Study Tips for Freshmen: Finding Your Ideal Place to Study

You just got your first writing assignment in college…but something feels different. You’ve written hundreds of essays in high school with ease, why all of a sudden does starting this assignment seem like the most difficult task in the whole, entire world? Your focus is off. Your inspiration is gone. And you’re completely blanking on where the heck to even begin to start your research.

It will most likely take a little while for you to adjust and find your preferred study techniques when you move into such a new learning environment. Things are different in college- your parents aren’t always there to get on your case about finishing your work, your friends are always there to give you reasons to stop your work, and your desk chair in your dorm is making your butt cramp up. There are tons of new obstacles that you are going to have to learn how to overcome.

Sometimes getting used to your new learning environment can be even more of a challenge than the work itself. You should be aware of that fact before you arrive at school so you’re not completely overwhelmed and flustered during that first week when the work really starts to pile up. When you do get to college, it is important to figure out what it will take for you to get yourself back into your study-zone as soon as possible.

Find your ideal place for you to study.

In high school, you might have been able to do your algebra homework in biology class the hour before it was due. In college, that is less likely to be the case. Finding where you are able to have the most focus is highly recommended so you can most efficiently finish your work.

Dorm rooms can be great study places for some people, but for others, they can be one of the worst places for concentration. Sure, you have a more personal connection to the space, which might make you feel more comfortable, but sometimes being too comfortable can cause a person to lose their focus. Distractions can be found almost everywhere you turn; your television, the refrigerator, or even just knowing that cute guy who lives down the hall is currently in the floor’s common room can be factors that can easily break your concentration.

The school library is a great place to go to get work done because it’s an environment where everyone is working toward the same goal: to get work done. The noise level is always at a minimum too, so that is never a factor. Plus the resources available for any sort of assignment are all around you, making getting started as easy as it could be. The only downfall could be the distance from your dorm room or the hours of operation. It might not occur to you until three in the morning that you completely forgot about an assignment that is due the next day. In that case, the library might not be available for you to utilize and you’ll just have to go to a Plan B.

Another popular study option is your favorite coffee shop. Surrounded by all of that caffeine, it’ll be impossible for you to lose your study-buzz. This is also an option for those who need some background noise while they study. The whirring of blenders, beeping of cash registers and the repetitive greetings from the waitresses are just enough for you to not get lost in your own thoughts. Just make sure that WiFi is available and the seating is comfortable enough for you to work until your assignment is completed.

The best study environment varies for each student. Before picking your favorite, try each at least once so you can know for sure. It’s good to have a backup study place in case one doesn’t work out- you can’t know which would be the best Plan B if you haven’t tried them all.

So if you all of a sudden find yourself having trouble focusing on your assignment, remember, it’s not a problem with you…it’s your study environment. Pack up and move so you can get to writing!

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Betsy Loeb

Betsy Loeb

Betsy Loeb is a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in Broadcast Journalism. She lacks the ability to draw, so she loves being able to express her creativity instead through her writing. She considers herself the “coolest nerd,” spending many Friday nights indoors playing Guitar Hero and discussing Pokemon cards with her friends.