Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Things uni taught me part II | Final year edition

A while ago I wrote a post called "Things uni has taught me" when I was doing my second year, of which I essentially spent drunk, bored, or asleep. 

I thought it would be a good idea to do another version of this now, half way through my final year so you can see how things actually changed.

A lot of things have changed since then, especially me as a person and my mentality and approach to my degree and university work. I have also made a lot of changes to my life, as you will see as we go along! 

I am quite proud of the person I am becoming, so hopefully that will come across in the changes I have made since this time last year!

#1. Dissertations are hard
I always knew writing a dissertation would suck, but oh my goodness it is awful. Not even awful in a bad way, but it is a lot of work. I have done 4300 words so far, and I have 7700 left. The key is slowly but surely, and choose something you don't mind writing about for 7 months!

#2. Alcohol isn't that great
I never thought this would be something that I would ever say, given I spent 90% of my second year drinking. I gave up drinking as a personal choice to help me lose weight, but also because I wasn't enjoying it any more; I wasn't getting that excited kick from it. It is surprising how much hassle I got from a lot of people because of this choice, actually. But I feel so much better for it, and not having a hangover is amazing!  

#3. Planning ahead is a good idea
This sort of applies for anything in life, but is something I have come to find a great comfort in. I plan my shopping in advance, I plan when I am going to do work, when I'm not going to do work. I live my life by a to-do list at the moment, and I am not even ashamed about it. It keeps me on schedule, and keeps my mind at bay.

#4. Healthy eating is actually possible
I have maintained throughout the last 2 years that I can't afford to eat healthily at uni. I would binge eat mountains of crap, and live solidly on microwave ready meals. For some reason something in my mind switched to a different lever a while back and I though I would give this healthy eating thing a go. Turns out it's possible, and best of all, it's great!

#5. Dinner at midnight is fine
As a slight contrast to my last statement, I still often eat at midnight - but not because I am being lazy. I have found that recently I am eating later on in the evenings because I am still doing work at my normal dinner time and I don't want to get out of that mindset and rhythm. Just because you eat at midnight, doesn't mean it has to be junk.

#6. Making decisions is hard
This is something I am pretty sure I have ranted to you about before. I am awful at making decisions at the best of times, but when I have the added pressure of a deadline, or somebody wanting me to make the decision, it seems to take me much longer to come to a conclusion. I am starting to resolve to picking things out of a hat.

#7. Graduate schemes suck so bad
I think I am going to rant about this separately, but oh my goodness, grad schemes are awful. I have applied for several of these, and each time get rejected because of my not-so-great maths skills, even when the job has nothing to do with maths. It really bugs me and I am getting so stressed out (often to the point of tears) because of it. Why can't I suddenly get a lot of recognition for my blog and use it as a job?

#8. The library really is a maze
I have never been a mass fan of the university library - it is often too big and that freaks me out a tiny bit. It doesn't help that it is often rammed, especially around deadlines which means there are loads of people so queue anxiety. When you have a very broad subject with books that cover several areas, you essentially get a mini-workout whilst hunting them down. Learn where to find your books, and you will be fine.

#9. Lecturers become a lifeline
I have, on the most part, amazing lecturers - especially my dissertation supervisor. It has only been in the last year that I have realised how dedicated and great they are. I can honestly, hand on heart say that I don't think I would be as calm as I am now if it weren't for them.

#10. Money is valuable
You don't need to eat out all the time, you don't need to spend all your money on a night out, and you don't need that new top. Stopping and thinking before you dip your hand in your pocket could save you so much money.

#11. Life decisions suck
Trying to decide what I want to do for the rest of my life is a massive pain in the arse. Can someone decide for me? Please?

#12. Your bed is your best friend
Sleep is important, so having a comfy bed is a good idea. Also, if I get too stressed I tend to take 15 minutes and sit in bed, do nothing, and close my eyes. I find that if you separate your work from your bed you will sleep much better without that association. 

#13. Work becomes essential
40% is no longer a thing to celebrate, and I have found myself spending more time on my work in general than I have socialising, eating, and probably even sleeping. But I know that it will all be worth it come September when I graduate.

#14. Coffee is better than oxygen
I am a big coffee person, I think you probably already know that. When I am doing a day of work I often go through around 12 cups of coffee. I actually recently switched to skimmed milk so I don't feel so guilty drinking so much of it. 

#15. Stress is a norm
This is coming from someone who doesn't deal with stress very well; it gets easier to handle. Once you start to see a dent being made in your workload you start to feel a slight sense of achievement, and you can relax a teeny bit.

#16. Organisation is key
I have several to-do lists, a wall planner, a calendar, and approximately 12 notebooks on the go at the moment. You can never have enough paper!

#17. Tidy room, tidy mind
I cannot condemn procrastination because of the fact that I am the world's biggest procrastinator. But recently I have found myself being productive, counter-productively. I actually clean and organise to procrastinate now, instead of watching an entire TV series in one day. Progress!

#18. It gets harder to procrastinate
See! Procrastination gets less appealing the more work you have to do. Once you learn to resist temptation you'll be well away.

#19. Priorities are needed
This is why I have a to-do list! I can prioritise the things I need to do, then get that satisfaction when I can finally tick one off.

#20. There is a light at the end!
I am finally starting to see that little pinhead of light slowly emerging at the end of a 3 year long tunnel, and I cannot wait to walk out of it! Slowly but surely!

What sort of things did you learn in your final year at university?

Or did you choose to not go?

Tell me in the comments below.


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Productive Procrastination

Hello, my name is Danielle and I am a procrastinator. 

Phew, I am glad that's out the way!

A problem shared is a problem halved, the first step is admitting you have a problem...phrases of that nature and all that crap....yep.

Procrastination is both a problem and a hobby of mine. I find myself mindlessly procrastinating over the smallest of tasks, sometimes I procrastinate over making dinner. Awful, I know. 

I thought once I hit my final year of uni (yay!), that I would almost grow out of procrastinating, and that the sheer pressure of having to write a dissertation, whilst running a society, maintaining my obviously very fleeting social life, stopping myself becoming obese (whoops...), and managing to actually get enough sleep, would be enough to force me out of this professional procrastinator title I have given myself.

Did it hell.

Having said that, I find myself now productively procrastinating. 

Uh huh, that is actually a thing. I am actually going to insert Urban Dictionary below, just to feel a lot better about myself.

It would appear that I have been given as an example. I need help.

Instead of binge watching anime on Netflix (I am still a teeny bit guilty of this on the odd occasion when I give in to the temptation), I now find myself tidying, hoovering, actually making a proper meal, and the worst of all....making lists of the things I am procrastinating over. 

To-do lists are my life.

I treated (using this term loosely) myself to a whiteboard the other day, simply because I thought (echem, knew) it would help me keep in check with what I should be doing, where I should be going, and when I should be doing things.  

So far, so good. 


I am still procrastinating...possibly less so productively considering I should probably be doing work right now instead of procrastinating by writing about procrastinating about procrastinating over the things I was originally procrastinating over.

Ow. Does your brain hurt, too? Sorry. 

The silver lining to my ever greying cloud? I am actually several thousands of words ahead of where I need to be. I have actually been told, nay ordered, to take a break and go home. 

Who'd have thought? Danielle the serial procrastinator being told off for doing too much work?

Miracles do happen!

So, please make me feel better about my life and tell me your procrastination stories in the comments below. I don't want to be alone!