How You Can Make the Most Out of 2022 Academically

Written by one of our superstar academic leaders, Larissa Isakov.


There is little doubt that the Omicron variant has cast a long shadow over the start of 2022. Perhaps we initially thought that we’d left the worst of COVID behind in 2021 and start 2022 with flying colours. The case numbers, RAT test shortages, supply chain issues and the lingering threat of lockdown suggest otherwise. 

From your perspective as a student, it is tempting to see 2022 as another year of doom and gloom; yet another year where COVID has disrupted your learning and your ability to experience a “normal school life”. However, 2022 doesn’t need to be seen as another write-off. There is so much you can be doing to get ahead and maintain momentum throughout the year. 

Beyond the usual advice such as “stay organised” and “keep on top of your study”, here are three things you can do to make the most out of 2022 academically even if 2022 ends up being another “COVID year”. 

 

Tip #1: Celebrate the “Mini Victories”

Navigating school generally (especially in a COVID world) is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. Celebrating small wins, or what I call “mini victories”, is important so you can recognise the small achievements you make throughout the year. This way, you can be assured that you are progressing in your study. 

So, if you receive an extraordinary mark for an assessment you were working hard on, or if you finally overcome your procrastination and finish writing study notes for your prescribed text for English, take time off to celebrate these achievements. Never mind the fact that school hasn’t finished, or that you haven’t sat your final exams and received a final mark for your subject; don’t leave it until December of 2022 to celebrate getting through what may end up being a very tough year!! Start now!

Tip #2: Plan Your Breaks

We are told time and time again to plan our study, but how often are we told time and time again to plan our breaks? In fact, I suggest that you start with planning time for a break and then plan your study time. Why? Because planning when you will take time off during the week is crucial for mitigating burnout and reducing stress. Seeing the “end of the tunnel” helps maintain motivation and makes your study throughout the week seem less overwhelming. You will find that your study will become more focused throughout the week because you know you will have some time to reward yourself with a day off. 

And most importantly, stick by this. Do not skip your rest day just because you may have fallen behind in your school work throughout the week and you have some catching up to do!! School work can wait until the next study session.

Tip #3: Study Smart, Not Hard

Let’s start with a little anecdote. You are learning a language. You spend hours and hours every day learning the alphabet, grammar structures, a little bit of vocabulary; you do it all!! You spend three years learning your new language. But despite all the study and all the work you have put in, you still cannot remember any of it and you can’t speak it fluently. 

You then look over to your friend who has only spent six months learning the same language that you are learning. They started with learning sounds, phonetics and pronunciation. They have also learnt vocabulary, but they decided to learn vocabulary using pictures rather than translations. Already, you notice that they have a much better time with pronunciation and can remember far more vocabulary than you can. You’re surprised (and perhaps a little deflated!!) at their progress; they’ve only spent six months learning the new language and they know more than you. 

My point being: Just like language learning, there are better ways for you to study. Focus on studying effectively. You should be maximising your results without necessarily maximising your hours of study. 

Here are a few tips: 

  • Identify your weaknesses in each subject area, then prioritise studying these areas. 
  • Your study should be challenging but not undoable. On the flip side of this, your study should also not be too easy to the extent that you’ve sailed through everything you need to do without any difficulty. 
  • Make your study notes as concise as possible. This will not only save time, but it will also be of more value to you at exam time. There is nothing worse than trying to revise from a brick of 100+ pages of notes. Once again, we’re saving time here. 
  • Prioritise tasks that have future value. A set of solid study notes definitely has future value because it can be used time and time again throughout the year and during exams. In contrast, completing a set of multiple choice textbook exercises for revision doesn’t necessarily have as much value because chances are that you won’t even look back at what you wrote later in the year. 

 

And one final tip… have fun with it all!! School and study do not have to be boring. Get a group of friends or a study group together and meet up a couple of times a week (even if it is just for lunch!!). Having a network of amazing people will make school in a COVID era far less isolating. And what’s even better is that you don’t even have to leave your house all the time to catch up; simply jump on a Zoom call!!

 

Good luck 🙂 

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