Mastering your memory
By Ayanda K. Gatsha, Contributor
The holidays are over, and we hopefully had fun—but the academic season’s now kicked off and we can’t afford to stay on the bench. Some of us are new, and others are veterans, but nevertheless, one goal bonds us: getting good grades!
Let’s consider perception.
What scientists who specialize in psychology have discovered through decades of research and experimentation, is that our body is built in a way that collects all kinds of information from our outside environment. From light to sound, the specific “departments” our bodies are divided into work in their specialized faculties to grab all of these outside stimuli. Then our body takes all the collected information and converts it into electrical-type signals. These signals are passed on in a relay process of which you are the winner, because you get to see, smell, and hear incoming threats and avoid them. And you do this without having to plan it in the morning—it just happens naturally from the moment you wake up to when you fall asleep. Isn’t that cool?
So when you see that textbook, and get a whiff of the print and a feel for the texture of the pages, know that your body has gone to a lot of effort to make that happen. So, commando, the hostage takers have named their demand, and that’s seeing you fail! They haven’t taken into account your resources—your instructors and course outline. They have all the intelligence you need.
You get exactly the concepts you need to memorize, understand, and repeat in practice study sessions and grading assessments. From there, you do the actual job of sourcing those poor victims out and freeing them from their rhetoric-distracting hostage takers. Some people call this “studying,” you call it the beginnings of a great future career—or at least a stress- and guilt-free summer. Yes, fun holidays can start, but only after you take care of getting that grade!
Now that you’ve got your material out of captivity, here’s the blueprint of the facilities that valuable information will reside in: memory.
The brain stores memory in a way that has been tricky to figure out—but we’re human, we’re curious, and we build cool tech that helps us see far away stars and the insides of our bodies. Our memory is built up of several parts, including our long-term memory. And because you shove factual information through your perception when you study, eventually, all that necessary study material gets in and stays there.
That part that counts when being assessed is recall.
You’ll find that willingly remembering something can’t be necessarily done without some form of cue or trigger. A memory trigger could even be just being in a classroom under the impression you are writing an exam and you are seated in the same spot where you have been studying. The practice of remembering stuff is essentially your trial run, and if you keep practicing you will find you remember everything more accurately. That means, summer, here we come!