6 bad habits of VCE students – and how to break them!

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Let’s face it – we all have our weaknesses, it is part of being a human. Why doesn’t VCE go up to 100 just 99.95? Because we are not perfect! As humans we have our set of strengths and weaknesses. Luckily we do possess personal power to overcome our weaknesses, it does require a lot of willpower and discipline though. What are some bad habits to avoid in the VCE? How can you break through bad habits and patterns in the VCE? In this article we will be discussing these points!

(1) Laziness:

This is a common one but one that students often deny. No one likes to be labelled “lazy” but sometimes it is necessary to be honest with your “weaknesses”. If you find that you are vulnerable to laziness it is important to show yourself that you can be productive and efficient. By breaking down large tasks into small “micro-tasks” it will be easier to dilute the work – you may even feel like you are not working!

Laziness is usually due to becoming overwhelmed by the size of a task, where mentally you become exhausted about the project. Instead of facing the task you rather avoid it and do something else. Usually laziness is similar to procrastination however the mentality is usually “…I really can’t be bothered”.

In order to break the laziness cycle, you need to take small steps to take productive actions. As mentioned previously it is a good idea to break down large tasks into smaller chunks – so that you don’t really feel like you are working hard. You will find that a few small steps towards a goal can escalate and your motivation will gain momentum.

Another way to break the laziness cycle in VCE is to change your attitude. Find reasons to do well in the VCE – without reasons it is usually unlikely that you will be willing to work! If you find powerful, personal reasons that you need to try your best during the VCE the laziness cycle should disappear! Make the goals as specific as possible and imagine how you would feel if you had this type of lifestyle in the future. This should keep you focused and determined to work hard!

(2) Not sleeping enough

Not sleeping enough is a bad habit if you are in the VCE. By not allowing yourself to sleep adequately you can sabotage your SAC marks, exam quality, diminish your focus and concentration and “fog” your mind.

Sleeping for less than 6 hours a night can cause a reduction in your immunity and cause you to be more susceptible to illnesses. It can also promote emotional problems such as anxiety, feeling more stressed or depressed.

It is really worth looking after your body during the VCE, especially since you are relying upon it to achieve a good ATAR score. Don’t neglect you vital needs – that way your body will be strong and your mind will remain fresh and alert!
To break the habit of not sleeping enough you need to be more disciplined with how much you will sleep each night – and when it is time to stop studying! Always ensure you have between 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Understand the consequences of not sleeping and ask yourself whether it is really sacrificing your vital needs.

(3) Procrastination

Procrastination is a fancy way of saying “wasting time”. Do you find yourself postponing tasks for later? Do you find it difficult it difficult to become motivated to start a task? Are you easily distracted by your environment while studying? If you answered yes to these questions it may mean that you have a problem with procrastination. There are effective ways to eliminate procrastination. These can be found within the procrastination article or you can alternatively watch a You Tube video about eliminating procrastination.

(4) Disorganization

Do you seen to forget about tests or assignments? Are your Physics notes in your Methods book? Do you find it difficult to keep your desk neat and tidy? You may have a problem with disorganization!

It is beneficial if you remain organized during the VCE because this can improve your efficiency. You will find it easier to manage your time effectively if you keep a schedule and don’t lose important worksheets or notes.

If you are a disorganized student it will take time and conscious effort to improve your organization skills. At the beginning of breaking this habit it will take a lot of effort and conscious thought! Try to begin by putting items back into their original place – even things like CDs ,clothes and plates. By developing organization in your everyday life, it will become easier to integrate these habits in your VCE too.

(5) Being a stress junkie

Do you stress about everything? Does every hurdle or task cause you to have a mini meltdown? If so it’s time to lower the stress levels. VCE is a high stake year – however there is no need to stress yourself sick. Although moderate levels of stress can motivate you to accomplish goals, excessive amounts of stress will just corrupt your efforts.

On the following diagram it can be seen that stress levels that are too low can cause little progress whereas on the other hand excessive levels of stress can significantly diminish performance! It is best to aim for moderate stress – this is a state when you still care about VCE but it doesn’t become a tiring burden or worry.

If your stress levels are out of control it is time to slow down. Your thoughts and self-talk are likely to cause stressful reactions in the first place. Do you find your mind talking to itself? Is it exaggerating about the work you have to do? Is it telling you that you will fail VCE and live under a bridge forever? Well it’s time to abolish this self-talk! How? By doing meditation and breating exercises you can significantly slow down negative thoughts and dramatic self-talk.

Exercise also helps eliminate stress by releasing endorphins, making you more prone to feeling positive and happy!

Be sure to keep your mind off VCE when you have free time. Just chill from time to time … enjoy the art of doing nothing and thinking about nothing stressful! You will find that throughout time you will begin to relax and ease the tension naturally.

(6) Putting yourself down

This is a habit many VCE students have developed. For some bizarre reason it has become socially acceptable to put yourself down or diminish your ability as a student. By proclaiming that you “suck in Methods” or are “really bad at English” you are really sabotaging yourself.

First of all it is important to look closely at the wording of such statements. If you say that “I am a really bad Methods student” – you will input this information into the definition of who you are as a Methods student.

The next time you stumble across a challenging Methods question, will you try it? Probably not! Because now you know that you are a poor Methods student! It is very easy to use our definitions of who we are as excuses to perform or try. From now on whenever you have a poor SAC mark or have trouble understanding a Methods concept you will add this into the “really bad Methods student” database as proof! Even if you happen to achieve a good mark in Methods you will believe that it is just a “fluke” or “luck”. Having a low self-image destroys achieving your potential!

To prevent jeopardizing yourself, it is important that you analyse your thoughts about yourself. If you think that you are a bad Methods student – ask yourself where this thought came from? How did it develop? Realize that in order to succeed as a student your destructive thoughts must be replaced. Through reading books and learning/practicing exercises at the Academy Plus Student Success Seminar, you can learn to cultivate a more positive self-image.

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