Swedish universities take group work very seriously. Most of the assignments I have done for classes throughout the year have been group assignments. While it may be great to have more than one perspective when working on an assignment, it can definitely be difficult to bring together 4 or 5 students at the same time. Combining the talents of many should prove to be beneficial, but it can also result in disaster.
Typically, in a Swedish class you have one main exam, paper or project due at the end of the course. The rest of the semester is full of smaller assignments and group discussions. The group discussions are held frequently and allow you and your fellow students to discuss exactly what you have learned in the past week or month. It can be a very effective way to further your understanding and ask any questions you have.
Getting through group work can be difficult. Photo By: Kristin Follis
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So you had a 10 page research paper due on Wednesday, group work for a project due next week, meetings with your professors, studying for Swedish and now you have an exam tomorrow. At the end of a semester being a student can be a little stressful!
The time has come when students have to put all of their time and effort into studying, writing, and reading. The end of the spring semester is the hardest when we must ignore temptations such as beautiful weather, cold beverages and the long-lost sunshine.
Although it may feel like the semester is almost over, there is still a month to go. Getting through it is going to be nothing short of a struggle. It will take will-power, motivation and endurance, but eventually there will come an end.
As deadlines start to near closer and closer and time becomes shorter and shorter there is only one solution that every student has to endure at some point in his/her university education. The all-night study session is inevitable at some point in your life.
It may be a struggle, but if you want to meet that deadline then there is no other choice!
Here are a few personal tips that help get me through those late night study sessions:
- You need good lighting: it has to be as bright as possible to be able to keep your eyes open in those early hours of the night.
- Take study breaks: taking breaks often will help in keeping your concentration high while you study. Run around your room if that’s what it takes.
- Make sure to eat: remember that dinner was many hours ago so you need food. Starchy choices are best, so eat that huge bowl of pasta!
- Avoid distractions: get off your computer if possible and stay away from sites like Facebook.
- Don’t get too comfortable: if you are lying in your bed chances are you will fall asleep. Sit at a desk or somewhere that forces you to be upright.
- Stay hydrated: coffee seems like the best choice for a late night study session, but dehydration makes you tired! Drink lots of water.
- Get some sleep: sleep before a big exam is crucial for your brain to actually function properly the next day.
Try not to get too stressed out. And remember we are in Sweden, there are always retakes and extra chances if you struggle the first time.
An afternoon fika! Photo: pixelthing/Flickr
Every day in Sweden tends to differ a little from the last; although, I can say that there are a few things that are very consistent: class, fika, and social gatherings.
While I usually go to school everyday of the week, not everyday is spent in a classroom. Typically, courses have 2-3 lectures a week (if studying 100%), but this is also combined with group work and discussions. Because students are from all over the world, group discussions always prove to be very interesting with many differing opinions. It’s the perfect combination of classroom learning and team collaboration.
After a long, hard day of work there is nothing better than sitting down with friends and enjoying a fika. A Swedish tradition adopted by all international students, occurs when friends meet in a cozy cafe for coffee and cakes. There is nothing more relaxing than talking about your day and catching up with friends over coffee and sweets.
After a caffeine injection and some further reading for courses, there are many opportunities to meet up with classmates and get to know each other. Nations provide the perfect meeting place to buy cheap food and drinks, to sit and chat, and even dance all night. However, I still believe that the best way to meet is for everyone to bring homemade food from their countries to share. There is no better way to meet new friends then over delicious food!
An international food spread from a class dinner. Photo: Wowwow Ja
Everyday in Sweden provides the perfect balance of academics with real-life learning. With 52 countries represented in my course, there is no shortage of new food, new cultures and new friends. Without a doubt, everyday you learn something new.