As we get closer to fall and the crisp weather, warm sweaters, and pretty leaves, we also get so much closer to school picking up and the start of exams. Here are some of the helpful tips I’ve gathered over the years to make studying a little less painful!

1. Find pens that you love.

It may seem silly, but every time I settle in to take notes on some textbook reading, I get so excited to use my inky pens! Find a set of pens or pencils that you like to use and in bright colors. Seeing the pop of color on your paper will make it so much easier to take notes on some not-so-fun topics. My go-tos are Pilot G2 and Stabilo pens; they’re so easy to use and the colors are fun to take color-coded notes in or to just switch up colors randomly.

2. Set aside a reward for yourself for once you reach your goal

Give yourself something to look forward to for when you’re done accomplishing everything you need to! Keep nap time and snack time and hanging out with friends time for after you’re done with everything you need to get done with. It’ll make you work that much faster so you can get to doing fun stuff and you won’t have to be stressed out as you enjoy yourself!

3. Schedule little breaks in between studying

Long stretches of studying can make anybody get a little annoyed. Make sure you give yourself time to relax in between cramming. If you sit at one place for too long and do the same thing, you’re bound to get bored beyond belief. Share some puns or pick up lines (Hey baby, are you a catalyst? Because you speed up my heart rate!) that you came up with while studying with a friend, schedule a time to Facetime with a loved one, grab a snack, or watch a quick Friends episode in between study sessions.

4. White Boards

Something about white boards just draws me in. Maybe because it is so much easier to have all your thoughts or your whole schedule laid out for you on one surface. I use my whiteboard (and, of course, Expos in different colors) to make to do lists, write notes, and even doodle when I get tired.

5. Good headphones

A good pair of headphones will let you cancel out the noise and listen to music to add some zest to your study session. You can find playlists on Spotify or even make your own. Studying music can come in so many varieties and you could listen to classical music when the going gets tough or upbeat pop music when you’ve got to get going (because you’re tough)!

6. A focused mind

Make sure your phone is off and away and if you can’t study with noise, that you’ve put yourself in a quiet place. A one track mind will get you so much farther than if your attention is split.

7. Look for motivation

I admit to calling my mom when studying gets too tough. It’s nice to have her motivate me with a quick talk when the pages of biology feel endless. I even set up a tradition with my best friend in which we message each other good luck puns before exams! I’ve learned that a little motivation goes a long way.

8. Find a location you love

When you study, it’s important to find a place that will be ideal to get your work done. Whether this be at a bookstore, at a coffee shop on a study date, at your desk, or at the kitchen table, make sure you’re at ease in your little study nook.

9. Be comfy

Staying comfy as you study involves finding a nice balance. I try to be not comfy enough where I’m ready to take a nap (so no pajamas or onesies) but comfy enough to focus and do my best on my work. Find a pair of sweats you love and go forth!

10. Stay happy, no matter what!

No doubt, school and studying can get stressful. Prioritize you over your work, always. If you feel like your sleep schedule, your eating habits, or your health is being affected by schoolwork, talk to advisors or counselors who can help you find something more right for you. Your happiness is most important.