December 19, 2010

How do you generate mixed feelings in yourself?

Simple really, get yourself a master's project - you'll get scared, excited, anxious and curious, all at once. I think the last time I experienced the same combination of feelings, I was 19, and about to jump out of a plane!

Let me explain. I am one of seven students being supervised by a particular project tutor this year. We all met for the first time last week, to discuss the projects, and how to succeed. The tutor opened the meeting in a very memorable way. He said, "Based on my previous experience, four of you will fail your projects this year". Cue feelings of jumping out of a plane - or maybe being pushed out. With no parachute! Looking around the table at the time, I could see everyone else going through a similar moment. Apparently, in the past two years, 7 out of 12 students had failed their projects. I have no doubt that he's an excellent tutor, and that it was obviously their own faults, but it made me feel a little terrified all the same.

Fortunately, he had some ideas about how we could avoid such failures. The gist of it was, essentially, make sure you spend enough time working on the project this year. Sounds simple, no? Well, kind of. It would be easy, if there weren't another seven modules, 9 PMA's, job applications, and the rest of life to consider (being a student is just one of many roles in mine, sadly...). The tutor pointed out yes it would be easier that way, but it would have around 10% of the value if you weren't trying to balance everything in the course of a year.

Fair enough. So, how do we go about this in the right way. Basically, it will be hard to forget the kick up the arse that this meeting produced, so that's all the motivation I need. As suggested by our tutor, the seven will start meeting on a regular basis to provide a support framework for each other. I missed the first one today, for various reasons, but I think it's a great idea, that I really want to commit to because the value of it is obvious and important to me. Also, we're doing some heavy duty planning - a day by day plan for the rest of the working year being one form of this. From an organisational point of view, I've downloaded and played with the Mind Manager software we were recommended in ReMe. Wow, it's good! A lot of the other blogs I've read have been extolling the virtues too - if you have doubts, just try it!

We were given a mental picture to aim toward. Graduation, a year from now, where each of us goes on stage to collect our degree certificate, with Distinction. Well, personally, I think 7 out of 7 at 70% might be a lofty target. But I've recently learnt, you might as well aim high, because good enough is rarely actually good enough.

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