Welcome to a new school year! This academic year will be challenging as many students, staff and faculty members continue to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But the staff at Himmelfarb Library wanted to provide some tips that we used during our own academic careers that helped us organize our notes, study and have a successful semester.
JoLinda Thompson, Systems Librarian- It always helped me to read my notes aloud. I still use the verbalization trick if I’m trying to remember something!
Stephen Bryant, Evening/Weekend Supervisor- Nowadays I listen to smooth jazz or Lo-Fi music while I study/work. It’s enough to provide some background music, but it’s not dynamic enough to distract me from work.
Stacy Brody, Reference & Instructional Librarian- I was a big fan of drawing things out. This was especially helpful for some of the science courses like organic chemistry and biochem. I liked to study in the student center, but really early, just when it opened, before it got too busy. I always tried to consume media that reinforced what I learned in class, whether it was a good book, a journal article that was recommended but not required, or a podcast.
Laura Abate, Associate Director for Library Operations- LibKey Nomad is my best library related tip. Make your bed. Schedule time for ‘you’- block time to exercise, call a friend or have dinner with someone you care about.
Sam Sisay, Reference Specialist (Evening)- Don’t study in your bedroom, study in a library study room, which leaves your bedroom as a place to relax. Study with friends, even if you are not studying the same thing. Being around others who are studying can be helpful in motivating you.
Ruth Bueter, Serials and Systems Librarian- Instrumental music was helpful for me (especially when listening with headphones), because it helps me focus. Some of my favorite options recently include:
- Movie scores (Phillip Glass’s score from The Hours, and anything written by Ennio Morricone- like the score from The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly)
- Chillhop YouTube streams
- Lindsey Stirling
- Classical music
- Electronic music for studying streaming music stations on Pandora/Spotify/ etc.
Have healthy snacks handy. Some of my go-to’s are:
- Fruit- bananas, apples, pears, oranges, etc.
- Nuts- a handful of almonds, peanuts, walnuts, pecans or yout nut of choice has enough protein to help keep your stomach happy and keep you focused
- Dark chocolate- 1 square of dark chocolate can be a sweet reward to break up the monotony of studying
Study cards: I normally cut 3x5 notecards in half. They are more portable in that size. Whenever you have a few minutes of free time-take them out and quiz yourself. I would write a question on the front side and the answer on the back. Writing the information so many times (between taking notes while reading, during lecture, and on the notecard) helped me retain the info.
Lastly, Coffee. The importance of coffee in getting me through both my undergrad and graduate degrees cannot be understated.
Ian Roberts, Acquisitions & Resource Sharing Librarian- In grad school I used to schedule all of my appointments into multiple calendars. I Synced up my school calendar with my iCloud calendar. I know some people don't like mixing those, but it always helped me (still does, actually).
Brittany Smith, Senior Library Assistant (Metadata Specialist)- Take breaks while studying. Personally, I like to take short walks to give my mind time to rest. This is especially helpful when moving from one subject to another. As many people already mentioned, listening to instrumental music is a big help. I’m a fan of YouTube Chillhop or LoFi stations. I also enjoy listening to Studio Ghibli music which is soothing and always puts me in a great mood. Take advantage of the resources available to you. Whether it’s meeting with a librarian to discuss an upcoming research project/paper or visiting the professor or TA during their office hours to ask a clarifying question, make sure to reach out to the people who are there to help you.
The most important tip is to find what works best for you. Take this advice and fit it to your particular style of studying. If you’re not a fan of Chillhop or Lo-Fi music, try classical jazz. Try a strong black tea if you want to monitor your coffee intake. Create a virtual study room or take advantage of the study rooms in Himmelfarb. Mix and match these tips with ones you already use to create the perfect strategy for this new semester!