A college blog for curious readers.

How to Be Successful in College: Don’t Study in Your Dorm Room

Aug 23, 2013 • Loretta Kay • College Tips
A café can be a great place for students to study.

A café can be a great place for students to study.

I, like most of the college students I’ve talked to, love my bed. My dorm bed is a wonderful haven after a hectic day of classes or a night out with friends. But if I’m considering how to be successful in college, rather than just comfortable, a bed is not a great place to study.

It’s good to have separate spaces for working and relaxing, and though I once spent a lot of time studying in my dorm room, especially sprawled on my bed, I realized that I needed to find new study spots around campus.

I’ve found that the best places to study are areas where I’m surrounded by other people who are also studying. This makes me feel somewhat obligated to study, and other people’s quiet studying can be motivational and inspirational. When you’re in public, you are less likely to be distracted by things like the TV, your refrigerator, or your next door neighbor.

There are a few designated study spots on most college campuses. One of these is the library. Some people find the library to be too quiet, but I find that I can get into a study zone there. It’s quiet enough that I can focus completely, but public enough that I feel that I should be productive. Find a spot in the library that’s comfortable, but not too comfortable. You should be able to stay in the same spot for a while, but not fall asleep.

If the library’s a little too quiet for you, you might find that a café is a better option. I love cafés, partly because I love coffee and pastries, but partly because they often have a friendly, energetic atmosphere. I’ve found that when I’ve been procrastinating and need to get some work done, a café can be a great place for me to settle down and get to it.

It can be a difficult place for the easily distracted, but if you find a quiet corner and put in your headphones, even the most avid people-watchers (myself included) should be able to accomplish something. In fact, a recent study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign revealed that the level of noise common in a café boosts productivity. Bonus tip: My favorite campus café doesn’t have WiFi. When I have work to do that doesn’t involve the Internet, it’s a great place to go to avoid the temptation of browsing.

So, if you’re wondering how to be successful in college, I recommend finding a few quiet yet not solitary, places on campus to study. It might be the campus café, under a tree in the courtyard, or in a special nook in the library. I have found a few spots that I can turn to when I need to study. And now that my dorm room is reserved for sleeping and relaxing, my bed is all the sweeter.

Image source: Flickr

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Loretta Kay

Loretta Kay

Loretta is a student at Emerson College majoring in writing, literature, and publishing. Her favorite books are "I'm a Stranger Here Myself" by Bill Bryson, "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" by Michael Chabon, and Norton Juster's "The Phantom Tollbooth".

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