preparing to study

don’t let a bad grade make you think any less of yourself.

Don’t let one letter on a piece of paper define your intelligence. You’re smarter than you give yourself credit for.

If you’re not a morning person, you know the struggle. It’s not just about waking up, it’s about actually getting yourself to do stuff in the morning. While I usually recommend you adapt to your body’s own schedule, as you’ll work much better, school, work or other activities may not allow you to do so. Therefore, here’s a guide on how to get shit done in the morning.

The night before

  • Prepare whatever study materials you’re going to use that day. Open your notes and make sure you know where you should start (i personally lay a pen on the exact paragraph).
  • Put a bottle of water and some tea (with caffeine) or coffee on your desk so that you don’t have to go get it next morning. 
  • If you’re usually cold in the mornings, get yourself a blanket. I promise you mine has made me more productive than all the coffee I’ve ever had.
  • Write a to-do list for next day. Then distribute those tasks in a schedule (you can either use a printable or just scribble it on some piece of paper). Take into account you’ll need time for breakfast and personal hygiene. 
  • Other than that, don’t leave anything else on your desk, as it may be distracting.
  • Make an effort to go to bed at least an hour earlier. It makes a huge difference when you wake up 

Actually waking up

if you struggle to wake up, try the following:

  • Ask someone to wake you up (a parent, a roommate).
  • Put your phone accross the room and inside a glass to amplify the sound.
  • If your phone has an option for voice alarm, use it. Make it something really motivating or, even better, really annoying.
  • Combine all of the above for foolproof results.

Tips to get stuff done

  1. Chug your liquids! - The very first thing you should do after your feet touch the floor is drink some water and drink something caffeinated (yes, in that order) (caffeine because it will kick in by the time you’re done with breakfast and water because caffeine can be dehydrating + water will also jumpstart your body).
  2. Put on some fluffy socks - okay maybe this is just a personal thing but I’m personally much less likely to go back to bed once i have some socks on.
  3. Smol workout - do something that will send blood to your brain. It can literally be ten jumping jacks.
  4. Breakfast? Not yet - you’ve gotten up, you want food, understandable. BUT remember that book/notebook you put on your table last night? Well, get to work on it for 15-30 minutes. You may be sleepy and not able to comprehend much of what you’re doing, but the important thing is that once you come back from having breakfast, you will already have started, which is the most difficult part.
  5. Avoid anything with a shit-ton of sugar - it will give you a sugar crash in about an hour and all you’ll want to do is go back to bed. (Personal rec is overnight oats with some fruit on top - delicious, fast af and super filling and energizing).
  6. A big breakfast can make you sleepy. Instead, make it a little bit smaller and have some healthy snacks (like hummus) throughout the morning. Look at them as your reward for studying.
  7. Stay off the internet. During breakfast, I find that social media (especially youtube) tend to put me off working afterwards, as they give me something more insteresting to do. Therefore I reccommend you either find something else to do (write your to do list, read a book) or limit your Internet time to 5-10 minutes.
  8. Remember that you control your mindset. If after doing all of this you still don’t feel like studying, it’s perfectly okay to stare at your desk for five minutes and have an argument with yourself about how much you do want to study. Seems stupid but trust me, it works most of the time.

Other masterposts

8 Things Successful Students Do

Hey everyone! A lovely man named Mike Strangstalien, MA, MFT, LPC, NCC decided to compile a list of 8 things successful people do. He has been working on this list since 1994 and continues to update this list as he does more research. I decided to share some of his amazing work here with you all by summarizing his main points. Enjoy and good luck!

1. They raise their hand in class.

Now, this may seem trivial and sometimes you’re left with the question, “How can I speak up in class if I don’t even know what I don’t know?”. However, its been proven that people who raise their hand and ask questions tend to do better. If you are unsure of a question to ask, a good technique is to go home and review the material and the next day at the beginning of class, ask your question. This not only gets you to actively participate in class, but you begin to think about the information you learned and are able to commit it to long term memory.

2. They establish routine and structure.

During the day you should try to complete your homework so that at night you can spend your time studying, reviewing and consolidating. Its been proven that studying something before bed can commit it to long term memory. Doing work at night when you’re tired can lead to poor performance and may not commit things to memory if its the first time you’re seeing the information. 

Also, try to go to bed BEFORE 1:30 am! Why is this important? Your serotonin is used up during the day (about 90%)  and is reassembled if you get to bed by 1:30. If you go to bed past 1:30 twice in a row, you miss your key opportunity to replace it and you’re left with only 10%! Do this again and you’re down to only 1%. This affects your concentration, focus, attention, motivation and memory. 

3. They go to office hours.

Those who go to office hours at least 8 times during the semester yield, on average, 0.5-1.2 grade points HIGHER than their non-attending counter parts. The main reason people don’t go to office hours is a fear of looking “dumb”. However, if you just admit to your professor or TA that you’re completely lost, they can help re-teach. Remember to be honest about your confusion because otherwise they may start their explanation off the assumption that you already know something and you’ll have wasted your time and your professor’s. This can be the difference between a C and an A! 

4. They prepare for each lecture.

Preparation for each lecture is essential. Begin by reviewing any information from the last lecture within 24 hours of first receiving this information, otherwise you lose valuable time to commit it to long term memory. Additionally, quick read assigned readings so that the lecture can consolidate what you read. After the lecture, spend about 5 minutes summarizing the major points and look up any vocabulary you didn’t recognize. This all compiles into the three-read principle. 1. Read the textbook (or other materials) beforehand. 2. Reread after the lecture and try to find the main points in the reading. 3. Reread a third time and write notes as though you plan to teach the information. This means simplifying and not writing down unnecessary information. 

5. They remain actively involved when learning, attending lecture, and while studying. 

I have a post about active studying techniques which you can find here. Active learning requires not only that you consciously try to pay attention, but also that you maintain your motivation to learn the material, the willingness to complete the tasks at hand needed to learn it, and saying to yourself, “I am excited to learn something new and I am thankful that I have the opportunity to do it”. Remember, there are kids in other countries literally dying for the right to an education. Your education is luxury, not a right. Additionally, every 15 minutes, stop and ask yourself, “how does this fit into the main idea,” and “what is it that I just read and how can I form study questions from it?”. 

6. They take responsibility for their learning.

Although your professor is there to provide you with the information, it is not their job to make sure you learn it. Often times students fail because they expect the professor to try hard to help them. This is a harmful way of thinking and it can lead to failed exams. Those who take responsibility will make sure they seek help when they need it and they will make sure they search for resources outside of what is provided. If you’re really struggling with a concept, try Kahn Academy, YouTube or asking a TA. Its up to you to earn the A, not your professor. Also, keep track of your own grades and assignments that you turn in. This way if you need to see someone for help, you’re not disadvantaged because you waited until the grades were updated online after you threw away graded papers. 

7. They understand the work load and are prepared to study 7 days a week.

Not everyone can study for hours on end every day. For this reason, those who are successful make sure they break down their studying into 25 minute intervals. Additionally, make sure you touch on this information every single day to keep your brain ready for the class when it comes time and you can avoid procrastination. You also need to be prepared for repeated exposure. This means reviewing the same material 3-7 times. This highly increases your likelihood to not only learn the information for exam, but not become guilty of the “pump-and-dump”. This is especially helpful for anyone pursuing medical school or graduate school. 

8. They have no use for negative self-talk and they are honest with themselves.

You cant commit things to memory if you feel down or you are angry with yourself! Those who are successful maintain the mentality of, “I know that hard work and commitment will lead to success,” and, “I am capable, intelligent, and worthy of excellent grades”. They also understand that any grade they receive is earned and not given. Additionally, they understand that even at the end of the day, if they get bad grades they know for a fact that they tried their hardest. Self-criticism can be more harmful than good. Never scold yourself for missing homework, doing bad on an exam, or being confused. Instead, search for ways to actually CHANGE your behavior. A change in you mentality may sound silly, but it may be the difference between having the motivation to study a little harder and laying in bed feeling bad about yourself. BE HONEST. If you are really struggling and going to office hours and studying isn't helping, drop your pride and try to find a tutor. If a tutor isn’t in the books for you due to financial situations, explain this to your professor and see if you can schedule more one-on-one time. 

Reminder

STUDY while others are sleeping.
DECIDE while others are delaying.
PREPARE while others are daydreaming.
BEGIN while others are procrastinating.
WORK while others are wishing.
SAVE while others are wasting.
LISTEN while others are talking.
SMILE while others are frowning.
PERSIST while others are quitting.

2

|| 02.04.2017 || exam preparations ||
Update:
I’m writing two very difficult and important exams next week and I’m trying to convince myself that I’ll survive the week somehow. But mathematics right after psychology is pretty hard. And I’m so bad in mathematics 😭

🎧 I recommend “The Theory of Everything Soundtrack” playlist. It’s helping me to stay calm and focused.

The essentials 📚 Follow Tumblr blog takemetodc for more trendy studyinspo posts 🖋💄📖 Instagram.com/katierk95 🌼🌼 Please do not remove credits 💖

15.02.17 // *half term*

no matter how much i hate english, my notes still need to look pretty 💓
its mock week next week and im stressing so much because im not prepared at all omg

My study routine for Saturdays

Usually, Saturday is the only day in the week when I have a lot of free time - this is how I try to make it the most productive!

1. I get up early and tidy my study space (preferably my whole room)

2. I then update my planner and bullet journal to get an overview of the upcoming week

3. It’s time for a To-Do-list! I don’t always stick to it very closely, but this way I don’t forget anything

4. WORK WORK WORK

I start with something easy, or I split the biggest task and do at least a little bit of that. A good playlist and occasional Tumblr breaks are definitely necessary. (To ban myself from any distractions, I love the “Tide” app.) Good luck with your studies! xx

i’m going to be straight up with this. when you’re in college, especially around exams/midterms, there seems like there’s no time to do everything you need to accomplish, much less care for yourself. i’ve devised a list of five small, relatively quick ways to get in some self care time during those weeks where you barely have enough time to catch your breath.

i. get some sunshine

set down your pens, close your notebook momentarily, and step outside your building. taking a break from your studies and getting a breath of fresh air can be so motivating! take a small break from your study session in the library. you don’t have to make it an hour long endeavor: just step outside for 30 seconds, a minute, five, however long you feel like, and take a minute to breathe. bonus points if you leave your technology at your desk.

ii. drink some water

this may seem trivial, but you would be surprised by how often you forget to hydrate. it doesn’t have to be a tall glass or an entire water bottle, but take some time to travel to the water fountain and take a sip! not only will you get a small break from your activity, but you’ll get a refreshing pick me up! throw in a healthy snack! here’s a masterpost of some cheap + low maintenance power snacks worthy of a college student’s affection.

iii. take a quick shower

showering helps relieve tension, and help you sleep better! turn on your favorite song and stay in the shower for as long as you have the time to devote to it. wash the stress from the day off or just stand under the warm water. whatever you decide to do, it is sure to be relaxing and refreshing so you can get back to doing all of the amazing work you’re doing! even if you don’t wash your hair or your body, taking a moment to relax and breathe can really help you with your activities for the rest of the day.

iv. clean/organize your desk

personally, i clean/organize when i’m stressed out. if this is something that helps calm you down, go for it! if this is not necessarily a go to stress relieving practice for you, take a look at your study space. have you been in the library all day? throw away any trash leftover from your midday snack, and recycle any papers you might not need anymore! has it been a few weeks since you cleaned off your desk or reorganized your stationery? take five minutes and tidy up your study space! a change of pace can be so helpful when it comes to finding your motivation to continue working.

v. take a short nap

i know what you’re thinking: this is a slippery slope. it can be, but knowing when you really do need a nap is part of being an adult! i try my hardest not to take naps unless absolutely necessary, but sometimes i do need to unplug, close my notebooks, and crawl into bed to recharge. don’t write off naps as an act you can never indulge in. if you have a bad night and don’t get enough sleep, your productivity will be affected. science shows that you should nap for either 45 or 90 minutes so you don’t screw your rhythms up! regardless of whether or not you are the royalty of napping, or someone who tries their hardest to refrain from napping, remember that naps are more than okay sometimes, and that sleep is a necessity if you want to be the best student you can be!

i can’t say this enough: taking time for yourself, especially in college, is so important. when you feel better about yourself, you have more time to devote to studying and doing the things you love! try to make a habit of doing a self care activity, be it one i mentioned above or something completely different, for at least 10 minutes every day. you will feel refreshed, motivated, and prepared to continue your studies! i am wishing everyone the best of luck! as always, if you have questions or suggestions, please send me an ask.

Getting all As all the time?

I know that I kind of already talked about this in my overrated first year advice post but I seriously want to put this message out there again. 

You do not need to get all As on every assignment for every class. 

I don’t even know how that would be possible, without putting yourself under unbelievable amounts of stress. 

I see these posts specifically targeted at high school students, which is even more problematic in my mind. High school should not be a time when you study for hours every day without doing much else. High school isn’t all about resume building, but also about having fun and making friends and good memories. There are a few reasons that I specifically think this idea is bad: 

  1. Universities don’t necessarily require you to have all As. A lot of universities don’t even look at your grades until certain years, or only look at certain classes. If you’re in grade 9, you should focus on building study skills while having fun, rather than living to make all As. Also, showing that you got a bad mark in grade 11 and then bumped it up to a much better one in grade 12 looks great on an application just as much as all As does. 
  2. If you are aiming for extremely prestigious schools, you need more than grades. If making straight As is your goal because you want to go to Harvard, you also need to have some extra-curriculars and other things on your resume. I don’t know how many stories I’ve read over the years of people who had a 4.0 and didn’t get in because all they did was school, while others will a 3.5 got in based on their amazing resume.
  3. Telling students that they should not settle for anything less than an A tells them that studying needs to be their top priority always. When I was in high school (even grade 9), one of my main priorities was work. Other people want to focus on sports, that they probably won’t be able to play in university. Some people need to focus on hobbies that cultivate their mind and make them happy, rather than putting so much pressure to get all As. I think it is a very privileged viewpoint, in a way, to say that school needs to come before anything else. Only certain people can afford to think that way. 
  4. If you settle for nothing less than all As in high school, university might hit you like a ton of bricks. I don’t know very many people who got all As in their first semester of uni. I don’t know anyone who got all As on all of their assignments. I know some people who didn’t get a single A. At my school, when you hand in an essay, an A means it is perfect and has absolutely no flaws to speak of, so your chances of getting an A are no so high in first year. I had on TA who refused to give out As on any assignment. If your assignment was perfect, you got an 80, which is a B. 

Very literally, a C is average. It is the middle of the range of marks you can get. A is not average. 

I am in no way telling high school students or students in general that they shouldn’t strive for good marks. Or that they shouldn’t consider their education as a gift, and work hard for it. And I understand that for some kids, their parents tell them that they need to get all As and are under immense pressure at home to do so. But telling people that anything less than an A is unacceptable and that their top priority in life should be making straight As all the time, to no end? I do not support that.