Monday, October 24, 2016

Tips for a Better Semester


If you are in Year One like me, the first semester was probably quite a surprise for you (I just heard a mixture of sighs and cheers). Many of you should be able to relate to the various challenges faced while working on projects and with new classmates. You may have been stressed out over assignment deadlines and upcoming tests.

After evaluating my own experience in the past semester, I came up with the following guidelines for myself for the new semester. Who knows, they might just work for you too. Check them out!

Don’t Dwell on the Past
I hope that I was not the only one with conflicts in my groups. Being new to studying in a polytechnic, I am sure we all had faced disagreements during group discussions. All I will say is that even if the first semester did not go too well for you, and you did not score that perfect GPA, just move on and leave the unhappiness behind! Clinging onto the past only affects your perception of the future. Learn how to get over the bad experiences and try to form a better attitude for the new semester. Agree?

Speak Up

In polytechnic, you need to communicate effectively in order to reduce misunderstandings, especially when in a group. Although I am shy by nature, I will always voice out my opinions in group discussions. More ideas can be contributed and considered that way. You should try it too.

For example, when faced with problems in your research, never be afraid to raise them to your groupmates! What my team members and I did was to exchange our research segments and re-allocate the work load. Interesting teamwork here? Yes. This will not only improve the quality of your work, it will also develop your confidence and trust in others.

Also, approach your friends, lecturers or tutors whenever you need help. Accumulating your doubts till the deadline, or even till the semester examinations brings you no benefit at all!

Sharing is Caring

They say the best way to learn is when you teach others. Why? It actually forces you to recall your knowledge. Study groups are a common sight in NYP. I am in one myself. A study group helps to encourage everyone to succeed together.

It is always nice to be able to share your knowledge, notes and even tips to cope with tests and examinations. Don’t you think so? Never forget that we should always help others as long as it is within our ability. One day they might just return the favour when you need it most!

Set a Goal

The biggest mistake I made during the previous semester was that I procrastinated...way too much. You want your work to be completed but your incoming WhatsApp messages are too tempting and you simply need to check them? Well, I am totally in your shoes. I have a perfect solution that works for me. That is to reward yourself after completing a task. My motivation is always to have a longer sleeping time (Sleep is awesome)! Hence, I would always complete assignments even if they are not due urgently.

Find a Conducive Work Environment

The majority of my friends find that they are unable to concentrate on their assignments and revision at home. I think that is pretty normal, since we can have many things at home to distract us from our work. Personally, I find my home conducive enough, but this does not apply to all students.

Thus, I would totally recommend the NYP Library! It has a few reading lounges available, often silent enough for students to use. I usually head to the North Wing of library during the long break hours between lessons to do my work. The air-conditioned environment is a blessing. If you need to find a suitable place for your learning, be sure to identify your main distractions first. An ideal learning environment would be somewhere without those distractions.

Focus on learning, not grades

Grades are usually what most people are concerned about. Agreed, we do need to achieve good grades. But I realized focusing on just the GPA was too stressful for me, so I started to change my mindset towards studies.

To me, learning is now a way for me to explore and accumulate new knowledge in an enjoyable manner. I am no longer using GPA as a goal to motivate myself. I can assure you that if you broaden your mindset towards learning, you will produce the results of your dreams. We should aim for happiness in our NYP journey, not stress!

Lastly, I wish you all the best and have a happy semester ahead! :)

By: Boo Wei Ting, Diploma in Chemical & Pharmaceutical Technology

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