As a college student, there is no doubt you will need to find time to study. Along with finding time, you’ll also need to find the right place to get your work done. Finding the right study environment is important because you need to be able to focus and stay productive. Every person has their preferences. While some prefer a quiet place to study with limited distractions, others may like to be in the middle of a busy cafe or even at home. Between studying in the library or studying at home, there are upsides and downsides to each option. Here, we will consider them to help you weigh where to work.
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How to Study in the Library
If you choose to study in the library, there are some tips and tricks to know before heading over.
Depending on the library you choose, you may be able to select between multiple floors or study sessions.
University libraries and public libraries differ quite a bit, so your first order of business is deciding on which you prefer (granted you have access to both options).
Here are some tips:
1. Study Alone
If you study alone in the library, chances are you want some peace and quiet. To make the most of your session, be sure to pack all your materials in advance so you won’t forget anything you need. Consider bringing textbooks, a laptop, pens and paper, headphones, etc.
If you are going to a library provided by an educational institution, you may have the option to reserve a study room in advance. If not, you can try to find the quiet floor and locate yourself in a corner at a small table. Having a table that is the right size for just the materials you need can help you avoid distractions.
2. Study with a Group
Perhaps you’d rather study in a group in the library. In that case, you should still bring the materials relevant to your group.
However, you’ll need a bigger table when you have more people — or if the study room is an option, it will be necessary to reserve with a group. Studying in the library with a group and no reserved space can be a distraction for others who are seeking a quiet place to study, so try to be considerate.
Another option for study groups could be a study lounge on a college campus that are specifically designed for students to collaborate and study together.
3. Plan Your Library Study Session Effectively
In order to make the most of your library study session, you can prepare in advance and make use of the resources available within the library.
In advance of the study session, be sure to outline and review what you plan to study and what you may need. You can use the library resources and online database or ask a librarian for help. One of the main advantages of studying in the library is the fact that you have a wide array of books and materials at your fingertips.
Studying in the Library vs Studying at Home
Is Studying in a Library Better?
There are many advantages to studying in a library, such as:
- Academic Access: Generally speaking, libraries are based around academia. This is especially true if you go to a library on a college campus. But, no matter what library you choose to study in, you’ll have books and online access to help you with your studies.
- Quiet Space: Libraries are quiet spaces with limited distractions. Quiet spaces can help you focus better on the material you are reading or working on.
- Collaborative: Whether you choose to speak to the people around you during a study break or while you are working, libraries are still social places that bring people together.
Disadvantages of Studying in a Library
While studying in a library can prove to be the perfect recipe of silence and accessibility, you may run into some downsides. For example:
- Crowded: The library can get too crowded. If it’s a university library, there may be too many students at once during peak hours. If it’s a public library, then you have to take into consideration that kids and families may be around filling up the tables.
- Hours: If you like to study very early or very late, the library could be closed during your optimal and preferred study hours.
- Food: The availability of food is limited in a library or may not even exist at all. Some libraries have vending machines or cafes nearby, but others could feel secluded. For this reason, you may need to proactively pack and bring snacks, water and meals with you.
- Transportation: Anywhere you study outside of your home will require transportation time. If you are juggling many responsibilities, the extra time you take to get to your study location could feel like a waste.
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Benefits of Studying at Home
If you can avoid distractions and work at home, you may be able to benefit from the convenience of it all. Here are some reasons why studying at home may be your best option.
- Accessibility: All your study materials are already there, so you never have to worry about not having something you may need.
- Transportation: You live there, so no there’s no need to factor in transportation time. You can just wake up and start studying!
- Hours: Unlike a library with closing hours, you home is open any time of day. So, if you enjoy late-night studying or you’re an early-morning bookworm, you can work whenever you want.
- Space: In your own home, you have the freedom to design your study space however you see fit.
- Productivity: When taking study breaks, you can still be productive by completing home chores like throwing in laundry or washing dishes, for example.
Disadvantages of Studying at Home
Although there are many upsides to studying at home, it may not work for everyone.
- Space: You need to be strong in setting up a designated space to study. It’s not a good idea to get work done from your bed because it could end up subconsciously affecting your sleep.
- Procrastination: When you’re at home, you have access to many more distractions like TV, your bed, etc. This fact makes it easier to procrastinate.
- Distractions: Your home may not be only for you. As such, family members, roommates, children, or whoever is there could be distracting during your study time. It also might be too noisy to concentrate.
Alternative Study Locations to Consider
If the library or your home are not cutting it as good study locations, consider trying the following locations instead:
- Cafe: A cafe gives you the benefit of having food and coffee at your fingertips. Depending on where you choose to go, it could be the right amount of loud or quiet.
- Study lounge: A study lounge has obvious benefits like being purposely designed for studying. It also likely means you’ll be studying alongside peers.
- Outside: A good way to catch some fresh air while staying productive is to work outside, granted your task allows for it and the weather permits.
The Bottom Line
Choosing where to study is a very subjective experience. However, regardless of where you choose to study, the most important thing to do is be productive. As such, find your proper study space and limit distractions. When you make the most of your study time, you free up time for other activities. Good luck with your studying!