All Posts Tagged With: "productivity"
Universities aren’t doing much to help students plan careers
From the 2013 Student Issue on sale now.
Mike St. Jean is in his seventh year of political science at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont. “I still don’t even know what I can do with my degree,” he says. “I can get a job in government or elections, but other than that, the transition seems hard to lay out. I read books and analyze them. What does that mean to the real world?”
It’s not as if it hit him suddenly. The question “What’s next?” is one of the reasons he dropped down to part-time studies in year four of his degree. Another reason was that he needed time for his part-time job and his work with the Argus student newspaper, where he’s now an editor.
Lakehead’s counsellors haven’t helped. He only visited them once, years ago, and was told to consider a master’s in English or an education degree. “I don’t know how many jobs there are for teachers,” he says. What he does know is that a friend who took education moved to England because she couldn’t find work here. A master’s didn’t strike him as a good plan, either; he’s seen multiple master’s graduates and one Ph.D. apply for low-wage jobs at the Subway where he works. Professors are encouraging, but they don’t offer career advice. His parents want to help, but “they think university is about curing cancer and rocket science,” he says. “They have no idea what I’m in.”
Important cat research, Blasphemy Day & Justin Trudeau
1. Japanese researchers have published an article in PloS ONE entitled “The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus.” In sum, viewing photos of cute animals could make you more productive at work. Thank you Japan.
2. Speaking of important cat research, a powerful 2011 earthquake has affected the psychological state of cats in Turkey. They are attempting suicide on a regular basis, according to Abuzer Tas, a lecturer in a local veterinary school. “After the quake… a large number of cats are throwing themselves from heights,” he said. Seriously.
3. A student group at the University of Saskatchewan offered cookies for human souls last week as part of International Blasphemy Day, an annual demonstration on the anniversary of the publication of cartoons depicting Muhammad in Denmark. Visitors to the Freethought Alliance booth could spin a wheel to see which version of hell they would go to. “We’re trying to express that in this country, and all free speaking countries, we are allowed to say things about religion that might not be kind or informed, yet we have the right to say it,” leader Brandon Gerbig told CBC News.
Hint: you’re not going to get all your readings done in two weeks
After surviving a semester crammed with classes, coursework and exams, it’s nearly impossible to stay in work mode over winter vacation.
Every year, many students (myself included) tell themselves that they’re going to be productive with their extra time by getting ahead on readings or assignments. But suddenly it’s January, and they return to return to class with nothing to show for their vacation but a few too many hours watching Netflix.
Though school may be the furthest thing from your mind, you will thank yourself next semester if you do make use of your extra time over winter break. Here are a few tips to tackle that long (or short) winter vacation to-do list:
1. Set realistic goals. Are you really going complete all of your readings and assignments for next semester in two weeks? Probably not.
2. Divide and conquer. Split your list into subsections based on priority. For example, I usually make a list of what I need to get done, what should get done, and what I’d like to get done if I have time. This way, it will be easier to focus on tasks that have early deadlines or that you know are going to take a lot of time and energy next semester. And if you don’t get to your other projects, it’s not as much of a loss.
3. Schedule work hours. When school is in, your schedule tends to revolve around when your classes are, deadlines for assignments and tests. Motivation tends to die out with no concrete schedule or set deadlines during winter vacation, so schedule a couple hours each day when you know you’re most productive to work on projects.
4. Don’t get sucked into being a couch potato. One great thing about winter vacation is having a few extra hours to finish your favourite TV series or catch up on movies your missed, but think back to days or weeks when you were desperate for a few extra hours to work on your coursework. You’ll kick yourself later if you realize you spent your entire vacation on the couch.
5. Relax. Getting ahead on school over winter break is smart, but this time also exists to give students a break from the organized chaos of university life, so that we don’t burn out or make ourselves sick from stress. Remember, it’s called winter vacation, not winter cram session. No one’s going to punish you if you give yourself a break.