How do you keep everything so organized? What sort of study cycles/techniques do you use?
Hey! For the first question, here are some key details:
A huge influence is how organized my room is, because if it is already messy, I really don’t care about cleaning it or organizing other stuff; it’s like bleh, what difference does it make?
So if I notice my life is getting too messy, I try to clean and organize everything I can in my room (because it’s my study space too) and try to keep it that way with each passing day because it makes me feel like I have everything together. Sometimes it can be hard, but a few small actions (like picking up dirty clothes or notebooks) help.
I have always loved and preached the use of planners (this year, in my case, it’s an already set up planner in which I incorporated the Bullet Journal system). However, I never really took all advantage of it.
Last month, I started taking it seriously. Nothing fancy; I only write down stuff like:
- ‘Goals’ for the day (like how much water I want to drink, brushing teeth, make bed, etc)
- Stuff forwarded
(how do you even say this?)from the previous day, if any.
- Detailed steps/small actions that make a bigger task, etc.
Really simple, I just write the stuff down and try to do them all and mark them as done.
The key to getting things done with a planner or any to-do list is:
- you only have to write down like 3 or 5 tasks, nothing overwhelming.
- do not be ambiguous (’solve 3 problems from Matrix chapter’ is better than just saying ‘study’)
- try to sort them, most important tasks first
- you pick the first thing in the list, start working on it
- do not work on other tasks
- Finished that task? Start working on the second one. Keep going.
- If something you hadn’t planned comes up, deal with it and move on, keep working on your tasks.
- If you do all of them and still have energy/motivation, do something else, create a new list, whatever
- you don’t have to be productive all the time.
I try to sort everything into categories, so I know where everything belongs. Everything has a place, so when something is used, I have to know where to put it back before things get too messy.
Now to the second question.
How I study:
What I normally try to do is:
- Solve past exams and as many practice problems as I can.
- Last semester, a TA told us that practice guides are not meant to be completed; make sure you know how to do the easy ones and start with the complicated ones, they’re usually a combination of the simple stuff.
- Take notes on class and explain what I did on a problem (even ‘multiplied by x and added y…’) so I don’t get confused if I ever try to study from an exercise.
- Since I’m an engineering student, my classes are basically all math-related stuff, but this counts with basically every subject: annotate.
- DO READINGS. Try to know what comes in next class, how and why some stuff works, etc.
- Ask, ask, ask, ask. Any doubt will only grow and drive students to despair when the final comes.
- DO HOMEWORK.
Some things I have learned
There was a time when I was not ever sure if I was going to pass my classes, and I learned a few lessons:
- Most teachers do help. That’s how I noticed doing all the homework was actually worth it, even the smallest one. They don’t really care about the contents, some of them just want to see you take their classes seriously.
- If a student who did poorly on exams but turned all the homework in, is struggling, teachers will probably come to the rescue.
- Some people are not really friend material. They can drag you down and distract you from your priorities.
- Be yourself. If something matters to you, go for it. Likewise, if grades are not really important to these people, you don’t have to follow them.
- Free time of others does not mean your own free time. Know what is best for you.
- This does not mean ‘BREAKS NOT ALLOWED HERE’. Take care of yourself.
- Sometimes, even though I felt like I studied pretty hard for something, I would just get back a really disappointing grade. Am I worth anything less? Nah, next time it will be.
- There is always room for improvement.
- My best grades always came from studying like a week in advance or revising periodically.
I hope this helps (and sorry for the late reply). Good luck!