Tag: university

The Ideal Study Environment (from The Badger, Week 5)

Studying for exams and getting essays done on time at uni can often be difficult at the best of times, however if you attempt to do it at the wrong place at the wrong time, it can be even more monotonous and troublesome. If you make simple changes to where and how you do your work, it will save you time and your sanity.

The first step in improving your ideal environment is to observe what you usually do and figure out if it is working out for you or not. If it isn’t, figure out why. From experience one of the worst places to study is in the bedroom. Obviously many bedrooms at uni are fitted with a study desk, however staying in your room for hours on end can cause a serious case of cabin fever which can make you feel worse. As most students know, staying in your room for too long is a rookie mistake both for study and socialising. The other common mistake students make when studying in their room is the endless number of distractions. You intended on research or even simply note taking, then you realise you are hungry, sleepy or bored. You decide instead to cook, clean your room, watch Netflix and have a nap. Then you realise you did nothing but procrastinate and you panic. If you leave your flat to go study you will feel a lot better being more focused and organised since there are less distractions.

For many students (including myself), it is more productive do complete work somewhere that is designated for studying such as the library or the I.T. lab. The best advantages of going to the library is you have the necessary texts available to you with a plethora of books and journals at your disposal. Another advantage of going to a designated study environment is everyone else there is there for similar reasons, so they will also require a quiet, clean, well-lit place to study just like you. As long as you follow the library or I.T. lab rules and respect your fellow students’ need to stud,y, it is an ideal environment to be productive.

Regardless of where you study, you can still face obstacles for studying. As it was mentioned before, procrastination is a common issue for many students, especially when it comes to gadgets. Since your laptop is one the most important tools for research on Study Direct, contacting lecturers, typing essays, and handing in essays through Turnitin. However your laptop is also used for recreational purposes such as Facebook, contacting friends and family, streaming shows and videos, playing games, and randomly looking up unrelated topics online. One of the best solutions to getting distracted online is downloading an app that can block certain URLs for a certain amount of time. I recommend ‘Cold Turkey’ since it is free and you can choose what websites you want blocked and how long you want them blocked for. Of course you must also be careful with how much you use your phone. Turn off your phone and keep it away from your desk since if the phone is out of sight, it will likely be out of mind.

Another obstacle which is commonly faced is forgetting important things for studying. When you are stuck for something and need it immediately such as glasses, go back and get them, but do not leave your bag or laptop unattended because it will either be stolen or moved by disgruntled students who want the last desk available. If it is non-essential in urgency, do something else with what you have. In the case of forgetting important things, always pack the day before and double check if you have everything you need.

The final thing to consider when studying outside of your flat is how long you want to study for. Try arriving by noon because you will have more of a chance of finding a desk in comparison to 3pm. If you are thinking in squeezing more time even though you are feeling sleepy at night, just stop where you are, go home and get sleep. When you are tired, you will not be able to remember as much as you wanted and you are more likely to make mistakes in your work than you be if you were wide awake.

The most important advice in finding the ideal study environment is to find a place that will help stay motivated and productive to help maximise your grades in the best way possible.

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What People Don’t Tell You About Being An Autistic Adult

April is Autism Awareness month and every April, it has been my mission to raise awareness in ways people do not normally do so. Last year I wrote about the stupid and ignorant things people say to autistic people and here is the link to those who wish to read that post: https://collectionofclancy.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/dumb-things-said-to-autistic-people/ This year I have decided to write about the challenges many people in the Autism Spectrum Disorder face when they reach adulthood. The reason why I decided to do this is because with so many services to ensure more autistic children than ever receive diagnosis and early intervention a lack of knowledge and support to ASD adults who weren’t severe became painfully apparent. Many of these I learned for myself through experience.

  1. Third Level Institutions approach disabilities differently to school: Since universities and colleges are responsible for thousands of students every year, they are very experienced in dealing with students of disabilities including autism. Their support services are very extensive, and you ultimately choose what you need and when you need it, which gives you more freedom to deal with your problems than school did.
  2. Autism is always an extra factor in every academic decision you make. Applying for college, going on Erasmus year and applying for post-graduate study can be stressful as it already. However, people with autism must always take their condition into account. In my case, I am currently preparing for my Erasmus year in the UK. The university I chose was based on what was on offer, accessibility and distance from the nearest airport, subjects, my parent’s wishes for me not to go to America alone, my personal preferences, and of course what support services the university had for autistic people like me. Even after getting my place I will have to contend with registering with their support service as well as organising accommodation and subjects, which is annoying. Alan Rickman
  3. Job applications causes dilemmas. CV, check. Cover letter, check. Application, check. Interview attire, check. Questions, check. The problem, do I tell the employer or HR manager that I have autism? It is the big question we all face and sadly no definitive answer. Will you be rejected the job if you tell them mid-interview? If you get it, will they be angry you didn’t say it sooner? Do you get the appropriate help if you need it? Will you be seen as a valuable worker or the office autistic? Do autistic people ever get jobs at all? Seriously, I actually don’t know.    scissorhands
  4. Most partners will accept you for who you are. When you are single and without experience, you are scared no person will accept you or your autism in the romantic or sexual context. That is not entirely the case. Many partners are attracted to who you are as person and see beyond the condition. Unfortunately, you may encounter some who only see you as an entertaining clown and nothing more because of the quirks you cannot control. Those people do  not deserve your love nor your time.                                                             heart
  5. It is very easy to worry about the future because there is no information out there. Many people with autism worry about the future because they have no idea how to deal with jobs, whether or not your kids will inherit autism too, whether or not you are capable of raising kids, can you live independently, where you will go when your disability services are gone. I have gone through a lot of searches about autistic adults and there is very little out there, or it is negative, causing me to panic about the future often.
  6. You are not the only one. In my experience, it has been difficult to find people who are like me. They are either much younger than I am or they are at a different intellect. Luckily, through college and the services I am registered with, I have found people who are similar to me, which is refreshing and reassuring to know that I am not alone.

What I Learned From Being a Student Journalist (So Far)

I have been a student journalist for just over a year now. Given that there is no specific handbook for being a journalist, I learned a lot of things for myself. So if you want to write for a university publication, here are a few pointers to make life easier.

1. Read newspapers and know current events: This is fundamentally important if you want to perfect your writing skills. Reading the publication you want to write for will give you a sense of the target audience and what format they want the articles. Also reading up in current events makes the article making process much easier as you don’t have to start from scratch.

2. Join the university journalism society: Joining a society or club is considered a valuable piece of advice for all students. For student journalists, joining the journalism society is highly advised. You get the chance to talk to people who are in the same boat as yourself, you learn more on how to make it in the business and you get to have fun with journalism.

3. Beware of editors: When you write your article for the publication, you are satisfied with the content, grammar, layout, length, etc. and send the email to the editor. However the editor may not be as satisfied with it as you are (and not tell you). So come publication day, you pick up a copy and your article is unrecognisable. Sometimes it’s a necessary evil to edit articles if it’s too long or it’s incorrect grammar or the information needs updating. It sucks because it feels what you did wasn’t good enough and you don’t know why. Try not to dwell too much on it and try again in the next article. So make sure you know what they want to avoid the chop. (Note: editors are not evil. They are just doing their job just like you)

4. Expand into several areas: When I started out, I wrote in the features and entertainment section in the university magazine. Now I write features, entertainment, current affairs in the university magazine and features and entertainment in the university newspaper. I have done several types of articles such as interviews, reviews and news reports. I have also wrote different topics such as burritos, anime conventions, Snapchat, the Ferguson Riots and the Ebola crisis. It’s important to try different things as you’ll learn how to write different topics and you won’t be tied down in the future.

5. Don’t do too many articles at once:  You will need to give time to make a quality article. So if you do two or three in a very short space of time, it will drive you crazy.

6. The key word of student journalist is student: It is very easy to prioritise writing articles over your essays, exams or projects because nobody ever wants to write about narratology in Wuthering Heights nor Francophones in Quebec (especially the latter). However you are in university for your degree. So if you have lots of essays to do, give the article writing a break for a few weeks. You’ll get your chance again when the essay/exams are over.

7. If you have an idea for an article, try it: Coming up with ideas is not easy. But when one spasmodically appears, let the editor know. If they approve, go for it. Editors love it when contributors have ideas as it makes life easier for them. My most recently written article was about Meghan Trainor’s song “All About That Bass” and the body positivity message in the lyrics. A friend of mine shared the song on their facebook page. In a comment thread, she mentioned how the message was original. At the same time, the editor was asking for ideas in the entertainment section. I mentioned my idea and she liked it. So don’t be afraid to try.

8. Building experience is rewarding in the long run: Of course being an unemployed student sucks. Sometimes putting down on your CV what exactly you do with the magazine may be irrelevant for the part-time/summer job stacking shelves at the supermarket. Nor does it fully help with the degree (except maybe the writing bits). But building up experience with your articles will get you noticed and your hard work will get you a job.

9. Get a copy for your mother: She will insist on it.

“15 Years: A Journey”

A young couple drive down back roads to the city with their three young kids. The youngest, aged five, is about to start a special kind of school . As she looked quietly everywhere, The couple smile knowingly, they finally got her there.

A older couple drive down the motorway to the city with one of their kids. The youngest, aged twenty, is about to start a well respected university. As the couple discuss the affairs of the day, The girl smiles knowingly, she got everything she fought for: her way.