Monday 3rd March, 2008

Debbie Jacob
Online Community
Death Notices
Classified Ads
Jobs in T&T
Contact Us
Privacy Policy

[email protected]

Surviving the SEA journey

Ahoy, mates. This is your captain speaking. I know you’re navigating the rough SEA right now. Chances are you’re feeling a little SEA-sick.

Sometimes you can feel that the vast SEA goes on and on and on with no end in sight. You feel like you’ll never reach the shore. It’s tough, but believe me, your ship will come in. I promise.

When it does, you will find your land legs and you’ll be just fine.

In the meantime, let me offer some advice.

1 Just realise a test is nothing more than a test! The SEA is not the beginning and end of your life. It’s an important adventure, even a milestone, but panic will not ease the rough journey. Work hard. Do your homework. Reward yourself with some special activities. No one can ask you to do more than your best.

2 Chart your course! Have a plan. The worst thing possible is to wander around on that vast SEA. If you go off course, you could get lost. Routine is good. Decide what work you’re going to do in a day. Work hard, but know your limits. If you push yourself until you’re worn out, who will mind the ship? It will veer off course.

3 Exercise! I know some of you will have teachers or parents who say you have to hoist the sails day and night, but you know what? Once the sails are up and flying well, the deckhands deserve a reward. If you get exercise, you’ll concentrate better and longer. You’ll get less headaches and feel less stressful. You’ll have more strength for when you have to take those sails down in a storm.

4Read! Sailors have to make sure they suck lemons so that they don’t get scurvy on a long sea voyage. Books are your lemons. Reading a novel 20 minutes a day won’t keep your teeth from falling out, but it will keep your mind sharp and healthy. Books give you food for thought, build your reading comprehension skills, reading speed and ability to make inferences, so make sure you have a treasure chest of books before you continue on your voyage.

Remember, to do better on any test, all you have to do is read 20 minutes a day. I’m sure you waste more time than that in a day, so there’s no reason why you can’t squeeze in 20 minutes of reading. Even at this late stage in the journey, you’ll start to benefit from extra reading. I really can’t stress enough how important reading is.

5 Take stock of your treasure chest! While any book you read will help you on your SEA journey, I recommend you stock your treasure chest with books that will maximise your skill-building efforts. I suggest Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata. It’s a small book and a breeze to read. Even boys who don’t like to read have enjoyed this book, which is the best book I know of to understand theme.

Anyone who is homesick on the SEA knows the importance of visualising home so I also suggest my book, Legend of the St Ann’s Flood, which was written with SEA in mind. When you get a chance to come to shore, check out RIK and other leading bookstores for these two books.

6 Keep a journal! You need to get used to writing. One easy way to start is to keep a journal that reflects your feelings and what you’re doing. Keeping a journal will help you get into the habit of getting that pen to move quickly across the page. It will help your ideas to flow. Think of journal writing like waves moving towards the shore.

7 Write on! Now for the writing tips on your writing trip across the SEA. Start at the beginning of your story. That means get into your story right away. We don’t need to know you got up, brushed your teeth, drove across town to go to the port and got onto the ship. Start your story at the beginning of the journey with something interesting that sets the mood. You should already be on the sea when your story begins.

8 Use all your senses! If you’re on a ship, you have to rely on a lot more than your vision to get your bearings. You could look out to sea for days and never see land. You need to rely on all of your senses—sight, smell, taste, sound, and feel. You can see the sunset, smell the salty air, taste the fear of an ocean swell and feel the breeze slapping your face as you ride the waves. Create a tone with similes, metaphors and personification. This whole column has been an extended metaphor comparing your SEA exam to a sea voyage.

9 Always carry an anchor! Your essay is a journey—just like your ocean voyage—with a clear beginning, middle and end. It flows with a theme—a central idea—that needs to be a concrete image like a ship. You can write about a journey, an abstract idea, but your journey will come to life if you can see the ship and what it stands for in the story. When you write, your mind should be like a camera following some visual, concrete image through the story.

Well, shipmates, that’s all the advice I have for you today.

Good luck on your journey across the SEA. I wish you smooth sailing!

©2004-2005 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Designed by: Randall Rajkumar-Maharaj · Updated daily by: Sheahan Farrell