The best thing about class schedules in university is that you get to pick and choose between different class times to create your dream schedule. But planning the perfect schedule often requires trade-offs, like hanging around campus for a few hours’ in-between classes. I’ve had breaks as short as 1 hour, to my longest one yet at 5 hours. The longer breaks usually inspire me to make the most of my time by getting some work done, but ask any student and they’ll tell you that hitting the books during what could be an extra long lunch or afternoon Netflix binge is not our first choice. But all it takes is a little planning to help you make the most of your break. Here are some of my tips to help you have your most productive break yet!
Leave the Tech at Home
If you’re like me and have an attention span of 5 seconds, this is a big one. It’s taken me 3 years to finally accept that I have zero self-control when it comes to taking a ‘quick’ break to scroll through Instagram or browse the Internet, so leaving my laptop behind and writing notes by hand is the best option for me. As much as it might pain you to leave your fun tech behind, you’ll be thankful when you finally tackle those readings. That episode of your favourite TV show will be waiting for you when you get home, and you’ll enjoy it much more when you don’t have schoolwork looming over you.
Use an App/Website Blocker
Tip#1 isn’t an option for everyone, so if you do need your laptop to work, consider using a website or app blocker. These programs let you block your chosen websites and apps for a specified timeframe to help you avoid distractions. Plus, most programs make it extremely difficult to uninstall the program while it’s running, so it won’t be easy to give in! They’re usually free programs, but you can often pay for additional features to create the ultimate distraction-free study space.
Buy Your Supplies (aka Food) Beforehand
When you get into university, you’ll find that food becomes one of your most important study supplies. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I’ve ignored my breakfast-deprived stomach, and ran from my first class to my study spot to get to work. It turns out parents aren’t wrong when they tell you how important it is to eat well so you can focus. Even if you’re not hungry right away, drop by one of the many food spots on campus to pick up a snack for later. That way you won’t have to break your study flow later to find food. Also, it’s incredibly awkward to have your stomach growl while in a completely silent study room.
Choose a Smart Study Spot
Everyone has a different studying style and preferred work environment. Some people need to be surrounded by noise, but for others like myself, that’s a nightmare. Figuring out which environment is for you can make a huge difference. Luckily, Ryerson has study spots that match pretty much every preference! My go-to is the Student Learning Centre (SLC), because each floor has its own unique theme and vibe. If you need some help figuring this out, take our Buzzfeed quiz to see which SLC floor is the one for you. I just took it and confirmed that Floor 7 – The Forest, where I’m sitting as I type this, is the one for me. It’s pretty accurate.
Accept What You Did (and Didn’t) Finish
There will be days when those 3 chapters you have to study for finance take longer than you planned. Sometimes your friends will want to grab lunch or you’ll fall asleep on your pile of textbooks because of that all-nighter you pulled. You may have a game plan for what you want to finish, but sometimes it’s not always going to work out. Everyone needs breaks, especially after a hectic week of projects and tests, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t do everything this week. Make up for the time you missed by being prepared and ready to go next time!