With midterm season finally here, creating a good study space is an essential part of your exam prep. While there are many different ways to create a productive and positive work environment, here are a few recommendations:
- Pick a space that you feel comfortable in. You want to make sure that you place yourself somewhere where you feel relaxed — though not so relaxed that you fall asleep. This is imperative because you’ll be more productive if your body is at ease, though we know that can be hard to accomplish with midterms on the horizon.
- Hide all distractions. Putting your phone or other known distractions in another room or out of arm's reach can keep them out of sight and out of mind. This will help you focus solely on studying.
- Lighting. Making sure you are surrounded by either natural light or bright artificial light will help not only with your energy, but your mood. It is scientifically proven that light directly affects mood, especially in these cold and dark times, so studying in a bright environment is crucial for success. Maybe also consider a lava lamp, just for morale.
- Background noise. This tip is very much up to personal preference. Try studying while listening to different types of music, ambient noise or even silence. See which environment helps you focus the most. If you do try music, try instrumental or non-lyrical music, or even bangers in a language you don’t understand, to stay focused.
- Presence of others. Everyone studies differently. Determining whether you work better alone or in a group setting is crucial to creating a good study space. If you know that you are going to get distracted by wanting to socialize with others, then force yourself to study solo. This isolation may be boring, but in the long run it will save you time. If you need to mirror others or consult people on topics you’re unsure of, find a group!
- Switch things up. Once you’ve found how to create a good study routine for yourself, apply it to different places. Setting up in different locations or at different times of the day can add to your productivity levels since your brain won’t think of studying as such a monotonous task. Our favourite study spots include the greenhouse in Birge Hall and the cozy couches in Lathrop!
- Mindset. Approaching studying with a positive mindset is arguably the most important part of creating a good study space. A negative view of studying will make your brain less willing to study — duh. Accepting that studying is an inevitable and necessary part of being a student will allow for you to stop pushing it off and get things done! If that doesn’t work, consider letting yourself romanticize your studying a little — get cute pens or a pretty notebook. Live the dark academia dream!
We hope that these seven tips help you in your studies this midterm season and beyond. Good luck and keep on studying!