The following tips for students will present you some very helpful tips on how to study effectively and help you to advance your time in college or university and increase your motivation to study.
#1 Student stereotypes:
Let’s start with the very first student tip: Take a second and close your eyes. Imagine yourself sitting in your classroom or lecture hall and try to focus your attention on your classmates and fellow students. Just think a bit about their different attitudes towards college and university. You will notice that every one of them has a completely different mindset about the term “studying” in general. Here are some general stereotypes:
- The “What am I doing here” student: This kind of student has absolutely no clue why he spends his precious time in school/college/university. Most of the time they simply don´t know what else to do than going to college. Another indicator of this stereotype are typical statements such as: “My family wants me to go to university”, “All my siblings are studying as well”, etc. The student has inherited goals from his family and tries to achieve these goals to make them happy. But the goals aren´t truly his own; his heart just isn´t in it, so it won´t make himself happy! If you face yourself such a situation you should try to find your very OWN reason that you are studying that has nothing to do with your family, friends, etc. It is cool if your parents support you and want you to do this and that in your life, but finally it is you that has to live that life so you should also take the responsibility to take the decisions for this life. If you cannot find another reason to study other than “my parents want me to go to university” or “all my friends are studying” then you should really think twice about that decision.
- The “I have no idea” student: If you ask one of your classmates what they want to do after school, college or university and they just respond with “No idea!” or “No clue!”, then we are confronted with a “no idea” student that goes to school, without any further goals. It is not such a big problem to have no idea what you should do with your life, especially when you are young, but it can have some very effective motivational aspects of targeting some aims; to find a reason why you are studying; to find a purpose for all the effort. When I went to school I could observe a high gap between the students that knew what they wanted to do after school and those that had no clue at all; especially because I was such a “no idea” student myself! Years later, I was targeting some really ambitious goals and skyrocketed my GPA. I knew exactly why I was there and what I wanted to achieve. That pushed myself further than I would have believed I could go.
- The “I know exactly where I want to go” student: This student goes to school/college/university for a clear purpose and has set himself ambitious goals that allow him to increase his motivation to study. He has quite frankly a huge advantage to his fellow students as his goals motivate him and he knows the purpose for all his efforts.
SUMMARY: There is no need to fall in panic just because you do not know the reason why you are studying at the moment. Take yourself some time and answer for yourself the question “What is the purpose of going to school/college/university for me?” and “What are my goals that I want to achieve by studying? Do I have any goals at all?” You need to evaluate the reason that makes you attend college/university day after day.
#2 The greater good
As you are reading these lines you should have made some thoughts about the purpose you attend college/university and have found some goals that motivate you! Great! Now once you have found some goals you can steadily try to pursue these goals and finally attempt to reach them! One of your goals could be that you want to enroll yourself at a respectable university. In order to accomplish this goal, you might have to overcome some obstacles, such as subjects that you dislike (for example math). I have made the experience that it can be really helpful to overcome these obstacles by visualizing the reasons you want to succeed even in subjects you do not like that much; or rather the reason you need to succeed even in these subjects. Clarify yourself the greater good that you will accomplish by becoming successful even in subjects that you do not like! I for myself hated math all my life long. I simply couldn’t find a reason that math could be helpful for my professional life; especially given the fact that some genius had invented a calculator. My attitude sabotaged myself as I rather asked myself the question, “Why do I have to study for this stupid subject”, than asking myself “What can I do to improve my math skills?”
SUMMARY: Do not ask yourself, “Why do I have to study for this subject/discipline”, as this will only waste your time and help you no further. Instead, try to motivate yourself by visualizing the positive outcome of succeeding in that subject you do not like.
#3 That´s unimportant, sir!
When I went to university I quickly noticed some huge differences to school and college. The advantage of school was that my teachers clearly explained the topic; answered questions and set a clear focus on the teaching material that was being tested in the exams. University was totally different: it just felt like it was the aim of all of my professors to flood us with as much information as they could. None of them seemed to care if we understood what they were talking or not. University requires you to categorize the information you are confronted with in every discipline from “very important – relevant for exams” up to “unimportant information – not relevant for my exam”. The students that are able to make a distinction between all the important information and the useless stuff have an advantage as they save time while studying and can better concentrate on the important things. I had a discipline at university that required us to calculate different statistics in the exam and the professor was impolite enough to focus all his lectures on defining hundreds of statistical definitions. Now, the logical conclusion for me was to focus my attention on calculating and making different exercises for the exams, rather than trying to memorize every definition, what some of my fellow students did. Plainly spoken: they wasted their time.
SUMMARY: Try to evaluate the topics and information that is necessary for your exams, sometimes it might be possible to have a look at exams from the previous year, or simply make some connections to students that are some terms ahead. Differentiate between important information that is relevant for your exams and those topics that are absolutely irrelevant.
#4 Don´t waste your time! Use it!
At the beginning of each term some professors will point out the focus of their lectures and exams, such as “Everything I say in my lectures is relevant for your exams”, “I will hand you out my manuscript that covers all my topics of my lectures” or simply “Read this book from X. Everything in there is relevant for your exams!”. The statements of your professors will help you to evaluate the lectures you need to be present (both spiritually and physically) because they are critical and those that you don’t necessarily have to visit as they might even be trivial. Ditch those classes that feel like a waste of time that you could invest for something more effective, especially if the professor just follows his script, word for word.
The second aspect would be to reclaim time during your classes, every time a professor starts to deviate from the topic or starts to babble. I personally enjoyed it when some of my professors started to integrate some real-life experiences into their lectures, as they were interesting or really funny. Unfortunately, other professors were known for starting to babble about nerdy conventions and other unrelated topics without making an important point, so I could focus my attention on more important things, rather than getting bored by them. Sit in the back and do your homework, work on assignments or whatever makes more sense than listening to pointless stories or the geeky chat of your professor.
SUMMARY: Save time where it can be invested for something more effective. Bypass unrelated chat by doing something more important.
# 5 Networking at its best
I can hardly stress out all the positive effects that you can achieve by networking at college or university in this article, but be assured that they are enormous. The rule of thumb to be a networking genius is to simply be a social guy with an open mindset. Networking was very effective for me as I was able to accumulate important information and tips about exams from students that were some terms in front of me, some gave me their copies of previous exams, etc. etc. Here is where you can network: Be the head of the class
You are afraid of being responsible for your fellow students, too shy or simply lazy to take the “extra work” that you think is associated with this task? Well, you are not the only one that thinks so, quite frankly: most of your fellow students have similar thoughts about the tasks and duties of the head of the class. Make use of this advantage and become head of your class! You will be amazed of the positive side effects of being the head of your class!
- You get to know by far many more fellow students as you would have gotten to know otherwise
- A lot of tasks can be done by your fellow students
- You get in touch with a lot of professorsJoin student-conventions of your university
Get in touch with professionals and companies that join the student-conventions of your university. This helps you to get in touch with important people and make some good connections.
SUMMARY: Feel free to have a look at my article Effective Networking Tips: Professional Networking to get an overview about the topic networking in general and some great ways to build a network!
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The article 5 Tips for Students: Student Guidance was presented to you by Personal Development.