“It’s not study skills, but study habits”

Jeannine Leger explains why the CAS “Study Smarter, not Harder” workshops are effective for students, and why you should reserve your spot in one this semester

“We all have bad habits, and in January we all want to kick a bad habit.” 

Jeannine Leger, Director of Academic Success Services, wants students to look at their study habits and do some preemptive work before the stress of midterms and finals hit this Spring semester. 

For students interested in a little spring cleaning in regards to their studying, the Center for Academic Success (CAS) is hosting a pair of workshops designed to help students elevate their academic performance.

Both sets of workshops have four sessions to attend, each with a different focus. 

The first set of workshops, Steps for Success, is aimed at improving time management, study goals, finding resources on campus, and creating what Leger calls “a study routine.” A study routine helps students sit down and immediately starting work without wasting fifteen or twenty minutes figuring out what to do first. 

The second set, Test Taking, is aimed at strategies that help students when exam time arrives. These workshops focus on skills ranging from how to read a textbook efficiently to ways to reduce test anxiety. 

Leger noted that students often fall into the trap of studying with a focus on memorization and repetition. Both workshops want to encourage students to move away from memorization and moving toward towards comprehension. 

“Memorization is not always how that works,” Leger said. “It’s more you have to apply it.”

Although students can attend just one of the four sessions of each workshop, Leger recommends that and encourages students to make time for all four. 

“Each one builds on the previous,” she said, giving the example that what they talk about in the first week of the Test Taking workshop is used and applied throughout the other three sessions. 

These workshops began a few years ago as Lunch and Learns, meant to be a quick thirty minute workshop to help students adjust to the rigor of college. The success of these Lunch and Learns encouraged CAS to create more of these workshops and with the increasing demand over the last four years they have had to offer multiple sections throughout the semester. 

“We get a lot of students who are hoping to apply to medical school or law school and that need to just up their GPA just a little more,” Leger said. 

Most of the students they get at these workshops are honors, PLP and other high achieving students, but all students on campus are welcome and encouraged to attend.

While these workshops can help students who are struggling academically, they are also good for students who are doing well, but not as well as they would like. 

“A lot of students come looking for the bandaid fix, and what they find is, we’re not just going to do a bandaid fix, we’re going to treat the whole problem,” Leger said. “What we really are doing, is trying to help students be the student that they want to be and achieve their educational goals.”

“Students come in and they’ve been good students, they don’t want to lose that,” she added.

Afraid that you’re going to waste your precious lunch hour on a workshop that only covers strategies that you already know about and use? Have no fear, encourages Leger. She knows that students want to walk out of these workshops with tangible and practical ideas that they can use immediately. 

“The big thing for me is, what’s the walkaway? My hope is that every student walks away already pondering ‘How would I make this work in my anthropology class or how would I make this work in this [other] class?’ And if they need help with that, we’ll help them with that too.”

The CAS workshops begin on Jan. 21 and end on Jan. 31. The Steps for Success workshops are held on every on Monday and Wednesday and the Test Taking workshops are on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout that period of time. 

All workshops take place in CNH 124 (the Center for Academic Success). 

~Matthew Scherger, BreakingCNU Editor~

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