Get Serious About Studying

New Years Resolutions abound this time of year. If studying harder is among yours, read on. John tells you how, starting with the library couch.

Well, the new year has arrived and with it comes another semester. It’s time to return to the ranks of the clavically-challenged and strap on that 10 ton backpack again. Just when you had gotten used to a steady holiday diet of mom’s roast beef and mashed potatoes, it’s back to Ramen noodles and tap water.

Yes, many new challenges await you. It goes without saying that the most difficult, of course, will be learning how to play the new Madden ’99 Nintendo Football Game you got for Christmas. But let us shelve that one for a moment and address another weighty chore: Resurrecting those essential study habits.

Most likely, the heaviest “reading” you did over the holidays was Calvin and Hobbes (the cartoon kid and the tiger, not the deceased human ones). But your sabbatical from significant brain activity is over, and now it’s back to reading papers with titles like “Women as Mothers in Pre-Industrial Siberia: Essays in Memory of Helena Dostysoltzykaramazov,” and “Attitudes Towards Childhood Psychosocial Pseudoparenchyma Disorders of the Lepidoptera, 1560-1634.”

It is with this formidable reading responsibility in mind that I bring you, the University-consumer, an inspiring study aid. It’s a College Student’s Help-Me-Keep-My-New-Year’s-Study-Resolutions song. Sing it to the tune of The Love Boat chorus.

It’s a Newwwww Yearrrrrr, Show me the way to the li-brar-ry!

It’s a Newwwww Yearrrrrr,

Can’t wait to read some (choose one: bi-o-lo-gy, ge-o-mo-try, phi-lo-so-phy, psy-cho-lo-gy, arche-o-lo-gy, Leo Dicapri-o-lo-gy)

It’s a course of adventure, I’m smarter in every wayyyyyyyy,

When I get a job, I’m sure I’ll use it most every dayyyyy …

Now, learning yet another song may sound like a difficult task. But consider the way in which you will profit from not being able to get this little ditty out of your head.

You get behind in your reading every semester. And at the beginning of each new semester you once again resolve to stay caught up, yet you fail time and time again. The problem is that you’ve never had the proper motivation. But this semester will be different! Armed with the College Student’s Help-Me-Keep-My-New-Year’s-Study-Resolutions song, you’re going to rush to the library after every reading assignment is made and knock it out right then! You can do it! Man, you’re going to live in the library! Just as soon as you find out where it is.

Of course I’m only kidding. I know you know where the library is. It’s where you go when you can’t find any peace and quiet in your dorm room or apartment. It’s where you go to gain knowledge and explore new worlds. It’s where you go to suffer a severe case of whiplash while trying to remain conscious reading stimulating classics like Influential Post-Enlightenment Slovak Writings of the (fill in the century).

I realize that this is probably not the case with you, but some readers may not be very familiar with the Library Experience. And now that I’ve worked you into a veritable study-frenzy with the HMKMNYSR song, I feel obligated to prepare you for what you can expect.

Upon entering the Library (from the Latin, librarius, meaning shhhhhhhhh!), you may be surprised to discover that it tempts you with two seating options: the Study Cubicle Designed for Maximum Study Impact With Very Little Distraction Including Blinders Much Like You Would Find on a Plow Horse, and A Couch.

Trust me on this one: STAY AWAY FROM THE COUCH!! Oh sure, it calls out your name like an old friend, coaxing and enticing you with all its warmth and naugahydeness. DON’T GIVE IN TO ITS SEDUCTIVE WAYS!! It may seem like a harmless piece of domestic furnishing, but in reality it is a hypnotic, tranquilizing fiend, ready to cradle you in its deceitful arms, lulling you to sleep like a baby. NO! Remember the song! Remember the resolution! Remember the Alamo! You have reading to do! You must choose the study cubicle!

Once ensconced smartly in your cubicle, you dig out your reading assignment, and immediately size it up by holding the Total Pages To Read (TPTR) between your forefinger and thumb. Hmm. Looks like a “half-incher.” No problem. You time yourself reading one page then multiply it by how many pages you have to read. You ascertain that if you read straight through, without any bathroom breaks, you’ll be done a week from Thursday.

With that kind of daunting task ahead of you, you’ll need your rest. Better get a little shut-eye before you get started. 10 minutes should do it. I find that the “S” encyclopedia covered with a folded, polarfleece jacket makes for optimum napping material and reduces neck strain.

You close your eyes for a few minutes. The next thing you know, someone in cover-alls named “Bud” is giving your Nikes a shine with an institutional floor buffer. You wipe the drool out of your ear, glance at the clock and realize that you’ve been unconscious for five-and-a-half hours. Your neck is throbbing and you have no feeling from your armpits down. You feel ashamed, humiliated, discouraged and bewildered. You can’t believe you did this! How could this happen?!

You missed Letterman! And tonight was Stupid Pet Tricks!!

Things are only made worse when you go out to your car and discover that it is in the process of getting towed to an undisclosed location by the campus police department. It suddenly dawns on you why you had no problem finding a parking spot right by the front door. You parked in the University President’s reserved spot. The officers correctly assume that the President does not drive a two-tone green and rust, 1972 Gremlin held together with “Bob the Tomato for President” bumper stickers.

On top of that, they inform you that you can’t get your car back until you pay off your parking fines, which will single-handedly finance the new football stadium, where a plaque, in your honor, will read:

“Welcome to the Gremlin Dome, Underwritten with the Generous Parking Violations of Jeremy R. Connelly, Class of 2000.”

As you walk home, you wonder out loud, “Where is the justice? Where is the fairness? Why Me?” You had such good intentions. Why, out of all the people in the universe, would you be picked out to experience such pain and hardship? Is this the thanks you get for taking the time to memorize some silly new New Year’s song!?

Then, almost as quickly as the fog comes, it clears. It’s as if a light were turned on in a darkened room. Suddenly, the clouds in your confused and frustrated world are parted, all is well again, and a smile slowly returns to your face. How could you have forgotten?

Stupid Pet Tricks are tomorrow night …

Copyright © 1999 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.

About the Author

John Thomas

John Thomas has been a Boundless contributor since its beginning in 1998. He and his wife, Alfie, have three children and live in Arkansas, where he serves as executive director of Ozark Camp and Conference Center, a youth camp and retreat center.