This fall semester, many of us are returning to campus and in-person classes for the first time since the pandemic. It’s a huge adjustment, especially if you were just getting used to waking up five minutes before class to open your laptop, or being able to multitask while on Zoom. As we ease back into life as it is now, here are five of my favorite study habits that keep me sane during busy semesters!
- Take notes in class.
I know everyone says this, but actively taking notes in class has truly changed my life. This has multiple benefits: writing something down helps you remember it, and the simple act of taking notes keeps your brain much more engaged in class. I’ve found that even if I’m just copying down whatever my professor has on the slideshow, I pay much better attention when I’m taking notes versus when I’m just sitting and listening.
- keep a planner.
This is another common tip, but it’s absolutely essential. You don’t need to have a physical planner or agenda that you carry everywhere if that’s not your thing, but having someplace where you keep track of your schedule and assignments is so necessary for staying organized and on track. A planner is something I truly couldn’t live without!
- get out of the dorm to study.
It’s definitely tempting to stay all cozy in your dorm, especially on these chilly fall days that we have coming up! However, studying somewhere other than your dorm makes all the difference.
When you’re doing all your work in the same place where you relax and sleep, it starts to confuse your brain after a while— especially if you’re doing work on your actual bed. Your brain associates this place with sleeping, so you might not be as productive. On the other hand, if your brain starts to associate your bed with working, you could start to have a hard time sleeping there.
But, if you commit to studying in the school library or one of the student lounges, your brain will recognize that you’re in a space that is meant for studying— which will help you to focus. Plus, it’ll also be more rewarding to head back to your dorm to relax after a long study session at the library.
- choose the right people to study with.
Look, I get it— studying with your best friends is a lot of fun! But if you have a long essay due or a big exam to cram for, that might not be the best time for fun. In that case, it’s good to grab a friend or classmate who you see as a very studious person. I’m talking about someone who works so hard that it makes you want to work harder. You won’t want to slack off because they aren’t slacking off, and you’re less likely to suggest going home early.
- keep up with hobbies besides watching tv.
This isn’t directly related to studying, but it really helps. Sure, it’s nice to veg out and binge watch TV when you really need to destress, and I’m not suggesting that you need to stop doing that. But, hobbies that stimulate your mind or your body are so beneficial for your general well-being, which translates to a good study session!
It’s also a good idea to keep up some level of physical activity throughout the semester. This doesn’t have to mean a grueling gym session if you’re not feeling it. In fact, you should enjoy moving your body! I highly suggest finding a form of physical activity that is fun for you, such as hiking, bike riding, or yoga.
I know this semester could be a difficult adjustment, especially if you’re starting college for the first time or if you’re a sophomore who had your freshman year stolen by the pandemic. But keep your head up! As long as you do your best every day to keep yourself healthy and maintain good habits, you’re going to be just fine.