Two Months Down

As October is coming to a close, I want to reflect on how my first two months of university have been. In short, I am not confident that I will be able to continue here.

There are parts of adult life that I was unprepared for. Being in a different country all by myself has created different kinds of anxiety in my life. Charting new banks, government offices, healthcare systems, etc. while figuring out how to simply live by myself has been hard.

I’m determined to continue to try. Regardless of whether or not I decide to stay in college, figuring out my life is not a choice. I have to find a way to live and function that works for me. I have to create a budget and stick to it, get my nutrition back under my control, and pull myself together in general.

However, I want to do this slowly. I think I should focus on feeling good before I try to become uber organized.

Eloragh

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Midterm Season

I have always hated the western school year schedule. I know there are arguments as to why schools choose the 9 months of fall, winter, and spring and allow students to have the summer, but I’ve still thought it was strange. If schools wanted to be more intelligent, they would follow more of a business style of planning and break their year up into 4 quarters, allowing students to chose which quarter they want off.

However, that is not what this blog is about. Midterms are approaching here at McGill and the library is packed with students every hour of every day. They even extended their hours so we can spend more time worrying about how we’re only halfway through the semester and we’ve forgotten what we learned at the beginning of our classes.

I’ve never struggled with tests. I probably approach them too casually, in all honesty. It’s not that I don’t see the point in studying like mad or that I think I’m above the stress of it all, it’s just never gotten to me. I did ok on my SAT, pretty good on my ACT, and got enough AP credits to finish my entire McGill freshman program without ever stepping foot in a lecture hall. That’s a decent record in my book.

Tomorrow morning, I am attending a cycling class at 7am, getting to the library by 8am, and will continue to study until 9:35am, when I will head over to the McConnell Engineering building to get to my Anthropology class. From 10:05 to 11:25, I will participate in an exam that consists of 7 long answer questions that will test my knowledge and application of concepts such as structural functionalism and legal pluralism.

Not to jinx myself or sound like an arrogant little freshman, but these concepts are all bark and no bite. Their names definitely sound intimidating, but they have no depth to them. Their definitions are in their names. Despite feeling incredibly confident for this exam, I can’t help but remember a concept that has proven to be true numerous times in my life: The more confident you feel in how you did, the more likely you are to be disappointed by the outcome.

To elaborate on that idea, I will offer an example. I took a French quiz right before I left for Austin. I was the first one in my class to finish and felt incredibly confident in my answers. I got a 70% on that test. Not too bad for one of my first college quizzes, but it definitely wasn’t the A I was expecting.

So, that’s why I will continue to study. I may have an arrogant voice inside my head, but I can choose when to listen to it.

Eloragh

Writing What People Want

Sometimes I find it very difficult to keep up with my writing. This blog definitely keeps me in check, but some days I create better content than others. It’s going to be incredibly difficult to write meaningful blogs or articles every day, but it’s easy to do so on the days that you’re motivated. So, you may have a poor low-quality blog to high-quality blog ratio, but you can still reach a large audience if you make that ratio work for you.

When writing your high-quality content, you have to write in such a way that you get your point across while making it readable. If I open up a blog that’s more than 7 paragraphs long, I already know that I will not get through it. I don’t have the time, patience, or focus to read something so long. Keep your blogs short, witty, and to the point.

You also want to focus on what people like to read. What is the formatting? Does it include more or less illustration or visual element? Is it more sarcastic or more literal? Who are you appealing to? These questions will help you define how you get your point across and how to do so in a way that will get you the most reach.

The reality of being a writer of any kind is that you’re going to fail. You will fail ten thousand times before you experience one blip of success. The best writers don’t let their failure phase them. They write not because they expect fame or recognition but because they are passionate about their ideas and believe they’re worth spreading. That genuine love of what you do is also what will truly appeal to your readers. It’s hard to hide a lack of love in writing. If you’re spirited in what you say, your audience will feel your fire and feed it back to you.

Eloragh

Take Advantage of Willpower

When I was trying to get healthier physically, I was always reminded that habits have the advantage over willpower. I always disliked this idea because it seemed to be that the two forces go hand in hand. To develop healthy habits, it took a lot of willpower to start eating better, exercising, and taking care of myself mentally. It was a lot of work for it to become routine, but once it did, it was hard to shake.

A friend of mine told me recently that she scheduled all of her classes in the morning because she wanted to get her day started early and if she had all afternoon classes she would just sleep in. Although I understood what she meant, I wanted to tell her that it was totally possible, and probably more sustainable in the long run, if she just exercised some willpower for a few weeks until waking up earlier became a habit.

I’ve always been a night owl and an early bird, so it’s important to me that I find a way to get 8 hours of sleep while still being able to stay up later but wake up before noon. When I was in high school, I had the worst trouble getting up the morning. Part of that struggle definitely came from the fact that I wasn’t motivated to get to school because I didn’t enjoy my experience there, but most of the problem was exhaustion.

Despite understanding the science of why teenagers need a lot of sleep, I still had to find a way to get up earlier and have more energy. My exhausted state was no longer becoming sustainable and I knew it was important for me to focus on schoolwork at the time I was dealing with this. So, I took advantage of my willpower. I forced myself to make certain habits for two to four weeks. If they hadn’t stuck or, at the very least, weren’t easier by that time, I could drop them. Most of the habits not only stuck, but I found myself looking forward to acting on them.

Willpower, in my opinion, is underutilized and underappreciated. There is so much power in being so motivated and excited about the possibility of the future that you can force yourself through the difficult times. If they continue to be difficult for too long, then you’ll know that those habits were not for you. While habits may be more sustainable in the long term, willpower is an excellent way to take advantage of the initial motivation and excitement that comes with starting a new phase in life.

Eloragh

Exhaust Yourself

Lately, I found that I have to exhaust myself to be able to sleep at night. I took about a 2-month break from ballet and exercising in general, but it’s time to get started again. Although my time off was beneficial for my mind and body, it’s become more of a drain as time has gone on. My body needs to be physically exhausted for me to sleep well, function properly the next day, and process my energy intake properly.

There is value to exhausting yourself. I believe that we aren’t really meant to sleep when we still have the capacity to go. The feeling of sore muscles and nothing left to give is the feeling that makes me enjoy going to bed at night. It gives me an idea of how hard I worked that day. I may mentally exhaust myself, but if I don’t do the same physically, the imbalance of forces will inevitably be noticeable in my everyday life.

The trick is to find something that makes you want to exhaust yourself. For me, it will always be ballet, but recently it’s also been cycling and pilates. It’s been exploring Montreal by foot. It’s been walking up and down my university campus until my calves are screaming at me to rest. If you don’t enjoy how you tire yourself out, then you will always be focused on the fact that you’re just trying to exhaust yourself.

Eloragh

p.s. I fell down twice going up the escalator in my metro station after ballet class last night. There is also value in knowing when to stop. Happy Humpday.

 

You Can’t Do It All

You can’t do it all…in one day. That is to say, you can do anything and everything you want to do, just don’t expect it to happen in the span of 24 hours. I had to check myself in this area today as I found that I was trying to accomplish seven billion things within a relatively short amount of time.

Please forgive my previous hyperbole, but I can promise it was accurate to the stress I was feeling. I will admit, this overwhelming feeling comes from a lack of effort on my part. September was an incredibly hard month for me, but I’m sick and tired of making excuses. Regardless of how unhappy I may be in my current circumstance, I have to push forward in the other parts of my life.

So maybe you can’t do it all today, but there’s always tomorrow. In all honesty, my worst days are usually the ones where I finish my to-do list, where I don’t have enough to do. I’m very grateful that I go to bed knowing what I need to work on tomorrow. I’m happy that I exist in a state of constant growth. I mean, what’s the alternative, right?

Eloragh