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Developing Study Skills

Study Skills

Study Skills

It is a common observation in our country that mostly of the students who can’t be successful at college or tertiary level thinks that they lack the necessary intellectual ability to study. Being dejected most of them change the subject and still facing troubles even become ready to leave the idea of continuing their studies unaware of the fact that they only lack well developed study skills. Although, students just like all human beings are different from each other and different strategies work for them in improving their skills however, the subsequent ideas will be helpful in the successful development of your study skills. Although they are minor points but you will notice that, they would help you tremendously.

  1. State of Mind: The fore most important thing is your state of mind. Inspite of the well known fact that human mind can only concentrate for about fifteen seconds and then gets distracted automatically, tell your self that you are studying and doing the course to “LEARN” which is definitely going to be beneficial for you in future in being a professional. Keep in mind that the more you learn, the more you will understand the world around you and the more self reliant you will be. Try to make your mind ready and willing to learn.
  2. Maintain Your Concentration: While studying one thing, do not even think about the other course contents or subjects that you have yet to cover. Only concentrate on the one you are studying at that moment. The thoughts of the remaining work load has been proved to be a source of anxiety for the students which effects their performance by distracting the mind and making the studies stressful and worrying. Always keep in mind that studying in stress will make you tired much earlier than normal.
  3. Focus Your Self by Setting Goals: An effective way of focusing your mind and energies is to set goals. Goals will help you stay focused and monitor your progress. Simply sitting down to study has little value. You must be very clear about what you want to accomplish at the end of each study session.
  4. Time Management: Fix a time for study. It will make studying or reading a  part of your daily routine just like sleeping and eating. When that scheduled time comes up during the day you will automatically be mentally prepared to study.
  5. Avoid Even Minor Interruptions During the Study Time: It is very important to keep your attention focused and avoid all kinds of distractions. Even minor distractions like SMS and missed calls on your cell phone matters a lot. Firstly they distract your mind and your tempo is interrupted. Secondly, calls or messages from your friends may talk about things that will distract you from what you need to do. The simplest solution is to turn off your mobile during your study time and keep your room locked from inside
  6. Take Small Breaks in Between:  Do not exhaust your mind and body in one go. After every one and a half or two hours take a small break to freshen up your mind. Go out in the lawn, take a deep breath. Eat something that is of your choice and is readily available. Then after fifteen to twenty minutes start again with a fresh and bright mind. This is very effective for those students who find their studies to be very boring and dry and have got no other option than taking that course. Small breaks give you spanking new energy to cope up with the dry material you have to deal with.
  7. Difficult Assignments First: Work on your difficult assignments or course contents first because that is when your mind is fresh. Your difficult assignments require most of your effort. Your fresh mental energy will help you in doing that.
  8. Flow Charts and Diagrams: Flow charts and diagrams help you a lot in understanding what u study at a quick glance. Make a flow chart of the text that you are studying if it goes with it. According to Educationists and Psychologists, illustrations, flow charts, maps and diagrams takes a quick and deeper place in the human mind as compared to simple texts.
  9. Reviewing and Discussions: Reviewing and discussions have a lot of value in studying. Keep reviewing your notes that you take during the lectures, in your study time. It will clarify what are the points which are not clear in your mind about a topic. Do not feel hesitant in clearing your confusions and taking help of your instructor or friends. This is your basic right as a student. This is basically what discussions are meant for. Discussion is a case when “two heads are better than one”. They are sometimes even more beneficial than attending mere lectures and taking notes. So keep arranging discussions or combine study sessions from time to time.
  10. Self Analysis: Analyse yourself by writing what ever information you have in mind about a topic. It will give you a clearer picture of how you will perform in the exam. Secondly, review and carefully analyse your mistakes in your tests. What were the correct answers and how you missed them? Discuss with your instructor how can you improve your studying and test performance. Also discuss your tests with your friends who performed better. It will help you a lot in doing better next time. Just remember, everything and every one can help you in learning “something”, only if you are eager to “learn”.

Unpredictable, Uncertain. Isn’t It…?

I always wonder what life is all about. Is it running after unseen future…? Is it trying to pretend to be happy…? Or feigning satisfaction? Is it all about showing that we are too busy and too active as a part of the modern society…? Or all this is a constant struggle to get through with it some how, in one way or the other or may be its only pursuing the desire to stay alive? Is it different for every one or it is the same for all and we don’t know it…?

When we pass through some trauma or some terribly stressful period of life, life totally changes its meaning for us. For mature minds, suffering always leads to spiritual growth but sometimes this period of suffering is so crushing that nothing is left after it. One of my relatives has recently gone through the same kind of catastrophe and I m thinking if life would ever change its meaning for them now.

My cousin’s family…They are the kind of people who have a great zest for life. So lively that entertainment must be on the second number on their list of basic needs after food, where as food should also be such that it must add some fun and joy to their lives. One bad morning, they made a plan to go to their village. The time was well spent and well enjoyed. On their way back they were chatting and laughing as usual. For a moment they became quiet and that was the time when the angel of death got the chance. My cousin’s brother in law who was driving became drowsy for a second and the staring turned. The car fell five feet down off the road. The 26 year old guy who was driving died with in seconds but his foot was still pressed on the accelator. The car kept jumping like a horse in the hilly area. Finally when it stopped somehow there were two dead bodies of a son and his mother and my cousin had her hip bone and spine fractured.

In a spur of a second life showed its most horrible face to them. When our old relatives die of disease or just due to age factor, the shock is still great for us. There are so many things to miss, to remember, to cry on. But in this case the shock is much much greater and painful; as neither were they aged nor it all happened gradually like in illnesses. It is just like as if a bomb blasts near your shoulder when you are having a light chat with your friend. And all scene changes. You just find yourself hanging in disbelief for ages.

They were not the first or the only ones to suffer sudden catastrophes, I know this. But I am just wondering why life sometimes turns out to be a monster under a pretty face. Sometimes at the stage when you think that now you have understood life fully well, life changes its meaning altogether, and all your perceptions, philosophies, interpretations and beliefs appear as if laughing at you. This unpredictability is an essential feature of life but it exposes itself only when you are totally unconscious of it. I really wonder how to deal with this eccentric facet of “LIFE”, which is said to be God’s most precious and beautiful gift to man kind.

First Deserve, Then Desire!!!

I am really upset and angry at a morning show today and I want to share my anger and grief. On the day when the nation was celebrating the freedom of judiciary, the host of the morning show on ARY showed somewhat negative attitude by asking what will happen if the chief justice is back now. One of the guests on her show that day, a young host of some radio station also showed disgust towards what is happening in politics and remarked:

“Pata nahi hamari Kom Kub Seekhay Gi. What is the point in being so happy and distributing sweets? What difference is it going to make? I don’t know and don’t want to know who our chief justice is and what all the fuss is about?”

Such a bold display of ignorance and irresponsible behavior, and that too from a DJ of a radio programme who is currently being seen on one of the leading channels of Pakistan on live television network! The host of the show agreed and that too was shocking. Don’t they know that media has some serious responsibilities towards the nation…? At least they should not pollute the thoughts of other youngsters through their programme. I was shocked to hear the expression of such immature ideas. If such people (which are quite a hot favourite radio channel among youth these days) are running FM then I am really feeling hopeless and pathetic for the future of Pakistan. If Youth are getting this kind of exposure, there is no future.

I just want to tell such kind of young people (whose more serious concerns are the celebration of valentine’s day and Basant than the celebration of national events or the success of political and serious matters which are going to determine the future of Pakistan) that you are the ones who are at least partly responsible for all the wrong people coming and ruling over us because these wrong people are aware of the fact that you guys don’t know and that you have no interest in the prosperity of your country. And your weakness is their main strength.

I want to tell such kind of “cool guys” that if you can not bother to play your role as well educated and responsible citizens for the prosperity and stability of your country you have no right to expect anything from your country either. You have no right to make grievances against the bad circumstances and the poor medical conditions, the dirty streets and broken roads, the painful condition of peace and increasing crime rate, least opportunities and jobless ness. If you don’t know your “duties” you deserve no “rights” because people who do not know how to “give” obviously do not deserve to “take”.

I would take a chance to make a plea to the producers and directors of such programs in all channels that please only those people should be invited as guests on the shows who really are role models for the youth or at least can teach them something, an advice or a lesson through the example of their life. People having immature or superficial thoughts should not be given projection because media has instant impact on tender young minds and at this time, we need to handle and lead things very maturely.

I saw a Ray of Hope!

Undoubtedly the present circumstances and the present scene and scenario of the country somewhat gives us a strong feeling of despair for our future. Each and every field we look into gives a suffocating feeling (Health, education, food, media, politics you name a thing and u ll see ‘All Down’ there) and a spontaneous yell comes out from inside us:

“Ufff! What is happening here? What are we doing to ourselves!”

In this suffocating environment if we see some hope somewhere it appears like a gust of fresh air. Today I came across the same gust of fresh air and since I love to highlight positive things, I ll share it here. I went to the hospital with my mother to get her physiotherapy done for her cervical. She was in the room and I was waiting outside when a lady came and sat with me. She started the chat by saying that the staff here is very friendly. Patients quickly feel better by their zeal and enthusiasm. I admitted the fact. The lady was although elderly but she was quite friendly to me. I even don’t remember how we continued to chat for a longer time and she told me about her that she has been the principal of one of the leading school systems and now she is working as a visiting faculty at the same place. On further inquiry from my side, she told that the subject she teaches is “Value Education”. That’s where I felt myself more interested. She told further that it is about teaching values. For example, they tell the students about ‘Tolerance’ and how to tolerate each other as a member of the same society. They guide them about developing control over anger. More over she also shared with me that when she inquired from her students about how many of them can not control their anger usually, most of them raised their hands which is of course very unfortunate. (Personally I don’t blame the kids for that because they do what they see elders doing). Then they advice them, share their experiences and problems and do counseling keeping their problems in view. They also focus upon teaching the focused family related values like love and respect for elders, taking care of old people and reacting patiently at things which happen against your will.

A Ray Of Hope

A Ray Of Hope

These are the things which are quickly diminishing from the society. Somehow and somewhere this fact is also greatly responsible for the worsening condition of the society. A good public demonstration of our tolerance level is well exhibited on the roads every day giving rise to the number of road accidents, quarrels in the middle of road between drivers and so on…

When I was in school each and every teacher used to teach values besides her subject. It was a part of the process of education. Media was also playing a good and positive role in teaching moral values. But with the passage of time, when education started to get commercialized and just became a business, “values teaching” got eliminated somewhere, because of being continuously ignored. Since the present education system is more focusing upon hurriedly covering the course contents than the process of learning, teachers really are left with no time during their 40 minutes period to teach something which is other than the course and which is not going to be evaluated in the exam.

In this situation I view this step as a ray of hope. Allocating separate time to the teaching of values and sharing the views, experiences, problems and observations of the students regarding that will be beneficial to the society. No matter how little, but it will make a difference. Its an appreciable step. More over the thing that I appreciate more is that the school system has on its agenda, the special counseling sessions with the parents too, to remind them and bring to their notice how their children are getting influenced by the behaviours parents exhibit at home and outside home. Definitely I am not going to name the school here because in that case all this would be taken as a publicity stunt. Its just that the strong feeling of despair and hopelessness that I continuously feel these days was somewhat soothed by this. At least there are some people who are focusing on reminding us our lost moral values which are quickly becoming extinct due to our own ignorance as well as the mercy of the westernized and ‘Indianized’ media.

A Failed State… Are We?

A Failed State?Sometimes, I really feel myself haunted by the fear of our state being called among failed states. Since I love my country despite all its poor circumstances, and I am biased for it so I never ever would like to wake up to see the sun of the day on which it would be called a failed state or it would be broken to pieces. But if just for a second I put all my bias and patriotism aside and examine the situation carefully and realistically one thing comes in my mind and that is that if I would have been asked to analyze another state whose circumstances would be the same as those of prevailing in our country, had I not evaluated it as a failed state. My mind utters a gloomy ‘yes’. Although my heart wants to resist but I know its all in vain. It is undoubtedly shameful for us that the country which got freedom in the name of Islam with so much effort and struggles is now on the verge of being called afailed state after only 62 years of its existence.

 Still there is something in my mind which says that there is no point in being hopeless. After all, being hopeless is not the solution of our problems. People who have become hopeless of our country is neither doing good to themselves nor to the state. We still have time although very little. The need of the time is that we should develop Toleranceand Honesty to our selves. The moment we would develop “honesty to your own self” in us, we would be on the right track.

Who is not Insecure?

Insecurity?
Insecurity?

The other day I had a visit to my doctor. He diagnosed one new thing about me. He said:

“You feel too insecure.” This word “insecure” forced me towards a sea of thoughts. But there was only one sentence which came out: “Who is not insecure?”.

If I look at my self, I belong to a blessed home. Allah has always been very kind and merciful. Living with parents, having own house, no financial issues, loving and caring family. Admittance of the blessings that I have been blessed with, forces me to think of the people who don’t have these blessings; yet they also have to face the insecurities which have become part and parcel of the environment.

People who go out every day to earn their daily bread, which means the majority of our country these laborers, street vendors, fish mongers, shop keepers even beggars , are they secure in this pathetic condition of peace prevailing in our country? Naturally, it not only affects their psyche but also their earning. Poverty has always been their basic issue and now these unstable and least predictable political and socio-economic conditions over all are like an added misery to them. Just like adding fuel to the fire, blazing in their lives. Therefore, the future is more insecure than before for them.

Then I think of the promising youth, just graduated, full of hopes and enthusiasm, coming to the job market but neither getting good jobs nor dependable business because of the suffering economy. Are they not insecure of their future?

Another thought makes me think about the children who are being brought up and taught in the same insecure environment. My child hood was pretty much clean of these things. At least no suicidal bombings, no killings, no missing persons, no local war zones and no frequent kidnappings were there. Life was not jeopardized by killing inflation and the fear of the prophesized famine. If still I am insecure then what about the future of these children who are growing up in this scene and scenario of destruction and devastation. Will they grow into a psychologically healthy young generation to take all responsibilities of the country?

Then my thoughts floats towards the mothers and wives who see off their sons and husbands every morning and then finds their hearts in great anxiety and discomfort and keeps praying all the time for their safe return until either they come back or the news arrives. And they go through this practice every day. Are they not insecure too?

All these thoughts leave me in utter disappointment. For sometime I feel there is no ray of hope. Then just like a lightning something flashes on the screen of my mind.

ALLAH says:

Nahi hay insaan k liyae, magar wo jis ki os nay koshish ki

My brother often says that we are responsible for most of the things that happen to us. I often disagree with him, because miseries like diseases and major catastrophes are not our faults. But when I ponder upon what he says I partly agree with him. Allah has given most of the things in our own hands. The credit of what ever happens mostly goes to ourselves. The sole purpose of writing all this here is not to diagnose that we are all going to be psychologically insecure patients but to say that it is in our own hands. Instead of just pondering over social issues we need to break our silence. We have to take steps to secure the future of our generations and discourage every feeling of insecurity. Even little steps taken by us will make a difference somehow, as it is said, “Small gains make a heavy purse”. It’s we who are going to change the things and start by making little differences, not the masters. So better come out, express your self in one way or the other, if not for the sake of the mother land then, for the emotional stability of our future generations.

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