Sometimes learning proper time management isn’t enough to get everything done that needs to be done. There’s only so much one human being can juggle before they drop the ball.
Even those who claim to have mastered time management struggle with completing tasks if they accept more than they can realistically handle. The art of successfully managing one’s responsibilities is actually closely associated with another skill that many people have difficulties with, and in my opinion, it is both the easiest and the hardest to learn: saying “no.”
It’s easy to manage time when you know exactly how to get projects done. What if you don’t know where to go for resources? Motivation can significantly drop when you don’t know what you’re doing or how to do it. Research papers, especially, can be infuriating when the right resources just don’t seem to exist. Even when you feel you’ve finally made progress and have a few sources that relate to your topic, boom! Your teacher doesn’t think they’re reliable. How are you supposed to write a research paper when the only sources you can find just aren’t good enough? Well, perhaps you aren’t looking in all the right places.
Over the decades, hundreds of different citation styles have been developed. Organizations such as the American Psychological Association (APA) or Modern Language Association (MLA) have attempted to standardize the format of their styles by creating style guides to make them easier to use (Gratz, 2016). The three main styles used in the United States are the APA, MLA, and Chicago styles. But why, after all these years, do we still use so many different citation formats? Why haven’t we come up with one universal, standardized style for every occasion? Read more to find out.
Late last Spring, two different professors of mine assigned major research papers for their classes. One paper needed to be four to six pages long with four outside sources, and the other needed to be five to seven pages long with five outside sources. Both made up a big chunk of my final grade, and both were assigned around the same timeframe. On top of that, I still had my weekly responsibilities to take care of: meetings every Tuesday night for my fraternity, rehearsals to plan and lead for my a Cappella group (also on Tuesday nights), sectionals to go to, a job to work at, all my other classes to attend, an exercise routine to uphold, and date night with my boyfriend (which, admittedly, I did my best not to cancel. Ever). That’s pretty overwhelming, right? Which event is more important than another? Which paper should I work on first? How much time should I expect each paper to take? It’s hard enough to start working on ONE daunting project, let alone two, and the phrase “free time” wasn’t even in my vocabulary before they were assigned. Well, unfortunately these projects had to get done, and I am not the kind of person to pull an all-nighter, so I took a deep breath and began to plan:
The first step to effective time management is arranging your priorities. If you’re constantly getting little, unimportant tasks done and avoiding the more important responsibilities, chances are your life is a lot more hectic than it needs to be. Taking care of major projects before all else, even if you “still have time” to procrastinate, will be a huge relief in the long run. By the time the project due date is upon you, you’ll be watching all the people who DID procrastinate scramble to finish what you mastered weeks ago. However, although I’m sure everyone is aware that they should do the most important tasks first, the issue is that you’re not always sure which task is more important than another. After all, in college, we’re constantly assigned papers and deadlines, and they all seem very important. Where do you start? Well, according to Stephen Covey in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People...
The author of this segment (that’s me!) is a Psychology major and Music minor. I am currently enrolled in 12 credits at the University of Central Missouri. Although this may not seem like much, my classes are far from my only responsibility. On top of struggling to maintain my straight A average, I am a leader of the official a Cappella group on campus, RainbowTones, and the music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI). I also work 15 hours a week as a tutor at UCM’s friendly neighborhood writing center. As if that weren’t enough to do already, I also attempt to maintain a regular exercise regimen, socialize with friends, spend time with my boyfriend, and get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. If you don’t already know who I am… I’m not surprised. I’m probably just a blur on the sidewalk at this point. Hi, my name is Karyna Kakareka, and this is Time Management: the story of how I manage to *not* spontaneously combust on a regular basis. I will be posting tips on how to manage time effectively every other Wednesday for the foreseeable future (because apparently I just had too much free time on my hands as it was). I look forward to sharing my wisdom, and I hope that my suggestions help all of our lovely readers survive the school year.
by Julia Landrum
Carry Nation graduated from Warrensburg State Normal School (UCM long before it was named UCM).
So, What is the big deal about Carry Nation? Have you Heard about her and want to learn more? Do you know anything about her? (read on)
Test your knowledge with this short, fun quiz by Zimbio!
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The UCM community is discussing the singular they. Feel free to leave comments below.
The Word on Language and Grammar with Anne Curzan, Part 6. March 7, 2012. YouTube. Web. June 28, 2016.
Heather Hughes, our very own co-director, recently compiled the 2015-2016 Annual Report, which shows just how much we at the UCM Writing Center really do.
Click below for the full PDF version!
The UCM Writing Center summer team read Stephen M. North's "The Idea of a Writing Center" (1984) as a collaborative professional development and brainstorming effort. Here are the highlights.
"[Writing centers represent] the marriage of what are arguably the two most powerful contemporary perspectives on teaching writing: first, that writing is most usefully viewed as a process; and second, that writing curricula need to be student-centered. This new writing center, then, defines its province not in terms of some curriculum, but in terms of the writers it serves." (p. 438)
"[I]n a writing center the object is to make sure that writers, and not necessarily their texts, are what get changed by instruction. In axiom form it goes like this: Our job is to produce better writers, not better writing." (p. 438, emphasis added)
"[A]ny plan of action the tutor follows . . . will not derive from a generalized model of composing, or be based on where the student ought to be because she is a freshman or sophomore, but will begin from where the student is, and move where the student moves." (p. 439)
In sum, writing centers strive to be student-centered spaces where writers gain confidence and skills to not just better their current papers but to better themselves as writers, and in turn, to better their future projects as well.
During our Peer Tutoring in the Writing Center class, we were taught this principle without knowing where it came from. It's enlightening to see how writing centers across the country share common goals.
Thanks for giving us a little direction, North. Pun totally intended.
North, S. M. (1984). The idea of a writing center. College English, 46(5), 433-446. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/377047
UCM students, please help us plan our fall schedule by filling out this short, four-question survey and letting us know what kind of events you are interested in.
Stop by and say hi to Writing Center Consultants Julia Landrum and Leah Madsen (not pictured) in the Elliot Student Union at summer orientation for incoming UCM students! Learn more about the Writing Center's services and receive a free pen and bookmark.
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The Writing Center can help you join the culture of scholarship through the mindful use of references and citations.
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