We have rung in another new year and with it comes reality. December gets lost in festivities, visitors, and general hoopla. It is a time when we spend more hours with family and friends and get pulled away from the daily grind. With everyone having more time off we all get pulled away for a much needed rejuvenation. But with the ringing in of the new year, the drop of the ball in time square, comes January?a time to get back to work and reorganize yourself.
How do you make that shift from distracted studies back to full-commitment studies? Everyone has their own methods; I am sure some are likely more effective than others. Sometimes we have no choice in the matter; our motivation comes from being tossed back in with no choice but that the day has finally come. For me, I have decided to, once again, make myself a schedule. I planned out my month, but I decided, this time, to plan “catch up days.” Those days will allow me time to catch up on the days where life interrupted and I did not achieve everything I had planned out. I have also planned days off (unless my catch up day didn’t suffice and then these days off turn into catch up days.) I colour coded each course so I can glance at the calendar and see which set of books I need to drag out (or, possibly, put away). I attempted to make this schedule as realistic as possible and yet still challenging. There is a lot of work that must be done in a relatively short amount of time. In my experience creating a schedule that is not realistic, or has no catch up days, can be extremely helpful: for about a week. After that week it all starts to unravel. Instead of being encouraged by the schedule and the end that, through disillusion, seems to be within reach, I find myself discouraged. Looking at my previous schedules, they were full of arrows moving assignments and readings, pushing the course I don’t like back and the course I enjoy forward. This method works out okay for the course I like, but it leaves me feeling anxious when I remember the course I didn’t want to work on.
Aside from scheduling every day of my life in January I also reorganized my office space. I do not expect it to last long, and, to be honest, it is already beginning to transform into a disarray. Having a fresh, clean, space to start working in makes it more inviting. I love my work space, it is somewhere I can come to be alone, to focus, relax, and feel accomplished. I am easing myself back into this reality-check, and today the only thing on my list to get done is this article. Well, that and perhaps reorganize my office, which seems to have unorganized itself overnight. I think the biggest part of getting back into full time commitment mode is easing yourself back into that chair. Creating a schedule allows me to look at small goals, reachable goals, not needing to see the end before I see the beginning. It will take only a short while to get back into the groove of studying. But while I know the clean office won’t (hasn’t) last, it is likely that my schedule, such as it is, will not either. However, it will serve its purpose?for at least a while?and get things moving, get me feeling productive, and get me one step closer to that finish line.
(Now, I am off to put a nice big check mark through today!)
Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature