Well, Fate has seen fit to not make it easy right off the bat.
I’m studying a STEM degree that currently involves modules likes biochemistry, physiology, genetics and anatomy. I’m going to be writing three final exams during the next two to three weeks, and considering my lofty academic goals, my shit needs to be watertight and squared away if I want to pull the kind of scores I need to be getting.
My study technique involves extensive use of Anki, a flashcard program that allows you to make your own paired questions and answers, which are then asked back to you using an algorithm that asks things you find easy less frequently and the harder, more complicated things more often, over and over, until you can recall and explain every bit of information without hesitation or difficulty.
This semester, my modus operandi consisted of pirating PDF versions of the prescribed textbooks (I managed to find all of them except one histology and one anatomy textbook, thank fuck) and then lugging around a laptop which half the time served as a study platform utilizing PDFs, Paint, Anki and Microsoft Word and the other as an excellent procrastinating tool.
I get the hardware from my father: he gives me his old laptops when he gets the new, top-of-the-range model that’s just come out. This meant that the last laptop I got was this huge Dell monstrosity that weighed a ton and had a power adapter literally the size of a fucking brick. I took it because it was as powerful as it was burdensome and had a 19″ screen, which would be useful in accommodating a textbook and a flashcard program taking up respective halves of the screen.
Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, in the midst of my first exam, the cooling system just said ‘fuck it’ and gave out; it would overheat within minutes and switch off unless I ran it off battery power, where for some reason it kept going but inevitably overheated when I had to plug in the charger to prevent it from dying anyway. Since being unable to work for a day or two would severely compromise my exam result, I worked my way around it by staying at my apartment, laying the beast upside-down on my desk (i.e. with the vents facing upwards) and connecting an external mouse, keyboard and monitor. Fortunately, since this occurred just as classes ended, there was no need for me to be present on campus, and I could spend all day erryday hermit-style in my bedroom. I bought a shitload of frozen food (I usually eat on campus), tidied and organized the everloving fuck out of my room and continued my work like nothing happened. Unfortunately, practically my entire life thus far was spent behind a closed door in front of a screen playing video games, so I was effectively placing myself in the same scenario as before with the exception of World of Warcraft or Call of Duty, which had now been replaced by endless slides querying me as to what exactly is the genetic configuration of a fetal primary oocyte during the end-stages of gestation. So it came as no surprise that within a few days I ignored my academic obligations, obtained Age of Empires 2 and C&C: Generals from my flatmate, and binged like a disgruntled divorcee.
Jesus christ, it’s 23:55 already. Continue reading