Advice for students

Now that I’m essentially waiting to graduate, I have decided to take the time to write a post wherein I give some advice to any readers of my blog who happen to be either university students or are going into university soon enough. What you’ll see is a short overview of some tips I have. Enjoy.

 

Plan ahead

If you have a series of tasks that you need to do in order to complete your assignment, organise the work you have to do by priority so that you do the most important tasks first and the least important ones last. When writing a report or a dissertation, read the brief and pay attention to the structure expected of it, organise your content around it, and make note of the points you intend to cover or gather a strong body of sources before you start writing, so that you know almost exactly what to do. The ability to see beyond the present and look toward the horizon is something of an underrated skill, and it takes a while for students to get used it having to learn it. But if you do, you can became far more prepared and efficient than you would be if you only lived in the moment. If you’re doing a collaborative project, you need to make sure it’s not just you being the sole brain of the organisation. You want the whole team to be involved in the organisation practice.

 

Take your education seriously

There is a very common idea of what university life is all about: one in which you break off from your parents for most of the year, move into the dorms, live out “the best years of your life” (itself a rather pernicious piece of consumerist mythology). It leads people to sometimes place too much emphasis on pleasure, thus undermining their studies. But you don’t have to do that. Pay attention to what it is you have to, pay attention to the standards you have to meet and hold your work to as high a standard as possible. If you do this, you will gain a higher grade, be respected for the work that you do and quite possibly open yourself up for more employment opportunities.

 

READ!

No, seriously. Do it. When you’re writing a report or a dissertation or anything like that, don’t just go to any online resource to back up your work (and for the love of all things holy don’t use my blog as a source!). Get actual books and read them. For starters, if you do, you can demonstrate a real knowledge of the subject matter you’re pursuing , which goes to your credit during your assessments. But more broadly, it can lead you on to taking about reading as something you do on the side and become more well-read, which might make you smarter and more well-rounded as an individual. Which reminds me, don’t just get books for your projects either. Spend some time in between breaks reading some books on whatever subject takes your fancy. I swear, during my time in university I’ve become progressively more bookish, and I’m eternally grateful for the library they have on campus for tangentially introducing me to books like The┬áSurvival of the Pagan Gods by Jean Seznec. And in general if you have books at home, it can be a good way to spend your time during your course and beyond. Of course if you must use the Internet, you can find decent academic papers and journals there so long as it’s from a reputable source and sometimes you can find books as PDFs, but reading physical books is a much better experience in general.

 

Work smart, not hard

This was something I was regularly told over the years, and basically it means don’t work simply for the sake of work. Do as much as you need to do, within in a well-constructed work plan, and don’t just stack new tasks on top of another for the sake of it. This is not so that you can have less to do, or so that you can do almost nothing, rather it is so that you can concentrate your effort on what you need to do, as determined in a well-calculated project plan rather than simply hammering away at a project.

 

Never be afraid to ask for support

Your lecturers ultimately want you to pass, and they are there to help you get there. You will be assured of this during your course. That’s why if you have a question, or a nagging problem you can’t find a resolution to, don’t be too shy to ask a lecturer how to help you. They will usually answer your queries and/or help you discover the solution to your problem. Keep in mind, however, that they will expect you to listen to them and carry out their advice and then be able to go forward with it and not continuously rely on them to basically do your course for you.

 

Treat your academic life as though it were your job

In most instances, you will be expected to attend your classes punctually and without tardiness. If it is anything like my game design course during the third and fourth year, you will usually have to show up to the studio for between 9am and 5pm, akin to a standard office job, so as to prime you for life after your graduation where you will most likely seek employment. Take it from me, you will not get any respect if you skive, not from your lecturers and certainly not from people like me who work with you as a modest students.

 

When you’re working, just do the work, let your lecturers decide if you did it right

This comes from what I frequently experienced of both myself and others in my course. Whenever we’re working, we have a tendency to get stuck because we worry about whether or not we’ve met the standard set by the lecturer or if we’ve done anything right. The solution my lecturers often tell me and everyone else is simply to do the work and then let them have a look at it and then decide if we were correct in our course of action, because they’re the ones assessing it at the end of the day. This can apply to written assignments to some extent: write what you intend to write, your lecturers will sometimes review it and give you some direction, and then add or cut back as needed.

A little update concerning where I am now

I feel it necessary to write a short post concerning my standing in life with regards to my academic life and what I am to do going forward. After all, I am living my final term of university and I have over two months left before I graduate. I think this is enough of an important point in my life for me to say something about it.

I have pretty much a day left before I hand in my assignment for my major project, so I am almost done with it. After that, I will probably be helping out with the end of year show that is being held within two weeks, and in between the date of the show and the day of my graduation in July I am expected to talk to some external assessors (or at least I think that’s the case anyway) to talk about what I submitted, so I we’re not done in that time yet but we can use that time how we see fit besides the talks. I also plan to use as much of that time as possible on finding a part-time job, work experience or pave the way for an actual career so that when I leave university I can move out of my current residence and build up a stable life of my own in a new setting.

I honestly don’t have a good grasp as to what I want to do after I leave. You would think that I’d be dead set on getting into the video games industry as soon as I leave, but that is not how I think of myself. Instead I see myself in a state of cynicism towards the video games industry, with its decadent emphasis on commercialism and its present trajectory towards stagnation, and as having been embittered by my experiences working as a game design student. So I almost want to shed myself of the destiny that I had made for myself by going down the road that I took back in September of 2014. That’s not to say I don’t ever want to go into the industry or don’t see myself as having potential; to take that stance despite what I have learned from my lecturers who’ve supported my efforts would be an exercise in ungrateful ressentiment. But at the same time, I feel like there’s other things I want to do. Not to mention I think getting a stable income in for myself will be very important for me materially and in terms of making for myself an independent, self-managed life, and allow me to possibly open up more socially within a new setting where it’s practical for me to just get out and do things without feeling tethered to the limits of living area as has been the case with my current location. On the one hand, I think I can still do something within the video games industry, on the other, I wish to break out of a path that began from obvious naivete and devolved into me making unfulfilling choices in the name of personal advancement all while getting the sense that I have never achieved what I really wanted to achieve. That’s why part of me kind of feels like “fuck the games industry, I want to find some people and just jam with them every Saturday night or whatever just for fun”.

As far as the blog, things might still be slow for the forseeable future, although I do have some ideas for posts I would like to write in future. As I implied earlier I want to minimize politics here, although I am and have been learning new things about political philosophy since my conversion. I might talk philosophy though, but want to keep politics at a minimum because I feel like I should write about something else. I also want to start doing Mythological Spotlights again in the future because it has been almost a year since the lengthy Mythological Spotlights I wrote for Satan and Lucifer. Haram Month is probably not going to return this year because the last one was really sparse and I outright expect to be too busy sorting my life out to commit to it. However, I do fear that I’m losing a lot of motivation to write for the blog, and as such I predict that I may announce a hiatus for it after some posts. It’s been over five years since I’ve been writing for it, so I suppose something like this was bound to happen eventually.

Sorry I haven’t written anything in such a long time, but hey I did I was going to be on a pretty slow blog writing period going forward. I hope I didn’t make you think I was dead or going to die soon with that last post regarding the possibility of World War 3 breaking out.

And to cap off this post, I wish a late Happy May Day, Happy Walpurgisnacht, and Happy Beltane to all my readers.