Salute to Spouses Blog

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Where You Study Can Make a Difference

woman on laptopWhere do you study? At the kitchen table? At the sink as you watch over boiling pots for dinner? In bed as you try not to drift off to sleep?

An important part of building a study routine is to find a study space that helps your efforts, not hinder them.

Now, there are a myriad of articles out there that will say that a well-lit, quiet, desk-like environment is essential to studying. However, as a mother of small children, I happen to find the extreme quiet disturbing. Typically, it means someone is planning on flushing a non-flushable item down the toilet, or perhaps has found it appropriate to paint their sibling in glittery nail polish. 

At any rate, I have found that I am fundamentally incapable of sitting at a kitchen table with an overhead light and focus on academics. That incapability forced me into planning mode, which led to trial and error mode, which eventually led to a system that actually works for me. 

I’m sure that many researchers and academic gurus would be more than happy to tell you that my habit is an absolute train wreck, and an embarrassment to the student community. 

I’m cool with that. 

First, I settle myself into the appropriate room.  It’s not always the same room, but it is the same sitting position in whichever room I choose. I will either sit on my seat on the couch, or on my spot on the bed.  I have chosen those spots for comfort. 

Next, I gather every supply I might need:  pens, notebooks, literature, laptop, highlighters, post its, coffee. I am a veritable hoarder of school supplies. Why? It’s simple:  if I have to leave my spot to get a pen or a highlighter or a cup of coffee, my kids will see me and inevitably need something and that can be a slippery slope. It’s akin to giving a mouse a cookie, really. 

Third, I find whatever lighting is comfortable, and I go with it. Additionally, I like to find music that is helpful to the focusing process. Music is key for two reasons: not only does it help relaxation and focus, it also helps drown out yelling children. Again, it’s all about efficiency, baby. 

Once I am truly settled, I hunker down - like, hunker down. I will only be lured away from my study session for reasons related to life, limb, eyesight, caffeine replenishment and the subsequent bathroom urgencies.  If it does not involve those reasons, I will not leave my comfy, functional space for any reason. 

More often than not, these things have helped me remain focused on the tasks at hand. Sure, it isn’t a perfect system, but what is? We are simply wives and mothers who have dared to seek some time for ourselves in an effort to further our education. And if it takes a little drowning out of children with trip-hop or Metallica? Let’s be honest. It’s worth it.  

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