I have access now to some of the course materials for my university papers (semester starts next week). The quantity of the work involved gives me a small knot of anxiety in my stomach.
The difficulty of the work will be a challenge too - especially with regard to the computer programming - but it’s the deadlines that make me nervous. Getting all the work done (to a good standard) in the time allowed.
I guess I should see it as a positive thing that what stresses me is the quantity of work and the time constraints: those issues are easily solved with good time management … start early, stay ahead, prioritize.
Time management isn’t something I got right first time around. I remember feeling behind at the end of my very first week of university. I never got back on top. Often I wasn’t well enough prepared for lectures to understand new material as it was taught; I took notes robotically to make sense of later. After I worked out that assignments handed in for a 5pm Friday deadline weren’t actually cleared from the box until the admin staff arrived at work on Monday, I adopted a practice of early Monday morning trips into university. I operated in a perpetual state of catching up.
My time management challenges this time will be different. I’m a bit more disciplined these days, and a bit more sensible But I have more responsibilities outside study (a house and garden) and more things I care about spending significant time on (adult children, rock climbing).
I want to be prepared before lectures so that I can make the most of them. I want to be on top of new material week by week. I want to spread out assignment work and exam preparation rather than resort to unpleasant (and unproductive) late night bouts.
I like schedules and plans - that will be helpful - but I’ll need to improve at sticking to them and avoiding procrastination. I have a tendency to abandon tasks (like finishing a blog post) part way through to go and do odd jobs around the house which allow me to maintain the feeling of being busy and productive while avoiding working on my most important task. Sadly, I can completely relate to the scene in one of the Bridget Jones Diaries where Bridget is working from home for the day. Somehow the entire day slips by with Bridget about to start work as soon as she has changed her clothes (which necessitates sorting the laundry), and trimmed her nails, and had a nap …
This year, I’m trying to lean more towards Hermione Granger as a role model than Bridget Jones.