Being a student again has really brought out the nerd in me again. And I absolutely love it; the flexibility and control I have over my time, learning new things and stretching my mind around new ideas. Not to mention the friendships that I have developed along the way.
But as with anything new, it has been an adjustment. Thankfully, I developed really good working habits over the past few years during my undergraduate degree and then whilst in the work force. It has taken practice and trial and error to get to a level that I find I am most productive, but it has definitely been worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I still have days where I don’t quite achieve as much as I would like, but for the most part, I find the following things really helpful.
Top 7 Study Tips
- Surround yourself with a strong group of people. As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”. Make sure that you are investing wisely in friendships that will support you and drive you to do your very best.
- Treat study like a full time job. I mostly stick to working on uni 8am-5pm, and take nights and weekends off. Yes, there are times that you will have to work “overtime”, but if you treat study like any other type of work, you will find you will be far more productive in the time that you set aside to study.
- Productively procrastinate. Write a list of everything that you need to do. Including cleaning, life admin (e.g. filing, booking appointments etc.) and actual study tasks. If you don’t feel like doing your study, look at the list and do something on that. You will find that even though you might not get enough study done at that time, you will have freed up other time that you can use to study in instead.
- Set yourself deadlines for assignments a few days earlier than the actual due date. That way, you can put it aside for a few days because checking over it again just before you submit it. You will be amazed at how much you would have missed the first time.
- Declutter and be organised. Working in a clear space will really clear you mind. If your desk is a mess, put a bin beside your desk and cull everything that you don’t need. Old notes, random paperwork that you don’t need… just get rid of it. Buy a few folders and keep all of your notes for your subjects together.
- Back up your work. Download Dropbox if you haven’t already and save your work there. Get a portable hard drive and do a weekly back up of your computer. And save continuously. It seems simple, but you will only have to lose your work once for you to realise how important this is. Unfortunately, this comes from experience.
- Eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. Again, it seems so simple, but honestly, self care is critical. Ensure you look after yourself… because if you are in a bad place physically, emotionally or mentally, it will be reflected in your work.
Keep in mind that these tips are not just useful for study, but in helping to achieve a variety of different goals. Besides, it’s never a bad time to pick up good habits that you can transfer into all areas of your life.
Study is a challenge. Don’t give yourself a hard time about those days that you just don’t have it together. There are going to be days (or entire weeks) where you just don’t get it. When you read the same page 5 times without it making any sense and your computer acts like spawn of the devil. But if you get into good habits early, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience – with far more to gain than just a piece of paper at the end.