Braving a tempest

June 6, 2014

Budhaditya sitting on the steps at his exam centre

Ready for an exam

The time since I last posted my blog, it has been quite a hurricane for me. And I think I have survived. To say simply, the time has not been the rosiest. Managing the increasing burden of the examinations and the mounting backlog of my music lessons simultaneously has been one of the trickiest legs among all the examinations that I have taken. Admittedly, I have not been out of my home for most of the time – this has been the most vexing parts. It is indeed no child’s play to self-motivate and keep the pace ticking to gobble up the endless miles of the syllabus. Much has been said, opined and written about the much anticipated exams. So I won’t further add to the discussion, though I don’t think I would be able to resist.

There goes a saying, ‘Time and tide waits for none’. While I had focussed on my exams and music (relatively limitedly) the world had not been still. A lot has happened. India has undergone one of the most significant changes in its governance, Narendra Modi (our new PM) taking not only the national but the global media by storm. Not only India, democracy has triumphed in nations such Afghanistan, South Africa and Iraq. The case of Afghanistan has been awe-inspiring proving that all humans have hope for something better. To add, South Africa has re-elected their leader – President Zuma. Seen from the bird’s eye view, a silver lining can definitely be seen peeping from the black, sombre clouds. Witnessing the rise of a man from the echelons of a naïve tea-seller to that of the leader of the largest democracy, to the dew-fresh hopes in Afghanistan for sunny days ahead, it has really ignited my zeal.

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A Year of Literary Walk

June 4, 2014

Books give you a better perspectiveThis is my first entry in the blog; and I am supposed to say something about myself ― that should not be too difficult, right? Not quite!

Most people would generally think that students of English, by virtue of their studies, should be able to write about anything and everything. It, therefore, comes as no surprise when we get requests from friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbours, neighbours’ friends, colleagues, etc (and the list goes on), who want us to write a letter to the Town Council, or draft a business proposal, or even edit a wedding speech, dash off an irate email to their children’s school complaining about the dirty toilets, and there is no imaginable end to such bizarre requests.

When I was, however, given the chance to write for the student blog, I confess, I was diffident about whether I was equal to the task. For the past two days, I have been ruminating on how I should begin: I have been anxious about how I should sound; what tone I should adopt. It is after all, my very first entry; I have been concerned about the first impression. I had a sneaking suspicion that it was the perfectionist at work again. (To all the perfectionists out there, take note that oftentimes, the flawless perfectionist is also the vile procrastinator in all of us.)

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Two exams down, two more to go…

May 12, 2014

"Be so good they can't ignore you."

Some inspiration from Steve Martin!

Here we are in the middle of exams. For me, two down and two more to go this week. So far so good, but this is always the most trying time in the process for me. I enjoy managing four courses at one time, but this year it is a bit of a strain because of my work schedule. My first two papers were alright. By that I mean I think I maintained my academic performance of last term. For me, that is really not the goal but this year it might be the best I can do. I am learning a lot along the way, which feels very rewarding in its own way. Still, I can do better and that is my goal this week.

To manage work responsibilities and exams I wound up with two all-night study sessions before each paper last week. Not ideal, but some good came out of it. First, being very tired meant I had to really focus on each sentence. My essay plans were good, and I incorporated criticism and points from the texts. But I did not word the argument as well as I could have. I forgot my key phrases that point out incorporation of scholarship, and differentiate it from my opinion. Handy Phrases like, ‘some criticism considers…’ and ‘if we accept that…….’ are very helpful ways to link points and evidence in a paper.

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How To Remember Everything At Exam Time!

May 4, 2014

exam progressWhat is exam day like for you? Despite planning a year in advance, for me, it always comes as a bit of a surprise when exam time is actually here.  A little stress comes with this deadline that, combined with other responsibilities, can make me feel as if I forgot everything I ever knew.  Then there is test taking anxiety, which for me, is another layer to be aware of and manage.  I find it helpful to have a few strategies that help me remember material, and that remind me how to write a good essay.

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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

BB

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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