Some of the best advice I have been given as a college student is how to study. In high school, there were tests I could get away with procrastinating studying until the night before, or the morning of, and still get a high grade. In college, most of the time that is just not possible. Luckily, I got the chance to talk with an experienced studier, Miranda Brown, who was happy to give me the best tips to successful studying which all starts with picking the best spot to study.
Picking your spot
Find a secluded corner hidden away behind bookshelves.
The bookshelves will act as a barrier between you and distractions such as friends, loud people, and the burning desire to dash out the front doors. They also help you hide your snacks from the librarians who WILL take your food if you leave it out blatantly.
Check the outlets before you set up your stuff!
Four out of five of the library outlets do not work, and you know that the moment you start your timed online quiz your computer’s battery will magically be drained to one percent. Please, avoid running around the library like a maniac trying to find a working outlet and just test them before you sit down.
Warning: The library magically gets busy right before finals. Because of this, you WILL encounter some competition for table space. To avoid this situation, try getting to the library early. But if someone does happen to take your spot, here is what you do:
- Take a deep breath
- Contemplate the importance of your spot
- Realize starting a brawl for the spot is not worth it
- Back away slowly and assess your other options
- Move on with your life
What to wear
Always wear layers.
It does not matter how hot or cold it is outside. If the air conditioner is on, it will be freezing. If there are 100 bodies walking around, it will heat up. If the librarians leave the doors open, there will be a breeze. There are too many variables to determine the temperature in the library so it is always safe to wear layers.
If you are going to take your shoes off, make sure you wear clean socks.
I get it; it’s more comfortable to take your shoes off if you’ll be studying for a while. But for the sake of the people around you, please wear socks. Also, socks will help you avoid fungal diseases. You don’t know what’s on these floors. Don’t test it. Wear socks.
The closer it is to finals week, the more acceptable it is to look ratchet.
By the time finals week hits, feel free to wear your hair in a messy bun and dress in sweats, rain boots, and a sweatshirt. It doesn’t even need to match!
Using the restroom
The bathrooms have a lot of other uses, as well. Like primping for a study date (because, yes, those do count as study hours) or it serves as a place to cry when you realize your final is actually tomorrow. But as I have said before: the library gets busier during finals week! Because of this, the smell will get worse, the sinks will be soaked in soap, and there will hardly be any paper towels left. So get in and get out as quick as you can.
To help, make sure you...
Grab toilet paper before you sit.
No one likes running out of toilet paper while on the loo
Spray some perfume around to cover the smell.
Use perfect posture.
Otherwise the toilets will flush on you. In fact, they'll probably flush on you anyway.
Finding a computer
The best way to secure your place at a computer is to either arrive early or bring your own laptop. However, if you know you’ll need to use a library computer at 3 p.m., here’s what you do:
- Circle the computer section, look at people’s screens to see if anyone is about to log out of blackboard, or if they give off any other signs they are about to leave.
- Prepare yourself to attack by standing at a respectable distance from the computer that is about to free up. This one can be tricky because if you stand too close you may creep the person at the computer out. But if you are too far away, someone else may slide in before you get the chance.
- It’s open!! Time to swoop in! Use elbows if necessary because there won’t be another open computer for a few hours at least.
Keep the socializing to a minimum so that the process goes faster for the other students waiting to get on a computer.
After hour one.
Get your limbs working again. Walk around and push in some chairs. This will give you a chance to stretch your legs, socialize, and it helps the library assistants. But keep it to a five-minute max break.
After hour two.
Cardio time! If you couldn’t find a secluded table or don’t feel comfortable doing jumping jacks in public, go to the bathroom to do them! This will keep your blood pumping and help you stay awake.
After hour three.
At this point, you have a right to a social media break to give your brain a rest. Take ten minutes to scroll through your news feed to see what the rest of the world has been doing while you have been rotting away in the library.
After four hours.
Avoid the urge to grab a snack from McDonald's. You won’t come back. Instead, pack a granola bar or some chips. Just make sure to hide it from the librarians and clean up after yourself.
After five hours.
This is the turning point for a 15-minute nap. Set your phone timer for 15 minutes and use your sweat shirt for a pillow. This will give your mind and eyes a better rest and keep you going for a few more hours.
After six hours.
By this time you are ready to give up studying. You know that if you walk out now, you will flunk your final. For a bit more motivation try to calculate the lowest grade you can make on the test to still maintain your letter grade.
After seven hours.
Have a good cry. You are tired, stressed, and about to pull your hair out. So just sit there and cry for a bit. You’ll feel better after. Maybe contemplate what you could change your major to in order to avoid excessive library time
After eight hours.
Do some research on what careers you could go into that don’t require a college degree.
Congrats! You have finished a full day of studying in the library! Good luck on finals!