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  • New Year, New You: Study Habits for the New Semester

    By Josh Duke | January 11, 2019 | Posted in: Blog

    Every new year is a fresh start, just like every semester is a chance to learn, grow, and make better habits. Unlike New Year’s resolutions, however, you can decide on better and new study habits whenever; there’s never a bad time to start getting the most out of your study time! We asked some Florida State College of Education students what some of their study habits look like to give you some inspiration in coming up with better, more effective ways to study.

    Brittany Pitts, a Ph.D. student in the International and Multicultural Education program, says that outlining has helped her greatly to get through her writing projects. “I construct my headings, write an introductory paragraph for each, and copy and paste tidbits from articles and other sources which I would like to quote or which contain information that I intend to paraphrase/include in my sections,” Pitts says. “That way, everything I need is in one document and easily accessible.”

    Writing is only one part of the workload for most students. Like most, Pitts has found herself facing a mountain of reading material and only a limited amount of time to finish it. However, Pitts has developed a strategy to help her through a pinch: smart speed reading. Pitts says, “When I have to read articles and I’m short on time, I speed read by reading the intro, discussion, and conclusion sections in full. For the rest of the article, I just read the first and last lines of each paragraph.” When she has time, she can circle back and review the material to make sure she didn’t miss anything important.

    Sometimes, it’s not about what you do when you study, but what you’re not doing. With social media and the Internet almost always at your fingers, it’s easy to get lost in a never-ending spiral of cat videos and Wikipedia entries. Melanie Dammel, Sport Management Ph.D. student, says that blocking off her schedule maximizes her study time.

    “Ideally, my schedule will allow me to dedicate a day to each class every week or at least blocks of time that I can dedicate to each class,” says Dammel. “I put my phone away, turn my iMessage off on my computer and find a space I am comfortable working in. I focus on one class or assignment for that block of time/day and work for 30 to 60 minutes and then take a short 10 to 15-minute break before I do it again.”

    Dammel also recommends studying for one class at a time. “I find that it’s easier for me to focus on one class at a time, as it frees up space in my head and I feel less overwhelmed,” Dammel says. “I make a list of what has to be done for the assignment and also try to set goals for myself for what I will have finished at what time. This keeps me on track.”

    If you’re still struggling to study, Dammel suggests finding a study group or organizing one. “Generally, I study with friends so it can be easy to become distracted. To get around this, we make a deal that we will write down any non-study topics that come up that we want to talk about,” Dammel says. “After we have worked hard for an hour, we use our break to chat.”

    What are some of the study tips that have worked for you? Tell us some of the study habits that you have developed or plan on trying this semester by tweeting @FSUEducation with the hashtag #FSUStudy19!