Ok, two weeks in now to my computer course in DkIT. So i’m now starting to get a feel for the place and the course.. i’ll share a few tips/tricks i’ve picked up to stay on top of everything..
Secret to learning? Turn up for class..
It’s all fairly easy so far.. but note the words ‘so far’. Miss a class or two and you’d really be in trouble.. even at this early stage. Miss a day full of classes and you’re in big trouble… that’s because we’re being taught the basics at the minute…
The basics of anything are the most important part… for example, the basics of maths are adding/subtracting/dividing/multiplying.. if you don’t understand one of those 4, you’d be in trouble as the more complex maths are based upon those 4, so if you can’t do the basics, you definitely can’t do the advanced stuff..
So it might sound stupid, but physically turning up at college and getting to classes on time is the best thing you can do if you want to learn/pass. If you’re not at classes, how can you expect to learn?
Knowing when to switch off
Another key factor is ignoring what lecturers say.. most of it is crap. Padded, industry language which makes things sound more difficult than they are.. it’s a skill to know when a lecturer is saying something important, and when they’re just waffling on for the sake of it..
We’ve all got around 75 pages of material so far – i could probably only absorb 1 page of that per day.. but then i’d miss out on all the rest… so i have to filter out all the crap and take the keypoints from each page. That’s basically what learning is all about.
The ability to ‘switch off’ in class is actually a huge asset imo for any student. Our minds can’t stay sharp and focused 100% of the time for 2 hours non stop, so having that in built filter/sensor is a good thing. It’s hard to explain…
But for example, if a lecturer talks about exams/marking schemes etc in the middle of a class, i’d switch off a take a mental break as that’s in the future, i don’t need to know about it now and by listening to that stuff, ironically there’s more chance of me switching off during the important material that will come up on the exam… it’s no good knowing the marking scheme inside out if you don’t know any of the answers 🙄
So i’m conserving brain power if you like.. saving it for the stuff i NEED to know and not wasting it on irrelevant stuff.
Practice makes perfect…
If you stick at something and do it often enough, eventually it becomes second nature and habit and you do it without thinking… blogging for example.. i’ve been blogging for the guts of a year and at the start, it was becoming a ‘chore’ to blog daily.. but i stuck at it and worked hard and now i find myself blogging for fun.. it’s just a routine now 😆
Classwork is no different.. i got my hands on a copy of VB – the programming software we’re using at the minute.. i was finding it a little tricky to get my head around bits of code, but once i installed VB at home, i could play about with it in my own time, at my own pace, and that really helped.. because i could do things my way and not be afraid to get things wrong or get errors.. in class, you’re under pressure to keep up and don’t really have time to digest what exactly it is you’re doing…
So little things like that can make a big difference during the day, and over weeks/months obviously it’s a huge difference. I’m happy with DkIT, the staff, the place, the whole system in general.. some of the lecturers are sound down to earth people.. no powerhorses like in school..
They let you out of class early, let you leave whenever you want for no reason, let you take a call during class provided you take it outside.. finally, we’re treated like humans, not slaves or prisoners… (as we were in secondary eductaion) all equal, all respected.. it’s little things like that which help communication/raise motivation levels and ultimately increase productivity.
So yes, i’m enjoying college life and all the perks it brings 😛 Once i start getting my grant payments, i’ll enjoy it much more as it will basically be ‘free’ 😈 Grant money gets paid every 3 weeks and starts in mid-October.