• Ian Gibbs

Student Tip 7: Find Your Space


Have you ever had to go to the swimming pool on a blustery winter’s day? You probably didn’t feel like going swimming at all. Outside, it was cold, wet and windy. Staying at home (or even at school) where it was warm, dry and cosy seemed so much more preferable to going out.

 

But once you got through the horrible weather and through the doors of the local swimming pool, something changed.


The smell of chlorine, the sound of nearby splashing and echoey laughter and that incredibly hot and humid air was just begging you to get out of your winter woollies and into your swimwear.


Swimming didn’t seem like a good idea before you arrived, but now you’re here in the changing room, it seems like the only logical thing to do.


Your attitude has changed and all because of your surroundings.

 

Do you realise how much we are influenced by our surroundings?


Shops, restaurants, cinemas design their spaces in such a way to get us to do what they want (buy more stuff than you intended).


The sights, the sounds and the smells all combine to get you to want to put your hand in your pocket.

 

This is the power our environment has.


And the same thing goes for studying.

 

Our attitude to studying is affected by where we are.

 

Because of this, it’s a very good idea to study in a place that makes studying feel natural.


Libraries are great for this. They’re quiet, with few distractions, the knowledge stored in all those books almost radiates from the shelves. Usually there are others there who have come to study, too.


Just like swimming felt like the natural thing to do at the local pool, studying feels like the natural thing to do at the library.

 

But if you don’t like libraries, anywhere reasonably free of distractions can be good, too.

 

The best thing is to have a regular 'study centre': a place you naturally associate with studying.


The more time you spend there learning stuff, the more natural it will feel when you sit down to do it again.

 

Even if you don’t feel much like studying, just like at the swimming pool, once you’re sat down surrounded by your books, computer, pens, paper and whatever else you usually need, you’ll start to feel learning something is the only natural thing to do.


One thing you can do to help create the right environment is to get a ‘study lamp’. A ‘study lamp’ is just a normal table lamp or anglepoise lamp. Perhaps you’ve got one already. But the trick is to only turn it on when you study. You can even label it ‘My Study Lamp’.


If the lamp is on, it’s time to learn something. If the lamp is off, it’s time to do something else. It’s a visual prompt to get you in the right frame of mind.

 

So start paying attention to what places and features help you get into the right mood for studying and use them to your advantage. By adapting to them you’ll find yourself slipping into study-mode more naturally and with less effort.

 

 

Tip 7: Try to study in a place that makes you feel like studying.

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