I really want to begin this one by inserting the meme, “What a year this week has been”, but for a month. March, was nothing short of a rollercoaster and if I am being honest with you, I thrived and survived which is nowhere close to what I thought I would be able to do. It was announced in the first week or so that we’d have to submit three research papers, give one internal test, one assignment and three presentations by the 25th of March, followed by our exams starting from the 1st of April. I really wanted to believe that the latter would just turn out to be a cool prank by the college, but turns out they do not believe in pranks (or being cool for that matter). This might very well turn out to be a rant/ a sigh of relief extending over 818 words, but I am here to lay down what I learnt and discovered this month for my future self, knowing she will appreciate it.
One of my friends who knows I like all-things-Amy-Santiago, introduced me to ‘Notion’, this blessing in the guise of a free application that catered to all of my organizational needs. ‘Notion’ has cool templates which you can use or discard and make one for yourself, creating multiple pages and then merging them into one if you want. This app made saving references, drafts, important links not only easy but also aesthetic. The sense of productivity it gave me, made me want to study more on days I was running low on motivation. It can be your calendar, reminder, a database of links, backlinks all in one. Needless to say, it became easier for me to track my study habits, patterns and improve them over two weeks. Passion drives me a lot when it comes to my field of study, I am always motivated to study- however, there have been some days when I have woken up, not wanting to study at all, that is when Notion came to the rescue. I have been recommending this to my friends who are also struggling with online classes and assignment deadlines.
2. Health and Drama
Before this month, I thought the reason I was not scoring as much as I wanted to, was because I was not studying enough. This semester, I established it loud and clear for myself that, this would not be the case and approach this semester with everything I had to offer. I saw days turned into nights sitting in my chair for almost 10 hours or more at one stretch. Ignoring excessive backaches, headaches did not bode well with me as one would guess. What I did not realize, is not taking breaks, is counterproductive and it was slowly leading me to the point of exhaustion both mentally and physically, which was inevitable with my aggressive if not violent methods of approaching study hours. Although I only realized this too close to my semester end exam and fell sick after the first paper, I now know what not to do. Planning your study session is not only essential for qualitative studying, but also for your health.
If you want to keep studying consistently, you have to keep taking breaks constantly. Timing your breaks (Pomodoro technique), study sessions help with that, it keeps you focused and makes you go back to studying after the break, in case you are someone who is struggling with procrastination.
3. One thing/ day at a time
Now I know this is probably very generic and you have already read this on a million other sites, but it’s true. Focusing on one thing at a time may just be more difficult than multitasking, I know it is for me. I find it easier to dart in ten different directions at once than foreground one thought and stick to it. Doing one thing at a time was challenging, in that, I was always reminded of what is undone and what all needs my attention, add to that the stress of my exams and assignments with zero to no time to actually s-t-u-d-y.
Somehow, I found out that planning things beforehand gave me confidence and it calmed me down knowing that I can do only this right now and I know when the rest is to be done, it gave me an assurance that no matter what, I will be able to complete this task and others on my list. Now that I had this assurance, I only had to focus on “today”
I made it through a month filled with challenges and crazy deadlines to be met, I know the pressure only rises from this point, but this gave me the strength and confidence in myself to know that I have and I can make it through. I only hope that this somehow resonates with you and helps you a little.