Returning to study after a long break?
Here’s how to hit the ground reading
And when we say break, it’s probably been anything but. You may have had a family issue to attend to; you may have had a baby.
Then again, you may have had a big OE in which case you’ve had a break of sorts.
Now you’re back. Or at least you are in body. You have legs willing and able to walk you to lectures and to sit you at the laptop at home. You have arms ready to start twiddling the keys and researching whatever your heart desires. And there the problems start: your heart is telling your mind that it’s not quite in this yet; your mind is telling your heart, same.
It’s hard. Studying is a habit; a daily ritual that becomes ingrained and natural the more study you do. As a returning student, you don’t have that habit anymore. In fact, you’ve probably developed a bunch of other habits to fill your days and now you’ve got to jettison a few to fit this new study habit back in.
So where do you start?
“Okay, I’ve got a big study assignment to get through tonight, so no messing about, let’s get straight into it! Well, just a quick look at Facebook and a bit of a poke around on YouTube.”
We all do it because the distractions are all there in the same device powering our professional future. And, if we’re effectively a returning newbie to the study environment, it’s going to feel foreign. We may even resent it. But remember, studying is like going to the gym; if you dig it in and do it for a few days no matter how diabolical it feels, it does start to be enjoyable. Then it becomes even more enjoyable. Then it becomes an enjoyable habit.
So fight your mind’s excuses tooth and nail and don’t let it take you somewhere else.
Think of the end goal
Think about it, dream about it. Dream about where this study might get you if you get your head down. Success is an attitude and it takes a strong person to not only find that attitude, but keep it working when it matters most. Hard, heavy, uncompromising blocks of attitude that turn you into a study of concentration. So create goals, dream about them and then wake up to them every day.
Rebuild your daily world
It’s been operating without a foundation of study semesters for a while; now you have to work all that in – lectures, study times, project due dates. Google Calendars is a great way to get all that important stuff diarised in a daily, weekly and monthly form.
It’s also a worthwhile, if slightly frightening process to go through as it does require some fairly ruthless gardening. But stick with it; the more organised you become, the more routine you create, and that’s when study starts to feel normal again.