Creative Coping

It’s paradoxical, but all my best creative ideas come to me when I’m too stressed or busy to pursue them. I remember being so confused by this during my first exam period, but excited too: I kept a notebook open next to my work and jotted down ideas all through my study day. It was a way to cope with my inevitable boredom at the long, monotonous hours of library drudgery. Two years later, and I’m still “blessed” with a surge of creativity right around the most stressful part of my year.

I know that many people work best under pressure, staying up all night to get an essay finished or cramming for an exam. I can’t work like that, personally: the mere idea of it stresses me out so much that it’s motivation to just get to work right now! That’s not to say that I don’t suffer from my fair share of procrastination. But I would much, much prefer to start as early as I can – that way I can try to stay healthy, and be able to take some time off, when I need to, so I don’t get burned out. And no, I’m not always able to do this, and yes, sometimes I have to stay up later than I’d like to finish things I didn’t start on time.

Last night, my brain wasn’t having any of it. I hadn’t cared for my body properly – I’d been eating strange meals, hadn’t gone for a run because it was pouring rain all day, hadn’t slept almost at all the previous night (probably also due to stress) – and so it was rebelling. I couldn’t concentrate, I was tired, bored, unfocused.. My sweet mama urged me to take a break, citing the oh-so-wise maxim: “an hour-and-a-half of solid work is worth 3 of half-hearted”. Amen, mama. So I decided to stop trying to force it.

Continue reading

How To Survive Exam Season, Part 3

Here’s part 1 and part 2!

Photo thanks to WeHeartIt

It’s that time of year again folks: the blasted exam crunch time. Previously, I’ve written about how to stay physically healthy and how to find the study system that works for you. This year’s edition is more focused on mental health and stress-reduction strategies. Intrigued? Read on!

I find that this time of year requires a lot of discipline, focus, and motivation. Those things aren’t always easy to find, especially not when you also feel frazzled, stressed, and probably lonely. But finding time for fun activities can be so insanely hard, especially when you always have this looming dark cloud hanging over you, telling you “YOU SHOULD BE STUDYING RIGHT NOW”. How oppressive! I’m sure a lot of you are nodding in agreement – there’s always this sense of obligation or duty to be studying, and even taking an hour to catch up with someone at Starbucks feels very wrong.

The more we’re isolated, the more awful we feel; but the more we take time off from studying, the guiltier we feel. Stress central! Here are some of the strategies I’ve been exploring to stay sane this exam season.

Continue reading

How To Survive Exam Season, Part 1

This article was originally published exactly one year ago today: April 16, 2010. I know it’s no excuse, but it’s exam time all over again, so I haven’t had much time to escape the study grind and write new content. For now, I hope that this old content can serve to inspire you in this stressful time!

Photo Thanks To ScubaSteveo

It’s that time of year, folks! Crunch time. Exams are fast approaching (or maybe over, if you go to certain schools) and it’s time to buckle down, bite the bullet and get to work. Although most of my readers have probably taken exams before, I’d like to share some lessons I’ve learned the hard way about exam time.

Continue reading

More VHS Than DVD

Tis the season to be jolly! And boy am I ever jolly. I just got through my personal exam hell: psychology, calculus, physics (OMG.) and I have chemistry in two days. Less now! Like a day?! How exciting! I still have mucho studying to do, but it’s coming along well and since I’m super restless at this point in the week, drained and just excited to be done with exams, I decided to take a break to blog. Relaxing :)

And what to blog about? Well one of the things I am most excited about to do over Christmas break (besides eating, sleeping, reading, decorating the Christmas tree, skating, seeing family & friends, playing with my dog and kittens, baking and did I mention eating?) is watching Christmas movies. Oh my gosh. I adore Christmas movies probably more than any other type of movie out there. And although my list matches up with practically every other “Best Christmas Movies” list there exists, I want to do it myself anyways!

Here you go, try out some of these if you haven’t before. In NO particular order!

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Awe, little Jenny Humphrey! ‘Nough said. Except I will say this: I thoroughly enjoyed Jim Carrey in this movie, his Grinch was particularly and deliciously grinchy. Also, young Grinch is absolutely adorable and kind of dark. It’s heartwarming and always good for a few laughs.

“Jury duty, jury duty, blackmail, jury duty, muahaha”

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (The Old One)

Just watch the cartoon people singing their silly Who song holding hands, and watch the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes so he is able to have that beautiful moment when the sun rises and he saves Christmas!! Watch those scenes and tell me your heart isn’t happy after. Plus it takes like, what, forty minutes of your time? :)

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer


Best parts? Herby, the reindeer romance, the island of Lost Toys (and the doll: we cannot determine why she was rejected!! There is nothing wrong with her!), “Don’t you know about Bumbles? Bumbles bounce!”.

White Christmas

So this one is relatively new to the list, I only discovered it last year. But it’s definitely worth checking out. Two sisters who are also performers team up with two friends who have just left the army after WW2 to…well I am not entirely sure what the goal of their mission is, but they end up having to perform for someone important at some ski lodge-type-thing. Obviously the details are unimportant, the gist is that it’s adorable and predictable and has Bing Crosby in it. :) Plus the song ‘Sisters’ is hilarious.

Love Actually

I’ve already seen it twice this holiday season. SO amazing. I adore this movie. A collection of love stories all set during the Christmas season: some beautiful, some heartbreaking, some hilarious. So so so so good. GO see it!

Miracle on 34th Street

Sort of goes without saying, doesn’t it? Isn’t this one in everyone’s holiday arsenal? If not, add it immediately. Susan (the little girl pictured) is a star, she’s so hilarious and witty for her age in this movie. Of course, the Santa Clause is perfect, the ending makes me ecstatically happy every time I watch it and it’s just a wonderful story about the magic of Christmas.

It’s a Wonderful Life

I love James Stewart. And I love heartwarming movies that remind you of the importance of family and the awesomeness of Christmas. This movie fulfills all of those criteria. YES PLEASE.

Okay. And now we have the real special ones, the ones reserved for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  :)

Christmas Eve: A Christmas Carol

Okay so it’s old, and sort of drags at parts, and constantly scares the shit out of me with the last ghost holy moly. But all that aside, it’s still a classic and me and my mother have been watching it on Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. It’s hilarious, especially at the end (“Bob’s your uncle!!”) and Alistair Sim is perfect. WHY THEY WOULD REMAKE IT WITH JIM CARREY IS BEYOND ME.

Christmas Day: Die Hard

Some may argue, the ultimate Christmas movie. Needless to say, I watch this one with my Dad and love every second of it. C’mon, Severus Snape as a crazy German mofo, Bruce Willis swearing at every possible opportunity, a hilarious computer nerd (essential to any good heist film), lots of random Christmas references, Argyle, and of course Twinkies. Best. Time. Ever.

So that’s all I got for you. I should probably get back to studying. I feel more motivated now, I guess? Definitely going to have more time on my hands in the coming days, maybe I’ll post some Christmas baking recipes and pictures, or talk about the books I’m finally getting to read! SO many amazing opportunities coming up! Better get to work I guess. :)

xoxo, S.