Take initiative to fix studying routines

Homework, studying and tests. There is nothing more dissatisfying for a college student than coming back to school after a long break and realizing this is all starting up again. Once all your books are bought and all the syllabi are all handed out, it is that time to get your hands dirty and jump back into the swing of things. That means you actually have to start paying attention to what your teachers are saying instead of hearing them ramble on about the course schedule and what sort of things that individual class should teach you.

With all the expectations and filling schedules, procrastination of many different forms will continue to be the killer of student’s academic standing, sleep time and even personal health. In fact, scholars at the American Psychological Association say that college students who procrastinate in their academic work are more likely to have these unhealthy sleep, diet and exercise patterns. With all the stress and the several ways to get distracted in college life, there is no reason to think otherwise when I say that Tech has a large proportion of the student body that puts off these hefty course loads until the last possible minute.

In previous semesters I too have put off studying to watch a movie, see who is on facebook, google random stuff, etc. I have felt stress build up at points and still attempted to cram right before tests, knowing far too well that I could have been studying all along and could feel slightly more comfortable those nights. In an attempt to manage my time more effectively and hopefully help you out too, I’ve done a little research and brainstormed a few ideas.

Procrastination is very closely linked to “avoidant coping styles” or the tendency to neglect problems that cause anxiety rather than confront them. Ironically, these tendencies in turn can cause anxiety as your time runs out in getting these things done. A good way to avoid procrastination is to start studying with the mindset of not being perfect. If you can get into this right mindset, you can flow through your work easier. Of course you might be a little sloppy and make mistakes, but at least you can learn through the homework and example problems. In most classes homework is only worth about 10 or 15 percent anyway.

Another way to confront this “fear of failure” is to set up realistic goals. Don’t attempt to knock out too many chapters or problems at once. You can bore yourself and lose focus. I used to try and read too much of my physics book at once last year and would find myself dazing off, reading pages at a time and forgetting exactly what I had just read. One demanding load at once is the cause for many students to put off this large chunk of work. Chop up your study habits and do a little bit each day or even smaller amounts throughout the day.

Sometimes I get “stuck” on a problem or entire idea throughout class. When studying, I’ll tend to push through it in a painful attempt to figure out what is going on. I’ve always taught myself things throughout high school and even beyond that without much difficulty. Once I came to college I realized pretty fast that it would be difficult to do this. Try studying with people in the same class, those that have already taken the class, or who you feel are just plain smart and might understand it. Take advantage of your teacher’s office hours, too. Don’t worry about being several chapters behind to talk to them. Most will be happy to help you understand important concepts and respect the initiative to come in and go over it with them. Don’t quit or painfully try to get through material. Asking for help will save both time and energy in classes.

All people learn uniquely and have different methods to go about retaining information. What might work incredibly well for someone might be tortuously tough for another. All ideas proposed may not suit you or work. Check the internet for the several different ways to focus and avoid procrastination. Figure out what works for you. Some people jumpstart their train of thought with music while others need complete silence and choose to go to the quiet floors at the library for their time to get things done. Try new things out and see how they work no matter how weird or unusual they may be. For example, I read a post about how someone puts up a picture of her grandma to stay focused. When looking at her grandmother she feels a sense to make her feel proud and gets inspired to get things done.