Should I stay or should I go: where is the best place to study?

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By Alice Lampard, Fourth Year, Veterinary Science

The Croft Magazine // As deadlines for significant coursework and exams approach, most students will spend more and more time in a state of focus and isolation, studying for hours upon hours. But where can they be found?

Have they set up camp at a desk in their favourite university library, or have they opted to retreat to one of the many study centres found on campus? Some students will visit the SU to study, whereas some prefer more public spaces, such as public libraries or even cafes. And some students won’t relocate, they will simply stay in their bedroom. Is this really a good idea?

If you are the type of person to be found lying in bed, laptop on your knees, snacks by your side, claiming to be ‘studying’, you might want to rethink your strategy. A lot of students will claim that studying in their bedroom doesn’t match this image; they state that they have created a lovely study space, with limited distractions, notes on the walls, plenty of lighting, and their textbooks all around them. But is this really any better?

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It can seem convenient to study in your bedroom, with everything you need within arms reach and not having to spend time travelling to a separate study area. However, the distractions can be unavoidable. Flatmates making noise or coming to ask if you want to watch a movie or join in a card game can be too much to ignore at times.

Maybe there is a games console within reach – surely one quick game won’t hurt. And that comfy bed right behind you? Just looking at it can make you think, “You know what, I could really do with a nap”. It doesn’t help matters when you have decided that since you aren’t leaving the flat, you can just stay in your pyjamas. The kitchen just a few steps away, perfect for that well-deserved cup of tea… or that snack… or raking through the fridge… or doing all those dishes… or spending an hour or two baking.

Distractions can be unavoidable

Before you know it, you have no food left, albeit a clean kitchen, but all that studying you meant to do has been demoted to the bottom of the ‘to-do-list’. A classic case of procrastination which would have never happened had you been in a nice quiet library or study centre, with nothing to do but focus on the work in front of you.

Is it a good idea to study with your bed right next to you? | Epigram / Grace Barnes

Even if you have created the perfect study haven in your room and you are able to overcome all distractions to get through all of the coursework and studying you need to do, it’s now time to wind down and relax.

But can you? You have spent so many hours studying in this place that your mind now subconsciously associates it studying! You sit down to try and read a book and your brain starts whizzing with all the information in the textbook you were just reading. You try to relax, but all those diagrams and flow charts covering your walls seem to break your zen, whispering to you ‘do you really know all this information?’. You try to sleep, but just a few feet away is that desk where the stress and pressure that comes with university life lives, invading your slumber, either preventing you from sleeping, or giving you only the most restless and unsatisfying sleep possible.

There is one simple solution to all of this – don’t study in your room! The physical separation between where you study and where you relax is a huge factor in maintaining good mental health at university. The journey to a separate study location alone will help clear you mind and break up the day’s activities.

Trying to relax in the same location as where you work is not healthy and should be avoided at all costs

Not only will you find it easier to study with limited distractions in a designated environment, but you will also find it much easier and more satisfying to relax and chill out in your own space reserved for down-time. Even in the workplace, organisations must provide a separate staff room for non-work-related activities such as having a cup of tea, having lunch or socialising with colleagues. There is clearly a reason for this – trying to relax in the same location as where you work is not healthy and should be avoided at all costs.

Perhaps we should expand that well-known expression: if you can’t shit where you eat, you shouldn’t study where you sleep!

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