Tag Archives: school

Under Pressure

I’ve found that I tend to do best under pressure. Deadlines don’t stress me out, they bring out the best in me. I’ve always been this way, all through school, especially college, and now, at work.

I was a history major in college, so I always had a ton of multi-page research papers to write. I would write some of it early on, but then would wait until the night before it was due to pound it out. And I always got A’s. I perform well under pressure, focusing, becoming more decisive and concise, and my mind doesn’t wander as much.

Same thing now, at work. The more I have to do, the more I get done. If I have 25 things on my plate, I’ll get 20 done. If I have 6 things on my plate, I’m lucky to get 1 done. I think, oh, I’ll get to that in a minute, because there’s plenty of time and not too much to do. But I never actually do get around to it.

I do it at home. Oh, I know I need to vacuum, and mop, I’ll get to that later. Then, I’m expecting guests, and I get it all done. And I wonder why I don’t simply Do It when I think of it.

I’ve tried imposing deadlines on myself, but they just don’t work. I know it’s not a “real” deadline, so I don’t perform as well. I need an actual solid, valid deadline, with true consequences, to fully perform. I’ve tried imposing monetary rewards and consequences on myself, but (a) I don’t have the money to reward myself properly, and (b) if I fail, I simply won’t pay myself the consequence. It’s not real.

My mind wanders too much when I’m not busy. That’s why I’ve been considering a second job. Just something to keep me active, with the added bonus of helping me pay off some bills. But the only place I’m interested in working is a bookstore. I don’t want to wait tables, I don’t want to work “regular” retail. I figure, if I’m going to be working an extra 20-30 hours a week, I at least want to do something I don’t hate. And being surrounded by books all the time, I would love that.

Also looking at possibly taking a class at the community college. Maybe Basketweaving? Kidding, of course. I’d love to take a photography class, but alas, I’m still lacking my Dream Camera. I could take something that would “further my career” in order to be reimbursed by the company. I’m thinking about some legal classes, that would fit the bill.

I’ve been planning on doing NaNoWriMo  again this year. I have a ton of vacation days I still need to take, so thought I would use some then. And I do better with things like that, brings out a little bit of my competitive spirit.

What about you? What kinds of rewards and consequences do you impose on yourself to get things done? Any suggestions on how to impose personal deadlines on myself?

Back to School

I’ve been seriously considering taking a class at the local community college next semester.  Not for credit, not to go towards a degree, just for fun.  A class that I find interesting, and fun, and enlightening.  Now I just have to decide which class to take, because I have a list of about 10 that I think would be interesting.

I found this post:  100 Totally Fun and Weird College Courses you can take online for free.  Offerings include:

  • Magic, Witchcraft and the Spirit World, offered by MIT. 
  • Creole Language and Culture, from Notre Dame.
  • Physics of Rock Climbing, MIT.
  • Kitchen Chemistry, MIT.  (I listed that one specifically for the two Jen’s!)
  • Nine Lessons Learned About Creativity at Google, offered by Stanford.
  • Eat Well for Less, Oregon State.
  • The Dark Age, UMass Boston.  (I might have to take this one – I love studying The Middle Ages.)

There are some well-known and prestigious universities – just think, you could tell people you were taking classes at MIT or UC Berkley.  How much fun would that be?

I love classes that make learning fun.  If it’s fun, if you enjoy it, then you’re more likely to care about learning.  That’s one of the problems with the public school system in general, I think.  Learning isn’t fun, so kids don’t want to learn.  They study the basics, enough to pass the all-important tests, but it’s not retained for future use.

My favorite college professor was Dr. Hodges.  She was so enthusiastic about her subject, and she was always having so much fun when she lectured, that you couldn’t help but be drawn in.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she also had a theatre background, because she knew how to hold your attention, even in an auditorium with 100+ students.  I will never forget one lecture in particular, when she was talking about the “bathrooms” in medieval castles.  She drew it out on a transparency, told us how it worked, and said, “Isn’t that the coolest thing ever?”  And it kind of was, because she thought it was so cool.