The exam term library survival guide

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It’s easy to tell when you’ve been in the library too long.

For a start, you’ve developed all these little ‘library tricks’, such as hiding your books, and forgetting where you’ve put them the next day, and having the same seat every day, which you guard with your life (and highlighters). You honestly do think purchasing new stationary is a form of revision, and at least an hour of every day is spent lining up your new stationary in different colour order.

You’ve started to see yourself as some kind of library survival hero, like the Bear Grylls of the second floor… Your bag is filled with emergency essentials: knives and forks, mini packs of salt and pepper, make-up, chargers, hairspray, maybe even a compass. And you’re a bit of a recycling hero these days. Who knew old Copella bottles could have some many uses?

But of course you’re actually really bored. Which is why you’re endlessly taking Instagrams of very mundane things, like your plastic-flavoured salad, or your friends working.

The only amusement of the day is the sadistic pleasure you glean from watching other students do the ‘walk of shame’ trying to find a seat around the library. You enjoy watching their faces: 70% nonchalance, 10% furrowed brow and 20% total humiliation. And you secretly wish you could get a degree in Buzzfeed. You’d surely get a first then…

But how to get around these problems? It’s very basic but ‘rewarding techniques’ really do work – make a timetable you can cross off or a nice to-do list. The bigger the tick, the bigger the sense of achievement I say.

I met someone last week who wear a suits to the library, because it helps him focus. If this isn’t your style, my friends all value good music when it comes to focusing – for me, this means classical music for past papers, R’N B for gentle revision.

Healthy food is key, too; stay away from the Haribo, buy a bag of almonds from Co-Op and (if you can handle it) a carrot and orange juice from Sainsburys. Steer clear of the library coffee too: the stuff is 90% sugar, 10% machine, and it will put you to sleep within the hour.

And most importantly, don’t try to kid yourself that watching stuff on YouTube whilst revising is, in fact, revising. In fact, use apps like Self Control for logging yourself out of Facebook, Twitter and other social distractions (and don’t, like me, figure out how to get around them). And if you can’t resist social media, get your friends to confiscate all your technology – it’s a lot easier to focus with just a pen and paper to hand.

But sometimes, with revision, you have to accept your lot: if it’s not going in, it’s time for you to get out. Go for a run, get a drink, go flirt with the old lady at the library café, just anything but sitting at your screen and daydreaming…

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