In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf writes that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” The same might be said of college students and study spaces. Libraries are excellent study hubs, but sometimes it’s essential to break away from the crowds and find your own nook or cranny where your brain can just be itself. Studies show that a well-designed office space can increase productivity. Transform your dorm room or apartment space or desk into a place where you feel welcomed, at home, and within reach of any resources you need to accomplish your best work.
First of all, this study space shouldn’t be your bed. Your bed should only be for sleeping; otherwise, it can actually trick your brain into not sleeping there. Most dorm rooms come with a desk set, so really take advantage of spot. If you’re in an apartment, dedicate a corner of your bedroom to being your dedicated study and creative space. Use design and technology to inspire yourself. As design company Dacor says, “seamlessly integrating performance, technology, and design to advance appliances beyond mere form and function, [will] to inspire people to come together and create unforgettable moments”–even when it comes to studying.
Keep a welcoming atmosphere
Keeping the interior decor of a space up-to-date shows that you care about the well-being and maintenance of you. Self-care is essential in a high-stress atmosphere like college, so treat yourself to a well-cared for desk or study corner that is decorated and organized the way you want.
Before you begin decorating, decide what kind of feel you want. It’s important to take into consideration the space you’re in, your budget, and what the whole team wants. You may want to go for a modern, industrial theme, or perhaps something elegant and classic, or even something that reflects the academic environment–like posters of famous books, businesspeople, or political movements.
Lighting is a key ingredient. Poor lighting can cause headaches and eye strain. If your office space has windows, keep those blinds open! Natural light is essential for our health (it helps us sleep better) and good for the mind. If you don’t have this option, look for light that mimics natural sunlight. This is a much cheerier and less stress-inducing choice than harsh fluorescent bulbs.
Since you will probably spend a lot of time in a chair or on the sofa studying, it’s important to make sure that this furniture supports you (but doesn’t induce you to fall asleep). Furniture plays a role in health as well as aesthetics. While you may not be able to afford your own ergonomic chair (but if you can, it will make a great health investment), you can support your back with cushions, both to soften a hard chair and remind you to sit up straight if you’re on a couch or in a recliner.
Don’t forget plants! Not only do they simply make the space more fresh and welcoming, they also improve the air quality, and studies suggest that they increase productivity.
Keep resources and technology top-of-the-line
Just as important as a good-looking space is a high-functioning space. If you can afford it, aim for updated technology that best supports your field of study. Even if you have an older computer, keep it updated with the latest software–at least the programs that are essential to you, such as a word processor, a database or a music or photo editor.
Online retailers often offer student accounts or discounts, such as Amazon Student. Take advantage of these accounts; if you’re ordering lots and books online, they will save you money in the long run.
Have a plan for storing and backing up your work. You might employ a USB drive, but you also probably make use of cloud storage sites. If you’re going to trust your work to the cloud, remember, that cloud space is maintained by a third-party, and you are putting your work into their hands. Do some research to make sure your cloud storage company is reputable and has security measures in place, such as CASB security, which ensures compliance, threat protection, and data security.
If you can welcome yourself, maintain solid furniture, and keep your technology up-to-par, you can develop your own “office,” so to speak. Having a dedicated study space will help you make the most out of your college experience.
Anthony Masterton is a young entrepreneur trying to break through in the Tech world. When he’s not working on growing his young startup, he writes about everything from tech advancements to his own experiences as a young CEO. A self starter, he likes to help others learn from his own successes and failures, as it’s always easiest to learn from experience.