study-habit

You were the one who held his hand
after the fist fight that left his knuckles
like red wine on fresh-turned dirt.
All this time, and I always wanted to ask
if his blood on your hands
felt some kind of sacred.
I don’t think either of us were ever
any good for him.
Because you loved him bruised,
and I loved him bloody—
I know how it sounds, believe me, and
I have torn through rabbit holes
hunting for a better heart,
but I’ve got a weak spot for broken boys
and that
is my most disgusting feature.
You may not have loved him well,
but at least you loved him halfway whole.
Me? I would have kissed
the broken teeth from his mouth
and kept them all for myself.
I would have cracked open his crème brûlée chest
and eaten out the insides—
hung up his twisted x-rays on my walls
so I could never forget the look of a ruined heart.
I don’t break them myself, you see.
I just go collecting in the aftermath.
Grave robber for the still alive:
I may not kill anyone,
but I have never been afraid
to take what I need
to survive.
—  Bad Habits, by Ashe Vernon
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What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Epipheo.

The other day, I had a discussion with a specialist. We went through some academic topics and theories. As new thoughts emerged into my mind, I would ask around them, taking us further and further away from the original point he had tried to make.

"Stop," he said. "This seems to be a generation-issue of yours. If you keep changing the topic like this, you will not learn any of it; you will not remember the point I tried to make." I recoiled back for a moment, embarrassed. I politely apologized. He was right. Had I really been absorbing any of the information? Or had I just glossed over it?

As the flow of information in our lives becomes and much greater and more powerful force, we will need to be ever diligent not to allow ourselves to be distracted. To not lose sight of our focus and our goals amidst the torrent of random stimuli will be a cornerstone to proper learning. 

HOW TO MAKE A STUDY SCHEDULE

1. Include time for classes, labs, seminars 

2. Add time for sports, volunteer commitments, work, church, clubs, gym, other hobbies

3. Include time for things like travel time, sleep, dressing, grooming, personal care, meals (include time for preparation and cleanup)

4. Add flexible time! This time will be used for whatever time you want - socialize with friends, go on tumblr, watch netflix, take a nap, use it as catch up time if were not as productive as you wanted to be or if something happens, like you lose your essay, you may need flex time to rewrite it

5. What ever blocks of time are left will be used for time to study, review, and complete assignments

TIPS:

  • BE FLEXIBLE! This isn’t set in stone, it’s mostly just an outline to figure out how much time you have to study a day. I know that I have approximately 3 hours a day to do textbook readings and 2 hours a day to review material that I’ve learned. Things happen and your day may change around! If I go out with friends on a Tuesday night and that cuts into review time, I may need to use my flex time Wednesday to catch up on stuff I missed. Or you can just switch review time and flex time, so you get some review done before you go out and have fun.You may need to stay late at school for a group project and miss out on workout time, so you may need to move your workout to another day. This is why flex time is so important!
  • BE REALISTIC! I know it’s Friday night so I probably want to go out with friends, that’s why I’ve added in more flex time than usual, and I may want to switch it with review time, because we aren’t going out until 9:00 anyways. I also haven’t included Saturday and Sunday, because I usually work on the weekend, and my work hours are arbitrary, and I want to hang out with friends, and take it easy and watch netflix. If you want you can plan in the weekend, but be realistic! Don’t expect that you will study 8 hours a Saturday, because you probably won’t. I also left in half hour free in the morning (white space) because realistically I know that sometimes I am slow getting ready in the morning, and sometimes it takes me awhile to get out of bed, so that extra time is in case I miss the bus, I can still make it to class on time.
  • For the study time you’ve blocked in, don’t expect to work straight for an hour or more! Take lots of small breaks in between that time. Get up and stretch, but don’t do anything that will get you distracted too long (social media, or netflix)  And if you have more than 2 hours study time, take a long break in the middle of it - you may want to use that as dinner time or workout time.

Could ants have something to teach us about reducing highway traffic? According to Physicist Apoorva Nagar there are three main reasons that ants, even when running in large numbers, do not end up in jams. Nagar contends that humans might be able to learn something from these three techniques — pruning back our egos, for example, could help maintain a steady flow of traffic. 

Why Ants Handle Traffic Better Than You Do

Photo credit: iStockphoto

ANDY HOW CAN I IMPROVE SOME OF MY STUDYING ABILITIES?

GOOD GRADES ARE GOOD, BUT HOW DO YOU HACK YOUR BIOLOGY TO STUDY SMARTER?

I REALIZED I WAS DOING A BUNCH OF THIS SHIT AS A PRE-MED ACCIDENTALLY BUT HERE’S HOW YOU CAN SET YOUR BRAIN UP TO BE MORE AWESOME THAN IT ALREADY IS.

ANDY’S DATA-DRIVEN (ADAPTED) GUIDE FOR OPTIMIZING YOUR COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE. 

1. GET SOME EXERCISE - THIRTY SECONDS OF BLOOD-PUMPING EXERCISE CAN GIVE YOU THE SAME MENTAL BOOST AS AN ESPRESSO, BECAUSE OF THE LINK BETWEEN AEROBIC ACTIVITY AND COGNITION. 

2. KEEP IT COOL - COOLER AIR HAS BEEN FOUND TO INCREASE LEVELS OF AN ENZYME THAT CORRELATES WITH HIGHER MENTAL ALERTNESS, AND MAKE WORKERS SLIGHTLY UNCOMFORTABLE, WHICH KEEPS THEM FROM GETTING DROWSY (68 F IS A NUMBER I SEE A LOT IN STUDIES)

3. TURN UP THE LIGHTS - NOT TURN DOWN FOR WHAT. EXPOSURE TO BRIGHT LIGHT BOOSTS ALERTNESS AND REDUCES SLEEPINESS. ALSO, LED LIGHTING > FLUORESCENT 

4. USE A BLUE LIGHT - A ONE-HOUR DOSE OF BLUE LIGHT FROM LEDS - 240MG OF CAFFEINE (ROUGHLY THE EQUIVALENT OF A TALL STARBUCKS COFFEE) ON DECISION-MAKING.

5. TAKE IN THE VIEW - NATURAL DAYLIGHT INCREASES PRODUCTIVITY AND HELPS YOU SLEEP BETTER AT NIGHT. 

6. PUMP UP THE MUSIC - LISTENING TO UPLIFTING MUSIC BOOSTS MENTAL ALERTNESS. 

7. TAKE A BIG WHIFF - PEPPERMINT, CINNAMON, AND ROSEMARY OIL, CITRUS, JACKS UP YOUR COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE. AVOID LAVENDER, AND CHAMOMILE, WHICH CAN INDUCE DROWSINESS. 

8. MUNCH ON THE RIGHT SNACK - HIGH-PROTEIN FOODS = MORE ALERT. WALNUTS AND FRUIT ARE ALSO PRETTY GOOD. 

9. IF ALL ELSE FAILS, TAKE A NAP - 90 MIN NAPS = BETTER COGNITIION. EVEN SITTING QUIETLY FOR 30 MIN = SMARTER. 

10. IF YOU HAVE TO CAFFEINATE - DRINK A COFFEE @ 2 PM. A CUP OF COFFEE FOLLOWED BY A 15-MINUTE SNOOOZE = GOD MODE. WHEN YOU WAKE UP, THE DRUG SHOULD BE METABOLIZING. 

SOURCES AND LINKS TO STUDIES:

http://qz.com/156085/the-caffeine-free-guide-to-staying-sharp-at-work/

http://qz.com/59922/heres-what-you-need-to-know-about-coffee-in-the-workplace/

anonymous asked:

5-7? that's amazing compared to my 0 a day. self deprecation aside, what tips do you have for developing a study habit?

Hello.

Well, there is no particular secret in developing a study habit. It is like any other habit. It takes time and repetition.

  • Create a Schedule and Try your Best to Stay on Track. If you forget to do something on your schedule, carry on. Do not try to backtrack. Or everything else on the schedule will have a time shift. Come back to it later.
  • Mark down on a calendar, everytime you followed your schedule.
  • Reward yourself when you complete a task. Do not reward yourself before… 
  • Be Consistent. If you study better in the morning, then start with studying in the morning. Even when you feel lazy, try to study a bit. It is better to study a bit than not at all.
  • At first, it will be hard. But, after 10 days, it will become easier to develop this habit. It is said that it takes around ~66 days to create a habit. 

Best of Luck.

Using Evernote.

I have received a lot of questions about what program I am using to organize my notes. It is called Evernote and it is still something I am experimenting with but I am quite pleased with the results thus far.

What appeals to me most about it at this point is the ability to edit and sync my notes on my computer to my phone so that I always have all of my notes with me anywhere without the hassle of notebooks and paper. That, along with a fast and responsive engine for tagging and searching makes organizing and finding my notes a lot less time consuming.

As one reader was asking, it does support document and image attachments as well as recorded audio clips (that have thus far not been very useful to me). However, I do insert inlayed images often for diagrammatic purposes. 

At this time, it is definitely a much more tedious operation to convert readings and clinical pearls to digital notes when I come home but over the long term, I think they will be more useful.

Scheduling Balance.

Readers often ask me and I often talk about finding balance while being in medical school. It helps improve your learning, your productivity, and your lifestyle while preventing burn out. This is however - as I know first hand - easier said than done. 

Today, I thought I might talk about one of the tools I use to scheduling balance: the calendar. We have all seen it; many of you might even use it on a day to day basis. It comes in many forms, from the large poster boards on your wall, to the agenda you carry in your bag, to the phone you carry in your pocket. 

The balance I strive for is easily overcome by the demands of medicine. There is no shortage of work, calls, and rounds to attend if I was so inclined. To prevent this bias, my schedule has to be balanced by the counter argument: the personal events and interests. If there are important events or activities I would like to do, I waste no time putting them in, no matter how trivial it is.

To have the calendars visible at all times side by side, reinforces the importance and interplay they have with each other. No calendar is more important than the other. 

Since I am in a relationship, I have found the digital calendar that syncs between my computer and phone to be the best fit for me. Not only can I add activities and events from either device at any time, I also have access to my partner’s calendar and she mine, making it easier to plan get togethers.

Scheduling balance works best when you are willing to put in the time to creating and maintaining your calendar as well as checking it regularly to make the most of your planning. Depending on how often you choose to do both, your mileage with the calendars may vary.

With a calendar well stocked and at your side at all times, you can easily check before you say “yes.” At the end of the day, life balance cannot be achieved no matter what tools you use if you cannot confidently say “no.”

Study Tips

90/30 Rule

I set my clock/timer for 90 minutes and study non-stop for this time duration without any distractions (no social media, or interruptions of any kind) and then take a 30 minute break. During the 30 minute break do whatever you want (social media, snack, exercise, phone call). The truth is our minds cannot study non-stop for prolonged periods of time; our attention span can only last so long. The 30 minute break allows us to refresh the mind and also acts as a reward mechanism to ensure we do the actual 90 minutes of studying. For example: I promise I will not get distracted during my 90 minutes of studying if it allows me to watch a TV show during my 30 minute break. I initially found the 90/30 period difficult so I began by doing 40 minutes of studying with a 20 minute break as I was easily distracted.

Change of scenery

            Studying can become repetitive and mundane. I find changing my study environment allows me to break the repetition and enjoy a different environment. I alternate between three quiet desk areas of the house to change the pattern and monotony of studying for prolonged periods. The kitchen dinette for hard topics as the window is refreshing, the dining table to spread everything out, and my study desk. I have a trigger as well; when I use my study desk I only turn my lamp on when I am studying (lamp on=studying and for some reason it gets me focused) Furthermore, research indicates a new environment also helps with memory retention.

“The brain makes subtle associations between what it is studying and the background sensations it has at the time, the authors say, regardless of whether those perceptions are conscious. It colors the terms of the Versailles Treaty with the wasted fluorescent glow of the dorm study room, say; or the elements of the Marshall Plan with the jade-curtain shade of the willow tree in the backyard. Forcing the brain to make multiple associations with the same material may, in effect, give that information more neural scaffolding.” (Carey, 2010)

Change of writing apparatus and surface

I typically alternate between the following: Hilroy paper and multiple sharpie or pilot pens on a desk, a white board on the wall and a chalk board on the wall. The white board and chalk board allow me to stand up, stretch, and visualize the material in a different way and conceptualize a larger surface area of information. Additionally, with the monotony of studying anything to break that cycle of monotony is helpful.

The Feynman Technique

            I heard about this a few years ago. This involves simply writing the concept you are trying to learn on a sheet of paper. Then writing out an explanation of the concept in your own words. For example: explain the forms of globalization on a sheet of paper or out loud to someone else or yourself. This shows true absorption of the material or concept and allows you to distinguish if you understand the concept fully. If you cannot explain the concept to someone else or on a sheet of paper, then you must revisit the textbook/lecture.

Record and replay

            If you have time, record yourself reading your notes or explaining a concept. You can then replay the recording while commuting, shoveling snow or listen to it in the car for further absorption.

If you have any questions, let me know. Good luck with your finals everyone :)

- D.F

I drew out a weekly schedule for this semester! It’s a bit plain (despite the sumikko gurashi stickers), but is very easy to read.

Each class is a different pen color; I’ll be using the same pen color to underline/box important terms in my notes for that class. (For example, if I’m taking notes for MKT 4876, I’ll underline important things in green ink.) And, all of my courses on My Study Life also have the same corresponding colors.

I’ve written out all the important dates for this semester under the weekly schedule so I always have them on hand and in one place. Additionally, I’ve already written these dates into my monthly plans, so I can see when they’re coming up.