College students are expected to spend much of their time studying. Because student housing and off-campus apartments are often joint living spaces, studying is often done in front of the TV, at the kitchen table or even sprawled out on the floor because of lack of space. But these poor study habits can have adverse effects.
If your apartment doesn't have the right setup for a student, you can easily create one in your home. A quiet, organized corner may just be the ticket to earning better grades, producing better work and, eventually, job hunting after graduation. Here are some steps you can take to create a study area in your house.
A study space needs to work for you to be effective. Some students thrive in a secluded, private space, while others have no problem studying in a more chaotic setting.
The first step is to figure out which of the two categories works best for you. A closed-off space could be situated in a more quiet area, such as your bedroom. Or, if you prefer to be out in the open, a nook or corner in the kitchen or living room are options, as well.
Got an unused closet? What about a blank wall or empty corner? If you have an extra bedroom, that would be the perfect place to study. If not, clear out a corner of your own bedroom. Take a walk around the apartment and make note of where you can easily fit a desk and chair. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box and you can probably envision a new study space in multiple spots within your apartment.
Once you've determined where your new study area will be, it's time to transform it into the perfect, distraction-free study spot.
Take time to free your chosen study space from distractions. If you have a TV in your room, move it so your back is to it while you're in your study space. Move busy posters to another wall so your workspace is calm.
Once you've removed items that will distract you when you're studying or working, you can start redecorating to further create a zen feeling in your study area in the house.
You may want to paint your room a color that encourages you to concentrate or relax. Cool colors like blue, purple and green promote peacefulness and balance, unlike warm colors like yellow, red or orange that can invoke high-energy feelings.
Before you start painting your apartment, you'll want to check the terms of your lease to see if you're allowed to paint.
Of course, if you're going to have a good study space, you'll need a desk, and you'll probably be limited by the size of your study area. Consider a wall-mounted desk, a fold-out desk, a simple desk with a wall-mounted hutch or a lightweight desk with a drawer.
Purchase a mouse pad with a wrist rest, and consider a wrist rest for your keyboard, too. Make sure the height of your desk aligns well with your chair, and try to find a comfortable used desk chair (as they can be quite expensive).
Also, pay close attention to ergonomics. This refers to the overall comfort and design of your desk and chair and how you use them. For example, if you experience discomfort in your back, shoulders or arms while studying, it's likely a sign that the furniture's positioning is off. Adjusting the height of your chair's seat, back or even your computer monitor could make all the difference.
Although pillows and a throw blanket might make your study session cozier, it could also cause you to become a bit too relaxed. Only add in those comfy extras if absolutely necessary.
When choosing your study area, don't forget that proper lighting is essential. Natural sunlight is ideal, but desk lamps and other fixtures will work just as well. The idea is to avoid a study space that's too dim. It could cause you to become unfocused, and the lack of light will encourage you to doze off.
Make your study area a place you'll actually want to be. Do whatever it takes to keep your work surface tidy. Stock your desk with the items you'll need, but don't clutter it. A few essential items are:
A trip to your local office supply store will present you with plenty of organizing mechanisms including file folders, boxes, trays, bookshelves and lots of other helpful items.
Also, if you're working with a traditional desktop computer, it might help to have it positioned off to the left or right. This will leave room for you to spread out and put pen to paper if necessary.
After each study session, get your desk back in order so that it's neat and orderly for next time. Leaving your desk in disarray might discourage you from settling into future study sessions.
Now that you've transformed a corner of your apartment into a designated study area in the house, you're almost good to go. However, if you don't unplug and set designated focus and study time, you likely won't get your work done.
So, when it's time to study, turn off the TV, and vow to check social media pages once an hour to avoid distraction. Now you're ready to make all A's and turn in high-quality work in your new study area.
Once you take the time to set up your study area, you'll feel more comfortable and focused. Follow the tips above and you'll be studying like a pro in no time!