That Time of the Term – Phantom Excuses


Well its the end of the term again… everyone’s exhausted after the long term, preps have been handed in late, dead-lines missed, people have been oversleeping, even teachers were starting to slack…. But can you blame anyone, I mean it was just that time of the term you know. And then when we return, well fed and rested after a glorious holiday of sleep ins and little work, we’ll all be unused to the work load of school. Preps will be handed in late, dead-lines will be missed, people will oversleep, unused to the early mornings, even teachers will start to slack, forgetting how far behind their class was. And then again by the middle of term everyone’s tired from the hard task of getting back into the school working environment, its been a few weeks now and people are getting tired… preps will be handed in late, dead-lines missed etc etc…

Now don’t get me wrong the amount of work everyone receives, from teachers, to students to the grounds keepers, is staggering and at time can seem extremely hard to handle. However a lot of the time when this work gets too much, or when we personally fall behind, we like to blame our surroundings. And of course there are times when this is true, for example you’ve had a late night the past couple nights or your feeling rather ill. But at the same time these excuses shouldn’t be a catch all for every prep you didn’t complete or work you didn’t mark. Instead of focusing on the determinism of life, that we have no control over what happens to us, therefore that prep we didn’t hand in was out of our control, we should instead focus on ourselves, how we can improve, where we went wrong.

Recently I’ve been reading Voltaire’s (the french philosopher’s) short satirical novel “Candide”. In this story Voltaire, through dark humour and hyperbole, constantly argues against the philosophy of “optimism”. Now of course optimism here does not directly mean what you think it means, voltaire was not against a positive outlook but rather against the idea that all actions (good or bad) were destined to happen, and thus we should pay no heed to trying to change anything. Voltaire argues instead that we should use our free will as human beings in order to change and adapt when things go wrong, to accept our responsibility for our problems and address them.

Maybe we should all learn something from our little french philosopher with the cool name. In order for us to improve ourselves we must accept our own mistakes and learn to use them to progress, not repeat the mistakes of the past. maybe your tiredness is due to the fact you stayed up until 2 in the morning watching Netflix for two nights in a row. Maybe you’ve had a lot of sports fixtures recently. Maybe you’ve even been kept awake for most of the night by the nocturnal creatures that are small children or pets. Either way life will never stop throwing hurdles your way, but as long as we all learn from these experiences in order to adapt and prevail, rather than lean back on the phantom excuses we all know and love, then I think we’ll all feel a lot better in ourselves. Who knows, perhaps you’ll even decide to finally write that week overdue prep thats sitting unwritten on your desk…. But then again…It is that time of the term.

By Oliver Hurley

(A little picture of our cheeky friend Voltaire, giving you a rather ironic optimistic smile)

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