Creating Good Study Habits in College

The transition from high school to college life can be exciting, challenging, and rewarding.  But with great change comes the potential for high levels of stress. College students encounter pressure in several areas including social life, financial strain, and academic performance.  Whether you excelled in high school or barely made it through, college is an entirely different academic experience. Some students thrive in a less structured environment, while others tend to procrastinate or forget assignment deadlines without the constant reminders usually provided in high school. Additionally, many students who breezed through high school easily without ever having to rigorously study or dedicate much time to schoolwork may find themselves overwhelmed by the change of pace in college, as well as the more challenging material. For these and many other reasons, establishing effective study habits early on can make or break your college career. Learning to study well and study often can also help manage stress levels, making it easier to find balance and mental wellness in college.

Choose the Right Environment

The place you choose to study matters more than you may think. Many people think they can sit down and study anywhere, but your environment as you read and write can significantly impact your ability to concentrate on the task at hand. Choosing a place that is full of noise and activity like a busy restaurant or active outdoor area on campus may prove distracting. Staying in your house or dorm, however, can be problematic as well if you allow yourself to be tempted by the television or fall into conversation with your roommate when you should be doing schoolwork. Instead, try to find a peaceful and calm area outside of your home that you know will be available to you several times a week. This could be at the college library, a slow-paced coffee shop, or a quiet park. Finding the best environment to suit your studying needs is important because you will need to return to that space many times over the course of your college career.

Leave the Phone at Home

If at all possible, leave your phone in your room when you head out to study. While smartphones are an incredible resource for quickly finding information, they are also loaded with distractions like games, social media, and conversations with friends and family. If you can’t leave your phone for safety reasons or simply because you feel uncomfortable doing so, try turning it off and burying it in your bookbag while you study. Committing to leaving the phone alone while you concentrate on school work can help you make the most of your time and prevent what should have been an hour-long study session from turning into two hours of scrolling through social media posts.  

Use Your Senses

Studies have found that the more senses involved in learning new information, the more likely you are to be able to recall that information at a later time. For example, instead of just reading about a subject that you know you will be tested on, read about it, write notes, talk about it out loud to yourself or another student, and ask someone who knows about it to verbally explain it to you. This way you are visually absorbing the information, connecting a physical action with that information, turning that information into speech, and hearing that information verbally repeated to you.  

Practice with a Friend

Surrounding yourself with people who are similarly motivated to achieve academically is very important when it comes to staying focused in college.  Finding someone to study with can help you to stay on track and challenged. It can also be helpful to have someone that will quiz you with flashcards, create practice exams, and help you find creative ways to memorize important information.  Additionally, building friendships with people who are driven to succeed in school will almost certainly influence your own determination.  

Be in the Right Head Space

Research has found that the mental state in which you approach studying can have a powerful impact on your ability to focus and retain information. While studying can feel like a chore and is often something students dread spending time on, always approaching schoolwork with this mindset will make studying less effective. Instead, aim to create positive feelings around studying by thinking about this time as an opportunity for self-improvement and growth. You may also want to avoid studying if you are feeling emotional or negative due to outside circumstances like relationship problems or mental health issues. If your mental health is affecting your ability to study, seek professional help to regain your ability to focus and thrive academically.

Many young adults find the transition to college life overwhelming, and some may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.  Unfortunately, this behavior can affect mental health and academic performance and may lead to addiction. If you believe you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help. At Burning Tree West, you will find a team of compassionate, knowledgeable professionals who specialize in helping young adults struggling with addiction and their families. Here, our clients tackle their addictions head-on and harness the power to restructure their lives in a way that fosters lasting sobriety. We believe that practicing recovery doesn’t have to mean an end to educational or career goals, but instead can become a fundamental part of a successful and fulfilling life. For more information on how we can help, call us now at 972-962-7374