I’ll be honest, most times I like to study on my bed. I plug in my laptop, gather the supplies I will need (notebook, pens, textbook, etc.), climb up with my back to the wall, and settle in for a (usually long) night of working. If I know there is a lot I have to get done, I prefer to get it done in comfort. This method is not for everyone, believe me. I didn’t start out this way, but I found that it was something that worked for me.
I’ll admit that it took me a little while before I found the few places that I could really get some good work done. How I found my most tried and true study spots was by trial and error. I picked somewhere, or tried someone’s suggestion, or stumbled upon a space, and as long as I continued to get good study time in, I continued to use the space. When I felt like I wasn’t getting my best work done, or I needed a change, I tried somewhere new.
My bed is not the only place I study, but I will say it’s one of my favorites. Sometimes I like to study on the third floor of Norris Student Center in the SOURCE room. It’s spacious and well-lit, the tables are big enough for me to spread out my things, and it’s relatively quiet most of the time.
While I could study with friends, I had to learn (the hard way, unfortunately) that unless we were studying for the same thing or had plenty of discipline, I was better off just studying alone. How you study and what works best for you is not something you should feel like you have to compromise about. It was sometimes difficult to learn that I had to cut certain things (or people) out when it came to study time, but I also learned I didn’t have to apologize for it. What worked for others didn’t always work for me, and I reminded myself that I needed to do what was most conducive to my learning.
Where you study is important. It can really impact the quality of the work that you do. Finding places to study that work well is like going shopping: you may have to go through a few items before finding the ones that are the right fit. And sometimes, even though something has been working for a while, it might be time to change it up. Lastly, while studying and finding where and what works is very important, don’t forget that balance is key. As Nicole graciously reminded us in a previous blog, self-care is equally as important, so keep it as a priority!
Here are some of my tips for studying success:
1. Take time to rest and have fun. These are two very different things, but they are both necessary to keep you at your best.
2. Make a schedule for yourself. This doesn’t work for everyone, and may even stress some people out, but I find it helps me stay on track and frees me to focus my mental energy on more important things. Technology can be your friend here.
3. Take detailed notes and study them early and often. The more times you can look at it, the better it will stick with you. If you can explain and teach it to someone else, it is even better.)
4. Practice, practice, practice! Especially for STEM courses. The more practice problems you can do, the better you’ll be able to perform when it really counts, and the more solidified your grasp on the material will be. If you’re writing a paper, making outlines and doing multiple drafts may help you stay organized and keep your ideas in order.
5. Ask tons of questions! This is the best way to get the help you need if you don’t know something! Go to office hours with professors and ask questions about the material. Discover what resources are available to you around campus. Asking questions makes studying more effective!