Classes for my first semester in grad school has just concluded. I’m still waiting for my grades to come out but still, it feels so liberating. After a couple of years outside the school system, I have experienced several déjà vu and surprises these past few months. Aside from heaps of reading materials provided to us, I can say it has been heck of a learning experience for me. This past week alone was like a harsh lesson on time management, stress management and a whole lot more.
I have written down a few things I learned/ re-learned throughout the course of 5 months.
Beat the deadline. Don’t let ’em beat you!
This is college days all over again. Only this time, I have work to think about. I still can’t seem to shake off the habit of doing my term paper at the last-minute. It’s like my mind can’t work when it’s not under pressure. I guess it boils down to 2 things: focus and discipline. I’ll be stocking lots of those for the next round.
I tried to study overnight because of the popular notion that “hardworking” student do this ALL THE TIME. But please, let’s be honest. I wouldn’t need to sacrifice a few good hours of sleep had I read those lessons early on. On the day of the exam, I caught myself smiling stupidly at random things. Not a pretty sight especially if the person sitting next to you is also on the same boat. The only thing missing was drool coming out of my mouth. Good thing I brought my ID just to prove I was not a zombie @_@
Good teammates are hard to find
Happy to say that I learned this from other people’s experience and not from mine. I had a tremendous blessing of working with responsible colleagues who took the extra mile in getting the job done. I just hope I was able to do my part satisfactorily as well. Unfortunately, some are not so lucky. It’s really hard to work in a group if one or two people act like a bunch of appendices. Take the advise from Stephen Chbosky’s novel; you’ve got to freakin’ PARTICIPATE!
Don’t study hard, study smart
I really don’t think that some exams properly gauge a students understanding of a certain subject matter. It takes more than a simple multiple choice question to prove that you can apply it in real life. But I can try to be a smart pants for as long as I would like but the system will still grade me in a way that is generally accepted. For this dilemma, I will take the path of least resistance. I think the way to go about with this one is to try to work with the system. I’m in no way advocating cheating here, okay. I guess what I’m trying to say is to treat the tests like a real life experience. You can’t have all the answers but it pays to have an idea of what the that specific ordeal demands from you.
My friend advised me that it would actually be a good idea to know how certain professors give out exams. True enough, there are certain teachers which gives out easier exams than others. Some of them get their questions from a book rather than what they actually presented in class. Also some of them seems to favor certain topics on the course syllabus. It really pays to know these thing especially if the scope of the exam entails reading hundreds of presentation slides and other such materials.
I tried to study hard and the attempt smacked me in the face harder. I tried reading all of the sources provided and was only able to retain a portion of the information. Turns out, the amount of time spent pretend- studying is not directly proportional to the outcome of the exam.
Don’t lose hope and keep the faith
I really thought a flunked an exam because I got some answers mixed up. Again, lack of sleep is to blame. The feeling of despair carried on until the next day. After months of optimism, negative thoughts hit me like a speeding train. I was so discouraged that I started rethinking my decision to enroll (I do have my drama-queen moments too ^^) . I tried my best to shake the feeling off to at least allow my mind to finish requirements for other subjects. The next day, good news was delivered. Funnily, I even got a good grade on that subject. I just can’t help but feel that luck had much to do with this. Based on the result, maybe I did. (I wouldn’t know since I gave away my paper after the exam. I almost sent it to the trash bin because I was so pissed.) But looking back, I realized that I was obsessing with only one part of the exam that I no longer cared if I got the other items right.
I really need to cut-back on self generated stress.
So next time, I’ll just do may best, and leave to God the rest 😉
Another cliché? CHECK! Perhaps the reason why people keep on repeating the same advise is because it works. The tasks may not necessarily be easier but it sure makes it seems so. In just a few months, I was able to meet new friends and form new bonds with people whom I would never have the opportunity to know had I not walked this path. Perhaps the collective feeling of stress and dread related to deadlines, exams and the like serves to give the class a sense of oneness. It’s like being of a small boat in the middle of an ocean in a stormy night. Everyone on board can’t help but feel a certain affinity towards the next person. Who knew that misery can be such a great equalizer/ bonding agent!
Well that’s all i can think of for now. Hopefully I can apply these things next semester. For now, I will give myself some time to relax and prepare for the holiday season.
Breathing in. Breathing out ^^