Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The story of the aspirational to-do list

Ahhh 109, or as I like to call it struggle-oh-nine.

I tried so so so hard to not procrastinate this time. The consecutive all-nighters induced by Mod1 did not make me a happy camper. At the same time, I had just kind of accepted that it was my own fault for not starting it earlier -- I got what was coming for me. So, a full week and a day before the Mod2 deadline, Tara, Krystal, and I decided that this time, everything would be different. Ahead of us was a week with a 7.05 pset, a 20.310 exam, and most dauntingly, the Mod2 report, but this time, we would be prepared to take everything in stride.

Screenshot of our overly-optimistic to-do list for every day of the week leading put to the Mod2 deadline

Guess how we did? Well, not that great. I think we all fell off by Wednesday of our to-do list. Despite our high aspirations of staying on track and finishing all our tasks with minimized stress, there were a few things that we did not take account of. These include: 
  • When I have an exam, it's hard not to spend at least the night before and day of obsessing over it, regardless of how prepared or how purportedly 'easy' the exam might be. This makes it difficult to achieve much else on those days.
  • The changing nature of feedback of the course. I attended office hours on Monday to see how I could restructure my introduction and check that off the list. I even went to BE communications lab on Tuesday to polish it even more! But then after asking some more questions on Thursday revealed that my current vision for the report was unfeasible by Friday = rewriting the whole section = sad Katherine. Even though finishing the introduction was slated for completion by Monday, it was not in a state even resembling the final draft until Sunday, and definitely not because I didn't try hard enough
  • CPW. Well, this did not really hinder my ability to complete assignments or anything, but it was definitely a lot harder to concentrate on studying for my exam when a gaggle of prefrosh decided to march into the same area and gossip about college. Also, interacting with prefrosh and telling them about how much I loved my major when I was in a state of mind of really not loving my major wasn't that great either. 
Even though I did end up having to stay up all night on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night, the to-do list was useful in setting me up for a trajectory to complete the assignment. Because I had started data analysis early, I was able to receive definitive answers to my questions earlier, and thus, be in a place where I could be more self-sufficient in finishing a section (hypothetically). Unfortunately, this has its drawbacks (i.e. read above about my plight in writing my introduction). Still, breaking down the assignment into smaller, more easily tackled tasks made the Mod2 report less daunting. 

And with another (half) week filled with psets and exams, guess what we made? another to-do list!!!

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