All 4 entries tagged Ppe

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November 19, 2005

Rantage: The Assignment

I've hit a wall with my assignment. I'm sitting here with the document open and not making any headway. I can't see a way forward with it, possibly because I know that there is so much to do. Maybe Iím at the top of the mountain and its all downhill from here? The best thing is to write something, anything. If I write in my blog, will it help to get me started today? Hopefully.

I'm beginning to wonder how on earth it is possible to produce a worthy post module assignment in 40 hours. Am I doing something wrong here? It is me having an appalling writing process? Does this tutor have unrealistic expectations or is it me getting the wrong end of the stick? The stats assignment is achievable in the time. Do all tutors have unrealistic expectations, having forgotten what it is like to be a student?

M is off to buy a new vacuum cleaner and then off to watch England vs. New Zealand at the rugby club. I'm not going to Shrewsbury to be with the team because I can't justify the time away from writing the assignment. The whole thing is completely shagged. What possessed me to pick something so bloody wordy? Someone bring me some calculus… Is this subject wrong for me? This is the wrong time to re-evaluate my degree choices but an engineering undergrad would have been more enjoyable, something more quantitative at least.

Doing something for 40 hours and then handing it in even though I know that it can be improved is a hard one for me to grasp. Perfectionism is a real strength but it's a fight with myself. I can drive myself through it. The deadline will come and I will submit something. And I don't dwell on it and over time I will see the good points. Beating myself up over what I could have done is illogical and pointless. Why do I put myself through this if this is the way I work? Why on earth do I have ideas of doing further study when I finish?

I'm letting this thing run my life. It only represents 4.72% of the overall degree mark, so a mark of 50% in the assignment is only 2.36% of my overall degree lost. Not so bad. I'm blowing this all out of proportion. Jane: stop the meltdown and get on with it.


November 17, 2005

Assignment Progress

I managed to make lots of progress on my assignment yesterday. I tried writing down any non-work thoughts on a pad of paper and then wrote relevant thoughts into mindmap. It worked really well for me as when the thought was 'out' and recorded, I knew that I wouldn't forget it and my brain left me alone, letting me work with fewer interuptions from myslf, if that makes sense. I think that I trust myself more with mindmaps too. Instead of wanting to put it into a word format I stuck with it (but it was tempting). This 'birds-eye' view is so much better in a mindmap format.

I managed to generate another 1500 words without knowing it (without it feeling like climbing Everest). Today is about tidying it up. I think that its useful for me to split the two component activities clearly in my head. Yesterday I was generating and playing ideas and writing down all of the half thoughts etc and today I will tidy up what I have done i.e. create something that has a coherant structure. Sometimes I get the two parts mixed up i.e. I generate a few ideas, tidy them up, generate some more etc and all the perfect pieces don't fit together as I wanted. And I worry about it as I can't see the bigger picture – I only have a vague idea about what the thing is supposed to look like.

There's no way that I am going to spend anywhere close to this amount of time on any of my other assignments. I didn't start it late, it has just dragged on and on. There's no point bashing my head in about the excessive time spent. I've learned a lot and will move on. I don't think about it when i've submitted it. There's no point analysing it over and over. It only increases stress and worry. And I don't like it…


November 14, 2005

Writing

Follow-up to Work from Jane's Blog

I've been thinking a lot about my stlye of thinking and writing over the past few days. This all came about through the PPE assignment which ground to a halt for me midway through last week. I found myself trying to find excuses to do statistics. I mean, honestly! Some assignments go well; they seem to get done quickly and I enjoy doing them. Others just hang around. Why is that? Is it just me?

Doing maths is a very linear process as 99% of it involves a clear starting point and end point with a void in the middle which one should fill with a clear, logical argument. At a first glance, essay writing looks a lot like this, but no matter how much effort, it is impossible for me to write in a linear way i.e. beginning, middle, end.

My thoughts have always been jumpy and it has been a long term stress factor in my life that I can't hang on to a thought for more than about 5 seconds. I wanted to work on it in my head and be able to write somethng on paper that was reasonably well developed.

After a conversation with my tutor, i'm exploring the idea that being scatty can be a strength and that one can get more original ideas by allowing my mind to have ideas and not to stop them coming because i'm busy working on another thought. If the brain is faster than the pen than I should work on methods to increase the speed of recording my thoughts rather than to slow my brain down.

I think a good analogy for what I was trying to do is this: I was trying to paint a perfect picture from a description without a sketching it all out first. I don't allow myself to 'just write'. I realise that I should save the perfectionism for the end 'tidying up' part, and try to appreciate the difference in the two distinct processes in writing an essay.

After reading the first part of Writing your dissertation in 15 minutes a day by Joan Bolker, it's clear that that i'm not writing enough. So, I will write more. For a start, I will aim to write something in the blog about how work is going. And I will stop torturing myself when something is not exactly how I would like it and move on.

Mindmaps seem to be the best way forward for me. I will use them properly for my next assignment, which happens to be accounting. Yummy. I thought that I was using mindmaps correctly, but I don't think I was. I didn't believe that I was making 'progress' on an assignment unless I had it in essay form and it had a work count. I don't stick with it long enough and I don't use mindmpas for brainstorming, just for structure. This is something that i'm going to change in my next assignment.

So I'm thinking about what I mean by progress at the moment. How do you determine how your essay is going? Is it by word count? How you feel about it? In comparison to others? If anyone reads this, do reply as I am really interested.


November 12, 2005

Work

Why is it that some assignments come and go with a minimum of fuss and some just won't die? The PPE assignment has been driving me up the wall but I recognise that i'm tying myself up in knots about it.

At the last count, this is the fourth proper essay that I've written since bluffing my way through 1000 words about Twelfth Night at GCSE. I've written other stuff, mainly internet based, in which my fantastic wit and clever observation (haha) covered up my complete lack of experience and ability in the writing department :-)

I'm on a steep learning curve.

More to follow. I need sleep as i'm off to Twickenham tomorrow (today actually) to watch England get whipped by Australia. Wuhoo.


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