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Biochemistry Undergraduate - Feeling Lost

So, a bit over a month ago I started my very first year of uni, I'm doing biochemistry but I'm pretty sure this question would apply to most biosciences.

As mentioned in the title, I'm feeling a bit lost. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the course a lot, I'm genuinely interested in the content, but I feel like I'm just doing it wrong. I know I have a brain for humanistic subjects, so it's down to finding the right approach. But I feel like all I'm doing is making notes and flashcards (which I don't really have time to use) and it just feels like a waste of time, but then I'm not too sure how to cover all the content in detail any other way? I really don't want to waste time on techniques that are not efficient but then I'm not too sure what else to do? It stresses me out a lot and yeah just, yeah :,) Any tips would be much appreciated.
Original post by j3lly_f1sh
So, a bit over a month ago I started my very first year of uni, I'm doing biochemistry but I'm pretty sure this question would apply to most biosciences.

As mentioned in the title, I'm feeling a bit lost. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the course a lot, I'm genuinely interested in the content, but I feel like I'm just doing it wrong. I know I have a brain for humanistic subjects, so it's down to finding the right approach. But I feel like all I'm doing is making notes and flashcards (which I don't really have time to use) and it just feels like a waste of time, but then I'm not too sure how to cover all the content in detail any other way? I really don't want to waste time on techniques that are not efficient but then I'm not too sure what else to do? It stresses me out a lot and yeah just, yeah :,) Any tips would be much appreciated.

Hi J3lly_f1sh,
I just want to start by reassuring you and say that a lot of first year students find themselves questioning whether their current study methods are right for them. So you are definitely not alone in feeling this way, I felt much the same in my first year.

If you do not feel like flashcards are helpful for you, maybe spend an afternoon or two investigating what other revision methods there are. This can be through the internet, or simply asking other students what they find helpful. I personally use flashcards, but more as question prompts. However, I have friends who like to make posters on each series of lectures. These contain the key take-home messages and maybe some diagrams. Maybe you could write yourself some quizzes based on the lecture content which you can use to test yourself when revising later on in the semester? If this doesn't help you could always have a discussion with your tutor about which study methods they think are useful?

My main advice is that although it may seem inefficient, first year is designed for you to experiment with your study skills and see what works for you. Therefore, try not to be too worried when techniques don't work immediately.
I hope this helped and good luck with your studies,
Sofia (3rd Year Biochemistry Student)
Original post by j3lly_f1sh
So, a bit over a month ago I started my very first year of uni, I'm doing biochemistry but I'm pretty sure this question would apply to most biosciences.

As mentioned in the title, I'm feeling a bit lost. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the course a lot, I'm genuinely interested in the content, but I feel like I'm just doing it wrong. I know I have a brain for humanistic subjects, so it's down to finding the right approach. But I feel like all I'm doing is making notes and flashcards (which I don't really have time to use) and it just feels like a waste of time, but then I'm not too sure how to cover all the content in detail any other way? I really don't want to waste time on techniques that are not efficient but then I'm not too sure what else to do? It stresses me out a lot and yeah just, yeah :,) Any tips would be much appreciated.

Hi @j3lly_f1sh,

I can't say much about biosciences specifically but can talk about studying more generally.

Have you had a look on YouTube, asked academic staff or other students? This might be a good starting point to help you work out how to study best for the course.

Another thing is that everyone studies and learns differently, so what might feel 'wrong' might actually be working really well! For example, in lectures I like to make extra notes on the powerpoint on my laptop which helps me pay attention and leave with notes from the lecture. I do have friends who approach lectures differently, some take no notes at all and some write on paper.

First year is a great time to try out different study methods and styles of revision/note taking. I would say make the most of trying new things to see what works for you and what doesn't.

I hope this helps and good luck! :smile:

Alia
University of Kent Student Rep
Reply 3
Original post by University of Sheffield Students
Hi J3lly_f1sh,
I just want to start by reassuring you and say that a lot of first year students find themselves questioning whether their current study methods are right for them. So you are definitely not alone in feeling this way, I felt much the same in my first year.

If you do not feel like flashcards are helpful for you, maybe spend an afternoon or two investigating what other revision methods there are. This can be through the internet, or simply asking other students what they find helpful. I personally use flashcards, but more as question prompts. However, I have friends who like to make posters on each series of lectures. These contain the key take-home messages and maybe some diagrams. Maybe you could write yourself some quizzes based on the lecture content which you can use to test yourself when revising later on in the semester? If this doesn't help you could always have a discussion with your tutor about which study methods they think are useful?

My main advice is that although it may seem inefficient, first year is designed for you to experiment with your study skills and see what works for you. Therefore, try not to be too worried when techniques don't work immediately.
I hope this helped and good luck with your studies,
Sofia (3rd Year Biochemistry Student)

Thanks for the advice! This does calm me down a bit. I will try different things and experiment and we'll see what works :smile:
Reply 4
Original post by University of Kent
Hi @j3lly_f1sh,

I can't say much about biosciences specifically but can talk about studying more generally.

Have you had a look on YouTube, asked academic staff or other students? This might be a good starting point to help you work out how to study best for the course.

Another thing is that everyone studies and learns differently, so what might feel 'wrong' might actually be working really well! For example, in lectures I like to make extra notes on the powerpoint on my laptop which helps me pay attention and leave with notes from the lecture. I do have friends who approach lectures differently, some take no notes at all and some write on paper.

First year is a great time to try out different study methods and styles of revision/note taking. I would say make the most of trying new things to see what works for you and what doesn't.

I hope this helps and good luck! :smile:

Alia
University of Kent Student Rep

Oh we actually go to the same uni, and thank you for your advice! :biggrin:
Original post by j3lly_f1sh
So, a bit over a month ago I started my very first year of uni, I'm doing biochemistry but I'm pretty sure this question would apply to most biosciences.

As mentioned in the title, I'm feeling a bit lost. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the course a lot, I'm genuinely interested in the content, but I feel like I'm just doing it wrong. I know I have a brain for humanistic subjects, so it's down to finding the right approach. But I feel like all I'm doing is making notes and flashcards (which I don't really have time to use) and it just feels like a waste of time, but then I'm not too sure how to cover all the content in detail any other way? I really don't want to waste time on techniques that are not efficient but then I'm not too sure what else to do? It stresses me out a lot and yeah just, yeah :,) Any tips would be much appreciated.

Hey,
I've found that with very content-heavy subject it can feel very overwhelming when looking at the amount of content you learn, and can take a really long time to make notes and then learn them. I am in my fourth year of my medicine degree now, and what me and my peers have found is that it is best to cut down the note taking process as much as possible. - this may not work for you, but I thought I'd suggest it as an option. So I do not write notes from lectures, I just make flahscards from the content straight away - so I miss the notes step and it has saved me so much time. I used to hate the idea of not having notes, but actually the best way of revising is active recall and spaced repetition, and having notes does not really help with that. Plus if there is something I want to look over, there are powerpoints (and sometimes recordings) of the lectures that I can go back and look at.
In terms of efficient techniques, anything that is question and answer is good. Get in the habit of using this as your main form of revision - you can ask yourself/write things down or meet with your coursemates and ask each other questions. Brainscape and Anki are great for this, because they are easy to use and have formulae that will encourage memory retention. Napping/meditating/being quiet for a bit after revising/learning something also can help with memory retention too.
I hope this helps!
Evie (4th year medic at UoS)
Original post by j3lly_f1sh
So, a bit over a month ago I started my very first year of uni, I'm doing biochemistry but I'm pretty sure this question would apply to most biosciences.

As mentioned in the title, I'm feeling a bit lost. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the course a lot, I'm genuinely interested in the content, but I feel like I'm just doing it wrong. I know I have a brain for humanistic subjects, so it's down to finding the right approach. But I feel like all I'm doing is making notes and flashcards (which I don't really have time to use) and it just feels like a waste of time, but then I'm not too sure how to cover all the content in detail any other way? I really don't want to waste time on techniques that are not efficient but then I'm not too sure what else to do? It stresses me out a lot and yeah just, yeah :,) Any tips would be much appreciated.

Hi,

Like others, I can't speak from a bio-science point of view but can speak about studying in general.

I found doing the blended learning before and after lectures helped cement the key pieces of knowledge needed for each module. The blending learning was relevant to that week's topic and with some extra studying, using notes I'd taken in lectures and power points from the lectures, I found myself slowly but surely starting to get my head around the complex topics of my course.

I'd also recommend trying a study timetable and sticking to it. By allocating a certain amount of time to each module and topic you'll slowly start to see your knowledge grow and you'll become more confident in your own ability. Studying methods such as the Pomodoro method helps too as they allow dedicated study and break times that have been proven to optimise your learning.

I hope this is of some assistance and that you find a method that best suits your learning needs!

Mary
London South Bank University Student Rep (3rd-year Children's Nursing)
Original post by j3lly_f1sh
So, a bit over a month ago I started my very first year of uni, I'm doing biochemistry but I'm pretty sure this question would apply to most biosciences.

As mentioned in the title, I'm feeling a bit lost. Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying the course a lot, I'm genuinely interested in the content, but I feel like I'm just doing it wrong. I know I have a brain for humanistic subjects, so it's down to finding the right approach. But I feel like all I'm doing is making notes and flashcards (which I don't really have time to use) and it just feels like a waste of time, but then I'm not too sure how to cover all the content in detail any other way? I really don't want to waste time on techniques that are not efficient but then I'm not too sure what else to do? It stresses me out a lot and yeah just, yeah :,) Any tips would be much appreciated.

@j3lly_f1sh

It might be that you need to find a way to incorporate flashcards into your day, so that you do actually make use of them. Whether that's reading on the train or bus, or sticking them up/pinning them where you are going to see then and actively choosing to read for e.g. sticking them on your cupboard or bathroom door.

Tables can be really useful: especially if you are comparing things or if things follow a set pattern. This might help you organise the content that you need to know in a very clear and logical way. Mind maps can also be good as you can connect different things together and can see what you know on a given topic and can also use them to decorate your room : )

I think revising thrives on creativity, so do think about fun ways you can remember things i.e. mnemonics or sticking post-it notes on your laptop, desk etc...places that you will keep coming into contact with throughout the day.

Writing things down again and again can help with retention, so the notes and flashcards may be helping you store things in your memory as you create them.

You might not want to do flashcards for everything but they might still be useful, so think about if you really need a flashcard or if there is a better way to present the information and to revise from it.

All the best,

Oluwatosin 3rd year student University of Huddersfield
Original post by j3lly_f1sh
Oh we actually go to the same uni, and thank you for your advice! :biggrin:

Hi @j3lly_f1sh ,

How have lectures been since you first posted on this thread?

This is great actually because I can now point you towards SLAS who can help with revision, note taking and other academic related things. The link to find out more is here: [url=https://www.kent.ac.uk/student-learning-advisory-service]https://www.kent.ac.uk/student-learning-advisory-service]https://www.kent.ac.uk/student-learning-advisory-service

Reach out to your division/school because they may have subject specific events to help you or signpost you to other places. You can search for their e-mail and other contact info here: https://www.kent.ac.uk/guides/divisional-student-support-teams.

Your Engagement Support Team (I believe, if biochem comes under [url=mailto:biosciences):[email protected]]biosciences):[email protected]. Keep an eye on your e-mails too for events related to your school and any other workshops SLAS hold.

There is also a bioscience society (https://kentunion.co.uk/activities/biosoc) which you could join to talk to peers about revision/note taking but it might also help you form a study group!

I hope this helps. :smile:

Alia
University of Kent Student Rep
(edited 3 months ago)
Reply 9
Original post by University of Kent
Hi @j3lly_f1sh ,

How have lectures been since you first posted on this thread?

This is great actually because I can now point you towards SLAS who can help with revision, note taking and other academic related things. The link to find out more is here: [url=https://www.kent.ac.uk/student-learning-advisory-service]https://www.kent.ac.uk/student-learning-advisory-service]https://www.kent.ac.uk/student-learning-advisory-service


Reach out to your division/school because they may have subject specific events to help you or signpost you to other places. You can search for their e-mail and other contact info here: https://www.kent.ac.uk/guides/divisional-student-support-teams.

Your Engagement Support Team (I believe, if biochem comes under [url=mailto:biosciences):[email protected]]biosciences):[email protected]. Keep an eye on your e-mails too for events related to your school and any other workshops SLAS hold.

There is also a bioscience society (https://kentunion.co.uk/activities/biosoc) which you could join to talk to peers about revision/note taking but it might also help you form a study group!

I hope this helps. :smile:

Alia
University of Kent Student Rep
Thank you so much!

When it comes to lectures, I'm not gonna lie it all depends on the module and lecturer, there has been quite a few changes in lecturers and as much as I love some, some of them are not delivering the content very well.

Thank you for sharing the links, they'll be helpful for sure! :smile:

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