Study Skills 2# Ideal study space
Whether we like it or not, the environment influences us more that we are willing to admit. Even though we all know that noisy places aren’t good for studying, some other places we might find quite okay are actually not good as well. So… where (not) to study?
If you’re sharing your dormitory with a quiet roommate with the same daily regime as you, consider yourself a winner. However, more often than not we’re forced to room-share with overly vocal roommates who either wake us up very early or don’t ever go to sleep. What can you do about it? If you’re dealing with noise, try to negotiate “study hours” in which there will be no phone calls, no visitors and no music without headphones.
If the problem is that one of you is an early bird and the other a night owl, finding a compromise might be quite challenging. It’s a nightmare for an early bird who goes to sleep early when the night over is having their prime time at midnight. And vice versa. If you can’t find a reasonable solution, consider changing rooms with someone who has the same regime. Really, please do. It’ll save you unnecessary stress.
Never ever study in bed. Like… never. What’s the purpose of bed? Right, to sleep! If you develop a bad habit of studying in your bed, you’ll soon associate it with mental activity and you can develop serious problems with sleep. Or vice versa: you’re in danger of falling asleep during your study sessions. Remember that your bed should be associated only with relaxation.
To be honest, I have no idea why so many people are used to studying in their kitchen. Is it the big table? The proximity to snacks? The kitchen stays the kitchen so you can’t be mad when your flat-mate disturbs you by actually cooking there. Moreover, you’ll be constantly tempted by the fridge. Nope, not a good place to study.
Similar problems to kitchen and bed. If you’re flat-sharing, you can’t be mad at your flat-mates when they come to the living room and turn on Netflix or want to play videogames. That’s the purpose of living rooms after all. Even if you’re fortunate enough to have a living room for yourself, it’s better to associate it only with relaxation.
Studying in a coffee shop is nice if you’re going alone. Go with a friend and there’s almost 90% chance you will end up having a conversation. If you feel a bit embarrassed going alone, you don’t have to. We have the 21st century and it’s actually really hipster to work from coffee shops. However, it might take several visits to find your favourite place where tables aren’t too close to each other so that you’re not disturbed by other people talking and coffee is to your liking.
You know it, the place we vouch for is definitely your university library. It fulfils all the requirements you need: it’s quiet, reasonably warm, there’s nothing distracting you, study materials are right there, free internet and you won’t spend a fortune on coffee. If your library has a dedicated study and it usually does, there’s special desks and lamps made for that purpose. You’ll feel pleasantly detached from your apartment that is often full of pets, friends and videogames.
You might prefer studying in cosy coffee shops or libraries but let’s face it: when your exam period comes, most of your work, especially a day before an exam, will be most probably done behind your desk. Regardless of whether you’re flat-sharing or renting your own apartment, your study space HAS TO include a dedicated study desk.
It doesn’t have to be fancy but your desk should be big enough to hold your computer, all study materials like books and notes, a mug and a proper lamp. If it’s too tiny, you’ll be struggling even if you’re a sworn minimalist.
If your current table is totally unusable for your purposes, do consider making an investment. Practical desks with handy drawers aren’t that expensive at all in Ikea and you’ll be using it for several years anyway. A good lamp giving off strong warm light is essential. And so is a comfortable chair that won’t kill your back. Save money in the right places, not here.
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Optimising your study space doesn’t have to ruin your budget but it does come with some investments if you want to feel comfortable. Try experimenting and study at different places from time to time. If you feel like you’re falling into a boring routine behind your desk, go to the library. When the library gets too repetitive, go for coffee. You might occasionally study in the kitchen or your living room if no one is disturbing you but at least remember this: Never ever study in your bed.
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