pset

21 / 03 ; such a beautiful day today! Here’s my favourite spread in my bujo which is typically to do with my love for cliche astronomical metaphors… but anyway, today’s plan is to finish a position paper I am writing on dehumanisation in social psychology and a pset containing triple integrals.  Wish me luck!!

A Stash of Tiny Study Tips

STAYING MOTIVATED

  • Create realistic goals: get ___ grade on next ____
  • Manageable let down; get back on track
  • Keep track of grades: focused, know where stand, no surprises
  • Start small
    • Low risk confidence builders
  • Take time to relax/give self rewards
    • Days off, breaks, rewards
    • All work & no play =/= living
  • Little organization goes a long way
  • Reward achievements!
  • Keep balance with exercise, clubs, friends
    • 2h/d: friends and exercise
  • Remember that hard work pays off
    • Isn’t a breeze to try to get a 4.0 GPA; but it’s possible
    • You’re smart enough and can achieve it
    • 90% there with these tips, 10% is just pure hard work
  • Only chill on weekends
    • Monday-Friday: school mode
    • Have time for some fun
    • If work as hard as should during week, will need weekends to blow off steam
  • Be self-motivated
    • Grades can matter, not everything, but follow through on what needs to be done
    • Not most important part of college but underperform? You will regret it
    • GPA cutoffs exist and matter to employers
    • College is full of distractions and opportunities
    • Nobody will hold hand and the work will suck but all the prouder of yourself to be
      • Suck it up, buckle down, get it done
        • If think need break, probably don’t
  • Turn off the little voice
    • Realize not alone in questioning ability
    • Avoid people who tend to burst bubbles no matter what 
  • Physical triggers to stop
    • Incentive to get something done when know have something else during the day
    • Don’t have a gaping abyss of study time
  • Work has to get done, in the end
    • Books, examiners, and especially your future self isn’t going to care about your excuses for not doing the work
    • Take the first step
      • It will almost be fictional how hard you thought the task was going to be
      • Just keep going because you simply can’t afford NOT to do anything today, nonzero days
      • Leeway, don’t give your perfectionism control over your life

MUNDANE HABITS

  • Sleep! Think and function, mind & body
    • CAN sleep if keep up with coursework instead of procrastinating
    • Will miss out on some fun stuff
    • Need to stay awake in class
    • Figure out what need for full speed
    • Stay relaxed
  • Stay physically healthy
    • Diet and exercise
    • 1 hour exercise during week
    • Weekends off
  • Traditional breakfast not necessary if value extra sleep
  • Systematic habits: neat, prepared
  • Master material
    • Look for real world applications
    • Learning is a process: be patient, don’t expect to master off the bat
  • Designate study area and study times
  • Do trial runs
    • Practice tests
    • Ask a TA to listen to your oral performance
    • Study groups
  • Don’t copy other people’s psets and solutions

BEFORE SEMESTER

  • Spiral bound notebook, can color code with folders/etc if need be
    • Lecture notes: front to back
    • Reading notes: back to front (if fall behind on)
    • Seminar notes: mixed in with lecture notes, different pen color/labeled
    • Outline format
      • Bullet points for everything
    • Same NB for one set of class notes, separate notebooks for all classes
  • 5-subject notebook
    • Midterm and exam material in it
    • Mesh sources, study guide
    • All study material from week/month in one place
  • Pick the right major
    • Indulge in favorite hobby feeling
  • Pick professors & classes wisely
    • Take a small class
    • Pick classes that interest you so studying doesn’t feel torturous
      • Want to learn

GRADES SPECIFIC

  • Prioritize class by how can affect GPA
    • More credits: more weight
  • Work enough to get an A in your easy classes: take something good at
    • Don’t settle, don’t slack off, don’t put in minimal effort to get that B/C. Just put in a tiny bit more effort to ensure A
    • Will have harder classes and need to counteract
  • Take electives can ace
    • Anything but an A in an elective is kinda mean and an unnecessary hit for your GPA

FIRST DAY/WEEK/HALF OF CLASSES

  • Get to know teaching style: focus most on, lecture/notes
  • Pick and follow a specific note taking format
    • Outline
    • Date each entry
    • Capture everything on board
  • Decide productivity system
    • Google Cal
    • Todoist
    • Agenda: remind meetings, class schedule, important dates/midterms/quizzes/tests, no homework 
      • Always wanted to be prepared
      • Rarely last minute
      • Have plan, stay focused
    • Homework notebook
      • Good redundancy
  • Study syllabus
    • Know it thoroughly
    • Plot all due dates after class
    • Penalize if fail to abide by
  • Study the hardest for the first exam
    • Seems counterintuitive
    • Hardest/most important test
    • Pay attention to content and formatLess pressure: just need ___ on final to keep my A 
    • Easy to start high and keep high
  • Go into crunch mode at the beginning
    • End softly
    • Get plenty of sleep, exercise, and good food in the finals days before the exam

DURING SEMESTER: PEOPLE

  • Get to know professors: go to office hours, care about grades/course/them
    • Easier ask for help, rec letter
    • Get to know interests and what they think is important
    • Figure out their research interests, 60% of their job is research
    • Learning is dynamic
    • Discussion helps
  • Get feedback early when not sure what doing
    • Take comments constructively
  • Consistent class participation: ask questions, give answers, comment when appropriate
    • Understand material
  • Find a study buddy in each class: don’t have to study with
    • Somebody can compare notes with, safety net
    • Pick somebody who attends, participates, and take notes regularly
    • Make some friends
  • Participate as fully as can in group activities
    • Be involved
    • Learn – not be taught
  • Be punctual
    • Good impression, on human professors
    • DON’T BE LATE
  • Skipping class =/= option: It’s “cool” to get attendance award
    • Make all the classes: it’s hard to feel confident when missing key pieces
    • Get full scope of class, everything will make a lot more sense and save a lot of time in long run
    • Mandatory class: higher graduating cumulative GPA
    • Go to class when no one else does/want to show up, reward
    • Get to know professor, what’s on test, notice, r/s build, material not in reading
    • Unless optional and super confusing professor
  • Sit in one of the first rows
    • Don’t fall asleep
    • Fake interest if you have to
  • Tutors

DURING SEMESTER: THINGS TO DO

  • Take notes! Provided is bare minimum, accessed by students who aren’t attending lecture
    • Based on lecture and what read –> test; it’ll be worth it
    • Write it down
    • By hand
    • Bored? Doodle instead of going online
  • Read all assigned–even if need to skim
    • Seems cumbersome and maybe impossible
    • Figure out what’s important
    • Look at the logical progression of the argument/what’s important/what trying to prove
    • Understand everything that you do read–even if don’t read everything
    • PIck 2 examples from text per topic
  • Complete course material on time
    • DO NOT WAIT UNTIL DAY BEFORE IT IS DUE
    • Begin as soon as possible
      • Sometimes it’s just straight up impossible
    • Have it look attractive
  • Library doesn’t just mean = study
    • Social media in the library is still social media
  • Confusion is terrible
    • Read other textbooks, review course material @ another uni/by another professor, google the shit out of it
  • Review
    • Do not wait, do throughout semester
  • Exam prep
    • Ask for model papers, look at style & structure, thesis, how cite
    • Get old tests
      • Look at type of questions (detail level and structure)
      • Can solve old exams cold
      • If give out paper exams in class: probs won’t repeat questions, focus more on concepts but still learn the questions
    • Have class notes and psets down cold
      • Do all the practice problems
      • Read through notes a few times; rewrite into a revision notebook
        • Highlight major topics and subtopics
        • Different highlighter for vocab terms
        • Overall picture, go from concept to detail
          • Look at overall context and how specific idea fit into whole course
          • Ideas, don’t memorize all your notes
    • Better understand = more able to use and manipulate info and remember it. Understand = manipulation.
      • Charts, diagrams, graphs
      • Lists
      • Practice drawing labeled structures
      • Flash cards for memorization
        • Every school requires some degree of grunt memorization
        • Say it aloud, write it down
        • Get friends to quiz you
      • Self-test: severely challenge self, have a running collection of exam questions
      • Explain difficult concepts to your friends; force yourself to articulate the concept
    • Never pull an all-nighter
      • Do not spend every hour studying up to the exam
      • Eat, shower, sleep
    • Don’t wait until night before exam to study
      • Prep takes time even if reviewed throughout semester
    • Ask about format–don’t ask the professor to change it for you
    • Law of College: it will be on the exam if you don’t understand it
      • Ask professor, internet, textbooks
  • Night before exam
    • Jot what want to remember/have fresh
    • Read through in morning/before exam
    • Physical prep
      • Sleep, have test materials
  • Day of exam
    • Don’t cram every single spare minute
    • Go to bathroom before exam
    • Never miss an exam/lie to get more time
      • You won’t be any more ready 2-3 days after when supposed to have taken it
  • Slay exam. Get A. 

WEEKLY 

  • Friday morning: go through each syllabus, write down in HW notebook
  • All hw during weekend; study/reading assignments during week
  • Save everything
  • Divide big tasks into small pieces to help propel self
  • Standard study schedule: block off lectures, labs, regular commitments
    • Note the weeks that have assignments and tests that will require extra studying
    • Don’t oscillate too heavily every day with study times (i.e. don’t study 2-3 hours for weeks and then 10-12 hour days right before an exam)
    • Eat and sleep to make more extended work periods liveable and enjoyable

DAILY

  • Set an amount of time would like to study every day
    • Try to study most days
    • Avoid vague/zoned out studying –> waste of time
    • Do a little bit daily but don’t let studying be your whole day
  • Review notes: 30mins/day, each class from that day
    • Look at important ideas/vocab
      • Prioritize new vocab because language is most fundamental and important tool in any subject
      • Circle abbreviations and make yourself a key somewhere so you don’t forget what the hell that abbreviations meant
      • Check spelling
    • Rewrite/reorganize notes if necessary
      • Format of ideas is just as important as the concepts themselves, esp. when it comes time for exam review
    • This helps you retain the material so you’ll be ahead next time you walk into class
    • Chance to ID any knowledge gaps that you can ask about for next class
  • Keep up with reading
    • Skim text before lecture or at least main topic sentences
    • Jot down anything don’t understand; if lecture doesn’t clarify, ask the professor
    • After lecture: skim again, outline chapter, make vocab flashcards
    • Highlight similar class and lecture notes
      • will definitely be tested on
    • Review and make study questions
  • Study
    • Disconnect from anything irrelevant to study material: help focus and your GPA
    • Don’t limit studying to the night
      • Study whenever, wherever between classes
        • Variety helps focus and motivation
      • Especially if tired at night and can’t transition between subjects
    • Try to study for a specific subject right before/after the class
21 Little Ways to Motivate Yourself

I’ve been lacking a little in the motivation department with the end of the school year drawing closer, so I made a little list of ways to help you stay focused until the end! 

  1. Play your favorite song as you work through your PSET/essay/application/thing you don’t wanna do.
  2. Make yourself a hot cup of tea (or coffee!) in a fun mug. 
  3. Write your to-do list on a piece of pretty stationary with a pretty pen.
  4. Set a timer and race yourself to finish things faster.
  5. Use your imagination - your English paper doesn’t HAVE to be an English paper, it can be a Hogwart’s assignment. Sounds silly, but it works for me!
  6. Find a new place to study. Cute coffee shop? Balcony with a nice view? New section of the library? Heck, just doing your HW on the floor instead of your desk can be more engaging. 
  7. Dress up. You don’t even have to go anywhere, sometimes putting on proper clothing can switch your mindset. 
  8. Conversely, you can find your comfiest PJs and fluffy socks and wear those. 
  9. Put your hair up so it’s not in the way. When I’m focusing, my hair has to be in a ponytail so I’m not fiddling with it. 
  10. Get a snack, preferably something healthy(ish). Drink some H2O.
  11. Write motivational quotes on sticky notes and stick them around your study space. Or write them on your hand so you see it often. 
  12. At the very least, put your books where you can see them. Out of sight, out of mind! 
  13. Same goes for anything you need to get done (laundry, forms you’re supposed to fill out, anything goes!)
  14. Go for a walk around the block and spend some time in fresh air. Jog, if you’re feeling up for it. 
  15. Stretch out your muscles, roll out your shoulders, touch your toes. You’ll feel better if you’re not all tight and sore. 
  16. Put on some lipstick. For some reason, red lipstick always makes me feel like a boss (even if I’m chilling in a hoodie and sweatpants). 
  17. Write out the reasons you started in the first place. Put that list somewhere you can see it [see #12]. 
  18. Take a power nap. I just get a fluffy blanket and sleep right on my desk. 
  19. Talk to someone supportive. Parents? Best friend? Roommate? Your cat/dog/parakeet/goldfish? 
  20. Stand in front of the mirror and power pose. Yes, you’ll feel ridiculous. But it works. 
  21. Smile! 
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CLICK YOUR HEART: Choose Your Own Ending Loveline ♥