Essays, essays, essays…
Hi, welcome to my third blog post! This post will talk about how I’ve gotten through Term 1 essay deadlines and how I’m (hopefully) staying productive during this Christmas holiday; enjoy!
In my experience, a lot of Warwick students either love exams and hate essays, or hate exams and love essays – I fall firmly into the second category. People have different reasons for their preference but mine is quite simply that I enjoy the time I get to spend crafting an essay, reading around that single topic, familiarising myself with the different opinions within the discourse, discussing my ideas with my lecturers/seminar tutors, and ultimately presenting my own argument in the form of an essay. Thankfully, studying PPE means that I have a lot of flexibility with both my module choices and assessment methods, so I’m able to study some really interesting topics and understand them in depth because I write essays on them. This year, I’m studying seven modules, and have opted to be assessed via essays wherever possible, so I have a total of eleven essays to write this year and only two exams to sit in the summer term (the exams are compulsory and for my two compulsory PPE modules – Principles of Political Economy).
Although I’ve found that reading for and writing essays can be an enjoyable experience, I’ve also found them to be a very big learning curve in time management and self-discipline during my time at Warwick. For example, my first set of essay deadlines this year were at the end of term 1 and I had three essays to submit within the space of one week; this meant that I had to start reading for and working on these essays a month in advance without the panic-induced focus that comes with working on an essay a few days before its due. One thing I decided to do that really helped me focus this year was eliminating (as much as possible) the distractions from family and friends. I told everyone that I regularly (be it via whatsapp, phone calls, face-to-face chats) that I had important deadlines coming up that I needed to focus on for a few weeks, so they should please contact me less frequently; I also put my phone into flight mode whenever I was working and didn’t check my social media and messages as often as I normally do. There were certainly days when I wasn’t as disciplined as I should have been and I wasted time talking to people, but they didn’t cause too much of a dent in my productivity because I had still successfully cut down significantly on my distractions and was focusing a lot more
So, my term 1 essays have now been submitted, and the Christmas break is here (yay!), but I have two essays to complete before term 2 begins, so the work hasn’t stopped yet. Not having lectures and seminars to attend alongside these essays means that I have more time on my hands, so I won’t need to cut down on communicating with friends and family in order to focus. Instead, to aid my productivity, I’ve chosen to stay in my university house and not go home until the 20 December because I know that I’ll find it much harder to focus when I’m around the noise of family and the smell of home cooking.
I’m sure that the idea of not talking to your closest friends for even a week and not going straight home after term ends might be unfathomable to some people, but my time at Warwick has taught me that, when it comes to preparing for essays (and even exams), different things work for different people, and finding what works for you is the key to meeting deadlines and avoiding stress.