If you ask anyone on campus, “What’s the best thing about SLU?” their answer often has something to do with our community. Starting from the First-Year Orientation, the FYP, the different sports teams, clubs and even the dining hall, we meet people and make friends. I made friends from all kinds of backgrounds during every step of my college experience, and even though this place is like a magical neighborhood/community that provides us with so much positive energy, sometimes it can get distracting.
I cannot recall the number of evenings I spent sitting in the Student Center with a group of friends either solving the world’s problems or sharing updates from our personal lives. It always starts with a text saying, “Let’s get dinner!” and eventually evolves into, “Okay, 10 more minutes and I then I need to do homework.” Of course, sometimes these 10 minutes just happen to become three hours and then it’s almost midnight and you haven’t even started your work. The procrastination is almost as tempting as the Pub cookies, but, no matter what, work comes first.
It took me about three years to figure out how I can maintain my social life while succeeding in my classes. Let me share some tips I wish I knew my first year that hopefully can guide you towards finding the ultimate way to make yourself successful.
1. Find Your Secret Study Spot
Despite being a small liberal arts university with only about 2,400 students, there are plenty of places you can set up a study location. The desk in your room is always there, but if you are not that person who can homework in the same place where you sleep and hang out, then I suggest picking a beautiful day and going on a study-spot hunt! Here is a list of some great places to study to get your started:
- The good old treehouses in the ODY library
- The Retro Room in ODY (it’s tucked in the right side of the back on the top floor, way back at the end)
- Classrooms (Johnson Hall of Science, Hepburn)
- The Third floor of the Student Center (it’s open 24/7 and is great for late-night studying)
- The Herring-Cole library and its mystic atmosphere
- Ireland Green Room (hidden in the back of the Noble Center)
- The Harry Potter Room in Sykes
- Gunnison Memorial Chapel (Surprise! This is an awesome place to do work. The Chapel is open 24/7 and has yoga mats and bean bags in the back.)
As the semester passes by, your little secret study spot grows on you, creating a comfortable and safe space. And speaking of comfort…
2. Get Comfortable and Bring Snacks
When you are already packed and headed to your favorite study spot, make sure you are dressed comfortably – whatever that means for you! It might seem like such a trivial detail, but when you are comfortably dressed, it’s one less thing to distract you. Bringing along snacks is also a good idea; they can serve as a motivator or simply help you get through the afternoon or evening.
3. Don't Forget your Motivation
It’s been scientifically proven that having motivation and goals reduces procrastination while helping you focus and be productive. Sometimes the motivation can be a candy snack from the Pub if you write three pages of your paper, or sometimes it is getting that desired GPA so that next semester you can study abroad in the country of your dreams. Whatever that be, motivate yourself and you will suddenly realize all those check marks in your “to-do list” boxes.
4. The Snake in Your Garden of Eden (The Cell Phone)
There isn’t much I can add here. Phones and social media are the biggest distractions out there. You just have to be strong and not give in the temptations. Put your phone on silent (or turn it off completely) and hide it deep in your backpack and start hammering through work!
5. Group Study Day or Fly Solo?
This is a really important point because group study can be incredibly helpful but also fabulously distracting. Holding group discussions, asking questions and quizzing each other are amazing ways to prepare for an exam. However, it does get complicated when you are with your best friends, all trying to work on different things. The most important question to ask here is what you are planning to study and with whom?
6. Late Nights Might Happen
If you are that person who can’t miss an opportunity with friends that suddenly came up, then you should be prepared for the occasional late-night study session - or maybe even an all-nighter. It happens to a lot of college students and is just another part of your college experience. If you find yourself with lots of work late at night, there’s a 24-Hour Room in the library waiting for you. Be sure to set aside some time the following day to catch up on your sleep!