It’s That Time Of Year Again… *Groans*

My all-important 10th grade examinations are right around the corner and I’m starting to realize that every single time the exam season rears its ugly head, I’m left feeling like my guts have been pumped out of my ears [yes, my similes are almost always this disturbing], so that alone should give you an idea that I’m not exactly in the best of moods at the moment.

To add to that is the unwelcoming fact that the upcoming exams aren’t just any old tests but a set of quizzes that are designed to simultaneously trip me up and define the rest of my high school career, so I’m sure you understand why I now feel like the school girl equivalent of the “La La Land” crew at the Oscars – dazed and so, so confused.

Don’t get me wrong, though; as contradictory as this may sound, I’m that annoying nerd in your class who absolutely LOVES answering exams. I adore the buzz of the exam hall moments before the question papers are handed out and the sound of pens scratching against mahogany desks and the smell of bewilderment and panic that cuts through the early morning air as students try desperately to salvage the situation.

The only part I don’t like is the guilt.

You see, where I come from, kids are INSANELY dedicated to academics and I’m not just saying that. I mean, I have classmates who started cramming the final year’s syllabus way back in the sixth grade, and that’s just the slackers!!

Apart from completely and totally freaking me out, being surrounded by students who study pretty much around the clock has a way of making me feel super guilty for ever even thinking about taking a break.

Every time I decide to play a few levels of Mario Kart or go outside for a run, I feel a wave of shame surge through my body as if to say, “Shouldn’t you be studying??” Every time I want to catch an episode of my favourite series on TV or binge on Youtube cat videos, I see visions of kids surrounded by mountains of text books and my desire to have some fun evaporates.

Thanks to this, I’m now forced to crawl under the bed every time I want to kill a couple of hours on the iPad [because everyone knows that you aren’t wasting time if nobody sees you do it] and I can only read chicklit under my blanket [because what happens between the sheets, stays between the sheets] and I’ve started to watch TV with the volume set at the bare minimum [because the lesser the volume, the lesser of a disappointment you are to your Mom – duh].

And for that I just have to say thanks to my dear, sweet classmates; thanks a whole lot.

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Surprise, Surprise!

We’re not even two months into 2017 and Beyoncé, queen of just about everything, has already made my year.

Two weeks ago, the music mogul broke the news that she is pregnant with twins and the internet had a total MELTDOWN; from Twitter to Instagram to Tumblr to Snapchat, Queen Bey’s announcement took social media by a complete storm.

The picture she posted of her baby bump smashed the record for the image with the most likes in Instagram history, getting over seven MILLIONS thumbs ups in less than an hour [if that doesn’t show you the tremendous power she wields on us mere mortals, I don’t know what does].

The fact that she’s managed to keep this from us from us for so long just goes to show you that impossible really is nothing; Beyoncé is easily one of the most closely-followed pop stars today, yet she manages to maintain an impenetrable curtain of privacy around her personal life.

Even though she’s got paparazzi trailing every move, obsessed fans analyzing every aspect of her life, the entire WEBSITES dedicated to dissecting everything she does, Beyoncé manages to stay in control. We only see what she wants us to see.

Just last year, she dropped her smash-hit, multi-platinum album “Lemonade” out of the blue. Fans went CRAZY, tabloids were dumbfounded and streaming websites crashed because of all the sudden traffic.

NOBODY saw it coming, despite the fact that in 2015 Beyoncé pulled the same exact stunt and dropped a surprise album outta’ nowhere.

In spite of all our collective stalking, Beyoncé manages to surprise us Every. Single. Time.

The fact that she has always managed to stay three steps ahead of all of us despite being one of the most closely-scrutinized celebrities in the world makes me wonder how many more secrets she’s keeping carefully hidden, waiting for just the right time to unleash them.

Till the next bombshell, though, let’s all sit back and admire the perfection that is Queen Bey. Among the million reasons we ought to worship her for, we can all shout out an enormous “THANK YOU” for proving, once and for all, that women can be Moms AND run the world at the same time.

This or That?

Often in life you reach a point
Where choices must be made
A beard choice or a weird choice,
“To attend or not the parade?”

A choice on what to wear tonight,
A choice on where to eat,
A choice on what music to play
To get party guests on their feet

And in these times, dear reader,
Keep in mind the Golden Rule,
Always listen to my advice
To keep from looking a total fool!

Barack Hohohobama

I’m assuming that most of you have heard of Jimmy Fallon’s talk show, so I’m not going to elaborate apart stating that it is possibly my favourite talk show EVER [excluding the Graham Norton Show. And Oprah, of course. And let’s not forget Last Week Tonight. Or even- OK, maybe it isn’t my favourite ever].

Every night, Jimmy Fallon has a string of famous people who sit down with him so he “casually” can ask them about their latest film/album/divorce and let them shamelessly self-promote -a fangirl’s dream come true.

This week, however, Mr Fallon decided to take things up a notch- several notches, actually- and invite America’s most influential human being onto the show for a late night conversation; the President of the United States himself.

And I don’t know about you, but I really, really like Barack Obama.

For one, he looks a LOT like my Dad [I’m still not sure whether this is a good thing or a bad thing], he generally seems like a cool dude [Obama, not my Dad. Well, I guess my Dad too but to be fair he is– UGH I’m rambling, aren’t I??] AND he loves playing Scrabble. What’s not to like??

So when I heard that he was coming to a television near me, I decided that I had to watch it, no matter what.

Which is why, if you’d peeked into my living room this Thursday night [which, FYI, is not a cool thing to do], you would’ve seen me patiently huddled by the T.V, armed with a bowl of Dorito’s and a chocolate bar, ready to witness a truly special moment in history.

And I was not disappointed.

For the next hour, I was glued to the telly, marvelling at how a man of such staggering political importance could be so incredibly light and humorous. From slow-jamming through the impressive highlights his eight-year term as US President to recalling his awkward first encounter with Jimmy Fallon to talking about being kicked out of the White House, the President seldom ended a statement without the audience bursting into peals of laughter.

Rarely missing a beat, President Obama talked politics and the Supreme Court and the Republican party on the same breath as he spoke about embarrassing his daughters and holidaying with his wife. He was dignified yet chilled-out. He’s the leader of an entire nation one minute and your down-to-earth neighbour the next. He makes important political statements and finishes it off with a roaring joke.

Scrolling through the YouTube comments the next day, I realised that a majority of the viewers felt the same sense of awe I did, with many of them claiming that he’s the “coolest President ever” and some even going to the extent of saying that they wouldn’t mind “grabbing a chilled beer with him.”

All in all, the interview was more than just a celebrity chat-up. It was a subtle reminder that you don’t have to be boring to be important. It’s okay to lighten-up and crack a smile, even when talking about matters of international importance.

Even the President can have a little fun.

The “S” Word

The only part of the year I despise more than exam time has dawned; school has officially reopened and the summer holidays are DEAD.

[I mean, summer will be back next year so I guess it’s not technically dead, but hello?? I’m trying to be dramatic here]

Unless you’re a student [or, worse, a teacher], I’m pretty sure you don’t realise the gravity of the situation. This isn’t just the death [okay, okay, temporary absence. Geez]of a regular school break, oh no no no. This is SUMMER, and at the end of summer, comes a brand new academic year, ready to ruin your life in ways you can’t even imagine.

Like every seasoned torturer, though, the fresh school year starts off deceivingly well; crisp, mint-condition notebooks, refilled stationery pouches, a new backpack [if you’re lucky] and the promise of a fresh start. It’s all too good to be true.

Okay, you optimistically think to yourself. My slate has been wiped clean. From this year –no, from this SECOND, I am going to be a changed person. No more last-minute assignments and late submissions. My books will be up-to-date, my lowest test score will be an A++ and every teacher is going to ADORE me. Forget MarioKart, I’m going to be the most studious kid on the block and that’s FINAL.

Needless to say, that’s not going to happen. Two weeks in and you’ve already missed a project deadline, your grade point average is steadily slipping and you’re already planning to move to Canada because you’ve heard they get longer holidays [I’m speaking from experience here].

And I wish I could say it gets better, but who am I kidding?? We’ve all gone through it. We all know how it rolls.

In a blink, it’s time for the mid-terms and the pressure from all sides could turn coal to diamond and the moment THAT’S over everybody immediately plunges head-first into the next semester’s material giving you exactly zero minutes to regain your sanity.

And a flurry of pop quizzes and science exhibitions later, it’s finals week and you’ve barely skimmed through your textbook. A series of all-nighters later, you manage to make it and are in the midst of congratulating yourself for surviving before you realise that your classmates are intently poring through next year’s textbooks and you internally groan.

Not because you forgot to answer the essay question [okay, ALSO because of that] but because you’ve got it; you’ve realised that we’re all so caught up in this wretched rat race that none of us have the time to stop and take a moment to breathe.

Our world has become so incredibly school-centric that’s it’s impossible to ignore the importance of our marks and percentages at every stage of our lives, so I’m not claiming that it’s best to isolate yourself from your homework and run with butterflies instead.

But ignoring the rest of the world and, more importantly, yourself in pursuit of a 100/100 is probably not the wisest course of action, either.

It’s finding that blissful in-between that’s the important part.

It’s beyond crucial to be able to strike an even balance between the two; yin and yang, black and white, chemistry equations and reading Dan Brown. I know that if we stop wasting time on YouTube and start managing our time effectively, we can do both so why not give it a shot [yes, I know I sound like your Mom]??

And now’s the perfect time to start. All those incomplete notebooks from last year can be safely forgotten because it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life and I’m feeling good [yes, I just quoted a Michael Bublé song. Deal with it].

Let’s stop fearing the S word and embrace it instead [I’ve just realised that there’s a possibility for misunderstanding. By the S word, I mean school. School, guys], because the moment we start, wonderful things are going to happen. I just know it.

The Story of My Epic Summer #Fail

I’m going to be honest with you; since my summer break began on 1st May, I haven’t done an ounce of work.

Not one.

And it’s surprising that I actually feel guilty about this because I used to firmly believe that vacations from school were the perfect time to be disgustingly lazy.

That isn’t to say that my opinion is any different now; I still think that when a holiday eventually rolls around, you should bask in the golden freedom of not having to do anything and just chill out.

However, seeing as how this is the summer before I officially enter the tenth grade [gulp], all of my classmates had decided to forsake their last carefree summer in order to study and be better prepared for when school starts in June.

At first, I scoffed. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I did. I thought that they were taking things WAY too seriously and that our measly syllabus could easily be crammed the night before the exam [my usual mode of preparation].

However, as my friends continued to jabber about giving up their school break for the noble cause of enriching their education, it occurred to me that maybe I was the dumb one.

Maybe I it’s time I sobered up and started spending my summers productively, I remember thinking. Maybe it’s time to start waking up before 04:00 pm and maybe it’s time to start thinking twice before I serve myself a SEVENTH HELPING at the dinner table. Wait, what was I thinking about? Oh, right, school. Summer. Studying. Groan.

And that’s when I decided that I was not going sleep away another summer. I was going to get started on the semester’s curriculum, score myself an internship [I hear they look real good on college applications] and have a total blast while achieving my goals at the same time. I was going to work and play and work again and play again and I was NOT going to eat more than five bowls of cereal with milk in one sitting [wait, what?].

So when the first day of summer rolled around, I was READY. With a brand new notepad in one hand and a pouch filled with stationery in the other, I was prepared to seriously kick butt.

A surge of confidence coursing through my body, I opened up the book and scrawled out a neat “My Summer Study Plan” –with a double underline- at the top of the first page. Dutifully, I filled in the date and the page number and underlined them twice, too.

Then, I wrote in the dates of all the days in the month and added a cute little hyphen next to them.

By this point, I’d spent at LEAST three whole minutes furiously writing and I needed a break. Just a short breather to regain my focus, I told myself as I skipped out of my room to grab a bite to eat.

Seven plates of raw mango later, I was forced to admit to myself that I wasn’t going back to work –not today, at least.

Hey, this is your FIRST DAY. Give yourself a break. I mean, you DID complete the entire outline of the plan I internally reasoned with myself. Take the rest of the day off, but remember that it’s back to the grind tomorrow.

Didn’t happen.

It’s been close to four weeks since that first half-hearted attempt to write out a schedule and my great study plan is still exactly the way it was before I decided to hog on unripe fruit.

Why?

The internet, that’s why.

To be fair, I am such an ace procrastinator that I would’ve thought of some reason or the other to ditch my work, but the Internet made it too easy.

YouTube, Tumblr, Wattpad, Twitter [heck, even Wikipedia]… I had enough and more ways to waste my time and I grabbed it with open arms.

In the last twenty five days, I’ve watched more YouTube videos than I have muscles in my body. I’ve read more Fanfiction than a literature major has read Hemingway. I’ve skimmed through more Tweets than most birds have chirped in their entire lifetime. I’ve- you get the idea, right?

And you want to know the worst part?

At the end of all these intense binging sessions, I was left with a frustrated, hollow pit in my stomach. Sure, I more than enjoy the internet sessions while they last, but when they’re over and I’m left alone with my thoughts, I am NOT amused.

Now, if you’re one of those kids who has obediently opened your textbooks every day and actually read them, I applaud you. [I also want to murder you, but let’s not drone on that]

However, if you’re anything like me and feel like you could’ve done a lot more over the past couple of weeks, here’s what I have to say to you;

It isn’t over yet. There’s still more than a week of glorious freedom left before we’re thrust into the land of pop quizzes and PowerPoint presentations so let’s give it our best shot.

No, I don’t mean mugging science formulae till your eyes burn but making the most of the fact that this is your holiday and you deserve it. So I want you to promise me that you’re going to have fun. Indulge yourself by doing what you love most, be it poring through the classics or opening up food stalls with your sister so you can rake in some extra cash.

Be passionate and be free. Live each moment like your entire life boils down to it and don’t be afraid to try something new. You think you might enjoy making short films and uploading them for the world to see? Go for it [just make sure that you don’t spend the next three hours stalking Robbie Williams on Facebook]. You want to try your hand at baking a Madeira cake? Just do it.

This is the time to spread those wings and truly explore your potential. A LOT can happen in one week, so make it your best one.

P.S – A thousand apologies for all the corny I’ve managed to slip into one blog post! It won’t be this cheesy next time, I promise!