What I’ve Learned From 8 Years of Studying – Part 2

Hey all!

Over a year ago now, I wrote the Part 1 post of this and said that Part 2 would follow a few weeks later… OOPS!
I wrote the Part 2 post, but with exams and stuff, I forgot to actually post it. I realised last week when I was going through some stuff, so I decided to post it for you guys now.

If you haven’t already read the Part 1 post, I’d recommend going and reading that first.


What I’ve Learned From 8 Years of Studying – Part 2

8. Making friends is easy – making lasting friendships takes longer
You will meet at least one person on the first day – maybe your roommate, the person you sat next to in orientation, a random that you meet wandering around on campus – but that person will not necessarily become your “best friend”. That person may not even progress to being an actual “friend”. That is OK.
Keep talking to different people, even after you think you’ve found your “core group”. You may find someone who you never though you’d be friends with at all, but then they end up being the one who is there to support you when everything goes to s***.

9. Sitting on the fence is fine – particularly in regards to people
You do not have to actively like or dislike anyone. This seems to be something that a lot of people have difficulty understanding. You can “nothing” someone – and by that I mean you can have no real feelings about a person in either a positive or negative direction.
There are plenty of people in my classes who I talk to when I see them in class, but I honestly feel nothing about them. I do not like or dislike these people. I do not actively pursue friendship with them, but neither do I actively avoid them. This is an idea I recommend you get used to while at university, because it is important for your working life. You WILL NOT be able to have emotions about every single person you work with, and you need to be able to deal with this and still work with people effectively.

10. Schedule ‘downtime’
Find something you enjoy doing, and schedule time for it. It could be cooking, spending time with friends, playing computer games, crafting, reading, or even watching TV.
Schedule this downtime. If you don’t, one of two things will happen – either you will work until you drop, or you’ll do the thing you enjoy heaps and ignore the stuff you should be doing.
How you organise this time will depend on your preferences – some people prefer to have a little bit of time every day, where as others prefer to have one whole day ‘off’ once a week. If you’re not sure, try both and see what works best for you, then stick with it.

11. Always have a snack with you
Having snacks with you will help keep your energy up and reduce the chances of you getting distracted due to hunger pangs. Bringing your own snacks is both more convenient and cheaper – you can’t really sneak out in the middle of a lecture without someone noticing, but you can generally nibble on some nuts without causing a disruption. Buying snacks from the cafeteria can also be quite expensive, and are often less healthy than what you bring yourself.
Stash things that are shelf-stable and reasonably un-crushable in your uni bag (like muesli bars, dried fruit, nuts, crackers) so that you always have something for snacking emergencies. You can pre-prep other more perishable snacks (like vege sticks, dips, fruit, cheese) in single-serve containers and store in the fridge for easy grabbing on the way out the door.
I also carry a stash of teabags and coffee sachets (the type with the creamer already added), in case I feel the need for something more than plain water. It is also worthwhile to carry your own cup or mug, as most cafes/coffee shops will give you boiling water for free if you have your own mug. If you have access to a tea room or student lounge with boiling water, that’s even more convenient!

12. Good food is important
Related to #12 – don’t fall into the trap of eating crappy convenience food. Your brain and your body will not thank you for it.
You need good food and a balanced diet to power your body and brain. If you’re on a meal plan, take an extra couple of seconds to evaluate the food options and their health merits. It might be as simple as adding some salad or steamed veges to your plate instead of that extra scoop of the (admittedly delicious) potato bake. If you cook for yourself, schedule some time every week to plan your meals and assemble them (along with your snacks).
I can speak from experience here – if you have a yummy meal in the fridge or freezer that will take <10 minutes to be ready to eat, you are far less likely to get takeaway, because it will take longer than what you already have on hand.
Research ‘copycat’ recipes, so that you can make your favourites and have them on hand when you have a craving for something (like mexican or chinese).

13. Get dressed
Even if you’re not planning on leaving your room/house, it really is worth getting changed out of your PJs into real clothes.
There seems to be something about wearing PJs all day that is the enemy of productivity. Getting changed (even if it’s just to put on trackpants instead) seems to say to your brain “OK, we’re going to do stuff today”.
If you’re feeling off or unwell, having a shower can also help you feel a little better.
Only wearing your PJs when you’re actually sleeping is also good for keeping your sleep patterns in check – association and conditioning are powerful things!

14. Housework is not your enemy
I am the first person to admit that I don’t particularly like housework. I always feel that it is taking away from other ‘more important’ work that I could be doing – which is actually rubbish.
As much as I have fought the idea for so long, a tidy living space really does help make you more productive. Clean, tidy spaces help calm the mind, and sometimes housework itself can be calming.
I don’t tend to like doing the dishes, folding washing, ironing, or cleaning the bathroom – but it all becomes far less onerous if you put on a TV show/movie you like, or listen to an audiobook/podcast.
If you feel like you really can’t afford to not be studying, watch lectures or summary videos of the topics you need to review.

15. Get active
Exercise helps you learn, and moving around freely (like walking in a park or hiking) can even increase your creativity! You won’t get the same creativity boost by walking on a treadmill, but any activity that isn’t sitting at your desk will help with a motivation slump.
Sometimes all you need to resurrect your motivation and focus is a quick active break – even a 10 minute walk around the block can help. If you’re feeling like you need a nap, try some quick exercise first – it will probably ward off the sleepy feelings.
The same principles apply to exercise as for housework – jazz it up by listening to an audiobook or podcast. You could also try doing some reading (textbook or recreational), or watching TV/lectures while on the treadmill or elliptical. Just BE CAREFUL – if you’re on anything with independently moving parts, getting distracted puts you at risk of getting injured. Stick to listening only if you’re jogging or running, you don’t want to get yourself hurt!


Hope you can find something helpful from this, and best of luck to you all for your studies!

~K

Advertisements

What’s the go?

Hey all,

So it’s been a while since I’ve been on here – I’ve been trying to get myself back together with somewhat limited success.

But I thought I’d give you an update about what has been happening while I’ve been gone, and why it may be a while before I’m properly back.

After a heap of heavy family and emotional stuff through the end of 2016 and the start of 2017, my mental health was sitting on a knife-edge when I initially dropped off the radar here. However, I didn’t really acknowledge how bad I had gotten at that point, so I kept going with 90% of my normal stuff (work, uni, life) because I was determined that I wasn’t going to let myself go back to where I was 5 years ago.

BAD MOVE! Determination alone is not enough to fix your mental and physical health.

I crashed, quite spectacularly. I was exhausted all the time, but couldn’t sleep because I was so WIRED from my anxiety. I was also physically unwell – I’d had a cold during January, and just never really kicked it. I tried to go to the gym, and all that did was push me further down – Hello CFS, I did not miss you in the slightest. Post-exertion malaise SUCKS BALLS.
I ended up dropping 3 of my 4 university subjects, dropping my work hours to 1 shift per week (and taking several weeks off as well, thank god I’m casual at work).

After 3 weeks of having daily (often multiple times daily) anxiety/panic attacks, I got myself in to a specialist doctor. After a barrage of testing, he diagnosed me with a couple of genetic conditions (Pyrrole disorder and MTHFR). I got one from each side of the family – talk about genetic lottery!
I’m now getting treatment for both conditions – I’m on a huge number of supplements (both conditions cause significant deficiencies in several important vitamins and minerals) and things are beginning to get better.
I’m back at the doctor in a couple of weeks to retest and see if my levels are getting back to what they should be, but I’m feeling better already. My anxiety has backed off significantly – it’s not gone, but I haven’t had an anxiety/panic attack in 2 months. I’m still tired, but nowhere near as bad as I was. I managed to go to the gym and it didn’t wipe me out.

I’m part-time at uni now, and will be graduating at the end of next year. I’ve increased my work hours back to 5 shifts per fortnight, and I’m beginning to get the housework stuff back under control.
We got a new cat in the midst of the crash, because having a furry friend really does help – if you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen pictures of her there.
I’m knitting/crocheting/crafting like a madwoman because it helps keep me level, and I’m trying to get back to cooking and eating healthy because my crash ended in me putting on 5kg :S

I may not be back to posting regularly for a little while longer, but I want to get back to blogging again. I’m not putting a timeframe on anything at the moment, just until things level out and are a little more predictable again.

~K

The day-to-day

This is why I have been gone for a while. I was diagnosed with CFS/ME in high school after 2 years of being generally unwell.

I am one of the lucky ones – I am not bedridden. I can carry on a reasonably normal life 90% of the time.

Most days, I can pretend to be a normal person – I work, study, clean my house, go out with friends.

But sometimes, I can’t. I want to do things, but I just do not have the energy. Sometimes, I have the energy but my brain doesn’t come to the party – I have stood in my kitchen and realised that even though I had the theoretical knowledge of how to make coffee, I had no idea in that moment how to actually go about it. I could not remember the process required to get out a coffee mug, boil the kettle, all the steps required just to make a simple cup of coffee.
That was a REALLY scary day – I thank my lucky stars that this has only happened 3 times, ever.

I often have trouble with words – when I get tired, my brain can’t get to the right word quick enough, and so it throws me whatever it can find.
Sometimes I’ll say “closet” instead of “coat”.
Sometimes I’ll say the name of something I can see, rather than what I mean to say.
And sometimes, I can’t even think of the word. I’ll just stand there, and try to mime out the word I want. I still know what I want to say, I just don’t have the words for it.
Occasionally, I’ll be fine with finding the correct words but stringing them into a spoken sentence is beyond me.

This is why I’ve been missing from this blog. I’ve had to count my spoons* and use them for things that let me try to be a normal human being, because I’ve been a little short recently. Emotion saps me of energy (thanks ASD!) and there’s been a lot of that in my life these past few months – and I’m feeling the effects of it now.

I miss blogging. I miss the “normal” life I’ve been able to live for the past 2 years (because I’ve managed my energy and health well). And I know I will be able to get back to that with time, but it’s going to take time. And I’m crazy impatient.

~K

* Visit But You Don’t Look Sick for an explanation of Spoon Theory if you don’t know why I’m talking about spoons

 

Just tired…

As those who follow me on twitter or instagram would know, we suffered a major loss just before Christmas – our gorgeous kitty Jacket passed away in his sleep. He’d had a few health problems across the year, and I think it all eventually just caught up with him. He was 15 years old, so he was getting up there in cat-years, but it was still unexpected.

Gonna miss this fluffball :(

Gonna miss this fluffball 😦

Before anyone asks, because it really is a sore point – nope. Not ready to get another cat yet. We will, but just not yet.

Honestly, I’ve been a mess. I was already a bit burnt out from working a few too many shifts during semester, and then with this horrible sad event right before Christmas, only the day before the one year anniversary of my Nan’s death, I just haven’t been coping very well.

This blog has suffered, my house is a bombsite, I haven’t done work I needed to do. I haven’t done the ‘healthy’ things I know make me feel better (gym, yoga, tai chi, meditation), and instead have spent an inordinate amount of time on the couch, watching Netflix, gaming, and eating chocolate.

I went a couple of weeks ago for a checkup (because my shoulder has been playing up again) and have been informed that I am suffering from adrenal fatigue (again). Now I have to be careful I don’t push myself completely off the edge, especially seeing as I’m heading back to uni in only 2 weeks.

I don’t know when I’ll be back writing properly on the blog, but I don’t want to go away completely. I have so many ideas for posts, but I just haven’t got the mental energy to bring them to life at the moment.

I just know that I have to take the time to sort out my mental and physical health again, before I completely wreck myself. Right now, I’m just tired and need to get myself healthy again.

~K

*** The article linked in this post is not mine, but it sums everything up in a much better way than I could ***

Sorry!

Apologies for being so very very slack over the last… god, 3 months? 4 months?… something like that.

Life has been super-busy, and somewhat stressful.

I did 4 weeks of prac this semester, as well as all my normal assignments, and then on top of that I got SICK and missed part of one of my prac weeks.
I now have to make up a week of prac, and I’m just waiting for the school to get back to me about when I’ll be doing that.
But since I’ve been sick, I’ve had trouble getting back up to where I was before. I don’t think I gave myself enough time to really properly get better, because everything has been back-to-back and I just couldn’t take the time off.

I’m just SO DAMN TIRED, and very distracted. Concentrating on anything is incredibly difficult 😦 My anxiety has been playing up again and I keep second-guessing myself, but I think I must be on a downward depression cycle as well because motivation is zero. I’ve just got to push myself through my exams, and  then in a week I’ll be DONE! Hopefully I can get through without breaking, because I have plans for the summer break and I don’t want to have to spend the whole time recovering.

~K

A Thousand Years – Christina Perri

This was the song I walked down the aisle to at our wedding 🙂
Posting this today because it’s our 4th wedding anniversary! Wow time has flown!

Please don’t hate me for the Twilight thing. I had actually picked this song before the movie was out and by the time I found out, I was too in love with the song to get rid of it. Thankfully, they didn’t actually use it for the wedding in the movie.

~K

How to put on a Duvet cover – the EASY way

A friend of mine shared this on Facebook last week, and I knew I had to try it the next time I made the bed….

IT WORKS SO WELL!!! I’ve been fighting with our king-size doona for the last 12mths when I didn’t have to be!

Only thing I will note that this video doesn’t say – make sure the cover is inside out, with the top side on the mattress. Because science, the inside-out upside-down cover will end up right side up and right way out when you unroll it.

~K

Being a money-savvy adult

Today, we’re going to be looking at something that can seem somewhat scary – MONEY! (and it’s friends, Credit Cards and Loans).

I’ve had an awful lot of “learning the hard way” experience with all of these things, and hopefully I can help  you avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made along the way. These are my rules for how I manage our money day-to-day.

Rule 1 – Live within your means
Do your income and your outgoings match up? Or are you earning $1000 a week and spending $1050 (or even more!)?
If your income is equal to or more than your outgoings, YAY! If your income is less than your outgoings, you need to do something about that. Which brings us to…

Rule 2 – Have a budget and stick to it
This is important, whether you are living within your means or not. However, if you’re spending more than you’re earning, this will be a much more painful process.
There are several ways of doing this – an app, on a excel spreadsheet, or good ol’ paper.
First step, no matter what method you’re using, is to take all your ins and outs for a month and categorise everything – groceries, cars, spending money, EVERYTHING. This is can be somewhat scary – I almost had heart failure the first time I did this and saw how much we were spending on food (not even takeaway, just plain old grocery shopping).
Use these ins and outs to design your budget and work out where you might be able save some money.

Rule 3 – Save a little bit each pay packet
This doesn’t necessarily mean putting money into a specific ‘savings’ account, but that’s definitely the simplest way.
What we tend to do makes our money work harder for us – we have a loan with a redraw facility, so we put our “saving” money into the redraw account. That way, while the money is sitting there, it is reducing the amount of interest we’re paying on the loan and we can pull it out if/when we need it.

Rule 4 – Be smart with your debt
The first part of this is that just because you CAN get a certain amount of debt, doesn’t mean you should. You want to minimise your debt. Just because the bank is willing to give you $25,000 for a car loan, doesn’t mean you should go out and buy a $25,000 car if a $12,000 one will do. Don’t get sucked in by those credit limit increase offers that banks send out regularly – a lot of people get the increase “just in case”, then end up spending the money on things they don’t really need. Which is exactly what the bank is counting on you doing. Avoid this, and just don’t do it.
The second part about being smart about your debt is managing it well. Always make your payments on time. Pay more than the minimum payment amount. Pay off your credit card every month.
If you’re in a situation where you’ve ended up with several credit cards with high interest and you’re not able to pay them off, go visit your bank and have a chat. Often, you can roll those amounts into a single personal loan, which will usually have lower fees and interest rates. The big thing if you do this is to not go and just get another credit card afterwards.

Rule 5 – Re-evaluate everything on a regular basis
Life changes, and with that your cash flow requirements can also change. I’d personally recommend doing this every 12 months, or whenever you have a ‘major life change’.
Not regularly checking in is almost as bad as not making a budget in the first place.

~K

I was approached by Jessica from Credit Card Insider to do this post. I did not receive any compensation, monetary or otherwise, for this post.