Midterms are here. And they’re hitting hard. So I’ve had a lot of days studying at the library.
One of the things I find so interesting about college is no matter how hard I study all semester, it always seems that when midterm season comes I have so many library-study-binge days that I start to forget that I have another home.
Finding yourself in the library for 15 hours at a time is a definite stage in college that I’d say 85% of us experience multiple times. Especially now that my workload has quadrupled in fourth year, I believe I’ve found exactly what you need to have at a library study-sessions to make sure you don’t get bored and quit halfway through.
So, since library studying-binge days are pretty much a given for all college students, I thought I’d try to make your midterm-season a little easier by giving you my list of everything to bring with you for your library study-binge!
1. Just enough panic that you don’t go on Facebook.
This is key. If you’re not bringing the last-minute freak-outs, you’re doing it wrong. I’m not talking full-out anxiety, just enough pressure to keep you motivated.
2. A clear list of what studying you have to do
You need to know exactly what you have to get done and by what day. Here’s my to-do list from this last week (I had a midterm on Wednesday):
(I got this idea from another blogger but no matter how hard I’ve looked I can’t find her blog post in my saved posts file! If any of you know who I’m talking about, comment please!)
A clear list allows you to focus your efforts on manageable chunks. Other ways I’ve done this in the past is through Wunderlist or Apple’s Reminders (did you know you can access your reminders on icloud.com on a PC computer at your school’s library? Neat, huh?)
3. Snacks and food to keep your brain going strong
Snacks are my happy place. The trick is to bring a nice mixture of sweet and savory snacks. I used to only bring things like dried apricots, grapes, apples, etc. but when I did I would get cravings for things like popcorn or chips while I was studying, which is just very inconvenient and very distracting. So I started bringing half salty/spicy, half sweet snacks and it helps! If I start craving popcorn, but I have salted pumpkin seeds with me, that quenches the saltiness craving and I don’t have to leave and I have lots of healthy food fueling my brain!
4. Coffee or tea to keep you awake
Personally, since I’m a bit of an anxious person, if I’m in full-on study mode coffee makes me jumpy and exacerbates any stress that I’m feeling, so I go for tea. The other reason I go for tea is that you can make tea in your university’s microwave.
Free tea. All day. No limits.
I bring a few tea bags in my lunch box and a heavy-duty plastic tea mug (I use this one) and then I just fill it with water from the water fountain, microwave the water so it’s hot, and then brew my tea! It works great, and I save a ton of money. You can give yourself some variety, too, bringing a peppermint, a green, and a chai for your day! Then, after you’re done your tea, you can use it as a water bottle to keep you hydrated and awake!
5. Comfy clothes
You want to make sure you’re comfortable sitting in the library all day. I tend to go for leggings with a tunic-type shirt and a warm cardigan over top. Make sure to wear layers, so that if the library is really warm or really cold you’ll still be fine. This is not the time to wear an itchy wool sweater or those super cute but kind of tight skinny jeans. Go for comfort, but still dressed in clothes that make you feel productive, not like you just rolled out of bed!
6. Lip balm and hand cream
I find libraries extremely dry, and when I’m studying I tend to lick my lips a lot (nervous habit) so by the end of a long study session I’ve usually got super cracked hands and lips and it just makes me really sad. So I started making sure to bring chapstick and hand lotion with me whenever I go to the library. It’s easy because I keep my college survival kit on me at all times, and they are both in there, but I double check to make sure I haven’t taken them out between study sessions.
Related: The Freshman’s Guide to Studying for Exams
7. All the course materials
Honestly plan ahead for this one–do you have extra readings for this course? Do you have a textbook? Class notes? Slides? Bring everything you have on your study session to make sure that you don’t get all settled down in a little study nook and then realize you have to go all the way home because you forgot something. (I have done this way too many times, trust me. It’s worth it to carry the extra 10 lbs to have the assurance you won’t miss anything.)
8. Study tools
When I go for a library study-binge I bring the following things:
- Post-it notes to write definitions I have a hard time remembering on (I stick them random places on the desk so that I see them whenever I go to grab a sip of tea, for instance.)
- Highlighters for the obvious (highlighting…)
- Pens and pencils
I also make sure to have some way of using my favourite online tools, too. I’ve written a whole post on my top study apps, you can read it here! I highly recommend all of these!
9. Some optimism and a good attitude!
Studying is just a part of college life. No one particularly enjoys it, but you just have to do it. So why not do it with a positive attitude? I don’t mean you’re never allowed to get nervous, but try to get excited about learning, even if you have to really sell it to yourself. It makes it so much easier to get a lot done when you feel happy doing it!
What are some of your favourite study-binge tips? What do you do when you have 6 chapters to read and only 1 day to do it in?