3-4:30 pm Revise chapter 8
4:30-6 pm Tuitions
6-7:30 pm Try and go out for a while
7:30-8:30 pm Finish my homework and submit that assignment
9-10 pm Catch up on some work and try not to stay up till 1 am
1 am Take a moment to breathe.
As my family’s last hope of producing a well-versed reader, (apologies dear brother, but we all know the truth) the majority of my childhood passed with my nose buried in the latest Agatha Christie mystery.
My day, with no real schedule, could only end after re-reading three chapters of 'The Prisoner of Askaban'. It was my form of escapism, a way of trying to make sense of the world around me, through an entirely new one.
But unlike Peter Pan, I did grow up.
I’ve spent the last two years juggling intensive study schedules, extra classes, personal projects, and clinging on to a dying social life.My days are now spent buried under history textbooks, apologising for missing the latest meet-up at a friend's house. And nights for regretting that extra episode of Modern Family, time that could’ve been used to finish homework. My happiness would stem from 40/40 in my tests, every day spent working towards that. I was barely staying afloat under to-do lists and timetables, reminders from notion and assignments from school.
No, this is not a poorly-phrased cry for help. And don’t get me wrong, sometimes I love my crazy routines, the work usually pays off and I’m proud of my accomplishments, but the price to pay was a childhood, surrounded by loving characters, both fictional and next door.
I still can’t quite remember the last time I spent an afternoon reading or was so immersed in a novel that I lost track of time.
But I’m writing this after spending an entire day with my family friends,( rather hesitantly I should add) no longer feeling bad about that zoom call I missed. I've opened up to my friends who were beyond understanding and I realised that this certainly isn't just a problem I face, a lot of my classmates feel the same academic pressure, whether it's external or self-inflicted. I don't know if the feeling of disappointment when you mess up a quiz, forget to submit notes or if that fear of failure ever goes. However, I do know that it isn't a justification for letting go of things you hoped to keep forever.
I do still have back-to-back classes, and I do still stress out over inconsequential exams. But I have stopped studying 6 hours a day and I was happy with my 37.5/40. Oh, and I finished rewatching season 8 of Modern Family, guilt-free.
I’m not saying I’m on track to become the next James Clear but I am saying that my life no longer revolves around results and deadlines.
Rather than trying to fit in 30 hours into a day, I’m learning to appreciate the 24 I have.