If you want to be successful in college, you will spend a large portion of every day studying. While there are many possible venues at your university for studying, the best option from a convenience standpoint is your dorm room. To maximise the return on your studying efforts, you should set up your desk as the ultimate learning center.
Before you even start arranging your desk, make sure you have all the supplies that you will need to complete your work. There is nothing more frustrating than printing out your assignment the morning it’s due to find that you do not own a stapler. In addition to your computer and printer, some common supplies that you should keep on hand include a stapler with staples, paperclips, printer ink and paper, pens, pencils, highlighters Post-Its, White-Out, a calculator, and a ruler. Depending on your classes, your professors may suggest other materials to keep in stock.
Since you will be spending a lot of time at your desk, you need to make it comfortable. Your desk should be about as high as your waist when you stand next to it, and you should be able to place your feet flat on the floor when sitting. If your dorm room came with a chair, you should consider upgrading to an ergonomic model from an office supply store.
If you have a laptop, consider purchasing a wireless mouse and keyboard; your wrists will surely thank you later. Your laptop screen or computer monitor should be at eye level, so you may need to purchase a stand to avoid neck strain. Dorm rooms have notoriously poor lighting. You will need some additional lighting at your desk to avoid having to squint at your textbooks while you work.
Check with your residence hall before burying any lamps, because sometimes there are restrictions on which types of lamps or lightbulbs are permitted in the rooms. The best choice is probably a small, adjustable desk lamp that will not take up too much space on your desk.
Keep yourself at your desk longer by having a stash of easy, healthy snacks available. Leaving your room in search of a vending machine will break your concentration, and the offerings you will find in your average vending machine will not do your health any favors. Some good sack choices include granola bars, fruits like apples or oranges, and trail mix. If you have a microwave, you can also add in popcorn, soups, and ramen noodles. Also keep bottled water nearby, and consider investing in a coffee maker if your residence hall allows.
Give yourself the space that you need to spread your work out. This means keeping your desk as close to clear as possible.
Invest in a bulletin board to keep small notes, photos, and reminders off the surface of the desk while remaining in view. If space allows, a file cabinet is an excellent purchase which will last you through college and beyond; it will give you a spot to keep all of your important documents, and some are lockable for your security.
Evaluate the space that you have before buying any organisational items, because dorm rooms are often very small. Once you know what kind of space you are dealing with, some great organisational ideas include additional bookshelves, stackable boxes, and under-bed storage boxes. Keep supplies that you use most often close to your desk, and stash the lesser-used objects away under the bed.
The final step towards making your dorm room into a great place to study is to find a way to minimise distractions. This is hard to do, particularly if you have roommates. If you can work with music playing, investing in a decent pair of headphones can help block out background noise. While you are studying, turn your instant messaging programs and email notification program off, and set your cell phone to silent mode. Coordinate a time with your roommates that will be a set “quiet time” to be used for studying.
If you can manage all of this, your dorm room will be the most distraction-free place on campus! Don’t do yourself the disservice of skimping on schoolwork in college. If you can make your studying time efficient, you will be able to cut down on the time that it takes you to adequately study and leave room for everything else that you want to do.