Editorial Notebook

Setting up for success

Form good study habits early on

As the new semester begins, it’s important to stay on top of your work. To be prepared for what this semester brings, it’s a good idea to start planning your time out now, and more importantly, start building successful study habits. The easiest way to make sure you are ready for whatever the semester brings is to stay organized. Organizing your time is crucial; by doing so, you’ll know how much time you have to study and do homework after a busy day of classes and club meetings. Once you know how much time you have to work, you can plan that time out to maximize getting work done.

In addition to organizing your time, it’s a good idea to form successful study habits now, so you are not worrying about retaining massive amounts of information during finals week. Some things to think about when studying are: where you study, what you bring to study, making a schedule you can stick to, taking breaks, and knowing what the expectations are for the class.

Where you study is important. If you need absolute quiet in order to focus, then the Folsom Library is the place to go. However, if you need some background noise, the Rensselaer Union is good option. When you find your ideal place to study, you should bring only what you need. Anything else would serve as a distraction.

Scheduling out your study time is a must. Studying in advance for a test will better prepare you than last-minute cramming. Creating a schedule and sticking with it will allow you to learn the material and remember it in the long run. While you are studying, don’t forget to take breaks. Studying for an hour—then taking a five minute break—will make studying a more enjoyable experience. Furthermore, if you know you only have an hour or so to do work, you’ll make use of the time better than if you have a large chunk of time. Create goals for yourself while you work. If you succeed in your goals (such as taking notes on a certain part of a chapter), reward yourself with something small, like candy from Father’s Marketplace or Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. This will hopefully make studying more bearable while building discipline, a handy life skill. Finally, know what to expect of your classes. Often times, you can find the course outcomes/goals in the syllabus. Read them over every now and again to see if you are on track with knowing the course material. Knowing what the professor wants and expects from you will help shape what you need to study. This will also help manage your time more wisely, as you’ll know parts of the class you are weak in. With some of these study tips, hopefully you’ll create successful study habits.

Right now, the semester is just starting, and the work load isn’t too bad. If you get ahead now, you’ll be ready for finals, and you’ll complete a successful semester at RPI!