How to Study in College

After enjoying a summer of traveling, volunteering, camping, interning, hanging out with friends or whatever other shenanigans you might have been up to, it can be difficult to get back into the Princeton mindset.

Even though we are already a month in to the semester, I am still trying to remember how to do school! If you’re anything like me, you’re still working to rebuild your study habits.  As we all begin to prepare for midterms (eek!), here are some study tips and tactics tailored to your learning style.

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Principedia: A Wiki for Better Learning!

Last Saturday, I joined around forty students and faculty members gathered in the Mathey common room as part of Principedia’s fall Hackademics. The goal? In the words of McGraw Associate Director Nic Voge, sharing what students have learned about the hidden curriculum at Princeton.

Students working hard at the Spring 2015 Hackademics! Image courtesy of the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. Used with permission.
Students working hard at the Spring 2015 Hackademics! 

Whether or not they call it by name, most students have recognized the “hidden curriculum” of learning expectations and demands behind every Princeton course. I’ve often had to puzzle out the best learning strategies for my classes– from watching MAT 202 video review sessions before exams to talking through principal parts with friends in language classes– by trial and error. Online course evaluations are usually emotionally-charged and of limited help, and professors and TAs don’t always give students concrete advice. Continue reading Principedia: A Wiki for Better Learning!

An Ode to Academic Free Time

This summer, in the unlikely sleepy town of Selianitika, Greece, I had an unforgettable immersive learning experience. I applied to the Paideia Institute’s Living Greek in Greece program, devoted to immersion in Ancient Greek, at the urging of a friend. It would be perspective-changing, she said. Instead of running between classes and juggling ten different assignments at once, I would have one task–to grow comfortable with Ancient Greek–and an incredible amount of free time.

The Selianitika coastline, where I walked every day during my time in Greece!

It was a perspective-changing shift from my Princeton experience. I often feel limited by the lack of time available to fully experience the overwhelming material in my classes on campus. Beyond my Indo-European linguistics class, I want to browse through the Classics section of the library to see what I can find. In my computer science course, I want to do the optional exercises and play around with code. But independent exploration and extra-curricular learning can be hard to make time for, and I often end up working from one assignment to the next. Breadth and depth are challenging to achieve together.

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