Everyone has a point in their lives where this happens, whether it’s high school or your second year in med school. It always starts with an elbow bump: “Psst, hey do you have a pen or pencil I can borrow?” Two minutes later: “Psst, do you have some paper?”
By the time this is all said and done, you’ve wasted minutes of your own education, not to mention the poor guy/girl sitting next to you. This is a perfect example of something that could have been avoided. What if during this time your professor had told you what was going to be on the test and to pay extra close attention because it’s an open note test. Everyone makes mistakes but it’s extremely important to come prepared in order to maximize your ability as a student.
This one will come as a no brainer to some, but it’s worth it to break down the importance of actually attending school step by step to ensure the most positive outcome for success.
It’s practically impossible to avoid absence completely. Sometimes unexpected events come up that we can’t control. A family funeral or an illness, for example. It’s best to only take school off if it’s imperative to your physical health or for serious family issues such as these. If you must miss, however, there are steps you can take to make the best of your absence. The first thing you should do is make sure you let your professor know that you are going to be gone if possible. This shows maturity and that you are taking accountability for your education.
The next step is also important in taking accountability. Take the time to ask your professor a good time to collect the work that you missed from class. Show up early to take notes from other class members who may have been there when you were absent. Remember that taking too many absences shows a lack of maturity. Most of the time there aren’t many viable excuses to explain a tardy, so try to keep those to a minimal as well.
Your Time Management Skills
Do you have trouble getting to class and events on time? Then you should always come more prepared than other people. I’m paranoid about being late, so I try to arrive 10-15 minutes early for everything. Often your grades will reflect your time management.
Time management skills are applicable to many things, not the least of which is attending school. One of my favorite time management strategies is called The Pomodoro Technique. This technique guides you to work in 25 minute intervals. You might think you can get through it a lot faster if you work for just several hours end on end, but science has proven that when you work in shorter intervals, you will be more productive throughout the span of your day. The same goes for studying techniques which can relate to your time management skills. Many people talk about how many hours they sit down for when studying for the MCAT, but they are likely missing out by not taking little breaks.
Slowing Down / Getting the Impossible Done
This one is definitely easier said than done, and will likely take some hard work and perseverance. Accomplishing large tasks is best done one step at a time. Many people try to take on multiple tasks at once. Sometimes this is unavoidable, but other times people try to multi-task without realizing the inefficiency it causes. Our brain can only work to 100% productivity on one thing at a time.
Sometimes we get to thinking about how much we have on our plate and panic begins to set in before we have even begun an assignment. “I have 3 essay’s due on the same day, and that project the very next day!”
Occasionally our minds get the best of us, but it’s our job to use better judgment and eliminate stress the best we can.
Have you ever tried to do homework at the same time you watch TV, or even for some listen to music? It seems like it never ends well, that’s due to our brain telling us something. “Hey, I’m overwhelmed; I’m trying, but relax.” Whether or not you are using the Pomodoro technique, it’s imperative to focus on one thing at a time. The next time you’re tempted to do two things at once, try skipping one of them and see if you’re more productive.
Personally, I can relate to putting a project or essay off until the very last second. I think everyone can understand this tendency. Here’s a simple tip to avoid this kind of situation: Start the project or essay the day it’s assigned to give it a jump start and to plan your fundamentals before getting into the project.
If you ever need any materials, you would know the first day instead of waiting until the last second and trying to scrounge all of your supplies up at a 24/7 gas station. Last-minute work never creates the best results!
Remember that the basics may seem rather ordinary, but forgetting them undoubtedly leave your grade to suffer.