The most dreaded time of the year is here: finals season. Normally, that would mean jumping back into my perfected library study routine.
But nothing’s normal in a pandemic, right? Like so many of my peers, my revision methods — meticulously perfected over 4.5 years of undergraduate study — were thrown out the window as soon as my campus shut down. Without access to a dedicated productivity space like the library, acing exams gets a lot harder, especially when your study room doubles as your bedroom, office, and chill zone.
A few weeks ago, I found myself really struggling with this change. I’m used to getting together with my sorority sisters, setting up camp at a campus cafe and cranking out my papers and review. Studying alone in the same place every day wasn’t ideal, and being under a “stay at home” order meant that I couldn’t just hop over to my local Starbucks and get that study grind going.
So, as any Gen-Z would, I took to TikTok. After a few days of scouring my favourite tags and profiles (#studyhacksnever fails to impress me, and creator @studyfairyy is a personal fave) I’ve pulled together a list of tips for my own study kit. From cozy, immersive digital spaces to community-building study groups, these innovative tools will help you overcome your longing for the library and perfect your online learning environment, making it that much easier to crush your finals.
Oh, and you can thank me later!
If you’re the kind of person who loves 24-hour study rooms and rows of cubicles...first of all, are you okay? Second, this is the platform for you. Featuring round-the-clock Zoom study rooms, StudyStream invites students from all over to join “the world’s most productive community of students.” StudyStream is a great tool for staying motivated and finding some semblance of normalcy in your new pandemic study routine.
Not into the whole “meeting new people” thing? I get it. Luckily, I’ve got an alternative. If I’m not in the mood to hang out with strangers, I pull up YouTube and search “study with me.” There’s a huge community on the streaming platform of creators filming their study sessions in real time. Whether you want to travel the world while you work, or would rather just have a friend to study with — who won’t judge the fact that you’re still in your PJs — the options are endless. My personal go-to channels include elloitsangela and Merve!
If immersive digital study spaces are more your speed when it comes to staying focused, LifeAt.io is the perfect platform. This simple website allows you to shuffle through tons of digital study spaces. Between mountain views and Hogwarts rooms, you’re sure to find a space that works for you. Each video is accompanied by ambient sounds, like water running or trees, and sometimes by classical or lofi music. Favourite the best videos for easy access, or keep it on shuffle to see something new. As if it could get any better, LifeAt.io also offers a pomodoro method timer to help you stay on track.
I Miss My Cafe
For a niche version of LifeAt.io, check out I Miss My Cafe. This website — which is the brainchild of illustrator/frontend developer Reagan Henke and sound designer Evan Cook — gives users the chance to recreate the sounds and ambience of their favourite coffee shop. The coolest thing about this project is how customizable it is; choose how loud you want each sound to be, from the playlist to the talking barista. Something about studying in a cafe just makes me so productive, and it’s easy to pretend I’m three when I have this website running. For other similar experiences, visit I Miss My Bar, I Miss the Office, Coffitivity, and Sounds of the Pub.
Happy studying! Let’s get this bread!