Aunt Agony & Uncle Upset: Minimising the Snowball Effect

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By Faith Wan (23S02B) and Justin Cheong (23A01C, Peer Helper)

Cover Image by Johnathan Lim (23S03M)

Your resident Aunties and Uncles are back with our Ask Aunt Agony and Uncle Upset column, this time as a collaboration between Raffles Press and Peer Helpers’ Programme (PHP)! Ever wanted to rant about that someone you just can’t stand? Overwhelmed with too many feelings? Submit your confessions to https://tinyurl.com/riadvice and we’ll give them our best shot. This column will be published at the end of every month. 

How do you catch up if the work has already started snowballing and you have a 3 day cca? how do i be less behind on lectures :(

Stressed Scholar

Dear Stressed Scholar, 

We get it. 

From understanding only about 50% of your tutorials, the long gruelling hours of CCA that often leave us in a “no thoughts, head empty” state, to the student population’s obsession with having to conduct a Zoom meeting for everything possible, it seems like the 24 hours afforded to us every day simply isn’t enough. Multiply that across five days each week, and the weekend seems less and less like a respite. 

Falling behind on work is something everyone cautions against because of the notorious snowball effect and is an issue that should be nipped in the bud. As such, we’ve compiled a list of tips that will hopefully help steer you back on track.

For starters, one can create a weekly timetable and carefully plan out how much time would be allocated to each subject, while still making sure to give yourself enough rest time to avoid burnout. Allocating appropriate amounts of time given to each subject (more to weaker subjects if necessary) will best help in coping with the growing piles of schoolwork. 

Of course, if it were this easy, everyone would be on top of their game, all the time. Inevitably, we do not follow our own schedules, often procrastinating and waiting for the panic to kick in on Sunday night to “chiong” our tutorials.

How then can we avoid this? 

Study dates in school with friends is a tried and trusted method—surrounding yourself with similarly motivated peers will definitely give some healthy pressure to really grit your teeth and get down to business. Having an “accountability partner” that you have to report your progress to honestly may give you that little bit of additional motivation.

Ensuring that you have a conducive environment that is quiet and without distractions to study in may also allow for better focus. Try putting on your favourite tunes to really get you in the “zone”! In fact, video game soundtracks are especially good at keeping motivation levels high.

Catching up on lectures is a different matter. Perhaps you should prioritise the subjects that you have fallen behind in and set aside any little pockets of time you might have. Even ten minutes of full concentration and conscious note-taking will go a long way.

While watching lectures at 2x speed may sound appealing (and is what many people do!), it may have the adverse effect of not helping us retain any crucial information. This can cause us to fall even further behind on content while remaining blissfully unaware, which is definitely a big no-no. 

If you’re really, really, behind on lectures and desperately need to get back on track, skip out on the lectures altogether and settle for reading the current topic’s notes. However, do remember to watch those lectures eventually!

It definitely is a challenge to carve out time from seemingly nowhere. However, it is still possible, albeit with some short-term sacrifices: waking up an hour earlier on a Saturday morning to watch last week’s Economics lectures, missing out on that session of Burning Bridges during break, or even starting work on that pesky Math tutorial during the long bus ride home. 

Perhaps you can take comfort in the fact that all this will be a temporary measure; hopefully, within a few weeks, you will be all caught up with the subjects you have fallen behind in, and all will be well!

It’s practically impossible never to fall behind on work, especially during NSG and concert season. Ultimately, what’s more important is consistently finding ways to make the most out of our (very!) limited time to catch up on our work and take well-deserved breaks. 

Sincerely,

Aunt Agony and Uncle Upset

If you need anyone to talk to about any issues you might be facing, do drop by My Rest Space, near Marymount gate and talk to one of our peer helpers! We’re open on Tuesday from 2.30 – 4.30 p.m, Wednesday 11.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m., Thursday 2.30 – 4.30 p.m. and Friday 1.30 – 4.30 p.m.  If you would like to meet a peer helper on a regular basis, do email us a request at rafflesinstitutionphp@gmail.com or fill in our request form at our website https://rafflespeerhelpers.wordpress.com

423190cookie-checkAunt Agony & Uncle Upset: Minimising the Snowball Effect

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