Burning the Midnight Oil 

-Donald William Giamporcaro, MAPREP student from United States

While studying for my first degree in the USA I recollect, particularly during midterms and finals, making the library my secondary home. I would sleep there and sometimes rotate shifts with fellow students so as not to lose our reserved study room. Practice problems spanning calculus and mathematical statistical proofs covered the whiteboards and perhaps to a lay observant looked like the work of madmen and women. In our desperate fury to cram as much practice and knowledge into our small human minds before the big exams we sacrificed sleep and probably our health in the process. All this late-night cramming perhaps could have been avoided if we just managed our time more wisely. But we were first time collegiate students, competitive, eager, and for many of us the first time being truly independent and enjoying the fruits that came with that freedom. Also, let’s be honest, modern western education lacks the skill and aptitude to teach students time-management, but I digress. So, whilst we burned the midnight oil into the morning hours studying, practicing, and memorizing we also watched as our productivity slowly came to a standstill and our marginal returns turned negative. Looking back, perhaps most of the toils of my early education could have been curtailed by simply better allocating my time.  

Unlike a medium or large university setting, Rangjung Yeshe Institute (RYI) offers smaller and more intimate class sizes, providing professors who are very keen in teaching as well as accommodating to the needs and capacities of students. As a result, they get to know their students better and go beyond merely teaching—striving to ensure the success of their students. Less of a job for most and more of a passing on what they know to the next generation. However, despite some of these advantages RYI has to offer, in a world filled with distractions, procrastination nonetheless often sneaks in as a silent thief of our productivity. So, let’s explore some easy and concise steps that we can incorporate into our daily lives to increase our productivity without the undue burden of additional stress and anxiety. 

Combating the habit of procrastination doesn’t always require drastic measures. By simply embracing the power of routine and organization, you can reclaim control over your time and productivity. Start by creating a schedule tailored to your needs and goals. Allocate specific time slots around your class schedule for your own practice/meditation, study, and so forth. By developing a schedule, you will make the most of your time, alleviate unnecessary stress, and complete tasks and goals timely and fairly on schedule. But don’t be too strict! Allocate some personal time to spend with friends, family, or just “me time” – remember to relax and have some fun. Nonetheless, consistency is key and sticking to your schedule breed’s discipline.  

Equally important is prioritizing ample sleep. Adequate rest rejuvenates both body and mind, enhancing focus and decision-making abilities. Resist the temptation to sacrifice sleep for fleeting pursuits or for negligible gains in one’s studies; instead, prioritize sleep as a vital component of your daily routine in order to more effectively accomplish the benefit of oneself and others. More on the benefits of sleep have been talked about in a previous post by Damcho Gyaltsen, which can be found here: Mind Hacks to Stay Healthy and Sane During Your Online-Studies

Falling into a routine might seem mundane, but its benefits are profound. By establishing habits that support your goals, you pave the way for success while mitigating the allure of procrastination. So, embrace structure as a steadfast companion for productivity to stave off burning the midnight oil. Eat well, sleep well, and study hard. This is one formula for the path towards success. 

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