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Juggling 18ths and study

By Charlie Hale on 30 May 2018Study tipsHSCNSWblog

Having your birthday during peak exam season nothing short of sucks. You either spend your big day frantically cramming somewhere under an oversized folder, or sit sweating in the exam room thinking how cruel your mum was for having you this time of the year. Neither are particularly celebration-worthy. But aside from the few unlucky ones, everyone else has their birthday in the HSC run-up, a.k.a now.

18th Season is well and truly upon us and with more house parties scheduled in your calendar than study sessions, we brought it on ourselves to offer up some life lessons on balance, many of which we had to learn the hard way…

Be diary focussed

Not suggesting you go out and buy yourself a diary (your school diary will work perfectly), but make sure you know what commitments you have coming up so you’re never found racing through your Mod B essay on a Saturday arvo before a friend’s party. Map out every 18th you want to go to, so you can work around the fun stuff and put in the extra study hours before you go. Plus, having everything planned in advance makes it easier to…


There are going to be a few things you can’t skip, like your best friend’s birthday, but there will be times where meeting a homework deadline or putting in an extra study session is going to be more productive and more important for achieving your long-term goals than just any old party.

By the time the end of the year comes around, you won’t remember how much fun you had at that party (you may not even remember the day after…), but putting in that study time will give you the best shot at getting the marks you want.

If you’re ever stuck between study vs. party, choose the one that will matter a year from now, or try to find a productive way to do both. Work now, play later.

Bribe yourself

One way you can do both work and 18ths is by bribing yourself with the fun stuff. Sounds weird, but hear us out. Before every party you go to, make a list of conditions you need to meet in order to be “allowed” to go. For example, before that house party you’re really looking forward to, you need to finish your Economics notes and memorise one of your responses for SOR. Write it down. Tell your mum. Tell your friends. Make it stick. And if you don’t finish everything you don’t go… simple as that!

If it’s going to make you feel more stressed – don’t go

Look, no matter how great you think this party is going to be, you’re not going to enjoy it one bit if all you can think about is how much study you have to do. Occasional sacrifice is an annoying but inevitable part of your last year of school and put into perspective, there will always be more birthdays but your HSC is a pretty one-shot affair.

Stay grounded

The social pressures of friends can be overwhelming, more so now – in your last year of school – than ever. It’s really really difficult to try and keep up with friends and have fun, while giving yourself the best shot at the HSC. The best way you can find balance is by picking the things you want to go to, rather than the things you think you should. Not everything is for everyone, just because everyone is doing something doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

Don’t get over excited

Unless you’ve factored in a whole day of being a potato (not advised), don’t decide to have a big night because not only is that not helpful in getting out of bed in the morning but also won’t help you try and make sense of the calculus you promised yourself you’d get done the next day. So if you do decide to go, be sensible and don’t go cray.

Be honest with yourself

Only you know if you can juggle a bunch of parties and getting in the amount of study you need to do. Parents and teachers will have their say but the best advice often comes from what’s already in your head. Be realistic about your wants and needs. If you’ve got that cloud of guilt hanging over you, you know it’s time to get back to the library. There’s nothing wrong with having a good time, but if it’s getting in the way of doing well in your HSC is it really worth it?

This also means trusting yourself, so if you feel like you’ve been working hard and covering the ground you wanted to, then by all means let loose for an evening and don’t feel guilty about it!

Remember that 18ths aren’t everything

Sure, parties are fun, but they’re certainly not the be all and end all. Too many of them and it gets old anyway. So if you can’t go to one, or a few, don’t feel like you’re missing out. Making studying your first priority will pay off to be way more rewarding than a few fancy lunches. And when you’re done, you’ll have a whole summer to let off some steam and party...

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