The Game Plan: A Year in Review

Maddie Frichot Artwork

Maddie Frichot Artwork

I devised the Game Plan about a year ago on the cusp of one day becoming the next, when I was sitting on a merry-go-round with a few of my friends. I had finished exams about a week beforehand, and was well on the mend from yet another unsuccessful relationship. Between talking and shifting sand between my fingertips I had a particularly simple yet effective realisation; in life, it is much easier to be tired than it is to be sad. The year had worn me down in more ways than one and I was in desperate need of a change of mindset. I knew that there were so many ways I could use my time and energy to redirect my experiences into something positive.

I had always thought that the small-town life wasn’t for me. I craved the hustle, bustle, and excitement of a city that my town couldn’t provide. Although I knew of plenty of people who had happily lived, worked and studied all on the same street it simply wasn’t for me. And so the game plan began to brew as I conceived of ways that I could experience and see more than what my town had to offer. Thus, the “game plan” was to focus first and foremost on studying and working so that I could firstly, graduate as soon as possible, and secondly, make the most of semester breaks to travel and see the world.

These are some of the most important lessons I learnt from what I would consider to be a very successful “Game Plan.”

The Worst Thing Anyone can ever Say is No

One of the most comforting things I have learnt in the last twelve months is that the worst thing anyone can ever say to a question is no. By accepting and embracing this I was empowered with the courage to do anything from applying for jobs and committee roles at university to asking boys on dates. With knowledge comes power and even a mere “no” can be empowering in that it allows you to move on and find another way and without asking the question at all, you will never the know the outcome. 

Friendship Goes Both Ways

Quite simply, a friendship goes both ways. A friendship should not have to be earned or worked for. It has taken me far too long to accept that a friendship can not be sourced in unrequited love and loyalty. It is so important to nurture friendships where the other person puts just as much effort in as you do, rather than neglecting them and placing confidence in relationships which will never flourish. When putting your own wellbeing and ambitions first, it is important to preserve energy where you can and placing it where it is well deserved. 

One of the Best Ways to Grow is to Learn

In 2017, I had grown aware that I was quickly losing concentration in my classes, wanting to essentially, get through the lecture simply so I could get ready for the next, without properly processing what I was learning. And because I knew that law was the right degree for me, I knew it would be best to reduce my semester loading so I could enjoy my subjects. I truly believe that education is one of the most powerful weapons and when you properly dedicate yourself to studying, whether it be for a new hobby or course, you are able to truly appreciate what you are learning. I found my marks really started to sky-rocket as not only began to process but also care and question what I was learning. 

End-Goals are End-Game 

Upon creating the ultimate game plan I immediately had my eyes on the prize, that being a six week trip around South East Asia. It was the motivation for saving and achieving this goal which fuelled my commitment to working up to four jobs at a time and sacrificing many nights out to save and prepare for quite literally the trip of the lifetime and gave me motivation to continue in the middle of exams or 30 hour work weeks.

Work-Life Balance is Paramount  

I quickly found that dedicating all my time to studying or working had a massive impact on my health. By second semester I found that my immune system (and grade) had quickly declined as I became more susceptible than ever before to whatever colds and bugs were floating around university. I realised I performed (and felt my best) when I took the time to look after myself (and my mental health). It is so important to schedule time to catch up with friends and family, eat more than just microwave meals and make time for walks and exercise to stay at peak performance.