Hello my lovelies! Since the spring semester is officially underway for many, or about to start, it’s a great time to share some of the study tips that have helped me the most. Hopefully y’all find something that will help you too, and we can all finesse our way through this school year 😉 If you’re not a student, I’ll also be including some general organization and reading/analyzing tips, so maybe you’ll be able to find something helpful too!
1) Don’t force yourself to take notes the way other people do. Instead, find a style that suits you and your learning type.
I’ve always been the type of person to appreciate a beautiful page of notes- the aesthetic and organization goals are truly the dream. Seriously, I WISH I could reach that level of academic beauty. When I try, though, things just don’t go well. Focusing too much on the beauty of the page makes me forget the information I’m trying to study. So instead, I recommend these few points:
– Try to make your handwriting as neat as possible. If this means going for one of those beautiful, instagram-worthy study sheets, do you and show off your skills. If you’re like me, and that’s not quite an option, try to make sure everything is clearly legible and spaced out well.
– Organize your information in a way that flows naturally according to your thought process. Rearrange the content of a slideshow or textbook chapter if you can’t follow the sequence of information, and get it all written out succinctly.
– Try to use colored highlighters or pens to organize facts. This is one point that I’ve found especially useful, even if it’s time-consuming or frustrating. For instance, I use a blue highlighter for all definitions in my notes, so I can go back and find them if necessary. When a professor mentions that something is important or will be on the exam, I highlight it in yellow and put a star next to it.
2) Your lifestyle habits will greatly affect your academic performance and mental health.
Let’s be honest, eight hours of sleep is not always possible for the average college student, especially as the work load picks up speed. Rather than have a defeated attitude of “why try when it won’t be perfect anyway?”, remember that something is better than nothing and start with small goals. Trying to get to bed before 1:00 am has been my goal this semester, and so is getting up by 8:00. Getting into a consistent routine, even if it’s less than the ideal amount, will help your body keep its circadian rhythm. Consistency can come first, and amount later.
If you struggle to fall asleep, I recommend making your bed a place for nothing but sleep. Don’t study in bed, eat in bed, watch tv, or scroll on your phone. That way, when you finally do lay down at the end of the day, your mind will associate that location with sleep and you’ll have an easier time drifting off.
Buy and eat food that you like! Three meals a day is, of course, ideal, but sometimes that’s just not possible. It’s even worse when the food provided in a cafeteria or campus dining hall is unappealing. I have skipped many a meal simply because the options provided did not sound (or look, or smell…all of the above) tasty at the time. I am speaking from experience when I say that this mindset is not healthy. Keeping food and snacks that you enjoy in your room or bringing them to school is a lifesaver and well worth the extra effort. Replacing rather than skipping meals is going to consistently improve mental health and your ability to learn.
Finally, go outdoors just for the fun of it. Take walks around campus, go on a hiking trip, just enjoy nature in all kinds of weather! Staying inside can keep you too focused on stress and academics. Taking a moment to appreciate the outdoors is a great refresher.
3) Keep track of your assignments and plans either physically or electronically.
In high school, I relied on my memory most of the time for assignments and scheduled plans with friends. As a result, I often remembered things with barely enough time to complete them properly, and found myself being late more often than not. I’ve found a paper planner to be especially helpful for me in remembering dates, activities, and assignments. For some people it’s easier to set electronic reminders, so I recommend finding whichever works for you and keeping up with it. Consistently putting things in a planner will form a habit and help you to be on time. In a professional setting, this is an essential trait to form.
I’ll update y’all soon with more tips, but for now, I hope these comments are helpful reminders. Have a successful spring everyone! Remember to take time for yourself and your loved ones. You’ve got this!