How to study (serious)

How do I get started?

Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been studying, or maybe you’re looking for study tips to improve your marks. How on Earth do you begin to study a subject like chemistry? Or math? Or freaking, I don’t know, something about shapes? Really tricky shapes. Like a rhombus or something.

If you haven’t already done so, get yourself a workbook. An A4 ruled workpad, not too many pages is my recommendation. You can always get another one if you fill it up, and it’s more comfortable to write on. Also, get some different coloured pens to write with. I’d recommend drawing diagrams of processes to help your understanding as you go along. For sme subjects, I’d also recommend card that you can write on so that you can make “flash cards” for learning stuff.  You can make little cards with a question on one side, and the answer on the other.  Or make some memes, smartphone apps, or screensavers (remember those?), or something else creative to help you memorize stuff.

Find yourself a study space. I’d recommend not studying at home if you can help it. And I’d especially recommend that you don’t study in your bedroom. The reason for this is that when you are studying, you are giving your brain a really good workout, and after every workout it is important to rest! If you start associating your bedroom (or your bed) with studying and being alert, you might end up having trouble sleeping. If you are at home with your folks, or living in a sharehouse or dormitory, you might be used to studying on your bed. I’d advise you to find a new study space, and don’t be afraid to mix it up.  Do what feels right.  Maybe you like to study in the deli section of the supermarket?  That’s also fine.

Now, what you need to do is scope out some study areas that are local to you. You probably already have a favourite spot at your university that you like to study, but finding new and interesting places can bring some fresh motivation. Check out your local library (it’s a bit uncool but remember if anyone sees you there – they were also at the library!). There are usually desks and power for your laptop and phone, and also free internet if you need it! Take a cup of coffee or a drink with you and make it a 1-2 hour study session, you’ll be surprised how motivating the environment can be. Also check out coffee shops that provide desks and internet for the occasional power study, this can be a treat. Sitting out at the campus dining areas or under a shady tree can also mix things up. I’m sure you can think of many other creative study spaces, but try to keep your bedroom as a place for rest because too much stress could undo all of your good work.

Look after yourself. Don’t drink too many energy drinks. Bathe every day, and brush your teeth. Consider the occasional shave or haircut. Keep in touch with friends and family. Actively exercise if you enjoy it, or passively exercise (walking, Frisbee, skateboard, etc.) if you don’t. Eat healthy food. Sleep when it’s night time. Wash your clothes (and maybe even iron them!). This stuff is obvious – but it’s very important. If you already do all of this, then that is great! If you don’t – try it. You will get better marks at university if you do these things. And you’ll be a lot happier. If you’ve got an area where you could take better care of yourself, see to it. Nobody else will do it for you!

All work and no play

Ok, so you’re all excited to get stuck into a new semester and you’re going to study like never before! But make sure to leave yourself some time to do things you enjoy as well. I know that assignment deadlines can be a bit difficult to manage, but I’d recommend taking at least one day off each week just to yourself. Even if your manager at work has phoned you to come in urgently – say no. Getting burned out won’t help you at all, and if you don’t leave things until the last minute, you should have time to take a complete day off every week. Burn out sucks – be smart and look after yourself first.

Keen and Ready to Roll!

If you ready to crack open that mint-condition textbook (halfway through the semester), then good work! I’ve gotten through to you. Just remember to manage your time and study a bit of each subject every day (except your days off), just like you did in high school. No teachers are watching you every second to make sure you are working, so it’s up to you to keep ahead of the pack. Remember, when it comes time to apply for jobs, you need your overall grade to be as high as possible so that you can get the job you want! Until next time, have fun and enjoy a sandwich.  Or something. Happy Studies!

 

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