As arts students, weekly readings are a central part of our degree. A series of papers, chapters, and journal articles allow lecturers to accelerate your learning experience by sharing the burden. We are trusted to motivate ourselves to study. Glorious adulthood!
Yet self-motivation is not easy. The freedom that university affords us can be overwhelming and there are so many things that one can do with their free time. Not doing your readings, however, almost totally guarantees that you’ll do badly in your units. Even that can sometimes not be enough; some readings are excruciating to go through or nigh on incomprehensible. What follows is a series of tricks and tips that should help you willingly connect with your readings.
- Do your readings when they’re assigned. It doesn’t matter how brilliant you are, you can’t do a semester of reading in one week before the exam and retain anything.
- Make time for your readings every week. Some people like to sit down and go through all, some like it a bit more piecemeal; just make sure you have given yourself enough time in your schedule to get them done.
- Choose a style that works for you. I personally take extensive notes while I read to help write essays later on during the year. Some people use shorthand. Some people just jot down jibberish. Some don’t. Be honest with yourself; do what works for you best, not what is easiest.
- Remove distractions. Breaks are good, but breaks every 5 minutes aren’t.
- Make study groups. Studying in a group both provides you with motivation and allows you to understand the material better; multiple heads are better than one.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your tutor. They’re there to make sure you understand the material. Just ask them if you’re stumped.
- Treat yourself. I have a friend who puts gummi-bears at the end of every paragraph so she can reward herself as she reads. Find something you want, then only give it to yourself once you finish a reading.
- If you can’t get through a reading; take a break. Go for a walk. Talk to a friend. Sometimes you just need some space to look at it again.
Just remember; your readings are designed to be achievable without making your life miserable. Good luck.
- Firat Senol, PAL Academic Portfolio
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