Students find different ways to study

November 6, 2009 — by Denise Lin and Synthia Ling

Looking at her planner at 9:30 p.m. on a Thursday night, junior Kaitna Shankar feels overwhelmed. She has an environmental science exam, a math quiz and an English essay all due tomorrow. But after a harsh day of school and Color Guard practice in the evening, she feels her eyes begin to droop as she lethargically sifts through a chapter about global warming. Shankar, frustrated by her lack of focus, decides to hit the sack and instead sets her alarm for 5 a.m., at which time she will wake up and complete her homework and studying.

Although the prospect of waking up at 5 a.m. may seem strange or even impossible to some, it has simply become a part of her unusual studying schedule.

“I do it all the time now,” said Shankar. “My schedule is usually going to bed and then waking up early.”

Studying seems like a simple task of just opening a textbook and reading the material that will be tested, but some students Shankar have unusual methods to prepare themselves.

Shankar’s schedule developed because she would simply be too tired to study or complete homework at night.

“It’s really bad of me because at night when I’m really tired, I just go ‘Oh, I’m going to read this on my bed,’” said Shankar. “Then I just fall asleep on my bed. And then I just wake up early and do it.”

At first, working in the morning was difficult for Shankar .

“The first couple of times I wouldn’t wake up early and I’d be [unprepared],” she said. “Then I started waking up early and it got easier for me. I just take a shower to wake me up, and I then study.”

Juggling Color Guard and a hectic junior year schedule, Shankar finds she is often too tired to stay up late.

“I’m exhausted at night because I always have really long days,” said Shankar. “So I will just wake up early and do it because I just can’t focus when I’m tired.”

While some students study best in the early morning hours, others require a particular type of environment to concentrate. Junior Katie Gifford incorporates both auditory and visual techniques into her learning. She studies in her room and makes flash cards, but she also needs to have her one-liter water bottle always by her side.

“I like to be drinking something so I can keep hydrated and so I don’t get thirsty,” said Gifford.

She also enjoys playing her favorite songs on iTunes while working.

“I like to listen to music a lot like Beyoncé or Taylor [Swift]. When I do my APUSH homework I like to listen to the [soundtrack of] ‘Last of the Mohicans,’” said Gifford. She fell in love with the theme song from “Last of the Mohicans” after she watched the movie in teacher Kim Anzalone’s AP US History class.

“If I listen to a song I like it makes me more motivated,” said Gifford. “If I’m really tired and I don’t want to do my homework, I listen to an upbeat song and then I just feel more motivated to get done. “

Gifford and Shankar have crafted their own learning techniques to ensure academic success.

“I don’t know how I would be able to learn without ‘Last of the Mohicans’ playing in the background,” said Gifford. “I wouldn’t be able to focus without it.”

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