If you are anything like our adorable mascot, Penelope the Pink Moose, your college dorm room is cleanest when you’ve got a big paper due or when you should be studying for that mid-term. But she’s got some ideas that can help you start to develop good study habits while maintaining your health and even your social life. Here they are:
- Keep track of things. You can go old school with a paper planner, or just pick up your phone. There are hundreds of organizational and productivity apps out there; choose one. If the search for the perfect productivity app feels too much like procrastination, just use a paper planner or even a pocket-sized spiral notebook.
- Know your dominant learning style. Do you learn best solo? Are you a social learner? Are you a visual learner, or are you a better listener? Are you more logical or more kinesthetic? Get to know the ways you learn best and seek out those environments.
- Know what is expected. Set yourself up so that you are never surprised by sudden deadlines. If class or project expectations are unclear, ask questions. Write down the answers. It’s your education, you deserve to know and understand what is expected.
- Choose a place to study. If you are easily distracted, wear headphones, or choose a quiet corner of the library. If you thrive in chaos, choose your favorite coffee house.
- Make a plan. Start with a due date and work backwards. Give yourself realistic goals and a time frame that will help you best meet those goals.
- Make study time part of your daily routine. You brush your teeth every day, right? When you’re in college, your mental health is every bit as important as your dental health. Make studying a part of your daily routine and you’ll save yourself a bunch of anguish later. Choose blocks of time when you are at your best. If you always feel sleepy right after lunch, don’t plan to study at that time.
- Be an active listener. Concentrate on the main points presented in class, but don’t miss the details. The finer points will help you retain and recall the bigger meaning of each lesson.
- Create a study group. There is power in numbers and in camaraderie. Your peers in your study group will give you a different perspective. You’ll gain insights from them you might not have developed on your own. Bonus: you’ll be able to have a social life while you study.
- Plan some stress busters. Get some exercise. Take a midnight powerwalk. Play Frisbee. Jump rope. Take a swim. Your body and your mind both need to let off steam. Exercise not only eases stress and oxygenates the brain, it helps you feel better about yourself.
- Go to any review sessions that are offered. Just do it.
- Get some sleep. The National Sleep Foundation contends that a good night’s sleep boosts recall, speed, and accuracy. “Scientists think that while we sleep, memories and skills are shifted to more efficient and permanent brain regions, making for higher proficiency the next day.” (https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/improve-your-memory-good-nights-sleep)
- Have a good attitude. You are more likely to succeed is you believe in yourself.
Take a deep breath. You are going to be awesome.