IT’S been a hard slog these past few weeks with a throng of university assignments due at the same time. I’m in the final weeks of my masters in media arts and production and, in short, I’ve been glued to the chair as the days go by.
Although I’ve tried hard to look after myself and my family, I’ve not been wasting time cooking — rather, getting healthy takeaway food, and guiltily eating too many slices of bread with cheese as I work (my favourite food, but to be avoided when one’s bum remains trapped in a static position).
It isn’t just the cooking I’ve avoided because of my wretched deadlines. I haven’t gone out except for a brisk walk most days, and have neglected my friends, my mail, just about everything and everybody, much to a general sense of chagrin.
The result of this obsessive compulsive and largely undesirable behaviour is that I’m getting distinctions and I’m not a great student in some of the subjects I’m attempting. I’m studying technology, which translates to internet language such as HTML coding, advanced social media, camera operations, sound editing and all sorts of digital equipment usage, all in a bid to join my daughter in the 21st century and stay employable in the new digital- communications era.
Being a technophobe, I struggle in class to the point that people laugh affectionately at me. As another mature student joked, there should be a sign that says, ‘‘Warning: baby boomers in this class!’’ And a full-time therapist on call for the poor 20-something tech-head teachers who are trying to drag us screaming into the modern world.
But my results confirm to me once again the formula of success. Great results at work or play have nothing to do with brilliance. They’ve got to do with bum-on-seat perseverance and dogged determination.
My daughter is doing the HSC as I’m finishing my masters and it’s interesting to watch the different attitudes. Her school teaches students that breaks are imperative, Saturday nights out a must, and they should take down-time in order to recuperate the tired brain. Advice which, being a health nut, she is following. I come from the old school of ‘‘get to work, ya bastard’’; at 39, having reached the pinnacle of my career through hard slog, I had a severe attack of burnout and was forced to deal with a long, ensuing depression.
So the modern school system is not just correct but a life saver. However, I still believe this: when a serious deadline is approaching, for those of us who are not geniuses in our field, short bursts of dogged, obsessive effort is a sure way to get top results. The bottom line is the bottom — on the seat.