How to Create a Comfortable Study Environment (Honest College Edition!)

This is a guest post by Honest College contributor Amanda Greene.

Student centers, the library, the cafeteria, the great lawn…museums, diners, coffee shops…there are tons of places, traditional and nontraditional, both on and off campus, to study. But the place where most students end up doing most of their cramming usually ends up being right inside their own dorm rooms. Whether it be at a desk, on the bed, or on the floor propped up against a reading pillow, a lot of students find they are the most comfortable, and get the bulk of their best quality studying done, at home.

Depending on when you prefer to get your studying done, don’t forget to coordinate with your roommate and negotiate a convenient study schedule so you can avoid disturbing each other, especially if you favor late night or weekend study sessions. Some people aren’t bothered by a bit of extra light, but don’t make any assumptions. Talk about your routines and schedule set times with your roommate. A little bit of courtesy will go a long way!

Speaking of light, don’t skimp on it. A portable light source, like a clip on lamp or a book light, can be very helpful at study time. Take reading breaks every now and then to prevent eye strain, even if you wear glasses. If you spend a lot of study time typing on a computer or laptop, it’s also a good idea to do simple exercises, like the ones demonstrated here, to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s also handy to have a corkboard or dry erase board up with your schedule and necessary notes at your fingertips.  These items can also make excellent decorative touches, too, as you define your dorm style during the first semester.

Stylish, cozy blankets and throws are good at both sleep time AND study time- there’s something about feeling ensconced that lends to a good study session! There are several excellent choices at RHL.org that are super affordable and come in university approved extra long sizes that will fit the extra long beds in your dorm. They can also come outside with you. Whether it be to do some reading out on a bench or the lawn, or for other outdoor activities like football games or picnics, blankets and throws are great to have on hand.

Another key to successful study time is organization: plan, plan, plan! Will research be necessary? Are you reading from books, handwritten notes, the computer, or a combination of those? Have everything you need organized and at your fingertips as you get started- including paper for jotting down notes; writing things down in repetition is a proven way to retain information. There is nothing worse than breaking your train of thought to go find a book you need while you’re in the thick of your session, so it pays to take that extra ten minutes before you start to gather everything you’ll need. That said, DO schedule in those little breaks to recharge: grab a snack, rest your eyes, or go for a little walk if your sessions last for more than an hour. Stay hydrated during study time, and try not to really too heavily on caffeine and energy drinks, which, though helpful in moderation, really CAN negatively affect the quality of your sleep if overused. And successful studying- retaining the information you’re taking in- relies heavily on being well-rested.

Second to class, the time you devote to studying is some of the most important time you will spend in college. As you ease into the fall semester, do whatever you can to develop and hone good study habits in an environment that’s comfortable for you. Feeling comfortable is a first step toward control, confidence, and empowerment!

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