8 April 2015

study and organisation tips

It is always kind of hard to get into the 'back to school' feeling in spring - when there are no offers for supplies and pretty much no one cares about your university necissities.
The pattern of my first 12 years of education differs so much from what university is like, where I live. The school year - up until I graduated - started in August or September and ended in June/July.
However as soon as you change to university, things change likewise.
Now, I have summer terms and winter terms and it actually makes a lot more sense to me.
The terms itself however can feel like a whole school year felt to me a few years ago.

Getting back to school is a big topic in general. If you look it up you'll find thousands of hits, clicks, pins, tweets, tips, videos and whatnot. Everyone gets excited about their latest supply haul, new markers and planners and I'm no exception.
Though it means getting back into schedules and having a lot of work already peeking up in the distance, I like these times of the year.
It's really motivating and after a break of roughly a month, going back to a regular schedule for everyday, with appointments and deadlines {that guarantee to keep you busy} seems kind of desirable and I find myself looking forward to it a lot.
I always was the kid that enjoyed going to school anyway, but that's another topic.
Since the 'back to school' time differs a lot between university and school - unless you're from South Korea or Japan {the two countries I know, where the school year starts in spring} - I decided to post this here kind off-time - but in synchro with my personal schedule.

I will share general tips and rules I try to stick with, to make my study routine more efficient and fun. I can't reinvent the wheel, whatsoever so you probably heard of the things I'm going to talk about already.

No matter if you study at college, university or still attend school, you won't get anywhere without grabbing some supplies from your favorite stationery store.
Depending on what your teachers expect you to bring for their lessons, there is an almost endless choice and range of colors and patterns and forms you can get binders and folders in, and at some point we are all going to need them. The same applies for your pencil case/box.

must-haves for me are: planner/calender ♡ file folders ♡ spiral-bound notebook ♡ personal notebook {for fanfiction and blogging ideas}

and in my pencil case: white out {I prefer tape to pencils/pots because they don't need to dry & save some time} ♡ pencils {personal preference: mechanical pencils because you don't need to carry an sharpener with you then} ♡ highligthers ♡ eraser ♡ stapler ♡ thumbnail drive ♡ black/blue ball pen ♡ colorful pens
My general tip for supplies is: buy things that are functional and help you organise your subjects, but also buy things you love holding and looking at. It will make your school day at least 50% better when you can look at your favorite character or a pattern that responses to your aesthetics, whenever you take a short breather. In fact, all the clear file folders I use to carry loose papers and homework in, are either plastered with Rilakkuma, Pokémon or EXO.

planning and time management is omnipresent in our school lives and we get lectured about its importance every opportunity there is - but this doesn't change the fact, that it is - indeed - a bit hard.
Assignments and deadlines pile up like dirty dishes in no time and my level of procrastination is worryingly sometimes. However, I try to get a grip of myself because being organized and ahead of time has proven to boost the confidence in my abilities and gives me a feeling of security.
So, we can actually make it a tint easier for ourselves, if you find out what works best for you.
I just got a desk planner for myself like a week ago because I wanted to try it out and I've been wondering how I ever survived without it, ever since.
One thing that will definitely help you keep track of all your appointments and deadlines, however is - a notebook or planner you can carry around with you. The calender app on your phone and/or tablet can come in really handy, too - if you're up to your ears in media already.
I personally plan to include my tablet more into my study work this semester, too but still can't imagine my everyday life without my actual planner that I can scribble and draw in.
I know that there are 1 1/2 years planners and some that work according to school years {means they will start in August and end the next July} but since my life doesn't consist of study alone, I like a planner that accompanies me from January till December, the best.

Another cue that goes hand in hand with a planner, is color-coding.
It's a must-do for me and one of the reasons I carry 10 different colored pens with me every day.
I just think it's not only prettier but helps your eye to catch on things right away.
So go, try it out, find your rhythm and highlight and underline and decorate the living sh*t out of your notes. Also, keep in mind that it doesn't need to stop in your planner; it's highly recommended for study notes as well.
I remember that I was hesitant at first - after all my teachers and mom drummed it into me, that I can never, never write into a text book {especially during that times when you just borrowed a book from your school} - but it actually helps me a lot now. I have to buy all my text books on my own, with my own money anyway. I guess I finally earned the right to do whatever I want to do with them.

If you read my 'And that's who I am' update, you probably sensed that this would find a place here as well.
As I admited before, I'm quite likey to forget things and to give me a bit more structure and security and to help me stay motivated and focused, I use to-do-lists like mad.
I usually include them in my planner and do a big list for work on the week ends or one week at once, using different colors for school, blogging, friends, chores and whathaveyou.
I also tend to split chores and bigger work projects {term papers/presentations/essays} like that up into small tasks - which is essential for the small trick, that works the magic for my motivation.
If I have many small tasks, I am much more likely to be able to tick them off in a short periode of time, which will give me a feeling of accomplishment - and keeps me going because that satisfaction means motivation and at the end of the day, I get a lot more done just because I crave to tick off all the tasks and make myself feel proud of oh, how productive I have been.

If you're having a really ambitious teacher/lecturer whose lessons feel like they confused their classroom with a Formula One race track, the next tip might be just the right thing for you. It takes a bit of work but proved to be worth it for me. My lectors usually give out an overview when they will do what in the process of the term, which makes it easier for me to put up with a little extra work and actually read the texts or listen to the audio examples and look up the vocabulary I don't know - beforehand.

If you're in lesson, you don't need to panic about a word you didn't catch - you probably wrote it down already. For me it's a small confidence booster whenever I'm able to understand and actively contribute to the lesson. Beside that, it's easier to approach your teacher and ask about something you didn't understand when you can actually explain your problem.
No more desperation because you leave after 90minutes of lecture and didn't understand anything. That is a mood killer you can avoid.

take care of yourself
No matter how high your own or someone elses expections for your study work and results are - you are not a machine. Don't forget to take care of yourself and your health.
Allnighters are a no-no for me, for example. I need sleep to function and I can't even imagine to spend a whole night studying in a rage when only energy drinks and soft drinks can keep me alive.
But sleep is only one of many things you should give your body enough of.
Carry water and coffee/tea with you {please notice that water is the more important component here and should be dominant in quantity, too}. - If you don't like the plain water taste, fruit tea works fine, too - or some juice. The point is to keep yourself awake and hydrated. It's not only really good for your skin and body but will also help your brain to work. It will help to avoid annoying headaches, too.
The only disadvantage is the sudden increase of visits to the restroom.
However, you can use the small breaks you should take from time to time for these then - which leads to the second last tip:
take breaks and reward yourself.
You're still no machine and can't work forever without your brain overheating. There will come a moment when you hit the wall and this is certainly the latest point when you should take a break, get some fresh air and distract and relax your mind a bit.
Do something fun, reward yourself with a bit of gaming or a stroll though your tumblr or instagram feed - just keep the time in mind - if you want to get something done the breaks shouldn't be longer than the actual study periode.
You can reward yourself with something delicious to eat at the end of the day, too. Just cherish and treat yourself a bit. You've worked hard and deserve some praise and extra attention.

Lastly, something that I have a lot of trouble doing.
Being a perfectionist brings hardships with it: I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, because my ideal work schedule {including chores, writing, blogging, studying, time for gaming, personal care and whathaveyou} is really hard and often impossible for me to achieve, because my expectations are just too high. Instead of putting even more stress upon yourself than the struggle with homework and papers brings with them already, try to take a breather and calm yourself. Work as hard as you can, but don't overwork and pressure yourself. Rome wasn't built in a day either.

If you haven't had enough already {this post got soo long, wow}, here are two other links I can recommend, if you want to read more tips on studying or organisation {this one is in German}.

Lecture periode will start again April 13 {next Monday} and as I already mentioned in a last update, I decided to look for a challenge and applied for 4 instead of 2 classes this time: Japanese, Korean, Bungo {ancient Japanese} and a writing excercise class. Time will show how long I can keep up the schedule I made for myself.

cute stationery pictures, found on tumblr:            

Do you have any rituals for going back to school/university?
Tell me in a comment below.

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