If there’s something I learned from Legally Blonde, it’s that if you set your mind and heart to something, it can be done. Also, that you can find friends in the most unexpected places. Legally Blonde is one of those movies that I’ll never get tired of, mostly because of its inspiring message intertwined with comedic occurrences. And because Reese Witherspoon is great in it. Okay, she’s awesome in it. Where else can you get the bend-and-snap and scented resumes?
In the movie, Elle Woods applies to Harvard Law School after her boyfriend (who is already going to Harvard Law) breaks up with her. Of course, she gets in or the movie would last 10 minutes. But how does she get in, especially after majoring in Fashion? She studies like crazy. Obviously, this is not what I took away from Legally Blonde, but what I did take away was the idea that if you study hard for something and work really hard, it will (sometimes) work out. This isn’t a 100% guarantee, but it guarantees more success than if you don’t study or work hard at all. These are some study skills that have proven to be beneficial and effective:
1. Turn off the electronics – Cell phones, laptops, and iPods are a distraction. When you start studying, make sure everything is off or out of reach. This way you can concentrate on the task at hand and actually remember it later.
2. Set a schedule – Don’t just sit in the library for hours and stare mindlessly at your study guides and books. Plan out your study time wisely. For example, study for 45 minutes, and then take a 15 minute walk. Then come back and study for an hour, and take a short break. This will make your studying less daunting, and the short breaks are good for your mental health.
3. Start early – Unlike Elle, start preparing and studying early. Even if you only study for 20 minutes a week before your test, that’s better than nothing. Slowly build up your time and by the time test day arrives, you’ll already have done the work.
4. Find a productive place to work – Studying in bed isn’t going to be the most productive place to study. Find a spot that isn’t too hot or too cold, too loud or too busy. Unless that’s how you work best. Once you find that sweet spot, you’ll always know where to go to work efficiently.
5. Jazz music – I will always be an advocate for jazz music, whether I am in my car, cleaning my room, cooking in the kitchen, or studying. You can never go wrong with John Coltrane. Other genres of soft music work, too.
6. Study buddy – Get a friend to quiz you on the material. There’s nothing like peer pressure and trying not to look like a fool that will make you remember your stuff.
7. Say it out loud or write it down – If you are going over definitions or math problems or concepts, say the material out loud or write it down. Get used to how it sounds or how it feels to write.
Just remember, if Elle Woods can do it, so can you!