I’ve recently run into problems while studying with my friends. Every time we sit down to work we can’t help but talk for a majority of the time. I don’t want to stop hanging out with my friends, but I need to find a way to finish all my homework.
One of the best characteristics of Hillsdale students is their affinity for great conversations, but that also happens to be one of their most irritating traits. My favorite memories on campus have come from long, thoughtful discussions with friends; however, when there is a pile of theology reading in front of you, long discussions tend to lose their charm. Luckily, you do not have to drop your friends to get your work done.
The first step to a productive study session is having set times allotted for only studying. Call it “quiet time” or whatever you prefer, but make any talking off limits. Pick a fair amount of time, 25 minutes for example, and then a five-minute break to follow. Repeat this cycle four times and then take a longer hiatus. Even though you are taking breaks, this technique, called the Pomodoro technique, increases overall productivity and quality of work.
To supplement your studying with friends you should work by yourself sometimes. It isn’t always as fun, but chugging through assignments on your own is often crucial during those really busy weeks. This solo studying also gives you an opportunity to get work out of the way that you can’t get done with friends around. For me, I find working on calculus problems much easier than attempting to write a coherent paper with my friends around. Even if everyone is quiet, trying to read around others is too distracting and you will need complete solitude.
This being said, don’t discredit the power of a good Hillsdalian debate. The best way to understand a topic is to discuss it, and what better people to discuss with than the nerds you take classes with. If you have writer’s block or just can’t grasp what a professor was getting at in class, discourse can iron out wrinkles and give you a new perspective that otherwise you would not have considered.
Studying with others is far more rewarding than just shutting yourself away in your dorm, but understandably, it isn’t always the most productive. Hopefully these tips can aid you in keeping your grades up while still maintaining friendships.