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SMU Libraries

Library Peer Advisors: Advice from UG for UG: 3 Survival Strategies

Who We Are. What We Do.

#1 Time Management - A Personal Responsibility

All books on study skills mention time management and setting goals as key. Here's a quick way you can do so. Visualise it! You owe it to yourself to take some time during the day to form a mental picture of what you want to achieve for the day. A quick takeaway here is to exercise personal responsibility and commit time to processes that enable you to do things efficiently.

So which quadrant do you think you are in right now? The above table was adapted from Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Create a To-Do List

  • Suggested applications for daily to-do lists: Microsoft Sticky Notes, Remember the Milk, Macbook Stickies 
  • Plan what tasks you would like to complete for the day in order to allocate sufficient time to complete them
  • Consider dividing your list into different categories like the chart above! 
  • Consider sorting your academic work based on your mood, e.g. when you feel creative, consider working on a writing assignment

Do Only One Thing at a Time

  • Studies show that multitasking results in damage to your brain and a drop in your IQ similar to someone who didn't sleep the night before 
  • It is advisable to switch off distractions (social media, messaging apps etc.) that might prevent you from completing your work efficiently 
  • Start with simple techniques like closing unnecessary tabs in your browser or placing your mobile phone away from you

Make Organisation Fun

  • Suggested applications for conclusive organisation: Google Calendar, Habit Tracker for iOS and Android
  • Calendars: Keeping all your events in one place can give you an overview of your day/week/month and allow you to allocate your time wisely to each activity
  • Habit trackers: Keeps you motivated with routines you are trying to cultivate
  • Visual cues allow you to see what activities are coming up next and the progress you are making, encouraging consistency and self-accountability!

#3 Mental Wellness - Practice Self-Care

The long-lasting effects of the pandemic have impacted every aspect of our lives, and we have to adjust to the volatile new normal. Putting ourselves in this situation adds stress and anxiety, and we ought to prepare ourselves by learning how to cope with stress and anxiety in a healthy manner. Most of the time, it would do better for us to take time to care for our bodies and mind, enabling us to be the best versions of ourselves.

Here are some daily mental health tips by the LPAs for students who need support: 

If ever you think these tips are not enough, please do not hesitate to seek professional help! A good place to start is your local health worker or SMU’s Mrs Wong Kwok Leong Student Wellness CentreHelplines can also be a great source of support. 

Here is a quick video that may help you discover your own way to self-care:

#2 Taking Classes - Study Smarter Not Harder

Classes are a major part of a student’s university life. Preparing for it involves some techniques, which are divided into three segments: Before, During, and After Classes. 

Before Classes

  • Check your timetable
  • Go onto eLearn and download all the content for the week
  • Get all the slides and notes ready
  • Pre-read all the content
  • Make sure your laptop, tablet and other electronic devices are fully charged
  • Make sure to take your name tents
  • Pack all the necessary items required for the class

During Classes

  • Reach class 10 minutes earlier
  • Place your name tents in front of your desk
  • Listen carefully and class-part wisely
  • Participate actively and contribute constructively
  • Do remember, ‘Quality is valued better than Quantity’

After Classes

  • Make sure you clear all your doubts before leaving the class
  • Revise and do the homework/assignments, if any
  • Develop a weekly schedule for revision
  • Reach out to your group members if need be

The best time to start is NOW! Here are LPAs' ProTips for effective studying: 

Tired of reading? Watch a video:

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