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Gilmore Girls walking through Fall Festival
Gilmore Girls walking through Fall Festival
Warner Bros. Television
Life > Academics

How To Study Like a Gilmore Girl

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kent State chapter.

The leaves are changing, there’s a chill in the air and pumpkin-flavored treats are around every corner. This of course only means one thing: Rory Gilmore has come out of hibernation! Legend has it that if you leave your graded exams under your pillow, the Stars Hollow sweetheart will come in the middle of the night and replace it with candy (granted you get an A, of course). But for real, autumn belongs to “Gilmore Girls.” It’s no coincidence that exam season is upon us as well. Love her or hate her, we all want to study like Rory Gilmore. Her motivation and sometimes stress is not only aesthetically pleasing but very effective. She’s the ultimate study motivation. But how does she do it?

First, you’re going to need to create an ambiance. This can mean something different for everyone. Rory liked minimal distraction but was able to turn any location into a study spot. I adore going to the library or finding a corner on campus where I can be comfortable. Coffee shops are also amazing. Although in these public spaces you’re more limited with what you can do and it may be hard to get comfortable with lots of people around or stiff chairs and small tables. If you prefer to study at home, stay off of your bed. For readings now and then it can be nice to incorporate into your routine before bed, but notetaking and homework should not be associated with sleep. Instead, utilize your desk, kitchen table or an area in your living room. Once you’ve chosen a spot, light a candle or diffuse some oils to help set the mood. Having something to smell not only increases the atmosphere of the room but also engages your senses. This is especially helpful for people with ADHD or another learning disability because oftentimes if all of our senses aren’t stimulated, we get bored and want to stop studying for a more engaging, dopamine-producing activity.

This brings me to my next tip which is something most of us do anyway. Playing a specific playlist to have as background noise. Not everyone can focus with music on, but for those who can, it’s important to find the right vibe. Not everyone is able to light a candle in their study space. So if you’re someone who studies in public or maybe you live in a dorm room, music is a super accessible stimulant. Just pop on a pair of headphones or earbuds and open Spotify (or whatever you use to stream music). You can play around with what works for you through different playlists. You can try classical music, lo-fi beats or acoustic songs. Everyone is different though so you may find hip-hop or rock to be more effective! I go back and forth between instrumentals and acoustic/chill music. It honestly depends on my mood and sometimes what I’m studying for. If I have to do a lot of reading to do I’m putting on Bach or the soundtrack to Ocarina of Time. However, for more writing and busy work, songs with lyrics sometimes inspire me. As a creative writing minor, this makes sense. So, if you do lean towards that type of background noise, I’ve curated a very Rory Gilmore playlist. These songs just scream “fall” and as a study break, you can stare off into space and pretend you’re in a music video.

So you have the where and some of the how for the act of studying itself. However, what if you lack the motivation? This is common, especially for those Gen Ed classes we dread. Like, what is so romantic about physical geography? Unless you’re actually very passionate about it, there’s not much to latch on to. While the earth’s crust is not the most riveting subject, you still may need to know about it whether you like it or not. Geography is my personal example here because it was in this class I actually saw studying pay off. It wasn’t something I was naturally good at or even cared about and so I didn’t. Care, that is. I skimmed the class PowerPoints before exams and did a couple of practice questions from the study guide. It really didn’t come as a surprise when I was doing poorly on these exams. It was quite unfortunate because I was given so many resources to help me succeed. Not every professor posts lecture materials or gives study guides. I’m pretty sure the class before every exam we dedicated to going over the study guide. Still, I didn’t care enough to try. Yet somehow I got a B+ in the course and an A- in the lab despite most of my exams leaning more towards the D range.

I simply had to force myself to care. I had to type my notes in a fun font and color and convince myself that cloud types had such intense lore and I needed to know all of it. It really helps to connect what you’re studying to real life and something you care about. Even if you have to bend over backward to do it and nobody else sees the connection, the only person it needs to work for is YOU. So for my last few Geography exams and the final project, I applied this and it paid off. I had every aspect of the study guide completed and asked the professor for help on areas I didn’t understand as well.

Honestly, logging on to Blackboard and seeing I had gotten an A on a science test was one of my proudest moments. Although I was also very regretful I neglected studying and my resources earlier in the semester. I honestly got lucky with how those grades were calculated. But it was a great learning experience for me. I couldn’t tell you one thing about the subject matter but I learned a lot about what works for me when it comes to studying and if I apply myself I can actually succeed even if I go into the subject feeling inferior and clueless.

I hope my little anecdote inspired you a bit. It helped immensely that my first watch of “Gilmore Girls” was during that time. If you’re lacking the motivation and cannot care no matter how hard you try, try finding a study icon. It can be a friend, a fictional character (Rory Gilmore and Hermione Granger are classics) or a stranger you see at the library every day. You don’t know their name but they wear chunky sweaters and have the neatest handwriting you’ve ever seen. For me, it’s my little sister, Flannery. She is so Rory Gilmore coded it’s insane. When we were in high school together I’d be sound asleep while she was hunched by a desk lamp on her bed balancing equations and analyzing Dante’s Inferno. Although we have very different strengths, she refuses to limit herself because of her weaknesses. She exceeds in math and science and while other subjects don’t come as easy, she still gives them her all. She does this while being realistic though which is very important.

My next tip is to recognize your strengths and interests and apply them to subjects you aren’t naturally good at. Rory Gilmore had an obvious affinity for literature and history and writing. She always had a passion for journalism. This natural curiosity can appear in any favored subject. If you’re interested in science, you’re constantly looking for answers that are concrete and finite. While your English courses may ask you to think outside the box of facts and figures, that need for answers can push you to look deeper into the text. And while with analyzing text there is a plethora of correct answers as opposed to analyzing data, you can view your interpretation with confidence and use evidence to support your claims. Use the skills you know (coming to one conclusion based on hard facts) and apply them elsewhere. You may need to make some adjustments and switch your science brain off for just a bit, but thinking of it in a different light will help with motivation and understanding.

It’s also very important to set reasonable expectations for yourself when going into classes you find harder. If you aren’t a natural math wizard you can’t expect to pass every calculus exam with flying colors. If you’re constantly pressuring yourself in classes you’re historically behind in, this will turn studying sour quickly. You can’t be perceived as the mysterious girl in the coffee shop if you’re sobbing over a statistics equation. Yes, we’ve all been there and that’s okay. When this starts to happen it’s important to take a pause. Breathe, close your laptop or even switch to another assignment that takes a little less brain power for you. A stressed mind does not harbor a safe environment for new information. When you’re ready to get back to it, use those resources and be kind to yourself. You don’t have to be the best at everything. Rory dropped out for goodness sake! School is hard no matter how intelligent you are. The education system tends to attempt a one size fits all model and we’re all unique individuals with different minds. Take time to look into your options when you’re struggling. Tutoring, advising and academic coaching, if available to you, can really help.

Be sure to pace yourself. There are different methods such as the Pomodoro method which suggests working non-stop for twenty minutes with five-minute breaks in between. This can be helpful if you but it’s not for everyone. Taking breaks is important though, but take those breaks where they work best for you. During these breaks, you should stretch, take a stroll around Stars Hollow and grab a coffee from Luke’s. Staying active while studying prevents physical discomfort, boredom and overall helps your mind.

It’s also important to change your environment. Study for a few hours at your desk then make your way to the library or a coffee shop or under a tree. Wherever you find yourself to be most productive, go there.

Rory Gilmore had her fair share of boy drama, family issues and other outside stressors. Acknowledge those and do what you can about those, but realize oftentimes some things are out of your control. Studying, however, is in your control. So sometimes it can be a nice break from real-life drama. So while the history of American politics may not be the most exciting thing ever, Thomas Jefferson won’t take you on a date and then not text you back!

The main thing you need to do in order to study like a Gilmore girl is trial and error. Find out what works for you. The same methods won’t be effective for every subject or specific class. Stay curious, work hard and take care of yourself.

Oh, and most importantly: stay caffeinated.

Fiona Loudon

Kent State '23

Fiona Loudon (Senior Editor) is a senior at Kent State University studying English with a minor in Creative Writing. She's a Pittsburgh native who enjoys watching movies, reading and spending time with her cat, Link. This is her fifth semester in Her Campus and third semester as Senior Editor.