As a new semester of university approaches, I’m once again met with the anticipation of what it could hold.
Will this be the hardest semester yet? Will I find a subject that interests me more than anything has before? Will I let myself become overwhelmed or will I use this time to shape me into an even better student?
When facing change or beginning something new, it is impossible to predict and plan for everything you’ll face. However, it’s always helpful to be as prepared as you can be.
How can I best compose myself to tackle this semester and be made better in the process?
Here’s a list of habits that changed my study experience (which also totally changed my life).
1. Keep a clean environment
If you’ve woken up in a slump or you’re sitting at your desk getting distracted by everything and anything, I suggest cleaning your space.
Whether that’s tidying your desk, making your bed or doing the dishes, completing a task/s will help you to get in the productivity roll.
Physical/environmental cleanliness is also great for your mental “cleanliness,” so to speak.
It’s not wise to base your study time on feeling motivated to study; there will always be times you don’t feel like doing the hard work, even when you know you need to.
Hence, routine. Getting up at the same time every morning and sitting down to study at the same place everyday really helps your mind to get in the groove.
Employ discipline to do the work when motivation is off “sick.”
3. Breaking your routine
As much as routine and discipline are for the most part great, we’re not robots.
We can’t just be programmed to do the same thing everyday at the exact same time and maintain that forever.
We as people are constantly changing, as is life, so the way we act and live must too, constantly change.
If you find something that works for you – great! Make use of these things. But never be so stuck in your habits that you can’t change it up now and again; you never know what you might find.
4. Plan your day/week/month
I don’t know how I lasted through all of school and for some time past that without to-do lists and other task management strategies.
No more forgetting tasks or missing meetings! Behold, the power of paper.
Spending some time in the morning to put down on paper (or screen) the things I need to do, drastically changed my productivity.
Get your scramble out of your head and onto a page so you have more space up there to learn and think about what you really need to think about.
I know the whole perspective and mindset thing has been done to death, but this is the most critical thing regarding your study/life experience.
I know many people who leave university because they didn’t like the style of teaching, or thought the tutors were unfair, or got bored (not that these aren’t good reasons; some people find that university genuinely isn’t for them – that’s totally fine).
However, if you really need a degree to get to where you want to be, you have to learn how to make university work.
Rather than complaining about how your degree bores you to death, view it as a blessing and an opportunity to learn amazing things, that ultimately will put you right where you want to be (or somewhere even better).
Laura Murphy is an excitable and fast-paced Brit, living in Australia. She can’t sit still; she has a serious addiction to sudoku, and she can be won over by a good cup of tea and a laugh. Studying to become a doctor, she is expectant and excited to see all that God is going to do with her life.