A grade-A student shares her tips and secrets to acing tests and papers.
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How to Study in the Time of Corona
By: Sana Rehan Butt
Published 2 June 2021
Admit it or not, we all have struggled with studying at one point in our life or another and the fact that we are amidst an ongoing pandemic (and presumably will be, unfortunately, for some time to come) has certainly made things more difficult than they used to be.
What once was considered normal in terms of attending classes, seminars and meeting friends and fellow classmates at the university, has all shifted, boxed, and cooped into a rectangular shaped size laptop screen of roughly 13 to 15 inches. Thus, whatever interaction we have had with our fellow classmates and teachers for almost a year has been online. Has it been challenging? Yes! Has it altered our thinking? One would assume, yes! But most importantly, has it affected our studies? Research claims that face-to-face interaction is essential for human beings – where one not only is attentive to the other’s body language but is also able to communicate in a more efficient way. Even if you have aced your own study plan and what works best for you, read on to find some helpful tips on how you can manage your studies in the best possible way:
For some, this is obvious, isn’t it? We unconsciously breathe thousands of times a day without even realizing that we are breathing. More often than not, when we are stressed or under pressure, be it in the form of due dates for submission of assignments, stressful preparation for presentations, or just quick jotting down of notes for our seminars at the last minute, in our anxiousness, we forget to breathe. No, like really breathe: in and out – long, peaceful and calm breathing.
Remember, you are the one who chose this particular Bachelor’s or Master’s and even if things get stressful during your studies, go back to what first made you interested in this particular field.
More often than not, in our day-to-day life, we are wrought with worries, questions and concerns, along with happy thoughts, that we truly forget why we opted for the program we did for our studies. Once you find your way back to the reason, things become easier, albeit not immediately, but enough to pull you out of the dark phase of perhaps doubting yourself. Remember, you are strong, and you’ve got this!
Attend your classes/seminars
Do you ever have those days where you are so low on energy that you don’t feel like doing anything? You just want to lay in your bed and sleep or daydream. We all have those days where our energy levels are low, and it takes a huge amount of effort to just get out of bed. But, a word of advice: don’t skip your classes or seminars, unless you are sick or have a prior commitment. Why, one may wonder?
From my own experience and that of my fellow classmates, the discussions at the seminars prove to be productive, not to mention helpful when it comes to writing assignments or preparing for presentations. In our class, in this one year, we have grown and evolved by having fruitful discussions with our teachers and the other classmates, something which would not have been possible if we all were not regular in attending our classes and seminars.
Group meetings with your peers
As important as seminars and classes are, having group meetings with your peers cannot be overlooked. Form smaller groups from within your class to discuss the texts beforehand or to discuss things which are essential for the seminars. If nothing at all, you can discuss random tidbits from here and there – anything to get you through those days which are difficult to work on alone.
You will not only form a bond with your fellow classmates but will also appreciate how much they contribute to your perspectives and growth. Bonus points: the discussions with your peers can help you to choose which direction you want to take for your final assignment. What better than having someone to share your writing process with and have them read it for you and give constructive feedback!
Guilty as charged! We have all been there – putting things off hold till later, whether it is to work on your assignment for the course or to prepare for presentation. It’s ok to procrastinate occasionally but to make it habitual would just lead you to worry and be anxious towards the end of the course when the submission date for the assignment comes nearer.
Best would be to read, write and go over your notes from time to time so you don’t leave things till the very end and are not rushing to meet the deadline. Easier said than done, true, but once you incorporate this habit of allotting some time to your studies besides the usual seminars and classes, you would notice how organized and efficient you have become.
Although times are hard, especially considering the pandemic that we are in, it’s best to take one day at a time. Remember the first study tip? Breathe! We are all in this together and you are stronger than you think. With these study tips, your determination and perseverance, there is no doubt that you will do great in your studies. Trust and believe in yourself!