Want to why know the answers for why do I struggle to study at uni? I've got you covered. Here are the top reasons and how to overcome them.
Studying at university can be a daunting task. It requires more commitment, discipline, and focus than studying in high school or college.
With so many distractions such as social events, extracurricular activities, and other commitments. It can be hard to focus on your studies!
As an ex-law student, I understand only too well how distracting some of the more exciting aspects of Uni can make it really hard to concentrate sometimes along with losing your motivation mojo!
So join me in this helpful article, to discover more about why you may be struggling to study at Uni.
This post is all about Why Do I Struggle to Study at University.
Why Do I Struggle to Study:
1. Unfamiliarity with the university style of studying
This can be one of the top reasons for students to find themselves struggling to get results on their study goals.
When you first arrive at university, it can take some time to adjust to the different styles of study and pace.
You may not have any experience in doing independent research or working on essays and other written assignments, which can make university studies very intimidating and difficult! Some of the best ways to sort this are by:
● Taking some time to familiarise yourself with the university’s system of study. This means working towards your university learning objectives and outcome in your lectures and seminars.
Also, working towards the goals and output of your university marking criteria. This is one of the best advice for academic success I can give you.
● Ask your professor or professor's assistant for advice on how best to proceed/ improve your grades. Use their office hours to go talk, that's why they have them.
● Get involved in student life activities that can help you adjust and make friends sooner.
● Joining a course mentor or tutor program if available, can help you be able to cope with the demands of university study more quickly.
2. Why do I struggle to study at Uni?: Not feeling good enough
Students sometimes suffer from feeling not quite as good as everyone else when they are just starting at university.
It's a feeling I know all too well.
It is natural to assume that everyone else knows more than you do and this feeling can be very demoralising and lead to you putting study off or just not feeling it!
Of course, everyone is probably feeling the same as you, but it can sometimes seem like everyone else is nailing it!
Good ways to get on top of these feelings are:
● Prepare sufficiently before classes and lectures
● Seek help when needed to ensure an understanding of the material
● Take part in discussions with those in your classes which can help to build your confidence.
3. Overwhelmed by workload
University can be very overwhelming due to the amount of work that needs to be done and the pressure of deadlines looming over you constantly. It can seem just like a huge mountain to climb!
There are a few steps you can take to lessen this feeling of overwhelm:
● Create a study plan for yourself, breaking tasks into smaller chunks to have achievable goals
● Take breaks throughout your study sessions as it is important to not become exhausted or overwhelmed too quickly
● Prioritise what tasks need completing first - focus on completing tasks that are due sooner rather than later
● Seek guidance and support from your professors or tutors when you need it - they can be a great source of help as well as motivation.
4. Pressure of exams
Exams can make even the most chilled-out student worry!
Many students get test anxiety so sitting exams can be daunting and cause a lot of stress due to their high-stakes nature. After all, it’s what you are here for, right?
If you are feeling pressured and overwhelmed it can be really difficult to motivate yourself to hit your study goals.
Make sure you are well prepared by familiarising yourself with the exam material beforehand. Practising past papers if available, and managing your study time effectively.
These are the most important things successful students do to improve their cognitive function and executive functioning skills.
They put themselves through a little trial run of the exam and practice it. Personally, I do this about an hour before I take any exam.
Successful students also quizz themselves during study on the topic to solidify the information and identify gaps in there knowledge. So they are aware of what they need to work on and improve.
Your final exam can be the most stressful since it's your last chance to achieve the grade level you want.
When the time comes, take a deep breath and get some fresh air since you are at the finish line to achieving your professional qualifications.
5. Financial worries
Stress about finances can contribute to difficulty studying; the best way to tackle this is to level up your money management skills!
There are a few ways you get on top of those money troubles including budgeting and cutting back on unnecessary expenses.
We all know that a Vanilla latte from the coffee shop makes life a bit sweeter, but not if it's causing money problems which are making it a struggle to study!
When I was at uni, I remember waiting in a long line at Starbucks to order a Caramel Latte with a sprinkled doughnut which cost me about £6.50. Looking back, it was NOT worth it.
I should have just bought the ingredients and made my own at home to bring in. It would have been much cheaper in the long run.
For more advice check out my other useful articles Understanding Money: A Student’s Guide to How Money Works and How do Credit Cards work?… An Expert Weights In
6. Not knowing where to start
It can be incredibly overwhelming when it seems like there is just so much material to cover to understand what your chosen subject is all about!
Sometimes it's best to just dive in, read through the material and ask questions when you are struggling.
Remember that there are usually support services available to help you with any areas of difficulty.
Here are some helpful tips to get you started: break down complex topics into smaller pieces; create a study plan; and make sure you have all the resources needed before starting any work.
Also, don't forget to ask your lecturer, tutor or academic advisor for help if you're struggling. They're there for guidance and support so take advantage of their expertise!
7. Feeling isolated
Studying at university can sometimes feel like a lonely experience but remember that you're not alone!
When you feel lonely it can be tough to focus and 'Why do I struggle to study at Uni' can be a really common question for anyone who feels they are going it alone!
There are likely to be smaller groups of students and lecturers who have experienced similar struggles, so don't be afraid to reach out for help.
Why not join a student group or connect with other students through online discussion boards? This can be a great way to build connections and receive support from others who are in a similar position as you.
Also, don't forget to spend some time with your family members this can really help overcome that feeling of loneliness.
I know as a university student you don't have a lot of free time, but don't let university life rob you of spending real time with your family and loved ones.
How to fix this:
A good idea is to create a study group of your own. A lot of other university/ college students are going through the same thing that you are and they are actually on your course. So why not join forces and help each other out?
It's a twofer. You make friends with people on your course and you build good study habits at the same time.
There is a feeling of comradery, in knowing that you don't have to go through it alone at the end of the day.
Read more helpful advice on reaching out to others Why Connecting With Others Is Important At Uni: 11 Best Tips For Making Friends at Uni
8. Poor time management
Having good time management is important in life. But when you are a university student, how you manage your time is everything!
Especially when it comes to studying, you need to put aside specific time to study on a daily or weekly basis.
Leave yourself enough space and time to actually get a lot of things done. Procrastinating leaves little time to accomplish anything, which leads to you cramming.
Crammed information might help you in the short term but you are unlikely to retain the information which means it will never fit into your long-term memory.
Once you master your time management, this skill will serve you well in the long term.
"Lost time is never found again." - Proverb
9. Browsing social media
There are many online resources out there that can make a student's life a little bit easier. But spending endless hours scrolling social platforms like TikTok, Instagram or Facebook is not one of them. YouTube and Pinterest are definitely the way to go.
A lot of students use YouTube in particular to educate themselves and learn new ways to study effectively. You can watch videos on creating the perfect study environment. A study space such as using the quiet of a library.
Even so, don't get caught in the trap of watching endless videos on there. It can only lead to a bottomless pit and cause you to waste precious time. This would mean you would have less time to spend studying.
There are also many other distractions out there, phone calls, friends wanting to go out and party all the time and distracting websites to name a few. Try to limit your time with distractions to avoid straying from your goals to develop your study skills.
10. Ineffective study techniques
Ineffective study techniques lead to poor grades.
Want to improve your studying habits, then apply the following tips:
- Take effective notes
It is always a good idea to take notes during your lectures and seminars at university. But there is a difference between taking a lot of lecture notes and taking good notes.
This leads to ineffective study techniques such as writing down everything your professor says (dedication), instead of the important or right thing.
- Break big tasks into smaller tasks
Not breaking down your topics into small tasks. For example, when studying/ reading from a textbook. Read a chapter per day and write a summary of the most important part.
But you may be asking, how will I know what are the most important points to note down? Especially when the material is new to me.
- Knowing your University learning objectives/ outcomes
A good place to start is with the learning objectives and outcomes at the start of every chapter. This is important because it's the information the writer of the book wants you to know and learn about the topic.
This is considered to be the most important. Also, within the summary section at the end of every chapter. If the author was kind enough to give you a little help and summed the chapter up in a few sentences for you.
- Pomodoro Technique
Studying for long periods of time without a break is never a good thing. Previous studies have shown that we can get about 20 minutes of focus work done before we need to take a break.
Depending on what you are doing, you need to leave yourself enough time for your brain to digest the information.
For example, when reading a book in 30 mins sessions, take 10-minute breaks. When studying a course topic in 30 mins sessions, take 10- 15 minute breaks.
Adding too many things on your to-do list instead of the top 3 main things that need to get done that day.
- Study area
As previously mentioned, you need a good place to study. Avoid studying on your bed, because your mind has associated your bed with sleep time, so it is not the right place to study.
There are different methods out there that you can try, even if it's your first time doing so.
"By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." - Benjamin Franklin
You need to prepare for higher education, meaning a higher level of learning. University is not the same as high school or college in the UK, so the learning standards won't be anything you're used to or have done before.
11. Take care of your body
Eating healthy makes a big difference to your mood. Having a full stomach can make you feel motivated to study and be consistent on a daily basis.
Discover some easy, cheap and affordable student meal ideas for you to try.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep, 7 hours or more is the recommendation sleep amount for adults according to the CDC. But students in the United States believe they can still be productive after only 6 hours of sleep.
Sleep deprivation is never a good idea. I know when you're a student you think there is so much studying to do with not a lot of time to get it done.
So you take it out of your sleep time and start going to bed later, that's if you go to bed at all.
There are students out there who think pulling all-nighters is the only way to make progress on all the work you have to do but it's not.
You need to study smarter, not harder.
Not getting enough sleep is the first step to sleep deprivation, it can lead to problems such as impairing your cognitive function so you can't think straight because you're so tired. It can also lead to poor cognitive functions in the long run.
Go for a run or go to the gym and get some exercise done. Research has shown that this primes your brain for learning so you will take in the material more easily.
12. You may have a learning disability
This one might be hard for you to hear, but when all the other top tips fail to work for you.
It could be because you have a learning disability such as dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Trust me, I totally understand. I was diagnosed with dyslexia in my 2nd year at university.
Prior to this, I was actually getting GOOD grades. Yes, you heard that right- I said good grades, not bad grades. I would push myself because I had a fear of failure.
My problem was that I was spending so much time studying (didn't have time for anything else) and it never felt that I was getting anywhere or connecting with the material. I felt like I was wasting my time learning the wrong things.
If you're still struggling after trying everything else to overcome these common study problems. Then it's definitely a possibility that you might have a learning disability.
Learning disabilities are not quite the same as having a behavioral problem or mental health problems. People get this confused all the time. It also doesn't mean that you are stupid.
Some people feel this way so they refuse to get help for their condition and continue to struggle.
Having a learning disability means you think in a different way than most people in the world, and let be honest that's not always a bad thing. In fact, some famous people actually describe it as having an advantage or even as a superpower.
Your university has helpful resources and support available for you. At the end of the day don't be afraid to use your school resources to help with your university/ college struggles.
I know not everyone is an open book and you may have less interest in sharing your personal struggles with a complete stranger, but do me a favour. If you're having a hard time with your studies.
Before the school year is over, go to your university support department and get some help. At the very least they will give you some practical tips on how to improve your studying and overall university/ college experience.
Final thoughts on why do I struggle to study...
Ultimately, it's important to remember that everyone struggles at some point while trying to study at university.
However, with the right strategies and support, you can become your best self and hit your study goals like a pro!
Next time you find yourself asking ‘why do I struggle to study?’ Don't be afraid to reach out for help from your professors or friends when needed.
Also, keep reminding yourself why you chose to go to university in the first place. With dedication, hard work and determination, anything is possible! Good luck!
For more help on how to beat those study struggle blues, don't forget to head over to my 'Student Support ' blog area to help you with your well-being, and advice on why it's important to eat well at Uni to keep your energy levels buzzing and even advice on how to avoid student scams!
This blog post was all about why do I struggle to study at University.
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