Op/Ed: How to make studying ‘fun’


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Let’s face it–studying isn’t known for being an enjoyable activity. However, as college students, we spend a good portion of our time doing it. Even if you love your subject of study, the amount of work that goes into college courses can make even the most enjoyable subject seem like drudgery at times. Studying is non-negotiable for college students, but there are several ways you can make it more enjoyable.

The first step to making studying enjoyable is to think about what you already enjoy doing. For example, I enjoy listening to music, so listening to music makes studying more enjoyable for me. If you like exercising, you should consider ways to incorporate movement into studying. This might be listening to a class lecture while running on a treadmill or taking a walk outside, or even listening to your notes while exercising. The Speechify – Audio Text Reader reads words aloud to you, perfect for when you want to study your notes while doing other things. You could also consider buying audiobook versions of required readings for your classes.

Perhaps you like to be creative. One way you could apply this to studying is through drawing illustrations or diagrams to help yourself study. You could color code your notes or design flashcards to review for exams. If you like to sing, you can even create a song to help you study or change up the lyrics to your favorite song to match what you’re learning. There are tons of educational songs and remixes of pop songs on YouTube, such as The Molecular Shape of You and Ancient Mesopotamia.

Some people enjoy studying in groups, while others prefer to study alone. If you get distracted when studying alone, studying in a group might be a good way to keep you on task and accountable. However, if you prefer a silent study space, group studying is likely not going to be your cup of tea. For example, I like how studying alone allows me to move through topics at my own pace because I often feel rushed when working in groups.

Another consideration for personalizing your study habits is to find out what time of day is your ideal study time. Are you more focused in the morning, afternoon or evening? For some people, time of day matters. You may not have much choice in your study schedule if you have work and classes taking up a certain portion of your day. However, if you do have the choice, you should find what works best for you. Morning studying allows you to tackle things early in the day, before you get too distracted with other things. Afternoon studying can be ideal for meeting up with other people or starting on assignments right after your morning classes. Nighttime studying is great for reduced distractions because most people are sleeping during this time.

Lastly, it is important to take breaks so you don’t become overwhelmed. There’s a variety of advice on the internet when it comes to taking study or work breaks. According to Social Triggers, the general consensus is that it’s best to take a short five- to 15-minute break every hour, and a longer break of at least 30 minutes every two to four hours. The best study breaks are ones that give your brain a break, so you want to avoid scrolling through social media or checking your email. Some good study break ideas are meditating, walking, stretching, taking a short nap, cleaning up or organizing, eating a snack or meal, or talking to a friend or family member.

The main thing to remember is that studying doesn’t have only one “look.” You don’t have to be in a quiet, isolated room with only a textbook to effectively study. The most effective way to study depends entirely on you. You will find that motivation to study will come from making it an enjoyable activity. So, by all means, do not study in a way that doesn’t work for you just because you think it’s the “right way.” There is no right way, only “your way.”