Monthly Archives: December 2017

Why do I have to learn this?

women run race

 

When I was younger and complained about anything my mother would say, “C’est la vie”, which basically means, that’s life. Often, I hear students complain about how boring school and homework is and how much they don’t like certain subjects, activities, or people. We can’t change the people, we have to take certain subjects to graduate, and we have to complete specific activities to accomplish our academic goals. Sometimes when students complain they say, ‘Why do I have to take so much math if the job I want in the future is not going to require me to understand geometry?’  I also hear, ‘When will I use this stuff in the future?’ Keep in mind that not everything your instructor teaches will be relevant right away. Sometimes we have to trust our instructors that what they are teaching is important for you to learn right now, even if it seems confusing, silly, or unnecessary.

As for when you will use everything you are learning no one knows because no one has a crystal ball to see your future. Take it all in. Learn what you can and try your best because you never know when you might need the knowledge that has been imparted on you. You never know what you will learn about yourself from any challenge whether it be a boring math concept or a history research project that you are having trouble organizing and comprehending. You are not just in a math class or just in a history class. You are in a success class! Learning how to succeed in spite of challenges is what prepares you for a successful future. For now, like Oprah says, “Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.” Keep the “big picture” in mind as you do the things you have to do to be able to achieve your dreams.

Reach for the stars!

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

 

What’s Wrong With the Word, Study?

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/83633410@N07/

photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/83633410@N07/

Teachers will tell students to study or review a particular chapter or section before a test. What does that mean though? Students are not taught strategies for how to study or review material. Most students read over the textbook or their notes again and don’t interact with the material. In order for our brains to truly learn and retain the material we need to do something with what we have read. Knowing how you learn can help you choose the best strategies to help you retain information and get the grade you want on the test. Making a study plan for major tests in advance can help students big time. When I work with students on making a study I do not allow them to write the word, study in their plan. Instead they must be specific as to what they will be doing. For example, create flash cards for science vocabulary words or quiz myself with cues from my notes. With midterms and finals approaching try using specific words to prepare and review for exams.

How does our brain retain information?

First, we encode information by reading. The information goes into our brains and we become familiar with the material. Then, we need to retrieve the information to use it.  We have to get it out. In psychology this is referred to as the “retrieval effect.” “The more things you have it (information) connected to, the easier it is to pull it out, because you have lots of different ideas that can lead you to that particular material,” Mark McDaniel, a Professor of Psychology at Washington University. “And the things you retrieve get more accessible later on, and the things you don’t retrieve get pushed into the background and become harder to retrieve next time.” Hence, the reason why students need various strategies and quizzable tools when preparing for tests. Students need to quiz themselves before the teacher does to see how much they know and reflect on how to retrieve the information in the future.

Preparation and Review Strategies for Students

Preparation

  • Develop study sheets
  • make flash cards
  • make self-tests
  • do problems
  • summarize material
  • predict essay questions

Review

  • Recite study sheet from memory out loud
  • Quiz self with flash cards
  • Take self-tests
  • Recite notes out loud from recall cues
  • Re-create chart from memory
  • Answer essay question

Need help making a study plan for an upcoming exam? Contact me and we can sit down together to create a detailed plan to help you get the grade you want. Wishing you less stress and more success.

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

If You Were the Bravest Version of You

brave

If you were the bravest version of yourself today, what would you be doing?

Being brave means accomplishing your goals and following your dreams even though there is a part of you that is scared out of your mind. There are things that hold us back from reaching our goals. One of those can be fear. Students in middle school, high school, and college, experience fear on a regular basis.

Students’ Top Fears

  • Fear of failure
  • Fear they won’t be liked
  • Fear they will get in trouble
  • Fear of bullies
  • Fear of talking to parents
  • Fear of the future and life after graduation
  • Fear of bad grades
  • Fear of talking to teachers
  • Fear of not being good enough
  • Fear of not having enough money

Benefits of Fear

Fear is an emotion and emotions, whether negative or positive, remind us that we are human. Most fears are not real, but made-up.  They are usually not true threats to your life and success. Being mindful of our fears and recognizing where they come from can help us work through challenges. Analyze why the fear is taunting you before it worsens. Facing our fears helps develop confidence. Confidence derives from achieving what we never thought possible. Listen to your fears and show it who’s boss!

How to be the bravest version of yourself.

Maybe it’s just by showing up to class on time, sitting down and doing the work, and sticking with it even when it feels scary and tough.

Maybe it’s by saying no to the things that will distract you from achieving your dreams and reaching your goals.

Maybe it’s by finally getting started on something new  like a project or something new that you have been wanting to learn or improve upon.

Maybe it’s by reaching out to a friend, coach, or mentor, asking them for help, and giving yourself permission to not have to do this journey on your own anymore. 

Your fears are not going to just vanish. It is human nature to experience fear. It will always be a part of your life. The biggest challenge is to be fearless. It’s to follow our dreams and continue to work towards our goals despite any fear we might have. Be brave.

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“