Student Life

Occasional breaks lead to more effective studying

by Danielle Katz

Odds are, if you are reading this story right now, you have a have a soft yet persistent voice nagging you in the back of your mind, reminding you that you should instead be studying. After all, the more hours you spend staring at your notes and textbooks, the better prepared you will be for exams, right? Not necessarily. Studying non-stop for hours can actually be counter-productive; it is much harder to focus and maintain efficiency when there is no end in sight. Of course, it is easy enough to take a quick breather by checking Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr or whatever—but this brief activity can easily stretch to fill two hours when the dark afternoons cause time to blur. Try these more manageable study break ideas to refresh yourself periodically, but still keep from becoming too distracted.

•Play one song of Just Dance. If you don’t own the game, find one of the songs on YouTube and dance along. You won’t get a score, but you’ll still have an adrenaline rush.
•Pick a word—any word—and learn it in three other languages. Practice saying each translation a few times until you can pronounce all of them fluently. This lets your mind briefly disengage from whatever subject you are studying but still keeps it fresh and alert.
•Download the Ab App on your smart phone and spend either five, seven, or ten minutes efficiently sculpting your abs. The time will pass nice and slowly.
•Get up and brush your teeth. Having a clean-feeling mouth is always empowering, and some minty toothpaste will wake you up.
•Spend five or ten minutes of quality time with your cat, dog, chinchilla, or other furry friend.
•Do a handstand stand against a wall to let the blood rush back into your head, and see how long you can hold it. Stop if you feel faint.
•Go outside and take five “deep cleansing breaths”.
•Get up, stretch, drink some water, and sharpen all of your pencils. If this is too reminiscent of taking standardized tests, sharpen colored pencils.
•Make a cup of hot chocolate for your mom or dad or sibling.
•If you have long hair, braid it out of your face.
•Clean and brighten your workspace—throw away old papers, dust off your computer screen, turn on some more lights, open the windows for a couple of minutes. Or, better yet, migrate to an entirely new workplace. A change of scenery can be surprisingly refreshing.
•Make this origami frog.
•Make a list of all the things you are planning to do over break. Hopefully this will motivate you rather than make you daydream even more.
Good luck in the new semester—not that you’ll need it, since your studying will be quite effective.

Categories: Student Life

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