So, after once again being absent for a good long while, I’m writing on here again! If any of you are left actually reading these posts, I thank you, you are a dedicated person!
This is not me saying that I’m going to be posting on a regular schedule again, because I just can’t guarantee that. I’m in the middle of essays right now and I’ve just got a lot going on… However! In two weeks time I shall be living back at home and have full-time employment where I will have a lot more time to write and post and think of things to say! So I really hope that I’m going to be able to come back to you on a regular basis, as well as continuing with my YouTube videos!
I any of you haven’t seen my latest video, which was a sort of vlog-style account of my trip to London, as well as a book haul, I’ve popped it down below, so check it out!
If you had already seen that video, I hope you enjoyed it! I’m looking forward to reading all of those books and eventually getting around to reviewing them 🙂 Next week’s video is my review of The Summoner, by Gail Z. Martin, which was the second place winner of my TBR contest.
I don’t really know what I want to say here… Although as it’s essay/exam season, how about some work tips?
These are some of the things I do to help me get through my work at the university library:
1. An extension cable is essential – trust me on this one, libraries never have enough sockets for everyone’s charging needs, and you will be everyone’s best friend. Plus, it means that you have plenty of juice on your laptop to play your music and search the internet for relevant secondary reading! (Or Facebook… let’s be a little bit real here…)
2. Make sure you bring a big bottle of water or something with you – I usually stock up on bottles of flavoured sparkling water from Tesco around essay time. They’re always 4 for £1.50, so I buy 16 in varied flavours and make sure I take one with me to the library.
The water revitalises you, but it’s not as boring as plain water, and they are far less calories than the coke and coffees that you normally rely on. Plus, drinking that much water gives you a reason to get up and go for a walk every now and again!
3. Food is always good too – bring some snacks that you can munch on, or chocolate that can be used as a reward (every 1000 words I get a bar of chocolate, for instance 😛 ). But remember, it’s really important that you look after yourself, and junk food is always good, but please try and make sure you have at least one proper meal a day. Maybe make a salad to bring with you and have as
a lunch break, or swing by Tesco and get a ready-meal on the way home. Don’t binge on takeaways and junk food consistently, or your cognitive function diminishes, and let’s face it, you feel rubbish after a while.
4. Arrive really early, or really late – I’m a night-owl most of the time, and I can’t abide working with too many people around, so I usually rock up to the library at around 3/4pm and hang around til gone midnight sometimes. I get much more work (and sleep) done that way than if I tried to get up and come in around 10am when the library’s packed out and I’d really rather still be in bed! But if you’re more of a morning person, it’s worth trying to get up those couple of hours earlier so you can get a good seat and get settled before the hordes arrive.
5. Remember that your mental health is worth more than a good grade – obviously, this is not an excuse to not do any work, and really, the best way to help your mental health is to start with your essays early enough that you don’t get to the point of super stress. For example, in January I was awake for 40 consecutive hours the day before my essays were due in, because I left myself only a two weeks to write 3 essays (3200 words, 2500 words, and 1600 words). Needless to say, I was out of commission for a good two days after that. So this time around, I left myself two months to write my 3 essays. I’m much more
relaxed, and I fully anticipate being finished a good few days before the deadline. But! If you do leave it to the last minute, DO NOT PANIC! Panicking is the worst thing you can do, and really it’s not worth it. Take a breath, assess the situation, and remember that it really isn’t worth losing your head over.
6. Take breaks – everyone says this, and some people do it, but for the most part I find that people procrastinate while saying that they’re taking a break. Procrastinating and breaking are not the same thing people! While procrastinating, you still have in the back of your mind that you should be essay-writing or revising, and that makes you feel guilty and your stress levels increase. When you break, you should do so confidently, knowing that you’re on top of your work, and you really just need half an hour to do something totally unrelated. Speaking of which…
7. Don’t take your breaks at your desk – sitting on your laptop for half an hour watching a cat play the piano does not qualify as a break. That’s procrastinating (see above for the distinction again) and doesn’t do you any good. To take a break you have to get up and go and do something entirely different. Go for a short walk, go and make some food, call your mum, or even read an un-course-related-book. Whatever it is you do on your break should be completely separate from your work, it should revitalise you, and it should bring you back to your work with more vigour.
8. Switch between hand-writing and typing – this is more of a personal thing than anything else, but I want to get to 10 tips, so this is going up there! I often find that when I’m stuck over what to write, it’s because I’ve been staring at a computer screen for too long. So I close my laptop, pick up a pen and start jotting down ideas in a notebook, then I try writing paragraphs by hand to get my thoughts flowing, and before I know it, I’ve written 500 words that lead me clearly onto my next point, and I’m able to move back to my laptop again. This might not be so easy for those of you with exams, but it bears saying that staring at a computer screen for 7 hours a day is really, really not a good idea. At all.
9. Print off your work for proof-reading – while on the subject of personal preferences and filling out this impromptu post, it always helps me to print out the essay that I’m writing and go through it with a red (or any other colour of your choice) pen to really see where I’m making mistakes. When reading something on a word-processor, it’s really easy to get visually distracted by the screen. And again, having been working on that screen, your eyes sometimes need a break to be able to pick up on something that you haven’t noticed before. Additionally, you can swap work with a friend. Reading someone else’s work gives your mind a break from your own, and having someone else read your work can also flag up issues that you haven’t noticed. Mostly because you wrote it. Again, only really for essay-writers, but as that’s what I am…
10. Indented quotations are your friend – yay! 10 tips! Anyway, this one is definitely for essay writers, but still… Indented quotations (basically big blocks of text copied directly from your source text, all properly referenced and cited obviously) help to fill out your essay if you’re struggling to find words (and especially if it’s a last minute job) and they can really help you solidify points that aren’t quite sitting right. Obviously make sure that your quotation is relevant, but they can really help set you back on track.
So there you go! I’m amazed I managed to get to 10 frankly, but there you go! I hope you find at least some of these tips useful, and good luck with all your essays and exams!
’til next time, readers,