Under the Microscope…Study Resolutions

It has happened to all of us. We have woken up on the morning (or afternoon) of the 1st of January and thought about the things we’re going to do differently this year.

Most commonly, these resolutions relate to some form of health kick, or a commitment to being financially responsible. However, there is another form of resolution, a practice that is as old as time.

‘The Study Resolution’

‘A study resolution (not to be confused with a New Year’s resolution) is a tradition, most common in university students, where a person resolves to change an undesired study habit or behaviour, to accomplish an academic goal. This usually occurs in the few weeks prior to the commencement of Semester 1.’

Study resolutions are normally formed during the final few weeks of summer break. As you relax in the sun with the memory of Week 12 and the resulting stress far from our minds, you may be pondering the following thoughts:

“This year, I will attend all my classes and submit my work on time.”
“In 2018, I am going to achieve all H1’s.”
“I am going to volunteer, complete an internship, go on exchange, develop a career plan, maintain a 70% average, and live my best life.”

As the academic year creeps up, many of us are making our ‘study resolutions’. However, did you know that like New Year’s resolutions, many study resolutions are doomed to failure unless you have a plan.

We encourage you to set goals in 2018. However, to ensure you can achieve your goal it needs to be realistic, achievable and supported by a solid plan that isn’t going to break you (and therefore the goal).

So, with that in mind here are our tips for successful goal setting in the 2018 academic year.

  1. Set a specific goal

    This sounds simple right? However, one of the biggest errors people make when setting a goal is not making them specific enough.

    One example of a goal which we hear often is:

    “I am going to do better this year.”

    Whilst this is an admirable goal, it also isn’t specific, and doesn’t pin point the achievement you intend on making. When setting a goal, you should focus on the when, who, how and what. A good example is:

    “By the end of 2018 (the when), I (the who), am sticking to my study plan (the how) and maintaining a 70% average (the goal).”

  2. Make it attainable and realistic

    Rome was not built in a day. You may have a few goals rolled into one, for example:

    “By the end of 2018, I will have completed an internship, maintained an 80% average, completed a voluntary placement and participated in more club/society activities.”

    That’s an awesome goal, but everyone has different circumstances and it may not be attainable, or realistic for you. If you are currently sitting on an average of 60, need to work 3 days a week to support yourself and have other commitments, it may not be realistic to think you can achieve all of that (there are only so many hours in the day!).

    However, you could potentially enrol in an internship subject and aim for a 10% improvement in grades. Your goal in 2019 may then be to volunteer and aim for further mark improvement. You don’t need to achieve everything, all at once.  

  3. Plan, plan, plan

    Acting without having a solid plan isn’t going to help you achieve your goal. For example, you’ve identified that your goal is to stop leaving everything to the last minute. However, you have a history of doing this and it has become a bad habit. You therefore need to identify the reasons for this habit and the obstacles in your way. You can then identify the means to overcome it and work towards being more organised.  Therefore, your plan may be:

    - Setting a weekly study plan

    - Setting yourself earlier deadlines and sticking to them

    - Make the most of your time (study during breaks at University)

    - Setting a weekly reading goal

    - Make yourself accountable to someone (i.e. friends, study group, family) and have regular check ins.

    Every goal, needs a plan and it needs to suit your circumstances.

  4. Do Something

    You may want those 6 pack abs, but you probably won’t achieve them if you never do a sit-up. It’s the same with study goals. You can set a goal, create a realistic plan, but then you need to follow through. This is the hardest bit, as this is the part where you are changing habits, and habits are hard to break. Remember, you are not aiming for perfection but rather, you are aiming for improvement. Take every day as it comes and aim for little wins.

With that in mind, good luck for 2018 and may you achieve all your study resolutions!

Best wishes,

The Faculty of Science Team.