Tips for College Introverts from Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet discusses in depth the role that introverts can play in business.

I have been thinking about how that might apply to college students. I worried in my last blog entry that perhaps a entrepreneurship oriented economy might disadvantage introverts. This may be true in some cases. Nonetheless, the book goes to great lengths to highlight the skills and inclinations that introverts bring to the table can be very valuable in business. Susan Cain discusses the advantages of introversion like sensitivity, firmness, preparedness. These things can work out just fine in college.

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Study Tip – Pink Noise Fuzzes Out Sound

Pink Noise is like a “warmer” form of static

Our brains quickly learn to ignore it, but it saturates the auditory system and makes it easy to tune out other noises. I find that when I am stressed, I need a quiet environment without distraction to study effectively. This is a tip that works about as effectively as any earplugs or noise-canceling headphones.

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Study Tip – Mind Mapping Videos

A list of Mind Mapping Instructional Videos

I find that the most effective studying uses 3 phases: 1. exposure, 2. incubation, and 3. reiteration. Your brain wasn’t designed for cramming. Like it or not, repeated exposure make things feel important and memorable. It seems boring, but I do not think that there is a good way around it. You can take notes as an outline or mind map. Once you have your notes on paper, let them sit for at least a few hours. Then copy them along with diagrams and reference from the textbook into your own bound notebook. There are a lot of interesting videos about Mind Mapping on Youtube. I have posted a few here.

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Study Techniques 3 – The Pomodoro

Taking Short and Long Breaks Effectively

The Pomodoro technique is named because it uses a 25 minute timer. The original timer looked like a little tomato (Italian for tomato is Pomodoro). Your timer doesn’t have to look like a tomato. The point is that you set your timer for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break. Effective five-minute breaks work when you do absolutely nothing. The point is to let your brain relax. Stare out a window. Stare at a wall. Just sit quietly. At the end of five minutes you will be very bored and want to get back to work.

pomodoro_timer
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Study Techniques 2 – All The Things, All The Time

I wish my University had provided a good introduction to study techniques.

When I used to ask my professors how to study for their class, they would often answer, “Study all the things, all the time.” In some sense, this is good for your education. The professor would be cheating you of your full experience of the material if he said “just study this subset of the material.” If that was what he wanted you to learn, then he would have taught a smaller amount of material. Still, it was not very helpful.
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