Do you fall into the trap of studying at high intensity and then slowly losing energy as months move on? Do you lose interest in your studies during winter because you burn out? Are you very organized at the start of the year and find yourself to be disorganized by mid-semester? Is your work at the beginning of the year very tidy – and progressively getting messier towards the end of the year? All of the above occur when students lack a balance in their VCE, they are actually signs of normal human behaviour! This doesn’t only happen during VCE… think about the craze that people have when a new year begins. The tremendous lists of new year resolutions and promises that will probably be broken by the end of January. People love to make promises and think about taking the actions to improving their lives because it gives them security about the future. However very few individuals are able to execute what they plan and turn their words into actions. Although they have a great fresh start and attempt to improve drastically – this is not sustainable over long term. Why? Because people need balance in their life and cannot sustain high intensity endurance for a long time. Balance is the key to maintaining a consistent level of effort into projects.
Consider two women Judy and Trudy. Judy consistently spends 30 minutes a day exercising – for Judy 30 mins is a realistic amount because she is a busy individual. Trudy has been a coach potato for many months and suddenly she is questioned about her weight. She receives a surge of energy to begin a rigorous exercise regime. Trudy begins to run for 1 hour a day and walk for 1 hour a day and only eats cabbage – now she is working more than Judy! At the beginning her surge of energy lasts and by 2 weeks she begins to see results…. Trudy feels empowered and satisfied. From the following, who do you think will be able to maintain their lifestyle for 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?
Judy is able to maintain a balanced lifestyle – her efforts, although less intense than Trudy’s are more sustainable. Judy will not burn out after 2 months on her diet because she is sensible and balanced. Trudy will probably develop vitamin deficiencies, lose energy and start eating junk. Why? Because her lifestyle is not balanced. It is a extreme measure and seeks intent gratification. This is a trap that most people fall into, whether they are doing VCE, managing finances, losing weight – whatever!
Balance is usually the foundation of leading a healthy life with tolerable stress levels and a feeling of satisfaction. When we disconnect from maintaining balance, life becomes a struggle. People can become depressed or anxious, they find it difficult to deal with their emotions, they encounter problems in relationship towards others and individual goals and projects may become more difficult or overwhelming.
VCE is a year that will be challenging, particularly if you care about it. From experience I have seen many students work at high intensity during February/ March and then slowly burn out throughout the year. These students are usually so exhausted by November that they run out of energy to try their best. It is always a shame to see students with talent and skill to lose their ambition to achieve a high ATAR score. Want to avoid being a student like this? Learn the importance of balance! You can learn any habit as long as you are aware of your actions. Awareness of how your life or VCE study habits are out of balance will open the window for changing.
Here are some easy way to maintain a balanced life during the VCE;
1) Clear your head!
VCE shouldn’t be all that you think about during your final year. If you find yourself obsessing about VCE, or creating your life around VCE – you are probably giving it too much energy. Yes, it is an important year – however life is more than VCE – there are other ways to be successful, not just through VCE. This doesn’t mean you can now relax, take it easy and bludge – you should still try your absolute best. If you find yourself dreaming about VCE, it is clear that you are thinking about VCE too much ( I used to dream about VCE until the end of 1st year university!) … Unfortunately it wasn’t until 8 years until I realized that having a busy mind significantly affects your study and how you cope during stressful situations. The best way in which you can clear your mind is through meditation, exercise, diet and relaxation techniques.
2) Give yourself a daily study limit!
Do not give yourself unlimited to complete a topic because you will lose efficiency! Instead set a time goal to complete an assignment or prepare for a test. That way you will know that you have to move faster and this in turn minimizes distractions and procrastination. By setting a daily study limit of 2-3 hours a day on weekdays and perhaps 4-5 hours (with breaks) on Saturday and part on Sunday, you will find that there is still time left over for family, friends and hobbies. This will lead to a better balance during VCE and an ability to stay consistent throughout the year – without burn out.
3) Have fun
Be sure to keep your hobbies! If you love sports, playing music, writing, working or reading do not stop just because of VCE. These hobbies are part of who you are – and you should always honor yourself. Keep on enjoying your life experience – remember to have fun and try to remain in the “now” instead of worrying about the past or dreaming about the future.
For more study tips and VCE coping advice please have a read through our extensive articles about VCE, becoming a successful student and increasing your ATAR score!