1. Create Space
Declutter your area. Seriously, clean your desk. If you're like me, you hate messes while also hate cleaning. It's a weird mix. I wouldn't say I am like my previous roommate, who always ordered in food and then never threw out her trash (insert upside-down smiley face), but I'm also not my boyfriend who literally has a Youtube channel of him just cleaning cars because he loves it and is good at cleaning. I'm a healthy middle, which I think is what most people are. By all means, if you are messy, there's nothing wrong with that (as long as you don't live with me), but when it comes to your workspace, think of it this way: a clear space equals a clear mind. By having a nice, clean, and clear desk, you won't be distracted by all the items on your desk or by having things that have nothing to do with your work on your desk. For example, I knew someone who brought their TV and Nintendo Switch into the Freshman dorms, and there was no space left for them to even sit at their desk, let alone study. Keep your study area a study area.
2. Invest In Storage on Your Desk
Look, the last thing anyone is going to want to do is to keep their space clean and tidy 100% of the time. However, keeping a clean desk from mess and clutter will help you want to study in the first place. Organizing your desk so that you can be a mess while clean. I hate easy things, but I am lazy when it comes to cleaning. As a college student, you now have an email that ends in .edu. With this email, you receive great discounts. One of those discounts being 6 months of free Amazon Prime and then 50% off thereafter. Use these resources, they are there for broke college students. By creating space on your desk, you will feel more obligated to study at your desk and study at all. Getting things like small cups or bins meant to hold pens or other small items allows you to continue throwing stuff onto your desk, but now you just aim in a certain place.
3. Invest in Storage in Your Desk
Everything I have said for storage space on your desk, the same applies to storage in your desk. When you open a desk draw and papers or whatever are scattered everywhere, you are never going to find anything ever again. It becomes an endless black hole. Either throw it away if you don't care that much or buy dividers to help you keep that mess in check. You need to have everything organized on the inside and on the outside. That goes for your desk and life.
4. Create a Theme
Without even realizing it, I had gotten things for my dorm following a blue or teal color theme. Once I noticed that my storage bins, my speaker, and even my pen holders were all this color, I just rolled with it. It actually made my space feel a lot more sophisticated in a way and a lot less cluttered. Your eyes don't like to focus on too many things, so in a place where you are meant to relax and sometimes study or grind, you need to be able to create a space that not only leaves you personally stress-free, but your eyes stress-free. I don't mean go back to 2007 and splatter everything you own in pink or bedazzled it, I mean to keep it sequenced in your room. Go to Target, Best Buy, or Bed Bath and Beyond. Just keep in mind what color or colors you want the items you are buying for your dorm and desk area. Blue, white, and green go well together. Yellow and red are too much to handle.
5. Give Yourself Scenery
When studying, I can't just be in a dull area. Sometimes school feels like a prison, mainly while studying subjects I don't care too much about, but that doesn't mean I can't change that. I need to be able to look up from my notes, textbook, or computer screen and see something to distract me. This does not mean having Netflix or Disney+ playing, because then all of a sudden you are starting a new series and haven't gotten any work done. Scenery means to study in front of a window, so that when you look up you see what's going on outside. Especially in Hawai'i, the outdoors is always beautiful, so giving myself a little break by appreciating the place I live in is a great way to de-stress for a few minutes before getting back to the grind. If you're unable to study in front of a window, whether it be in your room or somewhere else on campus, putting on classical music or even the ocean sounds that some people like to listen to can help ease your stress as you study.
For me, I like to eat. A lot. When I created my Tinder profile I had a list of hobbies, and eating was on there three times. Gotta stick to the truth online. Moving on, I'm sure I'm not the only one that does endless snacking when they're bored, but when I study I NEED to be doing something while I'm reading my textbook. So I snack. This may not seem like the healthiest option, but this has actually helped me figure out the foods that I should and should not be buying. For example, I would die to let chips and dip live. 100%. However, to make up for the fact I am consuming a boatload of chips and dip, I also make sure to buy protein bars, fruit, and peanuts. The goal isn't to get full, but just to be doing something, and I will gladly eat.
It gets hot, especially if you're in Hawai'i. So having a small desk fan, a clip-on fan, or even just a normal-sized fan oscillating to hit you every now and then helps to make sure that your temperature stays cool, either from the hot air outside or the heat you're producing from your head while studying.
8. Invest in a Butt Cushion
Either a butt cushion or one of those cushioned gaming chairs. When you're sitting at your desk for hours at a time, your body starts to get sore. One less thing to get sore is the body part you sit on, which is pretty important. This isn't just to help during the times you are sitting at your desk studying, but this is also to help with your mindset when you study. Some people say that you shouldn't study or do homework in your bed because when you get ready to sleep, your mind is too active after associating your bed with work instead of sleep. I believe there is some truth to that, so when you are sore and in pain constantly while sitting at your desk, you are only going to be thinking about the pain you'll be in while studying and wondering when you'll get up next instead of focusing on the things you need to be focused on. Also, a butt cushion is the best purchase I have ever made in my entire life.
9. Have the Essentials
To even work at your desk, you need to make sure you have everything you need. Pens, pencils, notebooks, computers, textbooks, whatever it is. If you don't have everything set and ready at your desk before you even sit down, you're not going to be able to focus in the first place. By having to get up every five minutes because you realize you forgot something, your mind won't be able to focus, and once you finally do sit and get started, all you're going to be doing is sitting there fidgeting and have your mind racing from all the moving around. Start by always putting your book bag on or near your desk so that everything you need for your classes is naturally there when you sit down. By keeping the essentials in one spot, you are keeping your time dedicated to just studying efficiently.
After studying for x amount of time, your body is going to be sore from sitting in one spot, so making sure you get up and take a break to walk around and stretch a little. This is pretty essential in order to make sure you don't break your back from not moving it.