This College Needs a Hero
Every once in a while, every student comes to the point when they get overwhelmed with pressure and stress caused by studying, part-time job, on-campus activities, social interactions, that take place altogether at the same time. And that is when you begin to understand that you cannot be a normal human anymore: the college needs heroes, and you either develop some student superpowers, or get kicked out of it.
Remember like in comics and movies some abnormal accidents or unusual conditions made ordinary people gain extraordinary powers? The college realia are pretty much the same: the studying process, the amount of information that has to be elaborated and learned, and campus living conditions force you to discover your hidden inner resources that will help you to change into a superstudent. And when the Change is completed, there will be nothing, that would be able stop you from the successful graduation. You just become a universal soldier, able to work three jobs and still be prepared for classes, and even complete the whole master’s thesis in 16 hours (and this is not even a joke).
Become your personal superhero
Sometimes we are not even aware of what we are really capable of. Being put in extraordinary or very stressful conditions, people are able to do really unbelievable things. The majority of students find themselves in such conditions at least twice a year: during winter and summer exams, when their hidden abilities suddenly emerge, intensified by the magic of the last night before the exam. It is the night, when you become able to learn all the material you could not learn during the whole semester and to complete that super difficult paper, that usually needs two weeks to be written.
And now imagine, that you are able to use such super powers not in occasional cases but always. Looks fantastic? Well, everything is achievable with the help of some special technics and regular practice. Develop several practical students’ super powers and you will forget what the words “academic failure” mean.
3 Extra abilities that will make you an X-Student
What are these superpowers? Well, there are many of them, everything depends on your specific college, campus, part-time job and their requirements. But there are 3 extraordinary abilities that would be highly useful for literally every student in this world.
1. Speed reading
Studying process is majorly about writing and reading, so if you manage to shorten the number of hours you spend on these activities during a day (and, probably, night), it will be a significant amount time, that can be used on having life. Speed note-taking and reading allows you to comprehend the entire patterns of information in minimum time and become more quickly well-oriented in the material.
There are specific technics that help to develop speed reading, and the first things that they point out are the typical mistakes all people usually do. Reading mistakes include:
- sub-pronouncing of every word. This is the habit to pronounce in your mind every word you read. Basically, you just sort of hear them being spoken in your head, and this listening part consumes more time than is actually needed for comprehending the meaning and moving on with the text. In order to overcome this inner speaking while reading you need to acknowledge it and then practice to stop doing it. Just quickly move on to the next word. Do not pronounce it in your head, only comprehend the meaning.
- word-by-word reading. This may slow you down even more than inner pronouncing. When you read each word separately, you fail to understand the overall idea of what you have being read. You need to learn how to read blocks of several words at a time. Try with 3-4 words units and gradually expand the number of words in your reading blocks. Develop your peripheral vision for that purpose. If you try to hold the text a bit farther than usually, you might increase the quantity of words you read in the same fixation. And the more extended your reading blocks become, the faster you will read.
- re-reading. Sometimes we do not even notice how many times we skip back to the words, sentences and patterns that we have already read. But the thing is that you just cannot allow yourself to do that if you want to read fast. You have to move on, there should be no turning back. If you fail to keep reading further try to use your finger as a pointer. Your eyes will follow the finger and stop skipping back.
- bad concentration. In order to understand everything at one reading and avoid re-reading you need to be well-concentrated. Get rid of all outer and inner distractions, such as cell phones, TV and all kinds of bothering thoughts and feelings. If you want to make your reading more efficient, you need to keep being concentrated.
Now when you know the typical mistakes and how to avoid them, start practicing on a regular basis and do not forget to:
- start with easy texts; you want to read fast, but at the same time you need to understand what you have read, that is why choose easy texts, like short novels or news articles, that would be also interesting and enjoyable;
- remember that not all texts can be speed read: legal documents as well as intimate correspondence, for example, are better read properly, with sub-pronouncing, attentive word-by-word reading and all;
- take note of your current reading speed in order to understand if your practicing gives the needed results.
2. Speed note-taking
In order to make notes faster try a so called “shorthand” technic. It is a system of writing when you use abbreviations instead of full words. To use it you do not even have to learn the official abbreviations, which are typically used by interpreters or reporters. Just apply the principal of such note-taking to your writing, creating your own signs and shortcuts. Remember, however, to make your abbreviations meaningful for you in order to be able to read and understand your notes. After a decent amount of practice, you will be able to write down with the speed of speaking. Add to this your new ability to read super-fast and there will be no task or assignment difficult enough to stop you from getting a good grade.
3. Speed paper-writing
Writing a paper can be a real nightmare. If you spend hours struggling to draw out of your head some decent thoughts and still face the problem of not being able to complete the first page, try to reorganize your writing time according to the steps indicated below and after some practice you will be able to write 500 words in 30 minutes.
- Identify your most productive time for writing. These can be either morning hours or evening ones. Find your most creative time of the day or night and start your writing. Do not force yourself to write in the morning if it is not your most productive time. Better wait till the evening, when you will be able to do everything much more quickly and efficiently.
- Make your environment less distracting and more suitable for the concentrated and efficient work. Turn off your cell phone, tell to everyone in the household that you are going to be busy and ask them not to disturb you, find a room in which you will be able to stay alone and close the door to stay in peace and quietness.
- Spend 5 minutes on writing an outline. Sometimes the main problem is to begin. It may be hard to start with the proper introduction, so begin with putting down the main ideas organizing them into a plan of your future writing. When you have something written on the page, it does not look so blanc and scary anymore, and you have your support points, that indicate the direction of your writing and help you to avoid overthinking, which consumes a lot of time.
- Set a timer. When all the preparatory work is finished, proceed to the main task, which is practically writing. Identify the periods of time, during which you can stay focused and set your timer for this number of minutes. It can be 20 or 35 minutes, but it is the time when the only thing you do is writing. Do not reread what you have written, do not correct the mistakes, forget about the backspace button, all you have to do while the timer is going is to type your thoughts down. Do not worry about the quality of your text. You will have time to correct your writing later, when you will do editing. First you need to create and only then you will correct what has been created.
When you feel that you are losing the concentration, take a 5 minutes’ brake and then start your new 20-35 minutes of writing. Do it 4 times and make a 15-20 minutes’ brake. After that come back to work again.
- Proofread and edit afterwards. When the whole paper is written, take another 15 minutes to read, edit and shape it the way you need. It is the time when you can delete the parts that are not so good or wrong, and extend the ideas that you feel need to be more detailed.
Of course, magic does not exist in real life and there will be no sudden thunderbolt to hit you or a spider to bite you and transform into a superstudent able to read and write fast. But if you start practicing and will always keep in mind your goal, you will be able to discover your inner resources to develop that 3 extra abilities, we have mentioned above.