Study space series: Scattered studiers sequester in scholarly spots

By Kyla Gardner

If you wish the day had 26 hours instead of 24, the answer to gaining some extra minutes might be studying in NIU’s academic buildings.

Follow the Northern Star through its weekly installment of the best places to study on campus and around DeKalb to find a new study space or to feel good about yourself that you’ve been studying in one of the best spots all along.

ACCESS Director Shevawn Eaton said if a student has a couple of hours in between classes, she would urge them not to return to their residence hall or apartment but to stay on campus and study.

Junior English major Lauren Liptak said she prefers not to return to her residence hall room because she can be distracted by television or noisy neighbors.

She avoids the entrances and main hallways of the academic buildings and likes to find quiet, secluded areas in Reavis and Watson to study.

“The flow of traffic isn’t as steady as over there, where people are coming and going and having classes,” Liptak said.

With two tests coming up in Spanish and linguistics, Liptak said she likes to use the extra time she has by not going to her residence hall to review.

“It’s important to take all of the time I have to look over these things,” she said.

Ashley Mitrovic, junior English education major, said she also uses breaks between classes to save time.

She said she doesn’t go home in-between classes because it would take her 10 minutes to walk there and 10 minutes to walk back – a waste of 20 minutes in an hour break.

Eaton said using small periods of downtime to study that would otherwise be wasted is a good time management tool. She said students could study in between classes in hallways or, if the classroom isn’t being used, they could stay in class after it’s over to review material.

“The sooner you look at your notes, the more likely you are to remember them,” she said.

Eaton said students lose 80 percent of what they learn within the first 24 hours after learning it. Reviewing notes immediately after taking them helps retention.

According to the Ten Traps of Studying on the Coaching for Academic Success website, the location in which you study should be as similar to the test environment as possible because recall is affected by context.

Mitrovic said studying in-between classes is a good way to spread out studying into shorter blocks of time.

“That way you can keep up with your work instead of saving it up until the end of the day and having to study your butt off,” she said. “That way you’re spacing it.”

Mitrovic prefers to study in Graham or on the second or third floor of Reavis near the Northeast stairwell. She said she likes that area in Reavis because it has tables, provides a nice view and is quiet. The area also has chairs and couches.

Eaton said for some students, breaking up study time instead of reading or writing for three hours straight could help them focus.

Ashley Ryan, senior speech pathology major, said she likes to study in academic buildings for convenience.

“Most of my classes are in here,” she said while studying in Wirtz. “It’s easiest to stay in the same building.”

Greg Kramer, junior political science major, is a commuter student, so he said it makes sense for him to stay on campus in between classes to study.

Kramer sometimes studies in DuSable, which he said he does if he can listen to his iPod to drown out distractions.

Kramer said it’s helpful that he doesn’t have a computer to distract him so he can focus on his reading.

“There are some distractions, but [studying in the academic buildings] keeps distractions you can put on yourself out of the way,” he said.