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Old 08-01-2016   #1
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Topic Nominated Coping with University Work and Personal Reading

Strangely, this might be my biggest fear with entering university.

How did TLO manage?

This is my life. This is my damnation. This is my only regret--that I ever was born.

-- Swans, "Beautiful Child"
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Old 08-01-2016   #2
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Re: Coping with University Work and Personal Reading

I have heard about this phenomenon, but I've never really encountered any problems myself. Of course, writing my Master's Thesis didn't give much time for personal reading, but I was never affected by the desire not to read personally during my time. The best thing, I find, is to find a routine where you read every day, be it at home, in the supermarket queue, during public transportation or whatever. Occasionally read books that are lighter in tone and style during stressful periods of your semesters.
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Old 08-01-2016   #3
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Re: Coping with University Work and Personal Reading

Quote Originally Posted by Nirvana In Karma View Post
Strangely, this might be my biggest fear with entering university.

How did TLO manage?
NIK, what are you studying . . . if you don't mind my asking? I just completed my degree last year in Anthropology and Sociology – Literary and Cultural Studies. I really regret not doing business and economics in conjunction with one of my other majors, but whatever, I'm a stupid prick, I had no idea what I was doing when I enrolled. My mother's a dentist, my father – a chief firefighter . . . they didn't bludgeon me enough with good wholesome, right wing, capitalist values . . . the bastards!

Anyway, in concert with all the suicidally boring weekly readings, set by esteemed academics, I was balls deep in writers like Nietzsche and Bergson. I'd skim the weekly readings, make notes to talk about in class and then after, begin reading the writers that interested me in a personal way.

In my final year the academic left turned super saiyan with SJW rot. I became a total reactionary and began reading fiction instead . . . So thank you SJWs, every writer I indexed in my recent "top 10 authors of all time" post is because of you.

So yes, it is totally possible to read the fiction you love, get your academic work done and maintain solid grades . . .

Hopefully my experience translates in some way.

The special quality of hell is to see everything clearly down to the last detail. And to see all that in the pitch darkness!
- Yukio Mishima, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Last edited by Liam Barden; 08-01-2016 at 10:45 AM..
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Old 08-01-2016   #4
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Re: Coping with University Work and Personal Reading

Thanks for the post, Liam. It was indeed enlightening.

My major will be an interdisciplinary Biological Sciences degree, and might also minor in Geology or English/Creative Writing. Will apply the science degrees to vertebrate paleontology.

This is my life. This is my damnation. This is my only regret--that I ever was born.

-- Swans, "Beautiful Child"
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Old 08-01-2016   #5
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Re: Coping with University Work and Personal Reading

"Enlightening" hahaha . . . It wasn't all negative, socially it was great.

The Biological Sciences may require actual study . . . All I needed in the Human Sciences were a few well constructed, progressive opinions on American Psycho and Sex and the City.

"Honey, what's the point of being in the suburbs if you're not going to f#ck a gardener?"

Ė Samantha Jones, Sex and the City

The special quality of hell is to see everything clearly down to the last detail. And to see all that in the pitch darkness!
- Yukio Mishima, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion
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Old 08-01-2016   #6
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Re: Coping with University Work and Personal Reading

For some reason, I don't remember this being a problem, and I was on a course for which we were advised we were expected to do at least 50 hours of study a week (unusual at university, where most other students would complain, "I have a lecture this month - I'm not ready!").

I remember reading Kahlil Gibran in the common room, and a girl came up and told me, rather graciously, "You're too intellectual for university." (I didn't really think Gibran was that intellectual.) Basically, though, I think that university is a great time for reading, if one has the will to. There may be other demands, but they are not the kind of demands that one experiences post-university, mercilessly and from all directions at once. Having said that, I was among the last in the UK to receive a student grant.

If time is limited, a few off-the-beaten-track books that demand engagement can still be deeply rewarding.

"Irreverence is a greater oaf than Superstition" - W.H. Auden
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Old 08-01-2016   #7
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Re: Coping with University Work and Personal Reading

I donít think youíll have any trouble finding time to read. University is one of the few times in your life where you can really expand and explore all kinds of directions - I think youíre already well ahead of the curve with books, but Iím sure in the next few years youíll find yourself interested in all kinds of things youíd never imagined. You might find yourself completely changing directions with writing too and hitting upon something you couldnít have imagined beforehand. Those four years will fly by though so be sure to make the most of them - the working world doesnít exactly make it easy to find time to read, and in the long run, a serious commitment to reading and writing is a pretty difficult path and not one that society will encourage, for various reasons.†

Iím not a fan of academia in general and I think in the long run it promotes a pretty insular view of life, but the undergraduate experience can be a great time, provided you go in with the right mindset, which is that youíre committing to a course of self-study as much as you are just learning from others.†
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Old 08-01-2016   #8
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Re: Coping with University Work and Personal Reading

Personally, I had to have a non-academic book going at all times. I felt like my life was out of balance if I didn't.

Put your faith in God; he won't expect you.
Put your faith in death, because it's free.
If you believe in nothing, honey, it believes in you.
-Robyn Hitchcock
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Old 08-01-2016   #9
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Re: Coping with University Work and Personal Reading

Nirvana, I agree with the others. I think you'll be fine. From the entire course of academic development from undergrad to professor I, and all the colleagues I have, were able to carve out personal reading time. It's a bit seasonal in the sense that exam time, thesis, dissertation, etc will dominate your time for a bit but that's with anything. You'll always be able to get back on track. I agree with Justin that undergrad was a far richer time of literary and intellectual expansion than graduate school. My experience was undergrad was breadth, while grad was depth, and as a professor I get to pick the best of both worlds at my particular post (which I know is not always the norm so feel very fortunate).

I found two other things. One, like Kevin, I NEEDED/NEED non-work related fiction just to mentally function. When I jettisoned it my academic work suffered. Two, that I found a lot of like minded individuals. One of my favorite memories of grad school was a short story club we did for about 2 years. Great, great, great. I'm excited for you entering this experience and really feel that it will be a positive one. Good luck and Congrats!!!
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Old 08-02-2016   #10
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Re: Coping with University Work and Personal Reading

I seem to recall that I spent more time in the campus library pursuing my own studies and interests than I did in the classroom... maybe that's why it took me 5 years to graduate, ha ha (things got even worse when I eventually joined the campus gay/straight alliance student group, which became a major time sink for me). Of course, I was an English major, and you can easily coast a lot of those classes. I didn't even read most of the stuff assigned, which was boring as ####: I would just read the questions at the back of the book and from that develop a general idea of what the book was about, and just wing it. The only classes I really applied myself to were the creative writing courses.

One thing I really miss from college: going into those exams with the "blue book" essay questions having done almost no studying beforehand and just utterly bull####ting stuff off the top of my head. Closest thing I ever got to an adrenalin rush!

"The Outsider must find a direction and commit himself to it, not lie moping about the meaninglessness of the world."
-Colin Wilson, Religion and the Rebel
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