Studying can feel a little lonely and grey some days. If you get the chance, go out and delve into your subject by experiencing it first hand.
Immersing yourself in a subject by meeting the people who work in your field, uncovering stories about your topic and getting a genuine hands on feel for your subject will add depth to your study work through experience.
This won’t work for all topics but a little creativity can go a long way in bringing your study sessions back to life. There are so many ways to get involved whether in a gentle observational manner or in a direct front line position.
In the UK for a trip this month, my work desk back home has been replaced with a tablet and notebook on the go and a well-loved suitcase not far from my hand. This had given me new perspectives to work from and learn through.
For example my assignments based on cultural studies have taken on a whole new flavour as I explore a medieval castle, muddle through accent challenges in the local marketplace and taste test foods that I have to double check to pronounce correctly.
People are usually keen to talk and share about their town, their local icons and visitor attractions. This gives you a precious insider view of the area, which in turn gives your assignment an edge of authenticity and interest.
Here’s a few examples of making this work for you:
Get on a bus and tour the city and country with your camera taking in all the different styles, angles and features of buildings from another time. Visit museums and learn about the local bricks used for different areas and why they are the dominant product there.
Studying business and commerce?
Learn from local case studies of people closing their town high street shops due to the financial impacts of bigger stores setting up on the outskirts of town. Ask local not for profit groups about funding challenges and get interested in the community you are visiting.
Studying medical science?
Read the newspaper and learn what is being reported on in health issues and local programs for primary health care. Do the pharmacies stock a range of health care products targeted at particular age groups, what is the local age demographic?
Track down local galleries and visit exhibitions but take it one step further. Ask for a short chat with the artist! Learn how they got started in their field, who their influences are and what they would recommend to incoming artists to the field.
Studying Marketing or Advertising?
Take a look around. What billboards are placed where and why? Is advertising all over the place or does the town have a more traditional feel? How thick is the local newspaper? Do a lot of businesses advertise in it or are other digital media methods more popular in this area?
There is so much to learn out there and you may just stumble upon an issue, interest or passion that stays with you well past your studies and assignments.
Put your phone and tablet away for the day and go learn on your feet!