Studying can easily lead to frustration for a lot of people. Most students dread studying and end up procrastinating until the last minute to prepare for the exams. Even working adults may procrastinate the training they need to get ahead of their profession. However, if you can learn to enjoy the process of studying, you’ll be able to gain better results while at the same time enjoy a more pleasant experience in your school as well as in life.
Why do we hate studying?
Why humans like or hate certain things are usually affected by how we associate things with each other. For example, studying is a mentally taxing activity that people usually associate with frustration automatically. Additionally, if you have previously not performed well academically, you may also associate studying with unpleasant emotions such as a sense of failure, disappointment in yourself etc. As a result, you would prefer to do other more enjoyable activities which result in procrastination.
Learning to enjoy studying
If you are already asking the question “How could I make studying enjoyable?”, you are already one step ahead of your peers by recognizing the issue you are facing. Here are some tips you could implement to help yourself learn to enjoy studying
Associate studying with things you like
The classic method parents use to encourage their little kids to study is to “bribe” them. What they are doing here is to incentivize their children by pairing the thing they like with studying. By this concept, we could pair studying with another thing that we like, basically “bribing” ourselves. A simple example is by giving ourselves some treats once we finished certain tasks/sessions of study. But the downside of this is there is potential this may not work for the long term. Ultimately if we lose the willpower to be disciplined, we know that we can just skip studying and get the rewards regardless.
A better way is to find a more intrinsic value to be associated with studying. It could be finding reasons why we would want to study in general or linking a certain subject that we hate to another thing that we love to do. For example, we could remind ourselves that "studying = success". We may hate studying now, but we know for sure that we would need good grades to be able to secure or at least have the choices for the career we want in the future. Spend some time to think about how this applies to your goals, and constantly remind yourself why you would want to study hard now.
Consciously making the effort to find the connections and reasons why we would want to study makes the difference in finding studying enjoyable
Record your progress
Humans innately like to see progress. This is likely because we will associate progress with positive feelings, such as a sense of achievement. When we make progress, we will be more motivated to put in the effort to do even better. Hence if you track your progress visually, you could make studying more enjoyable.
If you cannot study for a whole hour, then don’t. While some students can and do study effectively for more than one hour, if you are not one of these students, then do not force yourself. If you do this, it will likely just waste your time, since you would be studying less effectively, and moreover, this may cause you to dislike studying even more.
Instead, take small breaks after a shorter amount of time depending on your attention span. Take the example of the Pomodoro technique where you focus on a task for 25 minutes before taking a short break. Take short breaks of 2-3 minutes, to go to the restroom, bring some snacks, stretching, etc. When you are back for your next session you would be more refreshed and able to study better.
Make it interesting
Every student has learning approaches that work best for them. Generally, there are three main types of learning styles: Audio, Visual, and Kinesthetic learners. Find out what type of learner you are and change your learning approach accordingly. Click here to find out more.
Focus on the studying itself
As already mentioned above, humans tend to associate things that they like or dislike. And we tend to associate studying with some things that we dislike such as fear of failure/assessment which makes us dislike studying as well. Therefore, if we just focus on the act of studying instead of the things we associate it with, we would be able to find studying enjoyable more easily. Look at what is in front of you and think of it as a puzzle that you need to solve, that way you will be able to find the challenge more enjoyable rather than frustrating.
The tips above would not turn you from someone who dreads studying to someone who loves studying overnight. But if you consciously make the effort to apply these tips, slowly but surely you would find studying less and less dreading as time goes.
All the best and happy learning!