To be successful as a massage therapy student, one must be successful within oneself. Good study habits can help a student overcome pitfalls and build the discipline needed for personal and professional success.
After deciding to enroll as a massage student, you might ask yourself, "How do I do this?" The anatomy and physiology curriculum alone may appear overwhelming. You then ask yourself: "How am I going to remember all this information?"; "What am I going to do to make all this class work and homework fit into my schedule?"; and "When will I find time to study?"
Whether you've decided to continue your education after high school or seek a new career later in life, it can be a challenge to practice good study habits. We all have a busy schedule-working a day job, catching two buses to get to class and making sure the children get to school, as examples. The workday may end at 5 p.m., but classes can continue until 10 p.m.
Putting a plan in place is the first step to formulating good study habits. Take some time to think about your goals. The old-fashioned method of writing a plan out on paper can help with this process, as it allows you to use all three forms of learning: audio, or hearing yourself; visual, or seeing your written thoughts; and kinesthetic, or writing your plan. Put your plan in an organized format, so you will have the necessary knowledge and information needed for future endeavors.
Separate easier tasks from those more challenging. Your timeline, outcome and resources available may determine whether certain goals are short term or long term.
- Short term. Any outcome that may occur within a 12-month period is considered short term. Goals may be divided into daily, weekly or monthly categories. It is rewarding when easier goals are achieved, making long-term goals a little less challenging.
- Long term. Any outcome that would require more than a year to achieve is considered long term.
Mindset can lead to positive or negative outcomes. No matter how much life experience one has, there is always something to learn.
- Keep an open mind. When we close our minds to new information and experiences, we prevent the opportunity for our minds to expand and grow with knowledge.
- Accept failure. We are not perfect. Rather than focus on failures, think about what you learned today that you didn't know yesterday.
- Positive and negative mindset. There will always be negative distractions that may have an impact on your goals; however, having a positive mindset can help overcome the hurdle.
By using some of the following suggestions, you will find time you didn't realize was available.
- Make a 24-hour clock. This activity will help you see, on paper, how busy your schedule really is. A few extra minutes here and there can be utilized to better prepare for an exam, for instance. Reviewing flash cards or other study materials while riding public transportation is an example of how to maximize the use of available time.
- Prioritize. Once you see your schedule demands on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, you can prioritize your study time.
- Stick to it. This may require learning how to say "no" when friends call.
It's never too late to develop study skills. Here are several techniques proven to be helpful.
- Flash cards. Flash cards serve as a self-quizzing tool. They are convenient, easy to make and available ready-made for purchase.
- Key terms. Learn key terms related to the subject matter being presented and you will absorb more from reading assignments and lectures.
- Word association. Word association will tie in new information to what you already know. It can be based on an event, person or experience that closely relates to the subject matter.
- Note-taking. Focus on key terms, and ask the instructor to meet after class for clarification. There is no such thing as a dumb question-except the one you don't ask.
These are a few of the many study habits you can incorporate to become successful in school and in your personal and professional lives.