throwaway2021
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I am a recent physics graduate and I have delayed applying for postgraduate study. Everything is going badly, I really need life advice.

I have always been a bad student - rarely attending lectures, missing every single seminar in some modules, etc. During my first year, I averaged 75% based on my A-level knowledge. I became even more laid back during my second year and ended up averaging 55%. In an attempt to pull my average back up I did some work during my third year - I studied and revised for my exams. I averaged 75% in my exams. There was one problem, I couldn't complete my dissertation in two weeks the same way I studied for my exams.

I have a bad habit of leaving things to the very last minute. I don't know why. Maybe I lack motivation or a work ethic but this is what I do.

I applied to extend my study, in an attempt to complete my dissertation without telling my friends or family. For a year, I worked on personal projects when I was supposed to complete my dissertation. Due to coronavirus, my university placed a safety net and that allowed me to graduate with a 2:1 without really completing my dissertation.

I really want to change. I have read self-help books, I have listened to talks and I have tried to be productive. Unfortunately, I have missed yet another deadline (maybe). I have applied to study physics at Imperial on the application deadline. Today, I recieved a rejection email stating that the course is full.

1) Should I apply to top universities like UCL, King's or Edinburgh to start this year or should I forget about postgraduate study for now and get a job?

2) How can I stop leaving everything last minute?
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Luwei
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1) Why not? If you never try you never know.
2) You just got to force yourself to not leave it to the last minute. Force yourself to get things done as soon as it is set e.g. if you got homework set today, try to finish it today. I was taught that philosophy in primary school and I have more or less stuck to it.
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UnwantedKid
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Are you sure higher education and academia is for you? Right now anyway? Maybe a break would do you some good. Otherwise history is probably going to repeat yourself and you might not have a safety net next time. It might be better for helping you work on your time management and motivational issues.
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by throwaway2021)
I am a recent physics graduate and I have delayed applying for postgraduate study. Everything is going badly, I really need life advice.

I have always been a bad student - rarely attending lectures, missing every single seminar in some modules, etc. During my first year, I averaged 75% based on my A-level knowledge. I became even more laid back during my second year and ended up averaging 55%. In an attempt to pull my average back up I did some work during my third year - I studied and revised for my exams. I averaged 75% in my exams. There was one problem, I couldn't complete my dissertation in two weeks the same way I studied for my exams.

I have a bad habit of leaving things to the very last minute. I don't know why. Maybe I lack motivation or a work ethic but this is what I do.

I applied to extend my study, in an attempt to complete my dissertation without telling my friends or family. For a year, I worked on personal projects when I was supposed to complete my dissertation. Due to coronavirus, my university placed a safety net and that allowed me to graduate with a 2:1 without really completing my dissertation.

I really want to change. I have read self-help books, I have listened to talks and I have tried to be productive. Unfortunately, I have missed yet another deadline (maybe). I have applied to study physics at Imperial on the application deadline. Today, I recieved a rejection email stating that the course is full.

1) Should I apply to top universities like UCL, King's or Edinburgh to start this year or should I forget about postgraduate study for now and get a job?

2) How can I stop leaving everything last minute?
Take a year out. Do something worthwhile. Difficult I know in the current situation. You have a 2.1 in the hardest degree. Bank that. We are all a bit burnt out.

I dropped out of university. Many years ago. A year working in Asda focussed me.
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MrChill
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(Original post by throwaway2021)
I am a recent physics graduate and I have delayed applying for postgraduate study. Everything is going badly, I really need life advice.

I have always been a bad student - rarely attending lectures, missing every single seminar in some modules, etc. During my first year, I averaged 75% based on my A-level knowledge. I became even more laid back during my second year and ended up averaging 55%. In an attempt to pull my average back up I did some work during my third year - I studied and revised for my exams. I averaged 75% in my exams. There was one problem, I couldn't complete my dissertation in two weeks the same way I studied for my exams.

I have a bad habit of leaving things to the very last minute. I don't know why. Maybe I lack motivation or a work ethic but this is what I do.

I applied to extend my study, in an attempt to complete my dissertation without telling my friends or family. For a year, I worked on personal projects when I was supposed to complete my dissertation. Due to coronavirus, my university placed a safety net and that allowed me to graduate with a 2:1 without really completing my dissertation.

I really want to change. I have read self-help books, I have listened to talks and I have tried to be productive. Unfortunately, I have missed yet another deadline (maybe). I have applied to study physics at Imperial on the application deadline. Today, I recieved a rejection email stating that the course is full.

1) Should I apply to top universities like UCL, King's or Edinburgh to start this year or should I forget about postgraduate study for now and get a job?

2) How can I stop leaving everything last minute?
If you feel the self help books have helped and want to try again, apply to Kings/UCL just complete your studies.

If you want to learn to become productive, get a job for a year or so- any job where you will have to be paid. You leave things incomplete don't do them at a high standard, your boss will eat you alive. A job where you will have to get up on time to get to work, work hard or get told off by your superiors will only improve your mental focus and uni will seem like heaven that you want to get back to. Working is the best way to learn to become a productive member of the society and kick out the laziness imo. There are other ways but working has made me mentally tough, organised, determined all of which has helped me with my studies in turn when I came back to uni.

The decision is yours.
Last edited by MrChill; 2 weeks ago
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mike23mike
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(Original post by throwaway2021)
I am a recent physics graduate and I have delayed applying for postgraduate study. Everything is going badly, I really need life advice.

I have always been a bad student - rarely attending lectures, missing every single seminar in some modules, etc. During my first year, I averaged 75% based on my A-level knowledge. I became even more laid back during my second year and ended up averaging 55%. In an attempt to pull my average back up I did some work during my third year - I studied and revised for my exams. I averaged 75% in my exams. There was one problem, I couldn't complete my dissertation in two weeks the same way I studied for my exams.

I have a bad habit of leaving things to the very last minute. I don't know why. Maybe I lack motivation or a work ethic but this is what I do.

I applied to extend my study, in an attempt to complete my dissertation without telling my friends or family. For a year, I worked on personal projects when I was supposed to complete my dissertation. Due to coronavirus, my university placed a safety net and that allowed me to graduate with a 2:1 without really completing my dissertation.

I really want to change. I have read self-help books, I have listened to talks and I have tried to be productive. Unfortunately, I have missed yet another deadline (maybe). I have applied to study physics at Imperial on the application deadline. Today, I recieved a rejection email stating that the course is full.

1) Should I apply to top universities like UCL, King's or Edinburgh to start this year or should I forget about postgraduate study for now and get a job?

2) How can I stop leaving everything last minute?
For whatever reasons you are not applying yourself to your studies and have, by good luck, managed to secure a 2.1. If you apply for a masters with your issues remaining unresolved you will probably repeat what you did for your UG studies. Seek a Life Coach to help you figure things out. There is an underlying reason for your behaviour (perhaps you know what it is already).
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throwaway2021
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(Original post by mike23mike)
For whatever reasons you are not applying yourself to your studies and have, by good luck, managed to secure a 2.1. If you apply for a masters with your issues remaining unresolved you will probably repeat what you did for your UG studies. Seek a Life Coach to help you figure things out. There is an underlying reason for your behaviour (perhaps you know what it is already).
I don't apply myself to anything and always do the bare minimum. I don't know if it is bad habits combined with a fixed mindset or something deeper but I agree with you - if I do a masters I think I would repeat the pattern.
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Brittchen
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If you can bare one more kind-of self-help book, read Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. For me, it's the best in the business. It's about changing how you view things and how to work out your goals. It changed my point-of-view, and subsequently, how/where/when/why I apply myself.

I second squeakysquirrel on the supermarket job strategy. I'm currently doing that and will carry on doing so, after starting a part-time MA in September. There is nothing that will sharpen your focus like a repetitive job with no destination. It also really increases your empathy for those poor souls with little to no other options because of their background, ability, opportunities, or in some particularly sad cases, all three. I also meet a ton of other uni and postgrad students there as I live in a university town, and it's great to talk to them too. Chatting to other people in a similar situation helps. A lot.

Also, is your destination the correct one? The Covey book will get you to the root of this. My father studied chemistry, only years later to reflect that he wished he'd had the courage to change tack and do aerospace engineering. Do you love physics? If not, have a look at all of the fantastic MSc options that are well within your reach with the good degree you have, and may become a passion. When your research is also your hobby, you won't be fighting with yourself to get on with it.

Try to ignore other people's opinions of you, and refocus on your own. You are the best judge of you. If you have worked hard in the past, then you know you are capable of working hard in the future. If you have produced first-class with honours level of work in the past, then you are capable of reproducing that quality again.

The key is forming those new habits. Every day, at 9am, 'apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair' (hats off to Mary Heaton Vorse for that stunner). Get Self Control on your laptop and turn it on. Open your books / do your research / write your paper. Allow for regular breaks and a wrapping-up time. Visit Benjamin McEvoy's site for some great tips and inspiration - he's an Oxford English grad, so not your field, but his suggestions for study are brilliant.

He's a really inspiring person. Not all of his stuff will be for you, but you will pick up some great tips.

Have faith in yourself. Most of us suffer from imposter syndrome, but it's best to turn your back on it. You know who you are and what you are capable of, so don't go outside of yourself for ill-informed validation or condemnation. All you need to do is form those new habits. And I'd love to hear an update on how you're getting on. Good luck!
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