The Importance of Time Management

Friday December 6th 2013

SAMHAIN 2013- AOÍFE NÍ SHIADHÁIL

This time round I have decided to embrace my inner nerd and focus on the academic side of college life. Truth be told, this wasn’t my plan when I started to write this month’s blog but when I realised I had written three times the word count I had to back track fast!

I can now say that I have been a Psychology student for over two months and honestly, as someone who was unsure about their CAO form right up until the final deadline, sílim go ndearna mé an cinneadh ceart. Psychology came as a surprise for everyone who knows me because, from attending the UCD Open Day in Transition Year up until I sat my Leaving Cert, I was adamant that I would be there studying Business and Law come September 2013. So many people have asked me why I changed my mind but I can’t give them a straight answer. All I can say is that there must have been some sort of divine intervention to make me sit up one day and realise that I had my eyes on the wrong course. I am so happy it happened however because now I can’t imagine doing anything else. It’s not that I come out of every single lecture beaming from ear to ear and brimming with happiness; it just feels right. The work load is pretty intense, reading journal articles can make you want to tear your hair out and Cognitive Psychology just puts me to sleep without fail but I think it suits me. It can be challenging but also stimulating and this seems like a good mix. I suppose what I am trying to say is that choosing college courses is a total leap of faith and buíochas mór le Dia, I think mine has paid off.

If you didn’t learn it for Leaving Cert then now is the time when you realise the importance of time management. In a way you didn’t necessarily need to completely master this skill for the Ardteist because your learning was very much guided but now it’s a different story. There’s no one here making sure that you’ve done what you need to do. Sometimes you get overwhelmed by the work because every assignment actually matters. You understand that you can’t let it get neglected and need to remember the amount of airgead and iarracht that was put into getting you here. People forget that you come to college to further and focus your education; it’s not a reward for getting through the Leaving Cert. It’s the next step and you can’t let yourself take your foot fully off the pedal, no matter how much you might want to. The work that you do today can put you on the road to where you need and want to go and it’s worthwhile remembering that from the beginning.  College is a clean slate. No one cares how smart you think you are or how smart your Leaving Cert says you are. Mura ndéanann tú do dhícheall agus mura gcuireann tú an obair isteach, is cuma sa diabhal cé chomh eirimiúil is atá tú.

At first it was hard to imagine stress without the Leaving Cert but that horrible feeling reared its ugly head again so much quicker than I thought it would. I had my first test in Week 5 and my first two assignments in Week 7. Now it’s Week 9 and I have two tests and six assignments in the next three weeks. After the first assignment you quickly learn how far in advance you need to start things so that you won’t be scrambling down to the last minute. I’m still so afraid of plagiarism that I’m scared to write a single word but it definitely gets easier with time. In the beginning no one had a clue what they were doing but that was okay because bhí muid uilig sa chruachás céanna. When the stress gets too much and you start to think that you’ve spent more hours in the library this week than in your bed it’s crucial to take a step back. Sometimes I think about all the bad things that have happened to so many people around the world ar aon lá amháin and this gives me perspective. It helps me to realise that if a mediocre research methods report is as bad as it gets for me then I am actually quite lucky.

There is so much craic to be had at college but striking a balance is of paramount importance. You need to learn to be neamhspleách and do what’s right for you. It might sound boring but sometimes you have to say no to friends and plans that sound like fun. You need to prioritise getting work done from time to time because after all that’s what you’re here for. Your head gets wrecked trying to juggle everything but once you get a certain degree of routine and organisation into your life, a little bit of peace soon follows.

I realise that I have made myself sound like the world’s most serious 19 year old here but I can assure you that it’s not all work. There has been many a night out since the beginning of the semester, as well as marathon movie nights, food-induced comas and general days out exploring the big city. One of the highlights for me so far has been making the long trip down to Killarney with the Cumann Gaelach for Oireachtas na Samhna, 2013. Finally we met other students from all over the country who thought that speaking Irish was cool. From díospóireachtaí, to damhsa agus ceol ar an sean nós, to Oíche na Mac Léinn, to Aifreann an Oireachtais, it was a weekend to remember. It’s good to realise that a little bit of spontaneity can do the world of good and having enough laughs in your life is as important as passing all your scrúdaithe.

Tá cúrsaí go maith I dTeach 2 Hampstead ag an bhomaite. We successfully passed the infamous house inspection on Monday which turned out to be quite anti-climactic and totally not worth staying up to 1am scrubbing the bathroom floor for. Singing Fairytale of New York with my housemates while smothering our fridge in Tesco Multi-Purpose spray, however, was a sight to behold. We’ve already made plans to reward our efforts with the cheapest, tackiest Christmas tree Penneys can offer us.

As this will be my last blog this side of the new year I would like to wish each and every one of you a happy and holy Christmas. Spread a little happiness during this special season and make the most of your time with loved ones.

Slán agus beannacht,

Aoífe