If You Haven’t Solved Your Problems By 2 AM, Go To Sleep

The first half of semester one has officially ended, and so has Recess Week, and so has our overseas vacations with tenuous links to education ‘learning across boundaries’ week. Seven weeks have passed just like that; and so this is officially the start of the rest of the semester!

I was taking a shower just now and for some strange reason decided to turn the tap to the coldest and just stood there in shivery contemplation. It was then that I realised that life was getting a bit out of hand the last few weeks, with the vacation mindset seeping in and how work just piled up so effortlessly that it all now sits precariously balanced on my desk. Things tend to spiral out of control very easily when you’re flustered, and so I knew I had to get typing if I wanted to keep it all in check and remind myself of a better tomorrow. So I’m just going to list out the things I need to constantly remind myself of for the upcoming term, and hope I don’t forget it all by Wednesday (though I probably will).

In every study environment, at least one thing/characteristic/aspect must be less than ideal to ensure optimal productivity. 

I’ve noticed that I cannot study in environments with an overly ideal setting. Good examples include my room, my house living room, libraries, cubicles and perhaps quiet classrooms. Such places with surroundings perfectly catered to information transfers from paper to brain just turn me off in all their productive entireties. I’ve come to notice that I need at least one flaw in my study environment to really focus. It could be the haze, or a comfortable buzz of the crowd, a hot mug of tea on a 32° day or simply a chair that I will try but eventually fail to mould my ass to. I just need a source of discomfort to focus my energy on so that I don’t get distracted by other more lethal disturbances like the new Voice of China episode or just the entire social media package in general. I thought I was pretty disciplined but the entire last term has proven me wrong. I just need that subtle irritation in my environment to keep me driven. I realise that this may not make any sense to you.

Moving on together is the best kind of moving on.

Having been through so many phases of life starting all the way from Primary School to University, there have been a lot of transitions, the next one being more heartfelt and complex than the previous. I guess as we mature we find more meaning in our relationships and it becomes harder to acknowledge that the bulk of time you used to spend with a certain group now has to be refocused on another. It is that mysterious “another” that we have to delve in fully and try to make sense of (like I am doing so right now). In the process of that it is tragic yet totally sensible to loosen our grip on our old friends from our previous life stages, and if you would allow, I would label this act as ‘moving on’.

So in the case of moving on, a lot of conflicts and disturbances do arise, and it is so because it is almost impossible to expect everyone to move on at the same pace, or for everyone to understand the gravity of change in relation to how it used to be in the past. People get annoyed and hurt when the past is incongruous with the future, or when the moments that seemed framed in eternity were but passing thoughts.

The friends that manage to stay are the ones that fully acknowledge this tragedy. They acknowledge that there will definitely be less time spent around the other, and that conversation topics would never be as relevant as they used to be. At the same time, they’ll have the ability to move on together, and put in the effort within the relevant pockets of time. These are the friends that don’t purely delve into past experiences, but also work alongside shared hypotheticals, loosely shared experiences of the new places they’ve been and rejoice in how their lives may have managed to coincide again, no matter how far fetched. Understanding personal differences and working to reconcile them is one of the hardest things to do, yet is an act of such high order. Perhaps there is no better framework than that, for true friendships to flourish.

You can’t solve your problems after 2 am.

Well, technically, you can. In pivotal moments of the previous term I have finished my assignments, completed my readings and wrote a lot on this space in the wee hours of the morning. But I want to stand by the above because I feel that this whole sleep issue is taking a huge toll on me. I never planned to leave everything till late but it’s the sort of tendency that arises in a hyped up social setting that every residential college seems to represent. It came with its consequences; in the day I feel hot under the collar and very restless, very sleepy, then suddenly just full-on restless again. It’s not the best state to exist in for sure. I just hope the next few weeks will come with it an active readjustment to daylight, where 2 am will find me cooped up in my room, shut eyed and snoring, dreaming of the day I actually find out what the purpose of (my) life is.

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