Adopting better study habits

The examination results for Semester 2 is out. As predicted, I did not do well in my English For Written Communication subject. Gosh, its like medical school again where I flunked my also, English subject. Friends seem to think that because I can speak the language better than them, that means I write just as well. Truth is, academic writing is different. You need to plan the essay and have good supporting points. You don’t drag and write in a colloquial tone. It is not a blog entry.

In hindsight, part of my poor achievements could be due to the fact that I missed most of my online classes with the tutor. Although the sessions are not compulsory and are recorded, I did not have the initiative to allocate some time to go through the E-lectures. I did the mistake of undermining the difficulty level of the tasks involved. I feel that I could do better in terms with the references.

So, here are a few of my refreshed intentions to excel this semester

  • Try to attend the weekly E-tutorials for ALL subjects. It is a good platform for the tutors to at least discover that there is a student by the name of Minci. Switching on the camera during the LIVE session would be great but as for now, I will make do with a profile picture on my avatar.
  • Be more responsive in forums. That too, is a good source of information as sometimes tutors share articles and prompt questions to study more on a topic.
  • Find a friend? This is a struggle for an introvert like myself. So, we will see about this.
  • Research articles better. Utilize the TSDAS Digital Library. I think it is time to visit the librarian.
  • Polish on my APA and essay format. Although it doesn’t carry a lot of marks, every point helps when you are desperate. Plus, this is in preparation for hopefully Masters and phD journey.
  • Supplement the module material by reading from a good, recommended textbook. Cause some have really good examples.
  • Start my essay early – brainstorm on good search terms, plan the points and number of words for each paragraph.
  • Less publicity on progress in social media. Put in more (proper) work instead

Semester 2: A Reflection

Semester 2 started when Covid-19 was at it’s peak. I remembered feeling restless waiting for the modules to come out on OUM MyVLE as I felt that I am pressed for time to study and work at the same time. I think the modules were finally up in the 2nd week of June for the semester starting in May.

Maybe that is how the semester starts? I’m not sure. I will have to see the pattern for next semester due to start in September, whether the modules would be up in October.

There were a few things I thought I could improve next semester;

  • Start my assignments early. At least draft out what my ideas are. Just so I could get hold of extra resources from the library and work on it at a comfortable pace. I defied sleep and rest for this one.
  • Try to attend more Google Meet classes. So far, I have been an avid attendee for my psychology and management classes. I was absent in all of my English class because I got the time messed up. The classes are not compulsory but it helps for learners to understand better.
  • Interact more in forum and maybe, in tutorials. I still feel that tutors explain concepts better than reading books or watching YouTube videos.
  • Make more friends?
  • Plan out my study schedule better. I thought I had it under control but I find that my reading activities are very basic. I did not get much reading on the extras from references books and such.
  • Practice my APA referencing style more. Maybe do some sort of latih tubi online.

The last few weeks were stressful as I was studying for the exam. I think it showed at work as my assistants seemed quite distant. My nose was either in a book or paper notes and vigorously typing on my laptop in my free time between patients.

I definitely talked less at work. After all, I did not take leave at all for this month and relied on that brief break of Awal Muharram to clear the mind. I am making a mental note to apply for leave next month. I also did a stationery haul (of course lerr) to motivate my studies. Can’t wait to use them for my note-taking.

English paper. A take home examination

If you have a strong hunch. Follow it. It could save your life.

That is how I would describe my OUMH1203 English for Written Communication exam paper. It was in essay format and before the exam date, I have printed out the sample questions a week in advance and attempted it. It was quite an OK trial paper to be completed in about 2 hours plus.

However, format has changed in view of the new norm.

The exam question is readily accessible online from 10am on Sunday and the answers are to be handed in before 10am on the Monday. Candidates have 24 hours to complete the paper. In my mind, I had this thought of why lar paper keluar hari ahad.. why not a monday. Turns out there was a good reason for it.

Initially I had wanted to attempt the paper at night once the kids are asleep. It was a coincidence however, for that particular Sunday – my husband did not have to go to work or collect rent and run errands. Instead he was so free that he just wanted to stay indoors and cook lunch. So I thought it would be great if he minded the kids whilst I download the paper.

I WAS SO GLAD I DID THAT AT ABOUT 11AM.

For I was in shock when I read the questions. In gist, I have to write 4 different essays with about 800 -1000 words each! I tried hard not to panic although I knew that if you have no inspiration, you can’t pen down your thoughts. My 4 essays are about;

  1. MCO ; its cause and effects
  2. social networking application imposing a negative behaviour on children and teenagers
  3. saving the environment
  4. adult workers pursuing higher education and its effects on the economy and family

I was technically in my study area for the rest of the day with few interruptions in between. Things like going to the loo, having lunch, washing my daughters no 2, distracted by Shopee, resting my brain on the couch etc. Can you imagine how I would have felt if I decided to attempt the paper at night? Sedangkan assignment 3000 words pun I need about a month to complete, what more these in 24 hours. Now I worry if we are required to cite our references in the essay. That would be a bummer because I surely did not cite any. Mana nak ingat.

I finally completed my essay by 1am in the morning and dreaded going to work today. My head is still woozy at this hour. By the way, I have just completed my online MCQ exam for the Principles of Management subject a few minutes ago. That was a timed session of 90 minutes. Terpaksa basuh berak Ninie laju2 sebab tak nak rugi masa. Masa Mummy tengah amek examlah dia nak berak jugak.

I am making a mental note that for the next exam season, I will try to apply for leave. This is because next semester I will be having 4 subjects. Boleh stress macam ni. Terus jadi gemuk balik after all my Biggest Loser effort. Its hard to tell if I did well for both subjects. I am crossing my fingers to at least pass the courses. My last subject for examination will be Psychology this Wednesday.

Wish me luck.

Career Talk – an introspection

I watched a Career Talk hosted by Psychospiritual Institute last night. The panellist was made up of an ensemble cast. I mean, there’s Dr Alizi Alias man.. a big name in psychology!!

Akif Basri on Twitter: "Ramai tanya, macam mana nak jadi ...

I am glad that my understanding of Psychology is close to what they are promoting. It was great to know of opportunities for study and career options. I was a bit terkilan on the part where it mentioned that those who have a degree and wish to pursue Masters in Psychology need not have to do a degree in the field, instead sit for pre-requisite subjects prior to the masters programme.

However, come to think of it – I would be faced with restrictions of time and making the journey to campus as such part-time programmes are available at certain institutions only. One being in Perak! Judging from my current work-life balance, I think it is best to not make big, rash decisions. Kids in school, husband awaiting Specialist Placement. Me with my job and a salary that pays for my tuition fees. Lagipun, I have nothing to kejar.

This academic journey, after all, is a major commitment already. Looking back, I still feel studying in OUM (Melaka) is the best option for me so far. Kita belajar betul2. Belajar pelan2. Respect the knowledge and teachers. Lepas tu kita fikir ke arah masters. InsyaAllah.

Assignments 2 down, 1 to go

I have to admit, my essay on management is still at 30% but the burden is less as I have submitted my essays on Psychology and English 1 day before the deadline. I had to bring my assignments with me during my staycation at Anugerah Homestay Melaka . I had too many things on my plate the last week of July.

Work, course, packing, planning, everything.

In fact, I just realized a big blunder with my Psychology essay a few days before submission. I had wanted to submit it earlier but when I re-read the question and my answer – I discovered I did a big mistake.

My psychology assignment had two task. First, to write a letter to the minister of KPWKM to highlight mental health issues and how psychology can help. Secondly, a letter to a journalist to explain psychology theories relevant in our Malaysian setting. Initially, I did an essay on baby dumping for my 1st essay complete with reference and towards the end (thankfully) did I then realize that it has to be about mental health. I found it too difficult to twist Baby Dumping into a mental health issue and so I chose Postpartum Depression. My second letter was about littering in Malaysia and how Theory of Education by John Dewey could be helpful. I just hope the E-grader is able to understand my points. Both were challenging assignments but honestly fulfilling. I feel that my APA referencing is better this time but I am sure there would still be mistakes here and there.

My English assignment was a discussion essay. We were to make a draft and then elaborate on freedom of speech and social media abuse. This was equally exhausting to write. I hope I can score enough points for a pass.

On a different note, my aunt who was admitted for Covid-19 passed away. Her comorbidity made her infection worsened with time. I like to believe that she went to meet her Maker at a time when she was loved and at her best.

Things to do in 11 days;

  1. Complete my management assignment
  2. Break down my study topics into little blocks
  3. Complete my Psych notes

Things to do after the exam;

  • Draft more blog entries and keep up with my journaling in my HoboMinci
  • Tend to my garden
  • Continuous study