Morning everyone! It’s a dull cloudy morning here, however, today is not the day to let the weather dictate the mood. We’re almost halfway through the first month of the new year and I’ve pondered on what to write about for a while…
Y’know those facebook quizzes that are ridiculous but you do anyway because some of your friends did and it makes you feel good when it says that 2017 is the year you’ll become a millionaire and get your life together?
Well. I had a go at one of those a few months back about my quote of 2017 and surprisingly, it really stuck in the back of my mind and I’ve just fallen in love with it!
My goals this year are to be happier. I’ve found the past year a real struggle, and it not only affects my mood but my skin, eating habits, even social habits have seemed to take a downturn.
The month of January is usually full of new hopes, resolutions, and ambition. The looming doom of exams and coursework due dates is growing closer and maintaining our sanity seems to get slimmer by the day. Nevertheless, this year I have decided I’m going to make a schedule that is realistic yet enjoyable.
How can it be both?
Well… I can’t guarantee anything but a positive attitude can make anything worth the while. I recently bought a ‘Happiness Journal’ from Kikki.K in Birmingham New Street station as it seemed to be a fantastic starting point to review my life so far. They also do a ‘Goals Journal’ and ‘Habits Journal’ if that suits you a little better. The pages ask me to write down what makes me happy, what doesn’t make me happy and gets me to rate all aspects of my life to see where I’m at. Even though it felt a little difficult to write all this down and hard to admit negative shortfalls or aspects, it was rather cathartic. The journal continues with each month containing five objectives that you can fill in, with a main objective or goal for each month.
January is ‘focus on my MSc’ month. I’ve always been one of those students who can create the best-organised revision timetable yet the execution is
rather really lacking. It’s so easy to be distracted, especially with technology these days, and ‘winging it’ just won’t do anymore. #awful but #honest.
>> Here’s my revised 2k17 edition. It may only suit me but I thought I’d share it in case any of you are dragging yourselves into the reality of exam season…
- Work out how many days you have between your deadlines and important dates and work back. Then how many revision “sessions” you’ll need.
Set two objectives for the day – either three lectures from one module and a set of revision slides/notes/flashcards for another. Two tasks that’ll take a few hours each.
- As a language student, I find it hard to switch into different languages and retain the information I learn in one day. Stick to one language per day, sometimes do two days in a row in each so you can really live and breathe the language. You can vary the day between grammar practice and questions, write out sentences, create or practicing flashcards, or watch youtube videos online. On the same day, I like to vary between writing practice and watching youtube videos because it not only trains your reading and writing skills but also listening (if not a little speaking) skills too.
- If you have essays as well, you have two choices. If you can, set three days and whack it out. Or, use a week and spread it out, start the first four/five days reading as much as you can, then the last two writing up the essay and having time to re-draft on the last day. I wouldn’t recommend you planning this for the week the essay is due though… cue: last minute panic.
- With essays, I think I was a bit of a slow learner. I didn’t do very well at them in school nor in my first few years at university because I just didn’t know how to start. Then I just put some facts and readings together and hoped for the best. In my last year, I learned one technique that felt like the magical key to cracking the essay writing secret: read like crazy before you even type a word on the document titled “my actual essay”. I read about 20+ readings, take notes on my laptop with page numbers for everything relevant and use REFme.com to store the references for my bibliography. Using the notes, it takes me a quarter of the time, to write the essay as I only have to add in my analysis and argument while stringing the reading notes together. If this method helps you at all, I would be so happy.
- Last but not least, give yourself a break day once a week. I say this because it’s nice to know you get a day that you can justify sleeping in a little and take it at a more relaxed pace. We all need a little headspace to relax and let our happiness levels rise. It also gives you an opportunity to see someone for coffee or a meal if you so wish. Another benefit: nothing ever goes smoothly so the break day gives you a chance to do a chapter you haven’t managed to cover or a set of language vocabulary you haven’t made flashcards for yet. & it gives you that sneaky feeling that you’re doing work when you don’t have to. 😉
Good luck to all students and people this month! Enjoy it, work hard, and be happy!