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Monday, December 15, 2014

How To Study The Subjects You Hate

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Let's face it. There are subjects you're going to hate. Despite that hate, you're going to need to pass them to progress in school. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Honestly, the fact that you're able to tell the difference between the subjects you hate and the subjects you like is a good sign. (I know it sounds pretty weird but tons of students just despise everything blindly.)

Unfortunately, hating a subject comes with some problems.

You cannot study a subject you hate nearly as easily as you can study a subject you enjoy. Your brain is designed to memorize things that are important to you. If you hate it then you're admitting that it's probably not all that important to you (at least at a gut level.) Subjects that you enjoy can stick a whole lot easier.

What can you do about this?

The Wrong Answers

I can remember the same piece of advice from every teacher I discussed this with. They would tell me how great the subject is and try to convince me it's important logically. That was never the real problem I was having though. I hated math. I knew it was important. A huge percentage of the good jobs in the world require at least a basic understanding of math. None of that mattered. I still just hated it.

Logic is not the solution to hating a subject because, odds are, your decision to hate the subject wasn't logical.

I eventually got one piece of advice that was semi-useful.

A friend of mine told me to, “pretend that you like it.” Instead of just hating the subject, pretend that you're the kind of student that enjoys the subject. By attempting that strategy I saw instant positive results in my output but it didn't take long before I lost that drive to pretend. (It's mentally draining.)

What Got Me To Like Math

I'd like to say that my sudden interest in math was related to a conscious effort on my part but it was partially just dumb luck. That being said, I was able to create a strategy that I've successfully with future subjects I didn't enjoy.

What got me to like math? I got into programming. Programming is heavily based on logic most of it could be done without using much actual math. That being said, to go deep into certain aspects of programming, math is a requirement.

Suddenly, I had an incentive to learn math. At that point, learning to enjoy math just happened naturally.

What is the strategy I took from this experience?

Love a subject for what you would love to do with it. I hated math but as soon as I found programming, learning math became an enjoyable process. You may hate English class. Instead of going for the reasons the teachers tell you to go, go for your own personal reason. (Maybe you like to find new words to sound smart. Or maybe you prefer to make fun of the idiotic things most novel characters do.)

It can be difficult to find a personally relevant reason to enjoy a subject but it's one of the most powerful options you have.

It's not the only way though.

Experiment With Delivery

This is another one of your most powerful options.

Sometimes students end up hating a subject just because of the crappy way schools try to teach it. By crappy, I mostly mean, not personally relevant. Depending on your teachers, you may never get your learning style properly involved in the education of the subject. If you've never had the chance to learn it at your peak then it's no surprise you hate the subject.

If you can't enjoy a subject from school, try finding sources that can explain that subject outside of the school environment. I know... it can sound miserable to search for educational stuff outside of school but you should at least know whether or not it's the subject or the sources that are driving you nuts.

For example, if you find history class boring, you can find a ton of history podcasts that explain it in a much more fun way. That's not even close to your only option though. There are comics, graphic novels, songs, and just about anything else you can think of. Learning history doesn't just have to be a boring lecture.

Find a new source of information on a subject and see if it helps the subject get through to you.

Minimalism And Prioritization

The regular readers of this blog are probably pounding their heads against the keyboard screaming, “NOT AGAIN!?” Yes... I'm bringing this idea back from the nooks of your brain. I'd pick it out with an ice pick if I had to because it's that golly tootin' important. (Golly tootin'? I don't know why I used that.)

When you properly prioritize your classes, you're able to eliminate most of the challenges you'll have with subjects you hate. Instead of always having to put a huge effort in, you'll learn to put the minimal effort in while still getting a grade that you're comfortable with. This blog has tons of articles that can help you do that.

Action Plan

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I dropped a few ideas through this article. I ordered the options from most effective to least effective. That being said, I would recommend you start from the least effective and move your way up. What do I mean by that?

Prioritize everything before you try and solve your subject hating problem. By prioritizing your classes you'll be able to know how much stress you should put into solving this problem. (Some subjects you may never need to think about later. There is no reason to spend days learning to love a subject when you won't need the subject ever again in a month.)

After prioritizing, try to find the minimum you can do while still getting a grade you're satisfied with. Does that minimum seem like more time than you want to invest? Then you need to keep moving up this list.

After that you should look for new sources to help teach you the subject you hate. You know what you enjoy better than anyone else. Look for sources of information that employ something that you enjoy. If you look hard enough, you will find a source. The source doesn't have to perfectly relate to the subject. It just has to be closely related.

Finally, you can try to find a personally relevant reason to enjoy the subject. This can take months. In fact, it can never happen. You don't need to actively seek it. Just remember that you're looking for it. Think about it every once in a while. If you have a new idea then look into it. The best part about this is that it lets you explore different things that you actually enjoy. Most won't end up helping the subject but as soon as you find one. You're set on the right path for good.

Do you want to know how to get your studying done in less than 15 minutes a night (while still scoring kick-ass grades?) Then this is the blog for you. Check out the archives (or maybe even the ebooks if you've got a kindle.)

Do you want to learn the secrets about studying that the mainstream educators wont tell you? Follow this blog.

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