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Academic Allies: The Role of Study Groups in Achieving Excellence

By GamuRLA 27 Nov 2023

In academia, you will realize that you do a lot of studying. Despite receiving advice to sleep more for better information retention, most students find themselves doing the opposite. This is often because, to acquire information, we must study, and unhealthy habits like irregular sleeping patterns can develop. However, during the numerous day and night hours spent at the library or studying at the café, we need other people to share these moments with – people we can study with, even if they are not from the same course. These are your study buddies. Study buddies encourage each other to study and often end up forming long-term friendships. 

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I am a Medical Pharmacology student. At the beginning of my first year, I thought I had enough motivation to study. Being alone in my room often made me feel lazy. However, after hanging out in the students union study spaces and studying at the library, I began to feel a sense of community and belonging. I felt more inclined to study and complete my assignments because I sensed everyone working towards the same goal: to further our understanding through self-directed learning. Eventually, after studying in the Students Union, I noticed bioscience and psychology students whom I consistently met in the same place and time I used to study. We connected after a while and became study buddies. We organized and booked rooms to study in. The trio gradually became a group. When presentations were coming up, we would book out lecture theatres to practice and give each other feedback. This was beneficial because when you don't limit yourself to just studying with course mates, your engagement skills improve. We helped each other progress in our different fields through small actions that may be considered useless by others. From that point on, I realized that companionship and association that bring people together is an agreement on a bigger picture, which in our situation was to make progress in study skills and engagement skills. 

So, here are a few tips on how to create study buddy groups: 

#1: Identify Your Study Needs 

You need to assess yourself and your learning needs before associating them with other people. Are you struggling with a specific subject or grappling with certain parts of your assignment? Understanding your challenges will help you choose potential buddies. 

#2: Reach out to Classmates 

While your classmates are an obvious choice, don’t limit yourself to them. Use social media platforms, journal article clubs, and platforms like Study Together. Your ideal study buddy might be just a click away. 

#3: Establish Goals 

Once you have identified your study buddies, establish clear goals with your group to reduce pointless study sessions. Define subjects, even if they are different, discuss the topics of focus, what you want to achieve at the end of the meeting, frequency of meetings, and overall objectives. 

#4: Diversify Your Group 

A common misconception is that study buddies should exclusively comprise individuals from the same course. However, diversity can be a strength. Consider including students from different disciplines who bring unique perspectives to the table. This diversity can enrich your learning experience and provide alternative approaches to problem-solving. 

#5: Establish Communication Channels 

Clear communication is the backbone of a successful study buddy group. Choose a communication platform that suits everyone, whether it's a group chat, email, or a dedicated study group app. Regular update, reminders, and the exchange of relevant resources will keep the group engaged and informed. An application called Signal works like WhatsApp. Once you dedicate yourself to doing all this, it is worth it in the end. 

#6: Embrace Flexibility 

Life as a student can be unpredictable, with shifting schedules and unexpected demands. Embrace flexibility within your study group to accommodate everyone's commitments. Establish an understanding that members may need to miss occasional meetings, fostering a supportive and stress-free environment. Also, don’t forget that study time alone and self-care are important too. Sometimes it's worth changing the environment and going on study trips. Visit the Bay cafes alone, study there, and give reviews to others. 

In conclusion, forming study buddy groups is a dynamic strategy that transcends the boundaries of traditional academic silos. By diversifying your study buddies and embracing different perspectives, you open doors to enriched learning experiences. Like in my story, success lies in the willingness to step beyond the confines of your immediate academic circle and embrace the collaborative potential of a diverse study buddy group. From presenting in front of my peers and receiving feedback. So, reach out, connect, and unlock the power of shared knowledge and collective success. 

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