12 October, 2015

The Final Countdown

It’s the last week of lectures for Trimester Two and I know a lot of students will be busy finishing off final assignments before turning their attention to exams. Once these are over the vast majority will disappear from campus for the summer break and for some, they will graduate and never return. That sounds a bit doomsday like but it’s true! I think I returned to my campus once and found it a bit too weird for my liking. Uni was done and I didn’t want to go back. Until I found myself becoming a student again…..I’m nearly at the end of my study journey part 2 – one more assignment, no exam (phew) – and I find myself in complete disbelief that I’ve managed to survive 4 years. I may have only studied part time but it’s been a big deal to juggle full time work, part time study and other life issues along the way. Amongst other things I’ve moved three times, bought a house, dealt with family issues, missed out on social events, and cried too many times over assignments for my liking. Ah, good times.

In all seriousness though, regardless of whether you study full time or part time, have a family or not, being a student is hard work and just as important in our career path as being a worker. Both require hard work, commitment, sacrifice, and a clear head for when a deadline is looming. Take the time to appreciate what being a student has given you (and I don’t just mean the qualification) and how this will translate to your next stage in life – be that work or something else. What would you say? The answer will most likely differ for us all but having had the benefit of working and studying I thought I’d share my top 5 lessons from being a student that also apply in the work place:

It’s ok to fail so long as you know how to pick yourself up after this happens. I know it’s a cliche but failing really can make you stronger. In my case it means asking for help so I know how to do better next time.

In the same vein, a problem shared is a problem halved. We’re all made in different ways and others may have different strengths to us. Most people are very eager to help if we preface it with a “I know you’re brilliant at this so I was hoping you could take 5 mins to show me where I’m going wrong..”

Find out how to motivate yourself. For me, I need rewards. Rewards during a task and after it’s completed. I try not to make them always about food (chocolate, ahem) but sometimes it’s the only thing that works. Other rewards include going for a quick stroll, checking a funny website, playing with your pet (or finding a site with puppy or kitten cam), talking to a friend, family member or a nice colleague, making a cup of tea or coffee.

Prioritise your time. We are not machines and we need time out but we equally need to know when having fun has to take a back seat for a little while to achieve something important.

Celebrate your successes. I usually tell others what I’ve accomplished, not because I’m boasting but because I like to say it out loud “I’m finished!!” I just choose who to say this too (i.e. not someone who is still trying to complete something). And then I go buy chocolate.

To my fellow students – regardless of how you’ll complete your study journey – good luck for completing the final assignment/exam. I know we can do it. Just try not to eat too much chocolate along the way.

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Advice, Interest, Motivation, Opinion