The other day, I received the best HSC survival advice from a wise woman of few years.

Everything you need to survive the HSC can be learnt in kindergarten!

My things had been sprawled out onto the dining table.

A series of chemistry textbooks, an abundance of syllabus dotpoints and my faithful notes surrounding me.

Yet, I was silently drowning, submerged into the depths of the HSC Chemistry syllabus. It wasn’t a great place to be, especially for effective studying.

I could feel my sanity being pushed under, my sense of control being lost within pages of notes.

Nothing made sense. 

I started to confuse acids with bases, polyethylene with fossil fuels. I struggled to see straight.

But then… I saw the light.

A tiny angel, basked in a golden wash.

Breathe in and hold for ten seconds”, it whispered with a melodic tune, “then slowly release. Breathe in and out.  In and out.

My head slowly cleared. My vision focused.

I looked towards the angelic figure for guidance.

But it wasn’t an angel.

Not in the slightest.  

Not even close.

It was just my five year old sister.

Standing in front of the window. Basked in the golden light of a sunny day.

Offering her famous life advice.

But it had worked.  It had worked. The life advice generously given to me by my five year old sister had worked.

A simple breathing exercise had calmed me down, bringing my stress from a level eight, to a level one.

Simply by controlling my breathing.

It was the simplicity. The simplicity behind her ideas, from her five year old perspective, which had made a situation that had gone berserk, viable.

It made me come to an abrupt halt with my studying and reassess my studying methods and techniques.

Even though they can be exposed to challenging situations which can induce stress, many young children remain calm and relaxed. Some even have methods to control their moments of insanity, like my sister.

These tips can easily be learnt in kindergarten!

To stay calm in your HSC, you must become a child of five years.  You must think like a child of five years.

A day in kindergarten includes many children being most concerned about:

  • Food
  • Playtime
  • Reading the story of the day

Really though…

Embodying aspects of these ideas and incorporating them into your study timetable can make your studying a thousand times more effective!

Step 1: Food

Specific styles of eating and types of food can boost brain activity and prolong the endurance of your brain whilst studying!

In Kindergarten they learn to spread their food over the duration of the two or three breaks they get. They don’t eat it in one go (they’re not supposed to anyway).

Having small regular snacks between study sessions refuels your brain, keeping you alert and energised, sustaining you for a longer period of time.

Step 2: Exercise

Physical exercise circulates the blood through the body, by engaging major muscle groups – something which sitting down studying prohibits.

In Kindergarten they are encouraged to run around and play during breaks.  During this time, they become creative and use their wild imaginations to invent new exciting games.

Stretching your legs after sitting cramped up in one position is an effective way to reenergise yourself. The circulation of blood through your body during physical exercise releases endorphins, making you happy (and ready to start studying again!).

By clearing the mind and focusing on nothing in particular, creativity can be induced. Ideas can formulate when you have clarity of the mind, potentially developing and enhancing your creative writing, or major project ideas.

Step 3: Relax

Having a break to relax and enjoy what you like doing is just as important in the HSC as it is in Kindy!

In Kindergarten, the children are often read a story at some point in the day as they begin to fatigue and energy levels drop extremely low. Essentially, this is their break time. They relax, and then get ready to continue their day after a reenergising story.

Finding something which you enjoy doing, is the best way to effectively relax during a major study break. Whether you enjoy reading, like during your kindergarten days, or something else, relaxing by doing something else creates an effective distraction. You are prohibited from agonising over your study, during your breaks!

However, like the last page of a book, all distractions must stop after you have read the story, or had your break. It is important to make sure that you’re only distracted during your breaks.

There are many valuable lessons to be learnt from kindergarten!

The HSC from the perspective of a five year old is a unique, but effective way to approach your last year of school. There is importance in simplicity.

Remember to eat, play and relax!

“If you ever feel like you’re about to cry, swallow down that feeling, like you’re gulping your water.  Grit your teeth really hard.  And smile.  No one will even know that you’re worried.”A wise woman of a few years

Good Luck!

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Sibel Alca has two little problems: Perfectionism – it drives her and everyone around her insane, and her brain’s inability to decide what it wants in life. If there was a career which combined her scientific curiosity, and her performing arts passion, she’d be set. But even with her flexibility from years of dancing, Sibel is finding that it’s difficult to stay intact when opposing passions pull you in polar directions. After surviving her Preliminary HSC year while completing half her actual HSC, Sibel believes that anything is possible. She is looking forward to a lighter, perhaps easier, HSC year in 2017.