Have you ever started out studying and ended up checking out what your friends are posting online? Or, have you started out playing around online and then ended up learning something relevant to your studies? A lot of people dismiss social media sites as “distractions” to the serious student. But, experts and students agree, social media can actually help you study. Read on for reasons why that’s so.
Social Media Helps You Focus (When Used Sparingly)
Humans are not meant to focus for long periods of time. Studies suggest breaking up longer study periods into shorter sessions will actually improve your focus. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers found subjects who took short breaks during a 50-minute task were able to better focus for the whole time than subjects who worked through with no breaks. So, yes, that means that taking a five-minute break to check your friends’ status updates might help you delve back into your material for that masters in accounting online with more stamina after your break. But then, so would a walk around the block or a jaunt to the kitchen for a snack.
You Can Self-Motivate With Rewards
We can also use social media as a reward system when studying. Some find that they focus better when presented with a “prize” at the end of a short working period. A piece of candy, a chance to stretch or a quick tour of your social media feeds — they all could function as a reward. When you’re writing a paper, tell yourself: No Facebook until you’ve typed the conclusion. Or, no more pins to Pinterest until you’ve singled out your next three sources for your upcoming geology project.
Your choice of contacts on social media can also motivate you. Whatever your social media platform preference, there are dozens of netizens who devote their entire media feeds to inspirational or motivational material. Find some that you like and re-energize yourself with a daily blast of their uplifting quotes, photos, videos or advice.
Network for Better Understanding
One of the most compelling reasons social media can help students is that it providestools for better networking and communication about course topics. In the middle of a study chapter and don’t have a clue what the author’s point is? Check to see if any of your classmates are also online. Posing questions about your studies can bring about a virtual group discussion where you’ll be exposed to diverse points of view — any of which may be beneficial when writing your next paper. A shoutout for help over the Internet might get you closer to an A — or at least make you feel better that you’re not alone in your queries.
Social Media Makes It Relevant
Just as you can network with your classmates about the material you’re studying, you can also reach out to groups of strangers who are studying the same subjects or degree programs. Search out Google Plus hangouts or like Facebook pages that will bring some relevance to your study materials. If you use Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram or Google Plus, search for hashtags on subjects in your degree field. Whether you’re studying nursing or economics, you’ll find plenty of conversations, links and other online goodies that will help you mentally transcend the division between the classroom and the real world.
Use Your Social Media Skills to Break Down Complex Topics
When you come upon a problem in your studies, you can use your social media skills to break the information down into bite-sized pieces. Often, you can look at an issue from a different angle if you think about how you would Tweet it: Try to fit an explanation of disestablishmentarianism into 140 characters. Get creative and ask yourself how you would create a meme about your organic chemistry equations. You could design an infographic about French grammar. After you’ve absorbed the material, then it’s up to you if you post your product or not. If you do, you’ll probably help another student.