Entering the world of academia as an adult can be an exciting and exhilarating experience. Learning something new can reinvigorate your love for your work and inspire you to adapt and change to fit into new roles in your field.
But studying as an adult can be fraught with anxieties, trying to fit in studying with working, and managing a full-time adult life is an exhausting laundry list that can feel insurmountable. But thankfully there are a few tips and life hacks that can make the process of studying as a working professional easier.
Make a plan
At the start of the course, much like you would at the start of a project. You should sit down and time out the assessment checkpoints. Considering when you need to have your first draft done and how much time do you have each week to put towards your studies, as well as any other commitments you have coming up and how those will affect your study.
Planning out your studying times and goals is going to make sure you account for them in your day. Taking a lassie fair approach to study when your schedule is already booked up is not going to help you. Working professionals who take on study already have packed schedules to contend with, meeting your studying goals will require careful schedule management.
Set short term goals
Rome wasn’t built in a day and likewise, your assignment is not going to be finished in one either. Setting short-term goals that add up to the larger project will keep you on track and ensure you chip away at the assignment work gradually rather than having to pull an all-nighter right at the end.
Start with reviewing the assignment work and then set a goal to finish research, outlines, and first drafts well before the due date so you can get feedback and review your work before handing it in.
Exercise before studying
We all know exercise is good for our overall health, but did you know a quick run before you hit the books could help those facts and figures to stick?
A study published in the Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition showed that just 20 minutes of cardio activity performed in the middle of the day could improve blood flow and help a student focus all afternoon.
Another study performed with mice found that a short burst of exercise could enhance the expression of a particular gene that increases synaptic connections between neurons. Researchers theorize similar results could be achieved in humans.
So, before hitting the books, get out and do 20 minutes of moderate cardio exercise. You’ll find your focus is stronger and you’re better able to retain the information.
Find other ways to learn
Maybe doing readings doesn’t work for you. Maybe you find it hard to remain focused on the written materials and actually pull the points out from the text.
That’s okay, readings are not for everyone.
If you struggle with retaining information from readings and following the textbooks. Try finding relevant podcasts and video content that talks to points and theories covered in the reading. If nothing else this will help to deepen your understanding of the texts and introduce viewpoints for discussion.
Reread your notes before bed
Did you know rereading your notes and key points right before bed can actually help you to better recall the information? Multiple studies have been done linking sleep with memory. There are three stages to creating memories, acquisition, consolidation, and recall. The acquisition is when you first encounter the experience or information, consolidation is when your mind goes through the neurological process of turning the information into memory, and finally recall is when you are able to access the information at a later time.
This process is of interest to researchers in sleep studies because consolidation happens when we sleep. For this reason, studying right before bed places the information recalled at this time into the process of consolidation and helps to commit it to memory.
We hope you found these tips and hacks on how to study as a young professional helpful. Remember while studying can be stressful it doesn’t need to be. Make a plan, set small goals, and find your studying groove.