Back to school time is here again.
Although I try to keep this blog focused on dharm, the reality of our lives is that we live in the real world, we have to go to school, study, get jobs, and serve through our financial and kirt seva. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time researching study skills, thus far I haven’t found any strategies that feel like they are a good fit for me. Most of them seem too artificial or inefficient. In the hopes of helping out the dharmically minded youth, I present to you the best study skills blog, with the best study skills methodology that I’ve found. Please spread this everywhere, on all the forums, so that our youth can get a leg up.
Additionally, maintaining jat-sat is a huge help. To waste this energy weakens our concentration.
Focus on the mool mantr helps immensely in building up our concentration. Or any other Bani. A focused mind is far more capable of understanding and remembering complex information in less time than an unfocused mind. The extra time savings can be put into more abhyaas or into further study.
And to deal with the stress – remember that the results are not in our hands, they are God’s. Instead of wasting time and mental energy by worrying (which by the way, weakens our concentration), keep your mind focused on study and abhyaas. Listen to the gareebi nimrata nitnem that you can download from http://www.gursevak.com on your ipod 24/7. Even if you can’t focus on it all the time, it will still reduce stress just by being on in the background.
Regular exercise cannot be overemphasized. A healthy diet, a B-100 vitamin to help with alertness, and regular pranayam yoga will also help with alertness. Basically, if you don’t know what the ingredient in some food product is, or you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably something really unhealthy for you. Massage some oil (such as almond oil, coconut oil) on your scalp for lubrication. Top of head, top-back part of head, and the temples are the main locations for this. You can even squirt mustard oil up your nostrils at night to reduce kushkee (dryness) of the brain, scalp, and eyes. It helps in reducing nasal congestion if you have that problem.
Here’s an excerpt from the study skills blog that I want you guys to spread around:
I’m in the middle of a challenge that might scare most students in my position: I’m writing a doctoral dissertation and a book simultaneously. (Literally: my thesis and manuscript are due within a week of each other.)
This requires, on average, 4 – 6 hours of hard focus (split about evenly between the two projects) per day, five days per week.
I could not have pulled this off five years ago. But in the intervening half decade, I’ve been pushing hard to expand my hard focus capacity. As my graduate student experience progressed, I systematically increased the amount of time I would force myself to work continuously without a break to seek unrelated stimulation. This culminated in my current schedule in which I write for 2 – 3 hours, take a break for lunch, e-mail, and exercise, and then work on my thesis for 2 – 3 hours, before finishing for the day.
This blog is a great resource to make your own studying more effective.