By Alleah Boisvert
With the start of a new school semester, students at NAIT are getting back into the swing of regular classes. As assignments and tests pile up, sometimes students realize that learning how to learn is a real obstacle when studying.
Mandie Zhang, a learning strategist that helps students through NAIT’s Learning Services, says that staying organized, taking notes, and having an accountability partner are all great tips, but taking care of yourself is often overlooked. “Know your limits. As a student, don’t study yourself to death. Post-secondary is supposed to be an experience. You’re supposed to learn other things from it, and I think if it’s all study and no fun, students tend to resent it, and they don’t see the value in it anymore, so there has to be balance,” said Zhang.
Some students have the opposite problem and find it challenging to stay on task while studying, especially in online classes. Creating a comfortable space with natural light that keeps students on task can be a game-changer. “To be focused in a study space, you want to make sure it has everything. So even if that means having your beverages, snacks, or whatever you need so that you’re not constantly getting up to grab something or getting up to grab a textbook. […] The minute you get up, you’re just going to be distracted by something, and it’s going to be so much harder,” said Zhang. As for how long to study, it varies from student to student and depends on how long they can go without getting distracted.
“On average, it’s probably somewhere between the half an hour to the 45-minute range before students will start to lose attention. If you can figure out what that is for you, then you can time your study sessions accordingly so you can study for that amount of time until you drift. You know, take that 15-minute break or 10-minute break, whatever you need, then come back,” said Zhang. Students should also be willing to try out new habits and skills to find out what works best for them while still practicing self-care. It’s important to remember that everyone has different strengths to incorporate into their study habits. “Be kind to yourself and give yourself that space to learn some of these study skills and strategies. I know I made a lot of trial and error in my first year of post-secondary and it took me probably a whole year to finally figure it out,” said Zhang.
Studying can be daunting, especially when it seems to come so easy for others. Struggling with school is something that most students will go through at some point. For assistance with learning and studying, visit NAIT’s Learning Services web page, call their office at 780-378-6135, or book a virtual appointment with one of NAIT’s learning strategists.