My last two posts dealt with student adversity, what it feels like, and how to deal with it. I also talked about good study habits, which are essential to deal with academic difficulties. It is important to remember that good habits are yours and not someone else’s. You have to find what works for you. Studying itself is not that hard once you find the rhythm and routine that works for you. In short, there is a lot of effort up front to find your method, and there is no short cut for that.
Today I will write about how to get into a frame of mind to be able to develop good study habits. These are the habits I wrote about in the previous blog post. The habits are concepts, their exact form depends on your rhythm, and that is what takes searching and working hard to imbed those habits into your routine. But before you start doing this, let me mention something I have seen in many students in trouble. If you are a student that has been struggling academically you are probably feeling low and demoralized. Everyone is telling you that you are no good, and should give up. You are saying this to yourself too, probably. The first thing you must do is break out of this cycle of self-defeating thinking. Here are four simple guidelines.
- Stop being negative. Easier said than done. But necessary. The good news is that you are now in the worst place already, and things can only get better, since you have decided to begin trying. The fact that you came to talk to your advisor about it means you are already on the mend. Things are starting to look up. Isn’t that a simple thing to tell yourself? Do so, its true.
- Stop procrastination, and begin working. The biggest reason people procrastinate is because of fear of failure. All I can say to you is that its a stupid thing to be afraid of. The probability of succeeding if you don’t try something is zero! The probability of succeeding if you try is definitely greater than zero. The probability of failure is irrelevant, isn’t it? What I am saying is, focus on the probability of success and ignore the probability of failure. You will feel better immediately.
- Reputation and ego don’t count. The real cost of failure lies in feeling bad about yourself. You may worry that others will think worse of you too. My advice is to stop caring about what anyone else thinks. You should even stop caring about what you think about yourself. Thinking about what you think about yourself is already getting you down, so why keep going there? Just do what needs to be done, and do it as well as you can. Enjoy doing it, not what you or anyone will think after you have done it. Most of the time, when you have done something after deciding to just enjoy doing it, the results are really good, and you begin to feel better anyway. You will feel better even if you don’t get results. The act of doing something itself works its own wonders. Just working on it helps intrinsically. Don’t think, just do.
- Start somewhere. At some point you will need to get a good rhythm going to get results. But thats not the first step. The most important thing before you develop a routine is to break your current inertia. Just make a list of a few important things you know you have to do, but have been avoiding, maybe because your ego cannot deal with it. Forget everything else. Now, take any one thing and begin on it. The harder the better. Don’t think of anything else and give it all your attention for an hour or two. Get in the zone. You will find that what you thought was hard turned out to be not so. And then everything else will feel so much easier. You are suddenly on your way.
Well, I hope this helps. Once you are rolling, see if my previous post helps. Its a eleven-point plan for good study habits. But for now, keep things simple with a priming four-pronged attack to get you on your way: (1) Negate negativity, (2) Procrastinate no more, (3) Ignore ego, (4) Go after Just One Thing.