By Charissa Roberson, Contributing Writer
A new academic year is fast approaching at Roanoke College. Whether you’re a veteran student or a freshman new to the game, the transition from summer vacation to the rigorous schedule of college classes is always difficult. Here are some study tips to help get you on track this semester!
#1: Buy a planner. This little book can be a lifesaver amidst the flood of classes, homework, and deadlines. After syllabus day, write down every important date – exams, papers, projects – in your planner. That way you won’t be caught off guard by a huge assignment. Go a step further and choose a planner that includes sections for each day. Write a list of the things you want to get done that day. Then, whenever you finish a task, you get the satisfaction of crossing it off. Anything you don’t finish can easily be moved to the next day’s schedule.
#2: Set the mood. Find the environment where you focus the best. Maybe it’s your dorm room desk, or the library, or a table on the Commons patio. Next, find the playlist that best fits your vibe. Instrumental is usually best, unless you’re someone who doesn’t get distracted by singing along to the lyrics. YouTube and Spotify both offer endless options for study playlists: jazz cafes, relaxing guitar tunes, lo-fi beats, even medieval fantasy mixes. Finally, grab a favorite snack or a drink to fuel your study session.
#3: Get a little help from your friends. Everything is more bearable with company. Get your friends together and stake out a booth in the library, or a table at Mill Mountain, or a sunny spot on the quad. If you can avoid getting distracted, having other people around is a great way to motivate yourself and keep your spirits light. Studying for an exam with a friend is also helpful – bonus points if they’re in the same class as you. You two can quiz each other on your notes and help point out holes in each other’s knowledge. And, again, it simply makes the whole process less depressing.
#4: Take breaks. Make sure you give yourself time to destress after an arduous study session. Plan something fun to do when you finish. If you’re busy, it could be as small as watching an episode of TV before bed. If you have a little more time, take a walk outside, go to the gym or hang out with your friends. Another suggestion is to set aside a time or place that is “sacred” from homework. Maybe after classes on Friday, you don’t do any work for the rest of the day. Maybe you do all your assignments in the library, so that your dorm remains a work-free zone. Whatever it is, carve out some time and space for you, away from the stress and press of school.
#5: Ask for help! This final tip is to remind you that, at Roanoke College, your professors are there to help. If you have a question about a topic or an assignment, shoot them an email and ask. Don’t be afraid! Nine times out of ten, they are more than happy to address whatever concern or confusion you have. And don’t forget about office hours. Professors have several hours a week dedicated to simply being available for their students. Take advantage of it!