Exams and A Season Called Mud

Spring is usually a very busy season at my house.  The first weeks of spring usually read better than they live. In the past week we have had a tornado, 70F and sunny skies, and tonight we are expecting an inch of snow.  The weather turbulence is a kind of parallelism for my project list at the moment. Projects on my desks include redesigning products to solve a production issue, re-organizing a revenue line at my job, a new assistant starts work on Monday, exams are one month away and Jelly Bean wants to play.  Right now it is 5 o’clock in the morning and I am multi-tasking; I am writing to you, enjoying breakfast and hugging my puppy.

Hugging Jelly Bean is always a good way to clear my mind; there is something about a puppy cuddle that puts everything into perspective. We have been up since 4 o’clock playing and planning the day.  Right now I really do need a 48 hour day; I worked at my home office yesterday from 5AM until 10:30PM to meet a 1 April deadline for 2 huge projects and to make sure I have study time this weekend. It is always busy around here, with multiple complex projects in progress at any given time.  Right now it is focused and fairly intense.

My organization process is also focused and intense. I have a design studio and a large home office with 3 very big dining room tables that serve as my desks. One desk is for study, another is for my business and the third is for my job as Director of Development at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.  This way I can get up from one project and move to the next; there is something in progress and easily accessible for each project. Jelly Bean plays under all of my desks as we migrate from task to task.

Going from task to task like this might sound obsessive but I have always worked like this since my first job in 1981. I enjoy the stimulation and the sense of accomplishment.  One thing it has taught me is to evaluate what I can expect to accomplish.

What I can accomplish at exam time is extremely important to me this year.  The Advanced Units are a very different study experience.  How I construct my time and what I study is more flexible; I can choose authors and texts more selectively.  The units also require more focused study of literary periods and, for me, require a more focused application of theory.  I am very aware that my degree classification depends on my exam efforts.

How will I get the results I want from the materials on my study desk as I revise for exams this year? Spring is called ‘Mud Season’ here. It is aptly descriptive and a great metaphor for the time just before exams.  While developing an exam strategy things can seem as clear as mud.  This is what I am thinking about today as I work at my study desk. Tomorrow, after my deadlines are met, I am going to see a performance of ‘Turandot’.  It is very stimulating and inspiring; and that’s just what I need to clear the waters before May and my first year of Advanced Unit exams.

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