Surviving the Quarter

The insanity of the end of the quarter reminds me of the importance of time management and prioritization.  Throughout my career as an undergraduate and a graduate student, I have never once pulled an all-nighter.  Here are some tips to not make the end of the quarter completely miserable.  While some may not agree with me, this is what has worked well for me so far:

1. Plan.  While plans inevitably get disrupted in grad school, it is good to have a basis to know what needs to be accomplished first.  Juggling classes, papers, reading, exams, work, and a social life cannot occur without smart scheduling.

2. Start work ahead of time.  Yes, it is tempting to be lazy and put off work until close to the due date.  But in the end you will be extremely grateful for having started working on assignments from day 1 of classes.

3. Jump in.  I have known many people to get paralyzed by the amount of work they have to accomplish.  Rather than fret or attempt to over-plan (which is actually possible), it is best to sit down and start working.  No more excuses.

2. Take breaks!  Dividing work up into manageable sections allows for better quality writing and higher comprehension for reading.  Not to mention that allowing yourself to have some fun maintains your sanity and makes you a generally more pleasant person to be around.

5. Don’t be overly perfectionist.  Yes, papers can be edited over and over, and articles read so as to include every small detail.  But when faced with an enormous pile of work, there is a point where you have to stop yourself and just go ahead and submit that paper.

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