Keeping a Tab on Your Tabs

Finals season is here, which means that the time for endless browser tabs has come. Click upon click, your studying becomes more thorough yet more scattered. Before you know it, the tabs resting on top of your window have all shrunk as they are squeezed within your monitor. It happens to all of us; what feels like an endless number of internet tabs dense with study material and resources can feel a bit frazzling. As the end of the quarter encroaches on all of us, let this be a guide to understand where you are mentally, as well as provide small, supplemental activities to reconnect with yourself.

Note: For accurate representation, this is only applicable to the average studying student, not for students undergoing research or are online shopping.

If you have...

  1. 1. 1 - 5 Tabs Open

    Status: You are chilling! Maybe you are just starting to warm up, or you simply are able to crunch in your learning with as little tabs as possible. 

    Self-care: Since you are not too deep into the rabbit hole, take the time to prepare a drink or a snack away from technology. The ritual of nourishing yourself and consuming it without a screen will garner the energy to jumpstart your studying.

  2. 2. 6 - 14 Tabs Open

    Status: This is the suggested number of tabs to have open as it is not too crunched-up on the screen and (hopefully) has some form of organization. You may be in the thick of it, but it is perfectly acceptable to be where you are. 

    Self-care: It is possible that you may be several hours into studying. Therefore, this is a great opportunity to shift your attention towards a different form of engagement. This could include doodling on a sticky note, watering plants if you own any, or working on a new hobby or side project.

  3. 3. 15 - 25 Tabs Open

    15-25 tabs open

    Status: You have reached a point where you are consuming your topic and your topic is consuming you. There is a sense of control, but it is easy to teeter into an overwhelming tier. You are tiptoeing on a thin wire but at least you are aware of the task at hand!

    Self-care: The best option is to detach yourself from your likely worn-out brain. Take a walk, rinse off in the shower, or unravel in a book — anything that soothes rather than stimulates.

  4. 4. 26+ Tabs

    Status:  The fifty-fifty relationship between you and your work has dissipated—a tunnel vision of studying is narrow and dank, and it may seem like there is no escape. Are you constantly grasping for straws by pulling up new links to different sources, or are you nervous of deleting a significant wealth of information?

    Self-care: If it seems chaotic, endless, and all-consuming, the stress likely stems outside of your studying. Or, your work is catapulting your mental health to greater heights. Outside of what is on the screen, how are you really feeling? If you need to talk it out with an active and caring listener, of course CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) is always here for you: https://caps.ucsc.edu/.

Keeping a clean online study space can be successfully accomplished without changing your academic habits. Bookmarks are your best friend if you need to save a collection of tabs to look at later, and Google Chrome allows you to add folders within them to further purge your browser. Creating multiple windows with themed websites can also be a quick step to lessening the overall clutter! Sometimes, momentum is not quantitative: it is inevitable that you will have a surplus of tabs opened; regardless, having a clear and responsive mindset will always outweigh the latter.