Even if you study your dream program, there’re skills and subjects that you’ll need to learn independently. Whether it’s for your hobby or professional development, self-education is going to be a part of your study life. Granted, teaching yourself a new language or a whole set of skills is no easy fit. Especially, when you have all the regular uni workload to deal with.
It’s hard enough to stay productive with your obligatory studies. So, it feels even harder to do so for self-education. But it’s not impossible. With a few changes to your study routine and overall mindset, you can teach yourself anything. Thus, here are seven tips to follow for mastering anything from a foreign language to a musical instrument.
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The first thing to do is set realistic achievable goals. For instance, if you want to learn French, do not expect yourself to be at the C2 level in just a year. Set a realistic goal of getting to A1 or A2 instead. It’s easy to get all excited about a new skill or subject. But you cannot achieve it running on pure initial excitement. You have to take baby steps first.
Make sure that you have enough time to pick up the pace. Clear up your schedule by looking for an admission essay writer if needed. Make your learning a new skill or a new subject a consistent daily habit. Thus, your daily practice leads you to achieve a bigger milestone in your self-education journey.
Prepare Your Study Materials
Before starting your self-education, get your study materials first. Be it a textbook, an online course, or an instrument you want to learn. Get everything that you need for a study session before starting one. You wouldn’t go to a class in your uni with no syllabus or textbooks. Give yourself a structure to follow.
It is vital for self-education if you want it to work. You can even try to devise a version of a syllabus for whatever you’re teaching yourself. For instance, if you’re trying to pick up an instrument, maybe search for the guides and lessons on Youtube and compile a playlist. Thus, you’ll have a plan and specific steps to follow on your self-education journey.
Create a Routine
A key to staying on top of your studies is having a routine. And if you pursue self-education, routine is necessary for it to happen at all. You need a scheduled study session that you cannot skip. Make it a habit. And of course, to do so, you need to find the method that works best for you.
There is no one way to do it. You can choose:
- The Pomodoro technique. A long study session is split into intervals and breaks.
- The 15-min study. A literal 15-minute study that you’ll do every day.
- Dedicate one full day off to your self-study if deep work is for you.
That’s just a few options to consider to match your already existing schedule. Integrating a self-study activity will take some time and effort. But you can find a way to teach yourself anything without compromising your uni and personal life. It’ll just take you more careful and meticulous time management than usual.
Revise and Repeat
Self-education implies self-control. There’s no teacher that makes you go through quizzes and midterm tests. Thus, you have to make sure that what you’re learning sticks with you. This involves revising and repeating what you’ve already learned. It doesn’t have to be a full lesson in your studying schedule. A short 15-minute recap would be enough.
For instance, if you’re learning a language, you can do a few exercises on a challenging grammatical topic. Or you can watch short videos in the language you’re learning. Thus, you get your daily practice without even thinking too much about it. Keep yourself in check with short revision sessions. And you’ll be mastering anything in a breath.
Speaking about self-control, you’ll also need a way to confirm your progress. Of course, there’s something that you can see for yourself. If you’ve picked up an instrument, you can notice that it gets easier to play. However, self-assessment is not enough for self-education. At some point, you would need to look for external confirmation of your skills.
So, you have to find ways to test yourself to objectively see your level. You can find a test for the language level you’re hoping to achieve online. Or you can ask a professional to assess your musical skills for a reasonable price. You can take an exam in the subject you’re teaching yourself to even get a certificate. There are plenty of options to choose from.
Organize a Study of Space
Last but not least, set a mood for your studies. Make sure that you have a space where you immediately feel like focusing on your work. The chance you’ll do any work on the same bed you’re relaxing in after classes is slim. So, prepare your desk for your study session in advance. And while doing so, you’ve already set yourself in the studying mindset.
Find what works best for you. Make the study space clean and eliminate distractions. It’s easier to lose concentration when you have a million trinkets to look at and play with. Only have your study materials at your disposal in your working space. Maybe a scented candle of some particular smell makes you feel better and more focused. Just keep it simple.
Here you have it. To succeed in self-education, make sure to be realistic about your goals and take baby steps to achieve them. Make sure that you have everything for your studies beforehand. Devise a study routine that would work with your existing schedule. Do not forget to include revisions of learned material in your studies and find ways to test your level objectively. And finally, do not underestimate the power of organized study space.