Tackling Piles of Readings
Beautiful Instagram-worthy study pictures and colorful pen sets aside, tackling piles of course reading is something that very few individuals look forward to. Before I go ahead and tackle my homework for tomorrow, I thought I’d share with you all a brief set of tips as to how I get it done.
- Sit in a place that’s cozy, but not too cozy. For me, that place is my dorm bed. I live between three different places and my bed at my parents’ home (which is only 30 minutes away from my university) is definitely not the place for me to be studying. For some reason, however, I can study perfectly fine on the bed in my dorm room. This isn’t the case for everyone. Lots of people advise against studying in your own bed. For me, I think it’s honestly just a personal preference. What I do make sure to do, however, is to not read under heavy blankets. Instead, I’ll do my reading while I am wrapped up in a thin blanket and am sitting up against my pillows.
- Make sure everything you need is nearby. For me, everything includes a light snack and refreshing or soothing drink (today I’ve chosen bubble tea). Other items that may be useful while reading include pens and highlighters for annotating and a notebook/computer to take notes in.
- Illuminate the room with light. Try to read in a place full of light. That way the darkness doesn’t trick your brain into falling asleep.
- Have a notepad at hand. Write any random, distracting thoughts unrelated to your reading in this notepad. That way, instead of getting side tracked by sudden thoughts, you have them all written down in one place.
- Music? No Music? Up to you. Just make sure that the music is instrumental only. Music with words might throw you off as you read. Keep it on low, if possible. I like to listen to tracks that repeat themselves constantly. That way I don’t get distracted by new chords. Here’s a particular favorite track of mine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lX8QVBl-ZG0&t=205s
- Keep a dictionary at ready. Look up words you don’t understand as you go. Jot down notes into your reading. The more confused you are, the less you’ll gain from whatever you are reading. This is why clarifying terms is important.
- Take breaks every so often. The human brain is like a sponge, but even sponges have limits to the amount of liquid they can hold. Similarly, your brain has a limit to the amount of concentration it can sustain in one sitting. Take a break when you start feeling brain dead. But time yourself. Make sure your break stays limited. And don’t check social media in this break (unless absolutely necessary). What I like to do is actually get something done off my to do list (like sending an email or filling out a form). That way, I feel better and more accomplished after I’ve taken my break. If I’m feeling too lazy to do that, I usually just jam out to non-instrumental music for a bit or watch a cooking video. The type of video you watch is important because you don’t want to go down that familiar rabbit hole of distraction. That rabbit hole, for me, is comprised of study bloggers, beauty vloggers, etc. Cooking videos just happen to not be rabbit hole videos for me. Find yours.
- Don’t get down on yourself. Don’t get down on yourself if you’re having trouble reading or if you don’t find your reading interesting. Not everything in the world was written to be a thrilling piece of literature or an excitingly well-written research paper. Some pieces of work are just boring – and that’s okay. What’s important is that you finish the reading so that you understand tomorrow’s lecture or get a better understanding of a concept being discussed in class. You won’t always have fun studying. Studying is hard work and hard work is just that: hard. Just keep on at it. In the end, you’ll be glad you did. So will your GPA.
Those are my eight tips for tackling reading! Happy Studying!
With love, hugs, and good wishes,