September 3, 2012
Cater to your senses. I think that it is important to figure out what you are most sensitive to and manipulate that factor. Supposedly I am an auditory learner, but taste and smell also have a great effect on my memory.
Music, as we very well know is powerful. In my last post I toyed with the idea of connections and how singing makes me feel closer to my dad. Sound can also help me focus, and free my mind.
The only way that I can force myself to run my 2.5 miles a day is to blast highly womanizing, explicit music. 50 cent, Eminem and Snoop Dogg usually do the trick. I don’t know if it is that I want to run away from the degrading lyrics or what! But it works. The only way that I can study is, inversely, listening to Maria Callas’ 100 Best. There is really no in between for me.
As suggested in the article below, physical exercise can help make your “hippocampus” bigger…that sounds good to me! Running also helps me relieve the stresses of the day and release my creative side. Letting my mind wander for 30 minutes is sort of like “free time” in fifth grade. Then I could ignore my teacher telling me that I was too young to have a boyfriend, that my social studies skills were not up to snuff and the rumor that I snuck out of my house to visit this boyfriend (I’m still bothered by that!); and now I can forget about whether there is a schwa or an open “e” in my aria, that I have to write paper on WWII, and the fact that I have strep throat. It is simply a time to explore. My exercise time and right before I fall asleep are my most productive, creative times because that is when I am most relaxed. I have found that writing down tidbits of what is bouncing through my brain leads to some solid material.
Study breaks and deferred gratification are also a big part of my work ethic. I have a typical case of mother-diagnosed ADD, and because of that I have to give myself little goals for 2 hour periods. I am also highly food driven. Making up little games for myself is usually the best way to get a paper or homework done. Example “If you get the first page of the music theory homework done in twenty minutes or less you can have two fig newtons”. (this is the sad truth of what I talk to myself about). Although I usually go for a third fig newton, I am sure that I finish my homework much more quickly than I would if I had been eating fig newtons the whole time I was attempting to study. The second article says that those who have the ability to delay a reward have more success in personal, artistic and academic realms. Who knew that making myself wait to eat fig newtons would make me more successful!
Crazy Theories of Mine:
I sleep with a noise maker every night and am convinced that I can’t sleep without it. Some call me a baby, I call me comfortable.
My junior year of high school was particularly difficult. I knew that I had to work the hardest this year because I had a much larger course load and had APs to study for as well as finals. I had noticed that I am very sensitive to smell and taste. When I have a memory (fond or unpleasant) it is usually triggered by a smell or a taste and not any sort of visual. For example, whenever I taste a devil’s food cookie I think of my Grandma Harper and whenever I smell something like moth balls and dust I think of riding on my Grandma Strahm’s rocking horse. I decided that I could use this quark to my advantage. As there are no cookies allowed during final exams I thought of using flavored gum to trigger my memory during the test. About two months before my exams started I laid out five different flavors of gum and assigned them to each class. I then chewed this flavor of gum in my five classes, at home studying, and during tests/quizzes leading up to the big exam. note: make sure not to mix up the flavors! That year I got the best grades on my finals ever and received Headmaster’s recognition as well as High Honors. Yippee! If you try it let me know how it works out for you!
I am curious to know what works best for other people! Please write back and tell me how you study best and if you also enjoy the serenades of D-O-double G.
Ps. the referenced articles are in the comment box