I used to sit at the back row in lectures sipping on my long black from Ground Café, while I listen to the lecturer explain. I’d nod in agreement and understanding of the material, and write down vital key points. I usually hit the gym or get extra sleep after lectures like these.
Keywords: USED TO.
Second year is tough as you have to readjust some things again. I’d come early to be able to save my friends and I some seats closer to the front. That implies waking up earlier as I no longer stay in the convenient halls on campus. I still tend to daydream in classes of my summer back home in Indonesia with good friends – and although it sounds really depressing how the start of this year goes, it actually isn’t.
I find that the materials in second year are mostly based on your first year. Without a strong fundamental knowledge in first year, this year will feel difficult. However, as I am studying Mathematics with Actuarial Science, I feel that the modules made compulsory for me included the technical skills and knowledge that I need to becoming an actuary, for instance, “actuarial mathematics”. It has been very busy this year, considering internship online applications were mostly opened at the same time as term started. So I definitely recommend making a timetable for yourself so that you can balance and have time for other things as well, may they be work or leisure.
For the first years reading this, I recommend you to get work experience that would be relevant to your CV for second year internships.
For the second years reading this, join me in applying for internships. I’ve been rejected by a few but I’m still going. Hold on tight and keep going – we’ll get there.
Now, I drink my coffee quicker and take my notes faster than my cognition. I put on my earphones and launch Spotify while I revise in the library during hours between lectures or tutorials. I come home and after getting dinner, I continue either my revision, coursework, or online applications. This repeats until the weekend wakes me up like the morning light that shines on my face as it slid through the gaps in the blinds. Trust me though, despite the stress, challenges, and difficulties, it’s all part of that missing word, that in real life has the potential to make you grow and learn over time.
Advice on how to get the most out of your revision, from information on visual aids to what foods you should be eating, is available everywhere. As someone who is prone to stress, I often feel overwhelmed with everything that I am told I “should” be doing whilst revising.After years of trial and error, I have found a few things that really work for me:
1.Mathematics can be intense and overwhelming so I find it incredibly useful to take a few hours to remind myself why I’m doing the degree.If I’m finding a module particularly wearing I’ll find an article, book or video loosely based on the subject to spark my interest again.For example, after reading through my probability notes for a few hours yesterday and very almost losing the will to live, I decided to watch a video by Vsauce about the maths behind shuffling a deck of cards (which, by the way, is mind blowing).
2.Finding a suitable place to revise was actually a bit issue for me.At home I get too easily distracted but I can’t deal with the silence in the library.Coffee shops were my saviour.When I’m struggling to revise, I walk to a local coffee shop, order myself a drink and set out all my revision on a little table.I enjoy working within a lightly bustling area; I can concentrate well but also when I need a break I can get some fresh air and take a stroll.Obviously, the big upside to working in a café is the possibility of a constant supply of caffeine which is extremely alluring.
3.One major issue I used to have whilst studying for exams was confidence.I would always compare my work and results to my friends’ and subsequently be far too hard on myself.During exam season, I find it useful to remember that people work at different paces and revise in diverse ways.It is for this reason I tend to steer clear of ‘group revision’ as I know I am more comfortable going through things at my own speed.
4.Finally, I find it most useful to be ridiculously organised during exam season.Revision timetables are my strength, however I must remind myself to be realistic.If I had followed the first timetable I had made for myself this year I’d be clocking a solid ten hours of revision a day, and subsequently, probably would have died after about a week.Setting myself unattainable goals is a bad habit; I am never going to be doing ten hours a day and that is completely fine.I find it important to set myself reachable goals at the end of each week and if I was unable to finish everything one week I go back and assess what the issues are.
There is roughly twenty-two days, one hour and 35 minutes until my first exam.I am soon to be completely submerged in scrap notes, past papers and post-it notes. My hands are decorated with black ink smudges.I am simultaneously completely exhausted and also experiencing a caffeine-induced spark of motivation.My brain seems to be completely incapable of completing any tasks that aren’t maths related; for instance, after making a cup of tea, I proceeded to put the milk in the cupboard, tea bags in the fridge and spoon in the bin.
Revision sucks. There is no point in sugar coating it. However now that I have found my own little preferences, it sucks just a little bit less.
Happy belated π day! To start up, here are some amazing facts about and around π that you definitely need to know RIGHT NOW:
Chinese man Chao Lu memorised 67,890 digits of π in 2005. Seems like somebody’s got so much time in life!
Calculating π is used as a stress test in computers – I’d say it’s a stress test for all beings in the world don’t you agree with me?
“Wolf in the Fold”, the Star Trek episode, Spock spoils the evil computer by commanding it to, compute the last digit of π value. The geekiest way to defeat a bot.
π is defined as the ratio between a circle’s circumference and its diameter.
You can type π (like me!) in a Macintosh simply by pressing the alt button simultaneously (yes, simultaneously because…maths.) with p. Now let the πππππ roll in!
π is considered to be the most significant and intriguing constant, as mentioned by numerous scholars.
However, why do we even care about the existence of pi, then? In simple words, not everything in this world, both stationary or moving, are geometrically straight. Any form of curvature, to be measured more accurately, needs this irrational number π. Even if we are unable to get the true value of anything that is related to π as it is an irrational number, we are able to get the closest value and calculation of things almost perfectly despite this inexact constant.
I personally found Archimedes’ way of calculating π as the most interesting of them all as it invokes to me so many thoughts. He calculated π but drawing a hexagon inside of a unit circle, and calculated the ratio of the perimeter of the hexagon to the diameter of the unit circle. Then, he did this until he got up to 96 sides – meaning that the number of sides for the polygons he used were the numbers in the sequence an= 2an-1 where a0 is 6, and 0 ≤ n ≤ ∞. This makes me think – is a circle really a shape with no sides, or perhaps a shape with infinite number of sides?
π is delicious useful in our daily lives even though it may seem totally irrelevant in such a capitalistic society. Nevertheless, underestimate not the power of such a simple constant and the beauty it brings to the world! Once again, have a belated happy pie π day everyone! *stomach grumbles*
Mathematics is a scientific language whose nature is theorised by people like us to produce a system made from mathematical elements that act as useful items that describe everyday objects that bring the idea of this language to reality. Many of its components are correlated to the universe and can explain its constituents, such as the idea of finite quantities, and some that cannot be fully understood, such as the idea of infinity. It is, I believe, independent of human logic and intuition, but through them it is defined and further developed into enterprises that may be beneficial in helping us to understand the universe.
Findings that arise from mathematical elements may sometimes be judged as invalid if proof is absent (as one of my lecturers said!), but majority of them have in fact displayed validity and illustrate more thoroughly the universe, such as transverse waves having similar shape as the sine or cosine graph, potential wells of planets similar to the function of x2, and even projectile motions. Equations created as a consequence of mathematical notations and numbers have even made researches easier, for example, the equation found in chi-square tests and the equation of the normal distribution graph in order to find to find approximate probabilities of large-sized populations. Some other simpler instances include Fibonacci’s rabbits, parabolic movement of a basketball shoot, snowflakes having six-fold radial symmetry, and numerous more. Imagine what else we can find if we continue to immerse ourselves in the world of maths and further develop it – who knows you might be the Nobel Prize winner one day!
Mathematics grants us access to universal truth despite its man-made essence because of its theories being backed by powerful evidence that is so persuading that minor contradictions may be abandoned. Mathematics is indeed a scientific language that plays a significant role not only in sciences and businesses and other developing areas of study, but also in other aspects of our lives.
Happy new year to all of you! 2016 has been a rather interesting year for all of us, but I believe 2017 would be a better year for all of us if we act upon our dreams and our goals, and be motivated and passionate about our ambitions. I too, have personal dreams and goals – both short term and long term – and by living each day driven by the will to become better, we experience circumstances that acts as stepping-stones that bring us closer to our aspirations. In my own opinion, our education is one of these stepping-stones. There are in fact numerous simple things that you can do now that will contribute achieving greatly in university or even after. Here are some things that I personally do:
1. Manage my time, by having a calendar beside my study table and on it are upcoming events or deadlines.
2. Keeping my room always organised, and not only when I feel like cleaning up!
3. Set up a ‘goals and to-do’ list, as if making SMART goals, but less strict with the time limit, for example, ‘Go to Bermondsey and eat Padang food’ and ‘patch my jeans,’ as you can see in the picture below!
Above all these, I believe that there is one thing that will motivate you, drive you, keep you fuelled up and burning with passion – your purpose. Finding your purpose liberates you from work that you may see as burdens now. Finding your purpose is not at all easy and can be time-consuming. It is a slow process, but it is an investment. I am also still in the process of discovering myself. I wouldn’t say that I have found my purpose, but it seems to me that I would love to become an inspiration to others, and this idea of becoming an inspiration has encouraged me more than ever before. Other than that, pushing yourself beyond your own limits and being a life-long learner are just as vital.
At Queen Mary, how are you doing? Are you pushing yourself in understanding the materials in the lectures, or do you have a more apathetic attitude towards learning? Remember, again, education plays a major role in achieving your dreams. Most importantly, keep in mind that “your mind has to arrive at the destination before your life does.” Let us all not just create new year’s resolutions, but act on it! #hustle2k17
As I begin to settle into my third year, as with the previous years, my weekly timetable begins to take shape. During the first week of term, I was provided with a timetable which includes when and where my lectures will be taking place. This timetable will be used throughout both semesters of my degree course – a semester is part of an “academic term period” which here at QMUL consists of 12 weeks of classes. In addition, QMUL categorize their semesters as “Semester 1”, “Semester 2” and “Semester 3”. Below I have given an example of what my timetable looks like for semester 1, and information on how to read timetables in general.
Image 1: My personal timetable for the subjects I study. (Note: Click on image for clearer view)
Image 2: These are the official QMUL guidelines for how to read your timetable. (Note: Click on image for clearer view)
As you can see, my timetable includes a mixture of IT labs (labs based on specialist computer software) and lectures. I don’t have any seminars for my course, but for many students, this would typically involve getting into groups with your class mates, and discussing in detail, questions set by the lecturer about what was mentioned during lectures. It is also worth noting that in week 7 of each semester, there is a period known as reading week. This is where there is no teaching and it gives students the chance to catch up with their understanding of the course material so far. Finally from image 1, the blank spaces on the timetable indicates free time. Here it is expected students use this time for independent study around the course material.
Next semester I will be getting a new timetable which will have different modules from my first semester. If you want to check out the current general calendar for students at QMUL check out this link. It is also worth being aware that each student’s timetable will be different depending on the course they are studying. They will therefore have lectures at different times, as well as days where they have no lectures.
For the second semester of the course, I took two modules – the compulsory core class and a module at UCL called Genre in Italian Cinema. As part of the Intercollegiate Screen Studies Programme, MA Film students can take a module from a selection offered by various London universities, so it’s a good opportunity to try something a bit different and get a feel for another university (and I must say, UCL has a great canteen…)
The Italian class focused on two areas of Italian cinema: in the first half of the semester we looked at commedia all’italiana, then in the second half the focus shifted to Italian crime film. I learnt a lot about Italian politics and society in the twentieth century, from the post-war years of the ‘Economic Miracle’ to the anni di piombi (Years of Lead) in the seventies, which saw unprecedented levels of terrorism, with nearly a thousand people killed. The decade saw numerous bombings and assassinations, including the kidnapping of ex-prime minister Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades in 1978. We discussed these events in relation to Elio Petri’s Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970), a Kafka-esque black comedy about a murderous inspector, parodying the widespread police corruption and ineptitude.
While the first semester of the core module was concerned with space, the second shifted focus to time. We started the semester with a discussion on the cinematic construction of time and a screening of Chris Marker’s La Jetée (1962), a short film about time-travel which primarily consists of still images. The film draws attention to the inherent stillness of the cinematic image – of course, films usually consist of twenty four still frames a second, giving only the illusion of movement. We spent a week looking at Gilles Deleuze’s ideas of the ‘movement-image’ and the ‘time-image’, notions which attempt to account for a change in the representation of time before and after World War II. Time and temporality were also discussed in less direct ways in relation to reception studies and how Douglas Sirk’s work has been viewed across time, filming death and dying, and phenomenology, amongst other topics.
The third semester runs from now until the end of August and involves writing the dissertation. I’ll keep y’all posted on how that goes!
Today I finished the last of my official revision lectures before my exams, so I thought I would summarize what I thought helped me successfully study throughout my degree so far.
Buying the correct stationary equipment
For me, having eight modules (The number of modules for my degree) to study for can be difficult, however when you have the correct stationary, this can help you to keep your notes tidy so that they are easier to find when you need them. The top 3 stationary equipment I would recommend is a folder for each module, sticky labels (To label your work such as the name of a topic for particular notes.) and punch pockets (To ensure your notes do not get ripped by getting caught in your folder.). Below is an image illustrating the stationary equipment I use:
An example of a sticky label on a folder with notes inside a punch pocket.
Time management skills
As I have discussed in my previous blog “Revision tips 101” having time management skills is essential for balancing study time with leisure. Without balance, in my opinion, you could face problems such as falling behind in your studies or even neglecting your personal health by not doing any physical activities (i.e. walking, jogging, sports etc.) . I set myself deadlines for when I want tasks completed, alongside scheduling time to relax.
Asking for help when you are unsure about something
When you are unsure about something when studying, the worse thing you could do is nothing. Explain to your teacher what you are having trouble with and get help. I have found that by asking questions I see concepts from another viewpoint and I benefit even more.
I cannot stress how important the tips are that I have mentioned, and I hope this will help you in your future studies.
I often find myself lacking focus when working from home. I constantly get distracted by food (lots of snacks!), things on my desk and messages on my phone. The worst part of it is, I get bored of my room, which (I think) instigates this lack of focus, and consequently demotivates me. Working in an environment in which you sleep in, just does not help. Instead, I force myself to go out for some fresh air and find a cosy little café, so I can get settled into the ‘working groove’. There are so many cool, calm and quirky work cafés/places in London and I am going to share my favourites with you…
As a university student from East London, I am forever on the look out for the trendiest coffee shops to suit a chilled, afternoon work session. You’d be amazed at how many there are in East London.
This little food bar space was formerly a Victorian toilet (can you believe it!) The Attendant is one my absolute favourite places to work and to go for brunch with friends. It has been transformed into a unique and comfortable space, and is the perfect setting to get started on that dreaded essay you’ve been assigned. The cosy seating area, which features gigantic armchairs and wooden tables, along with the green Victorian floor tiles, really makes it extra special. It is the ideal place to retreat to on a Wednesday afternoon. You must try the banana bread and the mocha! (Thank me later!)
(Awarded Runner Up Best Coffee Shop in London 2013 and 2015)
If you don’t mind a communal workspace, then the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch is just right for you. It is situated in the lobby of one of London’s chicest hotels. Not only that, but this workspace is available to you for 24 hours with free Wi-Fi! So instead of pulling an all-nighter in your university library, upgrade yourself and head down to this swanky hotel. The different zones are separated with furniture, glass and steel screens, which are used as partitions. If you have a group presentation or a work meeting that needs to be organised, this is the best workspace location for you. It features a long 16-seat table and even has a bar so you and your workmates can treat yourselves to a pint or two after a hard-core work sesh! There are also sofas at the back of the room, where you can put your feet up and relax. This workspace has the best of both worlds; a chilled, yet brilliant working environment.
The Book Club:
Now I know this may seem like an odd suggestion, since The Book Club is a great place to go to for a fun night out, but in fact, it is also a funky café. If you yearn for a more enthusiastic and energetic working environment, then this is your place. It is spacious, bright and airy; the ideal location to get creative thoughts flowing. You and your friends canlinger in a soft modern, minimalist space packed with eccentric antique. If work gets too much, you can play a game of ping pong with a group of friends and grab some lunch or even a yummy milkshake. (I recommend the ‘Mixed Mushroom Gnocchi’ – it’s to die for. The best kind of fuel for productivity is ‘food fuel’ right? – well, I think so anyway!)
Located in my favourite place in London, (Carnaby Street), this cute little coffee shop is one of my greatest finds. I always come here after a long day of shopping or to escape from my uni/home area. There’s something about this place that is really special. It’s cosy, vintage feel and acoustic music, is just absolute bliss. They play all sorts of acoustic music along the likes of Jack Johnson, Lianne La Havas and from time to time, they whip out some old school, smooth classics. I love coming here with friends for a catch up, or on my own to have a light-hearted study session. Their home-baked cakes are delicious and their coffees are made with a smooth caramel dark roast, accompanied with a medium body and sweet finish. What more could you want?
Joe and the Juice
Not only does Joe and the Juice sell the most insane shakes and scrumptious flatbreads, but the working vibe is perfect for young adults, seeking to complete that deadline by the end of the day. If you’re looking for a more contemporary feel, then this is ideal for you. The store is filled with simple, brown leather interior and captures an element of Nordic design. Whilst working, you can tuck into an Avocado Flatbread (a favourite among all of my friends) and the ‘Hell of a Nerve’ shake; a beautiful blend of strawberries, bananas and elderflower.
If you’re looking to be inspired, feel energised, share good ideas and hatch plans, then Flatplanet is here to help! Their purpose is to provide vitality and inspiration, which are essential qualities that are needed if you want to be productive and successful with your work. They serve nutritious, yet delicious food all day to assist you in getting through your work load. Downstairs, there is a lounge/dining area which even features a guy on a piano! So, maybe after you’ve completed your work, you could head downstairs and get into good spirits! Flatplanet really captures that earthy, airy and motivating feel, which as a student, I would take full advantage of! Why not try one of their healthy topped flatbreads, whilst you’re at it?
The Lido Café
This is a picturesque and charming little café to work. It has a charismatic Parisian feel, which creates the perfect working vibe. The good thing about this place is that is overlooks Brockwell park which is ideal, if you fancy escaping out into the fresh air to get away from revision/work. If you happen to be here during the summer, you can take a dip into the Lido pool after a long, hard day of studying. The Lido has free Wi-Fi and is not too busy, so you should be able to get down to work without any distractions. Spoil yourself with a mimosa or two to keep you going throughout the day!
Equipped with retro furnishings and jovial images, this coffee bar emits a vibrant ambience thanks to its joyful colour scheme. It has everything you need to unwind and relax. Whilst working, you can indulge into their yummy banana bread, tuck into their hearty sandwiches or enjoy a smooth espresso. You can do all of these things, whilst working in a laid-back, easy going environment. So next time you’re in South London one afternoon, take a trip to the Birdhouse, open that laptop and work away!
Situated in the stylish streets of South Kensington, Zack’s Deli provides a delightful ambience for those looking for organic homemade food and a fine, little place to retreat to for an afternoon work session. In the deli, there is a communal table where you and your friends can work from and enjoy the benefit of the free WIFI. They also serve delicious food ranging from pancakes to stews, so don’t worry about bringing a packed lunch! If you’re working hard, you need to make sure you reward yourself with an exquisite juice, along with a cake or two – right?