The UOL subject guides

September 13, 2014

Time flies. It's up to you to be the navigator. - Robert OrbenIt is the weekend again; and this means allotting time for studies. For the entire week, I haven’t been able to sit myself down for a good, solid session of studying. Looking at the approaching weekends with the relish of spending hours with books might sound strange to some people; to me, however, swotting up on literary terms, or assimilating a critic’s work is an ideal way of enjoying my free time.

"The key is not to prioritize whats on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities." - Steven CoveyBalancing work and studies could never be an easy task. Besides feeling dead beat at the end of a working day, the realisation that I haven’t read a word always weighs me down more. Although I have tried to squeeze some reading time in during the day, such as when I am traveling to and from work, or when I am having my lunch break, it is still insufficient to study productively.

Therefore, my weekends are really precious. Just like how a working mother would look forward to the end of the week as a time for her children, I always anticipate with pleasure the joy of spending my Saturdays and Sundays with my books. But no matter how many weekends I have, I don’t seem to have enough time to complete reading everything on my list. It is precisely at such acute moments of frustration that I pleasantly discovered how I could make full use of the UOL’s subject guides.

Read the rest of this entry »


Readings Before All Readings

August 20, 2014

It is that time of the year again; the familiar, frenzied yet excited emotions that you felt a year ago. It is like travelling to a foreign country―a time of exploration and discovery; but accompanied by the anxiety of the unknown. You welcome it though. Despite all the tension it had given you for one full year, you did feel buoyed up by a sense of achievement by the end of it.

Now, the new list of texts (again) intimidates you. You slowly realise that the sheer number of them will tower over you. Some of them are heavy, more so on the mind than in the hand. Merriam Webster calls them ‘tomes’― “large or scholarly books”. Surely, you want to be ‘scholarly’, but your packed schedule stands between you and the books. You will, however, be relieved to know that it is not impossible to approach this seemingly herculean task. What I find immensely helpful, when I did my first year, as well as now when I am gearing up for the upcoming academic year, is to first gather the raw materials―things which construct the skeletal frame. It is the first step, which I think is essential before I approach the BA English programme. I have also imagined the tools for this first step as the sculpting knife and the stone; the very basic materials I need before I proceed to chisel a completed sculpture. As an Asian doing the English course, I feel, knowing the history of England― both the country’s as well as its literature, provides the bare necessities to develop better appreciation. Three books, in particular, I have found extremely helpful in providing me with adequate knowledge within the shortest time.

Read the rest of this entry »


Colours of the Prism

July 11, 2014

Rainbow coming out bookOne of the things that makes literature beautiful is its ability to bring out our multifaceted humanity. It functions like a prism that reflects the many colours of the rainbow when a beam of white light passes through it.

However, this ‘rainbow’ is not all about beauty; neither is it infallible. It has its vulnerabilities, the little pockmarks that blemish an otherwise beautiful face. And I think that it is not only at its most vulnerable, but also at its most interesting stage, when the intricacies of human relationships and of humanity surface.

Read the rest of this entry »


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.)

Read the rest of this entry »


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.

Read the rest of this entry »


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.

Read the rest of this entry »


Essential Books For Productive Studying

December 12, 2013

ways of readingIt is a cold, snowy week here in Pittsburgh. Jelly Bean and I are home alone, settled in for a good snuggle and read. We enjoyed a long eleven-day holiday celebration with a house full of visiting relatives, and a few visiting playmates for Jelly Bean.  This morning everyone is on a plane home to Wien, Washington D.C., and Baltimore, and my husband went off on a business trip.  After a fun afternoon playing in the snow together, my collie dog is ready to curl up on her blanket, watch the snowfall, and wait to bark at the corgis and cats that live next door.  Despite all of her anticipation and excitement, I am quietly enjoying a mocha latte and reading the posts in our VLE to get back into the swing of studying.  Many newer students have a great question as they plan their study agenda: what books on the recommend reading list are the most useful and merit purchase. Read the rest of this entry »


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 44,226 other followers

%d bloggers like this: