In this edition of ‘New Semester, New Habits’ we talk to the Library Learning Skills team about how to implement new habits within your learning in this semester. We understand that learning online can be really difficult to get your teeth into so hopefully some of these tips and tricks help you form those study habits that you need to succeed.
Whatever point in the semester you come to this, now is always a good time to think about getting into habits that will help you in your academic life – and there are lots of things you can do! Here are some suggestions from your Library Learning Skills Team.
How would you suggest someone approach a new semester?
Re-engage with the library. You may not be able to visit the library buildings in person at this time, but are you aware of all the other services that are being offered to you? For example, did you know that library staff can scan a book chapter and email it to you? Check the library website for more info. The library purchases new eBooks every day so you can access and read loads of relevant books without leaving your armchair. Rather than starting a new habit that is difficult to maintain you could add something into your usual activities to give them an academic flavour – for example if you regularly check social media then include reading updates on the library blog or add the Library Twitter account to those that you follow: @ccculibrary
Are there any vital habits that all students should consider?
Read, read, and read some more! A great activity if you are not getting out much at the moment… Start with books on your module reading lists, skim through the contents pages, dip into chapters, find out more about a subject that may be new to you or gain new insights into something you are interested in. Reading will expand your mind, increase your knowledge, and stimulate your creative thinking. If you want to start a new reading habit, then make it easy and achievable. You can’t read a whole new book every day, but perhaps set aside 30 mins at the same time every day for some concentrated reading. Try and cultivate the habit of recording details of the books you read and where you take notes from, as you will need to know this to reference them later. Use whatever system works for you, whether this is just keeping a list in a document or spreadsheet, or using a reference management tool such as RefWorks (see our library guide)
Develop your skills! Check out the Library’s Learning Skills Hub for a wide range of modules to help you to develop your study skills. For example, there are modules to help you with managing your online practice while away from campus such as Online Learning Skills and Effective Online Research, and modules about tackling your assignments such as Planning an Assignment, Critical Thinking, Essay Writing and Referencing. Each module provides a quick assessment for you to consolidate your new skills at the end.
Get organised. Even if you do not feel like a “naturally organised” person, spending a bit of time planning can really help you to feel on top of things. You may want to make a calendar with assignment deadline dates or keep an updated list of books you want to read or further references to follow up. There are many organisational tools you could investigate available through your Microsoft 365 package with the university such as your Outlook Calendar, Microsoft To Do which helps you manage your daily tasks, or Microsoft Planner for managing projects and assignments.
How can students access the support they need to further their academic development?
If you’d like some support in developing your library and study skills, or some advice in planning your new semester and managing your time effectively, you can always contact your Learning Skills Team through the Learning Skills Hub. You’ll find a dedicated team in the Faculty for your course, and you can book a one-to-one tutorial to speak directly with your Learning & Research Librarian or Learning Developer.
Your best piece of advice for anyone wanting to start a new habit?
However you decide to approach your new semester, forming a new habit of learning doesn’t have to be tough. Start small by allotting times in your week to study and build on your habits as you get into your routine. Don’t forget to allow yourself time to relax and take regular breaks so that your new schedule is sustainable, enjoyable and achievable!
Thank you again to the Library Learning Skills team!
by Amy Bayliss-Fox, SGO Projects Officer #livingwell in conversation with the Library Learning Skills team.