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Having Trouble Studying? Here are some Helpful Tips!

 

My motivation for studying just plummets after the semester’s halfway point. Midterms are done, so no more stressing about giant papers or exams! And Thanksgiving break is only a couple of weeks away. I came across this problem both first year and sophomore year, so this time around I came up with some tips that help me stay more focused and to study better.

 

  1. Find “your place” to study

Find a spot to study where you only do work. No talking, no scrolling through BuzzFeed, no watching Netflix. Just work. Make that spot specifically for you really need to do work with no distractions. The more you come back to your spot, the more your brain will become adjusted to doing just work there and, over time, it’ll start becoming easier to study. There are many places all across campus you can find, whether it be the first floor lounge in Stern Hall, the window room on the second floor above Napier, the quiet rooms on the second and third floor of the library, your desk, and so forth. Find a spot and start studying. It’s amazing how the more you come back to that spot, the easier it’ll be to do work. 

     2.  Don’t study in your bed

I know you’ve probably heard before to not study in your bed and have probably have ignored it, but seriously, don’t study in your bed. Your brain and body is used to being in your bed for sleeping so by studying in your bed, it decreases your brain activity drastically. It also messes up your sleep cycle and if you want to be focused when studying, you also want to get a good night’s sleep. If you also use your bed to watch Netflix or other things on your laptop not school related, you’re more likely to go onto Netflix or whatever it is when studying in your bed.

     3.   Replace your desk chair with a yoga ball

First of all, not everyone works at their desk so if you don’t work at your desk, maybe this one isn’t for you. However, if you do work at your desk and tend to be a distracted person, a yoga ball helps a ton since you’re able to put in some of your energy that would be distracted into lightly bouncing up and down on the yoga ball. It’s been proven in a lot of research studies that people who have ADHD and replace their chair with a yoga ball are much less distracted and able to do their work much more proficiently. 

 

     4.   Try the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method used to break down the time spent working. It’s pretty simple. First, choose whatever homework needs to be done for one class. Then, set your timer for 25 minutes and work until your timer goes off. After your timer goes off take a 5-10 minute break. Then repeat three more times. At the end of the fourth Pomodoro, take a 20-30 minute break. Doing this technique helps lessen distractions, decreases the level of exhaustion after doing an assignment if you had taken no breaks at all while doing it, and helps create a better study schedule. 

 

     5.   Drink a cup of tea

Drinking certain types of tea can help relax you more and maintain focus. Some types of tea I suggest are chamomile, green tea, and peppermint tea.

    6.   Listen to music

This is much more up to preference. Find a genre that helps you focus the best or create a playlist that you only listen to while studying. Your brain will associate this type of music or these songs with studying and thus promote your brain activity. However, in one my anthropology classes we discussed how classical music is one of the best genres for boosting brain activity. So if music helps you when studying, maybe make an 18th century classical playlist.

 

    7.   Take walks right before you work or during your breaks

Walking wakes up your mind and keeps your body moving so not only is your mind awake but so is your body. It also helps break up the hours long of sitting in class and then sitting and doing homework. Every time I notice that I’m spending too much time on one subject or have been working for too long, I take a 10-20 minute walk. I know that can even seem stressful for some people since it takes up time that could be used to study but trust me, it helps.

Still haven’t found a tip that works for you? Here are a couple of others:

  1. Speak out loud
  2. Color-code to specific words, theories, topics, and so forth
  3. Pretend to teach what you have learned
  4. If you have an exam the next day, read over everything right before you go to bed and read it again right after you wake up. This helps reinforce the information in your mind
  5. Don’t pull an all-nighter
  6. Chew gum
  7. Study with a friend
  8. Meditate
  9. Stretch
  10. Eat healthy food (not junk!)

Hopefully, out of all these tips, you can find one that works! I know that I use at least five on this list and believe me, they help. If one doesn’t work for someone else, that doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. Good luck! 

Carly Kelly is a current junior at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She is majoring in Anthropology with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. Her goal is to have a career in Anthropology conducting field research in Palestine, looking at how cultural mixing, cultural misunderstanding, and faith contribute to the culture of nationalism within the country. On campus, Carly is currently a member of One-on-One Friendship (an organization that teaches students in Indonesia English), PLEN (a group which helps empowers women for leadership roles), as well as a teaching fellow for Anthropology. During Spring 2018, Carly studied abroad in Rabat, Morocco, where she documented her experience through blogs, photos, and articles. Carly hopes that she will be able to use HerCampus as a way to create a positive dialogue surrounding topics about the Middle East.
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