December 10, 2008
The Sweet Smell of Victory
What I am perceiving as the sweet smell of victory might actually be the savory scents of the SI Holiday party...but whatever. The point of this is that I am done.
I remember, during my SI orientation, attending a student panel where two SI students gave conflicting views of time management. One, in his intro, extolled on the virtues of getting started early on long-term papers and projects whenever possible. I'll call this the "Eric" school of thought. Another student then added to his introduction that he had NO IDEA how to do that, but hey, to each his own. This particular student figured SI was enough of a challenge without raising the bar for no good reason. After all, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right? If you get a minute to breathe...do it! We'll call this the "Bill" school of thought.
My first year was difficult enough that I remained in the Bill school of thought for the entire year. I mean, SI was hard, and I couldn't wait four months to take a break. However, my first semester my SI501 group had decided to set our own timeline with deadlines a full week ahead of the class-giving us some wiggle room for when things fell apart. Sure enough, they did, and our timeline really saved us-allowing us to turn in our final paper right on time, but without anyone working into the wee hours to finish it. So, this semester I decided to give it a good ol' college try. I had started out on the right foot and decided that this semester I was going to do everything I could to stay there.
I started looking at projects in a "big picture" sort of way, nipping at them briefly in moments when I was still revved up from writing a paper but too tired to really get started on anything. I took to my weekly readings 1.5-2 weeks at a time, eventually finishing my semester's readings around Thanksgiving, giving me a few weeks to just work on final projects. As a result, I have been able to clear my schedule out and focus on one thing at a time, instead of juggling. (I'd not realized before this that juggling, in itself, is a bit of a timesuck.) The downside is that once a project is done a week early, the last thing you want to do is pick it back up in a week to revise it. However, setting something down long enough to clear your focus can really help you to catch any gaps in your logic, poorly-supported points and missing evidence. And let's not forget those ever-pervasive typos.
In the end it has given me a short period of clarity before the hustle (and bustle) of the Holidays and that's a lot better than a punch in the face. So yay for time-management skillz and yay for Holiday break!