So these are the study tips I personally abide by. This is me talking to myself:
First and foremost: Just keep going. Take care of yourself, take mental health breaks if you need to, do light days if that's what's possible, but just keep going. In my case, I also had to make sure I didn't go too long per day bc I would burn out quicker in the long game. And I hard take weekends off (for the most part), five days in a row is plenty for learning and breaks are important for processing.
Make it fun for yourself. Woo yourself into the mood to study because this is something you need to do with regularity to achieve results and you ARE going to face resistance from your life. But you've decided you want to make this happen!
I know I'll be sitting on my butt and looking at a flat screen for some hours, so I like to incorporate my other senses.
I usually have iced green tea during the summer or hot green and lemon grass/peppermint teas during the winter. Flavored drinks (as opposed to water) are a treat for me so I kinda see this as a treat for myself throughout the session, and I try to pick cold or peppermint/lemon grass to help keep me awake and focused.
This is my pre-study ritual (and repeat after all breaks):
- Turn on music
- Start Pomodoro timer for 25 mins (45 if I'm doing a project)
- Take a big whiff of Rosemary essential oil. It's a vasodialator that improves memory and it helps keep me awake and focused as I go
I'm a big fan of the Pomodoro technique. It helps lessen the anxiety of having to study knowing it will only be for a 25 min chunk. The enforced breaks are important too bc I otherwise I will skip those until I'm exhausted (with depreciating returns from my work as the session goes on) or I will feel fidgety and distracted until I end up taking a break bc I can't focus. My break isn't that nice then bc this scenario reframes my break as procrastination and resistance instead of constructive and all part of my plan.
I like to use at least one of my breaks to stretch and one to stand outside and look at far away things for my eyeballs. 👁️
I make watching the lessons and reading all accompanying material part of my study time.
Also time to reread and rewatch difficult material. You'll always think it's not worth it and you should spend you're time moving onto new material (bc there's always so much more!). But if you feel unsure of something, it's always worthwhile to spend more time on the fundamentals.
Take notes in a doc so you can ctrl F for topics- my advice is to use colors you find attractive, be liberal with bolding important words, and give each separate idea space to breath in your spacing.
When I feel in over my head,
- I still always ATTEMPT the challenge even if it just means writing our pseudocode.
- If I know I can, I look up something from a past resource or Google for a new one (Googling the error code is a great start). Even tho my brain sometimes tries to fight me on this and be lazy (even to the point of focusing unproductively on the problem when what I need is outside input), every time I push thru I can feel how I'm cultivating my investigative nature.
- THEN I look at the solution code. -- 3a. Sometimes I've already finished the challenge, but I look over the solution code to see if I missed anything -- 3b. Sometimes I kinda got it, but look at the solution code helps me to see what my sore spots are so I go back to step 2 -- 3c. Sometimes I had no idea, but the solution code cued me in to WHAT the challenge was about so I pull back and repeat step 2, and may try the challenge again or may just have to walk thru step-by-step to get my head right
My time to blog every day often ends up coming out to about 20 mins with writing and time to hunt down links. It'll probably go up to 30 once I start including more pics again! (Finally setting aside some time about optimizing pictures on blogs, bc I felt I was loading too slow before).
This means my study sessions take a little longer every day, but I think the time to review and create a trove of experiences to draw from to communicate my worth makes it worthwhile.
I also take extra time to read up on topics that aren't covered in my lessons, and count time writing questions and responses to my peers within my study time.
As a coder, learn the fundamentals of your languages then keep practicing them, iterating them in different ways, and read other coders opinions. For front end development specifically, this has meant for me that after I completed Responsive Coding with Skillcrush, I moved into projects with Front End Mentor. While studying with JS, I carved out at least a half hour of study time to work on some small components that only required HTML and CSS. Once I finish JS, I will be practicing vanilla JS with Wes Bos 30 JS projects in 30.
After some more solid practice, I'll be moving on to some personal projects I've had percolating in my brain and that'll become part of my study time as well.
Because my program is self-paced, this means I'm taking about a third more time than I could've if I blasted straight thru the material. I have 2.5 hours of good study time in me after work and don't push past that time so any additional tasks I take on cut into it, but I know they'll all be worthwhile in the long term.
That has meant communicating with my partner that I would like to take longer into the year with the material than I had set out to at the beginning, and again so grateful to be in an asynchronous program where I can make that actionable. This has already paid off in dividends with layouts where I have already completed all class materials but have continued on with my studies: I have learned SO MUCH by taking on extra FEM projects, reading extra articles, and seeking feedback.
This is what works for me, but is probably more and less structured than many. Happy coding! 🌈
I made a lot of progress on my Guess the Word project today(live site), and I was very proud to produce some of the functions out of mine own head! Usually this is my process: I just hack at it, write a lot of pseudocode, reference my repos to see if anything helps lend some clarity, realize it doesn't work, then check the solution code and make edits- some understandable, some needing to start over my understanding of the problem from the beginning! But today I was able to complete some functions without looking at the solution! A lot of array work today, manipulating it directly and displaying it different parts of the layout under different conditions.
🌺 Destress Activity: deep conditioning hair treatment and cool shower
Finished the bulk of my Guess the Word game today! Right now you can do one play thru, buuuuut the challenge is the text document I am pulling from is currently chaining all the words into one big long megaword! Which I find hilarious, but just generally unapproachable as a game. I asked for some halp, but will scope it over again when my eyes are fresh. Then just have to make it replay-able. :) I'll be dropping off on doing as much with layouts for a min while I focus on finishing my final vanilla JS projects. I'll resume always incorporating some sort of layout practice every day once I start my JS React class!
I DID do a few little changes to my grid component tho, starting to respond to more great feedback by Grace (of which she gave me much, so I am taking so time to comb thru it)! My rounded corners weren't showing bc the background of my child elements was overflowing, whoa!
🌺 _Destress Activity: _
I'm taking a break starting after work today to celebrate my anniversary with my partner!
🌺 Destress Activity: Sushi dinner to start, yum! 🍣
I finished my Guess the Word game(live site)!!! 🎺
Oh so fun, so many little logic loops!
The little issue I had on Thu was using a forward slash instead of back slash for my n-deliminator, back slaaaasshhh!! shakes fist
Also, I made the final edits to that Front End mentor grid component based on feedback I got from my peers! The instructions for the project specified a hover state for the button, but Grace suggested I always add a focus (I decided on focus-visible after reading this opinion article) state as well for keyboard readers to grab onto! She also pointed out that my elements should have max-widths and not be explicit, which makes sense from a Responsive P.O.V.
There was some rain this weekend, but it burned off real fast! Muggy but the slight drop in temp was so wanted! My brain needs cooler temps to function!
🌺 Destress Activity: Nap and learned about tarot cards ❇️
I started my final project for my JS class today, a Github repo to display all of my hard work! Today all I finished was pulling in and displaying my profile info, and I pulled my repos to mess around with tomorrow.
I was pretty headachey today, even with some Ibuprofin. Slight cool off is totally gone and another hot day! Can't wait for fall! 🍂
🌺 Destress Activity: Neighborhood walk with my love