If I received a dollar every time I heard a student say something like, “Man, studying is not fun” or something like that, I’d already be rich and wouldn’t write blog posts. However, since I’m not rich yet, my job is to help such people out—which I enjoy. So, especially for bored students, here are some ways to bring in some novelty into studying and make it more fun:
- One of the disciplines that is the easiest to make fun is literature. I don’t understand why so many students react like, “Man, more obsolete stuff” when being assigned a novel or play to read. In case you didn’t know, literature is the source of like 80% of the plots for movies. Why not try compare the literary source with its screen version? Remember when you watched Harry Potter and noticed a discrepancy between the movie and the book? I bet you reacted like, “Hey, it wasn’t there!” Reading for a class of English literature can be as much fun. Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” for example, has several splendid screen versions (my favorite one is the one filmed in 1995, but people say the one with Keira Knightley is also okay). A lot of great classic writers you study in high school or college can boast of screen versions of their novels. Why not combine reading with watching?
- When you need to memorize something, one of the best techniques is to activate your mnemonic skills. Mnemonics consist of a number of various mind techniques aimed at helping you memorize information through associating it with irrelevant words or phrases, objects, and so on. For example, here is the mnemonic rule for memorizing the correct order of planets in our solar system (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto): “My very excited mother just served us nine pies.” Or, here you can find a video with mnemonic tips on memorizing some letters of the Japanese alphabet (and yes, Japanese has two alphabets). Try using already existing mnemonic techniques when studying, or even invent your own mnemonic rules, and memorizing information will become much more fun.
- Give yourself small rewards. I like the saying that only stupid people force themselves to do something; clever people rather bribe themselves or negotiate with themselves. So, the next time you feel like, “Nooo, gotta study for class tomorrow” try to think of something that would motivate you. Not abstractly (“This will help me in future”), but with some specific small rewards. “If I study intensively for the next two hours, I can have an hour of playing video games”; “after I finally finish this essay I can watch an episode of the Game of Thrones”; “ten more pages, and it’s time for a break”; this is how one negotiates with themselves, and it’s effective.
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