Which Athlete of Learning Are You?

A degree is about an individual’s work.  You know that your modules aren’t run as a competition between others.

Accepting that inconsistency, I wondered what it would be like if everyone’s study methods could be compared to athletic runners that you see in the Olympics and suchlike.  Here’s what I came up with:

The Sprinter

photo by je1196

 – As soon as the questions are set, you’re off and away.
 – You want to get the work done as quickly as possible.
 – You see no reason to dwell on things.  What comes to you first is usually what works for you.
 – You give it your all in a short burst.
 – The euphoria of finishing first is great.  A huge hit of happiness when it’s handed in.
 – Be careful you do consider all angles.  Slow down at the final stages and seriously consider what you’ve achieved.  Is it enough?  Have you missed out on a particular argument/working/explanation?
 – Do you have a backup plan if your sprint isn’t enough?  Giving up should not be an option.

The Long-Distance Walker


 – You take in a bigger picture as you slowly survey the surroundings.
 – The focus is often on style and research and consideration.
 – Getting the words on the page comes a lot later.
 – You pace yourself strategically so you can speed up just a notch when it’s necessary.
 – Are you confident that the determined walk won’t turn into a relaxed stroll?
 – By considering so much, you risk running out of time and missing that finishing line completely.

The 1500 Metre Runner

photo by Suicidal

 – You are organised in your approach.
 – Different styles come in handy at different stages.
– You consider the options and don’t like to miss out on an opportunity.
– You use reasoning and consideration to stay one step ahead.
 – If possible, you like to see things objectively.
 – Do you have the pace to catch up if you’re caught off guard?
 – When you’re in a situation that has more than usual to consider, do you prioritise and keep an eye on the most important factors?  You can’t do everything at once.

The Hurdler

photo by mzacha

 – You thrive on small challenges along the way and try to keep them uniform.
 – If you stumble along the way, you pick yourself up and keep going.
 – Sometimes you clear all obstacles without thinking about it…other times, you’re close, but it’s all part of the plan.
 – Even on the uncomplicated straight moments, you are focused and ready for the next challenge.
 – Would a series of difficult challenges tire you out?
 – Crashing down too many hurdles could bog you down.  Are you ready to adapt your pace to suit the hurdles?

The Marathon Racer

photo by Ian Wilson

 – Each task is a quest.  You’re in this for the long haul.
 – You seek a balanced approach to your work, splitting things up in short chunks of time.
 – You are determined to seek out the facts and gain knowledge from many sources.
 – The motivation for you to keep battling until the very end is high.
 – You look to others and seek to make the most of their skills to benefit your own work too.
 – Have you got the power to make a properly crafted sprint finish when it’s needed?
 – Can you modify your approach halfway through your marathon session if it’s not working as you’d planned?

The Cross Country Runner

photo by billac

 – You have a variation of styles and an ever-changing approach to your work.
 – It doesn’t matter if you go off track once in a while.
 – You adapt to the situation, sometimes finding more ideas, sometimes increasing your written output, sometimes reading new texts, sometimes working with others.
 – When steeper hills are up ahead, you take time to watch your pace and work accordingly, so you don’t get tired.
 – A plan is mapped out in your head before the task begins.  You’ve learned where you have to go and how you might tackle more problematic areas.
 – Do you have the stamina to keep on until the bitter end?
 – Do you have the right mindset to appreciate the varying conditions?  Not only do you need to adapt, but running off the well-worn path can be intimidating for some.  How would you cover this?

The Pace Maker (best not be one of these…)

photo by szlea

 – Speedily completes all the initial work.
 – Shares enthusiasm with others in the first instance.
 – Drops away just as things are getting exciting.
 – Lacks the stamina after the first flourishes and simply gives up.
 – What do you mean ‘but’?  Giving up is already no good.  Thinking further, it looks like Pace Makers and degrees don’t mix!

What do you think of these suggestions?  Do they fit?  Can you think of any other possibilities?


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