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8 Time Management Tips for Students

College can be a stressful time for many students and time management can be one of the most crucial — but tricky — skills to master.

Attending classes, studying for exams, making friends, and taking time to relax and decompress can quickly fill up your schedule. If you often find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day, this guide will offer time management tips for students so you can accomplish what you need to get done, have fun with your friends, and gain back some valuable time for yourself. 

1. Create a Calendar

Don’t be caught by surprise by an important paper due two days from now or a dinner with your family the same night you planned for a group study session. Create a calendar for yourself with all your upcoming deadlines, exams, social events, and other time commitments well in advance so you can see what’s coming up. 

Keep your calendar in a place where you can see it every day, such as in your planner or on your wall above your desk. If you prefer a digital calendar, check it first thing every day to keep those important events fresh and top-of-mind. For greater efficiency, make sure you can integrate it with your other tools, such as your email.

Digital calendar options include: 

2. Set Reminders

After you’ve created your calendar, give yourself periodic reminders to stay on track such as to complete a study guide in advance or schedule a meeting for a group project. Knowing deadlines is important; however, staying on top of the micro tasks involved in meeting those deadlines is just as important. You can set an alarm on your phone, write it down in a physical planner, or add an alert to your digital calendar. The reminders will help to prevent things from slipping through the cracks during particularly hectic days.

Make sure you’ve allotted enough time to study for that big test or write that final paper. Time management is all about setting yourself up for success in advance and giving yourself the tools to accomplish tasks with confidence. 

Read our blogs, Your Guide to Conquering College Coursework and Top 10 Study Tips to Study Like a Harvard Student, for more suggestions.

3. Build a Personalized Schedule

Each person’s day-to-day is different and unique to them, so make sure your schedule works for you. Once you’ve accounted for consistent commitments such as classes or your shifts at work, add in study sessions, extracurriculars, chores and errands, and social engagements.

Consider your personal rhythm. If you typically start your day energized, plan to study or accomplish chores then. If you fall into an afternoon slump, give yourself that time to take a guilt-free TV break or see friends.

Having a schedule that works for you will help maximize your time. Plus, knowing exactly when your laundry day is or when your intramural volleyball practice is every week will help you avoid trying to cram everything in one day (or running out of clean socks!)

4. Use Tools That Work For You

Just like your calendar and schedule, the tools you use to keep you organized should be the right fit for you. Some students prefer physical planners and paper, while some prefer going totally digital. Your calendar can help you with long-term planning, but most of these tools are best for prioritizing from day to day.

Explore what best suits your needs with some of the following suggestions:

Planners

Planners can help you keep track of long-term deadlines, such as important essay deadlines, upcoming exams, and appointments and meetings. They often provide a monthly overview each month, as well as day-to-day planning sections, so you can stay ahead. 

Scheduling

If your schedule is jam-packed and you have trouble figuring out what to do and when, scheduling day by day—and sometimes even hour by hour—can help you slot in everything you need to do with less stress.

Note Taking

From class to study sessions to errands, keeping track of everything can feel overwhelming. Keeping everything in one place, whether on the go or at your desk, can help keep you organized.

5. Prioritize

Sometimes there really is too much to do with too little time. In these instances, take just a few minutes to evaluate your priorities. Consider which deadlines are most urgent, as well as how much energy you have. 

If you are able to complete simple tasks first, try getting them out of the way before moving on to tasks that require a lot of focus. This can help to alleviate some of the pressure by checking a couple things off your to-do list without getting bogged down too early.

If you are struggling to fit everything in your schedule, consider what you can postpone or what you can simply say no to. Your friends will likely understand if you have to meet them for coffee another time in order to get in a final library session before a challenging exam. 

6. Make Time to Have Fun — And For Yourself

Time management isn’t just about getting work done. It’s also about ensuring that you can put yourself and your mental wellbeing first. Consistently including time for yourself in your schedule helps to keep your mental health and your life in balance. It can also be helpful to have things to look forward to when going through stressful periods.  

Whether it’s going for a bike ride along the river, spending time with your friends and family, or simply sleeping in on a Sunday, knowing you have space to relax and do things you enjoy can provide better peace of mind. 

7. Find Support 

Preparation and organization can sometimes only get you so far. Luckily, you have plenty of people rooting for your success. Keep yourself and your classmates on task by finding an accountability partner or study buddies. Remind your roommates when you need extra space to work on a paper. 

Your school’s academic resource center is also there to support you and point you in the right direction if you need additional help. Getting—and staying—organized is a collaborative effort and no one can do it on their own. 

8. Be Realistic and Flexible 

Sometimes unforeseen circumstances will come up or you simply may not be able to get to everything you set out to do in a given day. Be patient with yourself when things don’t go exactly to plan. When building your calendar, schedule, and priorities list, be realistic about what you can accomplish and include buffer time if you’re unsure. This can help to reduce obstacles and potential friction.

Time management isn’t just about sticking to a rigid schedule—it’s also about giving yourself space for change.

How To Successfully Return To College After Winter Break

How To Successfully Return To College After Winter Break

The month long hibernation is over, and it’s time to come back.

 
How To Successfully Return To College After Winter Break
Illinois State University
 
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After completing my first semester of college, it completely and utterly drained me. By the time December hit, I was exhausted and in need of a long break. Thankfully, I had a month long winter break to enjoy. Coming back to school after my first winter break in college, I have many mixed emotions. I am nervous, sad, and mostly excited for the future.

 

Spending a whole month of break back in my hometown can be pretty overwhelming. But, it is also very comforting to see familiar faces from high school that I haven’t seen in awhile. Seeing those faces bring back so many fun memories that were experienced. Spending time with family, friends, and enjoying my hometown can at first be fun; but, after a couple weeks I was 100% ready to go back to school. I began to miss all my friends from college and living my life independently. I missed where I lived, and all the people I saw. I shockingly missed going to class and having a set routine every day. Being home from break gave me an excuse to lay in bed until 5 p.m. and although that seems fun, I enjoy waking up and having a productive day in college more.

 

As I enter my second semester in college as a freshman, I have many mixed emotions. I’m nervous for the new classes I’m taking, but also prepared for what’s to come. I am sad leaving behind friends and family, but I know I will see them again. I am mostly excited for this second semester because I am going into it with knowledge of how college works. I’m excited to make more memories with my friends and live my life to the fullest. I’m excited to become independent again and make the most of my college experience

 

Being home from break as a freshman has been a lot different than high school. Although being home is fun at times, I miss living my life in college. My friends back home are amazing, but I know they are just as eager to get back to their school just as much as I am. Catching up with friends from high school fills you with nostalgia, but that feeling will never go away. We will always make time for the ones we care about in life. We have to realize we are devoted college students and we all need to go back to school. We all had a memorable break, but it’s time to pack our things, go back to school, and make the most of your second semester.

Twelve Recommendations for Winter Break Binging

 

hands hold time for a break card in front of festive lights
 

Written by Susan Helmick, Graduate Assistant for the Graduate College   

Grad students, you’ve conquered mountains of assignments, presentations, and exams – now it’s time to hit pause, decompress, and indulge in some much-deserved downtime. To make the most of your well-deserved break, Graduate College staff compiled a curated list 12 of their favorite podcasts, shows, movies, music, games, and books (and why they love them) to help you kick back, relax, and maybe discover something new (and unlike a famous 12 of something else, no birds are necessary). So, let’s kick off the study boots and get the winter break recommendations rolling.

  • The Ballad of Songbirds and SnakesOK, the title mentions birds, but this prequel to Suzanne Collins’ highly popular “The Hunger Games” series follows the story of an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow, who later becomes the infamous President Snow, and explores issues of power, privilege, and survival in a society on the brink of chaos.       
    • “The movie is great, but I highly recommend the book as it dives so much further into the inner monologue of the main antagonist.”
  • Con Todo El Mundo: Released in 2018 by the band Khruangbin (“airplane” in Thai), this mostly instrumental album features a fusion of musical styles, incorporating Thai funk, Middle Eastern influences, surf rock, and soul.
    • “I appreciate the blend of multiple cultures and musical styles into one cohesive, funky unit.”
  • A Little to the Left: In this puzzle game, players must organize and pack items efficiently within a limited space. It employs physics-based mechanics and challenges players to use their spatial reasoning skills to solve the packing puzzles.
    • “It is a cozy puzzle game where you organize different household objects. I’ve enjoyed playing it for stress relief and thinking creatively.”
  • Bad Dates: A podcast hosted by actor Jameela Jamil and featuring a variety of guests who recount their memorable, often awkward or amusing dating experiences.
    • “If you listen to only one episode of this podcast, “Namaste Away From Me” had me laugh crying so hard at times I drew stares in public. Fair warning.”
  • Business ProposalA South Korean romantic comedy television series about a woman who pretends to be her friend on a blind date with a man who turns out to be her CEO. Available via streaming.
    • “The soundtrack is incredible, the moments are outrageously hilarious, and it is overall so heartwarming. I’ve watched it all the way through at least double-digit times. It is absolutely my comfort show!”
  • Cinema Therapy: Together, licensed therapist Jonathan Decker and filmmaking pro Alan Seawright unravel characters, themes, and plots to enrich listeners’ life and mental health. Available on YouTube.
    • “It’s always a great conversation about navigating mental health and relationships through the lens of our favorite movies.”
  • The Storyteller: Foo Fighters’ lead singer, and former drummer for Nirvana, Dave Grohl’s memoir of his life in the music industry, his perspectives on creativity, the evolution of his musical ventures, and his passion for storytelling through music.
    •  “I’ve read more than forty books this year, and Dave Grohl’s memoir The Storyteller has remained my favorite read of the year. Grohl has a beautiful narrative voice, and every chapter just pulls you in with his incredible life on tour stories with funny cameos to boot.”
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service: This Japanese film is known for its beautiful animation, engaging storyline, and themes of self-discovery, friendship, and perseverance. Available via streaming.
    • “Watch Kiki’s Delivery Service if you haven’t already! It’s a great movie and will resonate deeply with anyone struggling with burnout or major life transitions.”
  • Criminalia: Hosted by Holly Frey and Maria Trimarchi, this podcast explores the lives of various individuals from history, shedding light on their backgrounds, motivations, and the circumstances that led them into a life of crime.
    • “It’s a true crime podcast for those who dig historical crimes. Holly and Maria share compelling stories, while also examining how crimes and criminals hold up when viewed through a modern lens.”
  • Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Japanese author Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s novel explores the theme of time travel, revolving around a mystical chair that allows café patrons to travel back in time but with strict limitations.
    • “This book made me reflect on what I would have done differently in my past regarding friendships and relationships.”
  • Nomadland: Adapted from Jessica Bruder’s non-fiction book of the same name, this movie follows the story of a woman who becomes a modern-day nomad after the economic collapse of her small town in rural Nevada.
    • “This movie is cinematically gorgeous, has phenomenal acting, and the story is amazing.”
  • Soft Sounds From Another Planet: The second studio album by indie rock band Japanese Breakfast showcases a blend of pop, indie rock, and experimental music.
    • “I enjoy the wide variety of sounds and emotions that this album evokes.”

Whatever you dive into this winter break, make the most of these more laid-back days while they last. Enjoy, relax, and recharge – you’ve earned it!

15 Thoughtful Ideas for What To Do After Graduation

 

15 great options for what to do after graduation

Here are some options that you can choose from if you haven’t yet figured out what to do after graduation:

1. Regroup at home

After graduating, a great option for you is to move home before deciding what to do. Going home to live with your parents or guardians allows you to return to a comfortable place, sometimes at a free or reduced rent, before deciding on a life path. It’s cost-effective and allows you to take as much time as you need. Once you’re home, you can then explore other options available for you and decide what you’ll find most fulfilling. Usually, this is also an opportunity to network with organizations in your industry, connect with your post-secondary school’s alumni, update and improve your resume, and prepare for your ideal career path.

2. Further your education

After graduation, another option you can consider is continuing your education. This is a great option if your career path requires you to get specialized or higher education. For instance, after your college program, you can pursue a bachelor’s degree, where it’s needed. You can also join specialized programs that prepare you with technical proficiency for your preferred industry. This ensures you’re better positioned to gain an entry-level position when you apply.

3. Take a gap year

Taking a gap year involves taking one year for travel and exploration after graduation. It is also an opportunity to relax and recharge after several years of dedicated study as you prepare to transition to the workforce. Usually, it’s useful for those looking to discover their interests and passion. You can gain new experiences, meet new people, and try new aspects of life that allow you to identify what interests you. Similarly, it also allows you to experience a distinct culture or build relevant soft skills like problem-solving and communication.

4. Consider becoming a research assistant

If you’re interested in academia, then becoming a research assistant is a great option. Universities and colleges often hire recent graduates to work as research assistants. Usually, this position extends beyond the sciences as it’s available across various departments like arts, history, and philosophy. If this interests you, contacting your previous professors and speaking to them about research opportunities is ideal. Usually, picking a professor with whom you had a strong and positive academic relationship can improve your chances of a positive result.

5. Find volunteer opportunities

Volunteering allows you to gain valuable experience, especially when related to your area of interest or long-term career goal. You can also develop both hard and soft skills, such as time management, task management, communication, adaptability, and leadership. These skills are transferrable and improve your capabilities and make you a more valuable employee when you start working. Volunteer positions can also lead to a full-time role elsewhere through the networking opportunity that it provides.

Read more: What Are the Benefits of Volunteerism?

6. Consider graduate school

You can also attend graduate school after your graduation. This is a great option if getting a post-graduate qualification aligns with your long-term career goals. For instance, getting a post-graduate degree is an excellent opportunity if you intend to become a consultant or expert in a particular field. You can research available graduate schools and programs that align with your goal. Afterwards, present a compelling application to the institution highlighting your interests and qualifications.

7. Get an internship

As a recent graduate, an internship is an important opportunity to gain access to competitive companies and industries. Once you’re about to graduate or immediately after graduation, you can apply for an internship position in reputable companies in your industry. Often, internships attract less pay compared to full-time roles. Still, they allow you to gain valuable experience can prepare you for a full-time role. An impressive performance during your internship can also lead to recommendations and a full-time job offer.

Read more: Understanding What an Internship Is and How To Get One

8. Make your passion your job

If you have discovered your passion, you can make it your job after graduation. This involves using the various skills you gained during your academic program and applying them to an area. For instance, if you enjoy yoga, you can get a teacher certification and begin teaching in a studio. You can then apply skills such as self-motivation, discipline, and self-management to perform your tasks. If you love knitting or other crafts, you can maximize your creativity and innovation and sell your products online.

9. Find seasonal work

If your passion involves seasonal activities like farming, you can consider taking seasonal work to explore your passion. You can create a schedule to ensure you have access to employment opportunities. For instance, you can get a job in a store over the holidays as employers need extra employees to manage the increased demand.

10. Consider public service position

You can also take advantage of public service positions available to recent graduates. These positions allow you to develop new skills and earn stipends while serving your community. For instance, some of these institutions focus on education in specific areas, improved standard of living, and other community services in high-need locations. You can also maximize these positions to build an impressive professional network useful for references and job prospecting.

11. Work for your academic institution

You can also work for your academic institution in a wide range of roles. For instance, various universities and colleges hire their previous students as a member of their administrative departments. This includes admissions, academic advising, and development. If you’re passionate about education, you can explore this option by speaking to the administrative team and inquiring about available positions. Also, through this option, you can develop various transferrable skills such as time management, interpersonal, and communication skills that aid your professional development.

12. Teach abroad

Teaching abroad is another great option after graduation as it allows you to explore a new culture while working. There are various countries where native English speakers can teach both children and adults English as a second language. While you can get a teach English as a foreign language (TEFL) certification, language schools don’t typically require candidates to have a teaching degree.

Often, fluency in English and a bachelor’s degree in any discipline are the only requirements. You can arrange a job in advance, or you can consider travelling to a country you want to live in and applying to a language school or finding clients when you arrive. Be sure to research the demand for English teachers, salary expectations, cost of living in your preferred location, and when the school year begins before you go.

13. Take an apprenticeship

Depending on your industry, you can also begin apprenticeship training. These programs are common in labour-intensive and manual industries, such as manufacturing and construction. It allows you to become a skilled worker in a specific trade through specialized training under the supervision of a skilled colleague. You can also earn a healthy wage during this program, as it doubles as an employment contract.

Read more: What is an Apprenticeship?

14. Start a business

You can start your business if you have an idea to solve a community problem or optimize a specific process. This allows you to pursue your dream, contribute to society, and earn money. In addition, you can get additional certifications or take specialized training to equip you with the necessary skill set to succeed. For instance, you can take a course in project management and business leadership to help improve your chances of success once you start the business.

15. Get entry-level jobs

After graduation, you can begin an entry-level role in your preferred industry to gain the necessary experience to become an expert. You can apply to various companies before you graduate or wait until after graduation before applying. This position allows you to improve your resume, gain recommendations, expand your professional network and your skill set. It also presents an opportunity for you to earn, sometimes considerably, depending on your industry you value.

Thanksgiving Blues: What to Do When You’re Not Feeling Thankful

Tamara Lechner
November 07, 2016 07:10 AM
 

sad young man looking outside the window

 

‘Tis the season when thankfulness is all around. Everywhere you look, you read about gratitude practices and the benefits of being grateful. It’s a natural time to pause, reflect, and be mindful of what makes your life worth living. But what do you do if you’re not feeling very thankful?

Maybe you’ve had a relationship end, a death in your family, or a loved one diagnosed with an illness, and you’re reeling from all the emotions. Or perhaps there’s not a specific reason you can put your finger on, but you just aren’t feeling warm and fuzzy.

Regardless of where you are this Thanksgiving season, give yourself a break and recognize that there’s no right or wrong way to do the holiday. And remember that even in the darkest times, there are still things in your life to be grateful for, and those can be celebrated. Keep these five tips in mind to open up your heart to thankfulness.

Receive Gratefully

One of the simplest ways to begin reclaiming your gratitude is by remembering to receive gratefully. Rather than prioritizing giving thanks, focus on receiving. Notice when other people are offering you an expression of sympathy or kindness, and really take a moment to sit with it and bask in the feeling.

Study where that gratitude feeling occurs in your body. Some people feel it in their chest as an expansion or in their throat as a tightening. Others may feel the sensation behind their eyes as a softening.

Noticing where in your body you feel your gratitude can heighten your awareness of that circle of giving and receiving. Receiving gratefully is a great place to begin when you feel depleted of thanks—like you’ve got nothing left to give.

Take Baby Steps

Give thanks for the simple things in life. Notice the things in your life that can easily be taken for granted and use them as a source of gratitude. Instead of looking for big things, try to find the smallest pieces that tend to get overlooked.

For instance, consider the ice in your fridge. Many places in the world still don’t have the luxury of refrigeration today, and to them, instant ice is no small miracle. The gift of running water when you turn on your tap is another gift. Toilet paper, dental floss, contact lenses—it’s amazing how many things you can find as you go about getting ready for work in the morning.

By noticing these everyday items through a lens of thankfulness, you can start an upward spiral of gratitude. When you start to prioritize feeling the miracle of the simple things, suddenly there’s an abundance of opportunity for gratitude.

Look Back

If you’re still struggling, take a hint from social media like Facebook, which offers a glance back at memories from your life. Take a moment to look back at posts or glance through a picture album, and see what you were doing a year ago, five years ago, and 10 years ago.

Two things can happen: you can find gratitude for those past moments even though right now doesn’t seem that wonderful or you may experience some gratitude in recognizing just how far you’ve come. By remembering those times that have shaped who you are, you can gain perspective with where you are now.

Reframe

You have the ability to change your perspective in any given situation. When you’re feeling down, try reframing your current feeling to include gratitude. If you are working a double shift, find gratitude that at least you are working. If you are temporarily laid off from your job, you can be grateful that you will catch up on your sleep and spend more time with your kids. If you miss your dad when cooking his favorite turkey recipe, find gratitude that he passed on his legacy to you.

There is always a little glimmer of light; the trick is training your brain to look for it. This type of positive thinking works like building a muscle: the more you look for the positive, the more you will train yourself to find it.

Don’t Let Anyone Tell You How to Feel

Just because everyone else is “thankful” doesn’t mean you have to be. Take the pressure off and let yourself become immersed in your feelings for a little while. Throw a pity party with a time limit. Give yourself 10 minutes, an hour, or a day to feel angry, sad, jealous, or frustrated.

It’s not good to suppress your feelings or to try to fake feeling thankful just because the calendar dictates it. Allow your feelings to come out. Your emotional purge can help you out of the downward spiral and back into an upward emotional course.

10 Reasons Why You Should Form a Study Group

As of August 2019, the degree completion and graduation rates among American college students continue to hover around 40 percent, but the Annenberg Institute at Brown University has some good news in this regard: quite a few private and public institutions that have been around less than five decades are seeing higher completion rates. While this does not imply that college is getting easier, it does shine a light on an interesting fact: with the advent of social media and advanced mobile devices, students feel more connected, and they are more likely to form study groups.

Time and time again, group study has become a dilemma for college students, leaving some of them unsettled with the idea of going at it alone. One of the problems is that some students are convinced that strength in numbers will help them academically; however, this does not mean that the potential of studying in groups should be altogether dismissed.

Effective study groups can help students learn course material in a deeper, more concrete way. Study groups that are effective generate positive energy, encourage active participation, instill discipline, and require commitments from members. These skills are certainly important for learning.

Here are the top 10 reasons students should form or join study groups in college:

1. Gain Better Understanding of Subject Better

There is no argument that taking time to read, learn, and study a subject or theory will lead to a greater understanding of that particular subject. Actively engaging with the material, learning together, and genuinely knowing a subject, students can feel empowered and motivated to do well in the classroom as a group.

Learning is a different experience for each person. Students can hear different perspectives on the subject and therefore understand it from more than position. This is useful in real-world settings where more than one solution or opinion bolsters creative and analytical thinking.

2. Get Better Grades

Some students are bound to put off studying, homework, papers, and projects. A study group can help solidify and clarify course materials, leading to more promising classroom experiences, and potentially a better GPA. By understanding the subject and feeling motivated, students may feel more willing to do better in class, on tests, and on assignments.

Also, for certain concepts, some students might be better at explaining the material to their fellow cohort. In a way, a study group is also a built-in tutoring session. For those who know the material, it is a great way to review and refine their understanding of it, and for those who may be struggling, they can gain a fresh perspective to suit their learning style better.

3. Gain Well-Rounded Insight

By having each group member read, study, and summarize the most important points in a chapter, other students in the study group gain the capability of understanding chapters at a deeper level. Different students might uncover themes or theories that others may not initially detect, so studying with others can be an eye-opening experience. Students can analyze their findings, which can serve as a standard to help determine the most important points of a chapter.

This is also a way to get the full value of the class textbook. Unfortunately, students may be overwhelmed with the number of readings or assignments due in a semester and resort to surface learning, which is bound to fade as soon as the material feels as if it is no longer relevant. When various students share the burden of distilling dense material, they can appreciate the broader context of their studies more than tackling them alone.

4. Maintain Personal Responsibilities

Study groups should allow each student to share ideas and thoughts about a particular subject. Depending on the study group’s dynamic, students may even give small presentations that can be highly beneficial to the learning process; students who are going to present before their study groups are less likely to forget to do their reading because they do not want to be embarrassed in front of their peers.

Some college students can find themselves to be naturally rebellious toward authority figures. This rebellious attitude can lead them to feel frustrated with academic assignments; however, the added responsibility of studying with a group of peers, and without the influence of an elder figure, can enable these students to feel more apt to participate, thus promoting responsibility, education, and team building.

Besides personal responsibility, study groups can also aid in self-discovery. Perhaps students will realize that they work best in the morning or at night; perhaps they will discover that they are exceptionally good at researching but not summarizing. These insights can help them discover what kind of career will suit them best.

5. Gain Team Experience

When the time comes to look for a job, workplaces might ask about one’s experience working in teams. By forming and participating in a regular study group, prospective employees will have ample experience from which to draw answers, stories, and more during an interview and in the workplace.

Learning how to get along well with others in a team-oriented environment can show potential employers that an interviewee is a focused, patient, and well-rounded team player. While this requires patience from students who work better alone, they need to accept that the future of work is highly collaborative. It is better to get the valuable experience of discovering your strengths and weaknesses as early as possible. This is the type of career advice you can expect from Florida National University’s Job Placement Center; to learn more about our work-related services, contact us today.

6. Combat Procrastination and Achieving More

Not surprisingly, the desire to procrastinate can be much stronger when we are alone. Rather than falling to the personal pressure of procrastination, students can surround themselves with motivated, serious students who can help get the ball rolling on assignments, and who can become building blocks to success.

Naturally, some students are more organized and have better time management skills than others. Being a part of a study group will hone these skills for some and help others get a sense for how this can be done in other aspects of their lives. Again, learning from peers can sometimes be easier than heeding the advice of authority figures.

7. Sharpen Problem-Solving Skills

The idea of placing three to five college students in one room to study might not sound promising on the surface because we think about the great potential of disagreements, arguments, and distractions that can occur.

By learning how to adapt to the work and study styles of others, students can sharpen their problem-solving skills. When there are multiple conflicting ideas, theories, and practices in a study group, students must decipher which idea is the best; this takes patience, sacrifice, and the skills needed to resolve the issue. Eventually, these skills are developed naturally.

In a positive way, this kind of healthy debate is also good for students. Being challenged to defend your ideas, perspectives, and find solutions that suit others, not just yourself, will be needed in every other area in life as well.

8. Why We Should Form Study Groups

Forming a study group with peers that live nearby means that students don’t have to commute all the way to school to study; this is especially helpful for those with longer commutes, and it can also be useful for online students. Instead of hiding behind the anonymity of the virtual classroom, you can get out and meet others from your class in a safe, public environment.

In this modern age, students must adapt to new technologies, which means that those who have difficulties meeting up can also utilize the internet for their study groups. When a group member is out of town, when the weather is bad, or when other members are having difficulty meeting in a particular location, they can connect via Skype, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp or other video conferencing websites.

With little excuse to not join a study group if you’re able to carpool or join virtually, other creative possibilities open up. Use new technologies to stay organized, committed, connected, and efficient. Invite your professor to a study session and impress them with your dedication. Study groups are a way to show others that you’re invested in yourself which will gain their respect. Keep in mind that many FNU degree programs can be fully completed online.

9. Meet in the Setting You Choose

Forming a study group enables students to decide where to study. Burned out by meeting day after day in the back of the silent, whitewashed local library? Head over to your nearest cafe, stock up on caffeine, and enjoy a humanized study experience, surrounded by like-minded professionals, students, and everyday people.

Don’t forget that your colleges and universities often have vastly underutilized resources. Start by asking your student council union, librarian and academic advisor how your study group can take advantage of physical resources such as unused classrooms or conference halls.

10. Motivate and Inspiring One Another

Having trouble getting through a difficult class? Well, a bit of moral support can go a long way. Within a group, students can not only motivate one another to do well, but they will also have the chance to form strong, long-lasting friendships.

Accountability is an important factor for success no matter the task. Applying this to your studies for excellent results could find you receiving academic honors, scholarships, or internships upon graduation. Having others challenge you to be the best version of yourself is a wonderful opportunity that even something as simple as a study group can provide.

Are You Ready to Form an Effective Study Group?

Here are a few tips that students should consider when making the commitment to form an effective study group:

    • Your study group should not exceed 5 members.
    • Weekly meetings are essential.
    • There should be a group leader who determines meeting locations, study session times and keeps the group informed about next week’s subject.
    • The study group should determine what they will cover from the start; the leader will only ensure that the group stays on track.
    • Be sure to review together, go over difficult homework questions, and address any other problems group members face during class.
    • Don’t forget to do a quick wrap up, summarizing the important details.
    • Remember: this is not class, so feel free to have fun with your study group!
    • Bond by spending time together outside of class and aside from the group.
    • Use online technologies accessible to everyone.

Here’s the Best Study Routine (Day & Night with Sample Schedule)

Let’s face it: your search history is probably filled with queries like “best study techniques” or “how to focus better.” Most of what you find is either too generic or not tailored to your learning style. We’re here to offer something more substantial — a scientifically-backed guide to crafting the best study routine. Let’s dive in!

How to Make a Study Routine

Creating an effective study routine isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Here’s a breakdown to help you tailor a study routine to your unique schedule and academic needs.

  1. Evaluate your schedule: Before building your study routine, closely examine your daily schedule and commitments. When do your classes start and end? Do you have any extracurricular activities? Do you have to work after class? By understanding your daily schedule, you can create a more personalized study routine.
  2. Set realistic goals: Have you ever told yourself that you’d finish reading 10 chapters of your textbook in a single all-nighter? You’re not alone in falling into this lie countless times. That’s why breaking down larger academic goals into smaller, achievable tasks is a must. You need to be able to set specific and realistic goals for each study session.
  3. Plan study blocks: After being honest with yourself about your goals, decide how many hours a day you would dedicate to studying. It could be as short or as long as you want — as long as you guarantee that you can maximize your study time. The quality of your learning is more important than the quantity or amount of hours you put into studying!
  4. Create a distraction-free environment: Spending 10 hours studying is useless if it’s broken up scrolling through social media. Because of this, it is important to minimize distractions during your study sessions. You can do this by finding a quiet, clutter-free space where you can concentrate fully. Turn off your phone and use website blockers like Cold Turkey to maximize productivity.
  5. Organize your study materials: A well-organized set of resources can save you time and stress. Check out our post on the best Notion templates for students for some inspiration.
  6. Prioritize sleep and schedule: Studying is important, but so is your physical health! Your cognitive abilities are directly linked to your wellbeing. Make sure you get enough sleep and fit in some physical activity to keep your mind sharp.
  7. Stay consistent: If you start committing to your planned study schedule as much as possible, it’ll eventually become second nature and make it quicker to dive into a state of deep focus every time.
  8. Be flexible: Life happens, and things don’t always go as planned — and that’s okay! It just means that your routine might need adjustments from time to time. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and learn to adapt to changes in your schedule. If you accidentally missed a study session, relax and just pick up where you left off.

Sample Study Routines to Follow

Morning & Afternoon Study Routine

If you’re an early riser who enjoys soaking up the morning sun, a daytime study routine is perfect for you. Studying in the morning has the added advantage of being in line with our natural body clock since alertness is at its peak in the morning and early afternoon.

Here’s a sample schedule that you can follow:

  • 5:30 AM – 6:15 AM: Rise and shine! Kick-start your day with a healthy breakfast. You can also try to engage in a short meditation or stretching session to feel more awake.
  • 6:15 AM – 6:30 AM: Grab a pen and paper or your digital notepad so that you can set your study goals for the day and specific tasks you need to accomplish.
  • 6:30 AM – 7:30 AM: Time to exercise! You can do any form of physical activity, from light cardio (like walking) to lifting weights in the gym.
  • 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM: First study block (or attend your classes). Start your timer: 25-minute study with a 5-minute break, repeat 4x, then a long break — or use a timer that automatically does it for you.
  • 9:30 AM – 10:00 AM: Take an extended break. Stretch, grab a snack, and breathe some fresh air. Look away from your screen to minimize eye strain.
  • 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Second study block (or attend your classes). Start your timer and finish another full Pomodoro session (25-minute study with a 5-minute break, repeat 4x, then a long break).
  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Lunch break! This is the perfect time to refuel your body with nourishing food and prep for your afternoon study session.
  • 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Third study block (or attend your classes). Don’t forget to use techniques like active recall and mind mapping (more on that below) to reinforce the concepts you learned in the morning.
  • 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM: Time for another extended break. Why not walk to a nearby café for a change of scenery, or go to a virtual café?
  • 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM: Final study block (or attend your classes). Use this final session to consolidate your learning and list areas requiring further attention.
  • 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM: Free time! Reward yourself by unwinding and relaxing after a productive day. Pursue your hobbies, spend time with friends and family, or watch a movie.
  • 9:30 PM – 5:30 AM: Get a good night’s rest to feel fully recharged the next day!

Nighttime Study Routine

Not everyone is made for a daytime study routine. You might just feel more productive at night, or maybe you’ve got daytime commitments like a job or other extracurricular activities. If you’re a night owl and not an early riser, give this sample nighttime study routine a whirl:

  • 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Boost your energy with a late-day workout. This will help set your mood for your upcoming study session.
  • 6:00 PM – 6:15 PM: Grab a pen and paper or your digital notepad to set your study goals for the night and specific tasks you need to accomplish.
  • 6:15 PM – 8:15 PM: First study block. Start your timer and finish a full Pomodoro session (25-minute study with a 5-minute break, repeat 4x, then a long break). Try starting with lighter subjects first to ease yourself into the night.
  • 8:15 PM – 9:00 PM: Dinner time! Have a nutritious meal to fuel yourself for the long night ahead.
  • 9:00 PM – 11:00 PM: Second study block. Start your timer and finish another full Pomodoro session.
  • 11:00 PM – 11:30 PM: Take an extended break. You can even take a power nap if you want to. Just make sure to set an alarm to avoid oversleeping!
  • 11:30 PM – 1:30 AM: Third study block. Start your timer and finish another full Pomodoro session. Try switching to a different subject to keep things interesting!
  • 1:30 AM – 2:00 AM: Relax and recharge for a while. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and have a light snack if you want to.
  • 2:00 AM – 4:00 AM: Final study block. Review the material you studied during the whole night. Why not try to use the Feynman technique to test your learning? (check it out below)
  • 4:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Go to bed and make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Make sure to turn off your devices and create a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: Time to wake up! Sustain your body’s needs by eating your first meal of the day.
  • 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Free time! Ideally, you should engage in activities to help unwind and clear your mind. You should also eat your second meal of the day during this period.

Best Techniques for Your Study Routine

With a general framework in place and some sample routines to try, let’s explore some scientifically-backed techniques to enhance your study routine.

Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time-tested and community favorite strategy that breaks your study time into 25 minute intervals, followed by short breaks. It helps your brain stay focused and reduces fatigue.

Luckily, you can use dedicated free Pomodoro-focused tools like Flocus to automatically switch between study and break periods instead of winding up a manual timer for each interval.

Don’t know what to do during your study breaks? Here are some Pomodoro break ideas. Also, if you think that the Pomodoro technique isn’t for you, we’ve rounded up some of the best Pomodoro alternatives to try.

Active Recall

Active recall beats passive learning hands down. Instead of simply reading through material, this method challenges you to recall information from memory. In fact, passive learning is considered one of the least effective study methods. Active recall may be challenging to get used to at first, but the amount of retained information you’ll get will make the process worth it! When it comes to active recall, nothing beats the use of flashcards — whether handwritten or created using digital apps such as Anki.

Mind Mapping

If you are visual person, then this strategy is perfect for you. Mind mapping is a visual technique that helps you organize and understand complex information. Basically, it’s creating a map of your thoughts! Start with a central idea and then let it branch out by adding related subtopics and ideas. Feel free to add colors and images to make it even more memorable and effective. Just the process of creating the mind map itself already helps you solidify your understanding of the topic.

Feynman Technique

This technique, inspired by the learning approach of renowned physicist Richard Feynman, involves breaking down complex ideas into simpler terms — as if you’re teaching a concept to a total beginner. While doing this, you’ll probably identify gaps in your knowledge and better understand the topic. Generally, if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.


Ultimately, the best study routine is the one that fits your unique lifestyle. Experiment with different schedules and see what works best for you. Whether you’re an early riser or a night owl, consistency and dedication are the keys to academic success. Take time to craft your best study routine, and you’ll be acing your exams in no time!

What is the best study routine and schedule for you? Any other study techniques you want to share? Let us know in the comments below!

Gridfiti is supported by its audience – when you buy something using the retail links in our posts, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Read more about our affiliate disclaimer.

10 Ways to Study for Midterms

Are you in the throes of Midterm Mania? You’re not alone! It may feel like the stakes are high, but midterms exams don’t have to be stressful. Here’s a roundup of study strategies that will help you prepare for test day.

how to study for midterms

How To Beat Midterm Mania

1. Speak up.

Your teachers should your very first stop when getting ready for midterms. Make sure you’re asking the right questions to get the information you need about the exam. Here’s a quick list of questions you should confirm for each class:

  • Will the teacher be providing a review packet or holding an in-class review session? Will there be after-school opportunities for more review?
  • Will the midterm test material from the whole year so far or just the most recent material?
  • What is the format of the exam?
  • How many points is the exam worth?
  • What study suggestions does your teacher have?
  • Does your teacher have specific suggestions for upping your grade like turning in extra credit, rewriting a paper, or getting a tutor?

2. Make a midterm study schedule.

We know it feels as though you’re doing nothing but studying. But you can actually spend less time studying for midterms if you make a plan. Once you know what’s going to be on the exam, make a list of what topics or question types you need to cover and when you’re going to cover them. Make sure you study a little each night from now until the midterm.

3. Ready to study?  Start with your notes and tests.

While you’re at it, gather up any handouts or worksheets. If your midterm exam covers material from the whole year, then your previous tests will help you see what your teacher thinks is important. (Plus, you can learn from your past test mistakes).  If the quality of your notes is less than stellar, vow to change your ways!

4. Form a study group.

If your note taking skills really are subpar, it’s a great idea to partner up with a classmate who has got this skill down. In exchange, offer to help transfer his or her notes to flash cards or to take on another part of a group project.  Study groups can also help you study more efficiently—dividing and conquering a chapter outline, for example, can help all of you prepare.

5. Study smarter.

Did you know that you have access to your very own study assistant? At The Princeton Review, our online tutors are experts in over 40 subjects and AP courses. We can help with tricky concepts or overall study skills—whatever you need, 24/7.

6. Understand each subject is different.

Practice problems may work for geometry, but what’s your strategy going to be for English? A tutor can help you find the best study method for each course you’re taking.

7. Mix it up.

If you’re beginning to get sick of your own handwriting, try asking a friend to quiz you in biology, putting history dates to music, or recording yourself practicing your French vocab.

8. Change the scenery.

Breaks are essential to retain what you’ve learned and keep your focus. No matter how hard you’re working be sure to take some time to grab a snack from the kitchen or go for a quick run. It also helps to switch up your study space when reviewing for exams. Try studying in the public library, at a coffee shop, or at a study buddy’s house for a change.

9. Don’t skimp on sleep.

You might be tempted to pull an all-nighter, but a good night’s sleep is key to your success. Start a healthy sleep routine in the weeks leading up to your exam, so you can reap the benefits of a fresh mind on test day. (But if you do happen to need some study help in the wee hours, our tutors are there for you.)

10. Stay positive.

Test anxiety is real. A smart plan, focused studying, and a calm morning are your best plan of attack.

It’s crunch time now, but the end is in sight! Check out our homework advice articles for more study tips and strategies.

We Have Several Good Reasons WHY You Should Go to Graduate School

Here is our top 20 list for your reading pleasure!

In some disciplines, having a graduate degree is a necessity for getting a “career” job. That does not mean you should dive right in immediately after completing your undergrad degree. Just make sure you have a good reason for going. Some of the reasons below are more valid than others, but they are all common reasons for which people attend grad schools.

1.  Greater earning power. This is a popular reason why people go to grad school. However, it should not be the only reason, since getting a grad degree is a very serious commitment.

2.  Advance your career. A grad degree can open up a wider array of career opportunities: in psychology, social work, healthcare, for example.

3.  Career change. Many people are finding their current careers unrewarding. An advanced degree can help transition to another career—whether out of desire or necessity.

4.  Enhance your education. Graduate schools can provide opportunities to explore theories you may have about a topic.

5.  Get community recognition. If you explore your theories and discover something new, you will get recognition for it.

6.  Get international recognition. Carry that recognition further. If your discovery is truly groundbreaking, you may receive international recognition, not to mention awards. Who knows? Maybe you have a Nobel prize within you.

7.  Get research opportunities. Even if you do not get to explore your own theories, there are other opportunities to participate in funded research.

8.  Upgrade your education. Your knowledge of your field is outdated and you find it difficult to keep up with advancements without following up and getting an advanced degree.

9.  Enjoy travel opportunities. Some programs, such as archaeology, require studying abroad for research purposes. For those who like to travel, this is a bonus.

10.  Find teaching opportunities. Not everyone is suited to teaching, but for those who are, getting a PhD can lead to a tenured position at a university or college, with a nice salary, a teaching or research assistant to help with workload, consulting opportunities (partly shared with your department), and a nice pension upon retirement.

11.  Work on advanced projects. For example, the computer scientists who delved early into computer graphics set the standards for much of the CGI technology used in movies today.

12.  Access to advanced equipment and tools. In a similar vein, entering a grad program could mean having access to advanced equipment on campus—such as the astronomy lab, supercomputers, rare books, and even great minds.

13.  Higher potential for future promotion. While obtaining a graduate degree does not necessarily always lead to a high-paying job right away, it can open up opportunities for future promotions.

14.  Not being stuck behind a desk. If you have the necessary education to qualify for a high-ranking position in your chosen industry, it means that you often have the option of not sitting behind a desk all day. You might go meet colleagues or clients, travel, or even play golf in the afternoon on a nice day.

15.  Employer incentives. Some large corporations have funds set aside that will pay partial or full fees for qualified employees.

16.  Be part of a chain of knowledge. This doesn’t tickle everyone’s fancy, but just imagine that the knowledge handed to you by your professor came from another professor who learned it from someone who learned it from a famous scientist or philosopher. You become part of a chain of knowledge.

17.  Because you want to. To learn, to think critically, to accept the academic challenge.

18.  To stand out. By attending grad school and completing a degree, you join an elite segment of the population.

19.  Free tuition. In some cases, grad schools might not only waive your tuition, but also give you a stipend for living expenses in return for taking on the work of a teaching assistant or research assistant.

20.  Realization of interest. Not everyone realizes during undergraduate studies that they are suited for grad studies. Some of your professors might recommend it to you and offer to supervise—with tuition waived and a research assistant position to cover expenses.

Career Related Resources Available

Individuals who are thinking graduate school are often overwhelmed with the “what will happen after I get my graduate degree?” question. The answer can often be found by utilizing the resources readily available.

Tennessee Tech University’s Center for Career Development could be considered a “one stop shop” for those graduate students seeking a new career and for those who are simply hoping to move up the career ladder in their current careers, all at no cost.  

They offer help with resumes, either updating a current resume or starting from scratch and creating a new resume. Professionals in that office know the latest trends and the skill sets that employers currently place high emphasis on. They can offer advice on showcasing those skill sets and creating a professional resume will stand out in any competitive market. 

The center also offers the program Handshake. This program is Tech’s “part-time, co-op, internship, fellowship and full-time job gateway for students in all majors.” Handshake offers self-help items to assist with activating, setting up an account, and engaging with employers for the first time. In Handshake one can build your profile from a resume, request appointments, learn how to make a profile public to employers and even create and save job searches.  

Career fairs are another great career resource for graduate students, and are not, as commonly perceived, only for undergrads. The center hosts various events during both the fall and spring semester. This is an excellent resource, and the list of employers who will be attending the various career fairs ahead of time are posted on the center’s website. This will allow one to plan, research potential employers and their job openings to attend the fair with well-prepared confidence and create that all important first impression. 

As most graduate classes are online, and the student may not be in the same city as the university, having the list of employers attending the fairs posted in advance is extremely advantageous. This allows time to prepare and make any arrangements, either travel or work related, possible. 

A career resource that is also readily available to graduate students is the professors in their courses and their fellow graduate students.

This was something that Natalie Robbins, who is obtaining her Professional Science master’s degree with a concentration in environmental informatics, learned while in the program. 

“One thing about the professional science master’s program that I don’t think is highlighted enough is how much everyone in the program cares about making sure you succeed,” Robbins said. “I never felt like I was on my own or had to just figure it out, even post-graduation. Everyone in the program is invested in making sure the graduates are able to find a job in their wheelhouse and the program has created a great network of post-grads looking to help each other succeed, as well.”

Individuals can also utilize LinkedIn for networking and job searches. LinkedIn is the “world’s largest professional network on the internet.” LinkedIn can be used to find the “right” job or internship, build business connections and enhance professional relationships.  It also offers opportunities to learn or improve the skills one needs to succeed in their career. 

The future after graduate school does not have to be scary or intimidating. For those  thinking of attending graduate school and obtaining that dream job, utilizing the career resources available can help make obtaining that goal a reality.