Thursday, March 26, 2009

How to survive numerous KILLER deadlines...

Comic strip from "Piled Higher and Deeper" by Jorge Cham

Reposted from my old blog. Thought this would still be relevant, since this blog is about maintaining the geeky kikay lifestyle. I'm just too lazy to repost the old comments.
Whew! I just finished one 5-paged paper today and am hoping to finish another one (3 pages) before the end of the day (just waiting for my classmate to email me the stuff I need from her).  After that, it'll be 1 uber-long paper (25 pages), 1 semi-long paper (15 pages) and 2 zzzzz-inducing book reviews (5 pages each).

That's four more papers, totaling 50 more pages to go.  All these I have to accomplish while preparing my lectures on 3 subjects, identifying who's graduating or not (lots and lots of tallying) and doing what the SoMA second-in-command is supposed to do (yucky, yucky admin stuff). If you start complaining about your life, I'm going to have to ask you to switch with mine.

This isn't the first time I've gone through this.  When I was finishing my master's, I had a total of 24 teaching units from both APC and CSB, 6 units as a student, and an ultra-demanding INNODEV professor who wanted to do consultations in the 30 minutes I had left to run from APC to CSB.  When I graduated, I thought I had become Hiro Nakamura

Now I have 12 teaching units, 6 Assistant Director units and 9 units as a PhD student. I am barely holding on to my sanity. I think ("think" being the operative word) I'm surviving, though. But for you guys who are just taking up their master's or their undergrad studies, I'd like to share a few tips.

1. Take one day at a time.
If you think about all the things you have to do at the same time, you'll be so stressed out about what you have to do that you end up not doing anything at all. This is what happens to people who whine and complain and whine and complain and whine and complain without moving forward.

2. "If you must cram, cram fabulously."
Words of my former student Mark Cham when he was "soaping" (or sabonating) my HUCOMIN students. Problem with most APC and CSB students is that, those who are prone to cramming are the ones who aren't very good at it. Jeez. If you know you are bad at a particular subject, you should alot more time to work on it.

3. Professors do not like excuses.
Especially ones about being a working student. They became professors because they are working students and are in fact taking up subjects 3x (if master's) to 8x (if doctoral) harder than undergraduate studies. So no, this excuse will not fly and is in fact insulting.  So if you have the urge to blurt out an excuse, stuff it and just do your best.  The least I could do when I knew that I was going to arrive late for Teacher Ganda's class is to text a classmate or Teacher Ganda herself. Not all teachers appreciate that, but thankfully, there are some who do.

Elvert once said something about late submissions. He has never ever gotten a late submission that's better than the ones that were submitted on time. Most of the time, the works are crappier and they're crappy because of the same reason they were submitted late in the first place: the owner's laziness.

4. Time management is key.
This is related to the second item, of course. I know we all have the tendency to cram everything in one day, but it helps to have a calendar or a planner so you can plot the next two weeks. (This is also the reason why I detest last minute surprises as I have a very busy schedule and it's nearly impossible for me to insert sudden events into my calendar.)  Of course there are people like me who get an adrenaline rush when I'm doing my papers at the last minute, but not all people are like me.

5. Plot Murphy's Law into your calendar.
If something bad is going to happen, IT WILL HAPPEN. It also has a tendency to happen at the last minute. Trust me. So unless you're the Master of Diskarte (and a lot of students ARE NOT), always put a buffer on your deadlines.

6. Get enough food and sleep.
Your body will tell you that you need to rest and to replenish your fuel.  Your brain will also tell you, when no new ideas come to mind, that it needs oxygen.  If you ignore what your body tells you, you will not be productive. Or you can be productive for the next 20 years but you wouldn't be reaping the benefits of your hard labor because YOU'D BE DEAD. Or spending your hard-earned money on hospital bills for illnesses that are related to overworking (carpal tunnel syndrome etc.).

7. Play.
Find a recreational activity that won't burn holes in your timetable. Most creative outputs come from play, not from overworking. Breaks and vacations count, just don't plan them in the middle of your deadlines.

There. That's it. 7 basic things. They're simple to do but people seem to prefer to whine and complain and whine and complain and whine and complain instead of doing something proactive.

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  1. My contest entry:

    The image is my main entry.


  2. Contest entry


    Marie Francesca Arboleda

  3. @Ms. Arboleda
    Um...I can't view the entry. Can you tweak the settings so this particular entry can be viewed publicly? ^^;;

  4. hi ms. bea,
    can i reblog about this post?:)

  5. **Can I blog about this post? And repost the content?

  6. Hello Gloria!
    Sure, as long as there's a link back to this post and the write-up is credited to me. :)


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