8 Easy Tips in Starting and Managing a Study GroupJanuary 28, 2020

You must admit that you want to be the best version of your (studying) self, and you can't help but be curious about other students, your coursemates in particular. It's not a case of keeping your enemies closer, but rather nick all the best ideas. And starting a study group is how you must check out the competition.

The idea of starting a study group would remind you of your needs. You're living away from your family and old mates, if not the coursework would keep you away from them most of the time. Friendship should be one way of taking care of your mental health (so to speak), and you're eager to make new friends as soon as you set foot on campus. However, the reality of the university life is far from a carefree existence of teenagers. You're responsible for how you manage the coursework, ensuring that you won't have a problem on how to write a perfect essay. A study group is THE only way to achieve a study-work balance, but you should remember a few things.

There would be clashes of ideas, if not personalities, in a group, so you must be the ONE to invite other students for a study group. The next thing to do is to know the students whom you must send the invitations. You may be one of those open-minded teenagers who like to reach out to a Nepalese student, as exploring the Himalayas would be one of your dreams. And your initial encounters of Nepalese students have given you an expression that they are a nice bunch. You must remember the reason on why you want a group, though. (You need the best minds, which would motivate you, if not enable you to learn something and use it. You can invite some international students on another occasion, where there won’t be any motives other than having a good time.) Don't be too nice on this one, so you won't have second thoughts about passing up the overbearing, unreliable, and irresistible types. (Someone may have recommended "Love and Other Catastrophes".) Last but not the least, there's no point in having a study group if not one is willing to share a thought.

You might not get paid for starting a study group, but expect a sense of gratitude from those whom you want to include in this exclusive circle. And it won't be too much to pay for the pizza and soda (or beer).

The Art of Starting: Answer the Following Questions

Why are you all there for? It can be an upcoming lesson, which it can overwhelm you. It can be your next assignment as well. It can be an examination, which you feel that you can't do well without meeting the others (prior to the examination). You won't have any issues with the details, and the time, after you have determined the purpose of having a study group.

What are your goals after the session is over? You must have gained some new ideas, if not realise that you miss on something during a lecture. If you're preparing for an examination, then you must ensure that any vague (or ambiguous) ideas have been clarified.

Where are you going to meet? A flat would be the ideal location for such a session. A 24-hour cafe could be tempting, but it might be demanding to do it there. It's the same thing with the flat. (Most, if not all, have slept late.) Someone may be thinking of the manicured lawns within the four walls of the university. There are many distractions, so think of the likely spots and then inspect it.

How long is the study session? You must look at the answer to the previous question. 6 AM would be out of the question, and most, if not all, may be sleepy and sluggish during the morning. Evenings would be better. It must be few hours at the most.

Who is responsible for chairing the study sessions? You initiated it, so you should be responsible for the first session. It might turned out good, but don't think about chairing the second, which is likely, and the third and fourth (if the second session would go well). You don't want to be perceived as domineering, even too chatty. It doesn't mean that you don't worry about what other students think of you, but there's no need to adopt a cold, calculated approach to it.

What are the tasks for everyone who will be part of the group? Someone must be in charge of old (essay) papers while another one must prepare a set of questions, if not gather the questions from others. It should avoid the confusion while keeping the session from extending to another hour or so. Time is not a luxury here.

Is there a rival study group? You're not the only one who wants a study group, and yours might not be as good as the other one. There's nothing wrong in finding out the members of the other group(s), so don't hesitate to invite them on the next session. You're all in this thing together.

Who must keep a close watch on the group? It would be natural that the discussion could turn into a session of moaning, gossiping or sampling of food (or alcohol). You must be upbeat, if not hopeful, about the outcome of this situation, so don't think about upcoming struggles. You must not lament the passing of sport legend (like Kobe Bryant), the probability that Nick Kyrgios won't achieve his full potential or you happen not to be a student of the Group of Eight. Keep your eyes on the prize, which is getting a high mark on your next assignment (or examination).

Respect is a Two-Way Street

If you want a second session (and a third and fourth), then you must learn to respect each other’s opinion. Don’t ever think that your idea is better than yours. In other words, an open mind is what you need to achieve your goals. You must not trash your tutor’s ideas (or professor’s) as well.

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