It’s been a few more months down the track, and in that time, a lot has happened. And these last few months, like the first few, were not what I expected. In this last term, I burned out halfway through and sailed through the last five weeks on the smell of an oily rag. I got there, but only just.

Over commitment, I have realised, is the epitome of where you have dug your own grave by being too trigger happy with the ‘yes’.  Sounds bleak, however, it’s not, and it certainly doesn’t have to be. The last term was the most eventful and will be the most eventful term I will have this year. It’s the term I look forward to the most, and it’s a guarantee of good times. However, as a consequence, it’s a guarantee of time giving you the finger. So, here’s how to lie in your own grave comfortably when you have, most definitely accidentally, dug it with glee.

Don’t spread yourself thin. I’m a person who throws herself happily into getting involved with something that sounds like a lot of fun – whether that’s to do with my social life, at school or at the drama school I live half my life at. As per usual, I committed myself long ago to the annual senior production that I would more than happily let take over my life in Term 2, and as I was cast as the lead Belle in Beauty and the Beast, I was looking at four rehearsals a week, and five-six closer to the opening show. I was so enthusiastic, motivated and ready to give it my all from the get-go. And in doing so, I tipped the scales later on. I’m the most impatient person I have met, and the last term was the prime example of consistently jump starting in order to do all the things that made me happy. I craved the gratification of pure happiness, and through that, I created some bad habits. I was going to bed later, waking up tired, pushing myself through the school day, and then crashing into bed. Being anemic, it was almost a death sentence. Once I hit the halfway mark, my productivity outside of the theatre went out the window. My life simply became script and stage, and I was over the moon. My life was one event after the other – finishing my film, straight into rehearsals, being in other people’s films, parties, coffee dates, movie nights, formal – and then, of course, there was school that was running underground to this all. My social and theatre life was on an absolute high. I was having the time of my life. Believe me, I’m not complaining in the slightest. I don’t regret saying yes to what I did last term, because it was an absolute time and a half and I loved every minute of it, but what I do regret is not balancing myself and my busy life accordingly. I was putting everything everywhere, spreading myself thin, and as a result, I burnt out spectacularly before I was even aware. But life doesn’t wait for you to pick yourself up, and I still got over the finish line, with some amazing memories in hand. However, I was affectionately holding them in the hand that was clutching my dying limbs. The biggest thing I learned? You don’t have to do everything at once.

The next thing I learned was perhaps, in midst of everything, I probably should’ve said a polite no to a few things. Pleasing people is something we all do. Not rocking the boat means a smooth sail for everyone involved, even if it comes to a cost for you. ‘Yes’ is one of the most positive words around, but if you find yourself weighing the pros and cons too often, then perhaps a polite ‘nah, not this time’ is the best way to deal with it. Compromise is the reality more often than not, but you don’t need to compromise on yourself if you’re only just swimming – it’s okay to put yourself first. Being busy is not a trophy. Saying no doesn’t just have to apply to another person’s request – being able to say no to your own bad habits can be rewarding in the long run. These words get me every time; do something that future you will be grateful for. Chuck your phone in your bag in class, go out for that run you think you’re too tired for, and maybe pass up on watching Netflix for a few hours tonight. How to lie in your own grave comfortably when you have, most definitely accidentally, dug it with glee? Dig yourself out of it again. Pick up your clothes off the floor, put those loose notes in a folder, and start to manage your life. And on the last night of the school holidays, that’s exactly what I did.

This term, I’m calm. I’m doing everything that I’d like to do, but I’m managing myself well. I’m organized, I’m on track with school and I’m working hard, but I’m having an absolute blast with my favourite people too. I’m a strong believer in that school and study should not be considered your entire life. And that is because, for me, the most important thing in life is people. One of the most important things towards my future? Getting UE and reaching that full potential. You can totally have your cake and eat it too, without compromise. It’s just all about balance.

You don’t have to do everything at once. Man, if only I’d known.  

Hannah is a Year 13 student who wants to be a storyteller of sorts. She loves film, theatre and putting words to paper and wouldn’t be seen without a messy bun atop her head and her Docs on her feet.

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