Balance, Classes, Study

New Year, New Me!

“Woke up this morning I was laid out flat on the dark side
With the moon and the room on the wrong side
I took a needle, sewed myself right back at the seams

I saw my universal gleam” – ‘Flick of the Finger, by Beady Eye

Liam Gallagher might not have the same vocals he did back in Oasis’ heyday, but his last effort to bring back the glory days with his (now disbanded) Beady Eye did bring back some of the open lyrical interpretation the band was known for instigating – but I digress. Nevertheless, it makes for a great quote that can relate to the idea of starting the new year with resolutions. It’s a time of year when – for whatever reason – you can see your errors more clearly, and when you decide to pick up the metaphorical needle and attempt to sew yourself back together again. I’m not typically one to fall into the societal norm of setting resolutions specifically to ring in the new year – but given that this will be my first full year as a university student, I decided to give it a shot.

Adjusting to the academic rigors that U of T Engineering demands of its students has proven to be a challenge. Coming from a decidedly shaky work ethic, I had to develop a new method of approaching my schedule, with mixed results. So, starting with this semester, I’ve made a concious choice to reform.

Last term, I wrote about how I wanted to dedicate time to practice the application of the tools I learned in class and from readings. In truth, I still became far too easily distracted and quickly fell behind, making the last couple of weeks before finals an exercise in late-nighters. Now, I’m keeping track of specific assignments and assessments, and giving myself a daily reminder about those aforementioned practice questions.

"When you have so much to do, is there even a point to keeping a list?" - Me, as I was writing it out.

“When you have so much to do, is there even a point to keeping a list?” – Me, as I was writing it out.

Another thing that happened far too often last time around was how lazy I became when it came to taking notes in class. I would listen absent-mindedly, and couldn’t muster the effort to put pen to paper. In hindsight, even when I did take notes – if you could call them that – I would often just wait for the prof to fill up a board, quickly copy it down, and tune out again. Three weeks into classes this semester, and so far I’ve been admittedly shaky when it comes to that latter point. However, changing the notebook I use seems to have improved my willingness to take points down; I suppose that’s progress!

Switching to Field Notes, for whatever reason, has made me more productive in class than when I was using those comparatively huge Five Star spiral notebooks. Must be the aesthetic.

Switching to Field Notes, for whatever reason, has made me more productive in class than when I was using those comparatively huge Five Star spiral notebooks. Must be the aesthetic.

2016 is shaping up to be a year chock full of important events and life choices. Most of us first-years are turning 19, and that brings an exponential increase in responsibility to the table. The older we get, the more independent we’re expected to become. Nobody’s going to watch you study and tell you how it ought to be done anymore. It comes down to whether or not I can find the self-control to focus and put in the work needed to succeed here. There’s plenty of work to be done yet, but I’d like to think I’ve at least started on the right foot.