Hello fellow procrastinator. You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t one. I’m going to share some study tips with you and hopefully you’ll find one or two of these useful. Many tips that I have found online usually piss me off. They simply consist of; ‘structure your revision’ and ‘make sure you stay hydrated’ and ‘take walks to get fresh air and break up your studying’. Bullshit.
That’s simply glossing over the fact that studying is torture. I’m not being funny or overdramatic, I’m simply telling the truth. There’s a mixture, a mixture of desiring to do well and get good grades, pressure from family and friends and their expectations linked up with your own, along with the pure stress and guilt if you forget to do a piece of homework or you over slept and now you’ve set your day back. All of these crazy things mix up so that now studying isn’t just about studying. If it was, we’d find studying fun and we’d do it regularly because we enjoy learning. But because it’s mixed up with stress and anger and so many other emotions it makes it so unhealthy for us little beings.
Plus frustration, the pure frustration you feel when you’re sat there and you realise that exams and memorising and revising content is in no way testing your knowledge or educating yourself. When you realise that learning and memorising are in no way the same things. It is so uninspiring and disheartening. I could get such a good grade if only I had time to actually think. The time restrictions mean that I am simply reduced to that of a machine. I have no purpose other than to regurgitate previously memorised information that I once found interesting when first introduced to it in a lesson but now it only bores me as I’ve answered so many ridiculous questions upon the topic which try tirelessly to trick us out rather than welcome us to share and display our knowledge and understanding.
Consequently I can conclude; studying and revising is torture.
Here are my tips to deal with studying and the reality of the education system…
- Accept that revision is torture. Accept you hate it. And accept that exam boards and the whole education system is a load of bullshit. Accept that society want only to reduce you to a tiny little letter or number based on their chosen tests that they think specifically measure intelligence. See it and understand that it is all bullshit and then accept it and let it go. My advice would be to scream into a pillow and then leave it at that. Anytime any of these thoughts about what the point of any of this is, dismiss them. Don’t let them get in your way. Because it’s true but this will only hurt you and damage your future possibilities. The sad thing is we need to just crack on and do the best we can so we can pass. I don’t agree with it but once we do, we can go get our dream jobs and then go protest and advocate for a better system of education for future students like us. But at the moment you just have to play the game by their rules.
- My second tip, on a little bit of a more brighter note is get to know yourself. You probably already know yourself quite well and I advise you do this only when you reach around the time when you think you have a good understanding of how you as a person tick. I say this only because if I did this at a young age, I wouldn’t want it to determine who I become because I accept what it tells me and channel it into who I am and how I live my life. Now the thing I’m talking about doing is taking a personality test. You can do them for free online really easily. My favourite is personalitymax.com. This website provides pages of information with graphs and all sorts of things describing who you are and your different types of intelligence as well as your dominant brain and learning style. I’d do a couple of basic easy ones before the personality max just so you know its accurate if you keep getting the same results. This is on my revision tip list because once you know and understand how you tick you can sculpt your study to you. I found out that I was a super visual learner and so this helps me focus my revision by annotating notes with little images, as well as using youtube clips and films to help me picture things. I like pictures, photos and diagrams which depict concepts and help further my understanding. They also help me remember, as I remember information in colours from my notes or textbooks and I remember pictures and where certain specific bits of information were on a page. You might be different so go and find out! 🙂
- Now this third step I would strongly suggest you do, which is separate work life and personal life. (Much like Othello’s harmatia which ultimately brought about his downfall, a lil Shakespeare reference for you book lovers.) I mean this literally. I cleared my whole room out off anything to do with college. Books, folders and pencil cases. I shipped them all downstairs into the dining room which I transformed into my ‘office’ for my A Levels. I found this a great way of clearing my head because the second I entered my room I knew that it was now time for relaxing and chilling out. Keeping it separate helped me when revising because there was nothing to distract me in the dining room and I could then say to myself complete a task for 20 minutes and switch off from everything else. Then because I’m too lazy and because I’m already downstairs anyway, I’d end up doing more tasks because you might as well. This is great for taking advantage when you find yourself in a rare productive mood. It also allowed me to walk away when I got stressed out and frustrated. I could literally shut the door on all the shit and leave it alone for a while and then come back to it later with fresh eyes and a cleared mind. Plus your room stays tidy because you can leave the mess of papers and books downstairs away from your room. So overall I find this an underrated thing and never really saw much mention of it online, so I truly recommend.
- Get a clock or use your watch. When doing tasks, ensure you set a clear time limit. Even if it’s simply making notes or posters, give that task a time limit. I do this simply because if I start slowing down and messing about and not actually giving it my full effort, I know its time to walk away. Timing myself prevents this. Work to the time limit and then go for a break and come back. It stops what could be a simple five minute question from becoming a twenty minute task with you staring out the window or colouring and doodling.
- Health and wellbeing. I know this is the cheesy one that everyone mentions but it’s the most fucking important. Your education should never be prioritised over yourself. Stay comfortable in your scruffy jogger bottoms and baggiest t-shirt. Whip your bra of if you wear one and get that hair up in a pony tail and out of your face. Ensure you’ve had something to eat. Preferably before you start because then you have the self control to pick something healthy and not stress eat when in the middle of a task you storm off and end up eating a whole pack of Jaffa cakes. Don’t know why but Jaffa cakes are rather comforting. Stay hydrated, a good idea is to make a cup of tea. That’s a good break task to keep you from going mental. Also go for a bloody shower and get in your jammies beforehand. Then you don’t have to think about all the other things you have to do before bed. Get everything out of the way so that there are no distractions or excuses.
- SOCIALISING! FUN! These things still exist when studying. Book in with your friends trips out and things to do to keep you motivated. It gives you a goal and a reward. I always try to aim to get my shit done before going out with my mates so that I can feel free and not weighted down by horrible thoughts of, oh shit when I get home I have to do that essay for English Lit. You are then free to have a good time. And even if you don’t get your shit done before going out, you sure as hell get more done than usual because you feel motivated and you have a goal.
- FUCK REVISION PLANS! Listen to me you little bean, if revision plans don’t work for you, fuck them off! Not everyone is the same (which is exactly what the education system ignores) and so not everyone will revise the same way. A revision plan for me is simply a source of guilt and time wasting. It takes that much time to make one and then when I do I spend more time looking at it and ticking crap off then actually doing the shit. Stop wasting time and just get shit done. In terms of guilt, if I don’t get things done and then have to move tasks to the next day and then I have double the amount of crap to get done it simply makes me feel like shit. It makes me more unproductive.
- If this leaves you still searching for an organisation method then let me introduce you to notes on your phone and the wonderful art of making to-do lists. Fuck all this Instagram shit of picture perfect notebooks and bullet journalling. What even is bullet journalling? Ask yourself this, what do you spend most of your time on? Your fucking phone. Not an old battered granny notebook. If you keep all your to-dos on your notes on your phone you can easily delete once done and forget about them. They’re wiped from the universe. No clutter and baggage for you to carry around. When in lessons pop your homework into your notes and all the things you need to remember to do and simply work through them. Get rid when done. Simple as that. To-do lists simply focus your mind on what needs to get sorted and done. You can even prioritise your tasks so that you can ensure you get the important urgent shite done first before all the other crap. Don’t bother doing a massive essay if it’s in for next fucking Friday when you have a quick memorising task of quotes for English Lit! Prioritise.
- Do your best and be happy with it. If you work your arse of on a piece of work, whether it be an essay or a quick exam question, never feel like shit if you get a grade or score that’s lower than you wanted, or lower than your ‘target grade.’ If you’ve done your best then that is all that can be done. My mum always says try your best. There is nothing more you can do and everyone needs to accept that. Your best is the best. It’s like art, its simply subjective. Here’s a wee inspirational story; this woman Caroline who got an E in art is now making awesome mosaics. Google her and look at her work. She has a website; http://www.mangomosaics.co.uk/ which shows her wonderful work. This simply reveals that nothing and no-one can be simply reduced to a grade or a score.
- Simply know that education isn’t the end result. Your happiness is. Once you get those results, no matter what they are, are you going to be happy? If not, go find something that will make you happy.
Therefore overall my little nugget of wisdom that I would give you is simply value yourself over all else and ensure you see through the lies of the education system. Keep your thirst to learn quenched by doing further reading on other topics and issues of interest. Just because you don’t get a physical qualification at the end doesn’t mean you haven’t learnt anything. You don’t always have to gain something physical in order to learn and educate yourself.
Love Eliza xxx