Right now, somewhere in the world, there is a poor student trembling, butterflies screaming around in their abdomens (figuratively for those of you who aren't studying medicine), palms drenched in sweat, hands shaking like their owner is withdrawing from mainlining Heroin, and their vision is strangely blurred. Nope, it's not the thought of watching another Twilight movie with their girlfriend. It's the dreaded............presentation.When I typed that word "presentation", I was thinking of the voice of the guy that does the voice-overs for movie trailers. Anyway, moving along. I've adapted these five questions from chapter one of a book called Perfect Presentations by Andrew Ivy and you can download it free of charge from here.
first person is a young lady who is a patient of mine who is currently in Grade 12. She does exceptionally well at school and is applying to study medicine next year, despite my warnings! Recently she came to see me for a Medical Certificate as part of her application to study at the University of Cape Town Medical School, and we were chatting about studying and about Schooled for Life. I was telling her about teachers at school force pupils to learn their subjects in very specific ways. And so I asked her how she did so well academically at school (because I had noticed the vast number of academic - as well as sports and extra-mural activity - badges on her blazer). Before I could even finish asking the question, she said "I ignored the teachers and studied everything my own way." I was so taken aback. Here was a bright young woman who had found out one of the keys to learning that has just been discovered in the latest research, and is one of my S4L Principles. The second person is one of the best orthopedic surgeonsI know, Dr Richard Roloff (his rooms are in Hillcrest Private Hospital, outside of Durban, South Africa). This last Thursday morning I was assisting him in theater with a knee replacement, and during the procedure I asked him he studied at university. He laughed and said that he crammed the night before and seemed to brush off the question a little bit. I know him, and that was his way of being quite modest about something, so I persisted a bit. So he said that he found that if he studied for weeks or months before the exam, he would forget the information and get so stressed that he would fail badly. But, he found that the day and night before an exam, he was so relaxed and was experiencing so little stress that he could study literally five to ten times more than anyone else could in the same period of time. His Amygdala was perfectly calm and ease. He walked around and read aloud. The information went from his senses through to his Amygdala. Now, because they were so calm, the information literally flew through them deep into his long-term memory. So, how can you take these two peoples' stories and start using the information gleaned from them right now. Let me give you three ways you can not just think outside the box, but break the box down altogether. 1. Ignore teachers and lecturers when they tell you there is only one way to learn their subject. But I must add a disclaimer here. Sometimes, sometimes, there is only one way to learn a particular subject, but these are very few are far between. Who says you can't use Rap music to learn Chemistry formulas? Who says you can't draw crazy cartoons for Mathematics? Who says you can't write new words to your favorite songs to learn soil strata? 2. Start linking the things you love doing with subjects you don't like. I love history. So, when I was studying and cramming right towards the end of fifth year, I invaded Russia as you can read here. If you love modern dance, make up a quick dance routine that links the information you are learning with that routine. If you love drawing cartoons, convert each of your main points into a crazy image and turn them into a crazy cartoon. 3. Try write your main points with your other hand.If you are right-handed, try writing your learning material left-handed, and vice-versa. You will be amazed at how much you will remember, because you will laugh at yourself so much during the whole process! So, instead of that sinking feeling in your studying, your box will start breaking. Enjoy the feeling! Let me know your stories of how you have broken the box below.....One hundred years ago on the 15th of April, RMS Titanic sank. By far the majority of those who died were men. The strictly held moral norm in those days was the maxim "Women and children first". But this type of absolutism has disappeared from our current culture. But there are a few absolutisms that do remain today. The one absolute in current schooling is that high school students must learn each subject in specific ways that each teacher ordains. You don't really have a choice. Each teacher tells their students how they must learn their particular subject. But, I'm going to give you some radical advice. CHOOSE THE SHIP! But I promise, in your case, you won't sink. I'm going to show you two examples of people who didn't follow what was expected of them and who have done amazingly well in their academic lives. They are each on the two extremes on the age scale of studying. The first is in Grade 12, the other is in his late forties and a practicing orthopedic surgeon. Both of them didn't just think about doing things differently, they did things differently and blasted their way through to academic success. The
In Christian circles, especially in the Young, Restless and Reformed crowd, there is the real danger that we treat our theological "lecturers" like celebrities, http://www.clintarcher.com/?p=886instead of reserving our adulation for God Himself. My pastor and friend, Clint Archer post on that very topic today here
Congratulations! You are about to start (or have already started) your first year of university! You think you’ve arrived! You’ve hit the big time! But you are in for a shock. Life is about to grab you by the scruff of the neck and hurl you into mayhem. It’s up to you to decide what you make of it. And the first few weeks are probably the most crucial. So, in my introductory post on www.schooledforlife.com, I want to give you five ways you can survive the crazy first few weeks. 1 Meet, greet and network. No matter how terrified you are of being in a crowd, you need to realize that you are a very small fish in a vey large pond. Those of you who suffer from Agoraphobia, see your psychiatrist before going on campus. (If you know what that means, either you have it, or you are too smart for this blog; if you don’t know what this means, welcome to your first assignment - find out what it means). a. Classmates. Get to know those that you will be the same class as you. If you are taking a course like Biology 101 at wits University, there will be about 300 students in the same class as you. Develop a discerning spirit. Watch for those who are naturally friendly to those around them; for those who listen to the lecturer and take careful notes; to those who spend the entire lecture or prac lab on their iPhone or Blackberry. Reach out to people. Introduce yourself to a variety of people. Get to know those in your small prac lab groups, or in any small group that you are put. Be natural, friendly and yourself. b. Lecturers. I feel that it is essential for you to get to know your lecturers. Introduce yourself to them. Maybe make an appointment to see them, and ask them a number of questions. i. What do you expect from your students? ii. What type of assignments will be required? iii. What type of exams will be set? Are they going to be essay-type questions, or short answer questions, or multiple-choice question? If multiple-choice, how does their MCQ system work? Is it negative-marking carried over, or not carried over? iv. What is it about the Required textbooks that makes them so important? v. What is it about the Optional textbooks that you need to know? vi. If you find you struggle with the subject, do they have a tutoring or mentoring program that can help you? c. Spiritual leaders. If you are new to a city, then I believe it is essential for you to take care of your spiritual life as well. As a conservative Christian, I believe that it is essential to find a local church that teaches the Bible solidly and in a way that aligns with your beliefs, is conservative in nature, and who cares for people. The spiritual component I will be expanding on, and in due course I will be releasing a Bible Study ebook. 2. Learn Time management. I cannot place enough emphasis on this. Your work-load at university is much greater than in high school. Add to that is the fact that, generally, the university leaves you to your own devices when it comes to regulating your time. At school your time was fairly strictly regulated. At university, this is not the case. It is now entirely up to you to manage your own time effectively. I will save the topic of Time Management for a series of posts in a about two weeks’ time. 3. Familiarize yourself with campus and procedures. Large universities can be nerve-wrackingly overwhelming. Get maps from the university’s website. Learn where all of your lectures are going to be. Look up the security procedures that they have in place. If you try smuggle your Glock 9mm onto campus, the FBI will descend on you before you can say sorry. In South Africa, it would probably be easier to smuggle it onto campus. 4. Start systematizing your subjects. What I mean is that you need to start organizing your subjects on a theoretical level (what type of material is this etc), and on a practical level : start asking yourself things like ‘How will I take notes in this lecture?’, ‘Are the handouts comprehensive, or will I need to use them as a skeleton on which to build my knowledge?’. I will be dealing with a lot of these in my weekly newsletter that I encourage you to sign up for. (Remember, the first 8 weeks are free, and you will get a free ebook called “How To Study” by George Swain!). 5. Get into a routine in your digs/residence. Whether you are in a digs with a few other students, or in Residence, get to know the habits of those around you. In digs, negotiate on who is going to do what and when and how. Beware of that guy that is always lazy and doesn’t pull his weight. You cannot afford to have that kind of person on board. Throw him over with an anchor tied to his feet. These are some ways to survive your first week at College or University. Does anyone have any other ideas? Please share below.