Friday, 21 September 2007

I'm so cool, I'm the last person in school

No kidding - my brother and I aren't getting picked up by the rentals for another hour, and we must be the last students still at school. Most people left last night (as we could leave at 5pm yesterday), and there were only 2 other girls staying last night in my boarding house (both of whom have left already.) In this house, it's just me and the cleaners, because a camp is coming in to stay in our rooms.

My formal is tonight, which I'm really excited about - getting dressed up, going to my friend's before party for pizza, drinks, photos and socialising (only my second party ever!), catching a limo to the formal, and then, the party of all parties where we're going to get it on! In a manner of speaking. I'm not planning on drinking anything (alcoholic), but no doubt I will have hilarious stories to tell about other people (and I will be able to remember them - bonus!)

Tomorrow morning, on the other hand, I have to be at Melb. Uni at 7.30 for registration for an Oxford Revision Course which will go for 2.5 days. Yes, I really am a nerd - I signed up for this voluntarily (although I'm only doing one course - for maths - whereas some others I know are doing 2!) Aye aye aye! Another reason why I'm not drinking - I don't want to be hungover and have to get up early.

When I eventually get home on Monday, I have my whole holidays planned for revision, based on my IB coordinator's 12 hours a day schedule; however, I have revised it to factor in sleep ins (4), my friend's grad dinner (1), the grand final, because I wouldn't miss cheering the Cats to victory for anything (1), and SAT IIs (2). Plus university applications (due in by Sept. 25). It's going to be a jam packed holiday few weeks of study, revision and practise exams, with a small dose of sleeping and other activities on the side. Taking this into account means that I probably won't be blogging [as] regularly...In the mean time, you might like to check out my friend's blog; known as Miss SM on this blog, she's in yr 12 IB as well; she updates more frequently and articulates the pressures of finishing and leaving school more clearly than I do. She's a nerd too.

Just a girl

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Attachment is the root of all sorrow

Apparently it's been a contemplative week for me!

Today in our final assembly (hoorah! I'm pretty sure that is one of my last hurrahs, although we'll probably have another long, equally boring and unnecessary one at the beginning of next term - but still, that's not an end of term assembly, is it?) a yr 10 girl in my house spoke about her experience and participation in an international peace camp that met in Nepal for 3 weeks in July. It was amazing and inspiring to hear her talk about how she met with others who shared her goals, but what struck me most was what she said about how she tries to lead her life by three principles, one of which is that attachment is the root of all sorrow. This principle led her to shave her head in order to prove her inner strength in being able to truly separate herself from something she is attached to. This particularly struck me, not only because of my admiration for her in being able to be self assured and comfortable with her principles and her self restraint in being able to follow them, but because I recognised this as a Buddhist thought. I'm not Buddhist, but I agree with and can identify with its basic principles:
  • "The greatest achievement is selflessness.
  • The greatest worth is self-mastery.
  • The greatest quality is seeking to serve others.
  • The greatest precept is continual awareness.
  • The greatest medicine is the emptiness of everything.
  • The greatest action is not conforming with the worlds ways.
  • The greatest magic is transmuting the passions.
  • The greatest generosity is non-attachment.
  • The greatest goodness is a peaceful mind.
  • The greatest patience is humility.
  • The greatest effort is not concerned with results.
  • The greatest meditation is a mind that lets go.
  • The greatest wisdom is seeing through appearances."
  • Atisha.
I've read about these principles because of this interest, and I remembered this particular idea because it made so much sense to me at the time - it was a pinnacle of realisation. Buddhism is something that really helps me keep life in perspective, which is no easy feat when it seems like everything we do right now will impact the rest of our lives - our IAs, how we work these holidays, how we perform in our exams, our ENTER, which university we get into, which course we do, what job we get.

And because I love quotes, and I am an absolute database, here are some of my favourite expressions that help me remain optimistic:
  • It all works out in the end. If it's not working out, it's not the end
  • Life does not place things in front of you that you are unable to handle
  • Do not dwell in the past, but learn from it; do not dream of the future, but plan for it; concentrate the mind on living in the present moment
  • When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us
  • Don’t be afraid to take a big step. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps
  • The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do

Of course, poets are often the best source of advice:

  • You have brains in your head. Your feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose - a personal favourite from Dr Seuss
  • What is this life if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare
    A poor life this if, full of care,
    We have no time to stand and stare
    - W. H. Davies
  • Always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think - A. A. Milne
  • When I wish I was rich, then I know I am ill.
    Because, to tell the truth, I have enough as I am.
    So when I catch myself thinking : Ah, if I was rich-!
    I say to myself: Hello! I’m not well. My vitality is low
    - D. H. Lawrence
  • To see the world in a grain of sand
    And heaven in a wild flower
    Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
    And eternity in an hour
    – William Blake
And a word from those philosophical thinkers:
  • The heart has its reasons that reason cannot know – Blasé Pascal
  • The reward of a thing well done is to have done it – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The words I live by, from the lips of a hero:
  • No pessimist ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed to an unchartered land - Helen Keller

And all the small things we sometimes forget:
  • Be kind
  • Think deeply
  • Speak gently
  • Love much
  • Laugh often
  • Work hard
  • Give freely
Just a girl

Friday, 14 September 2007

Thought for Yesterday

I know I've submitted my last IA, but things have still been pretty hectic. They should slow down after the weekend (no more sport, no real assessment), but knowing the end of term, they'll probably speed up considerably, and this weekend is going to be major; it's the whole school athletics weekend. But before I finish packing and start my weekend early (a Friday night exeat is rare indeed), I thought I'd post about yesterday's comic from my FoxTrot calendar. It's generally lighthearted and funny, but yesterday's had a more powerful message behind it I'd like to share:

And on that deep and meaningful note, I bid you a good weekend!

Just a girl

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Spring has Sprung

Nothing is so beautiful as Spring

When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush.

~Hopkins, Spring

While Spring may not be my favourite time of year (due to my hay fever allergies), the warm weather, sunny days, blue skies and blooming blossoms never fail to make me smile and feel infinitely happier. In celebration of Spring, I'm going to start the season with some of my favourite Springtime photos:

This photo was taken last year of daffodils in a garden bed at the back of the boarding house

This photo was taken just recently of blossoms on a tree close to the garden bed above

This was taken last year of our (sometimes) budding Claret Ash against a stormy sky

Happy Spring! And here's hoping that this season it rains, and is indeed "long and lovely and lush" (easy for Hopkins to say, he lived in a fertile England!)

Just a girl

Friday, 7 September 2007

Counting Down the Last Hurrahs!

  • 8 weeks until exams start
  • 69 days until exams finish (10 weeks from yesterday) and I finish school!

But who's counting?

Over the past few weeks I've finished prac exams, handed in my final WL essays and submitted my final Bio pracs. Only 1 more IA to finish - D&T, which will not be as stressful as finishing art - I know most of the art students didn't sleep last night because their folio work is due in today. Fortunately, D&T is less...demanding.

I've also participated in qualies (qualifications for athletics) for the last time on Wednesday. Qualies is not particularly hard, and if it's nice weather, can be a lot of fun. It involves competing in events to win house points that will be totalled after Aths weekend (and you can be sure that my house - even if we're "dynamite" - will finish last not only in the events but in the tally, which is why it was incredibly exciting for us to win the house 50m shuttle relay. Small event for everyone else, big deal for us). Not that I'm particularly sad to be finishing qualies (I know I won't be ecstatic about competing next week, which I will have to do because we're such a small house, and even though we have 56 students, somehow no more than 30 of us can compete, due to "sickness" and "injuries.")

Even though I'm really excited about leaving (did someone say 10 weeks?!), I know I'm going to miss this place. I've been thinking about what I said, and I think I've put my finger on why I'm going to miss this place with an ache. Because it's home. Not in a corny, "home away from home" sentiment, because truly, this place has come to mean quite a lot to me. I've been here for 3 years (+ 1 in the High Country), loved life in this boarding house and made so many gorgeous friends and people. I won't deny it's been hard - what with nearly of my close friends leaving, for one reason or another, over the course of my 4 years here, stealing in the boarding house, my own year level depleted and divided. But the good times - and the great times - make up for all of that. Yr 10 Timezone outing, Christmas Balls, Int Dinner, yr 12 dinner outing, Miss VC-J's party, 17th birthday dinner...the list goes on. I can't speak from experience, but having discussed the matter with my grandparents (before they left on Tuesday), I think part of the reason for missing this place so is the simple nature of boarding school, such that you are forced to endure or experience it and create such memories and relationships. University is less restrictive in terms of freedom, boarding arrangements, attending class etc, and because of this doesn't foster the same sense of family and closeness; it's up to you to make that effort. Although it all comes down the individual, and how you make the most of whatever environment you're living in - boarding school's not for everyone, and neither is uni. But I'm looking forward to university nonetheless, wherever I end up!

Ha, listen to me get all sentimental. I haven't even left yet! I bet I cry when I leave...but not until after, because it never hits me until after.

Although as they say: "Don't cry because it is over; smile because it has happened."

Just a girl