First things first, please accept my apology for the super late post again. It’s been a very busy month, well actually ever since I have a full time job. I know I promised a post a week, but things just happened and I’m still trying to cope between work and blog. Don’t get me wrong - I still love this place and will continue trying my best to balance the two, alright? Thanks for waiting, bud.
So now – the long-awaited Study Tips! One thing people always ask me is how I balance between school and blog, how I manage to survive through law school and blog and also part-time work as an editor. It’s not easy, I’d have to say that at the front, it’s hard work, time dedication, and most importantly perseverance.
(Disclaimer: The following are just tips of mine. It works on me but it may not be as effective on you. Feel free to PM me so that we can find a way that suits you.)
Background info: All my life before uni, I grew up in a Science/Maths family. I was trained to do Maths, fomula, shapes, graph, probability. My dad would sit with me in a restaurant, estimating cash flow and the number of customers a month, guessing the most popular food on the menu, calculating the turnover rate. And me, (this is super nerdy) I would, during my shower, try to come up with formula, sequences, or angles. But yeh, I ended up in a law school in one of the world’s most renowned university - University of Cambridge. To be completely honest, that wasn’t my happiest decision back then, it was tough, very tough. But I guess that made me more appropriate to talk to you about study tips. I wasn’t good at it, it’s not my strongest part, but I made it through.
Without further ado, scroll down for my study tips now! Only while on my way typing my tips did I realise how many tips I have, therefore I break it down into two about StudyTips and StudyHabits respectively.
Choose something you enjoy
I know this sounds extremely cliché, but trust me, picking something you actually like and will continue to like is very important. University is an entirely new universe – it's not like high schools anymore where you can gut-guess the right answers without knowing the topic. No. University is somewhere "only being smart" is no longer enough and me myself can prove you that. Very often you will have to drill into the subject so deeply that only hard work is not enough. It just becomes so hard and then depressing and in denial to struggle to pursue something you don't enjoy – I can also prove you that. So pick something you enjoy, even you cannot get into your favourite subject, pick your favourite elective.
Mark your timetable to remind yourself what is priority and what's not. Plan out your week to make sure you won't miss anything important.
Make your own notes
Some are good at words while some prefer graphics. Everyone's different so we don't necessarily work the best with the same of notes. Notes are very good when you have a substantive bunch of information and you have limited time to revise only the consolidated ones for exams. Keep a set of notes that is the most you - do bullet points if you find yourself better with words; draw diagrams or tables or mind-maps if you find understanding tables easier; use colours if that keeps you awake. Discover the way that suits you the best.
Set targets – Big and Small
I find setting targets really useful for me. I will set BIG targets as to when I will have to complete the whole subject and SMALL targets of the day as to what I have to at least achieve that day. On one hand I make sure I have sufficient time to finish the required papers, while, on the other hand, I won't overwork myself. It is very common to find unlimited readings and further research and further further research for you to read. Let's not come to whether one will be able to finish the list, just reading the list is already so overwhelming that it frustrates you and puts you off from doing anything. So set a target every day – eg. 60pages for the day; 1essay for the day. If you are done, close the book, have fun. Gradually you will see items being crossed out, and that is truly the most satisfying and contented moment of the day.
Prepare ahead – Never Skip Classes
Yes I know, I know, I skip classes and I skip many classes. I skip so many that I don't even know who my course mates and lecturers are (fair enough). Only then I know how important going to classes are. And very often, attending classes gives you an idea about the topic, limits down what you have to know, and most importantly, what will be in the exam. So always try to make it, jog notes or even record the lecture if you prefer.
Mm, is it wrong to say that you are procrastinating while reading this post? For me, a certain level of procrastination is not only NOT bad, but necessary. One’s level of concentration drops when one tries to focus and work continuously for too long without resting. That’s when working is not efficient nor effective. You might be using double time to finish a reading when you only normally only need half that time. That’s because your brain is running out of oxygen and it needs time to breathe and recover, the same way you human being need. So, just feel free to procrastinate for a good 15-minute or half an hour - get out of your room, talk to people, go for a walk, work out, watch youtube, snack - just do something totally unrelated with work. Only then your brain will be able to refresh and revitalise and get back to high-speed mode.
Be strict with time
Yes, procrastinate, but not too long. It’s quite easy to start a movie and end up watching up till season 5 at 3am. So be strict with time, set a limit for yourself. My usual method is watch a 30-minute episode, or hit the gym for a 30-min run, or go online shopping for 30 min. After the 30-minute, I get a fresh cup of water, down it and get back to readings.
I hope this post helps, I really do. School is tough and I am more than certain in this. I may seem to be that “smart school girl”, but everyone has their own struggles. The one thing that is universal to you and me is: Hard work will pay off, you just gotta work a little harder every time, until one day when you look back, you will be surprised how far you’ve been and by then you will be truly thankful for yourself for having insisted all the way. Keep it up, my loves!
Last thing, I am so interested to know who you are behind the comments regarding this post. Hun, you for sure got my attention. if you are reading this, drop me a PM or email, would you?
Next post coming up soon: Study Tips II – Study Habits to keep you moving and sustainable.