Imagine driving a $200,000 sports car on a street littered with potholes and broken glass. Any machine being operated in the wrong environment will struggle to perform. Similarly, brilliant students who study in subpar environments will not perform at their potential. Every successful student needs an awesome place to study. The phenomenon of home-field advantage is just as true in academics as it is in athletics, and creating the ultimate study space can be a fun home improvement project that also boosts a student’s GPA. Below are some ideas to help students create the ultimate study space at home.
Tailor the Space to the Student
Every student is different. Some study environments may be awesome for one student but detrimental for others. Match the study space to the student by assessing noise preferences, distraction tolerance, and maturity level. So, if possible, close doors, turn off background music or create a quiet study space for them. Likewise, if a student is highly distractible, then studying at the kitchen table while mom and dad cook dinner may not be a wise decision. Some students prefer complete silence, and others prefer some white noise. Asking these kinds of questions makes the process of creating a study space much easier and much more effective.
One of the primary goals of having a consistent study space is to limit distractions and prevent procrastination. Once a student has chosen a study space, stock it with all the essential school materials. Easy access to pencils, pens, and notebook paper will cut down the amount of time it takes students to get started on homework because they will never go searching through drawers for a pencil that works or an extra eraser. However, these are just the basics. Successful students should also have quick access to a printer and a hole puncher. Having a hole puncher in one place consistently streamlines the process of keeping a student’s binder organized. A printer makes it impossible to “forget” to print out that lab report that is due tomorrow. Some students should have a clock or a timer nearby as well to keep them on track or to aid with timed study plans. Another helpful weapon in the study space arsenal is a dry-erase board. Another helpful tool is a desk calendar, where students can mark out test dates, holidays, and even extracurricular activities, creating a deeper awareness of their schedule so they can plan ahead.
Make Smart Choices with Snacks and Beverages
Most students need a snack when they get home. Planning ahead and keeping snacks near their study space can cut down on procrastination and time-wasting. Young brains function better on healthy snacks with a good balance of healthy fats, carbs, and proteins. Things like fruit, nuts, dark chocolate, and popcorn satiate hungry growing bodies without causing a sugar crash or taking an hour out of their study time. Keep water nearby. Dehydration leads to more distraction. Drink lots of fluids, and that paper will be done in no time.
Natural Light is Always Best
Every student knows the feeling of drifting off to sleep while studying. Natural light helps to alleviate this problem by making sure that a student’s brain knows it is daytime. Students are less likely to fall asleep while working where there is sunlight than in a dark, windowless room. So, open up those curtains and let the sunshine in!
Don’t Get Too Comfortable
The goal of having a good study space is to reduce distractions, meaning that a student’s study space needs to be the last possible place that a student would want to watch Netflix or take a nap. Students should have a comfortable chair and sit at a table. The environment should promote work, not play. A study space that promotes good posture and high productivity will always be better than studying for calculus while lying on the couch.
Maintenance is Key
Once students have created this palace of academic productivity, they should take the time to sustain it. Spending a few minutes each night putting pencils and pens back where they were, making sure there is enough paper in the printer, and packing their backpack for school the next day will go a long way to ensure their success. Students who are well prepared will build some momentum by priming the space for tomorrow’s study session. Their study space will be the path of least resistance to better grades, which is a very worthwhile investment.
Remember, the environment plays a pivotal in the success of a student. Taking the time to create that environment at home ensures consistent success in the classroom. Have questions or comments about this post? Please join in on the comments section below. We love hearing feedback, so please don’t hesitate to tell us how your study space has worked out. For more information about organizing a study space, a binder, or any other tool to ensure student success, check out our academic coaching curriculum here.