Tuesday 27 May 2014

Survival skills

Having recently been watching a TV programme about a bunch of Englishmen surviving on a remote island, it leads me to think about survival.

Not the machete and 'man-make-fire' type thing though.

More the - I dunno - get through the course and exam and come out the other side relatively unscathed type.

Survival skill 1 - most importantly - have people around you who understand (or at least sympathise) with what you are going through.  If you have an 'other half' who objects to an overflowing washing basket at the time of an assignment, then you are in trouble.  Thankfully my other half is very accepting of my domestic failings, whether they be at the time of assignment or down to general 'life is for living not washing' moments.

Survival skill 2 - remember that it IS voluntary!  Sometimes it's hard to remember this one, especially this far down the line, and it can feel like someone has a gun to my head at times - particularly assignment times.  For most students though, including myself, there is always the option to simply walk away, from the course, from the whole study plan.  If your job and livelihood is not directly dependent upon it, then leaving it all behind is always an option, even if it's the last option I would ever consider in real life!

Survival skill 3 - Good Enough is good enough.  Another one that's easy to say but hard to believe in.  It's hard for a perfectionist not to strive for perfection.  But when the stress ball hits you hard in the head, sometimes it's worth remembering that a passing mark is still a Pass whether it's a 40% pass or a 97% pass. Finishing an assignment or an exam with that in your head can be helpful - especially for exams, where the result is further away than that for a TMA.  It's something that I tend to include in my revision too, I will focus on whichever areas would get me the most confident 40% and work upwards from there.

Survival skill 4 - Anything is still better than nothing - when it comes to studying (and to motivating yourself to study when you don't have to do so to keep your job), remember that every little bit counts.  So even those 30 minutes on the train or bus, or the half hour of reading you crammed in while you had a bath, will achieve more than simply not having done anything.  All the little bits add up - and in fact occasionally, the context will aid with the memory of something - for example, I will remember a particular paragraph of a book by the song that I listened to on my MP3 player at the time whilst on the daily commute.

Survival skill 5 - Plan as if you've already succeeded - you may have noticed by my earlier blog posts, but I have a tendency to plan well ahead.  I dunno if this is technically a survival skill but it appears to work for me anyway.  I don't have a 'what happens if I fail?' plan, I refuse to accept it as an option, I'd simply have to deal with it if it happened.  So far this appears to have worked, and I don't plan to change this way of thinking.

Oh - and if all else fails, procrastinate well and keep the washing basket empty!!

Sunday 4 May 2014

How did I miss that?

Well, having spent much of the evening reading and working on TMA2, I've now hit that period of the night where the 'what nexts' are coming out again.

Having recently spoken to my tutor (who is of French origin) and mentioned that I was considering the beginners French course next, (to be met by a sharp intake of breath and that even she didn't like the look of some of the questions when her hubby took the course), I have been wondering again about the choices for the 'mandatory' course.

And this time I spotted a potential....TM129 - Technologies in practice.  Dealing with 3 diverse bits, Linux, Networking and Robotics, it sounds interesting and practical and...well...maybe easier than Beginner's French in a twisted fashion that possibly only a fellow programmer might understand.

So I dunno...again!!  I know there's plenty of time before I have to make a decision, and the course has both an Oct 2014 or Feb 2015 start option. 

Why do this to myself so far in advance you may well ask?  Well the answer is something akin to positive thinking, if I make decisions now which assume that I have passed the course I am currently working on, then my brain is fooled into believing that I can pass the course and doesn't hit quite such a state of panic and what-if type behaviour.  And the goalposts look that much closer!!  !!Dunno how much truth is actually in that but hey it seems to have worked so far.

I'm in the process of wresting back some level of control on the washing basket...of course....TMA procrastination!!