Career Colleges General Interest Online learning

10 of the worst things to include in New Year resolutions

Congratulations for completing (or nearly completing) another semester!

To help you usher in a new year of academics, I present to you this tongue-in-cheek post. In it, I’d like to share with you the worst New Year’s resolutions that I can think of for a distance learner. 

So, if you want to know what bad advice for distance learners looks like, this post is for you!   

Are you ready for an unproductive and miserable 2022? Let’s jump in the mire!  

1. Beat yourself up for making mistakes

Here’s some bad advice: Berate yourself and mentally bash yourself for making any mistakes. For instance, did you answer a question on a test only to realize that you answered incorrectly hours later? Don’t let that fly. Make yourself feel horrible for being a flawed human being.

2. Let your ego reign supreme

If your professor disagrees with one of your opinions, be sure to take it as a personal affront to your character. Argue with that professor until they kick you out of the class. Then be sure to email that professor, letting him or her know how stupid they were for not agreeing with you.

3. Never ask for help or advice

You’re not doing your ego any favors by asking for help or advice from professors, students, or counselors. Remember, every person is an island, so do everything on your own. Asking for help under any circumstance makes you look weak.

4. Embrace all nighters

Why work ahead when you can stay up all night a few times a month? Cramming makes for the best learning! Don’t be like those nerds who prepare well in advance for a paper, project, or test. Just knock it out at the last minute, so you can spend as much time procrastinating as possible. Your grades will suffer, but that’s a small price to pay for not being a nerd.

5. Don’t get enough sleep

Sure, sleep helps improve your brain, and experts recommend getting at least seven hours each night. But if you’re sleeping, you aren’t studying or doing homework. Try to sleep as little as possible.

6. Put your identity in your grades

If you’re an overachiever who wants bad advice specifically aimed at you, then be sure to put your identity in your grades. Getting the right grades means more than your character, relationships, spirituality, or interests—grades are the chief defining factor of who you are as a person. Remember, “B” is for “Bad.” As in, you’re a bad human being if you ever get a B or below. 

7. Avoid creating lists

Do you have a lot of schoolwork to do? Keep track of it all in your head. Only nerds write lists of tasks they need in order to perform well in a class. You may forget to do several necessary tasks, but at least you won’t be a nerd with a list.

8. Shoot for doing the bare minimum

Do not “shoot for the stars.” Just do what you need to do to pass your classes. Otherwise, you’ll have to put in more work, which leaves less time to binge-watch shows. Ugh. 

9. Skip classes

Sure, you’re paying for each class, but they are so boring! Play some virtual hooky by avoiding every class you can. And if you end up failing because of this, blame your professor or an unfair school system.

10. Behave like a victim

If you find you’re not getting straight A’s because you followed the aforementioned advice, know that it’s not your fault. Yeah, you procrastinated, refused to ask for help, and skipped classes, but you are a victim first and foremost. So, your bad grades must be someone else’s fault. You just need to find those people and make sure they know you failed because of them—not because of anything you did.

Wrapping up

Obviously, this is terrible advice. In all seriousness, please don’t do any of these things. But, if you want to see how you can quickly cause the coming year to plummet, consider these points.

Career Colleges General Interest Online learning

5 reasons why it’s important for distance learners to read fiction

As a distance learner, are you wasting your time if you read novels?

I would argue you’re not.

While many people espouse the benefits of reading nonfiction books (of which there are many), many do not give novels credit where credit is due.

Novels can really be helpful for distance learners. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why.

1. Reading novels can help you concentrate for longer periods of time

The Internet teaches our brains to scan instead of read.

I’ve found that after reading for hours online, it can be difficult to transition to reading a novel. During those times, I feel distracted by the book, since it requires me not to skim but to concentrate for much longer periods of time than I’m used to when browsing the Internet. 

Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar when you crack open a textbook after reading online.

A 2019 study suggests that our attention spans have been shrinking in recent years. Social media, 24-hour news, and other products of the digital age are largely to blame for this.

To counteract a shrinking attention span, try reading a novel. By helping you practice concentration, reading a novel helps you develop a longer attention span. And a longer attention span can help you focus during class.

2. Reading novels can foster a love of reading

It can be tiresome if you only read academic books that require a lot of intensive thinking. Sticking with only those books you are required to read may zap some of the fun out of reading.

But with novels, the stuff you’re reading likely won’t apply to your life outside of the book. That’s why I like novels—because they’re “brain candy.”

I like to use this analogy: If all the exercise you do is strenuous, taxing workouts, you may be more likely to quit than you would be if you integrated some “just-for-fun” workouts (like a hike or a favorite sport) into your exercise routine.

In the same way, reading something for the simple joy of reading can help you stick with the habit, even when you aren’t required to read a book. And learning to love reading will help you to love learning (in general).

3. Reading novels can help you improve your writing

Being exposed to the proper use of grammatical rules on a regular basis will help you polish your own writing. This is especially good when you’re taking classes that involve writing multiple papers throughout the semester.

Finally, the best novels have a cadence that flows. So, if you want your papers to flow, get exposed to what good cadence looks like by reading a great novel.

4. Reading novels can teach you new words

As a distance learner, your classes can vary wildly between multiple fields, so having a wide variety of words to draw from can be useful. Often, I find myself learning at least a few new words when I’m reading a novel.

Side note: The built-in dictionary features of an e-book reader (such as an Amazon Kindle), can make it easier for you to expand your vocabulary. 

5. Reading novels can help you practice retaining information

Did you know you can mold your brain? This is a concept known as neural plasticity.

So, if you have trouble remembering necessary facts for an exam, you may want to mold your brain in a way that improves your memory. This is where novels can be handy.

With a lot of good novels, you have to juggle the names of multiple characters, places, fictional organizations, etc. You have to remember if a character is a villain, hero, or neither.

If you’re reading sci-fi or fantasy, you likely have to remember the names of different creatures, locations, and devices that are part of that universe.

Remembering all this stuff may not be of much use outside of reading the novel, but it allows you to get used to the idea of remembering specific pieces of information. This in turn may help you remember much-needed info for your tests.

Wrapping up

I know you have a lot of reading to do for school. But I encourage you to mix up your reading diet with a fun novel. I think you’ll be surprised with how beneficial this practice can be.