Revising and resting over the holidays

Going back home for the holidays is a great time to recharge batteries but for many students we often have exams to look forward to coming back. The best thing to do in my opinion is to keep an equal balance between socialising, relaxing and working. For me at least socialisation and relaxation are both mediative processes, being able to talk to friends and family about my past term at university as well as taking time for myself by either binge watching Netflix or going to the gym allows me time to reflect on what I have achieved over the past few months.

Often I find myself not taking the time to properly to appreciate the successes I’ve made for myself. Talking to friends and family really helps affirm the decisions I’ve made and helps put things into perspective. For example, this year I was able to secure an internship at a fin-tech company after throwing out dozens of applications to different companies. It was definitely nice when people would congratulate me on my achievement and gave me a chance to slow down for a second just to see how far I’ve come.

Revision on the other hand is a necessary evil, for some weird reason I’ve always liked revising, being able to sit down and revisit topics covered over the term in my own time I find somewhat cathartic. I, like many people, have my own way of revising, which I am sure I’ll cover in another blog post. I enjoy being able to go through text books and lecture slides and copy out the text, being able to write out the words myself provides me the ability to stop as soon as I get to an area that I am stuck on and then go over in much more depth. I also don’t like going over my own notes, I find it much better and more reassuring to go over the lecturers notes or the notes in the text book – these are notes that have been written by the subject’s professionals not by someone who might have been nursing a hangover in a 9 am lecture one morning.

Another thing I like to make sure I do is not to make a revision schedule. One thing that really annoys me is that although most people would agree that everyone has their own form of revising, most still say that you should create a revision schedule. I find this advise really redundant. If for example, you have 3 hours free one day, and you have to revise Maths, English and History; lets say you’re completely confident with History however Maths and English you are still struggling with, if you were to stick to a revision schedule saying you have to do one hour of each it would be ridiculous as you’re practically wasting an hour revising History when you could be working on your Maths or your English! Similarly, let’s say you were said at 1 O’clock you’re going to go over Geography and then at 2 O’clock you’re going to go over Biology, but it’s just hit 2 and you’re already halfway through a Geography essay(!) what are you meant to do then? This is why I don’t suggest making a revision schedule and just make sure you’re revising what you feel you’re least confident on. During my GCSEs I really struggled with History, at the start of the year I was getting Ds on most of my work and I found it really challenging, on the other hand I found I was really quite good at Computing, when revising for my exams I focussed a lot of effort on History, trying to make sure I remembered the dates of things and how to properly answer the longer answer questions, I must have spent at least an hour and a half a day revising for History, whereas for Computing I would only do the odd past paper once or twice a week and maybe spend and an hour on SQL (a topic I hated) – both subjects I achieved an A* in because I spent the relevant amount of time on both.

Over the holidays therefore I’ve tried to focus my efforts on the topics that I really struggle with, if I already understand something I should go over it certainly, however it’s not necessary to go into depth or to spend excessive amounts of time focussing on these topics. I find this mindset really helps in life as well, a lot of the time there are fights not worth fighting, it’s much better to exhaust your efforts on something proactive that you can change and make change towards – if I get upset that I failed a tech test for an internship, instead of being frustrated and wasting my time telling my friends just how unfair this test was I go away and I study the topic that the test was on, if it was on search algorithms, I go and take a couple of Hackerank challenges, if it was a problem with my JavaScript skills then I go and brush up on those. Being able to pick and choose your battles is a really good life skill and really well talked about in Mark Manson’s book The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck which I would highly recommend.

Anyway, most of this blog post has been me procrastinating from revision anyway so I should probably get back to it!

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