You know that expression that tells “you should stop to smell the flowers?” Well, I wish we had flowers now in good old Luxembourg, but it turns out we are covered in snow. So instead, I am smelling the snow and trying to devise a plan for the second half of this course year.
As every year, I had promised myself that I would try to open the books and study a bit through Christmas break, and as every year, I only managed to read five to ten pages of material in the two weeks out of the house. As expats, Christmas break is one of the few opportunities we have to gather with family and spend some time with them. This was The Little One’s first Christmas and everybody wanted to take part in it, so we had to make room for multiple family engagements.
I am one of those people sensitive to the amount of chaos around. If things are tidy and clean I find myself in good humor, but if things get out of hand, I turn into a grumpy, muttering Grinch. I know life can be messy: clothes running around, wrestling my dear dog into taking a bath, guests coming to visit, the garden getting out of hand now that all the leaves are off the trees… You tell me. However, I try not to let Chaos desecrate my haven of mental peace: my desk.
Having my own desk with an organized system is one of my non-negotiable needs. This space allows me to switch on to “study time”. When I sit there, my goal is to get in a mindset of focused mental activity, and knowing myself, if there are things scattered around I will not be able to concentrate on the task. Even if I am not distracted by the mess itself, my mind wanders more easily to issues unrelated to my studies.
I am excited. I have always wanted to learn creative writing. The English programme has a complete course on creative writing; I can learn how to write poetry, prose and stage plays. The reading list has Antigone, Waiting for Godot and The Odyssey (which I tried reading when I was younger, but gave up after a few pages). I have fellow students from China, Spain and Guyana. It was thrilling to meet them on the VLE and WhatsApp.
A new academic year has begun. It has been a month for me now since I began classes at my institution and it has been great getting back to my studies after a somewhat boring summer.
The results of the past year and the first experience have taught me a lot. I have registered for four modules and this time around I have two modules which need to be studied on my own: Sociological theory and analysis, and Population and society. I cannot take regular classes for these at my teaching institution, however I will be provided with guidance by my teacher. I am taking classes for Elements of social and applied psychology and Social research methods. I have plans to study in a very organised manner – hopefully preventing the procrastination monster from dragging me down with it. And I believe I have learnt this art already by finishing up with four chapters per module. Especially considering these chapters are quite lengthy!
Since the results 2013/2014, I have realized what it takes to produce excellent grades. Putting in a little extra effort can take one to another level. Dedicating a lot of time to research and preparing answers allowed me to perform well. And therefore I aim to brush up on those techniques and use them wisely. Studying two modules without a proper supervision or regular tests and reinforcement will be a whole new experience. (Though I hope I don’t take of advantage of that). I believe this will allow me to set up my study patterns more effectively. Having no regular classes at college will actually leave me with more time to devote to reading and research.
This time I will experience the true essence of studying through this programme – self studying. I hope to achieve better!
Best wishes to everyone around the globe for 2014/2015.
Sundus is studying for the BSc Sociology in Pakistan with support from Roots College International. The BSc Sociology is not available to new students from 2014, however you can still study for a Diploma for Graduates in Sociology.