Trau·ma  Junk· ie  ( 'trau-m&  'j&[ng]-kE) n. Slang
  1. One who has an insatiable interest, devotion or addiction to responding and assisting people with serious injury or shock to the body, as from violence or an accident.

I Should Be Studying...

...but I can't seem to bring myself to it right now.

I'm probably the only one of all the student bloggers who follow my blog, that spends 4-5 hours (sometimes more) a day studying. I know there is a such thing as over-studying, but I can't seem to grasp any of the key concepts if I study for less time.

Just when I think I have a routine going, I realize that I'm not doing as well as I thought I was.

I'm not talking about grades, those are fine; Remember, "C" means continue, lol. What I'm talking about are study habits. If you are anything like me, you never had to study in high school. Subjects like English come as a second nature to me, but I couldn't stand to become an English teacher, so that is why I don't get a B.A. in English (which is about all you can do with a liberal arts degree). However, as we all know by now, the things we learn in our Respiratory Therapy program are not common knowledge. The theories and concepts that we discuss and the formulas we need to learn do not build on information we were taught in grade school. Without having an extensive medical background prior to entering the RT program, what is taught in RT programs is pretty foreign material.

Basically, it's like two years that will either make you or break you, and the choice is yours. So, needless to say, I've decided to fix this problem before I get any further. Every single student I've talked to in my program gives study advice along these lines, "If you have just 30 minutes to an hour to study each day, you'll be fine." Only an hour?!

Now, I know that everybody studies differently, and that amount of time may be all that is needed for some people to learn. I'm certain that I probably need more time than that (just not 5-6 hours), but I feel that if I had a more organized "system" I would be able to spend my study time more effectively and do so in a manner that works for me to learn all that I need to learn, as opposed to just memorizing it. I either spend about an hour and a half making flash cards (and then not having time to study them), reading the entire chapter while highlighting (which takes a very long time when chapters are about 100 pages long, sometimes more), or trying to review study guides that the Professor gives us which generally have about 150 questions on them, all of which take forever to answer and even longer to study.

I feel like when I am studying that I am reading and highlighting and re-reading and not really absorbing the information. I can pass my tests, but I wonder how much of the information I can remember once the test is over. And as you all know, learning the information well enough to graduate from the program is not our goal. We have to be able to remember the information and use it on an everyday basis. We need to be able to use quick and effective problem solving skills, especially during codes or other critical situations.

On that note, I found a book today called What Smart Students Know: Maximum Grades. Optimum Learning. Minimum Time. It is written by Adam Robinson,a lawyer who created the Princeton Review program to help students crack the SAT, ACT, GRE, and many other standardized tests. The author begins on the premise that successful students are not necessarily any more brilliant than their less successful peers, but have simply mastered the art of efficient learning. Robinson then continues by telling you what makes an good student, how they study, and the types of questions they ask. Robinson goes into such great detail as to where you should sit, whether or not you (and your learning style) would benefit from recording lectures, highlighting the textbook, etc.

WARNING: SPOILERS IN THIS PARAGRAPH! My favorite thing about the book is that Robinson tells you the ways that an ineffective student often studies. For example, trying to write down every word in a lecture, or even most of what is said. (I'm guilty of this.) He notes that an effective student underlines in their book, only a few choice words, instead of highlighting because the bright colors tend to distract from the material. And probably my favorite tip is to write questions in the margin that you want to address during lecture.

I'll stop before I give too much away, but so far, I have found it to be an excellent resource. I'm sure you are wondering how I can find the time to read this book in addition to all of the time I spend studying. Well, it's not too hard. The book is organized into small chapters, so it is possible to take five to ten minutes when you have the chance and read an entire chapter. Each chapter builds on the previous, but it is also indexed so that you can find answers to a specific studying problem you are having.

I would recommend What Smart Students Know not only to a fellow student who is having problems studying, but I assume that even a student with great study skills would be able to improve their technique and take their education to the next level.

Well, that's all I have for now. I have to get back to studying since I have an exam of the Normal Development and Anatomy of the Adult Respiratory System in CP A&P this evening. I feel like I've learned more in the last hour of study than I have in the countless hours I've spent studying thus far. I'll keep everyone updated.

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