KEYS TO ACADEMIC SUCCESS: HOW TO AVOID UNNECESSARY PANIC ABOUT FAILURE.
Now that all of our studying is being done through screens from home, which can be very cumbersome and tiring, we can definitely say for sure that it is very different in terms of learning than going to the college itself. With that being said, a lot of new challenges have presented themselves, with a lot of others, being surprisingly similar.
It often takes a lot of organisation and being proactive in order to find success academically when doing university level courses. With this blogpost, I hope to share some of my solutions I’ve found that have been useful in terms of making coursework not only manageable, but enjoyable as well, while remaining healthy and stress free.
BE ORGANIZED: MAKE A TIMETABLE.
You’ve probably heard about this strategy plenty of times before and will hear about it for the rest of your university life. Creating a personal timetable can work miracles if you can stick to it. The beauty of this is that you know best at what you are your most productive, and when you need a break to watch an episode of your favourite show. One important thing to consider however, is that during your times of productivity, make sure you STAY AWAY FROM YOUR PHONE. Switch it off. You might find that if you don’t, you’ll start imagining that you are getting text messages in amounts you’ve never experienced before, and instead of dedicating the full time slot to studying, every 2 minutes of productive study time will be interrupted by your phone.
As we are studying online however, it is understandable you may find it harder to avoid websites like Youtube and Facebook since they could easily be opened in another tab. But, worry not! There are several extensions on google you could explore to reduce time on websites that may lead you to wasting time. One extension you could take a look at is “StayFocusd”, which restricts the amount of time you spend on another browser window and helps boost productivity!
FIND A STUDY METHOD THAT WORKS FOR YOU
Everyone studies differently. What works for one student may not work for another. The key to understanding and remembering concepts for your exam depends on how you study. Some examples of studying methods include mind maps, or placing sticky notes of concepts you find difficult to understand around the house. (For example, by placing a sticky note on your wardrobe, you will be able to read a key concept every time you are picking out new clothes)! Apart from that, some students find that writing notes, or reading out loud helps with their memory. There are plenty of different ways to study that you may find works for you! Just start researching methods if you haven’t found what works for you yet!
SLEEP. SLEEP. SLEEP.
Want to pull an all-nighter? Don’t. It is not worth it. Now don’t be misled by this title. I am not suggesting you need to sleep all day for like 20 hours. Just make sure you get an appropriate amount of rest. You may find that during an exam, you will be far too exhausted to remember the concepts you learned about at 4 am in the morning and all you can think about is having a nap. Even if you have not studied everything, you will find that with enough sleep, you will have the energy to think more critically, remember more concepts from lectures and prevent careless mistakes because you would be far more focused. Lack of sleep would be terrible for your health as well, so there is no possible use of being sleep deprived!
This is probably the most common problem among students. I know it has been for me for the longest time. However, fear not, this is preventable! By creating timetables and setting deadlines for yourself, you do not need to leave work to the last minute. You may find that when you are disorganized and keep delaying the time you will sit down and finally do the assignment, you have 3 other assignments to do at the same time as well. Not only does this greatly increase stress levels, it leads to students skipping the time they should be sleeping, to write 2000 word essays. It also takes away from time you could have used studying for the final paper you may find that you panic about. It always stems from procrastination, so better avoid it so you do not regret it in the future!
By this, I simply mean do not ALWAYS study. Dedicate some time to exercise, and other activities you may be passionate about like sports or music. You might find that it can be refreshing after a gruelling session of intense studying. In fact, with everything online, doing activities away from the screen would give your eyes a much needed rest from the strain of looking at the screen all the time. Also, make sure you eat your fruit and vegetables! Believe me, you would feel a lot better and stronger if you had a balanced diet instead of eating a Mcdonald’s burger all the time.
DON’T BE AFRAID OF FAILURE
This is perhaps one of the most important things to keep in mind as you study these days. With such drastic changes to the way we learn that we have to adapt to, there are so many difficulties we encounter and obstacles we need to tackle. We often feel stressed about failing a quiz or midterm and sacrifice our health over it. Everyone fails something at some point in their life. Just make sure you learn from it and move forward, as everything we do is a learning process, even online studying. Don’t subject yourself to unnecessary high levels of stress and have someone you can talk to if you feel overwhelmed. A failure in a quiz or midterm for example does not define who you are.
This post was written by Student Engagement Ambassador, Suraj Raj. If you have any questions for Suraj, you can contact him at [email protected].