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How To Stay Focused

The second list in a four-part series by a semi-knowledgeable sophomore about how to get out of that First-Year Fall Funk

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Now that you're organized, let's talk about getting focused. You know what you need to do, but maybe you're getting distracted by Netflix of Youtube or Snapchat. Been there, done that. Let's go.

1. Study Outside Your Room

I find the one place I can’t be productive is my room. I get distracted by books, the prospect of taking a nap, and just watching Netflix because no one is there is judge me. So I head over to a library when I need to seriously focus and get work done. My favorite libraries on campus are LeFrak, Avery, and Butler. I love LeFrak because honestly I just think the Barnard librarians are the coolest people on campus. Avery is nice because of the bright sunny windows and Butler is handy because it’s open 24/7.

Also, take advantage of all the great work spaces around New York City! The New York Public Library has locations all over Manhattan and, as college students in the city, you can get a library card even if you’re not a New York state resident! Another great option is a cozy coffee shop to work in or a nice little cafe.

2. Get Off Your Electronics

I use apps like Forest and Self Control to help me stay off my electronics. With Forest, you set an amount of time you’d like to stay off your phone. On the app, a tree grows during that time. If you exit the app before the time is up, the tree dies. You’ll be able to grow a forest with all of your trees and see how much time you’ve been focused! Self Control is for your laptop. You enter in websites you shouldn’t be on, like Facebook or Netflix, and set the app to run for a certain amount of time. While the app is running, you will not be able to get onto the blocked websites at all.

If you’re doing work that doesn’t require a computer, consider leaving your computer in your room and going to work somewhere else. If the distraction isn’t there, you won’t be tempted.

3. Study Alone

Friends are great. But sometimes you need to focus and you don’t want to be interrupted. My friends and I always end up making each other laugh when we study together and don’t actually get any of our work done. Consider working alone without any friends nearby. You can always make plans to meet up for dinner or a walk in the park after finishing your studies.

In some subjects, however, it might be helpful to have a study group. In math and science, for example, it can be beneficial to have a group so y'all can work out concepts together. It's really up to you and your preferences. You do you.

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