We are wiser than we know.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
You have ignition. The brain has fired: its energy is compellingly available. It needs to be harnessed, however. What are you going to do with all this power? Where do you want to go? And what's the best way of getting there?
There are probably as many answers to those questions as there are students. But there are all sorts of ways in which you can help yourself to use that formidable energy sensibly and profitably, and this chapter addresses about a dozen of them. If they have a common theme, it is the one with which I began: you are in charge. It is you who usually knows best what suits you, what's happening to you, what you need, and what you enjoy. Indeed, we can elevate that into a governìng principle:
No matter who you are-what age, background, gender and so on-there is one thing on which you are the world's leading expert: you. You may feel you're inexperienced, know virtually nothing about the subject you're about to study, and that your teachers not only know much more but also know best Most of that may well be true; but nobody knows you better than you do, and never forget that.
I am not encouraging you to be smugly contained, ignoring all advice: if I were, there wouldn't be much point in my writing this book! But study is an intense activity, even stressful at times, and you won't get far if you adopt practices that are uncomfortable and alien. So my first advice has to be:
In schools especially much rubbish is talked about the best working methods. Anyone who says to you, 'The way to work is this, and only this' or words to that effect is a fool, and thus a very dangerous guide. There are as many ways of working successfully as they are people who work successfully. If you feel you work best lying on a large cabinet