Why I am a Terrible Student

Why I am a terrible student
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Why I am a Terrible Student

I thought we’d take a break from Emma ends up in a bush stories (#1) (#2) this week, and talk a little about how university is going.

This will come as a shock to many, but I am a terrible student. I know, I know. That doesn’t sound right. I get good grades and participate in class, and I’ve always done the reading. But I promise you, it’s bad:

I have just spent 1 and a half days re-watching the first 2 seasons of How to Get Away how-to-get-away-with-murder-1with Murder because I’ve been locked in a semi-comfortable bubble of procrastination. The only reason I’ve climbed out of bed to write this is that I lured myself out of with coffee and the promise of meatballs and pasta for tea.

I’m a procrastinator. There I said it.

This isn’t a new thing. I remember as far back as A Levels, working out how long it would take me to memorise a textbook of research, and then waiting until the last minute to revise. I could normally cram everything I needed for a Psychology exam into my brain over 3 or 4 days, sit the exam, and then rinse it all out with 10 hours of video games.

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Me…during my BA. Procrastinating.

When it came to my bachelor’s, I discovered that I could also turn essay writing into a fine art. I could knock out a 2-3000 word essay in 3 days, and then spend a few more editing until I hated the sight of the thing. And I always submitted a day or two early, so I didn’t have to stand in the queue coming out of the English office.

For some reason, in the world of work, procrastination was never an issue. There were a few parts of my job that weren’t particularly thrilling, but I would always schedule time for them and make sure they got done. Honestly, after 3 and a half years outside of education, I thought I’d kicked the habit. That I had rid myself of the procrastination bug. I thought that when I went back to being a full time student, I would be able to work 9-5 (or let’s be realistic, 10-5:30) Monday to Friday, and I would be super productive all the time.

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Essay notes from last semester.

Yet, here I am, having spent a good portion of the morning going “one more episode”, “after this one finishes”, tucked up warm in bed, with that curl of anxiety sitting in the pit of my stomach.

 

Of course, in days gone by, I used to sit on that feeling until it burnt up my insides and I literally couldn’t rationalise not doing the work for a moment longer. You would have been lucky if you’d seen this blog post by 11 pm this evening (GMT). These days, however, I like to think I’ve found ways to work with myself, that make life easier:

 

  1. I’ve learnt how to tell when I actually need time off – Thursday was a good day, but a long day, which ended with myself and a friend stuck in a car park for 2 hours, due to traffic in the centre of Birmingham. I didn’t get to bed until 1am. So Friday, I was not in the mood to move.

2. I’ve learnt how to time manage – because I took Friday to recover, everything had been pushed back to today. So I got up early, knowing how long it was going to take me to get motivated on a Saturday.

3. I’ve learnt how to nudge myself along – this usually involves step 1) get laptop, step 2) get back into bed. My house can get cold during the day, so I sometimes catch myself in a procrastination loop because I don’t want to get out of the warm place. Once the laptop is in the bed, I have little excuse not to work. If I do little things that make working easier, I get more done.

4. I keep an eye on how I’m feeling – that anxious curl in the pit of my stomach, is both why I procrastinate, and why I need to do things. So if I find myself getting antsy, I use that energy to push myself forward rather than sitting on it. Even if it’s just sending and e-mail or making an essay plan, it’s all progress that counts.

5. I’ve learnt how to forgive myself – there was a time when I would get really irritated with my procrastination. I would sit for hours beating myself up about it, but now I sort of role my eyes and think okay, friend, time to get going. This is normally followed by me standing up with a groan like an old man and making myself a cup of coffee before I’ll do anything more (I may be on decaff, but coffee is life.)

So yes, I’m a terrible student, but luckily enough I’m a fantastic procrastinator. Adjusting to my MA has been something of a whirlwind, but I’m getting there. I hope.

I’d be interested to know how you folks deal with procrastination? How do you get motivated? I’ve noticed I’m getting readers from all over the place, so I sort of want to know if procrastination tips differ from country to country.

 

 

 

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Tip Tuesday: How to be Smooth as Fudge

smooth as fudge
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How to be Smooth as Fudge

(Flirting tips for awkward folks.)

Up until fairly recently, I was completely incapable of flirting. When I was 19, I signaled to a person that I liked them by pufferfish kissing them, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs style. Then, just in case they didn’t get the message, the next time I saw them I kissed them on the lips and before running off to catch my bus. Fortunately, they found it cute, but in hindsight, if they hadn’t felt the same way, that would have been the creepiest thing I have ever done. However, since then I like to think I’ve got a handle on things. I’m still mahoosively awkward sometimes, but I’ve developed techniques to help keep me smooth as fudge, bae.

1.

I’m so awkward, I don’t even know how to flirt! How would you let someone know that you like them?

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Address the above to the person that you like. Then not so subtly do what they suggest. If they’re as awkward as you, and so don’t flirt either, look up tips online, and act these out. The beauty of this is, that if they start to get uncomfortable, you can laugh it off as “practicing”, apologise, and then distract them with a question about what they’ve been watching/reading lately.

2.

Are you multiple sea creatures with tentacles, cuz girl, you octopi my thoughts.

smooth as fudge

Go ahead and learn some crazy pick-up lines, the weirder the better. You want them to be so strange, that no-one in their right mind will think you’re using them unironically. That way, whether the person likes you or not, you’ll get a laugh. Laughter is infectious, so even if you don’t get the girl/boy/other, you’ll feel better, and you’ll gain a reputation as a bit of a comedian. Who doesn’t want that?

3.

Hey the weather is nice today, by the way I like you, don’t you think that cloud looks like a lion?

smooth as fudge

Honestly, the best way of finding out if someone likes you, is to tell them how you feel. But of course, this can be terrifying. The trick is to keep it casual, to remind yourself that it’s really no big deal. My favourite way of doing this is to sandwich the words into an ordinary sentence (see above). It makes it seem like you’re just dropping a random fact into conversation. And when they inevitably respond with, “What did you say?!” you can say it again. It’s always easier the second time, because the words are already out there. Stay calm, and ask how they feel. If they feel the same, well then it’s time to get excited! And if they don’t, tell them it’s okay. Because it is okay. Sometimes people won’t like you back, but there will always be someone else.

Lines and techniques aside, however, the main reason I’m able to talk to people now, is because I’ve learnt how to be comfortable with who I am. I’ve learnt that being a nerd is amazing, that needing to be alone is perfectly fine, and that you can get away with doing all kinds of weird stuff (meowing, putting glitter on your flatmate’s nose, lying under the coffee table to think etc. etc.) in the right context. All you have to do is be brave, and remember that, love is not everything in life.

Mort out. xx

smooth as fudge

Tip Tuesday: 5 Tricks for Interview Hits!

5 Tricks for Interview Hits
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At the moment I’m quite busy, and I’m not getting an awful lot of time to read. So I’m starting “Tip Tuesday” with 5 Tricks for Interview Hits. The idea is that once a week I’ll come up with a list of things I’ve picked up in my short 22 years. This could be on anything, from interview techs to body confidence tips. Now that you’ve been formally introduced, let’s begin.

5 Tricks for Interview Hits!

I’ve been to about five interviews in the past month. I am very good at getting my foot in the door, but once it’s in there, it tends to get slammed on my toes. I know that many of my friends are currently in the same position, so I thought I’d put together a list of the numerous things I’ve come to realise, in the hope that one of us can come away with our tosies intact.

1. Suit up! – Or not. It doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s smart, 5 Tricks for Interview Hitsand it makes you feel like a BOSS. This is something I learnt from my GCSE business studies teacher. She once told my class a tale in which she went to an interview wearing a wraparound skirt, a blouse and a blazer. She was not entirely comfortable in what she was wearing, and began to fiddle. True to form, her wraparound skirt unravelled the moment she entered the interview, in true Miranda Try as she might, she could not recover from flashing the interview panel and didn’t get the job. In short, wear something classy, but also comfortable. Personally, I tend to have difficulty finding things that fit me properly, but I’ve had success in Next (see right). The entire outfit cost me around £100, and it makes me so confident. It’s well worth the money.

2. Prove yourself to yourself – I’ve found the best way of calming your nerves before an interview, is to prove to yourself that you’re capable of doing the job. If you’re interviewing for an admin role, play around in Excel or Access (and make sure they’re the latest editions!). If you’re up for a copywriting position, write an article/item description/newsletter 5 Tricks for Interview Hitsfor the company in question. If you want a lab assistant role, or an engineer job, go over procedures; what you need to do and how you do it. Remind yourself that you applied for the job because you knew you could do it, and your nerves should fade.

3. Set off early – I had an interview mid-October at my old university. I live almost on top of it, so I decided to walk. Unfortunately, when I was half way there it decided to absolutely chuck it down. I ended using my jacket to shield myself, while I made a mad dash for the building. Fortunately, I’d been twitchy all morning, so I was about 15 minutes early and had time to run to the bathroom and dry off all my clothes under the hand-dryer. You do not want to turn up to an interview, flustered, soaking wet and with no time at all to calm yourself down and make yourself presentable.

4. Don’t say you’re nervous – Some people will tell you that letting your interviewer know your nervous will lessen the pressure you feel, and help you to relax. In fact it will probably make you worse. I even find that admitting to friends I’m nervous about an upcoming interview will make me spiral, and the more I say it the more jitteMiranda, 5 Tricks for Interview Hitsry I become. That’s not to say you shouldn’t admit it to yourself. Accepting and acknowledging you nerves is an important part of overcoming them. If you know you’re nervous, you can take steps to calm yourself. If you deny it, chances are you’ll put your head in the sand and not get any preparation done. It sounds cliché, but I find a journal helps. It lets me order my feelings without external pressures.

5. Be interested, not interesting– I’ve forgotten where this came from, but it’s one of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve5 Tricks for Interview Hits ever been given. The idea is to take your focus off how well you’re doing. When you’re in the interview, ask lots of questions. Make it a conversation. Remember that it’s not just you who should be proving yourself. The company also needs to prove to you that it’s worth working for; that they have the right role, atmosphere and colleagues for you.

And there you have it, all the tips for interview hits I could muster. I’m very interested to know if you guys have any of your own. What do you do before an interview to calm nerves? What kind of things do you prepare?

Before I get back to roaming the endless plains of job search engines, a quick reminder that my giveaway is still going! Click HERE for more info. I hope you’ve found 5 Tricks for Interview Hits! useful, and if you’d like to suggest a topic for me to cover next Tuesday, leave a comment or e-mail me through the contact form.

Hasta la vista, mes coeurs.