By now, us students have mostly accepted the fact that stress is a permanent part of our emotional existence. We’ve reluctantly invited it into the threshold of our lives and treat it like an unwanted roommate.
We should be so lucky to say that academic stress is confined to the walls of school property. But unfortunately, stress follows us all the way home and takes the form of a dreaded action we like to call: studying (DUN DUN DUN!)
Though the action itself is not inherently filled with joy, it’s interesting to delve into the many different ways that people go about studying. Memory works in strange ways, and the way people approach the task of retaining information is often dependent on their program of study.
Of course, what would I know? I was an English major.
Though I may not be the best candidate to provide the best study tips to a student in need, I know some people who are.
I’ve had the pleasure of discussing this topic in depth with a few students from various different programs. And though some typical study methods were brought up, it was the unconventional ones that truly caught my attention.
Take Elisa, for example, who is currently a student of Paralegal Technology. Memorization is an integral part of her program, so hours upon hours of study time is unavoidable.
While studying for her midterm, Elisa took on quite the unconventional study habit. She confesses to listening to the song “Clouds” by Fin Argus and Sabrina Carpenter on an endless loop throughout the process.
She claims that she would correlate the answers of a given question with the specific part of the song that played during her study session of that topic. By the time it came down to completing the actual exam, Elisa was able to use this tactic to her benefit.
Weirdly enough, when asked if she was sick of the song after all those repeated listens, Elisa tells me “No, actually. I still love the song, even if it brings me back to those painful memories.”
Meanwhile, Samantha, who is currently studying Radiation Oncology, provides an interesting take on the subject of understanding academic material.
Sitting in hour-long lectures and taking notes is all fine and dandy. But how do you know for certain that you’re actually absorbing all of the information being thrown your way?
Samantha argues that finding the humour in a topic can be a great motivational tactic for studying. In fact, she currently follows a meme page dedicated to her program which makes the study process a lot more fun.
She recalls laughing at a particular physics meme and tells me “I knew I was understanding the material when I could laugh at the jokes.”
But Samantha isn’t the only one who uses her emotional state as an effective study tactic. Michelle is a Psychology student whose emotions lie on the opposite spectrum during study hours.
“I found crying to be a pretty good way to let out all that stress that piles up during the semester. Once you’ve cried out all the negative thoughts, it’s almost like getting a fresh start.”
It’s true that crying can be a cathartic release of pent-up frustration and overwhelming feelings. Think of it like an emotional cleanse. Afterwards, you can get right back into your studies like nothing ever happened.
Though I’d probably advise you to cry it out in a private setting. No need to concern an innocent passer-by.
Then again, it’s your life and you can cry if you want to.
Veterinary student, Kayla, however, is all for bothering an innocent bystander with her unique study tendencies. More specifically, her unsuspecting friends.
One particular tip she suggests is to read lecture notes aloud to yourself or others to aid in memorization. It’s true that hearing rather than simply reading information off a page can be extremely helpful.
Kayla confesses that when she and her friend would take the bus together, “I’d just start reading my notes aloud to her. So, I would get some studying done while she was forced to listen and maybe learn something new.”
Of course, finding a willing participant might be a better course of action. But, hey… if it works, it works, right?
Finally, I’d like to provide my own personal tip whether it be used to study or work on assignments in general.
Though the life of an English major didn’t really include memorizing facts and formulas, it did include an abundance of time spent writing, editing and researching.
But, no matter the program, I think we can all agree that staring at a single screen within the same four walls can become quite exhausting. Both mentally and physically.
Personally, I found that a change of scenery often acted like a refresh button for my brain. If I ever felt stuck or hit a writer’s block, I’d relocate to a different room in whatever building I was in. More specifically, I’d try my best to find a place with lots of natural light.
This small change was extremely effective as it allowed me time to pause, think and reactivate my motivation in order to complete my work.
As a former student, speaking to you from the other side, I know how stressful schoolwork can be. But if there’s any way to make the experience more fun, why not give it a shot? Hopefully these unconventional tips can serve as just that!