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Today's word on journalism

Monday, January 29, 2007

Words as weapons:

"When he had a pen in his hand it was like giving a kid a machine gun."

--Peter Hall, theater director, on "Angry Young Man" playwright John Osborne (1929-1994)

Studying doesn't have to be hard

By Marques Chavez

December 15, 2006 | Every person who has ever attended a class in school with a desire to perform well knows how difficult it is. It is harder than attending the class to begin with. It is equal to eating your vegetables as a kid. It is studying.

The very sound of the word makes most students cringe as if they were listening to Roseanne Barr sing the Star Spangled Banner. Don't misunderstand, there are always exceptions to the rule. There are students who hardly ever study but still manage to pass their classes. Usually, these students can be separated into two categories. Students who are geniouses and students who are on academic probation. For the average student who needs to exhert some sort of effort to pass with a grade above average, studying is the only honest way to succeed.

So, what are some ways studying can be more effective and seem less like a chore? The following are a few suggestions.

First, find a venue that is most conducive for studying. An obvious place to select for study is the library. However, the university library may not be the most effective place to go. Sometimes, libraries on campus can be just as social and distracting as being on the quad. If you choose a library, make sure you can segregate yourself in a quiet area where you will not be distracted.

"I like to reduce all the distraction I can and get in the zone," says Cami Clarke, a junior at Utah State majoring in Social Work.

Amy Egan, a senior majoring in English says, "If there is anything going on around me, I can't study." She goes on to say, "I have to get out of my apartment."

Egan makes a good point about studying in your apartment. Don't do it. Although you may be able to go into your bedroom and study in a comfortable surrounding, there are still too many things around that can cause distraction. Your roommates may be loud, the television can be tempting and so can your bed. Think about it. How many times have you fallen asleep while reading a chapter for a class you have the next day?

The second suggestion can be summed up in three words. Plan, plan, plan! Set a schedule every week and make sure to set aside quality time to study. It may even be a good idea to plan monthly and modify those plans each week.

Greg Lindsay, who is a junior majoring in Finance, says, "I have found that planning is the best. I always plan time to exercise everyday and it has now become a good habit I have developed. The same is with studying. You just have to create a habit out of it and that starts with planning."

"I get frustrated when I only have a half hour or 45 minutes to study," says Egan. "I have to plan at least an hour for study."

Set aside quality time to study. Do not shortchange yourself by trying to have an in-depth study in just a half hour. It is also important to take short breaks while you study. Get up and move around for a few minutes after studying for a lengthy period of time. These short breaks will raise your quality of study. When it comes to planning, you will want to make sure you have accomplished your studies before relaxing or hanging out with friends. Doing this will not only improve your study quality, it will also make recreation time more enjoyable because you will not have the burden of studying constantly on your mind.

Finally, it is important to remember that you don't have to go it alone. Studying in groups, as long as the group is focused on studying and not socializing, is an effective tool. Plus, it can be fun. Who would have thought? Studying can be fun. Another tool that can be utilized is Supplemental Instruction or S.I. These are superb opportunities to learn from an instructor that can not only teach the material, but can also give insights as to what exactly you should be studying. Supplemental instruction will often cut your study time in half. It doesn't get any more effective than that.

The important thing to remember is that while studying is difficult and often boring, it doesn't have to be. Applying some of these techniques may even give you a positive attitude about studying. You can even look up more study tips here.

Cami Clarke put it best when sh because I know how to do it." She is someone who has seen the results. The lowest grade she has ever received while attending Utah State is an A minus.



Copyright 1997-2005 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-1000
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