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study habits


It’s Study Time!

by Anna on March 3, 2017

in College Life

Hi everyone,

The semester is basically halfway through, and that means it’s a busy time of midterm tests, projects, and deadlines.  I’d like to share a few places I like to study, and a few techniques that work well for me.  If they help you out, great; but if you have something else that works better, I’d love to know it too!  Let me know in the comments.

Places to study at Fontbonne & my home

  • Library:  Unless it’s finals week, the second floor of the library barely has anyone around and is super quiet, which is what I need to study effectively.  Whether you need to spread out at a table or relax in a big chair, there’s plenty of places to comfortably get that studying done!  There’s also study rooms, which I haven’t needed to use yet, but that would be a good place to go if you need a really quiet place.
  • A-B First Floor Lobby:  Since most of my classes are in A-B Hall, I inevitably end up spending a lot of time in the lobby of the first floor, where I’m close to the lab/classrooms.  Once again, there’s several big tables to spread out or chairs with arm desks to write on.  It’s a good “transition zone” when I’m, for example, on my 35-minute break between microbiology lab and lecture.
  • Outside:  When the weather is sunny and warm, I love how students flock outside to eat lunch, hang out with classmates and friends, and work on homework.  Especially after several months of not being able to sit outside (although I stand contradicted with this winter’s weather!), it’s nice to have a little change in scenery and fresh air.  Some people even study better outside!
  • At home…When I’m at home, you’ll find me in my bedroom or our home office, probably sprawled on the floor in some sort of stretching position (hey, anytime I can do two or more things at once, I do!).  As they say, whatever works…. 🙂

Study tips

  • Take breaks!  If you’re like me, you can get so involved in your work that you lose track of time and before you know it, you’ve spent two or three hours on the same subject.  In order to best synthesize the information you’re learning, I would recommend studying with no breaks for a max of one hour, then try to do something non-school-related (get a drink, take a short walk, call your friend) for at least 10 or 15 minutes.  If you’re working on a computer, it’s even more important (for your eyes especially) to take plenty of breaks.  You may even find your productivity and creativity flow a lot better after your time away.
  • Separate subjects:  Since I am taking both chemistry and microbiology this semester (and four other classes), it’s important that I don’t do a bunch of chem homework and immediately switch to micro.  This really ties to my first tip of taking breaks — I try to structure my time so there’s a period of rest for my brain in between working on any of my classes.  Otherwise, I might end up mixing information from two classes or not understanding something that really is pretty simple.  Your brain works hard — reward it and treat it well!
  • Eat and sleep well:  What you put into your body to fuel it is super important, and “empty calories” (e.g. soda and processed foods high in fats and sugars) may give you a temporary boost, but won’t pay off in the long run.  This is the exact same for sleep — you may be able to skimp on hours for a few nights (or even weeks), but by the end of the semester, you’ll pay for it.  Proper sleep (preferably at least seven hours) gives your entire body much-needed rest and, more importantly, allows you to be awake, coherent, and ready for class the next day.

Good luck on all your work and midterms (especially because spring break is just a couple of weeks away!), and I’d also like to remind everyone of something that probably gets said a lot but nevertheless bears repeating — GRADES DO NOT DEFINE YOU!  Obviously, put in your best effort, but don’t stress if all you could manage was a B or C.  Your value as a person does not diminish because of that simple letter.




When it comes to the last four weeks of the semester, plus exam week on top of that, students as well as the teachers on campus really begin to slowly stress out.  Whether I like it or not, there are four full weeks till the end of the semester, plus the two full days of this week remaining.  That is not a lot of time, but as a sophomore in college, I have SO MUCH STILL TO COMPLETE in terms of assignments.  There are two full weeks until Thanksgiving Break, and once that comes and goes, there are five full days left of the semester!  That is not a not a lot time.  However, along with everyone else on this campus, I signed up for this mission of the fall 2014 semester, so we all knew what was coming for us.

When this time of the semester rolls around, usually I will hear students say they are so stressed out or just want to cry themselves to sleep.  But in reality, I actually have to admit that I like this time of the semester. I perform at my highest level when I am organized and know my own routine with academics.  Sure, I currently have three research papers, nine hours of a practicum to observe, writing the final report for the practicum and a mound of statistics homework left to do, but it is possible!

As a commuter student, I know that I do not have the opportunity to just go back to my room whenever I want to hide from classmates and study alone, so I improvise.

I can say I do love to study on campus because I have an excuse to be out of the house and away from distractions.  Sure, that doesn’t mean I won’t have distractions on campus but none in relation to family.  I usually prefer to study in the library, where we have multiple quiet study rooms with a table and chairs for just one person to occupy or multiple as a group.  I prefer these rooms, and since there are only four (at least that I know of), it is helpful to come on campus early so that you have access to one, rather than waiting for people to leave.

For those days when I do not have the chance to snag a room, I tend to head over to the Kinkel Center, a larger room for sure but over there are multiple computers, a printer and people I can talk to for varying topics.  Just the other day I had an appointment with the director of the Kinkel Center, Dr. Pousson, over helpful tips with time management and my mound of unfinished homework.  In addition to the director, the Kinkel Center provides multiple tutors for students on practically any subject offered at Fontbonne University.  When a tutor is not currently available for a particular subject, they will make sure to find one right away.

Now for study tips. This is hard for me to say mainly because I know how I work best in terms of retaining information compared another person.  When it comes to difficult material and a lot of it at one time, lately I have been using notecards to write out the information as well as practice taking in the information at the same time.  While I spend time writing down the information, reading the material as I have to write it down, I am studying at the same time.  I can also review the notecards later for more practice.  If a freshman or incoming student were to ask my advice on what he or she could do themselves, I would say to take the time to see how you learn best.  Invest special time in yourself and see what you like most and go from there.  But it is important to make sure and take that time, rather than just cramming last minute, because are you really actually learning the material then?


Many things can effect your ability to study, like where you are or who you are with. But most importantly, what you eat can make or break a successful study session. Food can affect not only your ability to focus, but also your ability to retain whatever information you are trying to cram into your brain. So before you reach for that bag of Cheetos or Red Bull, consider these options. Here are my top choices when I need a little reboot.

1. Nuts

Nuts are an excellent source of Vitamin E, which helps keep your brain sharp and focused. They also contain a good amount of protein, helping you feel full and satisfied. Not to mention they contain omega-3 to help your memory. A bag of almonds ($4.50 at Trader Joe’s!!) are so easy to keep in your bag for whenever stomach grumbles interrupt you train of thought. Stick to about a handful of raw (not salted or flavored) nuts, like almonds,walnuts, cashews, and pistachios.

2. Hot Chocolate

I don’t know what it is about hot drinks, but they always help me to snap out of a foggy mood. Most people tend to guzzle down cup after cup of coffee, but too much caffeine can overstimulate the brain and make it even harder to focus. Hot chocolate still has a bit of caffeine to perk you up without the over kill. And as the days are getting colder, it is great to keep you toasty too!

3. Vegetable Soup

I am one of those odd people who tend to gravitate towards a carrot over a cupcake when I am stressed. Not that I just eat perfect all the time (trust me, I don’t!) It is more that when I am stressed, sweets and junk food tend to make me feel worse than feel better. Vegetables are rock starts when it comes to helping you study. All those vitamins and minerals keep you on your A-game and working for hours. As I said before, hot also tends to help me focus. So, soups are always a go-to!

4. Greek Yogurt with Granola

Sometimes, you just need a little crunch. Get that and a whole bunch more (nutrient-wise) with Greek yogurt and a spoonful of granola. The protein in the yogurt and fiber in the granola will help you concentrate. I also add a spoonful of chia seeds for the omega-3, to help with memory.

5. Water

Don’t deprive that ingenious cranium of life’s most basic necessity! Being dehydrated can immensely effect your concentration. Not to mention cause headaches and tire your eyes (how can you study your notes if you can’t see them!?) I always make sure to have a bottle of water next to me during any study session.

What are your favorite study snacks? Post them below!!

Also, check out my newly renovated nutrition blog, The Wholey Trinity. Be sure to like it on Facebook and follow me on Twitter!

Happy Studying!!


Alumni Posts

Study Habits

by Alumni Posts on November 6, 2014

in Academics

It’s hard to believe it’s November already!  Where did the time go?!

When classes are wrapping up, it only means one thing… things seem to be going by at lightening speed!  (At least, this is how the past few weeks have been for me.)  I linked to some study tips and apps for studying in an earlier post, but just as a refresher…Here are a few ways to get the most out of your study time:

Find a quiet place where you’re comfortable.

It sounds obvious, but when you find yourself cramming to get homework accomplished, the last thing you want is to be uncomfortable or distracted.  My favorite place to study is at my dining room, since I can spread out my books, notes, and laptop (and my parents and I usually eat dinner in the kitchen, so there’s no food stains on my homework!)

Take a break every 30 mins to 1 hour.

It may sound counter-productive, but you will feel refreshed afterwards.  I can’t tell you how often I find myself with writer’s block and the moment I go on a quick walk or take an hour for the gym, I can magically write again!  Find an activity that lets you relax a little.  When you come back to your homework you’ll be thinking better than ever.

Keep the big picture in mind.

Can you think of a time where you were doing homework or studying for a class and you thought, “I’ll NEVER need to use this in the real world!”  Well, whenever this thought comes to mind, look deeper!  There is always a way to connect what you learn in school to real world application.  I’ll give you an example: I’m a dietetics major, and taking Algebra wasn’t exactly the highlight of my college courses.  Whenever I got into a rut, I told myself math was important for me to calculate calorie, protein, and nutrient needs, and without it, I couldn’t do my job!  Similar with making or altering recipes, it all requires math!

A simple change in perspective can do wonders. Good luck on your studies, Griffins!




Study Buddy

by Fontbonne University November 6, 2014

 Finals are just around the corner and that means it is time to study study study! Studying and doing homework are what college students spend the majority of their time doing, so it is important to know the basic ins-and-outs of how to do it well. One strategy I would recommend doing, as my title […]

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Studying without the tears.

by Fontbonne University November 4, 2014

Studying can be an adventure, even though some people make it out to be the worst thing in the world. The main thing is knowing how you learn. The person sitting next to you can study a minimal amount and ace the test, but you could be studying for hours. This is the way humans […]

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Do I really study?

by Alumni Posts November 4, 2014

When I study, I try to make sure that it is not in my room. This way I won’t fall asleep or get distracted and play video games. So I got to the AMC or the library, depends on how loud it is at night. My study tips depend on my mood and the type […]

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Study Habits

by Alumni Posts October 4, 2012

Good day, Fontbonne! This week I wish to discuss how I study for exams. For me, the best way to study for an exam is paying attention in class. If you are unable to understand your teacher, then I would suggest dropping the class and getting into a new one. (There are some classes taught […]

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And If It Takes Forever, Forever It’ll Be

by Alumni Posts February 3, 2012

I hate to use a quote from a song as a blog title because that seems to encroach on the territory claimed by a fellow unmentioned blogger (cough…Carly), but I’m listening to a live album from Ok Go, and there’s this song called “Last Leaf” that is super cute, so I thought I’d pull that […]

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.