Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Thoughts on Study Skills

As an English major, I get asked to help with areas of this nature frequently. My mom is currently teaching a study skills class and asked me for my notes on the subject. It was not a brilliant piece of writing, but it was something that I think might be helpful to others or I might want to look over again, in the future. Thus, I am going to insert the information I gave to her below.

"Would being able to take good (i.e. fast and legible) notes during class count as study skills? That was one of the most important things for me because a lot of my classes were based more on the lectures than on the textbook. One history class, I didn't even open the book because all that was needed was in the notes I took during class. Additionally, if a teacher provides slides, it is good to know how to use the slides as an outline. So print it off and then expound of those as the teacher discusses them. This works really well and helps one follow along.

"When I was taking notes from a book, it was helpful first to keep in mind what the instructor was focusing on and second to make sure I read about those areas in the book (that is, if the teacher leaned on the book instead of making it all lecture based). My health class was this way. I would read the chapter(s) that were to be covered before going to class and make bullet points of the sections, leaving space to write more when the teacher discussed it. Sometimes, she would add information that was not in the book. Other times, there were only a few that were considered "important," so some bullet points would be blank, which was helpful when I went back to study for the tests because I knew to bypass that area. Additionally, if the lecture was based on the book, if was important to have the book there to follow along. I would go back and tab pages that the teacher spent a great deal discussing, so I remembered to read that page again later and before the test.

"Studying for tests, I usually read over all my notes for that section over the course of a few days (because they say your brain retains more information if you sleep in between). I would usually read some as the last thing before bed and then my brain would chew on it all night. For definitions (like in my biology class), I used flash cards and just kept quizzing myself on them. It is amazing how a lot of the information you learn is based on knowing certain key words. Even in history, one has to know the significance of one battle from another."

Those are my notes, in brief. I might expound upon them at a later time, but this is sufficient for now. I did not include my notes on how to study for writing papers, though. In my opinion, these are a very similar set of skills as taking lecture notes and also when one is preparing a speech. These also, I will probably touch on at another time.

Well, I hope this was helpful. For those of you who are still in school and those of you who still retain their inquisitive mind: Happy Studying!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Beginning to Write

When one starts a blog, there is usually something which they desire to communicate. It could be that they want to keep those they love updated or it could be this is a way to have their views published. Perhaps a person who is lonely or shy feels as though a blog will give them "someone" to which they can communicate what they are pondering. Personally, I am not yet sure which of these suggested reasons best describe why I have started a blog. However, one underlying reason would have to come down to this fact - I am a writer.

From the time I was very young, I have enjoyed writing. Something about having an idea in ones head and being able to translate that into words on paper has always appealed to me. I am not saying that I am a good writer by any means. There are distinct times in my memory in which I can recall giving my mother grief over a paper or two. Most of these times it was the subject of the paper which caused my reluctance. However, she must have known that was an area in which I would always be a part. She continued to be patient and persistent, encouraging me all along the way and being my personal editor, even as I took my first English class in college.

Currently, I have taken a break from college indefinitely so that I may devote my time to caring for my engineer, my husband. It is still uncertain if I will be finishing my degree sometime soon or not at all, but "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." (Philippians 4:11) I truly am glad that I am married to my wonderful husband and for these first few months was able to stand by his side as he graduated with his mechanical engineering degree. I am excited to see what the Lord has prepared for us in the future.

So, for now, I will try to keep my writing skills honed and maintain my mental sanity by writing diligently in this blog. My goal is to try to write about a variety of topics so that I may further my own understanding and may stay accountable to not have an idle mind. I will strive to be as the Proverbs 31 woman.

26 "She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 "She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 "Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:"

Writing can be very influential - for good or bad. May I never take that responsibility lightly, even if I am the only person who sees this. May everything that I say always be uplifting, encouraging and instructive.

That being said, this engineer's wife will try to write diligently in decidedly more than 140 characters.