This doesn’t have to be complicated. A spot at the dining room table, a barstool at the kitchen counter, a personal or shared desk space in an office or bedroom; the possibilities are wide-open. My advice for students who have a lot of studying on their plates is to stay comfortable, but not so comfortable they risk dozing off or becoming distracted! A bed or couch is often the last resort for me because those spots are where I’m least productive!
Another standard requirement of a study space is good lighting. This isn’t to say you’ll need to go out and buy new light fixtures, but you should assess how much lighting your space has and consider adjusting as needed. My desk is currently under a large, second-story window, which is one of my favorite types of light for studying! If your space is dark, consider moving near a window or light fixture or moving a lamp closer. In the long run, this will not only help your eyesight but also keep you more alert and focused.
Finally, a study space should start with all of the materials you need to study effectively and efficiently. For example, you can have all of these other elements, but if you’re missing the study guides, a computer for flashcards and practice exams, or a spiral-bound notebook for note-taking, none of the other elements will benefit your study!
Once you have these basics mastered, here are some of my more fun ideas for making the study space your own—one that not only covers functionality but also inspires you to want to study in it.
For less than $40, you can make or buy a sturdy bookshelf for your study space, and even paint or stain it your favorite color! In my humble, book-loving opinion, a bookshelf is a quintessential piece of any study space, and there’s something exhilarating about having your very own as a student. These are your study materials and literature, all handsomely arranged for display as well as quick reference.
Combo cork board/dry erase board!
I got one of these for $15 several years ago, and it is still in daily use around my office/study space! I have everything from notes of encouragement from my friends to photos of the little girl I sponsor in Honduras and important deadlines outlined to keep track of. When I was still studying for CLEPs during my college journey, I would mark my testing goal date on the dry erase side in giant letters to keep the date before my mind and stay focused on it!
Who doesn’t love being surrounded by things they love?! I have two coordinating picture frames on my desk itself, with many more pictures nearby, some of my favorite quotes, and even some plants! Spend $15-20 on just things that make you happy, remind you why you’re working so hard, and create a space you enjoy being in.
Investing $10-15 on your favorite pens or pencils, sticky notes, notepads, highlighters, and sharpies will be a gift to your study space that keeps on giving! Again, the goal with things like this is to create a space you enjoy being in and equipping yourself with tools you enjoy using.
Blue light glasses!
While these are totally optional, students who don’t wear glasses already will really appreciate a pair of blue light glasses for computer work. These help with eye strain and make the transition to more computer-based studying much easier! For around $10-15 for the average pair, they are an excellent option for your study space.