You get home from a long day at school, you get some food, drink some water, check your social media. Then you remember that you have homework for tomorrow and a big test next week and three assignments to write over the weekend… and you just don’t know where to begin. You end up getting upset about life in general because you don’t have time to watch the latest episode of Riverdale, and suddenly your world is falling apart around you.
Does that sound familiar? It does to me. Actually, that has been my #1 struggle in Danish high school, and I still do it every now and then. But I don’t do it every week anymore, and that is the important part because I’ve developed some habits to help me not fall into the “I don’t know what to do with my life right now” trap.
That is why I feel like I can write a blog post about this and hopefully help some you out there with the same struggle as I. Here are my 10 tips for studying while having a life besides school:
1. Put your phone away. If you constantly look at your phone, you change your focus and will have a harder time actually getting back into your flow. If you haven’t heard about the flow theory I recommend you check it out here. I went to a lecture with the Danish psychologist Frans Ørsted Andersen (singer MØ‘s father) who taught me about the flow theory. Since then I’ve focused a lot on not looking at my phone and getting distracted whenever I need to focus. And if you don’t feel like doing research about it, trust me, those two minutes on the phone in the middle of a study session will damage your focus more than you think.
2. Forget about the world. A man recently told me about the feeling of missing out and the science behind it. It was really interesting and he had some great facts to consider. The chance that something urgent (someone in your family dies or something like that) happens while you study is 1/1000. So you can’t use that as an excuse to look at your phone every 5 minutes to see if something urgent has happened.
3. Reward yourself. When you’ve done all the homework for a class or written your entire assignment or accomplished any type of goal you had, it is time to reward yourself. What is the point of having a goal if you won’t get anything for reaching it? Exactly. Reward yourself with a long break, a little snack or something you might really want. Breaks are especially great because your brain gets a chance to charge and get ready for the next intense study session.
4. Study smart. You’ve probably heard this before. Spending more time on homework does not equal getting a better grade or understanding the material better. It just means that you spent more time on it. But why spend 50 minutes on something you could do in 25 minutes? Instead of sitting for 50 minutes and checking Facebook five times, answering a call from your bestie and studying for this test in between, try to just study really intense for a shorter period of time, It might work for you and make it easier to get through.
5. Do everything before a certain time. Sometimes it helps to have a deadline set. Fx I usually have a deadline called; all my school work has to be done before 20:30. Then I might be busy but I know that if I am not done by 20:30 I will have to wake up earlier in the morning in order to do it before school. And who wants that? In general, I don’t do school work after 20:30 to give my brain a break from all the hard work. It makes my life so much easier because no matter if I finished everything or not I will have some ‘me time’ before going to sleep.
6. Don’t care too much about grades. I am aware that this might be different for some people because their grades will get them into university and everything… just remember that once you’re out your grades don’t really matter that much. When you get a job and a family your grades don’t tell anything about you as a friend, parent, partner, colleague or personal values in general. And personal values are important. What are you if all you have is good grades but don’t know anything about yourself? Care about grades until you need to care more about yourself.
7. Try to get friends with similar goals. Having a friend who can send their notes from a day you were home being sick is the biggest favour you can do to yourself. That way you have a chance to find out what the teacher taught about and won’t have to worry too much about being sick for a day or two. Your health is more important than your grades but if you can take care of your health and your grades at the same time it is a win-win situation. And be a good friend and do the same to your friends when they’re sick.
8. Be nice to everyone. “Do I really have to be nice to the mean girl?” Yes. You don’t know what she’s going through and you don’t want to be the one to push her down the stairs. Being nice to the people you don’t like will most likely make you feel like a better person and will make them remember you as “not the worst” which is better than so many other things. If you want to do well at school you just don’t have time to deal with all the drama. It is so much easier and less time-consuming to be polite and nice to everyone.
9. Always have a goal. If you don’t know why you go to school and put a lot of effort into doing your school work it won’t last for a long time. You have to set some goals to make you stay motivated. Maybe you want to get into a certain university? Maybe you want to know everything about revolutions? Just have some goals that you can think of and be reminded of why you do what you do.
10. Take care of yourself. What are good grades worth if you are too sad or scared to go to university? Nothing. So remember to take care of yourself and your mental health. Mental health is something some people don’t like talking about. Just remember that there is help to get everywhere. Whether you can talk to a friend, a phone line or your parents, there are always people who want to help you. And set some time aside every day to do something you really enjoy doing. You do better when you’re happy.
I hope you could find these tips helpful. Feel free to leave your own tips in a comment below.
Stay happy, stay beautiful
– Ellie xoxo