Today is the summer solstice – mid summer when the sun and the days seem to stand still. Here in Pennsylvania the days are long, warm, and completely pleasant. When days are this lovely it seems like summer will never end. For me, today marks the end of my lazy few weeks after exams and before studying begins in earnest for the new term. Between today and 5 July, after the American 4 July holiday, I will be experimenting with study strategies and deciding what I am going to read in the next academic year. I have been at a bit of a stand still myself about this. There are a few very keenly motivating factors to consider like the amount of course work I have to do, the classes available to choose from, and my schedule. I must sit 4 exams so choosing wisely is important to my results, and to successfully manage the work load.
Managing the work load with 4 units can seem like it requires super human effort. I have learned from the experience of my colleagues, but never expected to sit 4 exams in one year. This came about because last term I did not sit any exams. My professional schedule was demanding, and my local exam center was experiencing some serious security difficulties. I have been fretting over it, and wondering what to read, and how to manage the daily schedule. I need not have worried. This program is so inspiring, and the results are so immediate and fulfilling that I am actually excited about the challenge.
Luckily I do enjoy a challenge, or a good problem to pick over. Last year I worked very hard on some of the Advanced Units in preparation for sitting exams. Now I have a little extra time this summer, and it seems wiser to set that work aside and use my extra time to focus on new material. I am feeling positively bold academically, thanks to the structure and pedagogy of our program, and the rewards I have gained. Over the last year I saw how our course work directly impacts my professional goals and accomplishments. The perspective that came with a little detachment from exams helped me to realize a great deal about how I study, and what about studying English and Comparative Literature really interests me.
How my interests and focus changed this year surprised me quite a bit. During the past year I worked towards a professional certification which I am eligible for in August. During that process I thanked my lucky stars every day for the Approaches to Text unit, and wished I could take that unit again. My experience this year taught me a lot about the standards I want to achieve, my goals, and reasons for pursuing this degree. Missing an exam cycle turns out to be the smartest choice I have made since choosing to study in this program. I don’t remember when I have been so excited to get to work!
My academic work and my professional commitments have intersected in a very rewarding and inspiring way. Right now I am designing communication materials for a non-profit organization. The new ‘Language and Media’ course seems like it was made for me. I can’t wait to get started! And I am looking forward to the interaction with tutors and colleagues in the newly designed study format. Last year was challenging; I exceeded my professional goals but wondered about how it would affect me academically.
This study experience is so motivating, rewarding, and inspiring that 4 exams in 2013 seems perfectly reasonable! Setting aside all the reading and work I already did for 4 units to take up 4 different courses is invigorating! Suddenly it feels like my academic solstice, or ‘stand still,’ is over – it is time to click on the new study guides and start learning!