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26. June 2019 Pavlína Havránková

Mind maps are saving my life and how I discovered I do not procrastinate

And it is done! After exams in my spring semester, I walked out of school and expected to see something that I have never seen before. I expected something special will happen. In short, I thought it will be an exceptional and unique feeling. In reality, I felt great but not as much as I expected. At that time, I did not know the results yet and that might have been the reason why I still felt a little distress. “What if I didn’t succeed?”, “Did I fill in everything?”, or “Please let all my efforts be worth it.” is a classic example of my student thoughts during the finals week. Although, I was much less nervous than I was in the previous semester. I think I better organized my time so that I had also time for myself which positively influenced my grades and my overall state of mind.

During exams, I also discovered the magic of mind maps which I did not like so far. However, now I know I will definitely use this learning method again in the next semester and even correctly. Tony Buzan was an educational counselor and psychologist who not only popularized the method but also explained how to use it efficiently. If you are also skeptic about mind maps as I was I highly recommend to look at his literature or find an interview with him because mind maps have changed my student life. There is also an online form called “iMindMap, which was developed by him and it might be more time efficient. It really works! I was surprised that during exams the same associations which I noted on my mind maps came to my mind without memorizing everything by constant repetition.
 Not only mind maps helped me through the exam week but also intrinsic motivation which (usually) did not allow me to procrastinate. I have noticed that many students are motivated by external factors such as grades and diplomas rather than by educating oneself. It is not surprising because the whole system of education is based on this since childhood. As a result, we use fear of “failure” as the main motivational factor, which makes us more vulnerable to procrastination instinct. I cannot say I was at home studying all the time. The only difference was that I procrastinated consciously. I learned that postponing does not always mean procrastinating, thus, I did not feel guilty as it used to be. If we get a task on Monday which is until Friday and we deliberately decide to do it on Thursday evening, it is not procrastination. However, once it is Thursday and instead of doing the task, we decide to clean whole flat and bake a breakfast for another day (which we can somehow morally justify - we do not do what we are supposed to do, but  instead we are doing something which is useful and productive too), then it is procrastination.

To be able to distinguish between these was crucial for me and allowed me to not be in constant stress and panic that I didn’t do something to school and still was able to watch a movie or go for lunch with my friend. I knew that I am not procrastinating and my intention is to do the work, which would normally scare me in my mind, on the day I planned. Even though, I still managed to do some unintended and unplanned house works. The semester is over and I am enriched by new information, inspiration, and among other things the Academic Recognition Award. 

And what are my plans for the holidays? Rest, trips, work, and especially - detox from social media to which I was inspired by social psychology lectures. It's hard to admit it, but just because it has become the norm, it's natural to be constantly "tethered" to our electronic devices. We use every free minute we have during the day to check our social media accounts. By using social media, we create a “second self” and if that is not present, we feel like we are missing something essential. We have the same feeling when we do not check for a while what is happening in our social bubbles that we are creating through social networks. We are used to be constantly available and others expect us to be. We look for online validations from others and reflect emotions into our mobile phones as if our phone is human. We all know it very well. In fact, people smile more at their screens than at people they actually meet. It became normal to share everything we do and it seems we are no longer doing things to enjoy it by ourselves but to show. I thought it would be beneficial to get away from this “tethering” for a while and use my time more meaningfully. My goal is to realize how much time I spend on social media and to think about how else I can use this time. I hope that the result will be that I will use social media more efficiently and purposefully. I have to say that I am already looking forward to this experiment.

The first year at my university is over and I would like to dedicate the next lines to evaluation and reflection. As I mentioned in my previous post, my school is multicultural and I am appreciating this diverse environment more and more. Each student can contribute to the lecture with real experience from their native countries, thus, I get an overview of what is happening around the world from the “first hand”.  At the same time, I learn countless interesting information about cultures by direct communication with students and professors, which gives me a look “behind the scenes” of many cultures and I can understand several perspectives on one subject at once. One major advantage of studying psychology, and university in general, is developing self- knowledge, which I think is more than evident from this post.

I hope you enjoyed my next piece of college life, but mainly that it inspired you. Perhaps you have also discovered that you do not procrastinate or maybe you are also not a big fan of mind maps and you decided to give it a shot. I am going to plan my holidays and I am looking forward to informing you about my studies next academic year.

 

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