Hello guys! We’re the Oracle, here to answer your questions, and we’re really excited to be here with the newspaper, so without further ado, here’s our first column.
Question: Finals are approaching, and there’s ever more work to do in addition to studying! I feel like my schedule is being overwhelmed with the additional studying and projects as well as regular homework—what should I do?
First of all, productivity is key. Working hard without being productive is like pushing a shopping cart without wheels—it’s just not going to work.
That’s why it’s important to make a schedule that both gives you a clear structure for your day and is not too rigid. A good schedule will help you predict what you are going to do, which will get you in the mindset for it, thus helping you work more productively. Moreover, you can keep track of your assignments and classes without relying on your memory—which, when you are in the heat of work, can betray you. But remember—you don’t want your schedule to be too rigid, because this will not give enough time for the inevitable extra assignments (both big and small) or emergencies that happen throughout the year. What if your parents are in a good mood and feel like going to your family’s favorite restaurant? It’s a pity to have to miss these things, so don’t make your schedule too strict.
To make a balanced schedule, sketch out the classes or extracurricular activities with times that you cannot negotiate, and try to work the negotiable things around those. It’s often good to have an approximate time in which you will do a certain task. For example, it’s a good idea for you to try to watch Core lectures in the morning, but you don’t want your schedule to be so strict as to say that you should watch them from 9-10 AM. What if your mom made an omelet brunch, starting at 9? You don’t want to miss it, so watch the lecture before or after 9, as long as it’s in the morning! It’s also a good idea to tell your parents what times you have set activities or classes, so that your mom won’t start dinner at 6, because you have class at that time! Lastly, as a general rule, the morning is usually the best time for lectures, classes, and reading, because you are wide awake and alert to everything you hear or see, so that you can learn things fast. The evening is the best time for creative output, such as math problems or English essays, because at this time your mind is tired, and it is not filtering as many of the thoughts that you come up with—and these thoughts are often where the genius theses for your essays or the special set ups for solving math problems come from! Isn’t it amazing? You can take advantage of your mind being off its guard!
But sometimes you just can’t do so much work. It’s extremely important to thoroughly think through your balance of academics, extracurricular activities, and clubs. If you aren’t going to be able to commit to an extracurricular activity, it’s better not to spend time on it. If there is a course that hits the core of your interest but is notorious for its workload, you may want to think twice. Clubs at the OHS, however, usually require little commitment, so I would advise joining the clubs you want to join, even if you won’t be able to make it to all of the meetings. However, make your commitment clear—some clubs require more time than others, and be sure to finish what you start. Of course, if you can make it, don’t miss it, because clubs are some of the best opportunities to get to know students from other grades, earn some experience in leadership and team-work and just to chill out with other students! If you aren’t in any club, you are missing out on a huge part of the OHS social experience!
Question: I have a lot of work at the moment, and I’ve heard a lot of OHS people bragging about their sleep deprivation and I was wondering, should I try an allnighter?
Nah, sleep! It is vital to get lots of good sleep, because, without enough sleep, your productivity will drastically plummet. It can become a nightmare. Life will become a scary slough of events; you will doze off irresponsibly; headaches will attack you; you will have unhealthy eating habits; you will feel like an airhead; the list can go on. You don’t want your morning alertness become morning drowsiness, and it’s not fun to fall asleep finishing an essay. (Note that productivity generally depends on the person—some people can last a long time without sleep, but this is generally harmful to your body in the long run.) That said, there are of course situations in which you may have to sleep less than is ideal, but as soon as you get the chance, get back to your normal schedule. Of course, certain people may require more or less sleep—it often depends upon your age and sleep quality, but as a general rule, try to keep it at 8 to 9 hours.
Advice on perfectionism:
One of the most important things to keep in mind is not to be perfectionistic! I know, we all love the feeling of doing everything perfectly, but it’s simply impossible. Why spend two hours every day to make your final grade one point higher? For some people it’s hard to leave something without reading it over and over again, making sure the sentences flow perfectly, or taking intricate notes. But this is one of the hard facts of life that you will have to deal with. Strive for perfection, but remember—stay practical with your time management!