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Saturday, October 23, 2021

The UCD Files: What type of studier are you?

marxheadshot_opI am as shocked as you, but we must face the facts: week five is over and we’re halfway through another UC Davis quarter. It’s time for another round of midterms. And another round of study habits.

The quarter system has a lot of benefits. Unlike the semester system, we get a full month of May (the best month of college) before finals, spring break comes without study stress and they give us one extra registration time! The main benefit though, in my opinion, is that you aren’t stuck with your classes for too long. This includes my Geology 1 class I took to balance out a hard schedule but ended up writing a 20-page essay for. This includes all upper divisions, and depending on who you are, all classes in general.

The main point is that in the quarter system you aren’t stuck with those classes for half of the school year, and they don’t count toward half of the year’s GPA, like the semester system does. It’s nice to be able to switch classes often, and it comes with gaining more knowledge than you would at a semester school, meeting more people and having more random dinner table facts to prove to your parents that you are learning. It also comes with buying more notebooks, reading more textbooks and taking more midterms and finals. This brings us to the central theme of this column: what type of studier are you and how can you change your stars like Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein. Watch the linked movie, A Knight’s Tale, treating it as a metaphor for how you used to be a procrastinator and became an amazing, famously good studier. Watching this movie will of course reverse that, but imagination goes a long way.

Here are the main study types:

  1. The Studier: This is a person who actually has studying figured out. They are organized, take great notes in class, but still feel the need to retake the notes the day after the lecture and again when the test is approaching. They spend time in the library and use it wisely. It may be the result of AVID (the class that takes people on college tours in ninth grade and teaches note-taking) in high school or good habits created otherwise. It may also just be a rare breed of people who do the right thing. For that, these people are fine and have no need to change their stars.
  2. The Unproductively Productive Studier: The second type is the first of the bad studiers. This person drinks strong coffee and maybe takes certain prescribed study helpers too. Like The Studier, they always allot a good amount of time for studying. The problem is the coffee always makes them motivated to do good work, but this doesn’t always translate to studying. The bad news: this person often wakes up the day of the test with minimal knowledge for the midterm. The good news: their room is impeccably clean and in a different layout than before, including moving the desk that they finally fixed. Their fantasy lineups are set for the entire year, and they’ve probably reconnected with old friends, worked on their resume and may even have color-coated their notes, but haven’t actually studied them. If you are this type of person, to change your stars, try to keep your room relatively clean leading up to midterm season. After that, make sure to study in the library or somewhere outside of your home. As soon as the coffee and others hit you, start looking at your notes. You will study well if studying was the first priority, but if you start with anything else, you may be doomed.
  3. The Facebook Status Poster: I spent much of my college career in this category. This person’s Facebook, Instagram and overall social media presence increases exponentially during study times. The statuses are usually related to studying and how much it sucks. This is ironic, of course, because immediately after posting, they fall into the trap of hoping for and waiting for likes, and then studying who is liking it, how many likes they got on the last one, how much they’re on pace to get now and more. They often fall into the other trap of full-on Facebooking, learning the news feed, finding that person they secretly admire and all of their best pictures, wasting hour after hour. If you recognize this, to change your stars here, remember that your midterm isn’t on Facebook. Don’t study your likers; study your notes. Get a friend to change your passwords for you. I have used this successfully many times. You can change each other’s passwords and not tell them until after the test, just make sure you don’t end up Facebooking on their account. You can also find sites that block Facebook and Reddit and other distractors until you are done studying, but self-control is still needed here to not undo them or find new bad sites.
  4. The Constant Study-Breaker: Like the name suggests, this person is good at studying while they are studying, but they constantly need to stop for a while to get their mind off of it. Some people study for 30 minutes and take a 10-minute study break, while some study for 20 minutes and take a two-hour break. While study breaks are healthy and recommended, these aforementioned ratios are not. Sounds like you? To change your stars by making a set schedule of when your breaks will happen and what you will do. Don’t start a movie and promise yourself you’ll just watch a little on each break, because you’ll never stop. Don’t go home on your breaks, because you may become The Unproductively Productive Studier. Keep your breaks for getting some food or coffee, checking on the success of your Facebook status and other similar short-time activities.
  5. The Overachiever Who Thinks They’re Underachieving: Though this person may get the best grades, their study plan is still arguably flawed. This person has a white board calendar they update daily. They have perfect handwriting on their perfect notes. They are constantly in the library because they have two midterms coming up next month. They made the entire Google Doc but aren’t sure if they did enough for it. They will always walk out of a test they aced saying “I failed it, I know it.” If this is you, to change your stars, Studier No. 5, study hard but keep time for the rest of your life. If you are this type of studier, look at your grades and look at how much time you’ve spent on them. Remember to have a little fun, but please don’t stop making that Google Doc — Studiers No. 1 to 4 need you!

With the second round of midterms right around the corner, take the time to evaluate yourself. It’s perfectly OK if you find that you are one of the above studiers or maybe a combination of them all. Try to change your stars like Ulrich did (watch that movie before the midterms start). It is possible to become a better studier, and you can thank the UCD Files when you do.

The UCD Files is your weekly in-depth look at our campus and the lifestyle that comes with it, featuring an occasional dropping of knowledge from a senior who has experienced it all.

Feel Free to send questions, comments, hate mail, or anything you would like to see in future articles to ADAM MARX at almarx@ucdavis.edu. I’ll try to answer them before midterms start, but no promises.  

Graphic by CA Aggie Graphic Design Team

Photo by CA Aggie Photo Team

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