Back in September, when I first started at Simon Fraser University, I knew that I wanted to do well in school and had a growing passion to succeed. However, coming from Secondary School, with relatively average study habits and more-so an attitude of just getting by through attending class and remembering what I could for a test, I struggled with the transition (apparently I’m not alone…) Now, after learning more about how to increase my odds at being successful, I’ve found that knowing what to prioritize, taking a break and managing your time are fundamental to developing better study habits and subsequently, better grades. In turn, this truly makes one’s University experience more enjoyable and of course, rewarding. You can compare these ideas to a great blog post here by Daniel Wong.
Every month, week and day, I feel as if there is something I need to complete in one of my classes. Whether it’s a small business quiz or a research paper due a month from now, there is always something to be working on. My advice to someone who feels as if they struggle with this or is going to be entering University, is to prioritize what is most important. Inc. has a good article on this, which you can read here. Sure, it may sound simple, but a lot of time I hear my friends say how they started studying for a midterm a night before, or how they wrote a paper in a day to meet a deadline. I am not criticizing these people because I’m guilty of the same mistakes, but rather, I’m envious of their ability to accomplish so much in so little time, as for me, it just isn’t effective. So when I say prioritize what is most important, I weigh assignments by due date, their weight in overall grade of class, and ease of assignment. Although the idea of prioritizing may seem simple or obvious, prioritizing combined with managing your time has proven to be very important for managing stress and academics. Further, I’ve noticed that making time for school actually provides time for things outside of academics, as I know how much and how frequently I can allocate time to certain things or events.
Taking a break is the easiest part of studying, yet so many people neglect the idea of relaxing or putting down the books once they’ve started. I have definitely had my moments of feeling like I’ve over procrastinated and am in too deep to take a break, however, it is still valuable to stop and relax. Much like building muscle at the gym, you need to rest for strength, and in looking for gains, you have to pamper yourself sometimes. This doesn’t mean to study for an hour then go out and hang with friends until later that night, but rather to have balance between studying and talking to a friend or watching a short TV show. Moderation is key, but to make this schedule work, periods of studying should be focused, void of distractions and lengthy enough to make them worthwhile.
Finally, in order to be successful, one should work on managing their time. Time management is probably the first piece of advice any student would give to another. That feeling of procrastination does not come into effect if you can manage and make the most of your time. For me, I find the best way to manage my time is to visually see it. I use a whiteboard calendar from Staples to see my assignments. I find this helps because if I know that I have a midterm in two weeks, I am going to give myself the most days possible to study by efficiently and effectively completing the assignments within the time before a midterm. Here are 17 Time Management Strategies worth checking out. Once again, this may seem very simple, but there is no worse feeling than walking out of an exam and thinking that you could have studied better. It’s a horrible regret. Want some research on how horrible regret is? Read this (2016) article in Frontiers Psychology. You’ll regret it.
These are just some study habits and tips that I feel have modestly worked for me, but that said, I am certainly learning to improve in all aspects of what I suggest. I want to avoid preaching the correct way to study because by no means am I a perfect student, but what works for me could do the same for someone else. I’m not that guy who scores the highest on an exam, or who thinks they know it all, but maybe you can relate to someone like me, and if needing a reminder or simple suggestion to help achieve better grades, try what’s worked for me. With all that being said, I need to wrap this post up for the week because I need to begin studying for my Economics final because I did horrible on the midterm.
Without spoiling any details, or verbosely repeating myself in the essay we have due next week, this week’s blog post will focus on how journaling, writing, and being more involved in the blogosphere has helped throughout the transition I’ve been discussing this entire semester.
I’ve always enjoyed writing stories and developing creative pieces, however writing in an argumentative style or expressive logical reasoning would, if I can suggest, be my strong suit. Moreover, I would attest that talking face to face with someone is far easier and more enjoyable for me than having to write something- let alone share it online… Whether it’s an argument on an essay topic or telling someone how my day was, I would prefer to do so verbally. Yet, ever since the idea of leaving football behind and starting this new journey, I’ve found it hard to precisely express how I’ve felt and I’d get tired of people repeatedly asking me why I quit. ReRouted has given me an outlet to express myself in a way that I didn’t know was really possible. As such, this post explores the cathartic release made possible through blogging/journaling.
Being more involved in blogging has shown me that although my situation may feel unique to me as I experience it in a personal silo, many others have shared experiences of retiring from sports and leaving something that you have loved, known and been comfortable with for so long. In this, or this, and especially this, you can find articles and posts from others who also report on and/or share this feeling. Likewise, here is a small sampling of useful sources to cope with mental health issues that are both related and indirectly related to the experiences one may encounter through any change they face.
Mental health is not new, but in the short time I’ve been able to understand what it is exactly, there does seem to be a growing body of work, services and research directed at bringing awareness to it. While I attempt to be mindful of how I feel, I’m not always that introspective; however, throughout the process of blogging, I do feel as though I have brought forth my voice into writing. I know that I did enter this blog with the purpose of detailing my experience in facing change, and with that there would potentially be some emotional issues that required confrontation, but the extent to which I have utilized this space to vent has been entirely cathartic and has highlighted some important aspects of my past, present and future that are uplifting, motivation and worthy of reflection. ReRouted has been a sacred space for me to develop, document and instill a sense of passion for myself, but also for anyone else who may have interest in doing the same. It has been a place to bleed my questions, concerns and dreams, while also providing countless opportunities to learn new skills, preoccupy myself with tasks and be enthralled with artistic elements that normally wouldn’t be so interesting to me.
All in all, I believe I have given a lot in terms of effort through weekly posts and assignments, but ReRouted has offered me just as much in serving as a mic for a voice that was once not ready to speak, particularly in the context to which I am writing about; me. Next week marks the final post for this course, so stay tuned for some further reflections, questions and insights, and regardless of it marking the end of a blog guided by a university course, the process will unfold published or not…