Further in the Fourth Semester (31 – March – 2020): Better Organisation of Time

So it has been a month since I had last posted and the concluding point of my studies in the past few weeks is that they have improved significantly compared to how they were in the third semester. One of the reasons for this is that I have been trying to complete any assignments as early as possible, ideally on the day that they were given. Previously I prioritising additional studies in terms of timeline streams than my core subjects, which lead to a lot of problems down the line and needless to say I do not believe that I had gained much out of the third semester. Currently, most of my assignments come from lectures and laboratories in the first half of the week from Monday to Wednesday, and if I complete them speedily then I have the rest of the week free to do some necessary and additional studies to fill in gaps in my knowledge.

Reading is Power

One of the greatest problems that I have been having has concerned my slow reading speed. It has prevented me from expanding my mind in a great deal of fields, as I prefer reading books than watching videos due to the greater insight they provide and also because reading is generally faster than watching (albeit more mentally intensive). To solve this issue I have been attempting to learn speed-reading from the following book which can be found on with a collection of other books to help with speed reading as well, however take note that these books can only be digitally borrowed from this site for a maximum of fourteen days:

So far I have finished going through a quarter of the material presented in there, and I would say that this book has helped me greatly from being a reader of 200 Words per Minute (W.P.M.) to one of 375 W.P.M. while, and this is important, still maintaining high comprehension. 375 W.P.M. is good but I would like to increase this number further, as I believe that 300 W.P.M. is the reading rate of the average reader. Two of the principles which were important to my development in this area were the following:

  • Reading in chunks instead of single words. One of the exercises in this book exemplifies this concept by requiring the reader to split an article into single-line sentences of four to five words. This demonstrates that speed reading not only involves a physical component concerning eye fixations but also a mental component concerning how the brain processes sentences. By grasping the meaning of written material in logical chunks of several words this truly increases one’s speed reading capabilities a great deal as well as enjoyment from reading.
  • Having clear definitions of words. Vocabulary is additionally valuable in speed reading as having a vague idea of the meaning of words can significantly hamper reading speed as well as comprehension, because when a new word appears the reader often has to spend time pondering more about the meaning of it than for other words. The solution here is to read more widely and to be more active in looking up unknown words.

More points to come in the future, but for now this is the essence of what I had captured thus far.

Implants Project: Order Does Not Always Help

One of my core subjects for the semester concerns implants, and the assessment for this subject is divided into a final exam and a project. For the project we have to select an implant, for me I chose the bone plate, and to write up the appropriate documentation for the design of the selected implant from required characteristics of the material needed to material selection, technical drawing and so on. I had completed the second stage of materials selection with some corrections required to be committed by my instructor, and now I am on the third stage of the project which is the technical drawing of the implant and improvements to be made in its design.

During the implant stage it was non-trivial to find out which chemical and mechanical criteria would be essential in a bone plate especially concerning their particular values. However, now that I am working on the third stage I am finding that many of my problems could have been solved with the articles that I am reading up on in relation to the design characteristics of bone plates. This has lead me to the conclusion that for such projects it may be worthwhile to do some research for the later stages while working on the earlier stages to, perhaps, have better material to work with as well as to gain a better idea of the implant one is working with. I am of the opinion now that some of my parameters are crass compared to the information that I had obtained from doing research for the third stage. It seems to me that a lot of the answers to my question were found in queries for the impact of design on the bone plate for materials selection, rather than explicitly searching for reviews on the selection of materials for the second stage of this project.

Relaxation to Music

Studying is always mentally intensive if done right, and from time to time I like to listen to music during breaks. In doing so, I had found a rather interesting minority representation of Icelandic music which is the band Hatari. under the genre of technopop, it certainly sounds interesting and different to other bands that I had listened to. The way that Icelandic is sang by this band makes it particularly alien to the ear, especially in Ógleði (Nausea) which is about alcoholism. The last few lines of the song, as presented below, come across as a shock compared to the melodic-like lyrics before.

Þú ert svo gjörsamlega staðinn í stað (You are so completely stuck in place)

Að þú sérð ekki lengur keðjurnar, hlekkina, (That you cannot see the chains, the shackles,)

í hverjum þú danglar (That dangle)

This had reminded me of one Tarot card which is the Eight of Swords. This card represents a woman who is blindfolded and surrounded by eight swords, and generally she has a feeling of entrapment. However, in many depictions of the Eight of Swords the woman is bounded by some strips of cloth however it can be seen that the strips are not tightly bound and her legs are often free. This signifies victimisation and self-imprisonment in a way, as the character in this card has the possibility to remove the blind-fold and free herself from the situation. Whether or not addictions stem significantly from a victimisation mindset I do not know as I have not done sufficient reading on the subject, but can we apply this card to studies as well? Frequently we may find ourselves overwhelmed by the work we have, and may escape the work by engaging in other activities. Procrastination tends to prolong the duration of the assignment and causes a lot of stress, however there is always a choice to not indulge in it.

Tarot card taken from the website “Tarot of Change”.

Improvement in Polish via Conversation Exchange

In terms of my Polish progress, I would say that I am feeling more confident about my Polish now that I am using the conversation exchange method to improve. I would say that this is because a conversation exchange forces you to expand your range of topics which puts pressure on anyone with a limited vocabulary to meet the demand. Learning in group courses at university can be engaging and fun if fellow colleagues are interested in mastering the language. However, people tend to have differing goals and these can interfere in the learning process. One may want to learn the language to fluency while another may only want to learn the language for some basic phrases to impress a prospective boyfriend or girlfriend of the target language. These differences in goals can greatly interfere in the learning process, and so it is better to seek out people individually who are as interested in learning the language as you are.

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