BY MONIQUE SERBU
As a college student, you’re likely living in tight quarters in a dorm or an apartment. Between squeezing in a minifridge and finding a spot for your personal belongings and school books, creating a study space might seem like an impossible task.
But you don’t need an elaborate office or spacious room to have the right study environment. With a few additions and a little creativity, you can create a study-ready space in the smallest of apartments or dorm rooms. Just try out these five tips for making your space study-ready for the school year and see the benefits for yourself.
- Designate a Specific Study Space
Avoid studying in bed or shifting around between different locations, and stick to a single spot in your room. This space could be a desk in a corner, for example. Only use this area for your schoolwork so you train your brain to get into a study mode each time you sit down and open your books. Whatever place you pick, make sure it’s a comfortable space where you can focus. Don’t set up your desk near a wall you share with a loud neighbor, either, so you won’t get distracted by noise.
- Keep Your Desk Clutter-Free
Clutter doesn’t just make for a messy space. It also impacts how your brain functions. Studies show that clutter limits your brain’s ability to process information, increases stress, and contributes to procrastination—the perfect recipe for poor grades. Keep your desk organized and clear of knick-knacks and papers. Have a small desk? No problem. Use drawers and under-the-bed organizers to store papers and binders, and keep your desk space open for your computer or laptop.
- Don’t Skimp on the Necessities
Even when you’re on a college budget, invest in the tools you need to succeed. These items include books, software for your classes, and a reliable internet connection. Slow internet can hinder your productivity and focus. For example, while you’re waiting for a source page to load, you may look at your text messages or Instagram feed, and suddenly it’s midnight and you still have five more pages to write for your term paper. You’ll get a lot more done in less time if you have quality internet.
- Stick to Your Schedule
A clock can encourage you to stay on a schedule and help you manage your study time. Use a clock on your desk to set aside chunks of time, such as thirty-minute sessions, to study and then take a break for ten minutes. Alternatively, a clock can be distracting for some, and it might serve as a stressful reminder of how much or little time you have left for studying. If this is the case, get rid of your clock, use a timer on your phone, and avoid looking at the countdown.
- Create the Right Environment
While studying isn’t the most enjoyable of tasks, the right environment can help you study more efficiently and feel more relaxed. Make sure you have pens, notebooks, and a calculator; pin up motivational posters or your favorite pictures; and use an Amazon Echo to play relaxing music. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, consider getting a houseplant to purify the air and promote increased feelings of calmness.
Follow these tips and devote an afternoon to creating your perfect study space, from organizing your files to planting a houseplant. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you, whether it’s jazz music and bright lighting or white noise and a wall covered in posters. Not only will you create a relaxing environment but you’ll also set yourself up for success all semester
Monique is a recent transplant to Utah from the Windy City. Her educational background includes a BS in Marketing and Management as well as a MBA in Marketing Management. Now she’s testing the waters in freelance writing, and in her spare time she likes to spend time outdoors hiking in Utah’s beautiful terrain and hanging out with her Cocker Spaniel.