Thursday, March 4, 2010

Group Meeting #4: Plan, Part 2

The Mills College Study Hacks group has been meeting regularly. Today, during our fourth meeting, we discussed the importance of planning out our study schedule for each test and evaluating its efficiency it as we go, in order to get the most out of our time. We also discussed helpful steps in regard to writing a great research paper. We read 5 of the recommended blog posts and discussed them in relation to the overall focus of the meeting, the importance of planning and preparation.

After reading Monday Master class: Drizzle Test Preparation Over Many Days, we all were struck by the tip about the importance of not studying on the same day you organize your notes and fill in the gaps of your knowledge. We all agreed that separating the two different processes made the idea of studying a lot less stressful. We all tend to cram for tests just a few days before we take it. Kiya, especially, said she was going to try out the day-to-day plan outlined in the post.

Our overall favorite post was Monday Master Class: How to Use a Flat Outline to Write Outstanding Papers Fast, because for all of us, the traditional outline format has never worked. Personally, I really liked the idea of crafting each of your topics so that they aren't either too general or too specific -- sometimes I don't address that problem until I start writing the paper, which can be way more frustrating than if I do it early in the process.

Anyway, we're all in the process of taking midterms so this meeting was especially helpful. We'll meet again in two weeks time, right before Spring Break, when the chaos of midterms has subsided!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Meeting #1: Capture

Our group met today to discuss the first meeting topic, "Capture." This topic stressed the importance of keeping a daily to-do list and a calendar on which to record broader goals and deadlines.

However, since it was our first meeting, we also talked about our time commitments and our overall reasons for being part of Study Hacks On Campus. Since we're a small group for now, I figured it would make sense if we introduced ourselves:

Amelia: She's a public policy major and music minor, resident assistant, and president of Fem Dems and Phi Alpha Delta at Mills. Her main goal in joining Study Hacks is to learn how to better incorporate her schoolwork into her busy schedule. Currently, she keeps both a calendar and a planner, but her goal over the next two weeks is to better prioritize the things she has to get done instead of just listing them down indiscriminately.

Kiya: She's a psychology major and government minor, active with the psychology club and founder and president of The Cheese Club. She's also a peer tutor for one of her former classes and a research assistant for one of her professors. She also keeps a planner and a calendar already, so her goal for the next two weeks is to work at planning out realistic times for completing each necessary task.

Shannon: I'm and English major and music minor. I work Fridays through Sundays at a retail store and I'm also interning one day a week this semester. I already keep a planner and calender, so my goal over the next to weeks is to take more advantage of the free time I have between classes to get my schoolwork done instead of waiting until the evening to start. I also realized that with reading assignments, I often don't accurately estimate the amount of time they take, so I'm going to start taking the amount of pages of each assignment into account before I decide whether or not I can complete them in just a day. Over the course of the semester I'm looking forward to tightening up the study techniques I use and avoiding procrastinating by breaking down big projects into a series of small goals.

One of the things we learned from talking to each other is that we all primarily do our schoolwork in the evenings and we all tend to procrastinate on assignments until they're due. It was nice to openly admit this stuff, and then talk about how using our planners and calendars can help us avoid the stress that accompanies the habits we've fallen into.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Study Hacks at Mills College

Hi, we're Study Hacks at Mills College. Our overall goal is to not only do well in our courses, but to actually enjoy life during the process. We will meet every other Thursday starting on January 21, 2010, to support each other and discuss study techniques based off of Cal Newport's blog (