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Tip of the Month: Study Tips from Cherrial, a Stanford Student

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I don’t know about you, but things can get pretty overwhelming in my brain when I have so many things adding up on my to-do list. Here are my personal and scientifically backed top study tips for efficiency, quality, and stress management.

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Cherrial's Study Tips

  • Write out your to-do list: Getting things on paper and out of my brain is always a very helpful first step. It brings me peace to see it all listed out and helps me organize my tasks in order of priority.
  • One thing at a time: After I make my list, I have to remind myself that I just need to start on one thing, and take it one step at a time from there. I can’t possibly address it all at once, and if I tried to I would be overwhelmed. Once I start one task, I get into a flow and once it is complete I can move on to the next. I never multi-task, as it is proven to be inefficient, and for me, it feels impossible.
  • Use the Pomodoro Method: This method involves breaking up tasks into smaller chunks of time (pomodoros) and adding breaks to allow the brain to recharge. It might seem like taking breaks is inefficient, but taking breaks has only made me more efficient, focused, and less burnt out at the end of the day. I like to create my amounts of time for working and breaks based on what I’ve noticed about myself and my productivity but yours may look different. Here are the basic steps for the Pomodoro Method:
    1. Decide what you want to accomplish and estimate how long you will study for. Then, break your work into chunks of time (pomodoros).
    2. Set a timer for 25 minutes, and begin studying. 
    3. Try minimizing your distractions during the pomodoro interval. 
    4. After 25 minutes, take a 5-10 minute break. Grab a coffee, jam out to your favorite song, go for a walk, or do something else relaxing.
    5. Repeat steps 2-4. After 4 pomodoros take a longer break for 20-30 minutes.
  • Adopt a growth mindset and perspective: Something that also helps me when I am stressed for an exam or about a grade is to remind myself of a “Growth Mindset”– pursuing learning over results. Through this mindset, I can remind myself that I am here to learn, not achieve. I also realize what is most important to me and if it comes down to choosing between my well-being or an exam, I will choose my well-being first. By adopting this mindset, I can recognize that my life is bigger than the grade I got in my midterm in my junior year of college.

I hope these tips can help you become a more efficient, stress-free version of yourself as you move through the quarter. Be sure to reach out to support if you find it difficult to manage your course load or other personal stressors. You got this!

Written by: Cherrial Ann Odell, Class of 2025

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