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LEARNING HACKS The holidays are just around the corner. And so are the next exams. But sometimes doing nothing is good. Because boredom has many positive, albeit unexpected, consequences.
My head is full. Sometimes I feel like I’m just functioning without really feeling anything. Ambitious work, especially before my graduation exams, has its price. More and more often I catch myself just staring around – thinking nothing – and completely blocking out the environment around me. I desperately need a break. Luckily, it’s holiday time. My last holidays before probably the most stressful 6 weeks of school ever. My original plan was to dedicate this week to graduation preparation. After all, with the Corona restrictions, what else am I going to do? But maybe that’s not the way to go. Maybe I should try boredom.
We should listen more often to Juan Luis Cebrián, who once said, “If I have any time left, I try to be bored, because boredom is a form of rest.” Few things are as important for our minds as a certain inner (soul) calm, that is, according to Epicurus, the absence of pain and all kinds of anxiety. This helps us to find our way back to ourselves and our own goals (which tend to get lost in today’s fast-paced world). I mean slowing down our life. Putting the mobile phone away and improving the quality of sleep, the ability to concentrate and emotional stability at the same time.
By boredom, I don’t mean an afternoon in front of the TV. I’m talking about all activities that give our thoughts free rein for once. Meditating, for example. And if you just sit in front of the window with a cup of hot chocolate and watch the cars outside. If you don’t want to feel so useless, sort out your old clothes. Or help with the housework. Not only will it make your parents happy, but it will give you a moment to just daydream.
New ideas through boredom
But enough with all this epicurean philosophy. When was the last time you fully devoted yourself to your daydreams? In fact, daydreaming actually boosts your creativity, as a study by the British Psychological Society has shown. If you don’t know what to do with yourself, you’ll think of brainstorms and solutions to problems more quickly. Would you like an innovative cleaning technique? Now you can give your mother advice on how to do the dishes more efficiently.
Or maybe you’re unhappy with your overall situation at the moment? Then now is the time to realise this. Because now you can think about a new hobby, the nice girl next door or the awful mural in your room. Who knows, maybe your life will take a whole new direction after these few days of boredom. And if not, at least you’ll go into the following weeks with renewed energy.
(Not) using holidays effectively
Will I now do nothing for the whole holiday week? Can I justify to let days pass that I could actually use for learning? At this moment (as I’m writing this article on the first of nine days off) I don’t think so. I’m sure I’ll take advantage of some quiet minutes and already look at records for the tests. But I’m also looking forward to doing all the activities I always put off during school time. I’m finally going to study that one dance, do more sports and start a new 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle.
For at least two days, I have resolved not to think about school and everyday life in any way. I want to lie in my bed in the evening, exhausted and exhilarated, and think about what I really want for my 18th birthday. And then, when 9 days – despite boredom – have flown by again, maybe I can look forward to the nine last weeks of school in my life.
Better grades without homework
In case school stress hits you and me again after the holidays, I would like to take this opportunity to point out the ultimate reason for not doing homework for once:
“Those who do homework have less free time. Those who have less free time are unhappier. The more unhappy you are, the more tense you are. And the more tense you are, the worse you can concentrate in the next test.”
PS: Of course, this is just for fun and should not be taken as a reason to stop doing anything for school. However, I had to learn during these times that sometimes, and really only sometimes, it is better to enjoy boredom and put off stress until tomorrow.