Archive for January, 2017

5 Non-Standard Tips for Choosing a Career Path

January 18th, 2017

BY MELISSA BURNS

Do not despair if you’ve just graduated and have no idea what to do with your life. There are millions of people in the same position as you are now, because choosing a career path is very difficult. This is a very important decision that would have a huge impact on your future, so you mustn’t rush it.

Instead, you can try various approaches that would help you understand yourself better and pick the right career.

How to Choose Your Career Path

Understand if you are a promotion or prevention motivated person

As career is something that would most likely define the rest of your life, you need to choose something that matches your personality type. There are many specialized tests that can help you determine your most prominent character traits, but each of them is limited.

When choosing a career, the most important thing to understand is what your main motivation is. All people can be divided into one of the two following types:

  • Prevention-focused motivation.
    These people are driven by the need to feel secure. They would do best in stable jobs as they aren’t ambitious and don’t like taking risks. They excel in planning and management.
  • Promotion-focused motivation.
    These are the people, who strive to work fast, come up with creative ideas, and take risks. Their driving force is the reward, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a promotion or the feeling of achievement for completing the job.

Understand what kind of motivation you have and then use your hobbies and interests as the basis for choosing a career.

Use the help of specialized portals

The Internet offers a variety of career guidance tools and aptitude tests that can help you choose the right path for your future. They can help you choose the right path for your future. It would be best to use the help of a large portal dedicated to this matter as opposed to a website that only offers a few tests, because they also provide the services of advisors and information about various work and study options.

Quite often, students don’t know how many opportunities are open to them, and specialized career guide portals rectify this situation.

Talk to people from different walks of life

You can read a great number of booklets and articles about a profession, but only a person who has actually ‘been there and done that’ would have a complete understanding of it. Therefore, you should try to find experts in every profession you consider and discuss their work directly.

These people will give you valuable insights and can help you decide whether this job is indeed for you. They may also offer good advice on how to start establishing yourself in this field.

Take a sabbatical and travel

A sabbatical is a year without studies. In simple terms, it’s a ‘break’ that you might need to understand where you stand in this world and what you want to achieve. Students are often exhausted by the final school exams and they cannot make major decisions due to stress.

Traveling for a year will provide you with new experiences and help find where to go with your life.

Hire a career coach or, at least, talk to a counselor

These people are specially trained professionals who can help you understand yourself and your needs. They have the knowledge, experience, and skills to assist people in your situation and would definitely offer good advice and suggestions on how to determine what would be best for you not only now but also in the future.

Try Multiple Approaches When Choosing a Career Path

Choosing a career path is never easy, so you should use all help you can get. In the best case scenario, you should try each of the techniques mentioned above and compare the results. Just be sure to remember that whatever you choose must make you happy.

Melissa Burns graduated from the faculty of Journalism of Iowa State University in 2008. Nowadays she  is an entrepreneur and independent journalist. Her sphere of interests includes startups, information technologies and how these ones may be implemented.

 

Financial Tips for College Students to Save and Manage Better

January 17th, 2017

BY JANE HURST

Saving money is hard enough to do at the best of times. But, when you are a college student, it can seem next to impossible to put aside a bit of cash for a rainy day. It always seems like there is some expense cropping up, whether it be books, lab fees, or other little expenses that go along with college life. But, even if you don’t have a lot of extra money to spare, there are still ways that you can save some, and manage what you do have a lot better so it stretches further. Here are some tips that will help.

 

  1. Create Lists 

Make two lists: one of your actual needs, and the other of the things you want. Once you are able to see in writing what you actually need and don’t need, it will be easier to create a budget you can work with. Once you are working on a budget, you may even find that you can set a bit of cash aside for those things you want but don’t really need.

 

  1. Plan Meals with Friends 

You can save a lot of money on grocery bills if you shop and eat with friends. Plan meals together, and that way you can go in on the cost of the ingredients. Another way to save money on food is to cook large amounts of things you can eat all week. If you have refrigerator space, cook a casserole, meatloaf, etc. You will have nearly a week’s worth of meals for less than $8.

 

  1. Sell Used Gadgets

If you have old electronic gadgets such as an iPad, laptop, etc., you can sell it at Gadget Salvation to make extra cash you can use for expenses, or to save for emergencies. It is easy to sell an iPhone or other gadget, and you have your money in just a few days. Look at other buy and sell sites to get rid of other unwanted items to make extra cash.

 

  1. Be Careful with Credit 

If you have a credit card, it is important to be responsible with it. Not only do you have to be careful about how often you use it, but you also have to be careful about making payments on time. A missed payment, or even a late payment, is going to affect your credit rating.

 

  1. Watch Your Balance 

It is a good idea to get into the habit of checking your bank balance regularly. That way, you always know what you have. If you make a debit or check purchase, check your balance, write it down, and write down the amount of the purchase. That way, you will always know how much money you have in the bank to work with.

 

  1. Shop at the Right Time 

There are times when you should never go grocery shopping, because you are always going to end up spending a lot more than you planned. For instance, Mondays are bad, because the prices are higher. It is best to wait until the middle of the week when items are starting to be marked down. Also, don’t shop when you are hungry, because you will buy stuff you don’t really need.

 

  1. Downgrade Gym Memberships

If you go to the gym, but you don’t use all of the services, downgrade your membership. It will be cheaper, and you may even get some money back from the more expensive membership. Also, check to see if there is a gym on campus. It would likely be a lot cheaper to use, if not free for students.

 

Byline:

Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter.

 

Part 2: What Is Right And Wrong With The Millennial Label

January 13th, 2017

By Andrew Heikkila

 

This is part two of two. In part one, I spoke on the “Millennial” label and what’s right with, as well as what’s wrong with that term. Part one ended with the statement that older and younger generations are more apt to create these labels to define their differences instead of see their similarities. This is how we’re all dealing with accelerated rate of change in our society. Part two deals with that accelerated rate of change, and looks at how it can be both a bane and a benefit.

 

Recognizing Where the Rest of Society Is

 

The point of view of the rest of society is important because it gives us context as to why these myths surround young people. It helps to understand that while many young people see Netflix and Google’s targeted suggestions and other types of catered content as a helpful and the product of good marketing, plenty of older and middle-gen folks see instead the death of privacy. Where young kids nowadays revel in technology, some in the older generation see a decay of the morals that they will claim made them who they are today.

 

What is important for both young and old to realize is that we are all on this ride together. The breakneck pace of change that has permeated the “Millennial’s” life since near birth is the same change that everybody else is experiencing–and it’s both good and bad. Yes, we’re building houses that are hackable–but at least we’re not building them with asbestos anymore. Change creates news problems, just as much as it solves old ones. It’s only by looking both at the past and toward the future, beyond who to blame for the current state of affairs and rather at how to get past trying times, that we might finally come together and solve the problems that affect all of us.

 

Everything is Changing, and Change Will Never Stop

 

Survivors of change and contradiction. That should be the definition of the M-Word. I don’t say this to highlight any “affliction” to our generation–change, as mentioned above, can be a wondrous thing. What’s important to realize, however, is that Millennial’s biggest strength comes from the ability to adapt to that change.

 

Take for instance, the Forbes article titled “If There’s One Thing Millennials Regret, It’s Going to College”. The article makes the point of mentioning that we might be the most educated generation in history right off the bat–but that the cost of going to institution outweighs the benefits, especially when so many free options exist online. While many young people might be in debt, the important thing to realize is that as a generation we’ve stepped up to the plate to conquer that debt. Instead of balking, the most successful Millennials (and, let’s face it, anybody else that’s had to get a job in this day and age) have adapted.

 

This means that when new technology turns your office into a pulsing electronic data hub, that you pick up a couple data science skills. If you can’t, for whatever reason, adapt in that area, you pick up a different job–maybe you even join the gig economy by picking up a couple of them. The key here is “adaptability” and it’s a term that everybody, regardless of generational signifier, needs to hold onto in the coming days.

 

Nobody knows what the world will look like when today’s “Millennials” reach 60 and 70 years of age, but here’s to hoping that a larger portion of them are adaptive and responsive to change than our elders–they will have to be, to keep up with the sprinting pace of technology, as well as the generations of ‘whippersnappers’ that proceeds them.

 

Here’s to being adaptable.

 

Andrew Heikkila is a Millennial (whatever that means), a writer, an artist and musician, and a small business owner. He believes in the power of change and the power of people. By combining those two elements, he believes, anything is possible. Follow Andy on Twitter @AndyO_TheHammer

On Being A Millennial And Embracing Change: Part 1

January 12th, 2017

By Andrew Heikkila

For those in college now, as well as those who’ve graduated college within the last, roughly, 10 years, the term “Millennial” is not unfamiliar. I fit into this category as well, though I’m not sure entirely what the word “Millennial” means anymore. Dean Burnett, writing for The Guardian, argues that the Millennial moniker is “vague, lazy, and meaningless” in descriptive terms. Burnett writes, sarcastically at first:

“Apparently millennials like to use their phones, especially in the cinema. They don’t like working. They want to share everything on social media. They like socialism. They have short attention spans. They are narcissistic. And lazy. And entitled. And practically homeless. So there you have it. A millennial is a lazy narcissist who only cares about themselves and their phone although they can’t pay attention to any of these things for long unless it’s to do with something that they want which is typically socialism. Clear? …It’s almost as if “millennial” is used as a handy term for older vested interests who don’t understand, and are somewhat alarmed by, the confusing behaviour of modern youth in an increasingly complex world, but still want to exploit it.”

Nevertheless, there is still value in identifying and even rallying as a “Millennial,” because many young people in and recently out of college are inherently different as a product of their time. Whether you agree with calling us the M-word or not, there’s no denying that being “digital natives” has put us at odds with some of the tech illiterates in the older generations, enough for a multiple articles worth of content on how to handle an intergenerational workplace. There’s also no denying that even though we’re using our phones and technology in ways people could never have imagined before, our innovation is somewhat in vain because 70% of us will never earn more than our parents. We’ve grown up in a changing world, only to realize that it’s changing more and changing faster every day, to the point that it’s hard to keep up with it all. So what exactly does it mean to be a Millennial, and how do you get ahead in this crazy new world?

Recognizing What We Are and What We Are Not

The first thing that we as Millennials have to get past is the trivial “facts” about our generation that are really nothing more than just conjecture or stereotypes. It’s extremely hard to pin down substantiated facts on a group comprised of approximately 75 million people, according to Pew. If anything, the pervading wisdom about Millennials are more myth than they are fact. Take, for instance, these numbers on public perception of Millennials, also according to Pew:

 

  • 79% of the public think there is “a major difference in the point of view of younger people and older people today.”
  • 73% think younger generations and older generations are “very different” in the way they handle technology.
  • 66% think that “Older Americans” are superior in terms of their moral values, respect for others, and work ethic.

I highlight these statistics because I think it sums up the generational zeitgeist quite nicely: younger people and older people are more apt to see differences in one another than similarities, technology is drastically affecting the way we all live, and as it changes how we live, it changes the things that we value.

In “The Myth of the Millennial as Cultural Rebel”, author Laura Marsh makes the great point that we’re really not that different in ideology than the generations that came before us–we’re just experiencing changes in the system at a rate that no other generation our age has. Speaking on the idea that Millennials are “socialists” who are threatening the capitalist economy, Marsh notes:

“The idea that these “trends” in consumption are driven primarily by cultural preferences, rather than a faltering economy and ever-rising costs of living, is difficult to believe, but that’s the prevailing narrative… Which explanation seems more likely? Do we use Zipcar because we are ideologically committed to sharing, or because car ownership is still out of reach for a lot of people and renting piecemeal is the next best thing?”

What Marsh’s statement points out is that the problems we’re facing aren’t ones that we created, but they’re ones we’ve always lived with. Our elders watched this change continue to accelerate through the latter half of their lives. What we have been born into and have become accustomed to, the older generations have had to adapt to, like it or not.

Check back in for “On Being a Millennial and Embracing Constant Change pt. 2” soon. Andrew Heikkila is a Millennial (whatever that means), a writer, an artist and musician, and a small business owner. He believes in the power of change and the power of people. By combining those two elements, he believes, anything is possible. Follow Andy on Twitter @AndyO_TheHammer

Stress Management Is As Important As Studying For Finals

January 11th, 2017

By David Gutierrez

 During finals season, most students are focused on cramming in as much information as possible, or staying up long hours to finish essays and similar assignments. When you’re desperate to get a passing grade on that final essay, or you’re eager to get straight A’s for the semester, all you can focus on is your academic performance.

Unfortunately, spending all your time and energy on studying means you could neglect your physical, mental, and emotional health needs. While grades and knowledge are important, they aren’t more important than your personal wellbeing, so it’s vital that you prioritize your own stress management.

Potential Consequences

Let’s take a look at just some of the ways poorly managed stress could affect your life:

  • Impaired cognitive function. All that studying may actually end up being counterproductive. According to research in Neuron, chronic stress can impair your cognitive abilities, including memory. That means if you stress too much about studying, you might have a harder time retaining all the information you’re cramming in!
  • High blood pressure. Excessive stress can raise your blood pressure, which puts you at risk for all kinds of other circulatory maladies.
  • According to Georgetown University, the stress of finals, and school in general, can accumulate and cause severe anxiety or depression, which can significantly impair your life.
  • It may seem hyperbolic, but the extra burden of stress from finals could put you at higher risk of death. As In the Light Urns notes, periods of increased stress and emotion—like holidays, or finals season—can increase suicidal tendencies or exacerbate existing health problems.

Coping Strategies

Fortunately, it’s not difficult to mitigate or eliminate your risk for these potential consequences—as long as you make the time for it. These are some of your best tools for maintaining your health and wellbeing during finals season:

  • Start early. One of the best things you can do for yourself is starting the studying process early. For some students, it may already be too late, but don’t panic—there are other strategies to help you out. If you can start early, it immensely reduces the pressure on you, and you’ll be able to get more done without scrambling to meet deadlines.
  • Study in shifts. Don’t set yourself up for cram sessions. You’ll be more productive if you study in chunks with breaks in between. Working relentlessly through the night will make you more liable to forget information, and more stressed in the long run. Take time for yourself to eat, exercise, and relax your brain, and you’ll study even more effectively.
  • Control your perfectionism. It’s tempting to want straight A’s and perfect papers and to remember every fact you put in your brain. Unfortunately, it’s probably not going to happen. Expecting perfection is a good way to over-stress your already stressed mind, so take a step back and allow yourself to make some mistakes. Ironically, you’ll feel less stress and end up performing better than you would otherwise.
  • Work in groups. Even if you’re naturally introverted, consider joining a group to study with. You’ll find empathy with other people who are experiencing what you’re experiencing, and new study strategies and perspectives that can help you on your own journey. Plus, the social contact is good for your health.
  • Compartmentalize your tasks. Instead of looking at a massive list of massive projects or worrying about all your tests at once, split everything down into smaller, more manageable action items. Make a list of all the micro-tasks you break up, and then work on eliminating them one by one. It will make everything seem less intimidating, and make you feel rewarded when you make progress.
  • Seek help. As USA Today points out, most faculty, staff, and other students in college universities are sympathetic to the stress of studying. If you’re truly having a tough time with your studies, or if you don’t know what else to do, ask for help. Your professors will likely cut you a break or help you find alternative options, and your friends will be there to support you.

It may seem impossible to maintain your own health while simultaneously completing all your required coursework and getting good grades, but with the right priorities, it shouldn’t be an issue. Your grades are important, but your mind and body have to come first. Keep this in mind as you finish the semester and look forward to another round with the next cycle of classes.

David Gutierrez has worked in the field of web design since 2005. Right now he started learning Java in order to get second occupation. His professional interests defined major topics of his articles. David writes about new web design software, recently discovered professional tricks and also monitors the latest updates of the web development.

 

10 Tips for Better Sleep at College

January 10th, 2017

By Lorraine McKinney

We all need to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night, and this is something that can often be difficult to do. It can be especially difficult for college students, because they have so much going on and so much additional stress in their lives. Many students use a variety of techniques to get more sleep, including using earplugs for sleeping when there is a lot of noise. If you are a student who is having a hard time sleeping, check out these sleep tips.

  1. Take Short Naps – Napping is a good thing, but your naps shouldn’t be too long. Make sure that any afternoon naps you take are no longer than an hour, and not any later than three o’clock in the afternoon.
  2. Set the Mood – You need to set up an environment that is sleep-friendly. Some things you can do include covering the windows with dark coverings, hanging black sheets around the bed, and wearing eye masks.
  3. Don’t Try to Make Up for Missed Sleep – If you have missed sleep, you aren’t going to get it back, period, no matter how many naps you take. Don’t try to cram in some sleep before a study session. It isn’t going to help any, and it may even end up making you feel more tired.
  4. Only Go to Bed when You are Tired – Going to bed when you are not tired just means that you will be laying there, staring at the ceiling. If you are not asleep after 15 minutes, get up and do something that will help to make you sleepy.
  5. Ditch the Alarm Clock – Look for other alarm options besides a noisy alarm clock that will help you to wake up more naturally. You will feel better rested, and you won’t find yourself hitting the snooze button every few minutes.
  6. Use Relaxing Scents – Our sense of smell is really amazing, and there are so many ways that scents can be used to help us feel better, and to relax. Certain scents are more relaxing than others. Try adding a couple of drops of lavender essential oil to your bathwater. This is going to help you to relax, especially if you take a bath about an hour before bedtime.
  7. Use Sleep Gear – Ear plugs and other sleep gear are often used by college students who need to get more sleep. Other things to consider using are eye masks, because they block out a lot of light and give you the darkness that you need for a really good night’s sleep.
  8. Start Using a Fan – A lot of people find that white noise helps them to sleep better. You don’t have to go out and spend a lot of money on a white noise machine though. All you need to do is turn on a fan. Not only do you get the white noise you need to sleep, it is going to block out a lot of other noises.
  9. See a Sleep Specialist – Insomnia is actually a symptom of something else, and not an actual disorder. If you have trouble sleeping, and this happens often, you may want to consider seeing a sleep specialist to find out what is actually causing the problem. Some things that can cause insomnia include sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, anxiety, etc.
  10. Use Your Bed for Sleeping – Don’t use your bed as a study area. Use the study lounge, the library, your desk, etc. instead. When you study in bed, it can be a lot harder to shut down your mind when it comes time to go to sleep.

Lorraine McKinney is an academic tutor and elearning specialist. 

 

Leave Your Computer At My Classroom Door

January 9th, 2017

By Darren Rosenblum, From “On Campus”

When I started teaching, I assumed my “fun” class, sexuality and the law, full of contemporary controversy, would prove gripping to the students. One day, I provoked them with a point against marriage equality, and the response was a slew of laptops staring back. The screens seemed to block our classroom connection. Then, observing a senior colleague’s contracts class, I spied one student shopping for half the class. Another was surfing Facebook. Both took notes when my colleague spoke, but resumed the rest of their lives instead of listening to classmates.

Laptops at best reduce education to the clackety-clack of transcribing lectures on shiny screens and, at worst, provide students with a constant escape from whatever is hard, challenging or uncomfortable about learning. And yet, education requires constant interaction in which professor and students are fully present for an exchange.

Students need two skills to succeed as lawyers and as professionals: listening and communicating. We must listen with care, which requires patience, focus, eye contact and managing moments of ennui productively — perhaps by double-checking one’s notes instead of a friend’s latest Instagram. Multitasking and the mediation of screens kill empathy.

Likewise, we must communicate — in writing or in speech — with clarity and precision. The student who speaks in class learns to convey his or her points effectively because everyone else is listening. Classmates will respond with their accord or dissent. Lawyers can acquire hallmark precision only through repeated exercises of concentration. It does happen on occasion that a client loses millions of dollars over a misplaced comma or period.

Once, a senior associate for whom I was working berated me for such a mistake and said, “Getting these things right is the easy part, and if you can’t get that right, what does it say about your ability to analyze the law properly?” I learned my lesson. To restore the focus-training function of the classroom, I stopped allowing laptops in class early in my teaching career. Since then research has confirmed the wisdom of my choice.

Focus is crucial, and we do best when monotasking: Even disruptions of a few seconds can derail one’s train of thought. Students process information better when they take notes — they don’t just transcribe, as they do with laptops, but they think and record those thoughts. One study found that laptops or tablets consistently undermine exam performance by 1.7 percent (a significant difference in the context of the study). Other studies reveal that writing by hand helps memory retention. Screens block us from connecting, whether at dinner or in a classroom. Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, says that just having a phone on a table during a meal “is sufficiently distracting to reduce empathy and rapport between two people.”

For all these reasons, starting with smaller classes, I banned laptops, and it improved the students’ engagement. With constant eye contact, I could see and feel when they understood me, and when they did not. Energized by the connection, we moved faster, further and deeper into the material. I broadened my rule to include one of my large upper-level courses. The pushback was real: A week before class, I posted the syllabus, which announced my policy. Two students wrote me to ask if I would reconsider, and dropped the class when I refused. But more important, after my class ends, many students continue to take notes by hand even when it’s not required.

Putting aside medical exemptions, many students are just resistant. They are used to typing and prefer it to writing. They may feel they take better notes by keyboard. They may feel they know how to take notes by hand but do not want to have to do so. They can look up material, and there’s no need to print assignments. Some may have terrible handwriting, or find it uncomfortable or even painful to write.

To them, I’ll let the Rolling Stones answer: You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need. My students need to learn how to be lawyers and professionals. To succeed they must internalize an ethos of caution, care and respect. To instill these values and skills in my students, I have no choice but to limit laptop use in the classroom.

Correction: January 3, 2017
An earlier version of this article misstated how much laptops and tablets in the classroom hurt exam performance. Their presence lowered results by 1.7 percent, according to a study, not 18 percent.

5 Considerations for Bringing a Car to College

January 6th, 2017

BY JANE HURST

 

It’s time to head back to college. The question is, should you or shouldn’t you bring your car with you? It can be a really handy thing to have a vehicle with you while you are in college. At the same time, it can be a complete pain in the you-know-what as well. A teen who has taken their free permit practice test isn’t ready for the road, but if you have taken driver’s ed and have your license, you are likely looking at getting your first car. If you are thinking about bringing your car with you to college, here are a few pros and cons you need to consider.

 

  1. Know the Campus Rules – Before you even think about bringing a car with you to college, you need to find out if you are going to be allowed to do it in the first place. For instance, some campuses don’t allow freshmen to have cars. Others don’t have much in the way of parking, or charge outrageous fees to park. Find out the school policies about owning and using a vehicle before you bring yours along with you.
  2. Make Money and Get Away – As a student, you are probably often short on cash. Having a car means you can make extra money. Offer yourself as a taxi or delivery service in your spare time and have some extra spending money when you need it. You can also use your vehicle to be able to visit home a lot more often, if this is something that you enjoy doing, or just get away when the stress of campus life gets to be too much and you need a break. Having a car with you gives you the freedom to do a lot more, and you can even make a few extra bucks while you are at it.
  3. People Wanting to Borrow Your Car – You will also end up with a lot of people asking to borrow your car. This is probably not the best habit to get into. After all, it is you who will be on the line for any damages they cause while driving, unless of course you have full insurance coverage. Being on a student’s budget, it isn’t likely that you have that kind of coverage unless you are on your parents’ policy. Not everyone follows the road rules, and this isn’t a chance you should be willing to take.
  4. Have Transportation – If you get a part-time job or an internship that is not on campus, you will need transportation. You also need transportation to go shopping, to the movies, out to eat, or even to museums, galleries, libraries, and other places you need to go for your studies. Having a vehicle can be a big help when you need to get from point A to point B in a hurry, and you don’t want to wait around for a bus. This can be especially handy if your campus is in a smaller area where there are no bus services, and you won’t have to spend a lot of money on taxis.
  5. Being a Personal Taxi Service – Unfortunately, students who have cars often find themselves becoming personal taxi services for all of their friends. If this ends up becoming the case with you, there will likely come a time when you just have to put your foot down and tell everyone that you need to keep your vehicle in good shape for your entire college career. The more you run people around, the more wear and tear there will be on your car. One thing you can do is be a designated driver, to make sure your friends get home safely after partying.

 

Byline:

Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter.

Five Smart Study Habits For High Scores

January 5th, 2017

BY ADELA BELIN

Habits usually go on for the lifetime and make certain things effortless. If you are conditioned to rote learning, then memorizing things will become easy for you. Similarly, if you develop smart study habits, learning becomes effortless. Therefore, for better learning and scoring high, you simply need to develop smart habits. After that, these habits will work for you and fetch pleasant surprises for the entire life.

Develop the following habits to make the learning process easy and exciting:

Focused Study Schedule

Disconnect yourself from the entire world during your study sessions. Barring the necessary items, shut everything – mobile phones, the internet, doors of your study room, and even all the lights other than study table light – during studies.

Make duration of your study sessions short and sweet. 30-45 minutes per session is a good time to concentrate on something without getting distracted or exhausted.  Avoid everything other than studies, like – drinking water, coffee, and going to the washroom, etc. – during a session.

Learn one topic per session. Don’t try to complete the entire chapter during a session, until it is small. If you try to learn many concepts per sessions, things will be mixed up, and you will quickly forget whatever you have learned.

Note down the concepts that are either difficult to understand or you didn’t understand them at all. Make sure that you master these topics before moving forward.

Develop a habit of staying focused, and you will learn more in less time.

Time Management

Time management is a skill that very few try to learn actively. Like communication skills, it is also a life skill that will differentiate you from the crowd.

University is the best place to learn time management skills. Once you join the corporate world, you will have everything but time to learn it. And, to learn time management, you don’t need anything but time.

So act now and learn time management as soon as you can.

Following lies at the core of the time management:

Focus on what matters the most and don’t waste time on things that you don’t want or don’t need.

We all have twenty-four in hours a day. Some people do what they love and excel at the university as well as in extracurricular activities alike. While others work hard and still have no time to do what they love.

The difference lies in the way people manage their time.

 

Following will create a habit that encourages efficient utilization of time:

 

  • Create a fixed schedule for studies – Make consistent efforts to stick to the plan even if it requires giving up on some luxuries of your life. You need to take short term pains for long term gain.
  • Firmly request your friends and family members not to disturb you during the specified time.
  • Break the entire study time in multiple sessions of smaller durations
  • Take a short break of 5-10 minutes between two sessions
  • Study difficult topics first and spend more time in understanding them
  • Make meditation an integral part of your life
  • Give yourself enough time to discover and follow your passion

Technological Habits

No matter how you learn and from which source you learn things, comprehending the concepts is paramount.  Today you have a variety of sources for learning new concepts and skills. Thanks to the internet, we have access to unlimited content and resources that can be utilized to sharpen skills.

If you find something difficult to understand, search it on YouTube or other resources’ sites. You may find exciting games or videos which help you learn the difficult topics with great ease.

You can also use various software tools to simulate the concepts and see them working live.

Use technology to your advantage and not for wasting time. If you are facing a challenge, try to find out a solution through technology.

Summary Technique

 Humans have a natural tendency to forget 80% of the concepts within 24 hours of learning. Beat this tendency with what I call a “Summary Technique.” When you learn a new concept, summarize it in few lines before moving to the next topic. Write down the summary on a physical piece of paper and revisit it once or twice a week.

Doing it 3-4 times a month for every topic will make you an expert on the subject.

If you need to learn a lot of formulae or equations, try to make them funny by relating them to things in your daily life.

You must also have a weekly and a monthly timetable which is devoted just for revision. Many students even use email management tools through which they schedule a list of concepts that will be delivered to their inbox periodically. They will be getting the emails in their inbox at a pre-determined time. This helps them recall the concepts at constant intervals.

Practice Tests

To do well in exams, you must develop an excellent exam temperament. No matter what level of command you have over a subject, if you can’t manage the exam well, the scores are bound to disappoint you. Therefore, it is crucial to prepare for the examination temperament.

The best way to develop examination temperament is to write as many exams as possible. For this, you need to take many demo exams at home.

Write practice tests at home in a time bound manner, assuming you are sitting in the examination hall. Do a thorough analysis of the paper after each test. Note down your strong and weak areas. Work on your weak areas before you move on to the next practice test.

Just by taking some practice tests, you can achieve significant marks in any exam. Thus, make sure you take some practice exams before you appear for the final exam even if you haven’t studied anything.

Conclusion

As John Dryden said, “We first make our habits and then our habits make us.” Once you develop these habits, you will automatically excel at university and beyond. Initially, you might face a lot of difficulties in doing this. However, if you stick to your plans embrace the initial pain, you will thank yourself later.

Adela Belin is a private educator and writer at writers per hour. She shares her teaching experience with colleagues, students, and writers.

 

 

10 Tips To Write A Research Paper OR Thesis

January 4th, 2017

 

BY JANE HURST

A research paper is not merely a collection of tidbits from different sources, it is in fact your own statement or argument based on and substantiated through research. As the average research paper is 10-20 pages long, what can you do to make the whole process less painful? Here are 10 tips to write a stellar research paper.

 

  1. Know Yourself

If you are someone who likes to write at night, plan on staying up late. If you always procrastinate, clear your schedule to write your paper at the last minute. Do you work best alone? Do you thrive from being surrounded by people? Do you need frequent breaks? Or would you rather work 10 hours straight? While most advice focuses on managing your impulses, the opposite is often more effective.  Lean in and accept your quirks for a less painful and more productive experience.

 

  1. Time

The more time you can give yourself to work on your paper, the better. Unless you are a hopeless procrastinator, in which case, see #1.  A month is a good time-frame to develop a 10 – 20 page research paper. This will give you enough time to choose a topic, research it, ask for help, change your topic if needed, write a couple of different drafts, and even take a few days off from your paper, to be able to evaluate it with fresh eyes later.

 

  1. Choose a Broad Topic

Unless your heart is set on something you’ve always wanted to delve into, a good approach to choosing your topic is to pick a relatively broad interest, and then narrow it based on the research available to you. For example, consider researching 18th century German literature, and as you read about it, choose a topic that jumps out at you e.g. the representation of night time in the poetry of Novalis, or the unique contribution of Goethe to the Romantic movement, etc. Depending on your assignment, you might be able to stick with a fairly broad topic as well. Always make sure to pick a subject that has been written about widely, so your research will be easier and more robust.

 

  1. Pick Your Thesis Later

Let your thesis emerge from your research. It’s a lot easier to start by researching a topic, and then develop a thesis based on the research available, than to come up with an argument and then hunt for supporting evidence. You might also be surprised at how often researching a topic changes your mind on it! If your teacher requires you to submit your thesis statement ahead of time, keep to a broad statement, and resubmit it if during the research and writing phases your thesis changes.

 

  1. Mind Map it

Generally speaking, as a writer you either have a ton of ideas that need to be narrowed down, or you have trouble coming up with many ideas and therefore need to expand on one or two initial thoughts. Either way, consider a mind mapping process, Lifehacker has a great post on how to do it. Create a visual diagram of everything you could add to your research paper before moving to the next step.

 

  1. Write an Outline

Repeat after me: I will always write an outline. After being all over the place, and exploring many different ideas through a mind map, it is now time to focus on what your paper will cover. Drop everything that’s unnecessary, and focus on what needs to be included. Then work on one chunk at the time.  If you have a good outline, it will make the writing process a lot easier and your first draft will be much better.

 

  1. Write the First Draft

Now it’s time to put it all together! Don’t try to write a polished or perfect draft, just start by writing your introduction, body, and conclusion. Focus on getting your thoughts on the page: avoid all distractions, write everything as it comes to you, following your outline. Mark the spots where you’d like to add a footnote, quote, or anything else that would require you to stop writing. Depending on your style, you’ll find at the end of your first draft that you either need to trim things down or add more details to reach the assigned length for your paper.

 

  1. Review and Polish

Unless you are close to your deadline, take a break and do not look at your paper for a couple of days. Do something else instead, and take your mind completely off it. Then go back to your first draft with fresh eyes and work on polishing your writing, add the footnotes, quotes, and anything else needed to make this an A+ paper.

If you have a chance, ask a friend to read through and give you comments. Preferably someone senior with knowledge on the topic, but if that is not possible, then ask any friend to take a look. Having someone with less knowledge on the topic will check whether your writing is clear and if the big picture makes sense.

 

  1. Use citation management Tools

One area where you could use some help is in reference and citation management.  If you expect to write a lot of research papers, a dedicated tool like EndNote can be very powerful. If you are not ready to make the investment, Mendeley is a very powerful tool which is worth trying out.  It makes it easy when you need to quickly add citations and automatically generate the References section.

 

  1. Consider splitting up into multiple files

If your paper is over 50 pages and multiple chapters with many heavy graphics and figures, it can be helpful to break it down into multiple DOC files, with one DOC file per chapter. Editing a single small DOC file can be much easier than dealing with a huge file in Word.

 

One way to do this is by creating a Master Document in Word which can reference each of the chapters. This has been documented extensively by HowToGeek here.

 

A perhaps more simple way is to keep all the chapters independent, then convert each chapter to a PDF file (either with Word directly or with an online converter).  Then simply merging all the PDF files together into a final single PDF file, and adding a nice front page.  This can be achieved either with software such as Adobe or an online PDF merger such as FoxyUtils.

 

Byline:

Jane Hurst has been working in education for over 5 years as a teacher. She loves sharing her knowledge with students, is fascinated about edtech and loves reading, a lot. Follow Jane on Twitter.