Life Structure

January 14th, 2011 4 comments

Weekly Planner

At Oxford, there is the barest minimum of life structure. I’ll be in two tutorials and one lecture this term, which translates to two and a half meetings with professors a week. It’s not as if there is no work though; professors assign 500+ pages of reading and a 6-7 page paper between meetings.

Apart from their tutorials, though, students do their work whenever, wherever. Most days, there are no classes to wake up for, and nothing pushing you to work but you and your deadline two weeks away. From what I’ve heard so far, it’s a bit like telecommuting: most students keep 9-5 schedules, just to keep their lives together.

Contrast that to Tufts life, where students have two or three classes during each day, each with its own daily deadline. Professors split their classwork into manageable chunks that take a few hours to do. Students then motivate themselves with deadlines, and do the majority of your work on the night before it’s due. I certainly do.

But I’m at Oxford for the next six months, not at Tufts anymore. I suspect it will be a difficult paradigm shift for me — I’ve been deadline-motivating for almost ten years now, and here, there will be too much work for me to do on the last night. It’s a change I’ll welcome, though. The real world doesn’t break its work down into 3-hour chunks, and juggling multiple tasks with vague deadline expectations isn’t unusual. Hopefully by the end of these next two terms, I’ll be able to self-motivate and pace my own work much more effectively.

§ 4 Responses to Life Structure"

  • Ravi says:

    this is really interesting.

  • Asha says:

    Hey Phil,

    You are a really expressive writer! My university in London was exactly the un-structured structure you are describing…uGGGG it is very strange, especially when one is so used to getting academic support and daily structure from the American education system. However, I dealt with this by traveling a lot and having my own adventures, so enjoy your freedom as well 😉

    Also I am dying to know what you think of Oxford itself…is it as romantic/gothic/Hogwarts-like as you envisioned?

    Cheers mate!

  • Phoebe Yu says:

    You’re a blogger! YAY. I love keeping up with people’s blogs in RL =D

    Ditto about the schedule and procrastination bits. I stayed up til 3am last night trying to do readings, not good.

  • Tyler says:

    I don’t know how I would feel about that Oxford schedule…

    I enjoy going to lectures, and I hate doing readings (in fact, I generally don’t do readings). I tend to learn best by discussion, not by reading. So I think that lack of discussion and 500+ pages of reading per week would kill me 🙁

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