As the holiday season approaches, students come to one of two realisations - usually one after the other:
- Hey, it's the holidays! I can catch up on my studies while relaxing over a plate of mince pies;
- OMG! I've only done half my shopping, how will I get my work sorted in time for the holiday - never mind all this reading I'm meant to do for my studies!!!
I know this, because those are the thoughts which went through my mind.
('Tis the season for coughs, colds and flu too - so many students are also having to take time out to recuperate.)
Dreadfully behind on my own studies - as revealed in my previous blogpost - I panicked and began to think I should defer til next year However I did the following things and now I am happy to announce that I'm back on track (and have done all my shopping )
1 - Get back on the website.
It doesn't matter what you do to get back on. You can post in the Forum to say 'I'm so behind! Anyone-else feeling worried?' You can just watch one of the videos or read one webpage. Don't look at the dates and start worrying about how far behind you are. Get yourself back on your Study Calendar so that you feel like you are back in the saddle again.
2 - Look at the dates
Strong cup of tea in hand, have a cautious look at where you actually are. You may not be as far behind as you fear. (Being one or two weeks behind is very common, BTW.)
3 - Talk
Don't keep your worries to yourself. Have a chat with Student Support Team or your Tutor. Talk to your study buddies on the module Forums, Whatsapp or (if you must!) Facebook groups. Get support and advice. In particular, ask the Tutor if they have an overview of that part of the module - can they give you a steer about the upcoming work. Is there a week where not so much is expected of you? Are there parts you could skim over? Which exercises are essential?
4 - Ask for a one to one support session
If you need help, the university can sometimes pay your tutor (or another tutor, if your tutor can't provide this) to give you an extra support session. If you are feeling worried, ask about this. If you don't ask, you won't get! And it would be far better for you to have a little extra support, than drop out of the module - and perhaps your whole degree
5 - Read to write
There is far too much knowledge in the world for anyone to cover all of. Therefore, grownup academics do what we call "read to write". We only read what we need to, in order to write our article or book chapter.
Look at the upcoming assignment question. See if the Student Notes have guidance on essential material you should cover. Focus on reading that, and skim the rest.
You're probably enjoying your studies, and reluctant to skip over parts of it. However remember that you can access your module website for a couple of years after you finish, so you can go back to bits you missed when you have caught up and passed the module.
(If you have to do this, make sure you keep up on any study skills exercises supporting your developing academic skills.)
6 - Remember: If a job's worth doing ...
it's worth doing badly.
Sometimes we just have to take five on part of a task in order to get the whole thing done.
Get something written, submit what you can, ask for an extension or find out if any of the assignments on your module are 'substitutable' (means you can still get a few marks for them). You may not get the Distinction grade of your dreams, but you will have practised writing the assignment as you were meant to, and you will get good feedback to build on for the next piece of work. You may surprise yourself. Don't throw away 'good enough' just because you wanted 'practically perfect in every way'.
7 - have rest, and eat nice things.
When we are tired and stressed we work more slowly and get more anxious, so keep well rested. You don't have to eat chocolate - but I often find it helps