Near the End!
For those who have me on social media, you will know I am currently studying an English Language and Literature degree with The Open University. I adore studying with this organisation, and I feel its opened some fantastic doors for me over the past 7 months. However, I have recently reached a rather stressful patch in my studies as I am nearing the end of my first module.
I began my journey with The Open University by enrolling myself on my first year, first module "The Arts Past and Present" course in October 2015. This course finishes on May 19th, WOOP WOOP! Yet, me being unsatisfied with keeping my work load fairly straightforward, picked up my second first year module "Voices, Texts and Material Culture" in February 2016, which doesn't reach completion until September 2016. Not only does this mean I do not get any summer break (Year 2 modules begin in October), but it means I have reached the tricky period where I am struggling through my EMA writing process whilst juggling this second module.
Currently, all my spare time is revolving around taking notes, highlighting and planning for my final assignment which comprises of an 'EMA'. I have little over 3 weeks to complete this and hand it in, and I feel I am massively running out of time. There just isn't enough hours in the day! So I felt I would share with you some key tips and tricks I have learnt over the past 7 months to stay on track and relax myself during stressful periods. I hope this helps!
- KEEP YOUR NOTES ORGANISED - There is nothing worse when preparing for a large assignment than battling with hundreds of pieces of paper. It makes life much more difficult. Although it can be time consuming to organise everything as you are going along, but if you keep your notes in check throughout the module, it will save so much time and stress in the long run.
- PAGE NUMBERS, PAGE NUMBERS, PAGE NUMBERS - When taking notes, the easiest thing to forget is writing down page numbers of where you get your information from. I have forgotten so many times and have spent the majority of my essay-planning time searching through textbooks to see where the information is to reference. Don't make things harder for yourself than it needs to be. Remember!
- TIME LIMIT - Always put in place a time limit every day, of when you will stop studying. Usually, my time limit is around 8pm. This is so important to ensure you don't overwork yourself which will result in little to none information being understood. Turn your laptop off, shut your text books and opened a novel or watch the TV instead for the evening.
- BREAK IT DOWN - How many times have you stared at a question and not understood a word of what its asking you? I bet hundreds. Nobody can understand large passages of texts or complicated questions on first glance. I will take my best friend, the trusty highlighter, and highlight the key points in the question. Once I have done this, I will clarify any points I am unsure about with my tutor. Spending your time doing this, will help break down the question and what its asking you to do making it more simple to understand and therefore, answer.
- FUN - The worst thing when trying to write an essay, is when you focus on it for so long you can see lines in front of your eyes. Every once in awhile, I feel its important to go out and have some fun! Whether this be meeting friends, going out for lunch or even going for a walk around your local park. The benefits of stepping away from your study desk for half an hour, completely outweigh the feeling of "Oh my gosh, I'm not doing work". You will come back with far more concentration than you left with, ready to tackle the essay again.