Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Feeling Excited

When was the last time you felt excited? I mean, really and truly felt excited?

Most people have to think hard about his question, casting their minds back days, weeks, months - even years - to a time when they felt genuinely excited about something. Many feel that the pressures of school, work and life in general often leave us with no option but to live life in a mindless routine, with only dreams of the future to keep us going. But, ask yourself, does life really have to be this way?

What I'm trying to say is that why are we waiting for the future to bring us excitement when we can create our own excitement here and now? Admittedly, this took me a while to figure out too. Like a typical teenager, I've been complaining incessantly about how boring life is over the last few months. People would ask me 'What's up?' and I would have nothing to say because, in my opinion, nothing was happening. However, the other day I thought back to what used to make me excited when I was younger, why I used to enjoy school and life so much. And then I realised:

The truth is, the only way you can start to feel excited about life is by appreciating the things you already have. Instead of wasting your time dreaming about what you would do if you, say, won the lotto, think about things you can do today to make life more exciting. Think of school not as a place you are obliged to go to every day but as a place where you can meet people, take opportunities and get an education. Think about how life would be like without school and realise just how lucky you are. Wake up in the morning feeling excited about the day ahead and make sure you do at least one thing special every day (no matter how small it is) to remind you that life really is worth living after all. (For example, this morning, instead of my usual boring breakfast of cereal with milk, I had a muffin and some fruit which I really enjoyed).

From now on, I've decided to appreciate and feel excited about the little things in life first - from sunny days to nice food to time with my friends. So that, if one day I really do win the lotto or go to Italy, I can recall that sense of true euphoria from my childhood days.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

3 Tips to Study for Exams

And, once again, we arrive at that dreaded time in the school year where absolutely anything (even cleaning your room!) looks more appealing than studying...

Sad as it is, exams are an inevitable part of school life. Not to mention the fact that (as much as we all hate them) they play an incredibly important part in deciding our future careers. Now, I have no doubt you have all heard plenty of information on 'how to study' from your teachers at school but here are three simple tips that I think are the most important to keep in mind:

1. Avoid distractions. If there is one thing I would say to anyone studying for an exam, THIS IS IT. Distractions, especially electronic ones like facebook, emails and television can really eat away at your time and, at the end of the day, leave you wondering where it all disappeared to. I'm sure you've all been in the situation where you've sat down at your computer to download a past exam paper or type up some notes and thought *I'll just quickly check my facebook*... Next thing you know, you've just spent an hour chatting to your friend online. 
I know the urge to 'just go on for five minutes' is strong but, trust me, it's best not to indulge it at all. The easiest way to do this is to avoid the computer altogether. Try doing as much study as you can without it (print off those past papers beforehand, handwrite your notes) and, if you absolutely must use it, make sure you avoid clicking on those distracting sites.

2. Take breaks. This may seem counter-intuitive but I think it's actually a key aspect to studying efficiently. Why? Because it's unrealistic to expect yourself to study all day long and, besides, the thought of spending an entire day slogging away at your studies can be incredibly demotivating (and you may feel more inclined to waste your time). Instead, try and intersperse your study sessions with things you enjoy doing. Watch some TV, read a book, call a friend - but make sure you keep an eye on the time! 

A really good way to take a break is a go for a run or walk. I did that this morning and it left me feeling refreshed and revitalised for the day ahead.  It's also a good way to give your mind a break and work on your body instead!

3. Make it fun! I know, I know, 'study' and 'fun' seem to be two words that just don't go hand in hand but, if you don't believe me, think back to primary school when you used to actually be excited to go to school each day. Learning was such an exciting prospect back then and, because of all the fun you had, it didn't even feel as though you were doing any! Although recreating that feeling is more difficult now, with the pressures of exams and the material you have to cover, it isn't entirely unrealistic. Make posters, write with nice pens on coloured paper, draw pictures, organise a study session with your friends, create quizzes - there are lots of ways to spice up your study to make it more motivating. And, if that doesn't excite you, think about why you're studying in the first place. Is to do well in school so you can get a good job and earn lots of money? Is it to have a great lifestyle in future? Is it for a sheer love of learning? Whatever you reason may be, think about that as you tackle your next English essay or maths problem. I don't know about you, but future holidays in exotic locations are certainly a good motivator!

Friday, 5 August 2011


I've just signed up on the Pottermore website and am feeling that familiar thrill of excitement to do with all things Harry Potter related. I watched the last movie a week after the premier and the feeling of sad finality was almost overwhelming.
There were, however, I few things in the final film that I had problems with:

1) The casting choices for all the young characters: Lily, Snape, James, Harry's kids and Ron's kids. They made a brilliant job of casting Harry, Ron and Hermione in the first film (amazingly true to the pictures I already had in my head) and I was a little disappointed at the decisions for these characters.

2) Harry tells Ron and Hermione that he's going to die! And what do they do? Well, Hermione cries a little and touches his shoulder comfortingly while Ron looks at him with this strange, intense expression. Um, hello? Your best friend is about to die!

3) Snape's memories were shortened! Although the ones they did portray were absolutely heartbreaking.

4) Harry snaps the Elder Wand. Ok, so the most powerful wand in existence can be broken in two by a seventeen-year-old? Cool.

5) They don't use the Invisibility Cloak. I love that cloak!

6) Bellatrix Lestrange explodes? Really?

That's all I can think of for the time being. As for the things I liked: far too many to list! It was a terribly sad film.

So, now, I have Pottermore to comfort me on a rainy day as well as the seven books and eight films (the first one's my favourite - they're so cute!) which I am sure to read and watch over and over again. To be honest, I envy J. K. Rowling so much. Her plots are so tightly constructed, her writing flows beautifully and her characters are all so loveable. Maybe someday I'll be lucky enough to publish a book that achieves even a tenth of the success and love of Harry Potter...

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Weather or Not

Today was an absolutely gorgeous day (very unusual for midwinter in New Zealand!). The sun was shining, the sky was a cloudless blue and, from the moment I woke up and saw the golden light streaming in through my bedroom window, I felt strangely uplifted and... happy.

It's odd, isn't it, how the weather affects our mood? Christopher from 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time' by Mark Haddon thinks it's a highly illogical aspect of human nature and that it's equivalent to deciding how you're going to feel by how many red cars you see on your way to school. I, however, disagree. Despite only going outside for a brief time today, there was something curiously comforting about just knowing that the sun was shining outside the classroom window as I listened to our biology teacher drone on and on (and on!) about mitosis and meiosis.

At least, that's my opinion on the matter, feel free to comment and share yours!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Crossing a Milestone - The First Post

Call me silly, but I feel like I'm crossing a milestone of sorts in publishing my first blog post. Admittedly, this has been a while in coming as, although I created this blog a while back, I never quite got around to posting anything. Lately though, I changed my mind (as I read some truly amazing blogs) and realised that nothing was going to happen until I took the leap and posted something for the entire world to see.

So, that said, welcome to my blog and please feel free to comment on any of my posts!