It’s that time of year where we have all gone back to school, whether in real life or just here on HOL. Either way, it’s time to break out of those nasty summer habits of late nights, procrastinating the day away, and partying until early hours of the morning in chat.
I have come around to give you my top study tips and good habits of being prepared for school/work and maximizing the potential, not just of your day, but of your year!
1. Get your sleep! I put this as number one because I still have problems with this myself. Most nights, I’m up late in chat, studying and/or working on projects. The thing is, when you do get your seven to nine hours of sleep a night, you’re well rested for the day and able to think more clearly meaning you’ll get more done and have better quality out of what you do. Not to mention, your body will thank you for it. It’s also known that people who get an adequate amount of sleep tend to live healthier lifestyles. The less sleep you get, the more junk food you might crave because your body is looking for that quick dose of energy to keep it going. You also may find it harder to get out of bed which can cause you to rush to get ready.
Be kind to yourself and get those ZZZs.
2. Set goals! I have found goal setting to be immensely helpful throughout the year. Maybe you want to get that A in your science class this year or maybe you’re hoping to raise that C average from last year into a B average. Whatever it is, setting goals will put you on the right track to success.
The important part of goal setting is to make the goal realistic and achievable. If you have a 3.0 GPA, it would be really difficult to raise that GPA to a 3.5 in only one semester. It is doable with the right amount of credits and grades, but that’s also setting the goal extremely high. It’s better to set the goal to something easier like raising it to a 3.3 GPA. If you do happen to get that 3.5, good on you! That’s awesome! However, if you had set it to 3.5 and you didn’t reach it, you may berate yourself for it, and that’s not good either.
Another example would be “looking over my flashcards every day.” This is not a good goal because you cannot check it off. However, a good goal would be, “Get an A in Spanish which I can achieve by studying my flashcards daily.” That is a goal you can check off at the end of the semester/year when you get that A!
Did you also see what was tagged on at the end there? After setting your goals, you’ll want to write down smaller goals or ways to achieve that bigger goal such as “studying my flashcards daily.” This allows you to monitor your progress towards that larger goal and gives you a path to achieving it. Other small goals for achieving an A in Spanish might be: get at least a 90% on quizzes, create flashcards, join RQT’s Spanish Club on Duolingo (yep, we have one!), or watch a movie in Spanish.
Remember! Make sure your goals are things you can cross off once complete! They must be specific and measureable!
3. Plan your day! I find this to be very important for myself because I have so much going on. If I don’t keep track of things, I may forget to eat or get things confused so I end up in one location when I should really be in another (yes, that’s happened before).
This isn’t for everyone, but I like to plan my day the night before. I make sure all of my classes are listed with the times they occur, I also mark down my volunteer hours and when I have to be in at work. These are my must dos for a day, things I can’t miss. But you also have another must do and that’s making sure you get your food!
Food is crucial to making sure we have brain power and energy to get everything done we have to do in a day! It’s also essential for good health so we don’t get sick and have to miss out on things we want to do. I make sure that when I’m signing up for classes, I always have an adequate amount of time for lunch. I also make sure to wake up early enough for breakfast. Sometimes I can’t schedule to have a lot of time between classes or when I have to be at the location I’m volunteering at, so I always make sure to pack a good snack to take with me that will hold me over until I can get home and prepare lunch or dinner.
After I plan all of that, I schedule in times for other things that I need to do. I know I need to study for my Epidemiology quiz coming up, so I’ll add an hour of study time this evening when I get home from work. I also have quidditch practice, so I need to write that in. I need to plan a time to work on all of my articles for the Alte, so I can work on that between these two classes while I eat my lunch.
See how easy it is?
Part of planning your day is prioritizing. Once you learn how to prioritize, things get much simpler. It also helps with procrastination! There are three types of priority that I go by: high, medium, and low. Some people also have lack of priority meaning something that doesn’t matter if you do it or not. High priority is for things such as completing my Biology lab research paper that’s worth 35% of my grade. Medium priority may be for this Alte article that’s due in a couple of weeks. Low priority could be completing a book for Book Bingo on HOL. (Come on, we have all year for that card!) If you choose to use lack of priority, an example may be completing Game of Thrones so I don’t have to worry about spoilers anymore. It’s something I want to do, but I don’t get anything from it besides making my dear HoH happy. *ahem* Not that that’s not important. It totally is. *ahem*
4. Give yourself a break! It’s important to take breaks from studying and do something that you enjoy. Remember that “all work and no play” proverb? It’s easy to burn yourself out early on in the semester/year if all you do is focus on schoolwork, getting the best grades, and participating in every single little thing that HOL has to offer. This is why it’s important to find time just for you. For me, that’s reading and going to the ballet. I also love taking nature walks. When my mind starts spinning from studying for too long, I’ll break from it, step outside and soak up a bit of sun. Some days, I’ll study for an hour or two and take the rest of the time to enjoy a good book before going to my volunteer location.
While these kinds of breaks are important, it’s also important to give yourself another kind of break. This kind of break I like to call self-compassion. Many of us are very hard on ourselves. Speaking for myself, if I missed a deadline for something because I looked at a date wrong, I would mentally kick myself for it over and over again until I felt sick. If I didn’t get that perfect 100 on a test or that perfect 60 on an HOL assignment, I would go over the assignment again and beat myself up over each thing I missed. If I made a mistake, I was an idiot and never should have been given this prefect position in the first place. “I should just step down because obviously I’m not good enough for it.”
But do you know what this does? It just makes me feel worse. People make mistakes. We’re human. We’re not perfect. No one is. Perfection is an idea that society falls in love with, but it’s an idea that will never become reality. It’s an illusion to an unachievable standard that only makes people feel unworthy and <i>less than</i>. “I’m not good enough. I’ll never be good enough.”
Maybe you have an off day or an off week, tell yourself that it’s okay. You don’t have to be at 110% all the time. If you make a mistake, tell yourself that everyone makes mistakes. If you don’t pass that test, tell yourself, “Next time, I’ll find a study group so I’m better prepared,” instead of “I’m so stupid. I’m never going to get this right.” I promise you, the more compassion you give yourself, the more you’ll enjoy life and the easier it will be to reach your full potential in school, work, and whatever else you choose to do this year and in the following.
You’ve got this, and you are awesome!
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