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College Advice

Finding Study Spots

DormEssentials April 30, 2018

So you’ve devised your perfect schedule. You’re going to go HAM this term/semester. No excuses. This is commitment. You’ve enrolled in your classes, ordered your textbooks, and told your mother to stop calling every day. You’re ready. You even feel bad for the other kids in the course, being that you are going to devastate the curve.

It’s now the first week of the term, and you need a spot between your morning class, which gets out at 10:30am, and your afternoon lecture starting at 2:00 pm. You demand nothing less from yourself than a hardcore three-hour study sesh. Campus is bustling. There seems to be noise and distraction everywhere you go. What is to be done? How will you be able to study effectively?

Finding a communal working area

Finding reliable working spaces is imperative to effective studying. One path is to embrace social settings. The most obvious is the library. There will be an abundance of study carols and desks throughout the library which are available, but on floors where people chat and engage in group work. If this works for you, great. Maybe even grab a buddy or a classmate and grind together. For many of us, however, this translates more into a social gathering than actual studying—but it can be done, with discipline. Another example is a campus café or a food court. If people walking by doesn’t bother you, this could be a go to. It is a bit difficult, however, perhaps a bit hard to bring yourself to sprawl massive textbooks and library of course notes on a small table meant for a quick cappuccino, so perhaps coffee shops and cafes are more practical for tasks behind a laptop.

Finding Quiet

But perhaps, like me, you prefer the sound of your thoughts while you study, find places meant to be quiet. These places will be tough to come by because they will be in high demand. And, especially during mid-term and final season, they can ream with stress that actually makes them counter-productive. For instance, there will probably be silent floors or sections of the library—I’m talking, already have your backpack unzipped and your books in hand, lest you seek to be scolded by the fierce glares of your schoolmates.

If this doesn’t quite sound like your scene, get a bit more creative. There will be little nooks and crannies all over campus if you’re cognoscente of them. For instance, department buildings often have dedicated study spaces or lounges which are under-utilized. These can be godsend if you discover them early on. Or perhaps an organization you are affiliated with has an office that is not often in use and can serve as a perfect study space. If you are involved in research, lab spaces can also be ideal to work in undisturbed.

Once you’re at your study spot, it’s time to get into focus. While ideally your spot is somewhere quiet, sounds will inevitable be found wherever you go. As a result, it can be helpful to bring headphones and put on some music that’s good for studying.

In sum, performing well in college requires discipline, both in sustaining the drive to want to excel in your coursework and in practically navigating the logistics and executing a plan to realize this drive. Always have a few spaces in mind that can serve as backups so your hustle doesn’t get knocked when some unfortunate event leaves your go-to study spot unavailable. If, at all expense, you just cannot find reliable study spaces on campus, look off campus. Coffee shops are always popular destinations for students to study, especially near the campus. Perhaps re-purpose your dorm room with some speakers that work for the best party or study spot (during work hours), or get off campus and plan your schedule around the commute. Either way, learn to make it happen. Grind on my friends.

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