Why knowing your purpose helps you study better at University

Why knowing your purpose helps you study better at University

Mindset is everything.

Well, not quite everything. But it counts for a lot.

A positive study mindset is an essential part of achieving success at university which is why it became one of the three pillars of signature 3M approach alongside Method and Mastery.

Your mind is immensely powerful. But it’s also rather conservative.

It wants to keep you safe. But sometimes safe means sticking with what you know, not standing out and staying in your comfort zone.  That little voice in your head? It can be your critic telling you to not dream too big, you’ll probably not succeed anyway, why bother to be great when you can be good enough. Or it can be your cheerleader inspire to reach higher, encourage you to push further and excel. And the best part is…you get to CHOOSE!

But it’s not always so easy. Your mind tends to err on the side of caution so you must actively train your mind to focus on opportunities and push past fear. An excellent way to do this is to have a strong sense of purpose. With a focus on what you want to achieve in life, it is easier to stay motivated, have clarity around what action to take and make decisions and choices in an intentional way rather than drifting along.

Last week I talked about how the Japanese concept of Ikigai provides a framework for determining your passion, talent, mission and future profession. Now, I want to show you how this can be used to your advantage in your studies. 

How to find your life's purpose

How to find your life's purpose

There is a plan and a purpose for your life.

It’s a phrase I use A LOT – in emails, videos and in face to face conversations with students. It is my belief that identifying your purpose is a major component in giving you a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction and giving life significance and meaning. Knowing your purpose in life provides a compass to direct your behaviour and action towards the field of study and career in which you are most likely to enjoy, excel and be rewarded.

The reason it’s sprung to mind this week is because I saw a Tweet a few days ago which said it was important to think about gaining skills rather than gaining a job at University. It caused me to stop for a moment and reflect on whether this is true and dig deeper into the topic. The result is this blog post.

“Okay Rachael, but what does this have to do with being a student? Why does it matter? Surely, I can only figure this out later in life by trial and error?”

Well, as time passes and you engage in more paid and voluntary activities then it’s true this will help solidify and hone your understanding of your purpose. But it’s still possible to find it now. Identifying it now is important because your sense of purpose underpins three of the biggest drivers of personal success – motivation, clarity and intention. And who doesn’t want more of those at Uni? More on those next week…

But first, here’s an explanation of what I mean by finding your life’s purpose.

Two major myths to ignore when you start University

Two major myths to ignore when you start University

Many students are naive about University study because they believe one of two myths:

  • I’ve got good exam results so far, so I’m going to be fine, or 
  • first-year results don't count so I can figure it out as I go along

Big mistake!

Either one of these two myths will steal your peace of mind and cost you marks.

Not only do you need to acknowledge the GAP between A levels and University to bridge it effectively, you need to make this transition FAST.

You can get RAPID RESULTS, no matter what your starting point, which brings you more marks, more ease and more fun systematically - as long as you have the RIGHT things in place.

It's worth unpacking these myths further, so you know why they trip up so many students.

Why you should set up a study group

Why you should set up a study group

Are you part of a study group?


Well, you’re definitely missing a trick!

Forming a study group was one of the BEST decisions I made while studying for my Undergraduate degree. Although it may conjure up visions of dull, bookish students, it doesn't have to be that way.

Your group, your rules!

The study group I set up met every Wednesday at 11am for cappuccino and cake. And a chat about our course.

That’s why today I'm going to be talking about how you can set up a study group of your own and how it will benefit you at University.


How to target your effort and reach your study goals faster!

How to target your effort and reach your study goals faster!

Those of you who know me will know that I talk a lot about having a positive study mindset and in particular a growth mindset.

Students with a growth mindset know that the more effort they put into their studies, the better their results. 

You can contrast that with students who have a fixed mindset - who believe their talent and ability is limited - and they believe nothing they can do will improve it.

So they don't put the effort in, or don't put as much effort in.

But simply putting effort into your studies is not enough. It has to be TARGETED effort.

To give you an example – you could jog on the spot for an hour and put in a lot of effort, but you're not going to get very far! I see this with students who are clearly putting effort into their studies, but because they don’t have the right strategies they're not getting very far.

What can you do?

3 reasons why you shouldn't use Wikipedia at University!

3 reasons why you shouldn't use Wikipedia at University!

Today, I’m talking about Wikipedia: yes, is Wikipedia really the scourge of higher education? 

Controversial, I know!

But a lot of lecturers and tutors get very hot under the collar and frustrated when students cite Wikipedia as a reference in their essays and assignments. And with good cause!

Now, don’t get me wrong, Wikipedia does have its place. If you are completely brand new to a subject and you know nothing about it then Wikipedia can be a useful place to look up some basic facts and get a grasp of the topic. However, there are a number of problems with using Wikipedia more extensively.

Should you study during University Summer vacation?

Should you study during University Summer vacation?

Did you know that students LOSE performance over the summer?

Yes, that knowledge and understanding which you worked so hard to learn, starts to DISAPPEAR the moment you put down your pen and paper and pack up for the Summer!

Studies in the US have shown how students tested after the summer vacation did measurably WORSE on the same tests as they’d studied for in the Spring. *sad face*

Today, I’m going to be answering a question that a lot of my students have been asking me recently and that is Should you study during the University summer vacation and if so what should you study and how.

3 ways University exams differ from other exams

3 ways University exams differ from other exams

Are you stressed and overwhelmed with revising for your University exams? You look at all those notes you made in lectures and you can’t remember any of the material. You want to start revising, but you don’t know which topics will come up in the exams. So, you close your folder, or laptop and figure you’ll begin revising tomorrow.


It was bad enough when you were studying at school or college and had a teacher to guide you to past papers and give you advice on what was likely to come up in the exam. But you’re back home for the Spring break, there’s nobody you can ask for help and you’re fighting a rising tide of panic as you realise you’ve got to figure it out on your own.


Take a deep breath.

Whether you are a first-year student sitting University exams for the first time, or a second year who is freaking out because last year you figured a pass was acceptable, but that approach won’t cut it this year - I’ve got you covered.

How to write notes on a research article

How to write notes on a research article

When you are searching for evidence to include in your essay, have you ever read an article and then instantly forgotten it?

You’ve spent 45 minutes reading it in detail, your mind kept wandering and to cap it all, you couldn’t even recall the title and author, never mind summarise what you’ve read.

Well, there’s good news: Gathering evidence for your essay writing doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out and fruitless process. With the right template and technique at your fingertips, you can easily read and make notes on a whole research paper and recall the information a week later – without needing superpowers of memory or concentration!

Three ESSENTIAL reading strategies for University

Three ESSENTIAL reading strategies for University

Today, I'm going to describe how to read. Yes, you heard me correctly, how to read.

Come off it Rachael, I already know how to read. I’m at university, duh! Why are you telling me this?

Relax. I know you can read, but today I’m going to share with you three specific strategies you can use at University to speed up your reading and gain more relevant information.

Reading and research is such an important aspect of University study. Without quality input (scholarly books and articles) you won’t have a quality output (strong and well-reasoned essays). Yet few students know how to read efficiently and effectively.