How To: Study

It’s like the blind leading the blind.

(Yes, bonus post because I’m feeling inspired and because I’m good at procrastinating)

I must confess something. I am a smart kid. I get things pretty quickly and overall do really well in school. I didn’t study at all in middle school and did what I guess you could call studying in high school and finally the real thing happened near the end. I’m in university now so actual studying is actually mandatory if I’m feeling like getting a good mark in a class. And that’s where how I grew up becomes a problem: I’m not good at studying. I haven’t had years to fine tune my habits.

The proper simile for me now would be one of those fish flopping around on a dock after it’s been caught and unhooked. I’m trying my best but it’s really not getting me anywhere.

First of all, I’m really susceptible to distractions. Take now, for instance. I’m playing the game Little Alchemy, deciding if a song I discovered is good enough to add to my itunes and blogging about how I should be studying. Earlier, I was adding a whole bunch of books that I don’t have the time to read on my Goodreads and keeping up with John Green on my Twitter timeline. (Fun fact: I am shameless with my self-promotion) Once my brain gets disrupted and is no longer In The Zone, there’s no stopping me. I’m a snowball; getting farther from my destination and just gaining speed. I try all the things one would try to stop this from happening but it’s really hard to not browse the internet when what you’re studying is also on the internet! School should have thought that one through a little better.

There’s also the fact that I usually don’t know what to do. There are some subjects where the studying comes really easily. All you have to do is memorize this list of facts or be able to solve this type of problem. Chemistry and mechanics right there. But English? And, more importantly, programming? I need to memorize the syntax and how to build codes but how in the world do I learn that on my own? That’s what I’m figuring out.

At least I do know some things about myself that help it work. I know that I’m a kinesthetic and visual learner so what works best for me is rewriting my notes and organizing them on the page or, better yet, using different colours. By writing everything down, my brain is actively participating so it soaks more in and by using the colours I can actually visualize what the page of notes looks like while I’m writing an exam and pretty much read off of it.

It really helps to know that part of you because then you can study more effectively and therefore, yipee, can study less if you so desire. I think we did the “How I Learn” test way back in grade 9 but there’s some of those things all over the internet, you just have to look.

If anyone out there is reading this, lemme ask you what your study strategies are and why they work for you!

Doggedly Yours,

Karen

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