It is an admirable quality when a student is committed to their studies and driven to achieve to the highest of standards. No matter whether it is a Diploma of Business, a game design course or any other course of study that is being undertaken, students sometimes become so determined to achieve success and the most impressive grades that they put themselves in real danger of studying too much.
In a world where we’re often told that hard work and diligence are necessary to succeed, it can seem ridiculous to think that there is such a thing as ‘studying too much’. However, the reality is that a balance between study commitments, recreation, fun and free time is absolutely essential for a person to avoid ‘burning out’.
Am I studying too much?
If you find that the following descriptions apply to you, there is a good chance that you’re studying too much:
- I can’t concentrate when I try to study. My thoughts seem to jump around in my head and I am easily distracted. I sometimes have to read pages over and over again.
- I sometimes get very annoyed with myself and tend to make silly, avoidable mistakes, such as errors with basic calculations, spelling basic words incorrectly and failing to remember obvious facts.
- I often feel extremely tired and uptight.
- When I get into bed at night, it’s difficult to fall asleep because my brain is still so active. I often find myself lying awake with thoughts and ideas going round and around in my head. It’s like I can’t switch off.
Results are important
There’s no denying that grades and results are important and do matter, but focusing solely on results negates other important reasons for learning. Of course, learning should be educational, but it should also be enjoyable and enriching. Many people find that they learn best when they’re intrigued by something and curious to know more and not when they are trying to memorise as much information as possible in a short space of time for the purpose of regurgitating it in a test, exam or assignment.
“It’s my job as a student”
While it’s normal and quite admirable to feel a sense of responsibility to your studies, this should not reach a point where you study so much that it is detrimental to other areas of your life. Sometimes, having to study so much means that your study practices are not as effective as they could be. Frequently studying into the small hours of the morning is not healthy, an effective use of time or very productive.
Balance is essential
A healthy balance and an organised approach to your studies are incredibly important. If you study every day, it’s vital that you also take time to relax a little, perhaps do some exercise, see friends and do other things that you enjoy. Without being refreshed in this way and taking time away from your books and/or computer, you definitely run the risk of exhaustion — most commonly known as ‘burnout’.
If some time is not devoted to rest and relaxation, it’s highly likely that you won’t be as productive and effective as you might otherwise be. By taking and enjoying breaks, your brain is bound to be more prepared for study. It’s hardly a surprise that when most people study late at night their brain starts to slow down and shut off, because it too is exhausted and in need of rest. Concentration becomes more difficult and learning that is meaningful and productive is almost impossible. In light of this, adequate amounts of quality sleep are important.
What can a person do to study effectively but avoid studying too much?
One of the best things that a student can do is create a schedule in which study, recreation and rest are included and set some short-term goals. Operating in line with a schedule and working to achieve some realistic goals helps students to use their time productively and work at times when they are most focused and best able to take in information.
By taking some time and engaging in practices such as relaxation and meditation, a student may become more skilled at quieting their mind and focusing — skills that are useful when studying.