Welcome back to another interview in our series ‘An Inside Look’ featuring other students, many of whom you might know from the studygram or YouTube study community! In each edition, I’ll be chatting with different students to learn about their study habits, productivity tips, and more. By sharing a variety of perspectives and methods, I hope this series will inspire and motivate you to improve your own study habits.
In this week’s interview, I had the pleasure of interviewing Katie, who runs the Instagram/Tiktok page katie.eu, a podcast called ‘Solidarity on the Bench’ and her own newsletter called ‘the 1-1-1 newsletter’ (which I am a religious reader of). We discuss her biggest tips for achieving the results you want, which study methods are better than flashcards and things you might be surprised to learn about Katie.
Hi Katie, for those that don’t already know you, could you tell us a little about yourself
Hi! I’m a senior in college double majoring in economics and sociology with plans on receiving my masters from LSE in the fall! I’m also a content creator and internet presence: my main platform is Instagram but I have a weekly podcast (Solidarity on the Bench) and newsletter (the 1-1-1 newsletter) as well. Most of my content centers around mental health, personal well-being, and emotional intelligence.
What are you studying and what are your future plans following education?
I’m an economics and sociology double major (two Bachelor of Arts degrees) with plans to receive an MSc in Behavioral Science from LSE! My main academic focus is behavioral economics (the study of decision-making). Afterwards, I hope to work in the research sector of Washington, D.C. to research the impact of policy, specifically in the mental health and education fields.
What does your study routine look like?
To prioritize balance in my life, I treat school like a 9-5. This means that the mornings and post-dinner times are for me, and I use that time to go to the gym, read, journal, or hang out with friends. Since I’m a senior in college, I only have class 3 days a week. I try to do most of my academic work on those 3 days (so the academic side of my brain is ‘on’) and work as much as possible over the week so that my work doesn’t bleed into my weekends. I also have a good handle on my schedule, tests, and assignments so I’m never doing anything last minute! Most times, I will study in 2-3 hour blocks during my peak energy hours, which are 10am – 2pm.
How do you make sure that you achieve the results you want?
I try to place less emphasis on the results and more emphasis on the habits or actions I can take to get there. My biggest tip for achieving the results you want, especially in terms of academics/tests, is to ask professors for recommendations or tips to achieve a good grade. If you open a conversation with them about an assignment and check in periodically throughout the process, you’ll understand the specific learning points they want you to grasp or key terms they want you to incorporate. Basically, study smarter, not harder! Also, stay on top of your assignments and study ahead.
What has been your most life-changing study tip?
Know how you study best. This comes with a lot of trial and error (the time of day you study, the people you study with (if any), the location, etc) but find your ideal study environment!
What study tip, that most students use regularly, do you dislike or find useless?
There’s a big emphasis on flashcards for memorization. I personally don’t find them useful (not even Quizlet!) and I much prefer the method of trying to teach the material to someone else. I like to give my notes or “answers” to a family member or classmate and attempt to explain the concept to the best of my ability. I’ve found that it’s the most efficient way to pinpoint what you know and what you don’t.
How do you balance everything in your life especially content creation alongside studying?
Again, I use the 9-5 method of balance for academics and that works really well for me. (NOTE: I am the bear chronotype so I find myself to be most productive at 10am to 2pm. If you have different energy levels/are a night owl, this may not apply to you!) I also stick to a pretty strict schedule and try to keep my weeks as similar as possible. For content creation: I know when I have to post and I’ll make sure I prepare everything beforehand so I’m not scrambling at the last minute. For example, my newsletter and podcast both come out on Tuesday at 11am. I try to pre-record a few episodes to keep on hand and I edit them days before. I’ll also cross-check that with my academic calendar and pre-write newsletters or pre-record and edit podcast episodes during pretty busy weeks. My biggest tip is organization!
How do you unwind and relax after a stressful day?
I love to read at night. Since I’m a full-time student, reading non-fiction or memoirs aren’t the best genre for me at the moment. That’s why I gravitate towards fiction, especially romance or fantasy, because they’re easy and engaging reads!
What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
Based on my Instagram and my internet presence, I would say that my aspirations for a PhD in Economics and passion for research is pretty surprising. That, plus the fact that I’m not a psychology major / have any interest in becoming a licensed therapist / etc.
What quote keeps you motivated and/or inspired throughout your studies?
“Destroy the idea that you have to be constantly working or grinding in order to be successful. Embrace the concept that rest, recovery, and reflection are essential parts of thee progress towards a successful and happy life.”
And finally, any advice or last words of wisdom for incoming university students?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
You don’t know what you don’t know. No one expects you to know everything.
You are a human first and a student second. Take the pressure off of yourself — academics isn’t and shouldn’t be your life.
Katie’s social media handles and links
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