I put the title all in capitals to make it seem more impressive.
I’m in my third year of university, studying Creative Writing and Literary and Cultural Studies. For the most part, it is very enjoyable and rewarding. For the most part. However, I’m at the point in the semester where all my final assignments are due. I don’t have exams, but I’ve got some major essays. This is my toughest semester yet, and after this I only have to do a semester of part time study before I graduate. But first I’ve got to push past this week. I’ve already written my creative writing major project, which consists of a creative work just over 7,000 words, a space western, and a 3,000 word essay on the cultural significance of bizarro fiction.
What remains is a 3,500 word essay on Akira and the apocalypse in post-WWII Japanese culture, due in three days, and a 4,500 word essay on Blankety Blank and postmodern suburbia.
With time dwindling away, and so much work left to do, where do I go from here?
I gotta figure out my endgame.
Now, let me explain; this is not the same thing as leaving my assignments to the last minute. Yes, they are finished right before the deadline, and they may end up with better marks if I get on top of them earlier, but two, three days before the assignments are due and I’ve got my essay plans figured out and I sit down to write it, I make sure to spend the time saying what I want to say. Sometimes I draw a blank and it takes a long time to write the essay, but I don’t just throw shit on the page and hand it in. I figure out my endgame.
This semester I knew was going to be hell towards the end of semester. So I booked some time off work to make sure I had the time to get it all sorted out. And I chipped away at my workload, piece by piece, breaking the study and essay writing with reading some not-so-taxing literature (fiction/manga) or watching something bloody and entertaining on TV. While this could be percieved as slacking off, I would call it “preserving my mental wellbeing.” I can’t cram my study too early or I’ll snap and when it comes time to finishing the assingments off and handing them in, and I’ve got no energy to get over the line. Or I do, but very sloppily.
Some people are organised and can do all that time management/setting goals and following through type thing, but that’s not me. I got my ideas in my head, and I put them down onto paper, and then I shift them around until something clicks, and then I write my essay. So, my endgame usually requires a fair amount of preparation, just not as thorough as some people.
Right now, I’ve got the texts I’ll be using as case studies, I’ve got my research topics, I’ve got a bunch of research material and notes. For my first essay I’ve got a rough essay plan that’s about ready for me to write into a 3,500 word essay. Then it’s a matter of planning, writing and editing my 4,500 word essay over the weekend. The only problem I foresee with this is the three days of work in the lead up to the weekend. I’m probably going to have a few very late nights and potentially even an all-nighter or two. It’ll be exhausting, totally mentally draining, but that’s why I save my best efforts for the endgame. When I’m finished it’ll be all the more rewarding.
And with this I hold onto the knowledge that next semester is going to be a much lighter work load.
This works for me. As I said, this is how I find I can manage my time best to achieve the best results. For other people, this is not necessarily the case. I’m getting used to the study now, but it’s still a fair amount of effort and pretty tiring on the brain. This time next week I’m going to be so tired, but right now, I’m just making sure I’m in the best possible position for going into the endgame.