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How to: Optimize and organize your study space

By now, we all realize that everyone studies effectively in different ways. We have those who need complete silence, and we have those who like to study along with music in the background. Some can not bear to take breaks, and want to get the task done once and for all. Others need to take several breaks throughout to keep them sane.

Even though preferences range person to person, here are some study space ideas that should help overall, and if there are little things you need to critique to make it your own, go for it! It is your study space, to call your very own!

First, take time to realize what is most effective for you and what you enjoy most when studying. Did I just say enjoy and study in the same sentence? Afraid so, but enjoyment is the main key. We all dread studying, but we all love learning, and we are all after the same thing – a degree to reach our desired career. So let us make a list of ways to optimize that study space.

To start off, if you are the creative type, and like to personalize things.

Assign a certain place to study and a time, so it is a commitment in your daily, or weekly routine. If you want to be completely linked to it, give it a name, or title so you can make it even more personal.

Going to the same spot to study will also train your brain that this is a study space, and that is it, it will make it so much easier to go into that special place with the task in hand.

I refer to my study space as my little getaway island. It usually looks like an island, because I have books and papers all around me, and as much as I dislike studying, it is a little getaway from focusing on other things in life.

If you are vulnerable to noise, and cannot afford distractions, then make it a point to be in your room if you have your own room, a study room, or even a cubicle at the library – wherever has the least distractions for you. Good ideas for these types of studiers are;

Get a cubicle at the library that does not directly line up with a window, so there is little distraction from outside.

If you do study in your room:

Stay away from your bed and comfy couch. Having that furniture in sight can make it hard to focus, and if you study on your bed, it is very likely that you will just get drowsy, and opt out for a nap instead. Just think, you can nap so much better knowing you have everything completed.

Sit in a comfortable chair at a desk or table, or even on the floor, so you have plenty of room to spread your papers and books out and see what all you have to do.

Sometimes, when everything is laid out, it appears not to be such an intimidating amount as you thought initially.

If you are the individual that needs a lot of short breaks once in a while, choose a place where it is easy to do that. If it is at the library, have your breaks be your rewards. When you finish a certain task, reward yourself with a trip down to the Ganser Grind for a cup of coffee, or something to eat. Reward yourself with going on Facebook, Myspace, making a phone call, or the like for a few minutes, then return to your work.

I am an individual who needs breaks throughout study sessions, just so I do not start drifting, and start going through the motions of studying, rather than actually retaining any information. If I study in my room, my breaks are usually getting on Facebook, getting a snack, stretching, etc. The breaks are just for me to relax for a few minutes, then rethink what I have to study and restarting my focus. Also, during my study sessions, I make it a point to keep my phone on silent, and put it in a place when I cannot see it, that way I do not get caught up texting throughout my study session.

Make sure you have everything you need nearby such as, pens, paper, books, calculators, etc. It never frustrates me more than when I realize I do not have an important item I need to finish my task, or to make my task easier, such as bringing a highlighter or my calculator to the library. Sometimes, you just want certain things for certain tasks.

Make a list of those items, and check them off as you have them, so you are confident going into your studying. Speaking of listing, make a checklist of the tasks you need to complete, checking them off as you go, so you know exactly what to stick by.

If you like a bit of challenge and work well under pressure, make a strict schedule to follow hourly, so you stay focused and stay on track throughout your session.

Overall, do what keeps you organized, focused, and most importantly, interested in whatever topic you may be studying, even if it is that horrible, boring class, with the monotone-speaking professor, that you wish to never experience again. It is all beneficial to you in the end, but the only way to make it beneficial is to personalize it and recognize what makes you excel. Once you get your study personality down, you can brag to all your friends about your top secret study spot, that gets you on the Dean’s list every semester!