Why can’t you turn your life onto Aeroplane mode?

Your Facebook messenger is filled with notifications that you haven’t got around to replying to yet, your next three weekends are booked up with birthday, engagement and ‘any excuse’ parties, your alarm is going off persistently to remind you to get off your arse and go to the gym, you’re trying to secure a date, catch up on ‘Girlboss’ on Netflix, finish those assignments and get more than six hours of sleep, all whilst remembering that pasta and cheese is not an adequate diet….. HOLY SHIT! Apple, where’s the aeroplane mode for life?
Now I don’t consider myself to be overly popular; I know I ain’t Regina George. However for the past few months nearly every hour of every day has been completely planned out for me. I do enjoy being busy but I also enjoy not wearing pants, listening to 90’s music and just taking some serious me time. Not wearing pants is an essential part of life that, quite frankly, I’ve really been missing out on lately.

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When did we all get so busy? Trying to organise a simple lunch with a few friends turns into making a spreadsheet to find out everyone’s availabilities, only to find that you then can’t decide on a cafe because one of your friends is vegan, and you’re craving a double beef burrito. Even staying on top of all those Facebook messages becomes a tedious task (curse the handy yet exasperating advent of the ‘group chat’!) You think that you’re going to reply properly, with time and thought put into your response, only to wind up replying two weeks later with a shitty response like ‘hey sorry – was super busy! How’s life?‘ And if someone was to ask you ‘how’s life,‘ you’d probably roll your eyes at their attempt to make conversation and think to yourself ‘my life is too fucking hectic to deal with this small talk‘ but instead craft a tactful response of, ‘busy, but good thanks, how’s your cat?’

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 Part of me thinks that as young people trying to figure out this whole ‘adulting’ business, we have no idea what we’re doing. We look at our friends, colleagues and peers and immediately compare ourselves. We see them going to the gym, so we sign up to yoga classes. We see them learning how to use Excel, so we watch YouTube tutorials. We see them travel, so we open a savings account to book that ticket, only to remember that bills are due this week so there goes that idea.

 We’re constantly connected to others through our phones and when we get a life update from them it’s usually in the form of an Instagram post with a beautiful Valencia filter (the Valencia filter is bomb). It’s their little way of saying ‘omg my life is great and look at all the amazing things I’m doing,’ and even if we don’t realise it, we feel the pressure to do more and be more. What ever happened to just being who we are?

 So, can there be an aeroplane mode for life? To shut off that phone, turn off notifications, pick up that book, those pencils, and paints, get outside, get messy, get dirty, start a conversation, smile, eat and sing at the top of your lungs, make plans to not make plans and put your life on aeroplane mode, just for a weekend. Oh and absolutely take those bloody pants off as you tune out!

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I originally wrote this piece for TWENTY SOMETHING HUMANS. You can check it out here. 

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Smash Those Study Blues

This week is the beginning of Autumn session exams here at the University of Wollongong. Whether you have 1 or 5 exams, they’re never fun and never easy. Whilst I’m one of those lucky one’s who only have 1 exam, I still find myself stressing out, freaking out and passing out each night after hours of excrutiating study. But too much of these bad vibes can bring you down emotionally, mentally, physically and just all round suck. So here are my little tips and tricks to surviving exams and studying, to ensure you make the most of your valuable time and come out on top!

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Have a designated study space. I personally opt for going to the library because it’s quiet and there’s minimal distractions. Many times I’ve tried to study either in my room or out in the lounge room and I find that I’m continuously distracted by people and just try to do anything else but study. Having a specific place to get work done will help keep you motivated, productive and focused.

Eat a balanced diet. Whilst it’s easy to pick up a packet of M&M’s (I’m currently sharing a packet with my friend), don’t forget to include lot’s of fruits and vegetables. Eating nutricious food will provide you with the vitamins and minerals that are needed for your brain to funciton.

Oranges are my favourite study food
Oranges are my favourite study food

Get some fresh air. Sitting down at a computer for hours on end is not good for you. Every few hours, be sure to stretch your legs, go outside, get some sunshine and just do some movement. Excercise is also important throughout exams, even if it’s just going for a walk around the block or a quick bike ride, about half an hour of cardio is enough time to get the blood pumping and distract yourself from any concerns in life you may have.

On that note, positive procrastination is key! No one really expects you to spend 12 hours a day every day just studying. BORING!!! However, instead of watching seasons of How I Met Your Mother in one sitting, is probably not going to help keep your brain and heart active throughout a stressful period. So I like to engage in some positive procrastination, which is exactly what I’m doing now. I think about what else is important in my life after study, blogging, keeping fit, travel plans, seeing my friends… and I try to make time to fit them in to my schedule. Balance is the key to success. 

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Keep motivated. I know it’s difficult, but try and hold on to it, because motivation is what will kick you over the finish line. Keep your end goal in sight, seek inspiration and when in doubt refer to the Ryan Gosling image above.

The night before an exam. Get a good nights sleep! This is something I still haven’t mastered but it’s really important to ensure you wake up energised and motivated. If you’ve got an early exam, make sure you set an alarm (or two or three). Get prepared! Pull out everything you need for your exam, pens, pencils, erasers, student card, clear water bottle, clear pencil case and anything else you may need and put it in a neat pile in the middle of your room so you won’t forget anything. If like me, you have a case of ‘I have nothing to wear,’ then pre select clothes that you’ll feel comfortable in the night before. It just means that in the morning, you’ll have one less thing to worry about. Have a healthy and hearty dinner and have a re read over your notes so they can circulate around your mind whilst you sleep.

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The day of your exam. Woo hoo! Exam day is here and you’re ready to smash it! Make sure you have breakfast! You need nutrients to keep your brain working! Have your coffee, have your orange juice, have whatever you normally have. Afterall, it’s just another day! Play some music that will get you pumped and feeling like you can and will do well! Get rid of all those negative thoughts and just breathe. Make sure you know where your exam is and you get there early to avoid unseen interruptions to your day. Once seated, just concentrate on what you need to do and do it.

After your exam. Make sure you take time to congratulate yourself. You’ve made it through another exam period! A common way to do this is at the uni bar.

Good luck to everyone with their exams! Do the best you can and remember to maintain some balance! OK, so I think this is enough procrastination from me for one day! Back to the books.

xxx A

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