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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Starting Fresh in a New Semester






I can't believe I am going into my final semester of college. It's been an extremely long and taxing ride, but I'm so close to the finish line. Graduation is a little more than 100 days away, and I'm literally already planning my poses and locations for my graduation pics. That is how ready I am.

But in all honesty, the school thing has never super easy for me. Even in elementary school, I struggled. I've never been the girl who gets A's on everything. And A's certainly do not come easy for me. I have to WORK extremely hard for them. Sometimes it feels as if I'm working twice as hard as anyone else, but I've learned that works for me.

Sometimes fellow peers will revel in their ability to not study and come out with an A on the exam, but that has never been my story. I have to study for hours and sometimes days in advance to get the grade I really want. Through college, I've realized that learning is not the same for everyone. It's a very individual process.

In these four years, I've learned to find my own study methods and the best productivity system. As I enter my last semester of college, I still don't know if I've perfected it 100%; but my study habits have definitely improved dramatically since my first semester in 2015. Each semester I've managed to raise my GPA substantially while balancing multiple organizations and commitments.


Managing a packed semester can be challenging, but I hope a few of my holy grail tips will make it a little easier. Check them out and let me know what you think!


Finding YOUR best study spot
Location is everything. And  9 times out of 10 your bed is not it girl. At least in my experience, studying or work never gets done because I always end up taking a nap. As lovely as working in bed sounds, it's just not realistic for me. Everyone has a different style, so it just depends. Some people thrive working in busy areas or around friends; it's all about finding what works for you. I work really well in coffee shops and the library. I have to be in a relatively quiet environment where others are working.  I eventually want to get to a place in life where I can have a productive space in my home. But, it's so hard curating a calm work environment while living in a shared dorm. After graduation, I would love to have a cute desk area where I can work on blogging and any other projects; but, until then I have to utilize my on-campus locations.

Using a planner or digital calendar
I am the worst planner, and even my ESFP personality type says so. I always get to a point in the semester where I just go MIA on my planner. It gets to the point where 5 or more weeks are just blank. I know it's bad, but stress just gets to me sometimes. It's constantly something I'm working on. Recently I've been very into Google Calendar. Personally, I like to call it "Google Cal" because it sounds cooler; but anyway, I am a big fan. I love that you can fill in reoccurring things with just a click of a button. I've already added some assignment due dates and upcoming events. So even if I fall off on my traditional planner, I at least have knowledge of assignments that are due and my usual commitments.

Time-blocking
I think it's really effective to try to plan your days out to the T. I really like time-blocking because it allows you to visually see what is on your schedule in real time. I especially love time-blocking as a journalism student when it comes to scheduling interviews with sources. I can quickly view the exact times I'm free and go from there. Google Calendar is probably one of the easiest time-blocking systems because it allows you to easily delete and move things around.

Utilizing Quizlet and Flashcards 
I have realized that I learn best through repetition. I have to do something multiple times before I truly become confident in understanding it. Although it may not work for everyone, it's scientifically proven that flashcards work.  It's all apart of a method called "active recall" which basically relies on memory instead of just reading a section in your notes or a book. It kind of creates a similar feeling to actually taking an exam because you are essentially testing yourself. Quizlet even offers a test feature that allows users to answer true/false, written, matching, and multiple choice questions based off of their terms. Both Quizlet and flashcards are essentially the same concept, but Quizlet is digital and offers a variety of tools and benefits. 10/10 would recommend both study tools.

Organizing notes after class
This is something I'm still trying to master; and to be honest, I hate taking notes in class. I just feel like a lot of times professors are always rushing through their slides, and I never have enough time to let the concepts marinate. Last semester I took a law class, and at the end of each week, I would take my notes and organize them into something more understandable. I would add details from the book, YouTube videos, or any "real life connections" I had to the material. And of course,  I would add lots of colors and highlights to the notes to make the concepts stand out. This part is optional, but it can make things easier to understand and navigate.


Comment your study tips below!



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