Study Area Ideas: Create Your Space!

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There’s a lot of freedom in being an adult learner.

When you enroll in online courses, you aren’t tied to a specific schedule. And you free yourself from the constraints of a physical classroom. But all this flexibility comes with a cost. With no campus, you must decide when and where to study. It’s up to you to find the perfect spot for learning, a place that’s ready when you are.

Choose Your Location

Some students try to study and do their homework anywhere they can – even in noisy, high-traffic areas with lots of distraction. Rather than sprinkle your study time all over the map, I recommend you choose a single, specific location. Create your space for learning.

Coffee shops are great, if you can handle the background noise. But you can’t decorate your local Starbucks, and the cost of daily lattes does add up. A library can provide an ideal environment, but, again, you can’t personalize it, and some libraries have odd hours, so they might not match your schedule.

You may find that you need your own space, even if it’s only one small room. Many students have found that having a room of their own is the best solution. For example, the blog An Inviting Home recently featured some ideas for creating a homework area for children. If we can do this for kids, why not create something similar for ourselves?

Unless you live alone, you’ll have to take your family or roommates into consideration. What are their schedules like? How loud are they? Do you have small children who will vie for your attention?

Take some time to get together with everyone who lives under your roof, and designate one room or area as yours for studying. Make sure everyone understands when you’ll be working there, what you’re doing, and why this distinction is so important.

Organize Your Space

Once you’ve claimed your study area, take some time to set it up. Make sure there’s plenty of room for your computer, textbooks, and all the paperwork that will accumulate. You should invest in a filing system to keep yourself organized. And you might like to hang up a poster with an inspirational quote that will keep you motivated.

Of course, you want to be comfortable while you’re working, right? One of the most important things to remember is ergonomics. Blogger Kelly Clay has some great recommendations for bringing ergonomics to your home office. She advises you to have a friend or family member check your sitting posture and give you feedback.

“You may not be able to tell if your thighs are parallel to the floor or if you’re hunched forward in your office chair. If your seating area is squished, consider removing the drawer separating your seating area from the desktop . . . Adding a footrest, should your feet dangle, will also help reduce pain.”

Congratulations! You’ve got your very own study hall. Now you’re ready to bring school to you. How did you set up your perfect space? Take a picture and share it on our Facebook page.

Written by: Michael Mussman
Michael Mussman is Editor of Forward Thinking, the Ashford University blog.

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