A&E

The Art of Studying

Studying can be incredibly frustrating. When the material is hard to understand, there’s an exam coming up, or you simply have other things you would rather be doing, convincing yourself to study in the first place can be challenging, much less enjoying it. It is even harder to study when under a deadline , or when you have a lot of other stuff to do. However, I have found ways that make studying a little less unbearable for myself.

Honestly, studying to me feels like a kind of meditation. My mind is almost constantly swirling with “what-ifs,” and while it’s not a perfect escape, homework gives me somewhere to channel that energy other than my own brain. It’s certainly not a creative outlet, but it is something that grounds me. Reading a textbook or writing an essay lets me focus on making one thing make sense. It’s a nice feeling.

I know that studying is typically more stressful than relaxing, overwhelming than grounding, but changing your perspective can make it a much more appealing discipline. In the grand scheme of things, individual assignments rarely carry any life-defining meaning. Instead, they are relatively small opportunities to learn about yourself and the world, and to reflect what you have learned thus far.

This kind of reflective, near-meditative studying is only made possible when one has the proper tools, though. For me, keeping a detailed planner is absolutely essential to my academic success. Mine is far from glamourous, but it works for me. I write in all of my due dates when I can, and every day I create a checklist of what I have to get done. This helps me use my time well, because everything is laid out, so I can prioritize the most important things without forgetting about everything else I have to get done.

I also find that working alongside other people can make doing homework a bit easier for me. Having other people sit with me keeps me accountable to focus on the work at hand instead of getting distracted. Knowing that we are all working simultaneously on similar projects makes me feel more motivated to get the work done and keeps me from feeling like I’m drowning in work. The breaks of conversation and laughter also help.

Finally, it helps for me to keep my work in perspective. While moment it can feel like one assignment defines the rest of your life, I like to look at the bigger picture and remind myself that I have done countless assignments before now, and none of them have been make or break moments in my life – in fact, most of them I have completely forgotten. Keeping that truth in mind reminds me that no matter the outcome of any schoolwork I may do, at the end of the day, I will be okay.

We often forget it but having the opportunity to do homework itself is a blessing. It can be challenging and stressful but learning in an environment in which we can learn from each other and our professors is an incredible privilege that we need to be grateful for. Having the tools to grow and prepare ourselves for our future is a gift, and if we so choose, the work can be an art.

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