The Road to Graduation: A Story of Nooks and Crannies

While free-falling through semesters as they whoosh by is certainly an adventure, some of us (me. I’m talking about myself here) feel it necessary to pre-plan everything, and take into account any possible deviations, varying from sleeping in and missing a deadline to an alien abduction that could hinder my progress.
Hello, this is Fairouz again, and here’s a glimpse of what studying looks like from a try-hard’s perspective.


There isn’t a “right way” of doing your degree, really – just do what suits you best. Some hurl themselves into a vortex of studies, emerging after a year and a half with a thesis clutched in their shaking hands (me, again), while others take a more paced route, enjoying their student life while balancing work, parties, and courses equally. Hanken is a judgment-free place for either type.

I remember that during the orientation week I had already emotionally attached myself to an excel file I had constructed, wherein I had organized all the courses I’d need to take, in which semesters, with their sign-up codes and everything. And yes, I colour-coded it, and separated the compulsory courses from the elective ones. No, I don’t think that everyone should do that. But for those of us who’re prone to anxiety, staying organized keeps us afloat and somewhat capable of breathing.

So, for those interested in suggestions on how to plan their studies, I’d say that no matter how busy you get, make sure you 1. sign up for courses on time, and 2. stay organized throughout the chaos. Go to Weboodi, then check from the study handbooks which courses make up your degree. Then check when each of the courses is scheduled to run, and mark that down. Keep track on those courses, and remember to sign up on time. This way you’ll be able to pace out your studies without needing to rush anything, while still steadily advancing. Does it need some extra effort? Well, surprisingly little, really. But it does help, if you choose to do it.

One of the most significant contributors to getting things done has been finding the right place where I could sit down and work for hours. Luckily for me, Hanken has plenty of those.


Pictured: Naturally, after praising the amount of sunshine that we get in through those big windows, I took a picture at 8pm with the sun long gone.

Since the very beginning, I enjoyed studying in the foyer of Hanken, where the big windows let in enough light for me to not forget what the sun looked like. The foyer, with its numerous tables and electricity sockets, and the constant stream of sunlight, is a great place to get started with your assignments if you don’t mind a bit of noise around you. I specifically remember working on a company assigned project, on a day surprisingly bright for February. My team mates and I gathered around one of the round tables, each one with a laptop and enough coffee to sustain an army. We did put in more hours than expected, but it was worth it: both us and the company were happy with our work, and we celebrated by dining at a Thai restaurant once the project was complete.


Image: Coffee & good company!

That’s my third suggestion, really: make friends. Be actively nice to people, and allow yourself the opportunity to become friends with the people you meet. Especially when you start working on your thesis, all the support and positivity from your circle of friends (who’re going through the same process) will be indispensable!

What matters quite a bit when you work with your teams – and oh boy, will you work in teams – is how comfortable everyone is, and how well they can concentrate. When one yearns for a place less exposed than the foyer, they can make their way down below the deck, to a fairly favoured working area for groups. I’m sure it has an actual name, but we called it “the green area”. It’s got lots of green in it. We’re imaginative like that, you see?


Image: What are friends for, if not asking them to look 100% natural while wearing a coat indoors and pretending to read an article, just so you wouldn’t photograph another empty space at 8PM?

And while I, well aware of the memes highlighting the perils of group assignments, know the worries that revolve around the formation of groups, I can’t deny that it has led me to meet people whom I cannot now imagine life without. And if you looked at that seating arrangement and thought “sounds like a great place for a study-picnic to me”, you’re not the only one. Grab your tea and biscuits and settle in, then proceed to gleefully hook your laptop into the screen of your seating arrangement, just so you can admire how good your presentation looks on a bigger screen.

18251954_1383997124955768_485846490070122496_n.jpgImage: I wasn’t kidding about the study picnic. And before you ask – that bottle is Russian soda.

But, before I digress too far into the distance, let me get to my next suggestion: put some semblance of effort into team work, as it will not only make everything easier for everyone in the long run, but you’ll be reaping great benefits. Academically, but also socially. And while I wouldn’t dare to delve deep into the discussion on the sociological impact of effort in theory, and how exhibiting the very implications of putting an effort into something is easily construed as the definition of trying too hard, I would still like to suggest putting some measure of it into everything you do, be it in groups or on your own. Aint there nothing wrong with trying!

It wasn’t until the final quarter of my first year that I was led to a different area, somewhere deeper than the mines of Moria. A place where groups could work peacefully and quietly, far away from the hustle and bustle of folk upstairs.


Image: I swear I didn’t chase the people out. I just… happened to find it empty.

I remember working with a team here on a project for a yet another company. It’s a great place for study groups when you’ve decided that nobody’s leaving this lockdown until something has been achieved. Need to plug your laptop in? You can! The rooms differ slightly from each other, but aint that just the charm of it all?

And finally, the fourth place, is mainly for individual working: the library.


Image: One of the study areas in the library.

Now here’s what we all know about libraries: it’s got people, it’s got tables and chairs, and it’s got people who help when you need it. It’s a great place for you to work quietly on your own, seeking the answers for an economics assignment from a Facebook post’s comments section. Reliable source, that.

Navigating your way to the finish line may come with a few unexpected setbacks, but to all anxious and stressed students, with big or small worries, near or distant deadlines (and to those of us who aren’t quite sure what we’re doing, or where we’re going) – keep going, there’s hope at the bottom of your coffee cup.

– Fairouz