In this article, Matrix student Mishree, shares her tips for balancing HSC Biology with extracurriculars whilst keeping distractions at bay!
Do you wonder how students doing HSC subjects in Year 11 do it? In this article, Mishree Patel shares how her secret for managing distractions, extracurriculars and Accelerated Biology (HSC).
My name is Mishree Patel and here is a little about myself!
School: Blacktown Girls High School
University Goal: Bachelor of Medical Studies / Doctor of Medicine
Career Goal: Neurologist
ATAR Goal: 99+
I don’t know if there are specific things that make me…me, but there are a few things I am really passionate about and they have a lot to do with who I am today.
I am a huge geek when it comes to the world of novels and cinema. What better way to spend a day than having a thriller book in hand or putting on a movie full of suspense and just getting lost in another world! These supposed worlds of the fictional characters feel like home to me. I could admire the beauty and skilful nature of my books and movies all day!
At school, Maths, Sciences and Health (PDHPE) have always been my strong subjects. I still equally enjoy English and HSIE subjects, but they just aren’t my cup of tea. I still equally enjoy english and HSIE subjects, but there’s a lot more room for improvement there.
Outside of school, I have a huge interest in keeping up with world affairs and politics, as well as learning more about ancient history.
Science and Healthcare have always been huge passions of mine. I know I definitely want to be a part of those fields in the future.
A few other hobbies and interests of mine include playing and watching sports, travelling, photography and community services.
So, enough about me now. In this article, I’ll be sharing some of my experiences in my senior years, where I learned and am still learning how to bounce back from failure and disappointment, and how to stay motivated while balancing studies with extracurriculars.
My school has offered an accelerated Biology course that I am currently undertaking, which means I will complete my Biology HSC this year, and all my other subjects next year.
|Preliminary subjects in 2022:||HSC subjects in 2022:|
For those who prefer an old school and manual way of staying organised, printed or whiteboard planners are the best. A planner allows you to plan your time and the tasks that you need to do on any given day.
I most definitely don’t believe in such a thing as a scheduled day. For me, following a fixed day can get boring and maybe some days you might wanna change things around and watch that last episode of your favourite show before studying. But regardless, a planner can always be flexible and can prove to be a great way to stay organised.
Two strategies i use are a mini whiteboard just above my study space, and a kanban board, both proving to be really helpful. Not to mention, now there are many great kanban apps available to download. Just search “kanban” in the app store and many great apps will pop up.
If you’re not familiar with Notion, it’s a service that states it’s an “all-in-one workspace for your notes, tasks, wikis, and databases.”
I have used Notion for quite some time now, and it has been a life-changer.
It is not only a note-taking ap; it is a powerful tool to help you write, plan, or organise your mind and thoughts. You can mould it any way you want to build the documents, tools, and systems you need. With so many templates and widgets to satisfy the way you want your page to look, Notion will not let you down. I make my page aesthetic to keep me motivated when I visit it and tick off the to-do tasks. There are many more features you can benefit from.
Links that can help set up your Notion:
Don’t worry about organising at this stage, just get everything down. Think about everything important that happens during the day from the moment your legs touch the floor to the time you get into bed at night.
Tasks that need to be finished ASAP or tasks that will take a lot of time should be prioritised, and the rest should be ordered according to when in the day you intend to complete them.
As I said before, not every day goes as planned, so first get down timings for the tasks that you are sure will not change and need to get done in that set period of time. For other tasks, you may allocate timings and leave a few buffer periods to change things around if needed. Remember, always aim to complete a task 1-2 days before it is due, as it helps reduce the stress a lot.
I know phones are a big distraction even for me, so it is best to put your phone in another room or put it on silent and away from your eyesight.
How do you remove distractions, you ask? This is my method:
It’s always important to prioritise mental, emotional and physical well-being, especially during senior years.
So managing extracurriculars along with keeping up your studies is a must. As a matter of fact, I play badminton, run a club for raising awareness about issues in and around the healthcare systems in the world, participate in peer mentoring after school, and along with this, I soon start my gold level in the Duke of Edinburgh International Award Program.
To build on this, I attend Matrix for 3 subjects over the weekend, so most of my Saturdays and Sundays are dedicated just to Matrix.
Set priorities – Remember, school and studies come first. Once you’ve prioritised school, you can then prioritise the rest of your activities in the order you see fit. Remember to make yourself a priority too. Self-care time is essential to recharge and be prepared for the next task at hand.
Develop a schedule – Using Notion or a manual planner, develop a schedule that helps you know what’s on your plate and will prevent you from overbooking yourself. You will also be able to set reminders for your upcoming events and develop a healthy routine that works for you. The better you manage your time and follow your schedule, the more fun you will find in your extracurricular activities.
Know your limits – If you feel like you have a lot to do and cant finish everything, it is best to ask for assistance or let loose on your schedule. For example, If you are leading a project or a club like I am, delegate your tasks and check in on your teammates for progress. You do not need to do everything yourself. Remember to put your health first. Get enough rest, recharge, and set your boundaries. This will always allow you to put your best work forward.
Matrix teachers help you really passionately in class, whether it be any questions on Matrix content or anything from school.
So, I would most definitely recommend to every Matrix student reading this, to ask any questions they, even if it seems “dumb”! I can guarantee that you will learn something new.
Matrix provides great resources on their LMS (my.matrix). I find it extremely helpful to view each week’s resources before the lesson to get a quick hint as to what the lesson will be. And then, after the lesson, it’s easier to know what to make notes on, especially if the teacher has said it is useful or important to remember.
Although I have only been to a few workshops over the 2 years of attending Matrix, I have learned a lot from them.
Matrix workshops are a great source for revision and clearing any doubts you may have about the theory you’re learning.
Along with this, you can ask questions from your school assessments and get help to complete those too!