You’ve had a couple (or a few) weeks to get into your semester. Have you found that perfect study space yet? Many college students have study rooms right in the dorm, but others prefer the library.
I always preferred my desk (or bed) and my laptop, but having brushed up on some study tips, I realize I probably could have done better! For some lifehacks on creating your own perfect study space, check out these tips.
Creating the atmosphere
Some of a perfect study space is the atmosphere you create. This is especially true of the desk in your dorm room, but some of these tips can be applied regardless of where you study.
- Keep it clean. There is nothing more distracting than a messy desk. I should know—this one is an ongoing struggle for me.
- Structure a work flow. Put your stuff to do, hard copy notes for papers and reading assignments, on the left side of your desk. Your computer goes right in the center (which is usually where your desk chair is positioned anyway). On the right are the things you’ve accomplished and need to take to class or turn in. This keeps work from getting lost in the shuffle.
- Don’t let stuff like phone chargers clutter your desk. In your dorm room, use some Command hooks and binder clips to mount things on the wall and optimize your space. You can also grab a shower caddy, a shoe organizer or a shower organizer to store your writing and office supplies. If you use the shower caddy, you can also take your supplies on the go with ease.
- White boards and cork boards can also be helpful for written notes and organization. A cork board will let you hang some of the things you’d otherwise mount with Command hooks. I used a cork board for notes from my roommate and flyers to campus events I was attending to help me keep track of my schedule as well as my homework. You can use a white board to help outline a paper—it’s easy to make notes on, and erase, as you go.
- Make sure you have enough light. Some dorm rooms have really rotten overhead light, so think about getting an extra desk light, especially one that imitates sunlight, to keep your eyes healthy, your attitude positive and your energy level high.
- While you’re at it, keep your computer files organized. Dumping everything in one big college file folder is probably not the best way to go. Organize by class and then by project and label them with easy to recognize file names.
- If you can, turn off your phone while studying to reduce your distractions.
Study in the same space
Getting your brain ready to study can be helped by going to the same study space on a regular basis. As Ginny Gaylor wrote in a previous CengageBrain blog article, “Let’s brush up on those concentration and study skills,” if you “keep going back to the same place… your brain starts to connect it with studying.” So when you’re looking for a spot, make sure it’s one you can visit on your study schedule. If you’re a night owl, don’t pick a spot in the library that’s closed after 8 p.m.
It’s also easy to get distracted from studying when you see a friend pass by, so think about going to places that aren’t terribly well traveled—or even going off campus to a public library, bookstore or coffee shop. You might still be distracted by other patrons, but at least they won’t engage you in campus gossip.
Studying while multitasking
You want to go to that study room you’ve perfected, but you also have to do your laundry? Or you’re trying to figure out a way to fit in that run but have an exam coming up? If you can’t do your ideal studying, you can multitask. I met with my chem tutor at the in-town Laundromat, because it was less busy than the dorm laundry rooms.
You can also study while working out, and the exercise might just help you retain the information better! Reread notes or do a first read of material while on a stationary bike or a treadmill. If your prof releases audio versions of lectures or you have an audio version of your textbook, play them while you’re on a run. It doesn’t replace regular study time, but it could make your study sessions more efficient.