Study Tricks

If you are in college and have been procrastinating your schoolwork just because it feels like no matter what you do, it keeps piling and piling overtime, just know you are not alone. We all have been there, including myself. But now that I am in my senior year, I have come to realize a few things through my experience which I am happy to share with you here!

Let’s start by asking, ‘Why do we feel this load?’ Now I know college is advanced material but is it just the level of difficulty that’s stopping you? You want to think twice on that because I know sometimes we have the will to try but we still feel the pressure, so much that we start avoiding that work until the deadline hits. So, surely, it’s not just the level of difficulty. In my opinion, the appropriate answer to this question is the ‘volume of the work.’ Let’s say you have to do the homework from three different sections of a chapter. You don’t feel comfortable working on it without reading and understanding the material first. So, you automatically get the idea of the big sections of reading you have to do which, consequently, robs you off your motivation to do the work. Simply put, it’s overwhelming. A hack for this which I developed over the past three years, I divide the whole lesson into smaller portions and then I assign myself with a portion of reading at a time and I feel more motivated to this because it makes me feel that it’s just a little bit I have to do for now which eventually adds up to finish the whole thing in time.

Now, moving on to the next question, ‘Since when do you get this overwhelming feeling for college-work?’ This one here was eye-opening for me. I even went on to ask myself, ‘Why do I feel so drained out at the classes I take in college?’ ‘Why do I look at the clock several times to calculate how much longer for the class to end as if my life would depend on it?’ It was then that I realized I haven’t done this at school. So, why didn’t I do this in school? Because the classes were shorter, and I didn’t have to keep track of time then for the material would totally get me into focus. So, I got the understanding that long sessions of studying can cause diversion of concentration, sometimes getting us bored and not wanting to continue studying anymore. This is the stage where you can sit hours in front of your books yet get very little done. This is very unproductive. Not only does it kill your time but also tends to give you a lasting reluctance for that work. Well I do not have any solution for the longer classes, but I do have a solution for when I am studying on my own. I set my study hours to 40 mins maximum at a time, because that was the time allocated for each class in my school and it worked well for me. This not only takes away the boredom, but also keeps you engaged because you yourself want to set the pace to finish as much as possible within that 40 mins you allocated for it.

So, nobody is going to talk about the infamous 5 mins study break we take that extends to hours, or what? Well I am always addressing my problems and this one is a problem! I don’t know if you all get this feeling, but I  have seen myself really being into studying sometimes(which in itself is a rare thing to happen, like once in a new moon), and then I do it for hours because I am motivated to finish what I am finally understanding, then I get tired and decide to take a break for five or ten minutes, I want to come back to studying but once I take the break, it lasts for hours(sometimes days!) This is super annoying to me because I know I could do this, but I just somehow didn’t. So, this brings us to the question, ‘Should we not take breaks then?’ We definitely should! All we have to do is regulate those breaks. The first thing we usually do is get back to our phones or other devices. Sometimes we play games or start watching an episode and eventually we get so carried away that we completely lose ourselves in those activities and we no longer want to get back to studying just yet. My suggestion would be not to start things in that break period that gets you involved because then you don’t really want to leave it and go. Just think of it for a second. You hadn’t touched your phone for the two hours you studied and assuming you will get back to study after five minutes, you wouldn’t get your phone for the duration of the next study session either. So, would it really hurt to not get to your phone for five minutes you get in the middle unless it’s an emergency? You can absolutely get on it at once after your lessons are completed. Now, what to do then, depends on us, varies from person to person. I usually grab a snack, think about what I am going to wear for an upcoming occasion, check my mails, etc. You just have to find out what doesn’t keep you involved for long and doesn’t get you carried away.

Another trick that works on me is to sit in front of my laptop with my course pages and syllabuses open. So, no matter what I do on my laptop, I eventually have that tab visibly open somewhere and when I am doing nothing productive, I feel like maybe I should take a peek at my academic work. This helps me to take the initial step which I usually otherwise avoid. These are few things that I learned through actually facing these problems. I strongly encourage you to try these next time and see what works best for you. So, let that study game begin!