Life in Paris, Schedule Series

Class Days – The Schedule Series

I generally have three varieties of daytime schedules, depending on what’s on my plate. This is the first kind, a day at school when I have one or more classes to attend.

I typically spend 20+ hours of week in class, but this has fluctuated pretty wildly this semester. Sometimes it’s as few as 12, but I’ll have one week where I’m in lecture for almost 35 hours.

My classes are normally 3 hours each, with a break for lunch in between. 9-12, or 1-4 are the most common times, but you get the occasional 10-12 or 10-1 course. We were very unlucky last semester to have a class from 9:30-1, and it took a lot of mental energy to stay engaged for the entire block of time. Occasionally, we’ll have an evening course from 4:30-7:30pm. There’s a truly nightmarish week coming up this month where we take an entire course in one week, plus two normally scheduled course meetings.

When I have a full day or even a half day of class, I try to bring my lunch to school. There are two new microwaves in the break area this year, although their ability to evenly heat food is questionable at best. Still, I’ve turned to packing my lunch every day for health and money reasons, so I’ll take a blistering-hot-but-also-cold lunch over a sandwich from the bakery. I do miss the bakers, however, as they are some of the nicest people I’ve met in the neighbourhood!

The trouble with going to class all day is that the lectures often inspire other trains of thought, usually about my thesis, and I have to work to stay focused on the material at hand, rather than diving down a rabbit hole of new literature for my own project. I try and take supplementary notes by hand, but as professors are very good about making their slides available, I generally only note down the additional comments made in lecture that aren’t on the slides. Simple stuff, really, and it lets me think about the material at hand more readily than I could when I was trying to copy everything down.

If I don’t have an afternoon course, I usually go down into the library with some friends. There, I re-write my notes into study sheets, search for datasets, or read through literature for my thesis. I’ll outline papers, check the deadlines on my deliverables, or search for job postings online. Afterwards, I try to go for a walk in the Jardin des Plantes, or down the metro line that will eventually take me home, so I can get some activity in for the day.

If I’m not excited about more sitting in the library, I may head home and go for a run, before setting myself up with a cup of tea and some coursework. It’s definitely harder to avoid some of my favourite organisational or home-related websites while at my desk, because as important and enjoyable as my program work can be, I love a good afternoon of sorting my things, recycling or donating what I’m no longer using, and re-arranging the few pieces of furniture that we do have for a fresh attitude in the room. Generally, though, I’m out of the house until 7pm, so I try to take an afternoon in the bright light of my apartment when I can.

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