Study Tips: IMLR Supervisor Edition

As part of our Postgrad Survival Guide series, we’ve asked our fellow students for study tips which would make postgrad-life a little easier. 

But then we thought, why stop there? After all, our PhD supervisors at the School of Advanced Study were also students once, and they survived somehow. So we decided to go straight to the source and ask SAS faculty for their nuggets of wisdom when it comes to successful studying. Lucky for SASiety, not just one but two of our amazing supervisors at the Institute of Modern Languages Research had an answer for us!

“Delay. Leave it to stew. I know – the advice to procrastinate may sound counter-intuitive, but when there’s a chapter that just doesn’t want to come together, when the clinching finale of an argument just keeps slipping between your fingers, or even when there’s an email you don’t quite know how to answer: leave it overnight – come back to it fresh. So often things seem easy, perhaps even obvious, when you get back to them after a day or two. The pressure has gone, your mind has adjusted and – to borrow John Steinbeck’s phrase  –  the ‘committee of sleep’ may have done their work.”

Taking a step back and looking at the work with fresh eyes is great advice! It not only stops us from getting overwhelmed by the amount of work, it can also help us prioritise work and focus more on the details in the long run. A view that Dr Ford also shares. As the old adage goes: less is sometimes more. 

“One thing which has worked for me right now, during the pandemic, is allowing myself to slow down, tackle one thing at a time, whether that’s reading an article, or writing a paragraph, and (importantly) being kind to myself when I don’t finish everything on my list! It’s hard sometimes, but I’m trying to stop myself seeing that as a failure, and rather learning to set more realistic goals in the first place. Having a more manageable schedule might mean doing less, but you often do it with more attention to detail and depth. That will save you time in the long run!”

Do you have any study tips for us to survive as postgraduates? Are there methods you use, or software/apps you swear by? Let us know in the comments!

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