Nia is chilling in the main reading room nearish where the Montréal kids hang out. On the floor, she knows she's not that in, but still. She is studying French and occasionally when a sentence of French comes to mind she will attempt to say it to someone but usually she doesn't since everyone is trying to study and wouldn't necessarily appreciate the interruption. Not saying sentences of French is kind of hard so after a while she switches to geometry.
"Schedule not doing things besides homework! Otherwise your brain goes out your ears which will kill you quicker than homework. Say, this hour is for this homework, and that hour is for mana, and then, before you have begun hating the whole entire universe too hard, you say this hour is for - what is it you want time for, there is not too terribly much to do."
"I wouldn't say not having much to do is a problem I have at all, personally, if I finished all my homework and everything I'm doing for Sacramento and filled my mana storage and learned the whole spellbook I got from the void, I'd make more friends, throw wild parties, start a drama club, talk some musicians into being accompaniment for me to put on a dance performance..."
"Ooh, fun! You are a making fun of your own sort of person! Right, so, put things in your schedule. Especially making friends! Terribly important. Friends keep you alive a little longer, let us say a day each so you will need to be friends with most of the school to get to graduation, better start!"
He is not sure whether that's a joke, or unrelatedly whether it's funny, or whether it's horrifying or heartening or what. Sounds kind of plausible, but in a nonliteral satire kind of way?
"Um, I'll try that, thanks, although I think I might have more than twenty-four hours of things I need to schedule each day." Oh, please don't let it turn out that all the other kids have time-turners...
She pulls it out. "Some is in Spanish or Swahili, I will cover it with a hand - oh, you have Spanish, of course, only the Swahili." She has a Timex watch (just the face, no strap) sewn to the cover of the planner. She has all her classes marked out, including what to do during them if she has time to spare from learning the material ("revise for quiz", "mana [exercise]", "mana [meditate]", "French", "supply trades"). Before classes she has written "up!" and "bathroom?" and "meditate" and "pack bag: due today:" and a list of assignments, "breakfast"; she has lunch down, and work period is assigned depending on the day to "maintain!" and "French group" and "Spanish spell swap alliterates!" and "revise for artifice history" and something in Swahili that she is covering. After classes is similarly laid out. "Homework trade with Maria C." and "French" and "mal studies essay", broken up with "break: chat!" or "break: flop!" or "break: wander library!", interspersed with more mana and study groups. After dinner is the same way, but she has given herself Friday evening off for "DECADENT RECREATION and also asking void for:" and she has a list in progress. On the parts of the week that have already gone by Val can see that there are arrows exchanging things between places where she's rearranged this for that. Right before bed every night she has written "*!*self care*!*"; she shows him another page with a list of things that count for this ("I don't do them all every day" she clarifies), including "shower?" and "moisturize" and "no le digas a papi.... :)" and some stuff in, again, Swahili.
He can try, at least. He's good at geometry and less good at teaching people things. He attempts to subtly figure out whether Nia is already aware of the secret conspiracy to pretend memorization is useful, without signaling the wrong level of confidence that any given wizard would already know the truth about any given Santa-like conspiracy.
"You know, unless you expect to use them a lot, it's probably a waste of time to frontload that many formulas, like - for example, you don't really need to know a bunch of triangle congruence theorems, because if a pair of triangles are really congruent then you can just always prove that side-angle-side applies. If you're just going to do fifty problems with something once, you don't have to memorize it because you can just look at it while you're doing homework, and if you're going to need it one more time on a test in six months you also shouldn't bother to memorize it because that'll take more time than you'd save by going into the test already knowing it."
If the Scholomance grades differently he's so sunk, but why would it?
"Well, it helps me figure out that the problem is all the things that need more than a day of work and need to be done as soon as possible but without a specific firm deadline other than 'the sooner the better' - or graduation, I guess - and the fact that I sleep, that also seems like a problem."
"Well, I expect to need to put another hundred hours of work into my spellbook, and another, I don't know, fifteen or so on one of my secret extra credit shop projects, and probably less than that on my other secret extra credit shop project but I'm less able to estimate how long that one is going to take, and - you know, homework and stuff."
"That's kind of a terrible question because there are some bizarrely creative uses of shields for, like, cooking and gardening, and these really impressively elegant spells, but obviously I'm not going to pick one of those, I'm obviously going to pick one of the ones that's designed to move groups of people through groups of enemies as safely as possible for a few minutes at the cost of literally everything else. And now this conversation is depressing and an allegory for our lives."
This seems like a much weirder claim than the existence of magic, but maybe his skepticism has made it impossible for them to do it in front of him.
"I kind of like the one for gardening where it not only keeps insects away, it also keeps you clean. At the same time, in one spell. I'm not sure if that's any less depressing, though."