Beyond the Textbook

April 6, 2014

LSHTM logoIt’s odd: in some ways I feel I really haven’t done enough studying since I came to Jordan. I work more than a full time job, often for example catching a work car to commute to Zaatari [a refugee camp in Jordan for Syrians] at 6.45am and not getting back home until 6.20pm, at which point I still have work to finish off. In addition, I have to do work most weekends, the combination of which doesn’t leave a lot of room for studying.

Children in Zaatari refugee camp. Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Children in Zaatari refugee camp. Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

On the other hand, I am now two thirds of the way through my online statistics courses and have finished the two textbooks for my other two courses (Introduction to Epidemiology and Environment Health and Sustainable Development). This has led me to a conundrum – what to do next? Should I be memorizing everything in them? I have decided on the alternative route which is to start just looking for related articles online.

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10 Study Tips: small steps, big feat

March 26, 2014

In this blog, I share with you a few study and examination guidelines that I have penned during ‘motivating moments’! Happy reading ;)

1) Breathing before a study session prevents sighing post it…

So let’s take a deep breath and plunge!

Breath - the universe is taking care of everything else

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10 Ways To Manage Exam Stress

March 11, 2014

Keep calm and study for exams posterAnd the countdown begins!

With almost about two months to the final exams of the University of London International Programmes’ EMFSS programmes, I’m sure we all are experiencing panic and stress. However, these are NOT conducive to the exam atmosphere. It not only hinders the capacity to memorize and comprehend, but also causes depression and anxiety leading to health issues. And I don’t think these are affordable at this point and time.

So here are some ways to manage your preparation and reduce the amount of stress you have on your mind before the exams:

  1. Follow a timetable. Use the timetable designed in the Strategies for Success booklet that you receive with your study pack. It is the best way to organize yourself and your study patterns even in the last two months. Also, look through the tips given in the booklet on how to write in the exams.
  2. Divide your days into tasks between the different subjects you have. This way, you will be study every bit of a subject each day without losing the information by both retaining and comprehending it.
  3. Make room for something creative and fun every day. Go for a walk, read a novel, cook your favorite food, paint, or whatever it is that you do in your free time. It will relax your brain from the pressure, pulling you out of the strict environment for a while. Read the rest of this entry »

Geoscience, Stress and Chocolate

February 27, 2014

Royal Holloway logoHello, and I hope everything is well with you. This is my second blog. The first one had a broad introduction to the course and me. Thank you for those that responded to it. I hope the title of this blog has intrigued you to read more, and is with all things – it is not quite as you might originally think… One of the core components of this blog is geological stress, rather than any human, student or blogger stresses !

I want to try to achieve 3 things in this blog:
1. Give current or potential distance learning students some personal ideas, suggestions, advice and tactics on effectively studying remotely – that at least work for me
2. Give some practical, real-world examples and illustrations of the concepts I am being introduced to in my current module – Geological structural analysis, where I will expand on the title of this blog
3. Start to initiate and encourage some feedback, dialogue and possibly more of a discussion on the course I am on – with you – my unknown and disparate audience…

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Getting around roadblocks

February 25, 2014

Super Mario stomping on obstacles

It’s time to get on top of those study roadblocks!

What makes the earth spin? Day to day experiences dictate that an applied force is required to keep something in constant motion. However, contrary to belief, a force is required to stop movement – for example, what stops a rolling ball is the force of friction. Movement is presumed to be a natural tendency…

This may seem far stretched, but drawing parallels,  it makes me ponder over what keeps us from moving on in accordance with our plans; case in point, study plans.  A shift of focus from motivation, or the lack of it, to the roadblocks, is a good starting point for its assessment.

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A charming changeover!

February 6, 2014


I posted my first blog on the 9th of December.  Almost two months have passed by and have done so in a flash. Not only two months, we have bid adieu to 2013 and welcomed a brand new year. Not that it has been much of a change for me. With a packed up and tight schedule almost throughout, the transition from 2013 to 2014 has quite been linear and unnoticeable. Well, it would be better off to say such schedule a concoction of extracts of calendars  of that of  a student, a musician, a disciple of his mentor and a budding connoisseur all at the same time.

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The ‘thrill’ of really knuckling down, and thumbs up for flexibility

February 3, 2014

LSHTM logoI get a fair few questions from people about studying at the University of London.  And it’s always a bit of a mouthful to explain that I’m studying at ‘the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine through the University of London’s distancing learning programme’…

But, it does give me ample opportunity to remind myself why I chose this path to begin with.  More on that in a moment.

Free range humans road sign, New Zealand

While having a good break back in New Zealand, stumbled upon this great road sign.

To start with, I have to echo several of the other UoL Student bloggers.  To say that my own study plans got mildly side tracked in the latter part of 2013 would be an understatement.  My work with St. Joseph’s Hospice really took over but a new year, a fresh new perspective, and a month back home in New Zealand have helped me figure out how to find the balance.

It also means it’s really time to knuckle down!

But surprisingly, I think it gets a whole lot easier when I can really knuckle down, or get ‘get in the groove’ as another blogger alluded to.

Having almost got through an initial read of all the course materials, a little bit like reading the recipe right through and prepping your ingredients before getting cooking, I can now get stuck in to mixing, stretching and testing (in a proverbial cooking sense!).  Perhaps a stretch to make a cooking metaphor out of exam prep, but hey, whatever gets you through!

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Petroleum Geoscience at the University of London – setting the scene

January 28, 2014

Picture of Pete Floyd, MSc Petroleum Geoscience, UKHi, and a personal welcome to the start of the 2014 Julian calender and this blog.

My guess is that you are reading this because you have an interest in either Royal Holloway, Geoscience, or distance learning. I am assuming that you, just like those working in the global oil and gas industry, will be of very diverse nationalities, locations, situations, knowledge and interests…

My goal for this blog is to give an informative, illuminating and entertaining perspective on Royal Holloway’s MSc Petroleum Geoscience, which I am in my second year of studying by distance learning (DL) through the University of London International Programmes. I am hoping this blog will appeal to the broad spectrum of readers, from industry experts, through to those with a passing interest and knowledge-base. At the end of this blog I have also included some links to other material for those interested in learning more.

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The perks of being a ‘sociology’ student

January 24, 2014

Hello everyone!

I recently got a chance to write blogs for this Official Student Blog of University of London International Programmes. So I just thought I’d introduce myself with the struggle through which I finally got into UOLIP and some quick tips on subjects that you rarely find on this blog.

High school for me was quite a nightmare. As a science student, I was usually just average. I did not really want to be a doctor and that was, for a long time, hidden beneath many layers of parental pressure and the ‘not-knowing what else to do’ feeling. So there came a time when I completely lost my sense of direction. When I was constantly bombarded with failures. And the sad part was, it was only the science subjects. No matter what I did I was unable to score well, despite working very hard. I am one of those whom you call ‘hard working’ rather than ‘intelligent’.

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What if your study plan is not working as you hoped or expected?

January 22, 2014

library stacks w scream 600 x 500It is a truth universally acknowledged that things do not always progress the way we intend them to. My exam registration is formally complete and a good case of nerves is setting in right now. On certain days, it feels like I have let a splinter swerve my academic project from its groove, especially if I do not review my progress in each course regularly. Several strategies that I thought were going to be quite useful have turned out to be less helpful than planned. Sometimes they seem more like impediments than aids to effective study. Two things are certain: 1. if a portion of my study plan is not working then it needs to be changed and 2. I have to manage the pre-exam nerves to optimize my study time. Read the rest of this entry »


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