Idea #7: Start a temporary blog for school subjects


Premise:

Whether for the SAT, AP Exams, finals, or other tough tests in our academic lives, we all know the feeling of not having studied enough. We put things off until the end, then we cram the day before the big exam. That night, we have trouble sleeping, often laying in bed for about an hour. We wake up a couple of times in the night, then try desperately to fall back asleep. We finally quit when we wake up about an hour before usual. Test day greets us with a small adrenaline rush followed by a huge crash, sometimes during the exam. All in all, not studying is not a good feeling.

The Concept:

Prevent that feeling by starting a blog dedicated to studying a topic you will have a big test in. Set up a blog in about an hour, then kick things off with your first post two or three weeks before the big event, whatever it is (a totally-not-tiny test, a due date for a prodigious project, an enormous essay, and so on). Before class one day, get permission from your teacher or professor to make an announcement. In that announcement, share the URL with your classmates as well as a brief explanation of what you’re doing. It’s important to make sure your classmates understand what you’re doing.

Once people know about it, keep updating the blog with information relevant to your topic. Blogging for your Biology class? Inundate your blog with your take on adaptation, Linnaean taxonomy, Mendel, and interesting phenomena. Include the occasional TED Talk. Continue posts of a similar nature until a few days after the event occurs, then quit. Either remove everything or leave the site up for others to study from.

The Pros:

  • Depending on the quality and success of what you create, this may (or may not) floor colleges/employers.
  • By means of “Internet Immersion,” maintaining a blog about a topic does wonders for your knowledge on it. This translates to a better grade.
    • Because of said immersion, you might begin to draw metaphors between your real-life experiences and your classroom education, which is kind of cool.
  • The experience gained is both fun and valuable, as it doesn’t hurt to know a little bit about web publishing.
  • Your writing skills may improve, as will your connection with your peers.
  • This makes it clear to your instructor that you’re serious about his or her subject. In case you ever need it, you’ll probably be given some slack.
  • You’re filling a very specific niche in doing this, so you will likely get more views than you would with your average blog. If you’d like to start a website or blog about something else, the momentum from this can help accelerate your site’s growth.
  • There’s a warm, fuzzy feeling you get from helping your classmates study.

The Cons:

  • This should take time, which you may not have.
  • There’s a huge amount of accountability if you throw out false information and your peers believe it’s true.
  • For the few weeks that you operate the blog, you will become a geek. To cope, just remind yourself that the geeks shall inherit the Earth.
  • From the experience I’ve had so far, things will start out slow. To bring your view count up, include a means for your classmates to share what they’ve learned.
  • The big idea is building enthusiasm for the subject you cover, so be prepared to dive headfirst into a strange clan of nerds discussing Economics, Calculus, World History, Psychology, or whatever your subject is. (On the other hand, the blog could be considered a nice bit of in-depth journalism.)
  • For some, staying on-topic may be difficult.
  • This hasn’t happened to me so far, but you may be tempted to post a MySpace-style rant about something completely unrelated to your topic. Do not do it. Even if your best friend dies, post nothing more than a short note, if that, on the blog. Regardless of what happens, don’t lash out, reminisce, or do anything else that equates to making a scene on the Internet. That sounds cold, but stuff like that is better done on a site like Facebook anyway.

Bonus:

As stated in a previous post, I’m currently doing exactly this with a blog. It’s called Study for Econ. Check out one of my more popular posts here.

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