Matric Peer Guide and Term 3 Initiative Coordinator
It is so easy to feel that you're disappointing your parents or those around you when you don't receive the results they expect from you. But I'd like to pose a question: What do you expect from yourself?
I like this question because it's one that only you can answer. Clear your mind of all external expectations, take a step back and really think about it.
Expectations are tricky because they are relative. Your goals will not be the same as the next person’s, and that’s a good thing to keep in mind at all times. At the foundation of it all, you should strive to be the best possible version of yourself. But how can we really achieve this? Here are a few things to consider when setting your own standards:
1. You should treat yourself as a valuable friend. Think about it, when your friend fails a test you don’t scold them for not working hard enough or being stupid, you encourage them to do better in the next test because you believe they are capable of it. You would never bring one of your closest friends down with words, so why do it to yourself? Why do we insist on berating ourselves when we can use disappointments and failures as motivation? This negative self-talk only leads to a warped negative view of ourselves. The more you encourage yourself, the greater the things you do.
2. Know what you are capable of, but do not limit yourself. When setting goals, it is important that these goals are realistic and attainable. Smaller, attainable goals work together to create a bigger picture. The reason why the words "you can do anything you set your mind to" is constantly repeated is because it holds a lot of truth. When you start to believe in yourself, you start to expand your limitations and what you are capable of becomes greater.
3. Know when to work. Without being too repetitive, always remember that you can't get anything out without putting anything in. If you're truly serious about achieving something, you'll be willing to put the work in. Consistency is key in this regard, and the best thing to do is to just start.
4. Know when to take a break. Working hard is important, but so is taking a break. Your health, physically and mentally, should always be prioritised. According to psychologytoday, breaks restore motivation. Taking short intervals can improve focus and help you to better complete any task.
As we approach the second half of this term and Matrics prepare for mocks, remember to stay focused on your goals and live up to your own standards. Show yourself what you are able to do.
Matric Peer Guide and Big Sister Little Sister Coordinator
As exams rapidly approach, the best remedy needed is a dose of motivation. I like to think of each goal or problem in life as a mountain. If a mountain is in our way, we have no other choice but to climb it. The path might be tricky and long, but in the end, we can be sure that we will reach the peak and walk briskly down.
It is so easy to overwhelm yourself, especially at this time of the year. You can get trapped inside of your head and overthink every possible thing. The only way to get on track of having a healthy mindset is to start. We often label something as so unnecessarily difficult that it becomes hard to face the situation and easier to hide.
Trust me, I have watched many a Tasty video in many stressful times because I was so anxious about my workload. Procrastination has been everyone’s enemy at some stage. The thing is, that while YouTube videos might distract you for 3 hours, studying for your exam tomorrow still needs to be done. The guilt comes in once you realize that you’re now rushing through half the syllabus in one night, drinking tons of coffee and splashing your eyes with water to stay awake. Because you’ve had minimal sleep, you’re surviving on pure adrenaline and your brain capacity is half of what it would be if you had gone to bed at a decent hour. I know that somewhere along the line, we have all been guilty of last minute work. However, it shouldn’t become a strategy that you rely on because it will eventually catch up with you.
So what can we do to survive and keep calm during this exam period?
Break up your work into smaller parts
A whole syllabus of Life Sciences can seem really daunting to study all at once, but tackling one section at a time suddenly seems much more manageable. Taking on tasks one at a time is key to having success. It is, however, still important to keep the bigger picture in mind when working towards a goal.
Create a realistic study timetable
Assess your situation in terms of extra murals and downtime. Just because it’s exam term does not mean you have to sacrifice the things that keep you sane. Give yourself realistic study time for each subject and do not forget to take breaks!
Take time for yourself to re-energise your batteries, whether it be a walk, nap, spending time with your family or exercising. Be kind to your body! You’ll be amazed at how constructive breaks can be to help you study more effectively.
Don’t forget to eat healthily
During exams we need as much fuel as we can get, so drink lots of water and eat a balanced diet for maximum productivity.
Get enough sleep!
Having a good night’s sleep the night before a test or exam is essential. Try get a minimum of 6 hours of sleep a night.
Most importantly, you need to remember that your own mental well-being comes first. It’s hard to find a good balance of managing your studies, homework, extra-murals and family time and still have a sliver left over for social interactions. It’s no wonder we never make any time for ourselves. Find the time these exams to take care of yourself and remember that you’re not competing with anyone. Stay focused on your own personal goals that are both challenging and attainable.
You go girl! You’ve got this.
Matric Peer Guide and Fundraising Coordinator
Often, when we make decisions, we are filled with conviction:
“I’m going to study for two hours every single night!”
“I’m not eating refined sugar ever again!!”
“I’m going to run five kilometers every single Saturday!!!”
Some people…actually very few people... are successful at following the above self commands. For example, you have so much homework that your study timetable cannot be adhered to. You eat birthday cake at your friend’s party. Or, you wake up on Saturday morning and cannot face putting on your running shoes. And, then what happens is you have broken your self promise. It pretty much feels like the end of the world, and that pursuing the promise further is worthless. You are a failure.You are weak-willed, stupid, unmotivated, unsuccessful and lazy - wow! Stop the train of self-loathing.
Have you perhaps considered that your expectations were too high?
You were implementing a new habit in your life, but rather than easing yourself into it, you threw yourself head first into the deep end without a plan of action or a life jacket. You have given yourself a task that is impossible! However, do not worry, and most importantly please do not beat yourself up; instead, take three deep breaths.
We are all guilty of having aspirations for ourselves, without remembering that we are creatures of habit, and that it is extremely difficult to change. If you are wanting to implement change into your life, consider these questions:
This line of thinking can be applied, not only to habit formation, but in changing your attitude towards school, society in general, or even your dog - who likes eating your shoes.
The crux of the matter is that we are our own worst critics, and are the biggest reason why we do not improve our lives in the ways that we wish. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself, to be kind to yourself, and to improve your own experience of life through compassion, and not at the detriment of your self-esteem.
Matric Peer Guide and Service Pillar Representative
In today’s fast-paced world our worries often include: meeting deadlines, upholding a certain image, and perhaps - if we’re all being brutally honest - how life is often just ‘too tough.’ In the hustle and bustle of life, we can subconsciously become fairly self-absorbed. It’s then easy to focus on how others are affecting us, instead of how we might be affecting others.
We forget what we radiate!
When things are a bit rocky and the oral you had due two days ago isn’t complete yet and your house card goes M.I.A and your favourite pen just ran out of ink, it’s only natural to be in a 'not-so-good' state of mind. When this happens, our frustration and negative thoughts automatically radiate from us into our environment - influencing those around us. I, for one, know that by the second week of the June exams, I’m far too stressed to keep in mind that my snappy attitude might be the difference between someone else’s good or bad day.
On a more refreshing note - the same rule applies to when we’re in a better space. When in a good state of mind, a more positive, constructive and warm energy is shared. This warmth might be the exact cure to someone’s rocky day.
It’s therefore essential that we practice being conscious of the energy we emit. Nobody is saying that we are not allowed to feel frustrated or stressed, or that we have to emit 'good vibes only.' Everyone has a right to feel their emotions, but nobody has the right to project their negative emotions onto anyone else.
I’d like to believe that nobody wakes up with the agenda to negatively impact on someone else. At our core, we, as humans, have the incredible capacity to love, and the ability to radiate something beautiful. This is who we are. However, practising this is a lot of work. It’s about more than including the phrase, ‘radiate positivity,’ in your next Instagram caption, or posting one of Rupi’s poems as your WhatsApp status. It’s about truly putting those words into action, whether we’re in a good space or not. It’s about going back to our core selves when we stray too far due to external influences.
The bottom line is: what we radiate comes from within, and can be controlled.
Matric Peer Guide in charge of Marketing
It's too easy to be swept up in the frantic chaos that comes with the beginning of every year. We often forget how important it is to take time out of your day to do something purely and wholly for yourself. Maybe you’re the friend who always looks after everyone else, but doesn’t take time for yourself. Self care is not all avocado masks and long relaxing bubble baths. You have actively to put in time and effort into keeping your body, mind and soul content. While the Youtubers make it look so easy, you may find yourself running out time for doing things you actually enjoy, or will actually benefit your body. We are four weeks into term 1 and I am sure taking strain, both mentally and physically, as I'm sure many of you are. I encourage everyone to do some self analysis and take a look at your self care routines.
Sometimes it is important to take a day off, to leave that project for a while, to watch your series or see your friends. But self care is not only taking a break. Sometimes the best way to look after your mental state is to do all your homework, get on top of your work, and meet those deadlines. You’ll avoid the anxiety of sitting in class knowing you haven’t done your homework as your teacher picks on people to answer. You’ll avoid the all nighters and prevent frantic mornings in the computer room printing your project on the morning it’s due. So don’t use self love as an excuse to neglect your school work completely, but, if needed, give your mind a rest.
A lot of us are emotional eaters and I know just how easy it is to indulge ourselves after a long hard day. And that’s okay, sometimes you just need the chocolate. But feeding your body healthy food is a form of self care that is so important. Our bodies function better when we’ve had full nutritious meals. You’ll not only have more energy, but you will feel more content in your own skin. Taking time out of your day for healthy habits is something that is invaluable to our mental health. Exercise, and no I don’t mean hectic gyming for 3 hours every day, is a form of self care that is so often overlooked because it is abused by so many. Take a walk outside, breath in the fresh air, get your body moving and blood flowing. Endorphins are not a myth, exercise can really help clear your mind and make you happier. Find something that works for you. Try a different sport that you can do after school with your friends. Take your dog for a walk or ride a bike. So often exercise is shoved into this box of being boring or painful or embarrassing, but once you find an activity that you enjoy, you’ll notice the difference in the way your body and mind feels.
You have to get enough sleep. If there’s one thing you take out of this blog, let it be that sleep is the most important form of self care. A car cannot run without filling up with petrol. Sleep is the petrol for our bodies. You need to recharge. It’s unsustainable to run off 3 hours of sleep everyday, and I know there are people who will disagree (probably matrics) but the bags under your eyes and the constant headache and the falling asleep in class will not simply disappear. You need to sleep.
There are so many rules out there trying to tell you how to manage your school life. How much time you should be spending on homework, what marks you should be getting, what you should be doing on the weekend. If you’re feeling overwhelmed (and trust me, most of us are) one way to help feel more in control of your own life is to take time out of your day simply and purely for yourself. Journal, take some photos, go for coffee with friends, go to the beach, make your oats with chia seeds and goji berries in the morning, drink your coffee slowly, meditate, do some yoga, go for a run or a walk, paint something, solve a crossword, play with your dog.
My point is, self care is not a ‘one size fits all’ journey. It’s personal, relative to who you are as a person. So think deeply about how much time you put aside for yourself, how much time you need to clear your overwhelmed and stressed out brain and re energize yourself for tomorrow. So give yourself some love and care, you deserve it and your body will thank you.
Matric and head of Peer Guides
Ah! Term 1 is finally drawing to close and now it’s time to spend 12 days working hard 24/7 to stay ahead of the...wait..no that’s not right. Hold on, yes I’ve got it! It’s time to spend 12 days regenerating your strength and to also take some time to lower your stress levels that have risen over the term. And sprinkle in some relaxation into the mix. As individuals, we should all be so proud of ourselves. Grade 8’s, you made it through your first term of high school. Isn’t that exciting? And Matrics, we have just completed the first term of our last year of high school. I’m not sure if that’s exciting or totally terrifying. And this does not exclude the Grade 9’s, 10’s or 11’s either. Everyone has worked hard this term and deserves the break ahead.
I know that just because it’s the holidays, that doesn't mean the workload has suddenly been lifted, we all know that it’s still there. I’ve heard people saying how their holiday doesn’t exist and all they are going to be doing is working and studying the whole holidays and do nothing else. And this just shocks me. Is this how people think? Do high school students really put that much pressure on themselves? It’s crazy to think that. And I’m here to say, in spirit, that it really doesn’t have to be that way at all. I’m not going to be the person to tell you to do no work in the holidays, but I am going to be the person to tell you to not push yourself to a breaking point. That is counter productive and can take a huge toll on your mental and physical state. Obviously working a day or two here and there is totally fine and may reduce your stress next term by getting a jump start on assignments. But the key here is to ensure that there is some balance.
We need to focus on getting ourselves back to mental and physical health. This is the most important thing before anything else these holidays. Use this time to relax, and by relaxing I don’t mean having to sit at home and do nothing at all. Everyone relaxes in their own way. Whether it be going to the beach, hanging out with friends or even doing some yoga. Find your way of relaxation and make a point of doing it. Also remember to take some time for yourself to destress and help yourself ease into a good space that you may not have been in throughout Term 1. There is plenty of time to work during the term, but think about this, how much time do we set aside for ourselves to just take a breath and remind ourselves it’s okay. We spend more time beating ourselves up about a bad mark than being positive towards ourselves.
You have one body, and that body is your temple and you need to respect it and listen to it. If you’re tired, then sleep, don’t push yourself to work until the early hours of the morning, if you’re struggling to keep up with the work, don’t hate yourself, don’t take it out on yourself, ask people for help. There are so many things to de done to relax and get rid of the stress that loads up on our backs.
If you have to take 1 thing out of what I’ve said, please let it be this, you deserve a break, you deserve to rest and stop putting so much pressure on yourself. You will get there if you work smart and listen to what your body needs and what you need emotionally. As I’ve previously said, there is nothing more important than your mental health. And although it’s only 12 days of holidays, plan your time wisely.
I hope you have taken some of this in and I also hope to see everyone back next term feeling destressed and in a good mental state, ready to take on Term 2. Have a fabulously relaxed holiday everyone!
I’m a hopeless romantic on Valentine's Day. I love the hearts, the chocolate and the anticipation of hearing my name being called in assembly to receive a rose. I can't help it, as I’m a Libra my sign is ruled by Venus, the planet of love and being a firm believer in astrology I’m compelled to swoon, I even have special Valentine’s Day outfits. However this day becomes particularly dreadful when I’m alone.
The concept of ‘self love’ might seem a bit heartbreaking on a day devoted to others showing their affection for you publicly, but truly it is the key to more success in any relationship. Instead of focusing on having a significant other this Valentines Day, why don’t you focus on a you that treats you right.
The greatest love of all is the one that you foster for yourself. Falling in love with yourself is as beautiful as any experience of love can be. This does not mean you are selfish, conceited or vain but simply acknowledging your worth as a human being and until you can love yourself, you will not be able to love anyone else. You can only love another to the degree in which you love yourself.
Take time to get to know yourself - learn and grow. Once you've accomplished this you won't need to search for love and it won't have to find you either, it'll come from within. This means taking care of your mind, body and soul whether that be through meditation, learning a new language, spending time in nature, exercising, listening to music or taking the time to appreciate the little thing which make you happy.
Your self worth is not determined by others and you shouldn’t let this get you down.
Worry about loving yourself instead of loving the idea of other people loving you. Loving yourself starts with liking yourself, which starts with respecting yourself, which starts with thinking of yourself in a positive way. Why wait for love from someone else when you can love yourself right now.
It's easy to have the Valentines blues when you’re alone but give this a thought: being in a relationship makes it much harder to pursue self-love. When you’re sharing yourself and your time with another person, you neglect spending time with yourself, alone. This doesn't mean just pampering yourself but really taking the time to figure out who you are and what you want. Being in a relationship doesn’t define you and shouldn’t be the epitome of your Valentine’s Day, instead fall for you and appreciate yourself for the divine being that you are.
Here’s my challenge for you today: Take a picture of your face and remember that in 10 years time you will be amazed at how gorgeous you were. Be amazed now.
Bhavika Kalan- Peer guide, Head of Silverlea House
Carpe Diem. - Seize the day!
Stop for a second.
Do you realize where you are, what you have?
You have some sort of technological device in front of you, and you have the ability to read whats in front of you.
Do you realize how lucky you are?
We often turn a blind eye to what we receive everyday, not realising its importance or worth till it's gone.
January is reaching an end and the first month of 2018 has disappeared. Time flies!
Every day of the year is special. To put things in perspective there are 12 months , 52 weeks, 8765 hours and 525948 minutes in a year. Every second, whether a second from your birthday, or a second from failing a test, or a second away from a 80% , it all plays an important role in making you the person you are today.
It is those goals we failed to reach, that gives us the strength to achieve it the next time round.
Like they say, a glow stick has to break before it shines. In the same manner our downfall is the rise to our strength.
Never regret a day in your life, the good days give you happiness,the bad days give you experience,the worst days give you lessons, and the best days give you memories to cherish forever!
Use those memories and skills you have earned to build you a better future. Thrive on happiness and give happiness so that happiness remains with you in the service of others.
So reconsider your possible new year's resolution that could've gone along the following lines : “forgive and forget”
Be grateful of your past and all that is has molded you into, “forgive and learn” so that you can paint a better tomorrow than today.
Life is a series of thousands of tiny miracles. Notice them.
In the fourth term of 2017, our new peer guides were selected. They join the new matric peer guides in their very important and valuable roles. They have already been formally introduced to the school but with the busyness of the end of the year we were only able to take their photo's after exams. This leadership cycle we chosen to have a fun, more spontaneous photo shoot for our photos for the classrooms. allowing the peer guides to be seen as more approachable. I have great faith and trust that this year will be a great one for the peer guides, where I know they will endeavour to serve our school with empathy, courage and integrity.
List of Peer Guides: 2017/2018
Grade 11 Peer Guide and Head of Service at WGHS
October 31st, Halloween, the one night a year where streets all over the world are filled with people from all sorts of different backgrounds dressed head to toe in costumes of the age old monsters we feared lay under our beds, in our cupboards or in the attic. Somehow, on this particular night, we all feel compelled to face those monsters, face those childhood fears of ours.
But what I want to know is why it is only once a year that we do this and what makes us so unable to do the same with the fears preventing us from being the best versions of ourselves; preventing us from being the people we have always dreamed about being. How can we be so afraid of stepping into the unknown, if what we are afraid of is what we have not yet experienced?
I challenge you to sit down and think about what you fear the most, to maybe even write these fears down, and then take a leap and delve into a world where those fears don’t exist. How much more could you see yourself doing? I would say that this little bit of introspection is the first step to conquering our fears.
We begin to realize how dangerous our comfort zones can actually become because they are no longer keeping us safe, they are keeping us behind. The moment we start running into the things that scare us the most is the moment we start living. Start to think of your fears as a good thing; instead of being something to run away from, treat them as something to run towards.
Facing your fears is what bridges the divide between you and your biggest hopes, desires and opportunities. So start today, start small but start and if you don’t know where to start, take inspiration from the poem below and start where you stand.
Poem: Start where you stand By Berton Braley
Start where you stand and never mind the past,
The past won't help you in beginning new,
If you have left it all behind at last
Why, that's enough, you're done with it, you're through;
This is another chapter in the book,
This is another race that you have planned,
Don't give the vanished days a backward look,
Start where you stand.
The world won't care about your old defeats
If you can start anew and win success,
The future is your time, and time is fleet
And there is much of work and strain and stress;
Forget the buried woes and dead despairs,
Here is a brand new trial right at hand,
The future is for him who does and dares,
Start where you stand.
Old failures will not halt, old triumphs aid,
To-day's the thing, to-morrow soon will be;
Get in the fight and face it unafraid,
And leave the past to ancient history;
What has been, has been; yesterday is dead
And by it you are neither blessed nor banned,
Take courage, man, be brave and drive ahead,
Start where you stand.