Are you studying? Short of time? Short of money? You need to be more resourceful. But doing what you can with what you have can be difficult if you don’t know where to start. Here are five tips for students who want to get the most from their study materials.
I’ve been busy this week completing tasks for GISHWHES (the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen). The tasks aren’t trivial. As an example: IMAGE: You, dressed as The Flash in the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) tunnel. If this is too difficult, you will get full credit for dressing as The Flash in any actual, operational particle accelerator.
The LHC is located in Switzerland. Most of the other operational particle accelerators are in the USA with a few in Russia, China, and different areas of Europe. You’ll forgive me for thinking “impossible!” when I saw the item. Then one of my teammates said her friend’s boyfriend works at LHC (yes, the one in Switzerland) and asked him about dressing as The Flash (and that’s another story for another time).
It made me think about how often we dismiss things before really thinking about how we can achieve the seemingly impossible. Like, studying online when you don’t have a computer.
1. Studying online when you don’t have a computer
We live in an era of collaborative consumption (a term first coined by Rachel Botsman for TEDx). This is just a fancy way of saying we don’t need to own things to have access to them. Case in point: libraries now have computers available for public use and they are certainly happy for you to use one for study. But also think of friends and family members who might have a spare laptop lying around. Or maybe you don’t need a computer. How about a tablet or smartphone? Plenty of training organisations now have systems that cater to e-learning on those devices.
2. I have fee help but I still need textbooks
A lot of our students enrol in courses that offer VET FEE-HELP, which means you don’t pay for your course upfront, but pay it back when you’re earning a decent salary. But sometimes you have upfront costs in the form of textbooks. Students can spend thousands of dollars on textbooks (degrees like law, for example) so it’s a good idea to think carefully about how you can save money in this area.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have a library with a good academic section where you can borrow course textbooks for free, or you could strike gold by finding pre-loved (or pre-hated) textbooks through secondhand bookshops or op shops. You can be more targeted and search for titles in student forums—as ex-students graduate they are all too happy to sell theirs—or in general marketplaces like Gumtree or eBay.
Also check out textbook rental services such as Zookal, Jekkle and Textbook Rentals, which all have large range of textbooks you can rent for less than 50% of what it costs to buy the same title.
3. Time after time
Being resourceful is not just about saving money, it’s about spending your time the best way possible. Make use of the time you have with your tutor by having specific questions rather than bumbling around whining that you don’t understand an entire topic. Be really clear about what you want from him or her because you’re competing with others in the class for time. It will also help you identify specific gaps in your learning. And what’s this I have here? A guide on how to ask a question intelligently.
4. Study buddies
Find a study buddy, someone who is doing the same course or some of the same modules as you. You can swap notes, share textbooks and other kinds of resources, even car pool to class if that’s how you get around. Many training providers, even if you are doing your course online, will offer a way to interact with other students through forums/groups or online bulletin boards.
5. Student discounts
If you are eligible to claim student discounts, make sure you take advantage of the different offers out there. I’m not talking about cheap beer and student specials at the pub but useful products like software and even gym memberships and bank accounts with low or no fees. Then with the money you save you can go a couple of schooners.
Speaking of which, happy Friday—I’m off to the pub. Your round?
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