How To Become A Good Student/Chapter 2 - Concentration On Studies

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Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus.
—Alexander Graham Bell
Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain.
—John F. Kennedy

Concentration Is Like Salt Used For Food

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After eagerness comes concentration on studies. One may think that motivation is all that one requires to become a good student, but it is not this easy. Remember: the journey never has a quick end. Education is what schools, colleges and universities are all made for. Concentration isn't something which is always required, but when it is, it must be done whether it is difficult or easy. It can take a long time for some people to learn how to properly concentrate in a given environment, but like in meditation or prayer, it will come with time and practice.

Concentration can be made easier following these steps:

  1. Arouse Concentration By Increasing Its Consciousness In Your Mind
    One can arouse concentration by spending extra time with some good educational chores, or spending time on the Internet searching for good articles at Wikipedia. Yeah! Wiki Rules!
    You can also try chewing thick pieces of gum. The deep muscle exercising of your jaws can help you focus on the task at hand. Some people find bouncing on a big ball while studying will also move those muscles in much the same way.
  2. Reading Books
    Reading good books can arouse concentration towards studies sometimes. Try reading books related to your favorite hobbies, subjects, role models, etc.
  3. Good Hobbies
    Reading books can actually belong in this category. Like other good hobbies, it not only arouses concentration for studies, it also arouses concentration for lifetime processes.
  4. Discussion On Projects
    Discussion on certain good subjects (e.g., physics phenomena) also leads to concentration automatically. It can also help you to remember important information in those subjects, as discussing things will often embed concepts and key facts deeper into your mind.
  5. Environment
    Make sure there is nothing to distract you. You should have a working surface such as a desk in front of you, but some people may prefer to work on the floor. Remember that the optimum goal is to achieve comfort so that you can focus on your work. Clear everything off your desk or other surface so that you only have what you need on it. Nothing can make work harder than continuously looking for space to put your books, so put things you don't need on a shelf or somewhere else where they will not distract you. On top of that, make sure that there is nothing which may divert your attention away from your work such as a game, or even any books and papers which you don't need. Some people will be surprised at how much their mind can wander when they are trying to do work!
  1. Make sure you have done your dishes, cleaned the sink, and that you have done all the other things you suddenly 'want' or 'need' to do when you should start studying. Another option is to do your work in the library. Many libraries will provide a room which is specially designed for studying in. They may even go so far as to provide some light music to listen to while you work!
  1. One major thing that you want to avoid is doing your homework on your bed, in the kitchen or in the lounge room. Your mind is conditioned to performing different activities in these rooms which do not require the same level of concentration as when you are studying. For example, if you try doing work on your bed, you may suddenly feel tired! This is because your body is used to sleeping on a bed, not doing work. Another negative effect is that you may find it harder to sleep at night, as your body becomes confused as to whether it should be concentrating or relaxing.
    For the same reasons, try to avoid the following:
    • Eating heavy meals at your designated work area. (Light snacks might be acceptable for some people)
    • If you are able, try not to do your work on your computer desk if you use it mostly for playing games. That's why many houses have a 'study' room.
    With time, your body will become used to concentrating at your work area, and you may find studying much easier after a while!
  2. Time
    Time is important in two ways. First, think about when you are most able to study, when you are most awake. Is it in the morning, the afternoon or in the evening? Study at that time.
    Second, don't try to study for a whole day, or even a whole afternoon. Study for 45 minutes or an hour and take a break of about 15 minutes.
    Students can increase their concentration by doing exercises and yoga in the morning. One of the best tips being tried by many Indian students to increase their concentration is Brahmari pranayam.
    To practice it:
    • Sit in a relaxed posture
    • Take a deep breath inside
    • Close both of your eyes using your index and middle finger
    • Close your nose with your third finger
    • Close your ears with your thumbs
    • Exhale slowly

Use your creativity One effective way of developing deeper level of understanding is to use creative skills to think on the subject. One can do that by trying to arrive at the conclusion from a different point of view, or by trying to make original questions. This technique is elaborated here. Following these can help your concentration and increase your comfort so that you can focus on the work at hand.

That's it for here. Let's learn manners next.