High school tends to be pretty easy for some students, academically speaking. It’s relatively simple to coast through high school and be a little bit unprepared for the next step. Things change when you go to college. The course load is heavier, homework is more intensive, and studying is more important.
To make it all more difficult, first year college students are likely to be living in a dorm room. Away from families for the first time in their life, many students indulge in partying, staying up late, and other habits that can impact their learning. So how can a student buck the trend and actually be productive in a dorm room? Let’s answer that question.
Staying Productive in a Dorm Room
1. Establish Good Communication
Your new dorm roommate can either be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to studying. If they’re a party animal or love to play video games at all hours, it can cause problems. Luckily, colleges do a pretty good job of matching up people with roommates who share at least some of the same interests and hobbies.
Regardless, it’s important that you establish good communication with your roommate and discuss how you’re going to deal with things like having guests over, bedtime, loud activities like watching movies or gaming, etc. You’ll probably have to make some compromises to accommodate each other, but it’ll pay off in quality study time.
2. Establish Rules
One way to set yourself up for failure is to avoid making a plan for yourself during your first year at college. Many students fall prey to this — maybe because their parents coddled them too much during high school or simply because the new-found college freedom can feel exhilarating. Whatever the cause, you need to establish some ground rules for yourself in order to get things done.
For example, choose a bedtime for weekdays and stick to it as much as you can. Don’t worry about occasional exceptions. After all, fun (and the occasional group cramming session) is important, too. But setting ground rules for self-discipline is a great practice that will strengthen your willpower and keep you focused and motivated for your education. Consider rules around things like wake-up time, junk food, exercise, etc.
3. Isolate Yourself
One of the best ways to get some serious studying done in your dorm room is with the assistance of noise-cancelling headphones. When it’s time to study, throw on your headphones, play some ambient background music like binaural beats, and get down to business. It may be hard at first to maintain focus while someone else is moving around in your space, but you’ll adapt to the routine quickly.
4. Go Somewhere Else
This one may be the ultimate rule for being productive in a dorm room: don’t even try. Instead, go somewhere else to study. The library at your university is often the best place to study, since the atmosphere is generally quiet, bustling, and stimulating for focus. It doesn’t hurt that you’ll probably get some shameful glances if you’re wasting time on Facebook rather than actually studying, too. Some peer pressure can be a good thing!
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