Study spots can make or break your grade

By Kendall Tich

Picking a destination may be one of the most aggravating parts of studying during your time as a student here at USD. Whether you’re cramming for an early morning test the night before or leisurely reading a novel for your literature class, the environment you’re in can dramatically affect your motivation and performance.

According to the University of Alabama’s Center for Academic Success, “creating a good study environment allows you to maximize your learning efficiency. When combined with effective time management, high motivation, good reading and note taking skills and systematic test preparation, a good study environment serves as a catalyst for productive effort.”
Therefore, it is important to find the location that best suits your study habits and needs. There are many spots both on campus and off campus that USD students use rather frequently in order to improve their study habits.

On campus, Aroma’s is a go-to study location for many students around the time of exams. The mild music, constant access to coffee and food and the pleasant “aromas” in the air increase the productivity of many students. However, in between classes Aromas can become quite busy with people stopping in to buy croissants or specialty drinks. If you plan on studying at this location, go early in the morning or late in the afternoon so as to avoid the early afternoon rush before students leave for class.

Another favored location is the library and more specifically, the Harry Potter room. While the library is a relatively conducive study environment, there can be a good deal of noise at its most crowded times. During the day, the library tends to stay fairly empty, but as the day goes on, it gradually gets more and more crowded as students come to the library straight after class and tend to stay there until all their work is finished. Because of this, the noise level can increase even though it should stay at a whisper throughout the entire day. Since working with any noise is difficult for many students, the Harry Potter room is a good alternative to the main library. The way the room is decorated and constructed allows students to truly indulge in their work and provides good motivation to keep going.

If the Harry Potter room is not productive enough, an even more desired location is the stacks which are located in the basement of the library. This area is relatively quiet and many people feel as though they can study better in a closed off environment such as this.

“Stacks is one of the best places to study on campus because you don’t get distracted by anyone and it’s easy to be productive” said senior Amanda Johnson.

If you are working on a group project or need to work with a study partner or group, a good option is to reserve a room in the library. By doing so, you gain your group access to not only a room but also to Powerpoint projectors and whiteboards while there. This gives your group a quiet, productive place to work.

If you’re a student in the business school such as senior Siena Pugnale, you may often find yourself stuck inside classrooms all day and meeting with professors in their indoor offices. Perhaps you also desire to work outdoors after being inside all day.

“After having classes all morning and afternoon, it’s nice to live in a place where I can study and do my work outside,” said Pugnale. “I always see people I know sitting in the grass around campus so it’s cool to just be able to go sit and read or study with them.”

A personal favorite of many USD students is the lawn between Maher and Serra Hall. Not only does the sun provide for a relaxing study environment but it is also a great change of scenery from indoor classrooms. According to Benedict Carey, a journalist for the New York Times, “simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention.” In other words, the more you switch up where you study, the easier it will be to comprehend and remember information you have learned.

If you aren’t in the mood to stay on campus, there are plenty of local places to study. On any given day, there are numerous USD students studying at the Starbucks down the hill from school or any other coffee shops nearby. An easy way to find study spots off campus is to type “study locations” or “coffee shops” into the Yelp application or website. This will provide you with a list of nearby locations that are popular study destinations.

Wherever you are on campus, it is not uncommon to see people looking for places to study. It is very beneficial to try new places and change the environment you most frequently study in once in awhile. Not only will this improve your information retention, but it will also ease stress and help you to relax into your new working environment. The stress of college can be overwhelming at times but finding the right place to study can really help you enjoy your time here at USD.