Ten minutes to midnight and it’s finally submitted to the online portal. I then had what was left of the day to submit my tax return before the cut off.
That is to say, ten whole minutes; luckily the internet was actually working that day!
A piece of advice; never organise it so that your major research proposal and your tax return are due on the same night. Well I didn’t so much organise it this way as much as it “just turned out that way”, which brings me to the topic of this post:
Because you see it didn’t really “just turn out that way”, it was a result of innumerable small decisions in the preceding 12 weeks. When we think of study skills, it is more likely that our eyes will glaze over rather than light up with excitement; many people tend to “wing it” which can work for a while but if you want to succeed beyond the more basic levels of education and training you really do need to spend some time assessing and refining your study skills.
Your school or institution should have resources available, but if not, there are dozens of websites you can look up to find out much of what you need to know, but…what you may not see are what I call the hidden skills that no-one tells you about…
Until it’s too late!
- LOOK AFTER YOUR HEALTH…It’s no good being top of the class if your health collapses. The occasional all nighter probably won’t kill you, but if you do not sleep or eat properly, studying will be hard. Get up and stretch, go for a short stroll; hours on the computer will wreck your body and your posture; and drink lots of water if you want your brain to work.
- AUDIT YOUR SKILLS to find any glaring gaps BEFORE you start studying. Put your ego aside and do a preparatory course if you need to, and practice the things you are weak at. Is it reading and comprehension, writing, referencing, or managing time and information?
- UNDERSTAND your preferred learning style and prepare your study plans to suit it as much as you can. Many courses are biased towards verbal and abstract cognitive styles, which can be challenging for experiential learners, or students with certain disabilities. What technology or aids do you need? Speed reading class; voice or video recorder; you can watch videos, draw pictures and diagrams; use mnemonic or tactile or visual memory aids; whatever works.
- GET HELP EARLY… Be aware of all the support options available to you and use them. Take advantage of tutoring help, use peer support programs, or get a study buddy. Is there disability support? Access free counselling, attend free study skills workshops and use the library assistance. Ask, Ask, Ask and ask early, not two hours before your assignment is due.
- HOW DO YOU DO THINGS? Find out in advance the requirements of your course e.g. referencing style, modes of delivery, requirements for attendance and extensions, resits and resubmits; complaints procedures, or what to do in a crisis. Know what you’re dealing with.
- EXAMINE YOUR BELIEFS and thoughts about yourself, study, success and life in general. Negative or impractical beliefs and thoughts (e.g. perfectionism) will raise your stress levels and may even sink your success completely. Watch your language; what are you saying to, and about yourself? Is it even true? Probably not.
- REMEMBER WHY you are doing the study. It is very easy when you are in the midst of multiple assignments and competing social or family demands to forget just why you signed up in the first place. I can guarantee you that at least once per semester you will want to just go “*@*# IT” and quit, that is normal. Make a vision board of your future, or put your goals up somewhere you can see them every day.
I hope these tips are useful for you, if you look closely you will see that the first letters of each tip forms the word LAUGHER. Follow these tips and you’ll be one, it means both “a person who laughs”; AND “something that is easily won or handled”. Appropriate?
I think so.