Study spots are those special places that you go whenever you need to buckle down and get your work done. They can range from coffee shops to the library, but the main thing to keep in mind is that these spots should allow you to disengage from your everyday distractions – be it children, roommates, significant others, etc. Having a study spot can really save you time in the long run because it gives you the ability to focus more attention to your work rather than everything else that can distract you.
It’s usually a good idea to find two or three study spots that you can cycle through for many reasons. First of all, there are going to be other students who are also looking for study spots and may take a liking to your particular spot. Unfortunately, you more than likely won’t be able to stake claim to your territory unless it’s in your house.
Secondly, having multiple areas to study allows you to have a change of scenery every now and then. It can be very rejuvenating for you to pack up and move study spots when you have made an all-day event of studying. I don’t know about you, but I personally don’t always want to stare at the same paint job that covers the library walls.
Find a place that suits your needs
You may find that you like to be in total silence or that you may like to have a few distractions. Neither one is better than the other, it all just depends on your particular preference. If you’re one to enjoy having distractions, however, you should keep them limited and in your control (as much as possible). Try not to set yourself up in a place that has high volumes of traffic and/or the potential for wild distractions to appear while you’re in your zone. Distractions should never take up more of your time than actually studying.
Many campuses have designated study areas
You can usually find them in the library, the dorms, or various resource centers around campus. These designated study spots are generally known to be “silent study areas” where students are asked to refrain from talking, using cellphones, and basically doing anything that could unwittingly distract others from doing their work. Sometimes these areas will have individual study carrels, which are nice because you are able to have your own space to spread your things out in whatever manner you see fit.
During my college career some of the libraries had floor seating that I loved using. The chair was literally a dip in the floor and there was counter space for you to set up your study materials. I loved these because they allowed me to spread out, charge my laptop, have occasional distractions from seeing others walking in and out of the library, and yet still be productive.
You may even be fortunate enough to find listings of the various study spots on campus on your school website.
Staying focused and organized
Once you’ve decided on your various study spots, make sure that you bring with you all of your studying materials that you will need for that day. I personally recommend to students to take as few trips back to their dorm room/apartment/house as possible when studying because it allows them to maximize study time & minimize hazardous distractions. For example, a friend asking if you want to grab pizza and the next thing you know the whole day is gone and you didn’t even put your name on the paper you set out to write. Trust me, it’s happened to me more times than I care to admit. While it’s good to give yourself some distractions, you should avoid the all-day excursions at all costs.
You also want to make sure that you steer clear of your social media sites, like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You’re more than likely going to be drawn towards them when studying. In fact, you may find yourself looking up all kinds of odd things instead of studying because even watching paint dry can be more interesting than studying those differential equations.
Sometimes it’s nice to bring along a study buddy, someone who can give you momentary relief when your brain is swimming in all of the knowledge you’ve been feeding it. It’s also nice to have someone there who can watch your things if you need to use the bathroom or grab some food. You should be warned: a study buddy should sometimes be different from your best friend, if your best friend is someone you know you won’t get anything done when you’re around them. One of my best friends in college and I would always study together. When we first started college, “studying” would turn into talking about music, watching YouTube videos, and planning out our weekend extravaganzas. Although it took a while, we eventually learned that studying should take up more than just 10% of our study time.
All in all, finding your study spot should make it to the top of your priority list. It’s possible that it may take you a semester to find “the perfect one”, so it’s better to start early while you can. Over the years, your preferences for where you study are subject to change just as your learning style will. Don’t be alarmed, it’s okay. It should be seen as a sign that you’re growing as you move through your college years.
Featured image credit: sph.umich.edu