Everyone has hit that brick wall when it comes to their studies. Sometimes, the sheer volume of work seems unreasonable and it becomes debilitating just thinking of what needs to be done.
Other times, you just don’t feel motivated enough to hit the books. Fear of missing out (FOMO) can also hold you back because your friends are having the time of their lives and you are stuck behind a computer. Going out with them doesn’t help you in your struggle either because when you do join them, you feel guilty and start stressing about how you are going to meet all your deadlines.
So how do you improve your studying and make the burden just a little bit lighter?
1. Ditch your laptop
In the digital age, we have gotten so reliant on our tech toys that we cannot imagine doing anything without them. Making motes on your laptop is so much neater and you can sort and store everything with the press of a button. Yet, all the organizing and appropriate management apps, you still find it hard to keep retaining what you learn.
The problem is that you don’t use all your senses. Studies have shown that people retain more info when using hard copy papers and notes and reading form books than using apps.
When you work with hard copies and read from books, then you use more of your senses. You feel the paper and the thickness of the book. You smell the pages and you even remember the typography on the pages. Put all of these together and more spheres of the brain are activated, hence, better retention of information.
2. Don’t binge on the books
Although you feel that the more you sit behind your books, the better you will study and the more you will be able to improve. This is true to a certain extent, but you need to be able to balance your studies out with times of relaxation as well.
If you think of someone who exercises a lot, when they overdo it, they do more damage than good. Their muscles and joints don’t get time to recover and instead of improving on their fitness, they need to sit out for weeks to heal.
Your brain works in the same way. If you don’t give it time to relax, it becomes less effective. So, sitting for hours on end without a break is no more effective than studying in chunks and taking frequent breaks.
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Get some fresh air
You might have heard this a lot, but you need to get some fresh air regularly if you want your brain to function at its full potential. When you sit in a single room for hours on end, you keep on breathing the same air. What you don’t realize is that you are slowly building up the carbon dioxide and depleting the oxygen in the room.
This is part of the reason why you start to feel drowsy after a couple of hours. Sure, you are a bit fatigued, but you are also not getting enough oxygen. Break your study sessions up in smaller chunks and make sure you get out for a bit of fresh air.
If you really want to boost your oxygen intake, you could take it to the next level and go for a quick run. This is sure to get your blood flowing again and you will feel refreshed and much more focused.
Set the tone
You are the best person to say how you study best. This principle is the same for everyone, though. You need to create or study in a space that is suited to your study needs, whatever it might look like. Some people need to study in an uncluttered environment and have absolute silence to get the job done.
Other people need the buzz of people around them to function properly. The bottom line is that you need to be relaxed and feel comfortable if you want to study effectively. When you are in a relaxed environment, you tend to focus more and you are less distracted. The person who likes the buzz of a shop needs the people around them to keep them focused.
When it is too quiet, they tend to drift and before they know it, they are lost in all kinds of thoughts except their studies. The person who needs silence is the opposite. They will get frustrated and won’t be able to keep their focus as there will be too many distractions.
Don’t be too hard on yourself
We are all human and life tends to happen when we study. The trick is to find a balance between setting your goals and being fine with the idea that we won’t always reach those goals.
If you are too hard on yourself, a setback could mean that you can become discouraged and give up before you finish your race. Be reasonable and push yourself, but keep a balance and know that life does not begin and end with your studies.
Studying can sometimes be difficult, but on the other hand, it is also supposed to be fun. You are in the position of learning something new and acquiring new skills.
We all like it when we can do something today that we weren’t able to do yesterday. Keep in mind that you are working towards something and that everything in life that is worthwhile will take a bit of effort.
For more great college tips, check out the other blogs on College Basics.