Coming into Carnegie, underclassmen are pushed to dread the TPSP, which stands for Texas Performance Standard Project. A common saying drilled into our heads time after time is that, “junior year will be your hardest.” Sayings like these foster a culture of fear amongst underclassmen. They can discourage a student from even wanting to try. As a way to prepare for this upcoming project, underclassmen should start asking exactly why the project is said to be so stressful.
However, listening to upperclassmen talk about their experiences may cause the project to seem slightly more doable. Ashlie Lunna, ’17, provides useful insight to the reality of the TPSP when she states, “[It’s stressful] only the night before the assignment is due, usually because I would have put it off until then.” As it happens Lunna is not the only junior with this habit, many juniors and seniors found this project to be stressful simply because of time management issues. TPSP assignments are designed so that there is sufficient time to complete them. The assignments are given out weeks in advance in the hopes that they can be achieved even on top of a Carnegie workload. It seems that the problem is not that students aren’t given enough time, it may be just the opposite. All students share the experience that it is harder to complete work earlier when the due dates seem to be pushed so far into the future. Students don’t expect these due dates to ever show up until they’re out of time. Even so, TPSP is unique in that if you delay one assignment it effects all the building assignments after that. Time management is key to a successful product and a more relaxed process. Fatimah Ali,’16, gives similar advice concerning the TPSP, “Stay organized – Keep track of your materials from class and the sources that you use. Also, if you manage your time well and effectively, and use those 45 minutes in class to work on your project, you will have a much easier and less stressful time.” Ali has been following her own advice and reports that she has even come to find her research fascinating through this process.
TPSP can be used as a tool for students to explore their own personal interests. If students can find an effective system towards maintaining their organization and time management, then there’s a good chance that their end product will be both fascinating, altogether original, and not so very stressful.