Friday, 27 August 2010

Mikes helpful tips for students

Hey everyone, been a bit quiet lately and I'm sorry for that but its getting pretty close to the start of my final year at Uni (hopefully) and I've been busy moving about and packing my bags, then there was my frequent attempts to find temporary employment of this summer which only yielded temporary one or two day jobs.

Anyway I thought since I do like to help my fellow man and woman it might be a good idea to list off a few tips and tricks I've found that helped me with my studies.

This will be most relevant to those studying for degrees in politics, history, and international relations mind but there should be a few tips that can work across the board.

Number One: Get at least one book that is a brief and yet concise outline on the topic your discussing. I personally recommend the Oxford A Very Short Introduction When writing essay's or answering exam questions it helps to be specific, and it helps you be specific and keep a confidant argument when your sure what year your example happened happened and what the figures were in at least an approximate form. It also helps keep your thoughts grounded on the right trail.
I've lost count of the times I've heard some brain box base his arguments around something he just skimmed.

Number Two: Set your own much more punishing deadlines as they are crafty bastards when left to there own devices. I've been at University for two years now and while not as unprepared for it as I was when I first started I am still constantly being caught out by this feeling that I've got a whole month left thats four weekends and I don't have lectures on Wednesdays plenty of time etc. And I ain't the only one, I'm safely in the majority on this one. The funny thing is this seems to get worse the more work I actually do before zero hour. Last time I did half my workload early and then sat on it for awhile so trust me the shorter the time limit the less you'll suffer in the long run.

Number Three: Keep an open mind, short of mankind evolving to the point of developing into some sort of hive mind or gestalt entity there will never be a man who knows everything and has considered every possibility. You will encounter many people from diverse social cultural political backgrounds etc. And even you never know who you'll be forced to work with nor in the case of a debate/argument what they'll come up with. I once had to explain how knives and swords actually work to a bloke who was extolling the virtues of Japanese sword craft, and another time I had to call someone out on how they knew nothing about nuclear devices when the suggested a viable strategy in war was to detonate nuclear bombs in the atmosphere to disable a cities electricity, in the middle of the Cold War, as this would cause less of a stir.

There we go hope someone out there will find this useful.

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