Most students know they should study hard, read all required course material, and do their best to get the most out of their expensive educations. However, sticking with the predictable can lead to a general malaise and boredom with course work. Beyond the usual studying and reading responsibilities, it’s beneficial to practice other unique methods of squeezing the most juice out of your studies.
Apply Critical Thinking and Filtering
Critical thinking will take you beyond a basic education, while filtering out unnecessary or frivolous information can make you more efficient in completing your schoolwork. In practicing critical thinking you open your mind to new perspectives on the human experience—mind broadening—to say the least. In filtering out unnecessary information while note-taking, you learn how to speed through reading material, comprehend key points quickly, and grasp the concepts and reasoning behind them.
Attend Lectures and Presentations
Avoid limiting yourself to what is available strictly through your online university. Search and discover informative YouTube channels and Lynda.com for supplementary educational courses. You may find valuable short courses, from ten minutes long and up, in addition to lectures on subjects you’re presently studying. Now, you’ve just added useful material to your course load. The sky is the limit!
Enroll in a Course you Wouldn’t Normally Take
Classes that teach excellent life skills include psychology, sociology, and management, and these will further benefit your understanding of so many other things, like understanding people’s motivations. Subjects like these bring much more insight and value to anything else you may be pursuing.
Find a Fresh Study Space
While the obvious benefits of an online education are sitting at home and not having to drive or take public transit to a bricks and mortar school, there are definite drawbacks. For instance, working from home has the obstacles of TV, friends, and family to distract a student from getting anything done. Finding a corner coffee shop or renting a shared office space may provide the disciplined or stimulating atmosphere you weren’t even aware you’d been craving for studying.
Practice Your Networking Skills
Think you’re safe hiding behind your computer at home, learning in a solitary bubble? Think again! Start emailing, messaging, phoning, and texting everyone from your tutor to your fellow students and gain new friends, new awareness, and answers to your burning learning questions. Add everyone to your social media accounts—you never know where these connections may lead on your future career path. This includes your professors and tutors. I had a favourite professor from college that I later ran into doing his book signing in a local bookstore and now have a signed copy that I cherish. Include all alumni and faculty to expand your circle of connections.
Save All Your Notes and Course Materials
This may be a difficult task to follow for fellow pruners like myself, but a cinch for natural hoarders. You never know when you might need to reference important reading material and helpful notes you wrote. Keep it all at hand and you’ll never be at a loss in your future career role.
Getting the most out of your education doesn’t have to be mundane reading and research 24/7. Use your imagination and creativity to make it that much more rewarding (and fun) for the long haul—and relish the positive impact for life.