Why I Don’t Study–or 5 ways to keep your sanity in school

A random beach picture, just because it’s pretty.

I’ve always hated the word “studying.” It makes me envision something like slave labor–a tyrant driven, inhuman state where a person pushes himself way past his endurance point and begins to foam at the mouth with all the incredible knowledge he’s attempting to force into his brain. Come test time, he’s little better than a walking carcass, full of nothing but sleeplessness and caffeine and nervousness about the test because, surprisingly, he remembers almost nothing of what he almost killed himself for.

Is it any wonder, with such a jaundiced view of studying, that I forswore it long ago? I have much better things to do with my life than lose sleep or valuable reading time. So here’s what I do instead:

1. Sleep

If I don’t get enough sleep, I can’t stand to be around myself, and I’m guessing most other people can’t stand to be around me either. So just for the sake of my general happiness and sanity, I make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, and preferably 9 or 10.


2. Eat

Homemade Sourdough Banana Nutella Crepes. Ain’t nobody gonna say we don’t eat well around here!

Taking the time to eat good food every day is extremely important for keeping your health and sanity. Your body simply can’t run well on bad food or not enough food (diet gurus to the contrary!). Saying you don’t have time to make decent real food is like filling your brain with bad movies because you don’t want to take the time to find good ones. It might not kill you immediately, but it limits the amount of good work you can do!

3. Relax/do something for fun

There’s nothing to take your mind off of schoolwork you’d rather not be doing like reading a totally unrelated book or watching a TV show or movie. Far from taking away time from my studies, it simply keeps me from worrying at all hours what I need to be doing next. Blogging also falls into this category–if school takes away my creative abilities, I’m unable to blog because I can’t think of anything to say. But once I’ve unwound enough, I’m able to think somewhat creatively again!

The best way to relax, of course (at least for the baby!)


4. Work hard

Do your assignments, every time, on time. An assignment takes just as much time as you give it, and if you’re giving a three page paper 3 days, nearly all of that three days will be wasted time (I’m speaking from experience here!). However, don’t give yourself less time than you need either. Just learn to manage your time well so that each thing you have to do is done decently and in order.

5. Exercise

When you keep moving, everything’s easier. Go for a bike ride, run up and down 6 flights of stairs, go for a walk if the weather’s nice. Just make sure you move your muscles, because your brain thinks way more clearly when you’re not just sitting around all day!


So there you have it–my wonderful recommendations how not to turn into the brain-dead zombie who spends all their time studying! Stress, begone.



Class time

It’s 8:00 am on a Tuesday morning as I board the metro, blank faces staring everywhere around me. I’m commuting to my CELTA course, and the third week is starting.

So far, we’ve learned about every possible teaching-related thing one could learn. Reading lessons, speaking lessons, listening lessons–we’ve listed them all, figured out stages and aims, and then taught each one of them to our very own English language learners. Today, though, we’re still only halfway through the course. Still to come are sessions on teaching writing lessons, business English, and using technology.

Bookended by metro rides and walks through the hot muggy air of Washington, DC, my days have been busy. I’ve barely had time to read (I’ve only finished TWO books the last two weeks!) or spend time with Jared, much less update my blog. Thankfully yesterday was a study day, so I was able to spend the whole day doing visa-related stuff, like sitting in the Chinese Embassy!

It’s hard to believe that three weeks from now we’ll have left DC for the foreseeable future and will have set off on an amazing adventure. But I know that whatever happens, we have a faithful Creator!