One thing I have learnt during my studies all through secondary and then the University system apart from what is taught in class is that the internalisation of that which is taught is perhaps the hardest task there is. Within those times, I had made so many reading mistakes most of which stain my GP that I might as well be an authority in the art of employing lousy studying habits and later on, how to avoid them.
Students all over are faced with the same challenge so much that many, such as chatting while reading has been normalised but in reality are very negatively affecting the studying quality of the person.
1. Distractions: At all costs, avoid those like the plague. Distractions, like sultry sirens, come in many forms and at the most unsolicited time. Most likely, a friend will pop in with a juicy campus gossip just when your brain is at the pick of assimilation. And once distracted, the momentum gathered hours into the rhythm has been lost so that eventually, when you return to reading, it never seems to be the same again.
To avoid those distractions, therefore, getting a secluded spot at the reading area or library seems to be a way out. Though you can personalise your distraction-free reading time by maybe writing ‘STUDYING, DO NOT DISTURB’ on a yellow sticky note and placing it on your forehead. Whatever works.
2. Phone checking/chatting: The arrival of smartphone (and Wi-fi) technology came with so many sigh-worthy developments and so many time-wrecking distractions. While it is almost imperative for students to make research reference to their phones when studying, it can in the same vein serve as a serious setback whether the person is chatting, playing a game or merely surfing the net.
The level at which smartphone distract study causes debate on whether the devices are really necessary for schools.
I say do all that research before the commencement of studies, switch those phones off, disable that wi-fi, bundle them in a bubble wrap, into a manila envelope, into a box, padlocked with keys thrown away and ship them to Mama. Okay not so serious but you get the gist.
3. Procrastination: Perhaps the major studying problem we all have is procrastination. We know we should start reading right from the commencement of school year but there are so many activities to do that calls for putting off studying and before we realise what gives, exams is peeping from the corner. It’s the oldest story in the books.
Then the crash reading where you try to cram your time and hem in all the courses at once, then you crash. To avoid all that drama – procrastinate not. Check out these articles on how to avoid procrastination and manage your time as a student.
4. Reading when sleepy: By God when you are feeling sleepy, sleep. Those snippets your blurry eyes manage to catch in between doses will not be comprehended, much less remembered in the next second. Many times, we choose to hold tightly to the edges of the book while drifting away to sleep because otherwise that will ‘waste’ of time and continuously slip into slumber- so does the book from our fingers only to jolt back up and keep ‘reading’. Well, that is the most futile utilisation of time ever. Not to mention how sloppy we get and silly we look.
5. Refusal to eat: It’s completely not the solution to your reading problems. Lack of time, crash program or whatnot is never a reason to deny your stomach of its right. That adage, ‘A hungry man is an angry man’ could never have been more accurate. Crankiness born of hunger can only lead to lack of concentration and frustration with the whole studying procedure. Not to mention the different health effects that may kick in. So, whatever the situation may be, create some time to eat. And eat healthy food because it gives you the energy you require to read and comprehend.
6. Denying yourself rest: Rest for both the mind and body is not to be. By resting when the body demands, a person allows his brain to freshen up so that by the time one’s awake; one is ready for business. Look at the body as a phone, long usage leads to its battery drainage and the need to charge it for further use, else, it dies. That’s you – minus the dying part.
7. Comparing yourself with others: Comparing your reading habits – areas covered, studies learnt, time spent chewing the pages with others – can be unhealthy for studies. Understand that everyone has his unique way of studying and time for assimilation. It is essential that you establish your routine and stick to it no matter what others say works for them.
Check out these reading strategies for academic purposes.
8. Zoning out: We all zone out when reading, deliberately or not. We start daydreaming or pondering on a family issue, a different course, the movie we just watched or a chat with a friend. Even though we can’t help where the mind strays to, making a deliberate effort to bring your concentration track each time it strays until you are really in the spirit will go a long way.
9. Jumping reading: At least that’s what I call it. When a person switches when studying from one course to another, he really loses the whole reading vibe. A course/subject/topic should be treated for an apportioned time, and anything less means giving not your best. Here are some helpful tips for smart study you may adopt.
10. Giving up: This is a no-no, unacceptable. There are times when the words are playing squash, and your brain is so dense, and you completely do not understand a thing, that’s because you probably need to rest, calm down, relax and really be ready to tackle studies. When you approach your books as enemies, they, like dogs, tend to feed off those fears it seems, and nothing yields.
Giving up on anything much less studies has never been the answer. Keep pushing, give it your all because at the end, it will all be history and you will be victorious. But once you have the mindset of a quitter, it becomes so easy actually to quit at everything.