Survival Guide for Students

As I sat down to write this article, I heard a beep from my iPAD indicating I had a WhatsApp message and within minutes I received a notification that a friend commented on my Facebook status. We live in a world brimming with distractions. We often welcome these distractions. But how harmful can distractions be to college students?

It’s an ineluctable part of school life and the one thing most students dread. Fortunately, we have some simple tips that can help make your study sessions much more productive and (hopefully) shorter.

  • Find a Suitable Workspace

    Although it may seem like a good idea (and comfortable), your bed is NOT a suitable study area. Laying down signals your body that it is time to rest, which is not the best thing for getting your creative juices flowing. Instead, find a well-lit room in your home, or another location, where you will have minimal interruptions from other people. Find a chair with good back support and a desk (or table) that is free of clutter. This will not only help keep you more focused, but also help prevent the inevitable stiff back (and neck!) you will get from laying down while studying.

  • Eliminate Distractions

    Take your cell phone out of your pocket, and set it to silent. That doesn’t mean you can set it next to you and have it on vibrate either. Move it someplace out of reach where you won’t be tempted to check your text messages or Twitter updates. Next, close all your social media applications on your computer. Better yet, if you don’t need your laptop, turn it off. Facebook can be a major distraction and the cause of many sleepless nights. Finally, turn off your television. There are too many good shows on that can steal your attention and put you way behind on your homework. You may also want to shut off any music, especially if you are prone to singing along, as this too can distract you from the task at hand. Once you have ‘unplugged’ yourself, you’ll find it much easier to get to work.

  • Be Prepared

    Before you start any of your assignments, be sure you have everything you need. Have a stack of paper, note cards, pens/pencils, highlighters, and of course, all your textbooks and homework assignments. It’s often helpful to organize your assignments by most difficult (or time-intensive) to easiest. You may find it easier to tackle the larger assignments in the beginning (when you are fresh) than trying to finish them later when your energy is starting to wane. Be sure to have a few snacks and drinks close at hand. Try picking healthy items, such as nuts and fruits, to help stimulate your brain while filling your tummy. Having snacks close by also helps eliminate the chances of you wandering into the kitchen and becoming distracted for too long. Any excuse to get up can derail your study time.

By following these simple tips, you may be surprised to find that you can complete more assignments in less time; it’s just a matter of finding the right balance and staying focused on the tasks at hand. Do you have some good study tips? Share them with us in the comment section below!

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