July 16, 2016

Damage control semester!

UPDATE: I graduated with a first class honours ūüėÄ

Sooo….. my third year has¬†been a bit of a nightmare! After second year, I honestly didn’t think¬†things could get any harder, but I was so far off the mark. I didn’t¬†manage to finish writing four of my six papers during¬†exams and my results were quite¬†depressing.¬†So in an effort to restore my GPA, I’ve spent a couple of days¬†planning my comeback¬†strategy for second semester; even breaking it into sections and¬†all ūüėÄ

Daily Timetable



I use Google Calendar¬†(and all the other tools Google¬†offers) as my daily planner. I already have my course timetable for second semester and so far it looks like the best timetable I’ve had at UCT.¬†My days will start early as usual.¬†Because¬†I already finish at 1700 everyday, I can walk down to Lower Campus (sort of my relaxing time), go for supper at 1730 and be in my room by 1800.

For the 2.5 years I’ve been at UCT developed three different routines for my evenings:

  1. I take a 90 minute nap and start working at 2000 for 4-5 hours until midnight to 0100. Then I sleep for the next 6-7 hours to start my day at 0700.
  2. I work for 2-3 hours until 2100 then sleep for 6-7 hours and wake up at 0400 to study for about 3-4 hours until 0700 when I start my day.
  3. I work for 4 to 5 hours until 2300, take a short 30min-1hr nap then continue working 0300, get 4 hours of sleep and wake up at 0700. Some times I will be too tired to take a short nap so instead of sleeping for less than an hour after the first session, I will sleep for 4 hours then wake up around 0300 and continue working until 0700.

I alternate between routines 1 and 2 for about 60% of the semester. The third routine is reserved for test weeks or crazy submission deadlines.

This timetable gives me at least 7 hours of study time per day and up to 11-12 hours (including the free periods during the day) during tough weeks when I really need the extra study time.

The weekends will be used to catch up with notes and study for upcoming tests.


My usual approach to courses is to study and understand the topics as we go through the semester, then use the last few weeks to revise stuff from the start of the semester so that by exam time I would have covered everything in the syllabi. I tried this last semester but got screwed so bad. Because of the insane amount of content¬†and work I had and my policy of not taking or making¬†notes,¬†it took longer to study and revise the earlier topics. In the end, I had to rush through everything.¬†I’ve always felt that making notes is such a waste of time because I can cover so much more content during the time spent writing stuff I will never read.¬†I realised the hard way that one cannot simply recall content from 10 weeks ago from 7 different, level 7 courses.

The plan for the second semester:

  • Make short summary notes after every single chapter/topic I cover during the semester. This will help when revising topics I would have forgotten about.
  • Periodically revisit troubling topics during the semester. This will make it easier when studying for tests and exams.
  • Make time for tutorials, text book questions and past papers. The only way I can do this is to make sure I understand everything in the papers themselves before attempting them otherwise it is pointless but it is still important to do this so I know what I am up against when studying for the tests/exams.
  • Never leave anything for last minute. This has never really been an issue for me until this year. Because I was 4 weeks behind by the end of the first semester, I couldn’t study for tests properly¬†which led to the series of unfortunate events that culminated in my depressing grades


Social media

Procrastination is the thief of time. [Edward Young] I have a very short concentration span! I take a break every 20min and spend 30min on YouTube or Facebook. I have never wasted so much of my study time like I did last semester. There are many possible reasons why I did so but I need to cut down on the time I spend doing random unproductive things and social media! I’ve already started detaching myself from this virus and hopefully I will have it under control by the start of next semester.


I’ve always made time for my special hobby but the only time I’m devoting to photography this semester is when I have events I have to attend… But I will do some small activities during my time outs though so it’s not completely out of the way.

Social Life

Jack Sparrow meme

My very small circle of friends all graduate this year so I’m pretty sure they won’t have time to socialise and waste time, which is great. I have been using the June break to do all the fun activities I’ve wanted to do because¬†I do not plan on doing a lot of extra curricular¬†activities during the semester…unless it’s a photo-shoot which I will most certainly be getting paid for. My policy will be, if it doesn’t contribute to my academics or pocket, I will not entertain it.


I only have one academic target and it hasn’t changed since day one of first year… so nothing much to talk about here…


This roughly what I have planned for the semester but planning is one thing, implementation is a whole different ball game which involves a lot of discipline, will-power and prayer ūüôā …