Each day I schedule two precious hours to study English and Comparative Literature. Two hours each day can be difficult to block in the midst of our complicated lives, but I look forward to my study time. My academic goals are important to me, but I also look forward to my study time because this program is so enjoyable and offers some unexpected daily rewards. In a year when I am studying advanced units, and have extra professional responsibilities I manage my daily routine closely. I think about my precious study time carefully and notice how it affects my day, my outlook, and what I accomplish in my other areas of interest. Making the most of my time results in a great reward; I start the day with a sense of accomplishment and feel challenged and engaged. After noticing how inspiring a morning study session can be I started to really think about what I do with my study time, what I want to get from it, and what the results of my efforts mean to me.
I like to study for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening. It is nice to wake up a bit earlier and know I have one undiluted hour to concentrate. For me, morning study time is perfect for close reading and text analysis; right now it is Shakespeare’s Sonnets. It is a meaningful amount of time to concentrate on a short text passage and really analyze what the author is doing with language. This detail work is great for morning when the mind is fresh. I also then have the day to think over the effects of language on the reader or practice critical thinking skills. The evening hour is perfect for reading articles and secondary texts. Planning an hour every day for secondary reading is a real luxury and important to my study goals and plan this year.
My study plan is quite a bit different this year; I expect to cover more material and form more developed opinions about texts and issues in criticism. Getting the main idea from texts and extracting details is important to me. The SQ3R method – survey, question, read, recite, review works well for me, and tips from books like Greetham’s How to Write Better Essays help keep my study process fresh. My brainstorming and SQ3R sessions result in marathon note taking. Each of my note taking sessions has a specific point like reading for structure or criticism. I always know the results I want to get from a study session.
My daily sessions schedule ten hours to study from Monday to Friday; on the weekends I schedule additional time to read primary texts. For me, the two hours I dedicate each weekday to my study plan are rewarding and productive. But I look forward to them because they are refreshing and invigorating. When I start the day with a study session my morning begins with focus, critical, and creative thinking that inspires me as I work throughout the day. Ending the day with an hour skimming and scanning articles or essays opens my thinking to new perspectives and ideas. While schedules and plans are made to be revised, my two precious hours help me set aside daily distractions and stress, and motivate, and inspire me to learn. I have been fortunate to find a schedule and study plan that work well and are truly time well spent; it is amazing what can be accomplished in two precious hours.