Posted by: mindshack | January 28, 2010

Early Preparation for Hell Week

Midterms are near. They are coming… in four weeks. Yes, four weeks. That’s one month later. In fact, this is just the end of the third week of my term. Yet I am doing ridiculously early preparations for Hell Week.

So, why the hell am I starting early?

Well, first off, I am currently studying one of the most difficult majors out there in my university. And yes, it’s a technical degree. And as far as we know, technical degrees are way, way harder than non-technical majors. Whereas students can survive numerous paper writings and late-night rote memorization in liberal arts courses, students could not do the same with technical majors. Simply put, you cannot get an easy 4.0 with just doing hard work. In fact, one must put extra hard work, putting off sleep for many weeks. What’s worse is that no matter how hard they studied their asses off, they keep failing their subjects.

Given this situation, it is perfectly reasonable to start way, way early when it comes to studying for technical majors. In fact, it is not just studying early. It is getting to master the material as soon as possible. Most students try to delay their studying until perhaps a few days, or worse, the night before the test. These students underestimate the subjects so much that they always procrastinate over them. And thus, they fail. However, this is not just the case with late night procrastinators. Even those who start early can fail.

This is where I put my twist on studying for Hell Week. Aside from studying early, I will go more than just memorizing formulas unlike what everyone else does. Simply put, I shall delve more into insights. I shall develop insights per concept I chance upon in my subjects. Like what the venerable Cal Newport said in this article, we should gain insights for every concept that is taught in our technical subjects. That’s how straight-A students rock and roll. This is pretty much another reason why I should start early. I cannot just learn what the concepts mean in just one day. It would take perhaps a few or more. But as long as I am connecting more and more to my lessons, I should do fine.

Aside from learning the insights between the concepts, I will keep on practicing sample problems given by my professors. First and foremost though, I should put the foundation of insights before I tackle the practice problems. No matter how many practice problems I answer, they are worthless if I do not even understand what I am answering.

Now that I know what to do with my subjects, the next questions are where and when and how long should I do my work. As Cal Newport said in his red book, I should study in isolation, in the morning and afternoon, and for 50 minutes only with 10 minute breaks.

This is reasonable because first, we cannot just study in distracting places. Quiet, isolated places are the way to go. The garden below my room in my condominium is a good example. Greenbelt, The Fort, and Fully Booked (The Fort) are better. School locations are also ideal, but these locations can sometimes be depressing as they remind us of dreaded school stuff. Perhaps hanging out in some coffee shops near school could do, though usually these are bombarded with conyos, socialistas and the like. Yes, this especially includes the ever-famous-and-overrated Starbucks.

As for the time, morning and afternoon are perfect. In fact, I pretty much do all my work in the mornings and sometimes in the afternoons. Unfortunately, my Tuesday and Thursday afternoons end at 6, leaving my little time to review. Mondays and Wednesdays could work. As long as I do not hit 7 in the evening, I’m doing fine. The evenings are reserved for fun. Nevertheless, one advantage that my university offers is no classes on Fridays. Having nothing to do on a Friday, this gives me the whole day except evenings to do my work. Then again, since I am doing ridiculously early studying, this would be no problemo.

Lastly, 50 minutes with 10 minutes break in between studying is also reasonable. Most people usually spend 6 hour marathon sessions in the library. Sometimes, they would bring their friends, bottles of Coke, and pizza as well so they can suffer the misery of college life. I, on the other hand, do not permit to do so. Since my aim is to be a low-stressed student, I will study for 50 minutes per work, then take a 10 minute break doing some non-academic stuff (Like spying on chicks maybe? Kidding.), then return to my work. Plus, by not working altogether in the evening, this gives me time to relax my night off. Perhaps I could go watch a movie with friends, surf the Net, or rant about how Noynoy is a big fat douchebag and that he can suck my dick. Yeah, Noynoy, you heard that.

Another big problemo also coming my way these following weeks are a string of dreaded tests and projects. So, in addition to my ridiculously early preparations, I shall do another set of ridiculously early preparations for my projects, assignments and tests. I hope I would not lose my mind from this. One thing’s for sure though: I won’t be as stressed as my peers. 🙂

In conclusion, I sure have a deadly Hell Week coming, and not to mention a string of numerous major projects to give us a lot bigger headache even before the Hell Week starts. But through proper preparation and execution, I do not think I would suffer as much unlike most of my overloaded peers. And by the time Hell Week starts, I can breeze my way into scoring my A’s (hopefully), while the others lament at the difficulty of their course and thus switch to Advertising. Just kidding. So that concludes my post for today.

On a side note, I am going to drop two of my major subjects next term all right. My university sure likes screwing with students of my degree. No wonder why we are called the college that never sleeps. Sigh. Well, then that means I am going to make my university the college that never sleeps! 🙂

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