When you start college, there’s a place for everything. You know where to eat, where to sleep, and where to attend class. You might even know where to park. Only one thing is missing: Where to study. The location you choose for reading and studying is critical to how well your study time is spent, so think about these guidelines for picking that perfect spot.
Proximity to Your Needs
Notice we didn’t say to campus. After all, you may have some or all of your course load online now, so it’s not nearly as important to live in the shadows of campus. For instance, if you opt for luxury KU student housing, you will be living in an area where you are close to your most common classroom, lab, and research areas but not necessarily nearest to the busiest parts of campus. Remember, the location should be optimum for you, not for the average student. The space where you can best study might be a terrible option for your friends and vice versa.
Every college brochure shows happy students relaxing in the shade of a beautiful tree, working hard on their day’s assignments or studying for the next exam. Outdoor areas really can be very conducive to your study time, but they only last a small part of the year. Banking on a favorite picnic table or a quiet stretch of sidewalk will leave you in need of a Plan B when the Kansas sky opens up with rain, snow, or cold temperatures. Even a persistent Great Plains breeze can be enough to create real inconvenience as you shuffle through books or papers, so consider your outdoor site to be way down the list of options.
Unlike your parents, you are studying with more than just a stack of books. You have a laptop, and a phone that is also key to your ability to cover your course material, and those devices need connectivity. Although most campus buildings should easily have the bandwidth to accommodate your needs, you may also need a traditional cell signal for calls or texting.
Make sure that your chosen location has enough bars for you to be reachable – if you want to be reachable, that is. If your study time needs to block out the contact from family and friends, your primary study space might be best centered in a dead spot.
Silence, Just Plain Silence
There are few study sessions that require noise. Maybe if you’re studying the origins of heavy metal, you’ll need some racket, but otherwise, you need to be able to focus on reading and writing in silence. A space that might seem perfect when you first find it could turn out to be terrible if it’s located near emergency services, heavy equipment, construction, or other activities that will create unnecessary noise and distractions. Check your surroundings before choosing where to set up so that you’ll notice those potential interruptions to your train of thought before you’ve spread out four books, six highlighters, and a laptop.
Nourishment for Body and Mind
Campuses today have moved far away from the traditional central cafeteria idea. Most institutions have a variety of kiosks, coffee shops, and commercial food vendors all over the campus. You’re probably never very far from some of your preferred food and drink, and that’s a great way to choose a location for your study site. The mind can only absorb what it has the energy (and consciousness) to absorb.
Don’t deny yourself a hot meal or a little boost from coffee. The better you feel physically, the better you’ll feel mentally. Those doses of carbs and caffeine can provide the power it takes to stay with your work until you’ve reached your goals for the day. Just make sure to choose your food wisely. A heavy, greasy meal may inspire you to pack up early and head home for a nap.
Your time in actual classes is rather small in comparison to the time you spend reading, writing, and researching. Having the right location to do those things will make it much easier for you to get things done before the next in-class activity.