Goals for my final year.
They say writing down your goals is the key to success, so here goes:
- Make a schedule and stick to it:
It’s really easy to promise yourself that you’ll “work hard this year”, I’ve fallen for it so many times I’ve lost count. In the past everything’s worked out but now I’m really feeling the pressure this year. I know what I want to achieve academically and I know that I can’t get there just by avoiding work and leaving things last minute.
The first thing I’m doing is planning and scheduling. This has become necessary this year because of the whole online learning thing, but it’s also just a useful way of scheduling time for working and studying (and socialising and relaxing, don’t forget). During my last years of university I often felt guilty when I wasn’t working and when I left things too long but I know that if I can schedule things well this year and actually stick to it then I can take time for myself where I know I’m not going to fall behind.
This also applies to sleeping and staying active. I think it’s important to stay healthy both physically and mentally. Mentally can be covered by sleeping well, staying on top of work, and spending time for yourself etc. Physically is more straightforward, but sometimes more difficult. It’s easy to plan to do activities like going to the gym and playing sport, all you need to do is this one thing, this one activity and physically you’re pretty much there. The problem is that it’s sometimes hard to motivate yourself to do these things at all. My hope is that this year, with my sleep schedule under control, I can find a good time that works for going to the gym and playing sports with friends.
2. Complete extracurricular projects:
Going hand in hand with my first point, I realised during my year out just how much stuff there is in the real world that we never cover in a university setting. This could either be due to wanting to focus on theory or just not having time to cover interesting applications. In any case I’ve found it really rewarding to come up with hypotheses and test them by coding things in Python, and this has certainly helped me with my Python skills.
Along with this, by asking for help from academics I’ve found that they are really open to helping students who come with interesting problems. Who would have known? Smart people whose entire jobs it is to be interested in things are interested in things if these things are relevant. Best of all: this is the exact kind of thing that can lead to developing a good enough academic relationship to get a reference. Working on a project together gives the supervisor the kind of information they need to see whether you’d be a good person fit for a master’s or PhD, so never look over this sort of informal arrangement especially if you’ve not got anyone else to ask!
3. Make the most of the situation:
Absolutely smashing it out of the park with these vague and grand statements, aren’t I? But I suppose this is more of a philosophy for the year than a goal.
It’s too easy to complain about the arrangements and they are so frustrating, but really the best way to deal with things is to do just that. Deal with them as they come. It takes more energy than it should and I’m already lamenting how things were, but that’s no excuse for me not to have a great year.
I’ve settled in, I’ve made myself a timetable, I’ve laid out some vague goals (which I have made specific in private), and I’ve ticked that box for Dignity at Warwick about 5 times already. I’m prepared for a good year.