1. Planner + Syllabi = dynamic duo of awesomeness
Seriously, copying down all of my assignments and tests from each syllabus into a planner made my life much, much easier. It can be tempting to simply refer to individual syllabi throughout the semester, but writing out individual deadlines puts everything into perspective, and here’s the big one ladies and gents: it saves time. By the end of the semester I didn’t even have to look at my planner anymore because I could visualise what the month looked like in terms of assignments etc.
2. Reading week is for more than reading.
This may sound obvious to some, but being the keener that I am, I had to learn this the hard way. Spending 95% of reading week studying and working ahead meant that despite being ready for midterms, I was super burnt out. Please, don’t be like me. Take some time to recharge so you can resume classes a paper-slaying-insanely- motivated-midterm-killing-ninja.
3. All-nighters are not necessary.
This point needs some explanation:
- I value sleep more than the average human…if hibernation was acceptable among homo sapiens….well…you get the picture.
- As you can imagine, stories of uni students pulling all-nighters during exams felt like a dire threat to my sleep-loving existence.
- I embarked on a mission to avoid this cruel and unusual form of sleep deprivation at all costs.
As implied by the heading, I achieved my goal. How? Well, let’s just say that it involved some meticulous flashcard making after virtually every psychology class. Not only did this mean that I got to write exams feeling extremely well rested, but my psych exam in particular was almost completely stress free (more on this in a later post).
4. Questioning one’s existence is a good thing.
No, this is not a reference to Hamlet. I’m simply referring to the re-evaluation of why you’re doing what you’re doing, and if you think you’re fulfilling your goals. In other words, are you getting everything you want out of the college/uni experience?
If you’re going to school in Timbuktu because you love the scenery and culture, are you actually getting out and experiencing it, or are you living your life barricaded in the library? If you’re going to Hogwarts because they have the best professors, but you’re spending all your time traipsing around the village of Hogsmeade with your friends, what are you doing???
I chose my university because it offers a lot of opportunities outside of pure academia, so on occasions when I found myself neglecting these, I had to reconsider my priorities.
5. Studying and musical chairs don’t have to be all that different.
Just image a game of musical chairs where everyone sat down in a chair and didn’t move until the next round. Kind of kills the entire game, doesn’t it? Studying is somewhat similar. As someone who used to review an entire course before starting the next one, forcing myself to shuffle between them was an enlightening experience in multiple ways:
- Studying became interesting because of the constant switch between subjects.
- Not allowing myself to get bogged down in any one subject meant I was able to cover more material.
- Because I would move on to a difference subject after a certain amount of time instead of after accomplishing a certain goal, I was motivated to complete a cycle of five different subjects in order to get back to the first one.
Like a mental game of musical chairs, the constant movement kept studying interesting and kept me moving toward my goal: winning the game, or doing well on exams for those of you that like to be dishearteningly realistic about these types of things.
The moral of the story? Sleep lots and treat life like a game, just make sure you plan it out and question everything while you’re doing it. Oh, and don’t spend too much time reading. 😉