Despite contradictory evidence from previous blog posts, I’m a very good student. I went to an academically challenging high school, I was (briefly) an Honors College Student. I have a pretty good GPA. It’s not a 4.0, but I’m not ever worried about being put on Academic Probation. Over time, I’ve developed a few things I think help me in terms of being a good student/staying on track. Further, I’ve recently discovered things that help me continue being a good student while also being able to not destroy myself in terms of mental health. [It’s a hard thing to do, especially in college.]
I have often googled “Study Tips” and tend to find the same, broad ideas repeated. I tried to avoid that, and instead make these a little more direct. Hopefully something here is something you’ve never tried before–and if you do try it, I hope it helps!
- Distribute your work
I cannot stress this one enough. Avoiding all nighters is completely achievable! I think distributing work evenly over a series of days is the best way to do it. An example: On Monday, if you are assigned to read Chapters 1 & 2 by Wednesday, then read Chapter 1 Monday night, and Chapter 2 Tuesday night. If you have a large homework set, split it in half! Don’t wait to do it all the night before. Small bouts of various topics is way less draining than doing one thing for hours on end.
- One Thing at a Time
I’ve recently changed up my way of distributing things, and I’ve found it incredibly helpful in terms of productivity. I used to distribute my work a month at a time and panic to keep up with the distribution. I’d end up re-working my schedule four times in two weeks, which I found incredibly counterproductive. It was also a lot harder to see my accomplishments. My new system is great! I have deadlines listed on the spread for that week, and then I distribute my work each morning. Homeworks have been shifted around a lot this semester because of weather problems, amongst other things, so every morning I check my list from the day before, check off what I completed, move or remove what I didn’t, and write out my to-do for the day. It’s allowed me to be a lot more realistic about what I can do in a day. I started this system because of a YouTuber from Boho Berry.
- Be Realistic About Distractions
Don’t study at home if you can avoid it. Home is like the Pennacle of Distractions. I recommend a library; it’s meant to be quiet. Bring everything you could need for a long, extended work session if you need it! Laptop/phone chargers, blankets, earbuds, comfy clothes–and also, food!
Food is so important when it comes to studying. First off, you wanna make healthy decisions before you even start getting ready to study. Unhealthy foods can make you sluggish, grumpy, and fatigued–not a great start to a productive day. But you should bring snacks that will keep you full, are yummy, and won’t drain you! Some possible ones: nuts, fruit, jerky [protein keeps you full!]. Personally I like crackers, or pretzel chips. I also, on a really long night, will bring a yummy soup to heat up in the library that way I don’t have an excuse to take a two hour break to go out to eat!
I find instrumental music the best. Personally, I like a lot Vitamin String Quartet. I also love two playlists from Spotify: Instrumental Study and Brain Food. A good one with music with words is Study Zone. If you don’t care for music but don’t like the silence of the library or there’s noise around you, I really recommend thunderstorm sounds. I thought it would be weird, but it’s incredibly calming and helps with relaxation/concentration so much.
- Listen to Your Body
When you’re hungry, eat. When you’re thirsty, drink (I cannot stress a Water Bottle enough! So important for a productive work day). When your back hurts, or you feel antsy, or you need a break–take a walk. Your body can handle what you’re putting it through, and so can your brain, but you have to listen to it. Sometimes that means a ten minute break, and sometimes it means completely changing where you’re working. Either way, listen to your body. It knows what it’s doing.
All of this comes as a result of me, wearing my Big Girl Prioritizing Pants, spending Mardi Gras break doing work (somewhat?) instead of Mardi Gras-ing.
Laissez les bons temps rouler!