Synthesizing for Spring Break

February 27, 2010 1 comment

[Post under revision. Please check back soon!]


Control Your Life

February 6, 2010 1 comment

Now that we have captured everything floating around in our minds on a physical medium and purged it from our thoughts, we are feeling über organized and near stress free. But wait, we still have to find time to do everything that we’ve captured! Now it’s time to take control of our lives.

The Goal

The goal is to adopt efficient and low-stress scheduling strategies that ensure we get stuff done well and on time.The Problem

Most students I know just keep a mental to-do list and then sit down around 8:00pm and ponder “What do I have to do today?” or turn to their syllabi to see if they have anything due the next day.  They start working on whatever comes to mind first, and hope to get through everything by 1am so they can get some sleep. Now, some students are a bit more organized and have all their assignments written out somewhere, and if you’ve been following us on the Study Hacks on Campus journey, then you should have everything you need to do recorded in your MTL… but that’s not enough. Read more…

The Art of Capture

January 23, 2010 9 comments

[Update: Our assessment and revision of Capture has been added to the end of this post.]

Congratulations to the team on a very successful first meeting! We had 18 of our 20 members in attendance and discussed our first SHOC topic of the year: Capture.

Before we get into discussing the Capture methods we’ve produced and will be evaluating over the next two weeks, I think a little background information on our team is appropriate.

We are a group of 20 freshman with interests all across the board and majors ranging from Undeclared to Mathematics, Economics to Literature, and Government to International Relations. We attend Claremont McKenna College, a young liberal arts school in sunny California. CMC maintains an admission rate that makes high school seniors cringe, sits on over a dozen Princeton Review Top-20 Lists, and produces graduates who have the highest starting salaries of any liberal arts college in the United States. By nature of getting here, we are all competitive, but I think if you met any of us on the street you would find us likeable and down-to-earth people. Our mission is to forge an innovative approach to higher education and help our peers at CMC and other institutions to do the same. Now on to the good stuff!

The Goal

In the words of Cal Newport, the goal for this meeting was to create “a trusted system in which all of your stuff is captured and regularly reviewed.” Such a system will be the cornerstone for the efficient and effective student life that we plan to construct. Read more…

A Welcome and an Open Letter to Team Members and Prospects

January 15, 2010 Leave a comment

As you can see, the SHOC@CMC Blog has been upgraded to its current form.

So welcome, once again, to the new and improved SHOC@CMC Website!

This site will serve as a repository of information which outlines our team’s goals (namely, getting better grades and spending less time studying), what actions we are taking to achieve those goals, and the progress we are making towards more efficient and effective learning.

The Study Hacks team will consist of a maximum of 20 people (10 guys and 10 girls) who will meet every other week to discuss new strategies and methods for maximizing learning while minimizing the time studying. The initial group of invitations to join the team was sent out earlier this week to 21 students whom I had discussed the program with and/or been in class with during the fall semester. To my absolute surprise, 17 of those 20 students agreed to join the team within 48 hours (via Facebook, of course). The overwhelmingly positive response shouldn’t surprise me, as this program is truly a one-of-a-kind opportunity to completely reshape how we operate as students to produce more performance with less grueling work.

As of the time of writing, the team consists of the following members: Sanskriti Ayyar, Ellie Beckett, Kelsey Brown, Ryan Boone, Jennifer Good, Skyler Grossman, Alex Johnson, Kate Johnson, Abie Katz, Elle Petit, Jeff Pollock, Mackenzie Scanlan, Daniyal Shahid, Daniel Shane, India Wade, Andie Wheatley, Tristan Williams, and myself. Read more…

An SHOC Intro Thanks to Our Friends at U Penn

January 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Michael over at SHOC: UPENN wrote a great introduction to SHOC. He captures both the mission and the tone of the program very well in his blog post:

“I once heard that in college, you could only have two out of the following three things at any one time: sleep, good grades and a social life. I used to believe that was true, that the only way to do well was to put in an obscene amount of time–to grind. After a semester of watching my sanity ebb away, I decided that there had to be a better way. And there is. This group of fed-up students is dedicated to working smarter, not harder, so we don’t let our studying get in the way of our learning. Using Cal Newport’s student-specific productivity strategies as a jump-off point, we’ll be experimenting with how to do college right. We’re done grinding, and we’re glad that you’re coming along for the ride.”

I hope everyone is enjoying their break! Stay tuned for a member list and information on the first meeting!

Welcome to “Study Hacks on Campus at CMC”

December 17, 2009 4 comments

Welcome to our blog!

Study Hacks on Campus (a Cal Newport initiative), will be gearing up this coming January. Please check back then for more information!
If you have any questions or are interested in joining the group, please email