Friday, November 27, 2009

A Lesson in Time Management.

As university students, we like to think that we are invincible. This past week/weekend, I have learned otherwise.

This is what my schedule of due dates looked like for the last week or so:

Friday, Nov 20th: 8 page English paper due. Close reading. No problem.

Tuesday, Nov 24th: 4 page Archaeology paper due. Article compare/contrast. No problem.
10 page Political Science paper due. Research mostly finished. Shouldn't be a problem.

Wednesday, Nov 25th: 4-8 page paper due. English, but weird topic. Probably no problem?

My poor time management in the months leading up to this Lovely week (which I was well aware of long before it actually started) meant that I was going to have to lose a lot of sleep for a few days. I did, however, make a plan so that this would me minimized. Or so I thought.

The weekend of November 14th/15th, I tried to make sure that most of my poli sci research was finished. This, of course, did not really happen. Then, on Monday, I attended an Extremely late concert which I had (brilliantly) purchased tickets for in September. So no progress that night either.

Tuesday night was a rehearsal for my choir performance. Given that I had been forced to miss three practices already due to 1) illness ('tis the season, after all), and 2) due to the two concerts in two weeks that I attended. All things considered, I was a bit behind: it was a question of being there or not being allowed to participate in the concert, to which I had already invited all of my family, half of my friends, and my boyfriend. In short, no progress to be found.

Wednesday night I decreed that finishing my research was a necessity, as I knew for a fact I would be working on my English paper all day (and probably all night) the next day. Thankfully, I did manage to accomplish this; however, I had also hoped to get an outline written, and this did not happen.

So, on Thursday, I passed my time holed-up in my office, bent over my English lit anthology and making clever observations about satire in The Rape of the Lock. Not a problem, but I was still up until 3:30 or so getting it done. Not the best.

Had to get up early on Friday for Philosophy tutorial, having done no homework and therefore having nothing to contribute. That class is so difficult for me to grasp, though, that missing the tutorial would probably cause my head to explode in the next lecture. So I showed up, exhausted, but present. That night I went to see White Christmas live. Fun, but not particularly productive.

Saturday went off essentially without a hitch, except that because I hadn't finished an outline for my Poli Sci paper on Wednesday, I was now forced to do it Saturday instead. This in turn meant that I got all of three paragraphs (out of ten pages, if you remember) written. The bulk of my work was now relegated to Sunday, which I had hoped to reserve for my second English paper.... Things were not looking too good at this point.

Thus, I spent Sunday writing my Political Science paper, which I did manage to finish. Not without staying up until 3:00 again, though. Luckily, my classes on Monday didn't start until about 11:30, so I could let myself sleep in. I knew, however, that I would have to write my entire Archaeology essay the night before (which I had planned to do anyway, given it's relatively short length requirements). I was not particularly looking forward to this.

On Monday night, I discovered that the two articles I had planned to use for my Archaeology paper were, in fact, useless. A week previously, I had spent two hours in the library routing out sources, but apparently this was to no avail. I therefore had to spend the better part of the night just looking for sources, which was especially difficult because the only resource I had on hand was the internet, and the prof had given rather strict conditions on where to find internet sources, all of which turned out to be inaccessible for some reason... how convenient. All in all, it was another late night (3:30 yet again), accompanied by a rather earlier morning the next day. This was probably my worst night. There was a grim feeling of foreboding in the air, not least of all because of the utter failure I had encountered trying to find contrasting articles. Tuesday was not going to be fun....

My classes on Tuesdays start promptly at 10:30. I had to be present at this lecture in order to hand in my Political Science paper; however, I also knew that I had to somehow find time that day to write my last English paper. Now, Tuesdays are generally a long day for me, because not only is poli sci a two hour lecture, but it is immediately followed by a two hour break, which is immediately followed by my three hour Archaeology lecture. After that, I have one hour to get dinner, and then choir practice. It was integral that I be at this week's practice, not only because I had already missed three practices, but because it was the dress rehearsal that night. Needless to say, I did not stay in Archaeology. Somehow I had to find the time to get my work done for my English paper before choir practice, otherwise I would not be able to start work at all until I got home at 8:30 pm.

The paper that resulted from these efforts was, undoubtedly, not my best work, though I was happier with it that with the Archaeology piece I had written the previous night. All in all, the week had been rather brutal, possibly the most brutal of my life (and I've had some pretty brutal weeks). The lesson I wish to leave you with, dear reader, having endured my pedantic prose for so long, is that time management is in fact a good thing. Procrastinate all you want, but have a plan for the aftermath, or you will probably make yourself sick (as I did).

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bursting my Bubble

Well Internet, it seems that my plans for Spain have fallen. Today was my last day of work at the union and I have to use my savings to tide me over for the next bit. I'm not sad about not working there anymore, I really did despise that job. However, I am sad about the money not pouring in like it used to. I enjoyed being able to spend without discretion. It truly is a drug worse than any other- being able to spend. Feeling the hard plastic of a credit card and knowing that no matter what you won't be punished for using it because, lets face it, there's more where that came from. Having large amounts of money coming in every weeks was a godsend. It showed me how much I can truly do with money.

I could buy things for myself. Not just clothes and shoes, but books and food. If I felt like an eggplant that day, I would go to Safeway, pick up all the ingredients I needed and just make something with what I felt like. It was awesome. I went out every weekend. I drank more than enough for me and I was able to buy my friends drinks. I never freaked out about anything- $20 cover here, $9 drink there, cab ride? don't worry about it girls, whatever. It was fun, I felt like I was living how life ought to be lived. I realize now that sometimes I do take the generosity a little too far. I need to stop paying for people, it's time for people to start paying me back for everything over all the years when they were unemployed. The tables have turned, and it's kind of nice.... at least for me.

I also found a way to help people. Because I had money to spare, I started talking to one of those red cross people and I actually started donating- after making sure my money wouldn't pay for abortions of course. I volunteered a lot in the summer simply because I didn't have to worry about being able to afford to not work on weekends. I felt a lot better about myself knowing I wasn't just sitting on top of everything my Father worked for... which I'm kind of doing now.

The weirdest bit of the entire thing though, had to be the savings. I had never been a saver. I like to spend my money- time for work and time for play. I love carrying bags and feeling like a million bucks in something new. For the first time in my life, I was earning enough to be able to save a lot and still have heaps of disposable income. I saved $3,000 this summer and not once did I feel deprived. Now there's just visa bills to pay and an ever shrinking number in the savings spot.

Money did so much for me. It let me have whatever I want and made me feel like I was some amazing high class whatever. The fact of the matter is that I'm not. It's heaps of fun jumping into an illusion, the climb to the top of your mental pedestal. Eventually though, you fall off. Or it gets knocked down. All that's left to do is rebuild it, piece by piece.