Monday, 16 April 2012

Diary of An Honours Student, Week Eight and Nine

The Ethics of Skipping a Class.


Let's think about it this way.  We are all adults.  We have adult lives.  We have jobs, houses to clean, families to spend time with (or ignore, that's up to you), relationships to maintain.  There is fun to be had, and it must be had because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

But a balance must be struck.  It's so easy, especially on a day like today, the first Monday back after the extra long Easter study break to stay in bed for an hour after your alarm goes off.  Just like being on school holidays, right?  Nothing to do but eat cereals that will rot your teeth and watch cartoons.  Except that when the University says Study Break, they don't mean they're giving you a break from Study.  They mean they're giving you a break TOO study.

This break is a gift.  Use it.  Catch up on things.  Because getting to week fourteen where everything is due is not fun, and pulling all your hair out from stress and lack of sleep is not a good look.

One of my best friends has a series of post it notes stuck up on the wall behind her computer.  They say "ATTEND.  YOU'RE PAYING FOR IT."  (Well, actually sometimes they say TTEND because the A keeps falling down.  First time I saw it, I asked her what TTEND stood for.)  She's right.  You're paying to do the course you're doing.  You're paying with money, and like it or not, you're paying with your time.  Even if you're not attending classes, you're still spending 3+ years of your life being a university student.  Why bother with that if you'd rather do something else.  Find a career you're passionate about and you'll never have to work a day in your life.  Or something like that.

That being said, there are legitimate reasons to not attend your classes.  Having money is pretty important, you know, to eat and stuff.  Sometimes you have other commitments.  Sometimes your car is out of action.  Sometimes that time is better spent finishing an assignment.  Sometimes (and I hate to sound like a brat here) the class just doesn't seem like a good use of your time.

The keywords there, did you see them?  A good use of your time.

What is a good use of that time then?  It's certainly not television.  And sadly, it's not a good novel either, unless you're studying that novel.  Sleep only qualifies if you haven't had any in a while... too much sleep isn't good for you either.  Do you remember what I said about timetabling, and making lists?  Start with one of those.  Write this sentence at the top:  In the time I would usually be in class, I want to accomplish:  Then finish that sentence.  For me, today, the answer was : I want to read Inga Clendinnen's The History Question in full.  (Obviously I had to look at how much time I had and compare it to how many pages I had to read- 72- and decide if this was possible.  Setting unreachable goals just makes me feel like a loser.)

I notice that as the semester wears on at my uni, it gets easier and easier to find a parking space.  So many people who just stop turning up.  Whereas I've always been the opposite, arriving at my class way to early so that I have time to return library books, get coffee, find someone to sit with etc. etc. etc.  When it comes down to it, really committing yourself to a higher degree is all about time, and not wasting it.  And if you can't bring yourself to make time, asking yourself what that means.  You don't have to love every minute of it.  I know I don't.

Best of luck to you.

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2 comments:

  1. That's a good idea of your friend, to remind herself to attend and all the reasons why. The key I suppose is to actually listen to yourself and not shrug it off thinking: "Nevermind, I'll go tomorrow."

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  2. Having not read your blog for a while (unfortunately facebook and blogs were part of my 'not a good use of my time' for the last couple of weeks!) I realised how much I have missed your wonderful writing and insights. This blog is one of your best, i loved it and completely relate to the week 14 'feeling the pressure' part! x

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