The purpose of education is two-fold. Firstly, to make us knowledgeable about a subject, which allows us to apply what we’ve learned later on in our lives. And secondly, to inculcate a mental sophistication which refines our thinking capabilities. One of the reasons we chose the University of London is because we believed in the quality of its education and its ability to do both of those things.
Yet, unfortunately, most of us don’t do one of the major parts of the carefully designed curriculum: the readings. I admit, there are hundreds of them, and, especially to a new student, they can seem quite intimidating. Unfortunately, what most of us do instead, is either skim or not read them at all in order to cover our courses quickly. I too have to read constantly in order to try and keep up. And that’s exactly why this topic appealed to me: why were so many of us not willing to commit to such an essential part of the course and yet expect to do well in the exams and later as professionals. Continue reading
Here are some words to live by: try never to live anywhere with a season called ‘mud.’ It was a typical late winter weekend in South Western Pennsylvania which means we had nine inches of snow here in the Laurel Mountains on Saturday and Sunday. Now, on Tuesday, it’s close to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The streams and rivers are gorged with snow melt. Our pasture moved well beyond spongy and water-logged under my feet to something like gooey chocolate pudding. Even the horses and my dog are happy to gaze longingly at the soupy fields from our perches in the barn and tack room where I’ve taken to studying. We’re patiently waiting for mud season to pass and everything to turn summer-green. Continue reading
I have been struggling to stay motivated in my studies lately. I promised myself that this year would be different.
I only took one paper last year. I gave myself plenty of excuses and good reasons to only take one paper… I was too busy, I wasn’t sure if I could do the full degree so if I did the introductory paper only, I could get a certificate and call it a day if I realised this was not for me… and so on. Truth to be told, I was too scared of failing. I was covering my bases in order to comfort myself once the time came… Surprisingly enough, I did better than I expected and even more surprising, I enjoyed myself… A LOT. Continue reading
In my last blog post we talked about “Big picture” planning so, to complement it, I thought you may like to read about how I organize myself on a daily basis during weekdays. Perhaps you can get refreshing ideas!
This schedule relies heavily on my own preferences, habits and circumstances as a student. For example, I prefer working in the mornings because I know it is easier for me to focus then. Remember how important it is to know yourself in order to devise a suitable schedule for you.
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.