Mini fridge, disco lights, dancing girls, chippendales, crash sofa and TV remote...some items that might just be on an initial wish-list for your study area, but these items should NOT top the list of things to consider when thinking about creating the perfect Postgraduate studying environment for success - nice though they may be!
Considering how to establish the best postgraduate study space is a small but crucial act that every student should consider carefully. A well designed organised environment can greatly improve the quality and output of time spent studying, and can help to avoid personal injury, repetitive strain issues and ineffective use of time, encouraging every learner towards the most successful outcomes.
Identifying the best location within your environment should be the first step. The kitchen table might provide a good flat work surface, but if it has to be cleared every mealtime to accommodate others then perhaps a better location can be found. A big flat surface should be the starting point for any design, and this should be large enough, if possible, to accommodate a range of books, laptop, notes and other necessary items. If a suitable surface cannot be a dedicated space for study, consider where your materials will be stored when not in use. A hall cupboard or other unused space may be available, and stacking boxes can be quickly filled with your materials.
Once the best location has been found, another important consideration should be light sources and quality. If your desk is positioned under a window, you will benefit from natural daylight, but this can be troublesome on bright days when the sun can make reading from screens challenging. It may be worth considering a window filter film, blind or curtain. Provision should also be made for nocturnal studying, with a good directional light. This will help to protect your eyes from becoming over-strained.
Wherever you are seated, it is worth finding or investing in a suitable chair, of the correct height (preferably adjustable) which will allow you to remain in a good posture and minimise strain. Foot, wrist and spine position are all important too.
Personalising the study space is helpful, as it is much nicer to spend time studying surrounded by familiar objects that you are fond of. All of your senses need to be calm, and environmental noise, scent and colour are important. If you study well with background music, spend some time creating a playlist to work to. Scented candles may help instil a sense of calm.
Organising your equipment is key to minimising the time it takes to become organised and start studying. Simple files can be created from cardboard packaging and covered in attractive fabrics or papers, and tins are easily up-cycled into pen pots - just a couple of quick cheap suggestions to brighten, add colour and personalise your space at minimal cost.
Invest the time now in creating the perfect study space, then sit back and reap the rewards in the studying sessions still to come!
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