My current study habits aren't cutting it for me at the moment

I feel like a failure, because I can't compare myself to them and feel good about myself. I feel like I'm the only one who can't do it, and that's really not fair. I really need to find a way to be better at this, but I don't know how.In summary, the person struggled with poor study habits, fatigue, and a lack of focus, which led to a mediocre grade on a test.
  • #1
I had a test today on my linear algebra class, and it's safe to say that I didn't get more than a seventy percent on it. I got the first two problems of the test down, but the last problem asked me to prove something involving linearly independent sequences, how if a vector isn't in the span of that sequence, and how adjoining that vector to that sequence would make it linearly independent. It was the sort of problem that really tested my understanding of the material covered so far, and it's safe to say that I haven't been reviewing as much as I used to. I also haven't gotten enough sleep last night because of the snacking I did the night before, how it caused me to feel sleep-deprived yesterday, and because of my body's tendency to make up for that lack of sleep the previous night. But it's not just a problem with sleep that caused me to earn this at most mediocre grade on a test. It's just that I hadn't had the energy to study so much for this class, being occupied with my two other classes.

This semester, I feel like I can't focus much of my concentration on anyone class at a time. My focus is all spread-out, and I haven't had much ability to keep myself engaged in all three of my upper-division math classes at once. I feel like I'm too busy with all three of them. At the same time, even though it's just three measly classes, I still feel overwhelmed. Every semester since entering university, I've basically had only two math classes and an unrelated class that I could basically relax my mind in. I've had: Mechanics, Asian-American Studies, Electromagnetism, then Macroeconomics. This is the first semester where I've had like three actual classes relating to my major, and I've had no real time to relax from the math. I know that it's my major, and that I should like it, but sometimes I get too tired of doing it all the time. Sometimes I don't even have the energy to care about studying, in general. I'm tired, and I feel like I just want to rest. I feel like the fatigue accumulated from my many years of schooling have caught up to me.

I really don't wish to quit now, because it will either delay my graduation for another semester, or force me to either take an even more taxing schedule in the spring, that I will very likely not be able to handle or delay my graduation for another semester. I really want to graduate, because I really need to find work and find my own place, because I'm so very frustrated with my life right now. I really want to move out of my house because I've been living here for far too long, but the rent in this part of the United States is too expensive to cover with my bi-weekly salary of three hundred or so dollars. So I can't do anything about it until I graduate, free up my schedule, and find a full-time job, with which I should be able to cover expenses. I feel like I'm trapped in my house sometimes, and trapped in this cycle of going to work and school, in general, to the point that it's proving to be a bit mentally taxing.

In any case, I didn't do so well on my test today because of my poor study habits, as I've noted in a previous topic that I've made on here. In short, it just isn't working. It's been suggested many times to me to seek out the help that I so desperately need, but at the same time, I just feel like a complete fool for doing so. If I cannot succeed on my own strength and abilities as a student, then I cannot consider that success as a success at all. School's really the only thing that I'm good at, really. Everything else in my life, I fail miserably at. I cannot count any other successes in my life that I've had, because there are none to be counted. That's why when I don't do so well in school, I feel worthless. My mood often fluctuates with the grades that I receive on my schoolwork. If I succeed, I feel like I can concentrate better and feel more confident. If I receive a mediocre grade, then I ruminate on that grade and it messes with my mood for the rest of the day. I'm not saying that the latter is a bad thing, though, since it inspires me to study even harder, even though it is out of panic.

Though at the same time, if I know that other people have done better than me on an assignment or on a test, I just feel objectively inferior to them because of the other points that I've mentioned. In any case, I really need to learn how to study better. I don't want to approach a fellow student if they wished to study alongside me because I'm too anxious and would be afraid of what would happen if they said no. Though, I would actually be more afraid of what I would do next if they said yes, because I've never been a part of a study group before. I'm always just studying by myself, and often asking this forum for help. I've always (semi-)managed without studying alongside classmates before for the almost the entirety of my college career.

I've spoken to my doctor about my fatigue issues, and he has suggested it's because of this workload that I'm feeling so tired nowadays. Or rather, he has suggested that the reason I feel tired all the time is because I'm not truly "living life" to use his words; he just said that taking on this workload while being so tired isn't such a good idea. I'm not an exciting person, as I've said before. Every opportunity to go out and try to meet people, I have cast aside because I claim to have too much homework to study and enjoy my life, he has said. It's true, though, that I do have a lot of homework I must do, that keeps me from going out and doing stuff.

Venting aside, I really need to learn how to study better.
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  • #2
Studying with others is a really good way to learn the material. It helped me by forcing me to explain my thoughts, by the ability to discuss questions right away, by giving me the structure to wrestle with the important points and by getting to see how others think about things which then enriched my own thinking. I studied both with people who could handle the material better than myself as well as the opposite and liked both situations. I think unless one of you spends most of the time explaining what the problem even is, it's good to study with others at least sometimes. If getting 70% correct on the test is unusually low for you, you probably don't have to worry that you cannot contribute anything to a study group. And regarding your last paragraph, it's also an opportunity to meet people where you don't have to be exciting because the common cause is already given.

So much for the factual. But deep feelings of worthlessness or inferiority can't be addressed by simple study advice. To me, it sounds like you need help by a psychological and/or medical professional. What really seems to complicate the issue is your feeling that things aren't good if you don't achieve them on your own. It may help to reframe things and consider getting help an achievement by itself (which it is).
  • #3
As you point out, you have asked us many, many times what to do. You get the same advice, over and over. You don't take it, wanting to do everything on your own. Fair enough, but if you don't change what you're doing, you won't change the outcome.

What would Bob Newhart say about this?

  • #4
The best study tip I know is study something until you feel good about it, then move on to other stuff. If you break it off too early, you won't get a coherent understanding. So for example, studying late at night is a very bad idea. Since you are living at home, you can have meals made for you, so it should be possible to set aside a start time for study, say 5pm, which gives you five hours straight, probably as much time as you can concentrate, with a meal break in-between. Anyway, advice only works if you follow it so the ball is in your court, so to speak.

1. Why do my current study habits seem ineffective?

There could be several reasons why your current study habits are not working for you. It could be that you are not utilizing your time efficiently, you are not studying in a way that matches your learning style, or you are not giving yourself enough breaks.

2. How can I improve my study habits?

The first step to improving your study habits is to identify what is not working for you. Take a look at your current habits and try to pinpoint areas where you can make changes. It could be as simple as setting a schedule, using study aids, or finding a quiet and comfortable study space.

3. Should I change my study habits frequently?

It is not necessary to change your study habits frequently, but it is important to reassess them periodically to see if they are still effective for you. As you progress through your studies, your workload and learning style may change, so it is important to adapt your study habits accordingly.

4. How long does it take to see results from new study habits?

It is difficult to determine an exact timeline as everyone learns and adapts at a different pace. However, with consistent effort and dedication to your new study habits, you should start to see improvements within a few weeks.

5. Can I seek help for improving my study habits?

Absolutely! Seeking help from a teacher, tutor, or academic advisor can provide you with valuable insight and guidance on how to improve your study habits. Additionally, there are many online resources and study skills workshops available to help you develop effective study habits.

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