Variety and Effective Studying - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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College Preparation
July 26, 2018

Variety and Effective Studying

Several weeks ago, I was running on a route I run frequently with the cross-country team in the fall and by myself during the summer. In the first month of this summer, I ran this route almost every day, whether I had a shorter run, longer run, harder run, or easier run, and I enjoyed it. Since freshman year, it has been my favorite route to run in Beaver Falls.

But on this particular day, I was almost halfway done running when I started to hate this route. I wasn’t feeling good, I was sore, and I was miserable, and I just wanted to get the run over with. I especially wanted to be done because the same route that I loved was suddenly boring, mundane, and contributing to my already-miserable state that morning. I was tired and just wanted to be done.

Over the next couple of weeks, I avoided that route entirely, and ran to different areas where I hadn’t in a while. This made me feel better while running, and it improved my mood and outlook after the run as well. I felt refreshed. The next time I ran my favorite Beaver Falls route, I wasn’t bored—I enjoyed it, and I ran faster.

This same pattern is something I’ve noticed with studying. There are one or two places around campus that are my favorite places to study. I’ll go there often to do whatever studying is required at a given time, whether an exam is coming up, or if I need to write a paper, or to work on a presentation. Last February, I was in one of these favorite study locations working on a paper for one of my classes. But I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t make myself care enough to put in the work. I wasn’t tired or lost in thought about something else, I was just overcome with boredom.

I accomplished very little that day, and I was angry at myself for falling behind. The next day wasn’t any different, as I just couldn’t focus on getting anything done. So, I decided to try something different. After class that night, I went to an empty classroom in S&E—somewhere I rarely go to study—got out my laptop, and tried to start my paper. It worked, and surprisingly I actually got more done on my paper than I was hoping to. I felt locked-in and focused the whole time.

The rest of the semester, I tried studying in new locations, and I found myself getting things done more efficiently than I was before. There were still days when I had trouble focusing, but I certainly didn’t feel as bored, tired, and miserable as I did before when I was studying in the same place at the same time every day.

As is the case with running the same route every day, studying in the same place every day can get tiring and cause a distracting sense of boredom that makes working hard very difficult. But a change in scenery is often effective. Next time you’re struggling to be productive, try varying the places you study and go somewhere you haven’t before. You might find it easier to focus and you’ll feel more refreshed and ready to work.

To discover a Christ-centered academic community that can help you follow God’s calling, learn more about Geneva College – 800.847.8255 | admissions@geneva.edu.

-Andrew Domencic ‘19