Friday, 26 February 2010

Strength without measure

I must firstly apologize for the lack of posts in the last week. Although I am on reading week from university, and should theoretically have more time- this is not the case! Never try finishing a degree, applying for a MA, and organising to move house at the same time, stress ensues!

My work load this week has not been helped, I must admit, by the Winter Olympics and the lure of the figure skating. Ever my weak spot when it comes to watching sport, I have become addicted this games. I have been most touched this week, and most inspired by the example of Joannie Rochette. I’m sure most people know the back story, but this Canadian skater tragically lost her mother two days before her event (Ladies Singles Figure Skating) was to begin. She has demonstrated the olympic spirit in the way she has conducted herself, though out this last week, and I am sure that her bronze medal is worth more than its weight in gold. Her strength and fortitude, to preform at the top of her game under the most awful circumstances, and yet still be able to conduct herself with dignity has been a real inspiration. I like many others am perhaps to quick to give in to stress and to allow myself to become side tracked from the real issue. More than her beautiful skating I will take away from these games Joannie’s example of fortitude in the face of difficulties. I think that if we all applied a little of her strength to our every day lives, and indeed remembered how fortunate we are not to have suffered her loss, our stresses and difficulties would pale in comparison.

On a happier note, for christmas, I received two sets of tickets to go to the ballet this weekend. One to see Giselle and one to see Swan Lake. Expect over excited reviews, as I have never been to the ballet properly before and really don’t know what to expect! I wish everyone a relaxing and rejuvenating weekend.

Now... I really must find something to wear to the ballet tonight....

Thursday, 18 February 2010


On a completely different note I thought I would share this wonderful piece of whimsical embroidery I found on the net. I love this, its absolutely beautiful!

It is by the amazingly talented Cate Anevski who can be found at

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Ways of Working

So I thought that today I would share some of the ways in which I work and organise myself. This is not to say that these are the best ways to work- they’re just the ways that work for me.

Firstly I have to have a ‘To Do’ list. At the beginning of everyday I tend to write myself out a list of the major things I want to get done in the day. This can range from ‘do the washing’, to ‘write 500 words on chapter one’ etc... I find that setting myself small goals for the day and ticking them off as I go makes me feel far more accomplished and productive by the end of the day. If I reach a stage on one of things I want to write, and just get a block I will move on to one of the more mundane tasks on my list and accomplish that before going back to my university work.

With regards to getting written work done, I find that one of the best things I can do is set myself ‘word count’ targets for everyday. This gives me something to aim for and a place to stop at the end of the day. Without this goal of a certain amount to do, I find that I can keep on writing but don’t ever really feel like I have finished or achieved anything.

I also set out certain days of the week to do certain things. Due to the way in which my course is structured I am currently writing a 9000 word dissertation and doing a year long ‘special subject’ course. For this semester I have to produce a 6000 word essay and a 3000 word source analysis for this ‘special subject’ unit. I order so that I can work equally and steadily on both aspects of the course I have divided my week up between the two. So on Monday and Tuesday I do only dissertation work and try not to touch the special subject. On Wednesday I do seminar prep for my class on Thursday and a little bit of the written work for my special. On Thursday I actually go to class, which because I live over two hours away from the university, takes me all day to get there and back. Finally on Friday I concentrate exclusively on the essays for the special. This is not to say that if I feel particularly inspired on one piece of work, or have a deadline coming up that I have to meet I won’t concentrate on that and ignore the plan! But having an idea set out in my head of what I am meant to be doing so that I know I can get both sides of the course done is beneficial to my peace of mind as well as my progress on my work load!

The other really important way in which I motivate myself to do work is to give myself breaks throughout the day. I have a relatively short attention span so find it difficult to work solidly for long periods of time. In order to combat this I tend to take an extended lunch break, or watch something on iplayer, or read one of the blogs I follow just so that I am not working straight through. I also make sure I have regular cups of tea, or I just get up and do one of the smaller household tasks on my to do list. I also tend to reward myself with these breaks once I have got a particular task done. This way I enjoy my days more, whilst also getting the important things that I have to do done.

Although all of this sounds very regimented it makes me feel freer in the sense that I am not longer worrying about getting everything done- because I’m working to a plan which I know will allow me to complete all my work.

So here is what I would like to know- call me curious, call me nosey I would like to know how other students organise their time! How do you make sure that you get all your work done with a minimum of stress? What patterns or techniques do you use to accomplish this? Please share your stories in the comments.

Thank you!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

A very long day...

Well I feel that yesterday can go down as a particularly productive day! I did eleven hours at work, three hundred words on my dissertation and baked a kick ass batch of chocolate cookies! The pay off being that I spent until gone eleven in bed today. Not so good, or indeed productive at all.

I thought that next week I would try to share some of the ways in which I study and try to maximize my time. I realize that I am abnormal as a student because I work anywhere between 12 and 25 hours a week at a real life job as well. This makes organisation key to getting anything handed in on time!

I hope everyone has a restful and peaceful weekend (unfortunately I am a work so this will not be the case for me!), and can get some serious chilling out done. It is sunny where I am, and I hope the same for you. See you on Monday.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Numero Uno

Hello! Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and help yourself to a biscuit. As a first post this is a bit awkward, I don't know who i'm writing to (probably no-one!), and i've never done this before. Its like one of those moments at a party where you are compelled to make small talk with complete strangers and your not really sure what to say!

So I thought I would start out simple. Hi! I'm Ros. Nice to meet you.

I'm going to attempt to record over the next few months the ending of my degree in history as well as anything else in my life that I feel the urge to chat about. Hopefully this will be some of my craft projects- assuming that the university doesn't suck all hope and spare time out of me!

I look forward to chatting to you (or just myself) over the coming months, so make yourself comfy and enjoy the biscuits!