Student Blog


November 21, 2016

Hey all,

Do you find yourself continuously struggling to finish assignments in your bedroom where you also sleep and watch hours of Netflix? When you study, does your phone constantly beckon your name, calling you to play one final level of Candy Crush or check your Facebook newsfeed even though you did so ten times in the last ten minutes? Are you regularly scrambling to write 2500 words of a 2500 word essay the night before a deadline? If you answered yes to any of the following questions, it is time for you to evaluate what your study environment looks like, especially as we now enter into that special time of year when all the deadlines for final papers are due.

I know you secretly know all of this information and have chosen to suppress it when it comes time to put pen to paper, but it is time to follow through with this intellect! Seriously, your stress level during this chaotic time will significantly decrease! While I think it is crucial to create a routine that works for you, I want to give you guys some tips on the study habits I have been using to give you some inspiration.

Lately, I have been working at the John Fairbank Memorial Library, and I have already seen an improvement in my work habit. I start by intentionally leaving my phone at home, so I will not even have the chance to get distracted by it – trust me, regardless of how much self-control you think you have, you do not have enough. Next, I grab a cup of coffee from Tim Hortons, which is conveniently right across the street and I get comfortable (but not too cozy) in the corner of the library. It depends on what type of work I am doing, but normally I will pop my headphones in and listen to music that has no lyrics! If it has lyrics, I almost always start singing and not only does that make me look like a lunatic, but it also becomes a distraction quickly. I then force myself to write as much as possible.

In terms of study breaks, in the past, I have easily fallen into the trap of ten minutes of work and thirty minutes of a study break – I know you already know this, but you will not get anything done if you work this way. I find it is better to have less quantity of study breaks but more quality. In other words, I take one or two study breaks during a four to five hour work period and make them last for about twenty minutes, instead of breaking every five minutes to rest. You would be surprised how fast those five minute breaks add up and by not breaking up your train of thought so periodically, you allow yourself the ability to create and finish a coherent thought.

To conclude, the library is one of my favourite spots to study as its quiet environment helps you to concentrate and the librarians there are always willing to help with your research process or any other questions. I wish you all well with your papers and exams, and I heartily join you in the desperate race to the finish line that is Christmas break!

Caitlyn Gillingham