a time.

So HOW can you change? HOW can you regain control? How can you consciously go from limbo to flow?
First of all:

1) RECLAIM YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AND YOUR PASSION

The first thing I tell myself in the morning is “My life is in my hands.”
That’s not always an easy sentence to start with, especially if I haven’t slept well or if I’m sick or in the middle of a fight or an existential crisis or just crabby.
But it’s always true. It’s MY life and it’s my responsibility to make the best of it. 

One poem in particular has really helped me, so who knows, maybe it’ll help some of you guys as well:

The Vow

No matter how deep the sadness or wide the pain,
I vow to live for a brighter day will come again.

No matter how many mistakes I’ve made in the past,
I vow to live and in the future avoid them, surefooted and fast.

No matter how many tragedies beyond my control take place,
I vow to live and stay my course within this race.

No matter how poor or rich I may ever be,
I vow to live and aspire to search for the dignity in simplicity.

No matter how much a lover may pierce the inner core of my heart,
I vow to live for like spring I’ll get a new start.

No matter how isolated and alone I may feel,
I vow to live and do something for someone else to heal.

No matter how hopeless my situation my appear,
I vow to live and reflect until my viewpoint is clear.

No matter what happens in this life – good or bad
I vow to live, do my best, and just for living – be glad.

– Malcolm O. Varner

If you want to find pleasure in studying again, you need to embrace your own passion.
I know it’s a lot “cooler” to be indifferent towards studying, to procrastinate, to do it almost out of spite and at the last minute. But is it really?
No one wins. It’s not rewarding. It’s not fulfilling. You’ll have forgotten it in a week. It just sucks for everyone involved. Love what you do. Love it like you would a lover. Be considerate, be tender and be patient.
It must not feel like an obligation. It must feel like a passion - a fiery want for new horizons, mentals fireworks and lightbulb moments. It must come from yourself, from your bowels, your fibres, your blood - not from some ominous outside force. 

“I have to do this.” -> “I want to do this!”
“I’m losing time. There is so much I have to do, I want to be done with this already.” -> “I want to give this my time. This is absolutely worth it. I really want to be doing this right now.”
“Be fast. Be faster.” -> “Slow down. Be patient. Cherish this moment.”
“This is hard. I hate it. I hate it so much.” -> “This is challenging. I love it. I love it so much.”
“I can make this perfect, it has to be perfect! I could give this my all, I can give this my all. If I’m not giving this my all, I’m a complete and utter failure. Better not try at all rather than screwing it up. Again.”   -> “This is a work-in-progress, just like anything else. I am sure I can improve it bit by bit, by devoting some of my time to it. Even if I don’t get very far today, I’m sure the experience will pay off in the long run and I might find some unrelated ideas for other projects!”

You must go from this:

To that:

2) MAKE ACTIVE CHOICES.

(Like, maybe make the choice NOT to wear that speedo)

Because that’s really what it comes down to in the end: CHOICE. Nobody actively chooses to procrastinate. Procrastination is the absence of choice. 

Years of little to no success make you feel like your choices don’t matter -> you feel like you cannot influence anything -> you might as well not try -> you procrastinate.
But here’s the thing: your choices DO matter (DITCH that speedo!) and you must regain that trust in yourself.

We NEED to be able to make choices about their own lives. It makes us feel powerful and like we are truly alive.
It makes us feel like we are, you guessed it, in the flow.

Now, of course it’d be nice if I told you “Make conscious choices sweaty <3 ;*” and you’d go out and do it and that was it. But, truth be told, it’s hella hard to get there and it will take you at least a year of constant effort.
For me, this year meant constantly asking myself “Wait, do I REALLY want to do this right now?” and establishing a neat rule for all media consumption that goes “Always enrichment, never escape”. But, as I said, that’s a work-in-progress and something that you will have to work on in your own time and at your own pace.
Luckily, I found a shortcut :D

Now, the shortcut does not replace the year of constant effort, mind you, but it can help to make it a lot easier:

THE STUDY ROOM

What’s the “Study Room”? Well…
You might have been wondering what the title “Layer Yourself to Merge Yourself” is all about. This was my thought process:

  • 1) I want to get from limbo to flow
  • 2) And I want studying to feel like a reward in and of itself
  • 3) And it’d be nice if I could concentrate on just spinning one wheel at a time, so I can really lose myself in it
  • 4) I also want it to be a conscious choice, so I can train my decision-making process
  • ….
  • ….but how?
  • …”fake it till you make it” or what, haha?
  • ….I guess what that really means is that you have to act like you’re already there until you’re there?
  • …so, like, you have to artifically induce naturalness?
  • …haha, wouldn’t it be neat if I could do that and “transform” into my “study-form” like the Avatar or a magical girl or a superhero or something?
  • …..
  • …wait. Wait. WAIT. What if I COULD?
  • What if there was a “me” that was specifically always in the flow and already loves and is good at studying and which I only access whenever I want to study?
  • So I create a new “me”, so that, over time, we can become one again and I can change into that “me” whenever I want?
  • …cool.
  • …but how?
  • I could always go to a special place, but that would limit me whenever that place wasn’t availabe.
  • …buuuuuut…..
  • …..what if it was a place I could ALWAYS access?
  • what if it was a place in my MIND?
  • ….
  • …..holy SHIT.

And that’s how the “Study Room” was born. Below, I will detail the journey to my personal “study room”, but I wager that everybody’s study room will look a little different depending on what makes you feel most comfortable, rational and “in the flow”.

STEP 1 - DETACH FROM LIMBO

Close your eyes. Lean back.
Do it with me now. Consider this your tutorial. Bring yourself to a screeching halt, throw an anchor into the the ground of the stormy sea, pull the brakes, just - stop. Stop. Slow down.
Close your eyes, lean back, keep your eyes closed for a good minute - god, how long a minute can be, right?- and feel your breathing consciously, slowly, feel how you are alive and full of hunger, feel how your heart beats, feel how much tension has built up inside of you, how much energy has been stored and how much you actually ache to do something meaningful. Feel it. Keep your eyes closed until you feel it. Then, come back to me.

STEP 2 - BECOME AWARE OF REALITY

I don’t know if you’ll need this step, but I live very much inside my head and limbo just makes that effect even stronger. So, I like to remind myself of my physicality, of my spatial realness, of my ability to perceive and interact with the world in this step. I re-connect with the world and it slows me down even more - it’s a bit like hooking myself into this world, so limbo can’t claim me so easily.
I drink a glass of water, I eat a carrot, I touch a cold tile, I feel the texture of a pillow, I play with my own hair - if I’m in public, like in a library, I usually just brush over my lips or grip the table unobtrusively. It’s a small step, one that usually doesn’t take longer than 10 seconds, but it’s one that has helped me a lot.

(When I’m really caught up in limbo, I usually lie down on the floor in my room. That works wonders)

STEP 3 - ENTER YOUR STUDY PLACE

At this point, I close my eyes again and visualize. I enter another world, the world of studying in my mind.

STEP 3A - THE DOOR

My eyes are still closed and imagine a dark, circular room: this is the entrance to my Study Room ™. I stand in the middle of the room - there is one door right in front of me, two to my left and two to my right. I have no idea what’s behind those other doors or why my imagination has conjured up a room like that, but hey, it works and here we are.
I gather all my concentration and repeat “My life is in my hands. I take on the responsibility for my own life. I WANT to learn. I CHOOSE this.” to myself. Then, I consciously choose to walk in only one direction, channeling all my thoughts into a straight line: towards the door right in front of me. I enter through it - somehow, I never have to actually open it, so it might be more like an open doorway?

STEP 3B - THE WATER

I step through the door and find myself in a space filled with water. I have absolutely no trouble breathing and I can easily swim, turn, glide and spiral like a dolphin. The water washes the last remnants of limbo off me, I feel my tensions washing away, my mind waking up, the wheel starting to move, my chest feeling lighter, my heart feeling hotter, my breathing going slow and steady. I swim in this liminal space for as long as I need to, I revel, I breathe, I wallow, I luxuriate until I feel ready to emerge from the water.
(wonder what psychologists would say about this little ritual - is it a literal re-birth? is this the womb? who knows? it works and that’s good enough for me right now …now that I think about it, that beach scene from Gravity might have been an inspiration. Man, I loved that movie already, but that ending?? Aaaaanyway, moving on…)

STEP 3C - THE WORLD

Then, I swim upwards and emerge from the water, head-first. The sun is warm and shines on my head and I step out of the water with bare feet, toes curling around grass and my lungs breathing in fresh forest air. Somewhere, a bird is singing, white clouds are languidly drifting by, all is warm, comfortable and good. I sit down on a giant mushroom by a tree (hey, don’t ask me, I don’t know), take a last deep breath and put pen to paper.
At this point, I open my eyes in the real world. I am completely relaxed, a thousand miles away from limbo, in another dimension even, calm and happy to engage with questions and wonders.

I’m in the flow.

In this world, I am a different me. A “study-me”.
In time, this me and I will merge again and we have already merged quite a bit. My walk through the Study Room process has become faster and faster and I am quite certain that, in time, it won’t take longer than a fraction of a second and it will seem like I can switch my flow on and off again like I used to. My study wheel is rolling again.

But if yours isn’t just yet, then …this is it. This is how, this is why and this is the very moment I re-connect with my “study values”, my passion and my agency, again and again and I choose to do it. Again. And again.


It is, really, all about choice.

And that’s the advantage I have over the old me. The old me studied because I didn’t know anything else and because I thought that I had to. 
The me right now chooses to study because I want to. And that makes it ten times more effective, more freeing and more fun.

So run wild, enjoy, actively enter that world of studying in your head, no matter what yours might look like (rain? palm trees? other planet? go bonkers!), it’s about choosing this and wanting this. It is about YOU saying “Yes, there are other interesting things and wheels out there, but right here, right now, I want this, nothing else and I will give it all of myself for as long as I want to.”

As you might have guessed by the gifs, I really recommend watching Free! Iwatobi Swim Club if you’re interested in overcoming procrastination.
(I swear I’m not sponsored by KyoAni, but for all their other shortcomings, their characters always have amazing character arcs when it comes to professionalism and passions) Both Rin and Haru are caught in their own versions of limbo and following Rin’s journey in Season 1 and Haru’s journey in Season 2 really helped me realize a lot of things about my own life and about how I dealt with passion, talent and my career.

The last part of this series will include a Q&A, so if there is something you didn’t quite understand or are unsure about, something you’d like to add or recommend to others, something you’d like me to explain in more detail or demonstrate through other examples, please, just write me a message (my inbox is absolutely open!) and I will answer it in Part 5 :)

Thank you for coming along on this ride! I hope some of my thoughts could help you and please, do let me know if my methods work for you - I’d love to know! :D 

Your life is in your hands,

-studyinstyle

“… what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.”
― Norton Juster

How to become a good student (again) 3: Yearn for friendship - not worship; not debasement

Hello, fellow ex-good student!

‘tis done! This beast just got longer and longer, so I decided to cut it down a bit for the sake of readability. But let me know if there’s something that was too vague - the nuance might have got lost in the editing process.

Alright, let’s get down to business (to defeat! The Huns!)! So, if you’re an ex-good student, I’m pretty sure that you know this static in your head, right? Whenever you really need to do something but you just can’t get up and do it, so you keep procrastinating even though you hate it and keep scrolling and scrolling or gaming and gaming and feel more and more guilty?

Well, it might not be the most immediate analogy, but for this post I want you to consider that what connects you and your subject of study is essentially a relationship and that this static is (among other things) an indicator of how screwed up your relationship is. Just like with real people, your relationships with subjects can either

  • prosper and bear fruit (me & Creative Writing)
  • become cold and distant (me & French)
  • or, worst of all, turn sour and actively harmful. (me & PE, back in school)

Now, nobody likes to hear that they’re relationship-ing wrong. And it is true that different approaches work for different people. But here are the counter-productive relationships that I’ve personally ended up in and I’m gonna show you how I got into and out of them, so you can try to do the same. Maybe it’ll help you lift that static from your head.

Side-Note: Always remember that, since your subjects are just that (subjects), and not real people, you are the only one who can actually mend these relationships and, conversely, you are the one who screwed them up in the first place (probably with good intentions, though).

So, we’ll take them in this order:

1) Overeager Debasement

2) Undereager Debasement

3) Worship


(Oh, and in case you wanna catch up:

Masterpost 

Part 1

Part 2)


1) Overeager Debasement

What is it?

The desire to do everything, perfectly, at the same time, right now. Not to limit yourself to just one field of study, but to master them all, to reign supreme above knowledge, to keep your mind wide open to new possibilities, similarities and contradictions.
You overvalue your own capacities and undervalue the needs and difficulties of your subject.
(also refer to the first post for this)

How did you get here?

(read picture from right to left)

So. Many. Possible. Reasons.

  • it’s a cage. The idea of doing just one thing for the rest of your life scares you and you feel imprisoned at the thought of it
  • you know that you could be outstanding if you applied yourself
  • you know that you could be even more outstanding if you became accomplished in multiple fields
  • you want to find connections between fields nobody’s ever considered before
  • you feel like you’ve wasted your last few years and need to catch up to others
  • you’re afraid that you’re not good enough
  • you’re afraid of being ignorant
  • you’re arrogant

No matter the reason (I’ve gone through them all), people caught in this state of mind shovel more and more onto their plate.
And then wonder why they can’t swallow it all.

What do you think you’re doing?

A labour of love, most likely. You think you love languages and sciences and athletics and programming and cooking and hanging out with friends and being alone and so you just want to do it all!
You don’t want to limit yourself! You don’t want to lose any time! But there’s just so much and you have so little energy and ugh, if only I wasn’t destined for greatness, then I could relax like other little people, but no, I need to keep pushing! In every! Direction! At the same! Time!

I know your delusion. I’ve been there. You imagine yourself to be that one perfect friend who gets up at 6am, watches the sun rise, does yoga, eats a healthy breakfast, goes for a quick run, comes back home, answers all correspondence, is artistic for a few hours, then scientific for a few hours, then social for a few hours and ends the day with tiny masterpieces in each area, goes out with friends or family to grab a healthy dinner and goes to sleep, happy and balanced :)

Well, you know what, my starry-eyed friend?

What are you actually doing?

You’re the mental equivalent of a social butterfly.
You’re being fucking disrespectful.

You’re always on the run and never able to really commit to anything, because you’ve already scheduled something else afterwards. You’re shallow, deluded, that one friend that always comes in running, screaming “Besties  ~ ♥” and everyone shifts uncomfortably in their seats and smiles a painful smile and humours you, because they know you mean well, but they also know that you know nothing about them. 
You’ve never been there for them ever, but always expect them to be there for you. Whenever they want to talk about themselves, you nod and then proceed to about yourself and your plans and “ohmygosh, this is so nice, we need to meet more often ~ ♥ “. But at least you mean well, so they’ve agreed to keep it simple and on the “The weather is nice today”-level with you. 

But here you are, wondering why you’re not making any progress.
Mysterious.

So what do I do?

Well, you need to go from this:

To this:

How? More on that below.


2) Undereager Debasement

What is it?

This stage is what happens when you notice that your lofty ideals from Overeager Debasement cannot be fulfilled. You turn bitter, hateful, cold. You think you’re a failure, you think you were too soft. Instead of wanting to be friends with everyone, you now want to rule over everyone, fuck what they want.

You’re burnt out. You’re done. You just want to get through these stupid classes and catch a goddamn break, goddamnit.

And you WILL get through. You’re too proud to do anything else. But you don’t really care about any of it.
You just want to make it.

How did you get here?

If you were a good student, you probably heard at some point or another that you were “different” and that your complex and mysterious ways were not understandable and definitely not achievable for your average classmate.

Most people who tell you this mean well. A few want to make fun of you, but most actually do mean it as a compliment. But they don’t know how dangerous it is to hear it again and again, because regardless of whether it’s true or not, you start to believe it.
You start to believe that somehow, you have a higher calling, a higher standard. And you start to long for that day when your high standards will be met - when you will go to that one mysterious class where everyone is just as eager as you are, where the “Oh, captain, my captain!”-teacher will spark a fire in your brain that will never go out and when your ominous “gifts” can finally be put to good use for the prosperous future of mankind.


And you work.

And work.

And the class never comes.

You feel the weight on your shoulders when teachers talk of “high expectations”, you feel it crush you a little bit every time your friends tease you about your genuine fear that you might not get an A, that you might lose it all, that your “gifts” could disappear and you’ll be stranded and useless and you put in the hours, you work your ass off to keep that high standard, all in the hope of having that one miraculous class that never comes.

I realized that that class would never come when I entered university.

University, I’d told myself, would be my Arcadia, my Eden, my academic paradise where all my hard work would be rewarded!
Instead, I only found more drudgery, more incompetent professors, more disinterested students and even more bureacracy. To say that I was “disappointed” would be putting it very lightly.

I became disoriented and disenchanted. I realized that I could get through most classes with half-assed effort, I was hardly ever challenged, I floated along and hated every second of it. I blamed my boring teachers, the imperfect system, the teachers who had given me hope only for me to watch it crash and go up in flames.

What do you think you’re doing?

Being badass, cool and detached, most likely.

You dream of yourself as a master and your subjects as slaves. They bow to your will, they dance to your tune, you command them with the snap of a finger.

“Look, you slave of the system”, you say, lying on a velvet sofa, “Look, at how it hardly takes any effort for me to pass these classes! Look at how I spend my time doing things I actually like and that are actually worth it, unlike these stupidly easy classes taught by stupidly incompetent professors in a stupidly screwed-up system! Look at me, being edgy and drowning in self-hatred because I can physically feel myself gliding off the rails that made me so “special” and becoming one of the average people in the masses, haha. Ha. Ha. Screw academia, but still give me good grades, amirite?”

I know your delusion. I’ve been there. You imagine yourself to be that one perfect friend that never studies for classes, comes for three lectures per semester and still manages to get perfect grades because everything you do in school is, like, so five years ago. That one friend who has read all the classics in their spare time, has conquered and enslaved all the knowledge actually worth knowing, will quote obscure Polish philosophers you’ve never heard of and plays the piano with a perfect pitch. They’re the wisest, most culture-non-conforming people you know - they’ve been up until 5am, wandering the streets and drinking vodka from a bottle while forcefully pentrating the mysteries of the universe all by themselves until they finally fall asleep on a park bench and awake with an epiphany about Klein bottles.
They’re “special”.

What are you actually doing?

Caring more about appearing “special” than actually trying to be “special”, that’s what you’re doing.

But, look, what made you so “special” and “different” in the first place was not a “calling” or “gifts” or the fact that you wrote good grades and were destined for greatness.

Here’s a handy chart I’ll use later - you were lucky enough to fall into the green zone, lucky enough to be born with an innate respect and a love for learning. That’s what made you “special”. That’s what made you succeed. Not pressure, not warped ideals and certainly not the fear of failure.


But somewhere along the way you forgot that and only focussed on the results. You started to believe yourself to be so special that everybody else should cater to you.
The fancy titles, the awe-struck looks, the “You’re so amazing”s and the “The genius of a decade”, the planned Nobel prize speech and the prestige, the dream others had lovingly created for you and you had slowly absorbed and warped as your own? It got to you. Hell, it got to me.
And it became more important than learning itself.
Somewhere along the way, you and I, we became an arrogant and lazy assholes.

You looked down on your easy courses and homework and instead of recognising how lucky you are, doing it in a minute and a half and then putting in the extra work on top to dig deeper and to maybe contribute something of value and fun, you threw it aside with a snide remark as beneath you.
Of course it wasn’t fun. Of course it wasn’t challenging. You never even tried to make it either.

(And don’t get me wrong: I honestly do think that the education system as it is right now needs MAJOR reforms. But right now? It is what it is. And instead of making the best of it and doing what you once loved so much, you succumbed to societal pressures you found yourself unable to fulfill and said “meh”.
You cared so much about the fame and the title that the relationship itself didn’t matter.)

But this isn’t the master-slave relationship you imagine it to be.
It’s a trophy-friendship. Once upon a time, you got on really well with this person and other people loved your friendship. You fell in love with the ideal, with their connections, their money, their prestige, their name on a CV, and you stuck around just for that.
You valiantly ignore the reality of the state of things between you two
and take them out only when absolutely needed, only when things are this close to falling apart and so you keep walking a fine, fine line.
Whenever a deadline approaches, you shower them with attention and love and, gingerly, they open up to you and you see a depth and complexity to them that astounds you and makes you think “Imagine! Imagine how much more I could have seen if only I’d started earlier?”
But the moment the crisis has passed, you toss them aside once again.

Because this is enough to make your name.
You may not remember much about these nights or about the person at all, but the only thing that counts is that it will fulfill your “special” prophecy and make you a legend, right?

Well, always remember this:
(read picture from right to left)

You’re not “special” if you made it to university. You’re not “special” if you’ve made your name. 
It comes down to a simple choice: do you value appearances over integrity or the other way round? Do you dare to look like a fumbling idiot again when you start something new? Is the “appearing like an idiot”-part more important to you than the “learning/creating something new”-part? 
Have a think about it.

3) Worship

“Alright”, you’ll say, “Alright. I get it. So I’ll treat my “friends”/subjects with respect and integrity and I’ll take all the time and concentration I can bestow upon them, just as I would upon real friends. But do you want me to be like, uh - like…

What is it?

“…like one of those anime characters that lives only for their dream and gets up at like 6am, does the thing, talks about the thing, breathes the thing, goes to bed, dreams of the thing and then wakes up at 6am to do the thing?”

(Google: Did you mean Hinata Shouyou?

Yes, yes, I did, google.)

Well, no, I don’t want you to do that. See, that’s the other extreme and unless you’re an anime character, chances are that it won’t work out for you. 

How did you get here?

Personally, I was caught in this trap for a loooooong time. Anime offered me a new way of relating to my passions that neither my family nor my school had ever shown me: unabashed obsession.
I wanted to be perfect. I wanted to be obsessed. I wanted to give myself up to a higher ideal, something above human consciousness, something that would endure. I wanted to, well, get up at 6am, do the thing, talk about the thing, breathe the thing and so on - “the thing” in question being, of course, studying. I made elaborate plans, complicated lists, study-plans that shift on a daily basis and cover all grounds, I wanted to study for two hours before school, wanted to repeat lessons, wanted to give myself up to knowledge, made cool covers for my notebooks, made mock exams for my friends to use, planned to focus on each continent for a month and study it, planned to listen to one new composer each day, planned to go to the museum every week, planned to analyze Sherlock Holmes and think just like him, planned to - you get the idea.

I wanted to be like this:

What do you think you’re doing?

Being but a humble servant to the eternal workings of truth. Knowing thou art unworthy, yet suffering the perfection of study.

I wanted to go from 0 to 100, I wanted knowledge and wisdom to transform and deliver me, I wanted to feel enlightened, I wanted to feel my brain burning, pushing frontiers and breaking through to new horizons, I wanted to elevate myself to touch even the lowest levels of truth.
I wanted to do something noble, something worthwhile, something that could never be critisized and would always be valued, something with eternal meaning that would echo through the ages and I wanted to be even the tiniest cog in the machinery of mind.

What are you actually doing?

Being, quite simply, an idiot.

This is one of my favourite quotes (David Wong):

“There are two ways to dehumanize someone: by dismissing them, and by idolizing them.” 

The same goes for studying. As shown above, studying won’t work out if you do not treat your subjects with respect. Conversely, studying also won’t work if you continue to idolize it as work beyond all work and reproach, as the only true calling, as the realm of the genii and by self-flagellating yourself and repeating “I’m but a humble servant in your kingdom of reason and will never reach where you are, but will spend all my time trying to reach you.” 

Why? Because by saying “I’ll never reach you or be worthy of you”, you’ve already sealed your fate. Some students (no matter how well they actually perform) are stuck thinking that they are stupid and incapable of doing well. Others think that the trick is in the preparation and they undergo complicated rituals of finding exactly the right study spot, exactly the right study drink, exactly the right study time, etc. in the hope of channeling the connection between their godly subject and themselves, but it never turns out quite as glamorous as they’d hoped (once again, speaking from experience).

This is because you cannot force a true friendship if you think yourself unworthy of it. It will always be worship. 

And why are you worshipping?
Because it takes the pressure right off of you
. This always annoyed me about some of my fellow students. They treated becoming a good student as this miraculous and unlikely event that only happens to the #blessed.
I insisted that “no”, it could be done. “Yes”, it was hard work, but ultimately absolutely doable. But now that I’ve been in their shoes? I understand.
Admitting that you could have done it anytime implies failure on your part for not having done it. By saying “Oh no, it is so very complex and divine and a lowly worm like me could never hope to crawl in its shadows”, you shift the focus away from yourself and onto the thing itself. 

But this is a synthetic, manufactured relationship with a partner that does not even exist. It is, at its heart, a kyaa  ~ I hope senpai notices me! (๑♡⌓♡๑) - kind of relationship. It’s idolizing not a person’s true character, but their appearance, their aesthetic and the values that they represent for you. It’s not really listening to what they’re saying, but warping their words so they fit into your perfect idea of them.
Just, unlike with undereage debasement, you do not play pretend that everything’s fine and secretly hate the other person deep down - you honestly idolize them to heaven and back, so you could never possible reach them.
You’re using them to fill in the holes in your own personality.

And that … just isn’t fun? I dunno about you, but treating studying as something that must be done perfectly with exactly the right pen and the perfect face-mask after the right smoothie and in the right lighting by a window overgrown with ivy and with perfect concentration from the first moment and unwavering, knightly passion and exact planning from 6am to bedtime all because I know deep down that I will not be able to fulfill these ideals and thus don’t have to feel bad about not reaching them just … isn’t for me. I don’t like my relationships to be all overstructured and “perfect” and high maintenance like that.

I want my friendships and my studying to be authentic. And that means that sometimes it’s messy and sometimes it’s hard and sometimes it’s quoting Keats while lying on the floor at 2am in the morning and chugging milk out of a carton, but it’s real.
I truly do understand this longing to make studying look pretty and like a magical realm, because when you’re in the flow that’s really what it feels like. But the beauty comes along with the practice, not the other way round.

No, but honestly - what do I DO then?


Y’remember Hippogriffs from Harry Potter? That’s how I imagine my subjects. Approach them carefully, honestly, maintaining eye contact and as equals and they will respect you. This scene:

This scene is what I’m talking about. 
If you were in a worship-state, you would only admire them from afar, gushing over how beautiful they are, but sad that they would never deign to even look in your general direction. (think of all the subjects you thought would be way too difficult for you)
If you were in a debasement-state, you’d either try to make friends with all the hippogriffs, hopping from one to the other and forming no bond with either or you’d “tsk” disdainfully and try to force them to obey you against their will. (*cough* Malfoy *cough*)

If, however, you’re in the green, there will be mutual respect between you and you will be able to fly.

So what does it mean to be in the green? 
It means not to do any of the above, obviously, so 

  • take your time for and invest brainpower into each and every one of your subjects - be a good friend. Be there. Listen. Even if they have crazy ideas at 4am in the morning. 
  • appreciate your subjects and know that they are more than the teacher who tries to get you to know them. Sometimes, some people just have a really shitty PR department (especially maths)
  • don’t think too much or too little of yourself. You can do amazing things, but that does not give you the license not to do amazing things anymore, rest on your laurels and expect others to applaud you for it. 

  • some relationships take longer than others to build, but getting to understand someone who puzzled you from the first moment and challenged your beliefs will improve your own personality as well
    (side-eye at PE. Yes, I love you now, you crazy athletic bastard)
  • do it for the sake of the relationship itself, because you enjoy their company. Results are presents which, although very much appreciated, should not be the main motivator to keep you going.
    This essentially means that you should think of studying as hanging out with a friend - already makes it seem so much more inviting and way less daunting, does it not?

    (Logic and I, being saltmates. Real friends judge other people together)
  • be aware that all friendships go through rocky patches and some subjects might take a while to warm up to you or you to them. But if you think that it’s worth it, then you gotta power through that. If you don’t think it’s worth it, you gotta be brave enough to say good-bye. 


Look, what I’m actually saying is … be Souma Yukihira from Food Wars.

Food Wars is a crazy and at times pretty pervy manga/anime, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t also one of the best pieces of fiction I’ve ever consumed and if Souma isn’t one of the most admirable main characters I’ve ever encountered.  

The relationship between him and cooking is filled with trust, love and equality. He trusts his cooking skills, because he knows that they have spent a long time together - cooking won’t let him down and he won’t ever let cooking down by stopping to look for ways to improve.

That doesn’t mean, however, that he’s always deadly serious - he loves to play around with cooking and to try ridiculous new things. He never forgets the joy that even the simplest form of cooking brings him. 

There’s one great episode where he puts his life as a chef on the line and someone fearfully asks him what he’d do if he lost. He shrugs and says he could become a lawyer or a teacher or something. So while he loves cooking profoundly, he does not worship it and he knows that there are other relationships he could build up if he had to. He just …doesn’t want to, because cooking is his bff. 

He loves to take on challenges to see how far he and cooking have come -

- and he takes challenges very seriously -


- but takes it even more seriously if he loses -

- and nonetheless knows that they are stronger for the challenges they have faced together. 

So, yes, this is what it means to be in the green. Cherish your friendships, hang out together, be honest, funny, clever, curious and you. 

You’ll be surprised at how much fun the two of you will have, now that all the pretensions and pressures are gone. 

Just …hang out and have fun.

(and maybe watch Food Wars!, because damn, Souma is the MVP of my inspirational heroes)

Have a great day and I’ll see you in the next (and hopefully shorter) part 4 :)

How to become a good student (again) 1: Slow down to speed up

Hello, fellow ex-good-student! 

If you’re anything like me, you feel this immense pressure on your shoulders, yes? You want to be good, you want to succed, you want to know more, but somehow -… somehow it just ain’t enough to actually get you to do something? Until the very last minute, that is, when all the pressure comes rushing down like a waterfall?

Ah, or perhaps that stress has driven you over the edge and you have achieved the next stage: being so stressed that you’re oddly calm again and nothing really fazes you anymore? Perhaps you have cynically accepted that this is just who you are now? Perhaps you say:

But somehow you fail to say it proudly. Somehow you’re just really unhappy with the state of things, but feel like you don’t give enough of a fuck to really change anything? 
Yes? Well, then this is the post for you!

Let me start with three observations that are less obvious than you might think: 

1) “Naturally” good students (NGS, so people, like you and me, who didn’t have to learn how to be good at school, but kinda slipped into it) are good thinkers. 

2) Good thinkers like to think.

3) Good thinkers are trouble-shooters. 

Got these three ideas lined up? Alright, let’s move on.

These two attitudes above, where do you think they come from? I’d argue it’s disillusionment. 

See, when I got to uni, I thought it would be like school - just WAY better. That would mean professors who fit their programmes around me, personally, who help my mind become sharper by letting it battle against just the right problems and getting taught how to really get to the bottom of life, to face the really Big Ideas, the Final Problems, the Why is the universe the way it is?s.
Instead, it turns out, uni is like summer holidays - just WAY worse. No one fits anything to you, personally, no one picks out just the right problems, no one connects subjects in just the way you’d like it. You’re thrown into a maelstrom of ideas and it’s up to you to do whatever the hell you’d like with them. You’re on your own, but not in the hero vs. bad guy-way, but it in the loner in a crowd-way. 

You quickly realize, uni is just a slightly filtered version of life in all its random glory and sadness. And I think that any student, anywhere, can have this epiphany at any given moment. You don’t need uni to suddenly look life in the eye and be overwhelmed by how sublime, how overwhelmingly huge it is and to realize: There’s no end goal (we know of). Just loads of open ends. An overwhelming amount of open ends, really. 

Now, what do I mean when I say that NGS (”naturally” good students) are trouble-shooters? I mean that we’re good at working well within systems. 
We like to be fed input, to take it apart, to analyze it and to see how you could perfect it even further. That’s why so many of us are drawn to video games or TV series or fictional worlds with their own reward system. We like to figure out patterns. That’s also why we were so good at school - school is a fairly easy system. 
Once you’ve seen through which lessons will be important for a test, once you notice how teachers stress certain things more than others, once you notice you really only need to pay attention in class and you’ll spare yourself so much trouble, once you notice that doing your homework actually does help, once you notice these few pillars of school, you’re set, man. 

I’d like to compare this to thinking on two different levels: a life-level (where you actually do stuff) and a meta-level (where you think about doing the stuff). My preferred analogy for this is a cube.

Ideally, you first figure out the shape of the cube (meta-level) and, once you’re comfortably settled into the system, you work within it (life-level). I’d say that most people operate this way, but NGS are …a little obsessed with this. The basic idea is that the system must first be perfect (or perfectly understood) before it is implemented, so it runs smoothly.  
This is what I mean when I say we’re trouble-shooters. We detect the trouble ahead of time and pew, pew, pew. And, as I said, this works with video games. And books. And school. And subjects. But life? Life looks a little more like this:

No one’s (yet) succeeded to fit life into this box. 
“But”, a little voice inside you says, “But I can try!” (and another, more smug voice, says “And who’s to say I’m not the one to succeed anyway?”)
And, well, I’ve got good news for you! You’ve already tried! That’s why you’re here. In limbo. 

You and I both, we’ve tried to figure out the perfect recipe for life. We tried to figure out when to best get up, when to best go to sleep, what the perfect conditions for studying are, what best to study in the first place, what artsy pursuits to keep doing to flex creativity, but to also focus on practical things and how to figure out the whole family and friends-thing and schedule it somewhere in between and maybe write a book or two. You’ve tried to create the box. I’ve tried to create the box. We both failed.
Let me show you a highly artistic representation of what your brain has looked like lately: 

Okay, fine, I’ll invest a bit more time:

There, that’s your mind. Pulling in every single direction. Is it really a surprise that you’re not going anywhere? Y’know this meme?

Yeah, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ll have a whiny voice at the back of your head going “But picking fewer battles is defeat! I’m sure I’ll conquer it somehow!”
Well, then, let me mindslap you with the cold, hard truth: No. What you’re doing right now, that’s defeat. 

This?

This is DEFEAT. You’re not going anywhere and you’re disrespecting yourself, your mind and the subjects you’re interacting with by spending a fraction of a thought on them. You’re just using them as stepping stones. They deserve better. You deserve better. That’s why you fail to say it proudly. You know that, at some point, you looked at the big, huge mess that is life, realized “I won’t figure this out” and said “Well, I’ll stop trying, I guess.”

I’ll talk more about this in my “Yearn for friendship”-post, but for now, the main take-away is:

You won’t be done with figuring out life any time soon.

So, don’t think “I want to be done with this.”

Think “I want to be doing this.”

Step out of the meta-level into the life-level. It’s okay not to perfectly understand life right now. You’ll figure it out.Trust me, you’ll figure it out. But only by doing things.

Because, see, NGS may be trouble-shooters, but the trouble-shooting isn’t the fun part. It’s the first step to entering a magical world with which you can interact, be it maths, or Middle Earth, or a birthday party. 
We like to think. 
And you’ve been depriving yourself of the fun of thinking by thinking you have to do it in a perfect way. 

“But what if it’s not perfect?”
That’s okay. You’ll get better. And something imperfect that’s striving to be good is always better than nothing at all. Some things you figure out by doing. Life is one of those things. Imagine you’re in a dark street and you want to illuminate it. You can either miserably sit in darkness and try to figure out a way to turn on all lights at once, or you can start with one and let the sight of snowflakes or petals welling up underneath it give you strength for the next. Allow yourself little successes. Allow yourself to have fun with imperfect things. Make the first step. Let it give you strength for the next.”

“But what if I lose time?”

“Be patient. Life will literally last all your life. This is as much time as you’re ever gonna get. Allow yourself to take this time and to take it slow. Again: think not about getting it done, but about the joy of doing it. Time spent doing the thing you love is never lost time. Put the pressure of your shoulders. Trust me, if you take it slow, your brain will speed up because it has breathing room.
Let me repeat this:
If you take it slow
your brain will speed up.

So, allow your brain to think like this:

(or at least like this:

Be patient. I cannot stress this enough. Be. Patient.
Time is not your enemy that you have to outrace. Time is your partner, whom you have to trust. Time helps you to grow. Time helps you to understand. Time literally helps you to BE. 
For me, the phrase that really struck a chord with me somehow was
I will grow as my hair did”, because it a) shows how long it can take for tiny changes to become visible, and how b) they do become visible in the end.)

“But I don’t want to completely lose my grip on the meta-level! I don’t just want to blindly run into one direction!”

“I get you. So did I. So here’s what I did: I made a pact with myself. 
On the 25th of every month (because my birthday is on the 25th, but pick whichever day you like best), I ascend to the meta-level and critically assess my own situation. 
I exit the cube and check if I like what the cube looks like right now. 
No? Okay, time to introduce some big changes. 
Yes? Okay, carry on as before. 
I actually wrote down basic rules for what life in the cube looks like (when to do laundry, etc.), so I wouldn’t have to worry about it during the month and let me tell you, it works great. During the month, I just let my mind slice and dice away (I’ll talk more about the mind as a weapon in the next post) and once a month, I check if I like the results. For me, at least, it’s the perfect arrangement. 

So, be patient. And watch Hyouka - it’s about this very struggle and the MC slowly realizes that, sometimes, it’s worth to spend energy, mind-power and time on certain things. Some things… just take time. And that’s okay.

Grow as your hair does.

(Here’s the masterpost for all the posts in this series: x)

(Part 2)