Time flies ...

A lot has already been written – even on my foundation blog – about the staggering pace with which time flies. I have to reiterate it, though. It really does seem like yesterday that I got off from the plane at London Heathrow for the first time, to begin my university journey.

And now I am standing a month away from the start of my last semester awaiting me at UCL. I think that given the workload which I have yet to tackle in those last months, the realization will hit me with time. It is clear, however, that the vast majority of tasks have been finished and nearly all essays written. And it will be this last semester which will determine the extent to which I will be able to carry the diploma I should receive next summer with pride. Not only the self-evident diligence, but also undoubtedly luck will play a significant role. And hence I do hope that luck will be – at least partly – on my side!

What appears to me as the biggest lesson which the powers that be are delivering to me in my last year of undergraduate study is a lesson in time management skills. It is by utter coincidence that all my lectures for this year fall on Mondays. The rest of the week officially constitutes free time, with the exception of one seminar on Friday afternoon. Just by looking at my schedule, then, one could be under the impression that – oddly enough – I seem to be having less and less work as time goes by. Last year, for instance, I spent every single day at school, not to mention my first year. But appearances can be deceptive indeed. Of course, I do not have that many lectures and the fact that all of them fall on the same day could substantiate the feeling that there is nothing much to do. You merely spend three hours in auditoria, then go home and read (academic literature, that is). And you can be reading undisturbed for pretty much the rest of the week. However, one should not forget that a dissertation is an integral part of the last year at university; on our course, the dissertation is compulsory. Its topic can be chosen absolutely freely. And that is probably the biggest pitfall for me. It is not very problematic to write the dissertation – after all, it only has ten thousand words, which is not that much, especially if you consider that every other essay students write has on average three thousand words. What consumes the most time, however, is choosing a suitable topic. It should be one that you can manage to write in the time allotted, not excessively specialized so that you do not complicate it unnecessarily, but still it should be sufficiently revealing, so that you stand a chance to succeed. What can solace you is the fact that the dissertation is assessed in the same manner as any other two-semester subject. Thus, an excellent result in the dissertation is not vital. What is more, the dissertation does not have to be orally defended, contrary to the practice at Czech universities. But if you do succeed, the dissertation can enormously help your diploma.

To make matters even more intricate, the deadlines for Masters’ studies applications are approaching fast. If I decide to send them, I have to do so right after Christmas. On top, I stay active in our Czechoslovak society. And so it may well appear, by looking at my schedule, that I have a lot of free time. But in fact, I don’t know whether I’m coming or going.

Let’s hope I will figure everything out in time.

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