Academic Success Part Three: Creating a Comfortable Environment for Studying

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Last time, we talked a little bit about some of the specific online services still available to Texas A&M students during this season of sheltering in place and self-quarantines, but when it comes down to it, you still have to find your own motivation in order to get your schoolwork done. During normal times, some students might stroll over to the library for some peace and quiet away from their roommates; others may head over to the closest coffee shop to do some reading for English class. But what about when everyone’s stuck with studying at home? 

Instagram: @successtamu

We talked again with Valerie Balester, the Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Studies, and Executive Director for the Academic Success Center and University Writing Center, and she gave us some great tips on how to transform your home into a comfortable space for studying. 

First of all, she suggests that you make your space personally comfortable for you; cleanliness doesn’t necessarily matter “as long as you are comfortable, it is as quiet as possible, and you have all essential tools within reach: a desk or similar surface, a chair, computer, pens, pencils, notebooks, and books, but don’t forget things like Kleenex, your water bottle (stay hydrated!), and headphones.” In other words, make sure that before you sit down to do some homework, you take time to customize a space built just for you and your academic needs. If you have everything you need close at hand, your brain will more likely stay in the “study zone” and you’ll get more done than if you’re constantly hopping up to grab something. And it’s okay to ask family members or roommates to respect the study space you’ve set up for yourself as long as you’re willing to respect theirs as well.  

Secondly, being comfortable also extends to what you wear. Balester advises that “it’s best to get up and get dressed before you sit down to work — it’s okay to wear something comfy, but not something you associate with sleeping or relaxing.” Working in your pjs is fun at first, but you’ll notice that as the days wear on, it’s all too easy to tumble back into bed or lounge on the couch gaming.

The idea then, is to trick your body into thinking it’s time to work! Set up the right space, make sure it’s free from distractions, and that you’re dressed comfortably in a normal, everyday outfit. Do these things, and you’ll be better able to transform your home into a classroom. For further reference, this great video from the Academic Success Center has some excellent advice on how to best create your own study environment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb0X0VA6XEA 

Once again, we here at Maroon Weekly hope you’re staying home and staying safe! 

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