Student Success Strategy #1: Ask Yourself a Question

I used to write my papers the night before they were due.  As a fast typist, I could get a lot written in a short time.  I used to say that it took until the night before so my brain would process all the information I had gathered, organize it into coherent thoughts, and then give me the motivation to sit down and put it on paper.

It worked.  I really only thought about the paper for one night, then finishing it quickly allowed me to stop thinking about it, so the pressure was off.  Success.

But I didn’t learn anything.  As soon as I completed that paper and stopped thinking about it, the information was no longer in my head.  If I had been asked to discuss the paper a week later, I could barely remember the topic.

Student Success Strategy #1:  Develop a question instead of a topic.  What about the topic is interesting to you?  Is there a solution you should find or create?  What will happen in the future?

Instead of “Prisoners of War” you could ask “Do prisoners of war need more or less treatment than other military members for post-traumatic stress?”

Instead of “U.S. Economy” you could ask “What happens to small businesses during a recession?”

Instead of “Dysfunctional Families” you could ask “How do different cultures define dysfunctional families?”

What do you want to learn?  Even in a class you are required to take outside your major, you should be able to find a topic that will help you think in a way that matches your interests.


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