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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

Changing habits and developing self-direction


Changing habits and developing self-direction

One of the biggest challenges to learning at a tertiary level is having to develop successful habits and adopting new ways of learning and working. While secondary school does some of the work to prepare you for the world of work and study, higher education expects more of you.

Habits, good and bad

A habit is a tendency of your behaviour that repeats until it starts to happen automatically. Good habits take some time to form and might be difficult at first, until we do them daily without thinking.

Many of the study habits you form at university will develop in the same way, but they will support you through the rest of your life so it’s never too early to explore ways of working that suit you. You'll have a range of class and assessment types, and teaching styles also vary. It’s worth keeping an open mind that one way of studying may not suit all classes and assessment types.

Self-direction, doing it yourself

A key factor in being a success in your studies will be your ability to be self-directed. You may not have immediate access to teachers to answer questions, or there may be a shortage of support services when you need them most. Assessment periods at your institution often mean that everyone needs help at the same time. Organising your time, developing good habits early and having a ‘Plan B’ for some of the challenges presented will ensure that you’re ready for anything.

Pulling it all together with a portfolio

A portfolio is a collection of documents and pieces of work that best represent your achievements. It's a record of your academic accomplishments and progress, as well as professional development and reflections on your work.

Your studies are intended to change you in ways that help you develop the skills and potential to be a success. This progress can be demonstrated by a compilation of your best assessments and related material and activities throughout your studies, providing evidence of your progression and success.

Developing a portfolio like this can help you maintain confidence and can support your learning and capability post-study. After graduation, you may want to use it for seeking further study or employment. With all the varied types of activities you undertake as part of your study, there’s a lot you can capture to tell the story of your skill development and ability.

Images by Liubov Levitska and Drobot Dean on Adobe Stock