“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”
There are different views as to what this means, and it is, like many other zen sayings, subject to interpretation. Whatever the true meaning, from a university student’s perspective it could be safe to say that it is really about hard work and persistent effort. Whatever you are working on, keep working. Don’t expect an essay to write itself or willing survey participants to appear from nowhere and offer their time to help you gather data. Keep striving to complete the small tasks and academic enlightenment may come your way and if it does don’t get caught up in it. Enjoy it and everything you have learned, then move on to the next task. As in sports or any other pursuit, you are only as good as your last performance. Keep training, developing, and above all else, enjoying the process not just the end result.