It is quite crazy to think that as students at the University of Cincinnati (UC) we are already in the third week of our 16-week semester! Thinking back over the past two years and remembering my time here at UC, I feel like the third week of the semester, whether it be the fall or spring semester, is always the week where professors really begin to lay the coursework on their students.

Whether it be reading, essays, case studies, or the beginning of dreaded group projects, the third week is always the week that sets the tone for not only the semester but for the coursework of the class. Being a senior, however, I have already been slammed with homework the past two weeks. Regardless, here are three tips that I have found really helpful over the past two years that classmates, friends, and even professors have recommended helping knock out that reading, group project, essay, or whatever your coursework may entail!

The first tip that was recommended to me by a classmate and one that I also highly recommend is the candy trick. Being a Communication and Journalism major, a lot of our coursework involves countless hours of reading, therefore, if you also find yourself in a situation where you have a lot of reading, this trick is definitely for you! First, you will need to purchase your favorite candy if you don't already have it. Whether it is gummy bears, airheads, sour patch kids, whatever it may be, you are going to need that in your possession. If you are not much of a candy eater or would just like a healthier option you can also substitute candy for vegetables or fruit slices or in general any snack food that will satisfy you at the time!

Next, you will need your reading assignment(s). Before diving in, look over the assigned reading and divide the reading into paragraphs however you see fit. They can be short, long, or they can follow the natural division that the writer initially wrote them in. Then, at the end of each paragraph place a piece of candy, vegetable, fruit or whatever snack food you chose. This acts as a motivator and a reward for every paragraph that you finish reading. I have always found that it seems to make the reading take less time and the treat at the end of each paragraph provides a little boost of energy to keep me/my brain awake!

The second tip that was recommended to me by a friend, and one that is really great for when an artist releases a new album, is the music break. Preface, this trick does take up a little more time, therefore, if you have a lot of reading to do or are in a rush to complete an assignment this might not be the best trick to use. However, first you need to pick an artist, song, or playlist. I recommend using a playlist whether it is one that you already have or one that you found on Spotify or Apple Music or wherever.

Next, just like in the candy trick you are going to take your reading assignment(s) and divide them, however, you are going to divide them by pages rather than paragraphs. I understand that not every paragraph ends evenly on the page, therefore, find where the paragraph ends on the following page. Then, once you begin reading and you finish a page you can stop and listen to one song by the artist or from the playlist that you have chosen. The song, like the candy, acts as a motivator but it also is a great way to give your brain a rest from a potential overload of information.

The third tip that was recommended to me by one of my favorite professors and one that is incredibly helpful during midterm/finals week is the distraction eliminator. Being that we live in an age where we are constantly connected through technology, this technique might not be the easiest. But first, you need to find a quiet place where it is just you and the reading. Whether it is your room, a place in the library, or a rented room in the library the place you select should eliminate the possibility of you being distracted by people.

Next, turn off your phone, apple watch, tablet, IPad, television, basically any electronic device that will distract you from your reading. Then once you have eliminated all of the possible distractions that you can think of, you can dive into your reading assignment(s) and really hone in on the information. Like I said, being that we live in such a technological age I can understand this could be very difficult and quite boring. However, I promise you don't realize how much you get distracted by these things until you try this tip.

Reading assignments I understand are not only boring as hell but they take such a long time. However, hopefully, these three tips will help you and maybe even your friends and classmates get through your reading assignments. Who knows, it even makes them a little bit more fun as the semester progresses!