Week 3 Day 6: The procrastination is starting to get to me

There’s something about being a student that seems to invite procrastination. Whether it’s through blogging, listening to your favourite musical on endless repeat, watching old tv shows or even just flicking idly through recipes in order to ‘get inspired for dinner’ – it’s not going to happen, you’re just going to have soup like always – there’s somehow no way to escape the mindlessness that comes when you’ve got to get an assignment done. Even if it’s an assignment you enjoy, there’s always something more interesting. In my case, there’s some really urgent washing up. The washing machine lining needs cleaning. Actually, that one’s true, the washing machine lining has some exciting mould (almost gone! don’t worry!)

Today I set myself a to-do list with five things on it. Those things were:

1. Bassoon practice
2. Gym
3. Composition
4. Talk to mum re:trains
5. Arrange a gym class session

I completed three of those things, and that’s only because one of them is so vague all I had to do was send one measly text. If you’re interested, the two I failed at were the gym based ones, which somehow does’t surprise me because one of those involves leaving the house and the other involves sending an email/ ringing the gym.

What I found was that getting the tasks done required nothing more than just sitting down (or standing up; I never practice sitting down. There are never any chairs in the recital room without arms) and just doing them. Just doing them was all it took, all I needed to do my composition task. It’s finished now; I did 50% of it in about an hour. The other 50% took me probably three times that, just because I was on the internet. And that’s probably nothing new to anyone, and it certainly wasn’t news to me. I already knew that multitasking reduces your efficiency dramatically. I just never kind of… connected it to my efficiency. It’s the difference between knowing and comprehending, I guess.

But doing that saved me so much time. I’d rather spend two hours just doing an assignment than spend a week not really doing it but sort of making progress. There’s probably something to be said for setting an hour to do a task and then taking a break to do all your misc. internet business. Tumblr can wait for half an hour, you’re not an internet phenomenon. (unless you are. why are you here, internet phenomenon?????) I expect I’d get my essays done a lot more quickly if I could just do that every time instead of faffing around going “but I haven’t written my 200 words yet, I can’t stop!”

Technically speaking this composition exercise took me 12 days to do, because I spent so long each day with the sibelius file open just staring at it. It’s not going to magically change just because I didn’t blink for ten minutes, I have no idea why I didn’t just do something more productive. like descale the kettle for the billionth time this week, yeah, sounds like a worthwhile way to spend the afternoon.

Somewhat ironically, this very post was derailed multiple times because I absolutely had to check my tumblr notifications. I guess I haven’t really learnt anything after all.

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Getting really stressed for no reason

Before Christmas we had to hand in our formative essays. (‘Formative essays’ means that even if you do well it’s not going to count because a) it doesn’t count and b) it’s first year and first year doesn’t count) I managed to put it completely out of my mind until the other day when I got an email telling me to go and pick up my essays from the common room.

I didn’t panic. Or so I thought.

That night, I had a really odd dream. I dreamt that I got 0/100 on my essay, and the instructor emailed me the next day to say I failed the whole thing because of my AS. In the dream, I didn’t actually care that much about the essay. Actually, I think I was more focused on watching Star Trek or something, because I just completely ignored the email.

Needless to say, I didn’t get 0/100. (Actually, I got a first in that essay. So I definitely didn’t fail) But it got me thinking. First, I wasn’t consciously thinking about my essay results, but obviously I had remembered it on some level otherwise I wouldn’t have had the dream. Secondly, I have absolutely no concrete idea about how well I’m doing/how they mark essays at uni.

I’d say that next time I’ll be more calm because I know I probably won’t fail, but why change a winning formula?

On the subject of soup

Is it just me who hates vegetables? I can eat raw carrots like a champion, and green beans hold no fear for me. But broccoli is just a bit watery and leek is better avoided like the plague. Not to worry though, I won’t be getting scurvy any time soon! (I drink too many smoothies for that.. sshhh)

Here is my super-duper recipe for a soup that will sort out all of your vegetables for the day, leaving you free to enjoy a vegetable-free dinner. Or not, as the case may be.

You will require:

Carrots
Parsnips
Sweet Potatoes
Potatoes
Onion (ONE. NO MORE. IS OK WE BLEND NASTY ONION)
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
Some water

Now, the precise ratio is less important than this: you need probably a 1:1 ratio of parsnips to sweet potatoes, a 2:1 ratio of parsnips to potatoes, and a 2:1 ratio of carrot to parsnip. This ratio is useful because it helps maintain that perfect orange colour which we all know and love. Carrots and sweet potatoes are orange, so it’s fine.

Then, once you’ve peeled/diced your veggie-tables, place in a pot with the stock cube and enough water to cover it. Boil for approximately 45 minutes/however long you can be bothered.

Blend.

Serve with crusty bread and a massive cup of tea.

 

This soup will fill you with so many vitamins you won’t be able to see straight. And it’s got … er, fibre. And… minerals? Carbohydrates from the bread…? er… yeah… something… it’s good for you… maybe

Some things never change

There are some things about me that I’m pretty sure will never change. I guess they’re probably key personality traits or something. Or integral psyche components. Or whatever. (I don’t do psychology, sheesh.) The only thing that really changes is how I express it.

For example, my slight (hah!) obsessive tendencies. These days I express this by making food plans (no joke), obsessively planning all my train journeys (meh), and cleaning my room/bathroom all the time. Not tidying it though, oddly enough.

I’m also counting exactly how many portions of pasta you can get out of each bag, but I guess that ties in to the whole food planning thing.

It’s 6, in case you were wondering.

I’ve apparently started hoarding carbohydrates too. At the time of writing, I have 1.5kg fusilli, 1kg spaghetti, 1.5kg rice, and 500g risotto rice. So… um… I’d like to say I didn’t see that coming, but … I sort of did. So now I have a carbs + cider shelf. (I guess I’m preparing for a really weird sort of party. I … don’t even…)

Ways to know you’re winning at uni

  1. You know exactly how long it takes to make porridge in the morning, so you can grab a few minutes extra sleep
  2. You’ve started peeling and cutting vegetables over the bin to save on washing up
  3. You’ve basically memorised the long (and complex) address people need to use to send you things
  4. You’ve made friends with the cleaners
    4a. The cleaners are now on such good terms with you they’ve left you a bottle of viakal for the kitchen
    4b. You’re using it
  5. You’ve stopped panicking when your flatmate almost sets off the fire alarm, and your first response is to leap for the tea towels and open the window
    5a. Simultaneously
  6. Your frozen goods/fridge rotation is bang up to date
  7. You’re on daily speaking terms with the administrative staff in the music department
  8. You’re recognised by most of the staff in the shop as the one who occasionally mass buys pot noodles
    8a. Even though you don’t do it anymore
  9. You sometimes walk to lectures with a massive mug of tea
  10. You’re no longer fussed when people stare into your kitchen while you’re having lunch
    10a. In fact, you sometimes wave at them
    10b. Sometimes they get embarrassed and stop
    10c. Sometimes they wave back
  11. You’ve mastered a ‘pity me’ face to persuade people to help you out in times of difficulty
    11a. Like the time when the launderette wouldn’t take any of your coins
  12. Your “I’m totally paying attention” face is better than ever
  13. You count going to bed before midnight as a solid achievement