Life + Arts

The Cougar’s unofficial ultimate study guide

A small critter works on good study habits at their desk

Maya Palavali/The Cougar

Spring break has come and gone, which means it’s time to get back to endless quizzes, papers and late night study sessions. Getting back into the rhythm of studying and homework can be one of the hardest things to do after a break, especially when you’ve spent the last week or so partying it up in the sun. But studying doesn’t need to be complicated! As you shake off the vacation vibes, consider picking up one of these handy tips so you can finish the semester strong.

Make a to-do list

Whenever you have multiple assignments or tasks to do, make sure to create a to-do list — either digitally or on paper. If you’re not sure how to organize it, try ordering your tasks by due date or difficulty level. That way, you can either get many things done at once or focus on completing the most urgent task first. Crossing off a bunch of items at once is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world, and it can do wonders for motivation. If you need an extra boost, consider adding very easy tasks like sending an email to cross off first. 

The power of Lofi

Lofi, or low-fidelity music, is a genre of music that incorporates intentional imperfections into songs such as rain droplets or the sound of a distant train. It’s regarded by many as the unofficial study music genre because of its calming nature and ability to counter all other distractions. If you want to work efficiently without being distracted by your surroundings, try throwing on some noise canceling headphones and blasting lofi until your task is finished. There’s many playlist options out there, but consider trying this one out for a start.

Contemplate in cafes

Having a hard time staying focused in your dorm or at home? Try going to a cafe to work or study instead! It might not sound like the most helpful idea, but there’s something about entering a casual establishment that gives some people energy. Though it might get a little expensive to order something every time, it can be worth it to have a space available to get your creative juices flowing. If you’re on campus, you might want to try frequenting the various boba cafes nearby.

Grab the essentials

Before you get started, you should grab any and all supplies you may need for your work. Bringing emergency supplies like a backup charger for your computer or an extra set of pens might seem a little weird, but you never know what might happen. Not sure what to bring? Try starting out with a basic pencil case and at least five Pilot G-2 pens. It’s a small step, but being prepared is essential to being able to focus on studying and nothing else. 

Schedule a study date

If you’re someone who is not the best when it comes to accountability, one of the best things you can do is have someone else be there while you study. Whether it’s a romantic partner or a friend, having someone to keep you on track can be a game changer. It’s harder to ignore an assignment if there is someone there expecting you to complete them. As long as it stays relatively playful, sometimes a little judgment can be a positive influence.

Implement incentives 

If there’s something in particular you really do not want to do, implement some incentives into your study plan. For example, if you have an entire book to read, allow yourself something to eat or a break every time you finish a chapter. Having something to look forward to is an effective way to get things done. In order to reach the positive, sometimes you need to wade through the negative. Just be sure that you keep yourself accountable and don’t just eat the snack or leave before you reach your intended goal.  

At the end of the day, you know yourself and your study habits best! As the semester moves to a close, try to find what works best for you and what makes you feel the most satisfied. Well, as satisfied as you can be while studying, that is.

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