Are you wondering how to manage all the study that is ahead of you each semester? Are all the things you want to achieve whizzing around in your head and you’re not sure where to go from there? The answer to this problem is… Goals!
Goal setting is an effective study strategy that will help you reach that long-term goal of wearing your cap and gown (as well as a smile from ear to ear that will be almost impossible to erase) on graduation day. Then there are also the all-important short-term goals like assignments, lectures and actually doing the study each week. It is important to think about your study goals because they will help you stay motivated, focused and able to maintain direction each week. But be sure to make your goals realistic, achievable and do not over extend yourself.
Remember that goals must be smart:
I have found that writing down a list of my goals is an excellent place to start each semester. This gives me a starting place to take action, so that I am more likely to accomplish my goals. Writing the goals down and keeping them in highly visible places such as on a whiteboard in my study room at home and in my lecture notes, keeps me on task all semester long.
Before I start each semester, I also draw up a study schedule detailing the weekly study requirements for each of my courses. I list what chapters to read, any extra articles that need to be read and modules that have to be completed. I include all my assignments (and the due dates) on my study schedule to ensure that an assignment does not slip by me during a busy week. I highly recommend having a whiteboard in your study area at home, because it is a great way to keep track of everything that is going on in your uni life. I have drawn up a table on one side of mine which lists the Who, When, What, Where and Why of my assignments and exams so that I cannot avoid them.
The ‘who’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘what’ are obvious, but the ‘why’ aspect is because ‘I’ want to do it for my own self-esteem and my future. These assignments stare back at me on a daily basis as a reminder of the expectations that I have set for myself. If you are not sure how to draw up a study schedule there are numerous sites on the internet that have templates. You could always use your uni calendar to achieve the same results and display it in a noticeable position.
But for all your planning, there may be times that things don’t quite work out how you would like. It is important to be flexible with your goals. This will help relieve stress when your goals and expectations seem unattainable. Break them down into smaller more actionable steps. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you to accomplish your expectations and goals.
The most important part of setting your study expectations, preparing, planning and organising your study, is that it empowers you. You are in control of your education, you can see how far you have come and how far you have to go. Critical to this is that you can celebrate your progress. I always make a point of doing something special when the last assignment is marked off my whiteboard each semester. It is not uncommon to see me dancing around the room.
Being in control of your study and setting your expectations is vitally important to the development of your will power to succeed!
If you have some special way that you set your study goals or expectations, let us know!