Two Precious Hours

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.

5 thoughts on “Two Precious Hours

  1. how do you manage doing 4 units from sept – may by reading study guides and text for only 2 hours a day? I work and and study but it seems very difficult to manage so much work in such little time.


  2. Compliments on how well organized and detailed you are when it comes to your study time. On top of these study hours Monday through Friday, do you also work? Ten hours of study time Monday through Friday is essential; but you must have to structure your day in order to keep yourself from being distracted from normal day-to-day duties (i.e, eating, exercising, etc.) My question is whether it is rather difficult to maintain this schedule throughout the entire year or is it rather simple and how? Sincerely, Jessica Wynne-Samarani


  3. I am happy for you, especially that you can dedicate 2 hours to your studies everyday. I am just starting to study for this academic year and would celebrate if I could carve out two hours to study on any given day.

    Wish you the best!


  4. Hell0 Everybody! Thank you so very much for reading my blog, and for your excellent questions and comments. My schedule is not always easy to maintian, particularly at certain times of year, but I have found that framing study time as something I do for myself, and as something that helps releive the stress of my job, etc., means I look forward to study and miss it if I don’t do it! My full time job is stressful but my am and pm hour helps keep me in good mental form; so does walking Jelly Bean for exercise. When I started in this program I worked part time. It was very different and I have had to learn to study differently. I do structure my day. Studying in this program has helped me become so much more efficient and productive in my professional and creative life. I can confidently say I would not be half as effective professionally without the discipline and experience of this particular program. That makes the 2 hours look rather different to me. Best- Catherine


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