Rethinking study habits


Story by Zack Katz, Staff Writer

After finally falling back into the swing of things this semester, I couldn’t help but notice how much more time I spend online. Obviously, I’m not always studying. No matter what work I’m sitting down with, I find myself gravitating away to sites such as Facebook and Reddit. I have to ask myself: am I being counterproductive, or just keeping my sanity?

I can’t help but think that I’m doing myself a service when I get distracted. We all need ways to liven up our study habits, and I think it’s a question of loosening up on our routine.

With a major that requires a lot of writing, interruptions just seem to help me keep my thoughts clear, whether it be a conversation or staying up due to  YouTube’s finest.

We shouldn’t shut out the idea of getting off track when studying; I might venture far enough to say it’s strategic. Though you might spend a little more time with the books than you had originally intended, my money is on an approach that keeps me engaged. As counterproductive as losing focus compared to staying focused might sound, I can vouch for the therapeutic benefits.

Maybe our friends who shut off their Internet or block websites they frequent don’t consider that physics problem they can’t work through might just need a second look.

In my mind, browsing the web for a few minutes is the same as getting up to stretch or taking a power nap. If we take a step back and let our mind wander, we’re attacking the problem from multiple perspectives.

Of course, the need for stress relief in the heat of the semester goes without saying. Consider what you’re studying, how it gets through to your nerves and what it takes to shake it off. If I’m going down to the library in preparation for a test I have the following week, I’ll subconsciously allocate a fourth or fifth of my time to messing around online. Working hard is one half of the battle, staying collected is the other.

Is this, then, just a way for us to justify procrastination? When arguing for these types of study habits, I think we have to consider what we’re actually getting out of putting the work down periodically. Maybe we’re catching up with a friend, or reading a review on a great new album. Staying on task is important, but allocating time to stay in touch with our lives outside of school is just as valuable.

Many would argue staring at the front page of Reddit or your news feed is an addictive waste of time. Work, for me at least, is something that should be done in moderation.

While we can’t waste a whole night at the library, I say taking breaks is the same as pressing your mind’s reset button.  If you’ve been at it for hours and have countless left to go, take that breath of fresh air — your head will thank you.