study in style

2

Just a coloring practice because I’m getting rusty 😌 and I’m trying to get my old art style back or to mix it with the new one? I’m so uncomfortable when it looks slightly different 😣 so Becca’s my study for this

She is dazzling in gold, literally I used gold to shade her hair 😂

Becca is @playchoices‘ the artwork’s mine

Edit : detailed

anonymous asked:

hi emma! i've been trying out the pomodoro studying style and so far, i don't know if i'm utilizing it well. whenever i hit the 25 minute mark, instead of taking a break, i end up skipping the break and continuing my homework until i'm done with it. i want to ask for what tasks could the pomodoro be used? what tasks do you use the pomodoro with? any suggestions or opinions? i like the idea of the break but i don't know why i end up skipping it always. thank you! i love your blog so much emma!

Hi! Not all studying techniques work for everyone! If you’re managing to focus for longer than 25 minutes, try extending the timer. You could do 30-40 minutes and then have a bit longer break. Sometimes if I’m not on a strict time limit, I’ll stop after a while at a point where I am comfortable. If need be, I’ll write down some thoughts about where I’m at and what I need to do next. That way I can have the break but aren’t going to forget where I am or feel the need to keep going. Maybe utilise the 25 minutes for smaller tasks that you notice you finish much faster or simpler things like highlighting a textbook or reviewing your past class notes. I wouldn’t feel terrible about skipping your breaks - it is just a suggestion since most people lose focus at the 25 minute mark and it allows you to get back into focus! As long as you’re still having time out and not studying for hours on end, it should be fine to have less breaks if that works for you. Perhaps give yourself something exciting to look forward to in your breaks! I would sometimes watch short YouTube clips like Buzzfeed Unsolved or the Most Popular Girls in School! Thank you so much for visiting it, it means a lot! xx

4

Note-Taking

Hey guys! So I’ve been receiving questions regarding my note-taking style and strategy for quite some time now but I believe I have never answered them in detail. The good news is, I finally decided to make a post about this (plus, I had fun making the graphics :D). Note that I am a visual learner, so my note-taking methods may not be effective for some of you, but I hope you can all learn something.

Class Notes

I only use one notebook for all my class notes, an A4 grid notebook whose pages I divide into two columns.

I use the outline method for in-class notes, which means I write information chronologically, in the order that they are taught. Some teachers do not have properly structured presentations/lessons (good thing my physics teacher does) so when in need, I use arrows to connect related information.

Abbreviations to me are one of the most important things to master when taking notes. I personally make them up as I go along. Some examples of abbreviations I use are:

  • w/c - which
  • w/ - with
  • cpd - compound
  • envt - environment
  • digenz - digestive enzyme

It might be confusing, but to me, knowing the context and part of speech are enough for all abbreviations to be comprehended.

Here’s an example: ‘Indonesia’s tsunami pre-warning system is made up of two types of components’ could become ‘Indo’s snmi pre-warn sys 2 type comp’.

After Class

The first thing I would do is highlight keywords and terminology (and sometimes formulas). For physics, since my teacher is relatively succinct, I don’t really highlight, but for humanities and biology, I look for words that would be expected by a mark scheme, words that are crucial to the understanding of each particular piece of information.

I would then check if the material taught coincides with the syllabus, and if not, note down any points that are missing or have yet to be taught. You could write these on a post it or on the syllabus itself, but I prefer to highlight the syllabus’ pdf file.

Rewritten Notes

My rewritten notes are arranged based on the order they appear in the syllabus unless there are pieces of information that are related to more than one topic.

I use a black pen for rewriting notes as well as colored pens to write keywords and terminology only. I know some people who write whole sentences in colored pens but to me that is ineffective; we all have our own learning styles. When making tables, I usually use different colors for different columns (see the table for different types of radiation above) which is most often the color I associate with each word. For example, water would be blue, ocean would be a darker shade, ice would be a lighter shade, and water vapor would be purple.

I still abbreviate words in my rewritten notes, but they’re not as condensed as the ones in my class notes. Another thing I find helpful is leaving a bit of space between separate points especially if the page doesn’t have a lot of diagrams. I can’t think linearly, so I can’t remember super lengthy bullet points.

I use mildliners and a drawing pen to make my diagrams (more of these in my biology notes) but I only start with pencil if it’s a complex diagram. I rarely highlight my rewritten notes, but even if I do, it’s usually only the headings and formulas.

I don’t have a rough draft for my notes, but I try to visualize the layout. I try to alternate between words and pictures/diagrams so that when I’m sitting for an exam, all I have to do is imagine that I’m looking at that page and I can remember where everything is.

Well, that’s all from me. I hope that this information could be of some use to every single one of you. Don’t hesitate to ask me questions if you’re confused about note-taking or any other problems you might have :)

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 :)

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

8

q: Is there a reason that among the members, the two of you in particular got close to each other?
cy: I think the way we play is really similar.

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)

Love Square Week Day 6: Kisses

I know I’m late (im still in finals) but i really wanted to do something for this one. The Ladynoir one wasnt working tho xD. Also self indulgent Marichat because i can.