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Author Topic: The last week of class can bite me.  (Read 23653 times)
chaosbydesign
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« on: April 21, 2012, 9:09:23 PM »

Not really, but damn, this last week is making me crazy. I have a huge long list of things I have to do, a whole bunch of assessments and experiments, and more non-class-related work starting immediately after the classes end. Seriously -- I'll have to start this like half an hour after the last exam. I just want a break. Two or three days of doing nothing, or doing something but not something related to grad school.

I'm doing well in my classes this semester, so I don't want to f*** that up by bombing the finals. I'm just sooo tired. Not physically tired, but I feel like these last few weeks are slowly sucking all the energy out of me and I don't know how to get it back. I walked for a couple of hours this afternoon, which helped, but I can't seem to make myself go back to the reading now (I worked on course-related things for about 8 hours before going grocery shopping and walking etc.). I should finish going through a set of lecture notes, but it's 125 slides long and I'm only at No. 45.

How do you get the motivation to finish things? I find this happens to me a lot, with pretty much everything. I am determined and motivated and work really hard until I'm almost at the end, then I crash and either don't do what I'm supposed to be doing at all, or I do it badly. I know I shouldn't do this, and I'm going to try to avoid doing that now, but I DON'T WANT TO READ 30 PAPERS TONIGHT.

Meh. This thread had a purpose when I started to type. Now I think it's just a rant that should really be in the venting thread, but I'm posting it anyway.
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tinyzombie
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2012, 9:11:47 PM »

One time when I felt like that, I started the Hiding Thread.

You can do it. It's always difficult to know how you'll get there, but you will.

Don't forget to breathe.
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chaosbydesign
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Whatever your problem is, it's probably my fault.


« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2012, 9:20:49 PM »

Thanks, TZ.

I think I know I can do it (if that makes any sense), I just don't want to right now. Maybe if I get up early in the morning and work all day I can justify not doing any more this evening.

I also need to clean my horrible mess of an apartment. I'm even less enthusiastic about having to do that, but it can't wait another week.
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tinyzombie
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elevate from this point on - chuck d


« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2012, 9:28:20 PM »

That absolutely makes sense. Sometimes that is harder than wondering how it will all get done.

If I lived near you, I'd come over and clean for you. I love to clean, and I need distractions.
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Quote from: usukprof
I think we have three of them, but the smallest one seems to be the leader.
Quote from: dolljepopp
Who needs real life when Sandra Bullock is around?
Quote from: systeme_d_
You are all my people, and I love you.
ptarmigan
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2012, 9:29:49 PM »

At the end of the semester I just pull out all the motivations I can think of:

* I'm going to feel great when this is over and I didn't bomb it!

* It's going to really suck taking the final if I don't know anything!

* Next time I have to study like this I'll know I can do it because I did it this time!

* They're paying me to work, god damn it, so I better work!

* I really like this type of work so I should just do it!

* I don't want to let my friends in the program down by not kicking ass like they do!

and so on. I just tell myself whatever works as many times/ways as possible.
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chaosbydesign
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Whatever your problem is, it's probably my fault.


« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2012, 10:00:06 PM »

I read a paper (albeit a short one). Now I'm going to drink tea and eat cheesecake and forget about The List until tomorrow.

My main motivation right now is that I want to keep my semester GPA at 4.0. I have 3 A's so far, two more classes to complete. The most recent exam was ridiculously easy, the one before I have a B for but I can still get an A in the course if, like Ptarmigan suggests, I kick ass.

I know I shouldn't be motivated by grades in grad school, but getting A's feels good, and it shows that I am capable of doing well and may compensate for other things that might indicate that I'm not (like missing classes because of stupid medication side effects), if that makes sense.
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lohai0
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2012, 10:08:55 PM »

That absolutely makes sense. Sometimes that is harder than wondering how it will all get done.

If I lived near you, I'd come over and clean for you. I love to clean, and I need distractions.

I'm making a note of this. The most depressing thing about graduation will be leaving my cleaning lady behind.

ETA: 5 classes?! I'm going to stop whining about my three then.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2012, 10:10:11 PM by lohai0 » Logged

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marigolds
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2012, 10:34:31 PM »

30 papers? That's mad. 

Just take care of yourself physically as much as you can; brainwork is very exhausting (I read that it makes people eat a TON more even though their bodies aren't burning it off, so don't just eat junk) and you have to pace yourself.

I got a little app that times me for 25 min of work and then 5 min of break.  After 4 cycles of that, it gives you a long break.  I always get up and run stairs or stretch or something for my breaks--it helps my brain reset.

Also, move locations, especially if your house is dirty. Go to nice coffee shops or pubs or the library or take yourself out to lunch at an odd time and work there.  Having other people around me to look at when I gaze off absentmindedly into space while cogitating is refreshing for me. 
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chaosbydesign
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Whatever your problem is, it's probably my fault.


« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2012, 10:46:16 PM »

33, to be exact. It's not actually that much. I've read them all before, but I need to read them again to refresh my memory -- I always understand lecture topics better after I have read associated papers. I could get away with reading the abstracts, but that would make me feel like my work was incomplete, and that affects my performance in exams (when I know I could have done more, I seem to be able to do even less than I should be able to do in exams because I keep thinking about all those things I don't know instead of focusing on what I do know).

I like the 25 minute cycle thing. I think I might try that out tomorrow. I often just sit down and work through hours of work at a time because I have a tendency to take five minute breaks that last five hours otherwise, but I'll see if I can make it work. I do want to walk again tomorrow -- it's a really good stress reliever, and the path I take is just the right length for me to feel like I've done exercise but not feel like I'm dying. That could be a break, or I could take work with me and do it outside. I used to do that a lot where I lived before.

I have made sure that I don't have any junk food in the house, because I do eat too much when I'm studying. I have a lot of fresh fruit, so I'll snack on that instead.
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usukprof
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.


« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2012, 12:41:25 AM »

At the end of the semester I just pull out all the motivations I can think of:

* I'm going to feel great when this is over and I didn't bomb it!

* It's going to really suck taking the final if I don't know anything!

* Next time I have to study like this I'll know I can do it because I did it this time!

* They're paying me to work, god damn it, so I better work!

* I really like this type of work so I should just do it!

* I don't want to let my friends in the program down by not kicking ass like they do!

and so on. I just tell myself whatever works as many times/ways as possible.

I think about the semesterly ceremonial blasting of the end of semester tune, which happens in my living room just after I push the button on the last grade upload.  I then do it again for my graduate students at the spring BBQ at my place at graduation time.
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frogfactory
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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2012, 8:32:38 AM »

33, to be exact. It's not actually that much. I've read them all before, but I need to read them again to refresh my memory -- I always understand lecture topics better after I have read associated papers. I could get away with reading the abstracts, but that would make me feel like my work was incomplete, and that affects my performance in exams (when I know I could have done more, I seem to be able to do even less than I should be able to do in exams because I keep thinking about all those things I don't know instead of focusing on what I do know).

CBD - if you've read them before and they're in at least remotely similar areas, I hope you're skim reading and not trying to sit down and appreciate every nuance of the language.  I wouldn't give the intro or discussion sections more than a cursory glance - just read the abstract, write down 1-3 sentence description (in note form) of each experiment and its findings, one sentence conclusion (skim to check it matches the authors').  The only thing that might slow you down (well, would slow me down) might be making sure you grasp the actual experimental design and technical details of techniques that are new to you, but since you've read these before, you've probably already figured out anything tricky.  I know I'm stating the obvious here, and I'm assuming these are data papers. If any number of them are from the Annual Reviews In series, well, good luck!

And of course, be kind to yourself. 
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biomancer
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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2012, 8:41:03 AM »

I have a twist on Marigolds' suggestion.  I break my work up into bits that can be accomplished in 20-30 minute segments, and for each segment, I have a break with a small reward, with larger rewards after tougher segments.  Cup of tea, two cookies, bit of stretching/yoga, calling Mom, walk around the neighborhood, half-hour of working in the garden, 15 minutes on the Fora, whatever.  It helps to keep me in a positive frame of mind.

I also have a defined "end of the day" after which I won't do any work because (1) I know my brain is toast, and (2) I need and deserve a rest. 
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chaosbydesign
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Whatever your problem is, it's probably my fault.


« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2012, 1:06:12 PM »

Half of them are reviews, Froggy. I usually just go through papers figure by figure and take notes on what they did/what they found and what I think of their interpretations when I read 'normal' papers.

Anyway, I read four and made notes on one of the lectures. Now I'm going to walk, probably get lunch somewhere, and read more when I get back. I might even take out the trash
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marigolds
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« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2012, 1:51:21 PM »

Half of them are reviews, Froggy. I usually just go through papers figure by figure and take notes on what they did/what they found and what I think of their interpretations when I read 'normal' papers.

Anyway, I read four and made notes on one of the lectures. Now I'm going to walk, probably get lunch somewhere, and read more when I get back. I might even take out the trash

I wonder if the humanities comps technique, used to deal with 250+ monographs and primary texts, might be helpful to you?  If you make an index card summary (with bibliographic info at the top) of each article, major findings, etc. then you won't have to read all the papers over again next time; you'll be able to read your own paraphrase/summation of it to review. 

And plus it feeds the organization/completion fetish that so many of us have.  (Ahem, color-coding highlighters and typing up notes...)  I still have my little magical comps box stuffed full of index cards in alphabetical order, and I still use those suckers. 
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oldfullprof
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« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2012, 2:01:17 PM »

I sort of enjoy reading papers.  (Okay, I'm sick.)  On the test I gave last week, I eliminated the essay question for the first time ever.  That helped.  Senioritis.
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