Advanced education isn’t a walk in the park, and nor should it be. After all, it’s a way of pushing yourself to learn more and to prove that you are knowledgeable in a particular subject. No matter how smart you are, though, you might still hit a roadblock and wonder how you can carry on. That might be because of other obligations, like work or children, or maybe because the subject matter is more challenging than you expected.
You can’t expect your experience in advanced education to always be easy, but you can pick up habits that will help you succeed. So, whatever you are studying, here is how to ensure you stay ahead.
Consider Your Course Options
Your first step is to pick a course that is best for you. Otherwise, you will struggle throughout the entire degree. You might know that you want to study a subject to do with science or writing, but you still need to figure out which degree is right. When choosing your course, be sure to check out the university and speak to professors to make sure the subject matter aligns with what you want to learn. Consider your career choices once you graduate, too. How you spend your years in advanced education can determine how you spend the next 50 in your career, so it’s not a decision to underestimate.
Focus on Organization
You must focus on staying organized even before you start your course. From the moment you are accepted onto a degree, check out their reading list and course material to get a head start—it will make the coming weeks and months far easier. Good organization also includes planning your schedule and staying on top of all assignments. To help with this, try the following:
There are plenty of apps that’ll help you keep organized as a student. You can even find productivity apps for working students, allowing you to organize your time and keep up with the work while maintaining a job.
Maintaining a Clear Workspace
If you plan to study a lot from home, be sure to create a clear workspace for yourself. It should include a comfortable seat, a desk, and plenty of light.
Making To-Do Lists
Are you worried about all the tasks you need to get done? By making to-do lists, you’ll ensure you never forget a tutor meeting or miss a deadline.
Remove Distractions While Studying
Studying is a huge part of any degree, which is why you should ensure your study sessions are as productive as possible. To achieve this, remove distractions from your study spots. Whether you study from home, from the library, or in a café, you must put your phone to the side and switch off anything else that might divert your concentration. You can check your notifications once you’ve finished!
Talk to Your Professor
Keeping a good relationship with your tutors and professors is imperative for students who want to do well. If you’re ever worried about falling behind, or you just want a little feedback on your last piece of work, schedule a meeting with your tutor. They will be able to guide you in the right direction and provide advice if you need help catching up. Plus, that good relationship will help with future networking and recommendation letters.
Join a Study Group
You don’t have to do all your studying alone. In fact, it’s better if you don’t. By mixing up your study habits and throwing in some study group sessions, you improve your chances of absorbing all the information that you need to. A study group also provides a support system if you should need it; if you miss a lesson, one of your study buddies is sure to lend you their notes to help you catch up—as long as you do the same for them on another day!
Look After Your Health
The stereotype of the tired student who always stays up late and drinks too much is one to be avoided. While you should have fun, especially if it’s your first year of college, the reason for getting your degree is to learn and earn excellent qualifications. It’s much harder to do so with poor health habits. To better look after your health, be sure to do the following:
Get Plenty of Sleep
Enough sleep is vital if you want to concentrate, so schedule a regular sleeping routine and stick to it. Be realistic, too—don’t tell yourself to go to bed at 9pm on a Friday if you know you’re likely to break that rule!
Eat a Varied, Healthy Diet
With all the studying you have to do, it might be tricky to fit in cooking, but you should try to eat a varied and healthy diet. Batch cooking can help with this, and there are plenty of healthy recipes that won’t take longer than 30 minutes to prepare.
Avoid Bad Habits
Bad habits like drinking too much alcohol or caffeine can affect your brain’s function, which will harm your overall performance. Of course, it’s important to socialize, but avoid going overboard when it comes to alcohol, and don’t replace sleep with another cup of coffee.
Maintain an Exercise Routine
You might already have a busy schedule, but you should try to squeeze in some exercise. It’ll help clear your mind, boost your mood, and increase your energy levels—all are important factors that will help you keep up with your education.
Get Plenty of Fresh Air
If you lock yourself in a stuffy room to study for too long, you’ll stop absorbing information, so be sure to breathe some fresh air from time to time. To make it easier, combine getting enough fresh air with your exercise schedule.
Get to Know the Campus
If you study on or near campus, get to know it as much as possible, from the classrooms to the cafés to the library. You will feel far more at ease there if you know the area, and you’ll get to know the people around it, too. If you ever need help or a new place to study, the campus will be there.
Make Clear Study Notes
Scrawling half-illegible study notes is OK during a lecture, but don’t leave them like that. Instead, make sure you rewrite those notes in clear writing once you get home. That way, when the time comes to study, you won’t have to decipher what looks like a scribble. To make it even easier on yourself, use a laptop or tablet to take your notes. That way, you won’t waste paper, and everything will be stored safely on your device.
Keep Up with the Reading
Advanced study often calls for a lot of reading, and it’s not always easy to keep up with the amount required. You might start the course determined to read everything the professor recommends, but halfway through start reading only the bare minimum. To avoid this, plan what you will read in advance and dedicate plenty of time to your reading every single day. It’s better to do a steady 30 minutes of reading each day than to have to cram in five-plus hours at the weekend!
You will receive goals that you must reach from your professor and the course in general, but it’s also important to set your own goals. What do you want to get out of the course? Is there a specific grade you are aiming at? By setting goals, you will be more likely to focus on them and achieve the best grades you possibly can.
Never Miss a Class
This one may seem obvious, but it is crucial. Missing a class will instantly put you behind, so make a rule to never miss a class. Of course, this is not always feasible, so if you ever have to miss even just one class, contact your professor (and maybe even your classmates) to help catch up with the work. These days, much of the work is placed online, making this even easier.
Stay Curious and Passionate
One of the factors that is all too often forgotten about when it comes to education is curiosity and passion. Amidst the looming deadlines, piles of coursework, and filled timetables, you might forget why you chose your course to begin with. Some students even say they had more passion for a subject before they started an advanced course in it! While there’s no way to reduce the hard work required, there are ways to ensure your curiosity and passion stay heightened.
One way to do this is to find interesting, new ways to study. If you’re a history student, for example, visit historical sites or museums if you’ve spent too long with your head in a book. As a science student, you could conduct the experiments you’re learning about to help seal them into your memory. It’s all about keeping the subject interesting, and by doing so, you will stay passionate.
Advanced study requires organization, determination, and uninterrupted passion. By getting into good habits, you will come out of your degree a more intelligent individual with excellent qualifications to back it up.