The Joy of School

I stumbled across this quote today, from Harriet Beecher Stowe, discussing the ideal woman

“the moment she is introduced, there come in with her courtesy, cleanliness, sobriety, and order.”

I like that. A lot. I’m a person who loves ideals. Frequently, I run across people saying ideal characters can be discouraging – the argument that a deeply flawed person is the most attractive, because you can relate to them. I don’t want to relate to my heroes that much… I want them to be heroes. To be something to aspire to, something that draws me closer to Christ.

Please pardon the random tangent. The concept of heroes happens to be an obsession of mine. Simply put, this quote inspired me. This woman is a hero. Again, “there come in with her courtesy, cleanliness, sobriety, and order.” Sound familiar? Recall the, “quiet and peaceable lives,” Paul discussed in 1 Timothy. (Side: I’m not saying women have to sit at home all day and knit. I think Paul is getting at something much deeper than that. When we live well-ordered lives, we are more effective ambassadors in far larger fields. Christ taught that when we do well with the little we are given, we will be put in charge of more.) So let’s buckle down and tackle those little things that dominate our life.

Organization – School Work

Many of us spend large amounts of our young life in school, so learning how to organize this area will be very helpful. By setting up an efficient system, you can boost your productivity and make the time you do spend in school more enjoyable. While computers will never compensate for books, trying to keep as much of your work electronic has it’s pros. The less paper you keep around, the cleaner your workspace environment. Also, it’s much easier to search through your computer than it is to shuffle through loose papers. But paper does have its place. Never underestimate the ability of a neat to-do list to inspire. Even if your not a naturally organized person, a to-do list helps you feel more organized. They keep you focused, pure and simple. Here are a few helpful electronic resources:

  • Evernote App: This is a fantastic app for taking notes which works across your phone, computer or tablet. You can sort notes by folders, tag them, etc. It also has an amazing feature which allows you to take a photo with text in it, which it can read to search for later (This is helpful for simply taking a photo of a whiteboard, instead of having to copy the notes down by hand.)
  • iStudiez Pro AppThe best organizer for a college schedule, though also helpful for high school. You can input information on teachers and professors, and it syncs with your normal calendar. Plus, it is a very aesthetically appealing app!
  • Wunderlist App: A simple task manager. Clean and to the point.


Whether you go paper or electronic, keeping your school organized in a non-negotiable. Almost every human works better in a clean environment. While it may be difficult to clean up if you only do it once a week, if you are continually putting things away after you are finished with them, you never really have to ‘think’ about cleaning up. (Rule of thumb: if you are done with it, either put it in it’s proper folder or throw. it. away.)

Alternatively, here are a few unhelpfulresources:

  • Facebook, Twitter, texting, TV, music with lyrics, Youtube surfing

Not to say that these are unhelpful period. They are just not helpful for school. In fact, they can be destructive. I know… as a primarily online college student, I had to wrestle with the temptation to check Twitter every 10 minutes. But every minute engaging in social media, minute by minute, wears away at productive hours. So here’s some tips for managing the urge to follow distractions. Instead of surfing the web, set a timer for yourself. Ever 45 minutes (or whatever you decide) get up and do something to divert your attention. While going to an entertaining website may feellike it fulfilled a hard-earned break, since your still facing a computer screen, it just makes going back to studying harder. For me, I usually got some water or tea, did a few crunches or stretched for a minute. Something about getting up from your books or computer is energizing, and gives you more focus when you enter back into the schoolwork. If you are interested in perusing this further, here are a couple good books.

  • How to Win at College by  Cal Newport (Applicable even for high-school students)
  • Accelerated Distance Learning by Brad Voeller (Also meant for college, but lots of great study tips)

Hope that helps! Any more questions or ideas?

Is there a part of school you find particularly daunting? Why?

Is there a way you have found to make school easier, more enjoyable

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4 comments

  1. This is so very helpful to me! Thank you. I actually never thought about going to an entertaining website as a bad thing before, but it makes sooo much sense! And now that takes care of some of my guilty feelings and wasted time during school. :D Thanks. Quick study tip someone once told me: even when studying for a final exam, DO NOT study any one subject more than three hours. Get up every 30 minutes and stretch, don’t forget to blink, drink water, and dive back in. Your brain literally cannot contain anything more than 3 hours. Switch to a different subject for at least 45 minutes before going back to that same subject.

    1. Wonderful Karis – thank you!!

  2. Like you mentioned, Marli, I think that physical exertion/exercise is essential to healthy living (mental, spiritual, and physical). It’s amazing how all the sluggishness/stress of the day can disappear the moment you start to sweat. ;) My mom likens it to “sharpening your ax.” It may take time out of your busy schedule, but ultimately you’ll work twice as fast and get a whole lot more done because of it. Dull blades don’t fall trees. ;)

    1. Yes Talia! Aside from good devotions, it’s difficult to find a more energizing thing to start the day than a good workout…

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