Sunday, September 13, 2015

School Nuisances and Weird Studying Habits

There's no weekend, there's no weekday, there's only one day--revise-your-ass-off day.

Here's what's going to happen in about half a year. Scratch that, in 189 160 132 days. After 189 160 132 days I'm going into battlefield. The battlefield of University Entrance Exam. In these 189 160 132 days I will revise 2 year's worth of 10 subjects, including Chinese Literature, the English Language, Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Earth Science, History, Geography and Civil & Social Studies, hopefully more than twice for each subject.

Who am I kidding?!

Just look at the ridiculous amount of books and handouts I have to go through.

I could sit on that pile. But wait, there's more.

I could actually tile the floor with them. And there's even more.

yes, those are candles. candles are cool when they are cool. when they are hot also.
Maybe I'll build a house...

It's madness.

Obviously I can't read them all, but yes, most of them. What feels even more overwhelming is that when school starts next week (well, technically it won't start until September but...ah read the first paragraph of this post.) there will be even more information for us to take in. (update: it's started. yeah, i procrastinate so much that i didn't even finish this post in a day) (update update: it just ended today. i know. procrastination is death.hence the cross-outs on the days.) (update update update: apparantly another twenty something days has passed...somebody send help.) There will be more and, to add the excitement, harder lessons on 5 of those subjects. It means that I'll have to revise and learn new things at the same time, and not forget any of them. So now you understand my opening sentence. There's no weekend, there's no weekday, there's only one day--revise-your-ass-off day. 

This is where I'll start my rant, but to keep this post peaceful, I decided to link you to my ranty post instead of ranting here. You can thank me later.

So yeah, there is quite a lot of studying involved. And with studying comes my weird study habits. (smooth transition, melody.)

Revising is excruciating. It lacks the excitement of learning something new, but there's a lot more to take in and memorise; you seem to know what it's all about, but when it comes down to the details and exam tactics, you're reduced to an uneducated umbrella; not to mention the limited space in your brain--look, that memory card's sitting there laughing at you again. Grr, somebody invent that upload-able-to-brain-knowledge thingy please.

When faced with these atrocities, you've got to develop some coping skills and venting outlet. Or if you're like me, who would start squirming around when I've been sitting for too long and just can't stand too much time being sedentary, then some weirdness to cancel out the seriousness.

First of all, weird postures. The teachers, my dad and mom, every adult and their mothers all say that I should sit straight when studying. I heard it helps concentrating. Feet on the ground, knees straight, DON'T ARCH YOUR BACK, relax your wrists, blah, blah, blah. Ha. I sit cross-legged, as you do on the floor, but for me, on my chair. Or a stool, depending on where I study. If you happen to sit next to me, you can probably see my beautiful mismatched socks. (Speaking of which, yes, I take off my shoes when I study. I can't stand the humid feeling accumulating in my shoes when my feet are not moving.)

Cross-legged is my usual way, but I can't stay in the same posture for a long time. You can find me sitting at the edge of the chair with my legs stretched all the way to the front. Or putting my feet on that bar between the two front legs of the chair which was often placed inhumanely high, which means my calves are tightly squeezed under my thighs. On rare occasions you can even find me squatting. Yes, on the chair.

Onto the next. My pencil bag (that contains mostly pens.) I don't really need a rainbow of pens for my notes; my basics are a mechanical pencil, a rubber, two to three colours of pens and a crayon for highlights. Not a lot, right?

Well. I can't stand the sight of them. Obviously they're fabulous for my studying, but seeing them scattered on the desk makes me go nuts. Plus, they're not those clickey pens, no, they're lid-pens (wow, my vocabulary), meaning if I forget to cap the lid on the back of the pen there will be even more maddening trinkets all over my desk.

What I do is spread them all over the desk while studying, and gather them, re-cap all of them and arrange them neatly in my pencil bag after I finish a subject.
And then take out my books for the next subject.
And take my pens out again, and uncap all of them, and start studying again.
I know, weird. It feels a bit like ritual, a pretty meaningless one, really.

Another study preference, or should I say, source of accomplishment--the amount of waste paper I produce. See, when I study, I like to have a piece of paper aside so that I can scribble whatever I think important on it and take notes on whatever pops up. If it's maths or chemistry or physics, then those stacks of paper are necessary because if I don't have them I'll have to do all the calculations on my book, which always turn into a unreadable mess. So, the more calculations I made the more waste paper I produce, and rather than a just crossing off another thing on my to-do list (which I'm sure will lose its appeal very soon), there's actually some evidence that I can hold onto and prove that YUS LOOK HOW MUCH I'VE DONE. Even though the paper still goes into the bin at the end of the day. But still.

And here I present to you--a school-driven-insane Melody.

How are you people doing? Have you ever been through one of these big exams? How did you deal with it? How's the education system in your country? I'd really like to know!

Also, a heads up: I might not be on this blog for a while until January, though one or two posts might pop up as the result of my sneaking out for some break. I'll try to reply to all comments, regardless! I love comments, so don't hesitate to leave one!


  1. Oh. My. Gosh. That sounds awful. My ex-boyfriend (and still my friend, fyi) is from Taiwan, and he told me about the insanity that is school there. That just. Sounds terrible. Why do you take so many classes? How do you have time for other stuff? I've just started 11th grade (so I've got slightly less than 2 years left of school) and I have had a lot of work (blogging has suffered). But I only have 5 major classes (4 time a week each, calc(fun when I understand it, otherwise not), Bio (love the class, dislike the teacher), chem (great teacher, pretty interesting, and fun as there are only 6 of us), English (5 students who are mainly nice, great teacher), and Indian History (It's fun, because we don't get much work at all, and we have a good teacher, although he's always like 'just for fun we'll put all this random irrelevant stuff on the test). 4 of those are APs, which are hard, and are supposed to give a lot of homework (some do. some don't). Then I also have Band and choir, and two study halls (free periods for homework), and 6 music practices/lessons. It's way easier that what you have to go through. Getting in to university just sounds excruciating. Anyway, Melody, I really hope you have time to a) blog and b) (more importantly), have fun every once in a while. -Shar (

  2. Well, the thing is, we don't really get to choose--all those subjects, they're required course credits and the most universities also require equally high scores for each subject. The exam is meant to be a indication of the student's academic competence and some people just decided that you're never good enough unless you're good at all the subjects. Which sucks. I thought as high school students we're capable of knowing and choosing what I need and want to learn, and it's not like we didn't know the subject--we do, and we had already learnt the basics of them in middle school. But apparently the adults don't agree and decided to make us learn ALL of them again with more details and harder content. And not being able to do well on subjects worries me quite a lot, since I'm instantly reminded that education in Taiwan isn't the most rigorous and that I should be glad I don't study in China/Japan/South Korea/ Singapore, where their students allegedly are having it way harder.
    We do have other things like clubs and student council, but mostly they're for freshmen and juniors. I didn't participate in many of it though, and I can't imagine how some people manage to do all the things.
    Ahh, I know what you mean about those random irrelevant stuff in tests, basically, they're the bane of my existence XD. There's only 5 people in the class? Here we have like 30 to 40. I say, 'the less the merrier'. Your school actually sounds quite fun and it's so cool that you have students of different ethnicities (no I'm not jealous okay maybe a little, haha)
    Thanks, Shar, I really need that fun once in a while, and thanks for commenting :) I love learning about schools and education in different countries.

  3. Wow, I've heard about how competitive uni applications are in Taiwan, but this is really hardcore. Especially since you're studying so many subjects! It looks like you are on top of it though, since you have fabulous rituals (anything that makes you concentrate is awesome, so never think it's werid) -- all the best in your exams!

    1. I thought China and Hong Kong are the ones that are super competitive and harsh on education? People are always telling me that we have to work harder because there are way more intelligent and hardworking students across the strait (meaning China) that'll compete with us in the near future and honestly I worry about that a lot. They also say that of the countries in east Asia, Taiwan is one of the more lenient countries. I don't know, how is it in Hong Kong?
      And thanks, Alyssa! I don't know if I'm really handling it well enough, but I'm trying to :P.

  4. Oh my goodness, the ocean looks so nice! Very different from the weather in Colorado haha :)

    1. Thanks :) Colorado looks so lovely though! We have mountains here as well, but they're very different from those in your photos.