Stay Informed

Whether you’re in the classroom or out in the world, it’s important to ask questions, seek answers, and find new ways to stimulate your intellectual curiosity. Intellectual wellness is about keeping you engaged in creative and critical thinking, improving your open-mindedness to new topics, disciplines, and perspectives, and ultimately determining the value you place in learning.

If you’re noticing any of the following, now might be the right time to begin improving your intellectual wellness:

  • Lack of focus and motivation
  • Forgetfulness
  • Disorganization
  • Excessive procrastination
  • Feeling overloaded
  • Trouble learning new information
  • Sudden disinterest in learning

Things to consider

Whether you choose to read a book you’ve never read before, listen to new genres of music, visit a library or museum you’ve never been to, or watch different films, TV shows, or news channels than usual, staying open-minded about the media you consume is a great way to stimulate critical thinking. Here are some locations on campus that can help you explore different genres of literature, art, performance, film, and more.

There are almost 50,000 students attending IU Bloomington, opening the door to almost 50,000 opportunities to meet individuals with similar and different academic interests from you. Checking out different student organizations, visiting one of IU’s Cultural Centers and Institutes, or simply building rapport with the peers, faculty, and staff you meet during your time at IU allows you to unlock some of these opportunities and discover new worldviews and realms of study.

Any time is a great time to become a better student. Here are just a few ways you can make the most out of your study time:

  • Keep new information fresh. With the amount of information your exposed to every day, it’s only natural that some of the newer material slips through the cracks. Reviewing your study materials within 24 hours of class helps make this information more likely to stick.
  • Always take notes. The observations you make or inquiries that come up while you’re listening to a lecture or reading a course text can be incredibly useful in the long run. Be sure to not only write down the information that’s being presented to you, but also note any observations and questions you come up with as you’re reading or listening.
  • Create a study group. Learning can be as much of a group effort as it is an individual one. Forming a study group with other people in your class can help keep you all engaged in the course and support each other when needed.
  • Find or create a study area. Some people have a laundry list of requirements for their study space, while others just need a desk and a chair. Whatever your approach may be, finding an ideal space for you to focus and produce quality work is incredibly helpful in maintaining your intellectual curiosity.
  • Adopt a study method that works for you. No study routine is perfect, and not every student can succeed under one methodology. Whether you choose to adopt an established study method or you decide to create your own, it’s important to identify learning techniques that keep you engaged and interested in the subject(s) you’re working with.

Time is limited, so it’s important to understand how to make the most of it. Here are some ways to begin structuring your time to accommodate your busy routine at IU:

  • Use a planner. Our memory is fickle, so be sure to keep track of assignments, due dates, and other upcoming events in a physical or digital calendar. For instance, the Boost app has a planner feature that allows you to make personalized tasks and reminders for your Canvas courses and assignments, and it’s connected to your Canvas To-Do list.
  • Learn to say “no.” Unfortunately, we can’t make time for everyone and everything. Recognize when you can and cannot participate in fun outings and plan leisure activities once you’ve gotten your top priorities out of the way.
  • Cut work hours, if necessary. Money is important, but working too much can cut into your study time. Communicate with your employer and create a work schedule that accommodates your work life, school life, and personal life.

For some, textbook information and the classroom environment might not be enough to fully engrain the concepts you’re learning about. Consider visiting a program, lecture, event, or exhibit that addresses the subjects you’re studying in class, or join a student organization that directly focuses on the issues and questions you have about the topic at-hand. Additionally, communicating this knowledge with others can better orient you with the material, so engage yourself in discourse to deepen your understanding further.

Maybe you’ve taken a class that made you think something like: “This is so cool! I think I could keep doing this kind of work.” Or you might have an interest that’s not directly related to your current field of study or intended career path, but still want to familiarize yourself with it further. IU has over 550 major, minor, and area certificate programs across 12 schools, so explore the wide variety of disciplines available, speak with the relevant advisors and faculty members, and keep learning about what matters to you most.

When upperclassmen, graduate students, faculty, and staff emphasize going to office hours, there’s a clear reason why. Your instructors have been in your position for quite some time, so they can be excellent resources for intellectual discussion and may help you reframe your approach to your class or subject.

IU Bloomington offers plenty of free tutoring options to help you reach your intellectual and academic goals.

Your Intellectual Wellness to-do lists

Check out these ideas provided by the Student Health Center’s Peer Health and Wellness Educators on what you can do to improve your intellectual wellness and build resilience.

This week:

  • Try out a new study method
  • Identify and set-up a study space
  • Explore academic programs at IU Bloomington
  • Set-up a planner

This month:

  • Go to an instructor’s office hours
  • Attend an on-campus event, lecture, exhibition, or student organization meeting
  • Read a new book or watch something you’ve never seen before
  • Take quality notes in class and while studying
  • Keep track of your planner
  • Meet with your academic advisor(s)