At a young age Darrie Matthew Burrage was taught that being smart would get him nowhere. Only sports could get him recognized and turn him into the man his father wanted him to be. With this mentality, he went through life playing every sport imaginable waiting for that moment his father looked at him with pride, but it rarely came.
Burrage went to play college football for Colorado State University. “I remember being on campus and watching people pass by. They assumed I wasn’t smart, and to be honest, I didn’t feel smart,” Burrage said.
It was then that he realized the reason he was so passionate about doing well in sports was to get the accepting handshake he’d always wanted from his father. He put forth everything he had for his dad, so why not put that passion toward something more than sports? Burrage wanted to be smart, and so began his next adventure, and maybe yours too.
“Part of being motivated is being creative,” Burrage said. Here are some tips to studying that he teaches students today:
- Switch it up. Students say they need to study in the same exact place, feel the exact same way, smell the exact same things, and be surrounded by the exact same people. FALSE. Burrage says that switching it up helps the mind grow in your studies because the brain is learning how to react in different environments.
- Space it out. Burrage says that in his studies he found after a period of time, the brain will stop retaining information. Don’t study for hours on end. Give your mind a break. Take a 30-minute walk then get back to your studies.
- Reward yourself. Don’t let your reward distract you, but find something that you really like and let it be a reward to you after you complete a goal for your studying. Burrage says he likes to do the dishes. He rewards himself with this after completing one assignment or two hours of studying. It relaxes him. What relaxes you?
The last piece of advice Burrage had was to find someone to be passionate for. “I have to do well for…,” Burrage said it’s your job to fill in that blank. Think about why you are doing something. What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to accomplish it for?
Within the last four years, Burrage has won the First-Year Instructor of the Year Award, the Outstanding Teacher Award and the Service Learning Award. He has his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, History and Women’s Studies as well as a Master of Arts in Communication. After receiving his Master degree, his father gave him a handshake. “I don’t get a handshake often but when I do, I’ve done right,” Burrage said.