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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

7 ways to transform your study life (cliche, much?)

End-of-semester insanity.

That means I'm slowly suffocating in sheets of paper that have bits of information scrawled on them, have a wrist that is starting to 'go' from all the writing and am somewhat anxious about the unthinkable amount of essays, research, exams and tests that I need to do. It's the time of year when you realise that, after all, your world IS university and the grade that you get back.
It's also the time of year when your brain starts distracting you automatically whenever you even anticipate studying. It instantly offers you attractive alternatives as soon as it catches a whiff of the word 'study' or 'homework' or 'research'. Naturally, most things look attractive next to sitting down at a desk for hours at a time, wrangling with some inexplicable essay.
My brain does this to me all the time. It shares close similarities with other brains in being ingeniously creative whenever the need for sustained study asserts itself.
Like checking one's emails, or playing the piano, or making a cup of tea, or reading a book, or.. checking one's emails, etc.
There are certain things that I have found useful when one needs to study. Here they are:

1) Space. A desk, good lighting, a squeaky computer chair, a heater - a room of one's own.

2) Excellent pens. This point must be strenuously stressed: a good pen that glides over sheets of paper without 'scratching' or running out is essential to study output, elegance of note-taking and general satisfactoriness.
The above pens have a dual-role: they contain miniature spy cameras and also ink: if you have the urge to spy on your parents (if you study at home) or on other, unsuspecting students at uni, give these a go. You can find them here.

3) Water. If you want to utilize your brain to maximum potential (something that doesn't happen often in our house) try glugging down a huge glass of freezing cold water before launching into your ridiculous, confusing study. The results are quite amazing: your brain clears as soon as you drink the water.
Tip: have a glass of water perpetually by you when studying, and remember to gulp some down when your thoughts are become foggy.

4) In this atrociously, unbelievably freezing weather, one must be well armed against the cold, the rain and the puddle-glumness. I find wearing a large, green, nicely lined jacket to be entirely satisfactory in keeping out the cold and keeping in the warmth. I would advise you, O discerning Reader, to do something similar..
5) Sleep is another, vital part of being able to process thoughts the next day... *Lyd looks at time guiltily*

6) Tea. Copious amounts. Warming, soothing, brain-relaxing, calming, de-stressing, caffeinated. Lovely. Bergamot-scented, steaming tea, brewed for three minutes and milk added..
.. And just to reinforce my point, here's a Mary Cassatt painting:

6) Make sure you eat well while studying: Don't go eating nasty, toxic gut-rot junk food. Please don't. It's awful stuff - I know, even though I'm guilty for buying the stuff too..
Eat a good breakfast. Like porridge: steamingly hot, raisin-filled, brown sugar meltingly mixed through, with a little milk..

Tip no. 2: if you cook the porridge with milk instead of water, the result will be smooth and milky and really, really addicting.

7) Finally, pray. That is, if you're a christian - (if you're not, I want to know why: there's absolutely nothing better in this life than being a christian. Porridge just doesn't compare) - seriously, all that stress and miserable anxiety and dampness and coldness gets to you at these insane study times. Pray.
Tell God all about it - he says he cares for us and wants to know. It's a major stress-reliever, since we end up realizing that God's actually in control anyway.

- Lydie :)


Anonymous FR said...

Great study tips! They will come in handy with the end-of-semester insanity you mentioned. I feel the pressure!! And I absolutly agree with the importance of writing with a good pen...and tea (lots of it)...and praying...very important for successful study.

6:44 pm  
Blogger Lydz said...

Ooh! You're a christian then? A tea-drinking christian who goes to Uni, and is currently slightly stressed out? That's a great combination - the tea and the christianity, I mean, not the stress..

12:42 am  
Anonymous FR said...

I was going to reply to this but didn't straight away. It's taken me this long. And I've gone and done something terrible like go away for a bit and I feel like I've missed out on all the happenings on your blog:( Well, I'm back and hopefully I can live up to the 'faithful' part of FR.
Yes to all of the above, especially the stressed out bit! Slightly doesn't come close!! How's your study going?

3:22 pm  
Anonymous Fabricia said...

Hey, how are you? I'm just passing to say "hi" and say that i liked your text :)
I'm brazilian and just loved that "pray" part =P

God bless you!

3:06 pm  

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