Posts Tagged ‘time management’

Back to reality

Over Christmas I had a really nice break, did a bit of reading, went on holiday and also had a couple assignments too. However, when I came back from Christmas, just like any time when you’re away from work for a while, things got a little bit crazy.

For my course, I had a module pack to pick up, which I needed to complete the first week of reading. I had already done a bit of pre-reading for the first week back – I had read two novels over Christmas, one for my Writing Modern London module and a brand new module for this semester, British Culture in the 1950s. In my blog about self study, I spoke a bit about how it’s wise to read ahead, especially if you know you’re going to have a lot of work to do or you have a lot of reading for that week.

Film Society’s 2 Co-Presidents. Myself (left) and Gemma (right)

I mentioned in another previous blog that I’m co-president of Film Society with my housemate and fellow film loving friend, Gemma. We also had a lot of work to do for film society, as we had the second round of welcome week for all the new students joining Queen Mary coming up. That was pretty hectic too, as we had leaflets to print out, and the fair ran from 2-6, on the day of our first screening. This involved a lot of dashing about and last minute changes, but we pulled it off okay in the end!

The somewhat chaotic Welcome Back Fair

The somewhat chaotic Welcome Back Fair

I also had to begin writing my dissertation, a scary prospect for most. In case you don’t know, a dissertation is a large piece of writing (mine has to be 10,000 words) on pretty much any topic (as long as it’s to do with English!) of my choice. My supervisor, who is someone who helps me through the process, is trying to get me to write it as soon as possible, so I have plenty of time to edit it and look it over. I had to write a first draft of my introduction over the Christmas break too, to hand in when I got back. Although it took me a week longer than I said, I also got that done and now have the next chapter to begin. I’m feeling more confident about the project as a whole now, and am not freaking out too much about the fact it’s due in May!

On top of all of this, there was also the next issue of The Print due, and trying to settle back into a life where my mum doesn’t cook all of my meals and wash all my clothes.

Overall, although there was a lot to do, the work is manageable. I like to make lists of all the things I have to do so I have things to tick off. I feel more productive and this helps me complete all of my other tasks. Other things I’ve found that work are breaking up larger tasks with smaller ones or doing something fun in between, like organising my notes whilst watching a TV show I enjoy. Sometimes things can feel overwhelming but everyone else is in the same boat, and all my housemates have as much work to do as I do. Luckily we own a VHS player and about thirty classic Disney movies so we can all unwind together.

I’m getting back into the swing of university now, so I’m getting back into a regular work schedule again. Plus, even though sometimes work can be hard, I’m really going to miss it. I’m seriously considering the masters degree I wrote about in my previous post. I’ve been doing a bit more research, which shows you that work is never too overwhelming. My best advice is to stay motivated, and if this all sounds a little scary, trust me – these are all skills you develop during school and university. Time management and balancing your work becomes the norm, they’re talents that you can never stop getting better at.

Starting as I mean to go on…

Week one of fourth year is over! I already feel like I’m drowning in work. It’s only been 5 days and I’ve already written and handed in one case report, booked two patient appointments, done 3 days of placement, sat through six lectures andddd started revising for my third year finals exams (our finals exams are in November for some weird reason).

I’m trying to put everything I’ve learnt over the last 3 years into use. So here are a few of the mistakes and what I’ve changed because of them:

In first year I did fairly well in a mock exam and then I became quite complacent and thought I could revise 80 lectures in 10 days for the real exam. This was not a wise idea. This year I’ve made my notes well in advance and started revising early so I have time to go over things. Also since we don’t have study leave I’ll be doing most of my revision in the evenings which cuts down my time pretty drastically.

Usually when it comes to summer exams everything else in life pretty much shuts down. Most university societies go into hibernation. However, November exams mean the rest of the world is still awake and there’s no point waiting to get involved in stuff in the summer because it all dies down! This year I’m part of the qmessenger editing team so I’ll have to do my bit for that. I’m also helping out at the Queen Mary open day and hopefully I’ll be part of the Saving faces society committee. Time management is key; there’s 24 hours in a day – use them wisely.

There’s that slight sense of panic when you forget to book in your patients until 2 days before and then it’s too short notice. This year I’m going to make sure I book as many of my sessions well in advance so I don’t have to worry about it all the time!

Requirements. Requirements. Requirements. That all too familiar word for dental students. However much you want to care about the patient. And believe me when I say I really do. Requirements are what life comes down to in the end. This year I’m going to try and finish them as early as possible! That might be easier said than done but we’ll see how it goes.

Basically the aim of this year is to be more organised so for me that means incessant list making. I’ve already made mine for this weekend. Let’s hope it’s a productive one.

Time management, the greatest skill

There are several skills that a university student has to develop. I believe that the most important one is time management, because, once you know how to manage your time, everything else shortly follows. At the beginning, you might be pleasantly surprised to know that an Economics student only has twelve hours of taught classes per week: four lectures that last two hours each, and the four corresponding seminars that last one hour each. My hours are even shorter, since I am a joint degree student and, for what concerns Politics, the lectures last only one hour.  Furthermore, deadlines for exams or assignments are usually set weeks in advance.

These things combined can give us the impression that we have all the time in world, and many of us fall victims of procrastination. Until we realise that the deadlines are not so far, and that, above all, most deadlines tend to fall in the time lapse of one, maximum two weeks.

Time management is the only answer. I (slowly!) learned that there is no need to spend the night on your books right before the deadline: all you need to do is to start working on your assignments and studying for your tests as soon as possible, and to carefully plan your studies. That way, not only is your workload more evenly spread, but you will also be in a more relaxed state of mind.

Time management will also allow you to fit different extracurricular activities into your schedule, and this will definitely have a positive impact on your CV.

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