October 27th, 2011

7 Ways to Study While Chaos Reigns

You know what it’s like. You’re in a dorm room and your roommate is jamming to music, beating a tattoo on the walls.  Next door—through the dried toast walls—your neighbors are having a loud discussion about…who knows what?  Folks in the hall are arguing over their favorite music groups.

And you’re trying to STUDY. Hah!

OR…you’re at home, after a long day at work. Your kids are squabbling.  Your mate is nowhere to be seen. Everyone’s hungry. The house is a mess. Two weeks of laundry are waiting.  And your dust bunnies are so big you’ve started slipping them a lettuce leaf on occasion—after all, they’re the only residents of your home who don’t make noise.

And you’re trying to STUDY.  As if.

So how do you do it?  How do you study when chaos is all around you?

Strategy #1: Libraries & Bookstores:  Your best study friends.

While not always possible, consider packing up your books and heading for (gasp!) the library or a local bookstore-with-coffee bar.  Or outside if the weather is nice. Or anyplace quieter than home.

Strategy #2: Wear headphones.

Once you’re sure no one around you is bleeding or on fire, pull out your set of noise-canceling headphones (essential study gear!) and put on your favorite music-to-study-by.

Strategy #3: Try bribery.

If you’re desperate and simply cannot escape, consider bribing your roommates or housemates to keep it quiet for an hour or two.

Strategy #4: Try the bathroom.

This doesn’t work so well if you’re in a one-bath house.  But otherwise, think about retreating to a place where privacy is more readily available: the bath. There’s usually an outlet there too. Take a pillow and blanket (tiles are cold!) plunk your butt on the floor (or the throne) and get cracking.

Strategy #5: Ever thought of a movie?

No, not for you, unfortunately.  But how about shipping kids, mate, roomies, and other distracting wildlife off to the bargain movie for a couple hours. Most places have a second-run theater that costs only $2 or $3 per person.  It’s not the cheapest solution, but when you’re really desperate…

Strategy #6: Try lunch.

I bet if you’re working while going to school, you get a lunch break.  Keep your books and computer handy, pack a bag lunch, and use that precious hour to study while you eat.

Strategy #7: Use hours when no one else is around.

In the middle of the day most dorms are (relatively) empty because (gasp!) people are in classes!  (Who knew?)  Or they’re out and about doing whatever they do instead of attending classes. That’s actually a really good time to study—and it leaves the evenings free to have fun making noise so your roomie can’t study. If you’re not on campus, try the early morning before everyone else gets up.  Try to reorganize your life (and your sleep schedule) so you can get up an hour or two earlier and study then.

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