The Study Grind
Studying is an inevitable part of university life, so while it may take some time to figure out what truly works best for you, it’s best to get started early on. I used to let the thought of studying completely overwhelm me. I either spent no time studying where I was left to completely wing it on exam days, or I was studying for 10 hours straight where I was hitting the point of extreme exhaustion. I didn’t have a list of tips for studying, nor did I feel like reaching out for help, and as a result, I struggled a lot during my first semester. I know how stressful it can be during your first year of college, so I want to help ease the burden of studying. Here are my tips and tricks -- take what you will, but I wish you the best of luck on your studying journey!
First, set aside sometime at least four days during the week to study. Whether that’s 15 mins, an hour, or even a couple of hours, studying for short periods of time throughout the week helps the brain retain more information and lessen the stress of having to cram everything at the last minute. By setting aside a specific time in your schedule to study, you don’t have to worry about not having enough time. Instead, you’re dedicating just enough time to studying in a way that works best with your schedule, and you already have it set aside rather than stressing about it all day. During that time, you can focus purely on studying without outside distractions, and once that time is over, leave your materials for the next scheduled time.
Along those same lines, break your studying into smaller chunks of time. Personally, I like to use the Pomodoro technique where you work for 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break. I normally get up and stretch, drink some water, and eat a small snack. This allows your brain to take a moment to digest all the information and rest before diving into another interval of intense studying. Then, if I’ve dedicated a lot of time to studying that day, I’ll go through four sessions before taking 15-30 minutes to completely step away from the materials. This process helps a lot when it comes to retaining all the information I studied and keeping a focused mindset. It’s so easy to get distracted, but this allows me to push through and study well.
Another thing that helps with studying is having an accountability buddy or friends to study with. Find a person who will cheer you on while also holding you accountable. In turn, you can also be there for them in the same way. Mutual support works in wonderful ways. There are also times where I just need to be in the company of others in order to stay on track. Their simple presence motivates me, and it allows me to also make time in my schedule to hang with my friends. You can catch up during those small breaks, and sometimes, you may even be able to help each other out. Afterwards, you all can reward yourselves with going out for a bite to eat!
Studying is important, but don’t let it get the best of you! At the end of the day, everyone has their own set of study habits that works in their favor, so don’t get discouraged if any of these tips don’t necessarily work for you. I’m confident that you’ll figure it out. Just remember to have fun and believe in yourself! Enjoy your time here in college because it will fly by.