Even if you know where you want to go, don’t be afraid of opening up to other ideas. Sometimes, especially when studying, you’re so busy and your one task seems so important that you don’t have time to do anything but that. However, if you don’t do anything but work and never take a peek down those other avenues, you’ll never know what opportunity you missed. You also risk losing the reason for working in the first place. I’m trying to keep this in mind this week.
Revision, revision, re-vision?
Coming to the end of our courses, I’m faced with a daunting stack of readings, lecture notes (more or less useful depending on what I’d had for breakfast or, perhaps, the night before) and numerous Wikipedia avenues I could go down for revision. There is no way I’ll be able to read it all, so part of me asks why I should even try at all.
By all means, there are some things you have to do. But the trick is knowing what that is (namely what was in the lectures) and then reading your interests. If you do what interests you you’ll both do it quicker and actually learn it.
I think I’ve learnt when to stop now. When it’s time to say, ok, I’ve done that, now I can do something else. If I were to just give myself all night to read and finish a task, I’d probably spend half of it on Facebook (simultaneously eating chocolate) and then resent the fact I didn’t spend that time sleeping and/or doing sport. It’s one of the reasons I give myself until 9:30pm latest to finish a task and then move on.
Yes it makes me slightly inflexible (I really do want to work when it’s time to) and sometimes I have to move my schedule a little bit, but setting reasonable periods helps discipline me and make sure there’s time for other things.
Keeping open and keeping perspective
So what have I been doing whilst not studying? Well my go-to activity is definitely sport and this is something I’ll never drop. However, the same sports week-in, week-out despite being fun, don’t provide that diversity that helps keep things in perspective.
It can be hard to find new things, especially in a Golden Cage. Thankfully, within the Golden Cage of campus there are plenty of sources. 131 educated, open people, from 34 countries ensure that. There’s always something going on and always something new to try. For instance, tomorrow is National Independence Day in Poland, so I’ll head down the bar and enjoy the celebrations there. I’ve also been trying out new sports I’d never really gotten into at school but found outside that environment I like, such as volleyball.
Not everything has to be new though, it just needs to be different enough to give you some variation and perspective. Amateur photography is not new to me, but it’s not something I do extremely often either. Stepping back from the routine of running, work, eating and sleeping, I took the opportunity to go and take some pictures of the first day of snow yesterday with Ronan. These contrasted with the ones I has taken the sunny day before and you can see some of the products in this post!
Of course, you need to know when to say no: you can’t say yes to doing everything or you won’t be able to do what you want and need to do. For instance, I’m not going to the beer tasting as I’m pretty sure I don’t like beer and would rather give the Polish night and walk a try. But I think that by being open-minded and allowing yourself just a bit of doubt about what you might enjoy, you can make the right choices.
I’m not always successful, but trying to keep these principles in mind helps!