We sign up for studies for very similar reasons as the gym contract. We want to improve ourselves and our lives.
We FULLY intend to stick to our commitment. THIS will be the year that we get ourselves healthy, and pass those exams. THIS is it. Everything will change and we’ll be better than last year.
We buy the accessories, pay the fees, research the best ways to do it. We start off strong. Newly committed, a sense of purpose. Pretty soon however, life gets in the way. Work, family, crises, exhaustion, things we feel we ‘need’ to do. We procrastinate, find ‘reasons’ not to put in the time, and pretty soon it’s moved way down the priority list, if not shoved off the list for ‘later”, when we’ll have more ‘time’ than we do now. The ‘future’ will somehow be easier than it is now!
reasons become excuses
why do we stop?
Honestly, in a world where there are so many demands on our time, we do the most ‘important’ things. We unconsciously weigh up the cost vs benefit of doing it. If we FEEL like it, we’ll find a reason to stick to that. If we DON’T feel like it, we’ll shift it lower on the priority list, mostly for ‘valid reasons’.
Shortcuts, life ‘hacks’, ‘quick fixes’. (How many times have we clicked on those articles that promise ‘How to get a six-pack in two weeks’!?) This is because if we feel instant results, we’re more likely to do it. It must be quick, easy, with guaranteed results. If the exam is still a few months away, then there’s no ‘short term’ benefit to studying tonight.
Life gets in the way.
Work, family, social obligations, exhaustion are some of the most common reasons students don’t study consistently. These are all a reality of life. They’re valid demands on our time. But should we study in the time ‘left’ after all these?! (That’s like saying you’ll ‘save’ the money you have left at the end of the month!) Is there EVER a ‘better’ time to fit it in?
We really believe in ‘later’
Somehow, we honestly believe that tomorrow, next week, next month, will be different to today. We’ll have more time, more energy and it will be easier to study. As a lecturer, this is the message I get EVERY time I ask students how their studies are going. “I’m on a busy audit this week. Once it’s finished…”, “I’ve been working some overtime, but won’t next week”, “I’ve scheduled study leave”; “There are Public Holidays coming up” etc. They NEVER write it off completely. It’s always pushed out to later. They TOTALLY plan to do it. But ‘later’. (Mostly, this comes down to ‘cramming’ the week before the exam, when they suddenly find time to squeeze it all in!
Accountability can help
I’ve been lecturing for over a decade. I’ve found ways to explain topics simply and quickly. I’ve found loads of ways to make student’s study time way more effective. Does it really work?
Not so much. Why? Because until the student has DONE the attempt themselves, it’s only ever going to be a hypothetical knowledge. Sure, it LOOKS easy when I do it, I’ve done it for years. You’ll only know what you’re doing (or whether you can do it!) once you’ve tried it yourself. And THAT requires you to do questions. Which you don’t make time for!
Honestly, what works the most, is accountability. When students have to be in a class at a certain time. When they HAVE to submit an assignment for their yearmark. When they have a call with me. When they know I’m waiting for them to submit something to me. These things push the studying up the priority list in the short term. All of a sudden, the exam date isn’t the deadline. It’s the next two days. The ‘cost’ of not studying is now getting a nagging email from their lecturer, or not getting exam entry.
This is one of the reasons that I offer Study Coaching for students. I KNOW they can get through the content. In all the years I’ve lectured, I’ve found very few students who have genuinely not been able to get it right.
What they struggle with is the consistency of their studying, their study habits, time limits, life challenges, mindsets, fears, and how these things affect the application of their knowledge. ie: Getting to questions!
You TOTALLY plan to do a lot of question, just like you TOTALLY plan to go to the gym. Somehow, life gets in the way.
How do you set yourself up to make sure you do what you planned?