Wednesday, June 5, 2013

In which I dedicate this post to SWOTVAC

And again, I am alive.

It seems almost surreal as to just how quickly time passes. One minute you're excited to see your friends and fellow doomraiders after having not seen anyone for 3 months, and literally the next moment you're up to your neck in work and you still can't see anyone. It's amazing how quickly that excitement completely diminishes into but a remnant of memory. Well for me at least, I wonder why I ever had any twang of excitement about starting to study again in the first place. No? Am I the only one who feels like my brain cells have lost capacity to learn over the holidays?

It's exceptionally hard to strike that balance. How do you keep your mind educationally active during that long holiday? My answer right now is to be thankful that you never have to put up with the sheer amount of stress you're subject to during that dreaded week of each semester - SWOTVAC.

Hold up. Just wait one second there. Let's just evaluate that very acronym: study without teaching vacation.

Did someone say vacation?

Non. My definition of vacation generally encapsulates feelings of joy, stresslessness, happiness - pretty much anything that points in the direction of happiness. So while I'm clearly in need to stress less by reducing my workload, I have a couple of tips to perhaps lessen the load. And it's (99%) guilt free! While you're in your pursuit of procrastination, you're actually learning a few ways to maximise your efficiency this week.

Just so you all haven't forgotten what I actually look like, here's a snap that pretty well (I think) sums up my despair right now.

Tip number 1: Write a list of weeks of content you have to cover.

Even if you know what you have to do, it's always good to keep a track of that stuff on paper. I like to set it out in subjects, and then weeks. That way, I can cross things off as I do them and it's just more satisfying to see that I've covered almost everything. It gives you perspective about how much you know (or don't know).

Tip number 2: Make a general plan of what you're going to do throughout the week.

I mean, you don't have to structure it to the very minute and write down exactly what you're going to cover. My general plan includes waking up at around 8am (ha, that's funny because I've been waking up at 10am every morning this week..) and covering 3 weeks of content in the morning, 3 in the afternoon and 3 at night. I've written down things in terms of subjects e.g. subject 1 weeks 1-3 in the morning, subject 2 weeks 1-3 in the afternoon and subject 3 weeks 1-3 at night, but that doesn't happen. So long as I cover around 9 weeks of content in total per day, I'm happy.

Tip number 3: Gauge where you're at.

Obviously you're probably going to like a certain subject more than other subjects and that's fine. That's normal. But then during the semester you may have neglected a couple of weeks completely. Decide what you know pretty well (as in, you probably just have to read over it to remember it) and on the other side of the spectrum, decide what you have no flipping idea about. Prioritise your plan to cover those topics that will take the most time - most likely, it'll be the ones that you have no idea about. This way, even if you dawdle through it, you're gaining some familiarity and chances are, you'll have time to look over those topics again, to really reinforce your learning.

Tip number 4: Eat well.

And I mean really well. I've probably put on 5kg in the last 3 weeks but I don't even care. A good proportion of that energy is going into learning and concentrating. You can focus on cutting back during the holidays. Just eat to your heart's content.

Tip number 5: Avoid contact with people who freak you out.

This is why I go home for SWOTVAC. I hate going to uni, knowing that there are people who have been there every morning since 5:30am. It disrupts my rhythm and makes me feel bad that I've indulged in a little extra sleep, when there are people who have maximised their time. You are your own person - you have your own method of studying and you know differing amounts of content to other people.

Tip number 6: Take breaks.

No one can work at 100% efficiency the entire day. Man, I'm lucky if I can work at 80% efficiency for 2-3 hours. Know when your peak times are, and also those times when you just can't carry on. This way, you can structure breaks in when you're about to collapse without feeling bad that you're not studying, because hey, you probably wouldn't have done anything in that hour anyway. Get up, take a walk, HAVE A SHOWER (THE BEST REFRESHER EVER), call a friend (but make sure they're not studying either) or even just take a nap. You need to re-energise.

Tip number 7: Be realistic.

Honestly, you have learnt 11-13 weeks of content for 4 subjects in the past week. How much knowledge do you want to be packing into that brain? Forcing is probably a better word. You're not going to be able to remember everything. That's the difference between high school and university. It's physically impossible to know everything, especially if you have anything that even remotely resembles a social life.

Tip number 8: Okay you're finished procrastinating.


Kidding. If you have any questions for me, don't hesitate to shoot me up a couple.

Good luck everyone. See you on the other side. Lots of love!

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