When you’re an adult student, it’s safe to say you’re living life on the go. Whether you’re finishing your bachelor’s or pursuing a graduate degree, it’s likely just one of the many facets of your busy life. And that’s the beauty of a degree from SNU — you can fit it in, on a schedule that works for you.
Especially as the workforce becomes increasingly remote, this means it’s often up to you where (and even when) you do your job and your coursework. This flexibility is a gamechanger, but are you taking full advantage of it? Are you being intentional about the spaces you work in, or letting your schedule decide for you?
There’s definitely a time and place for squeezing in a little studying at the airport before you board or in the daycare parking lot before your kids are ready. But if you can, thoughtfully choosing environments that foster focus and comfort can make a world of difference.
For those times when your schedule allows it, we made a list of places and spaces to consider when you need a productive study session.
This one feels obvious, but it’s easy to forget the beauty of studying in a coffee shop. Especially for extraverts who are energized by other people, this can be the ideal space to lock in with some caffeine and your laptop — without having to feel isolated or removed. You're usually surrounded by other folks who are doing the exact same thing — and the in-and-out dance of people going about their day. It’s totally okay if you’re not the type of person who can hole up alone and be at your best. If you need stimulus, lean into that. Plus, the constant source of nearby coffee never hurts
For a calmer but motivating environment nonetheless, the library is a tried-and-true option for adult students. There’s something about being in a space that was especially designed for exactly what you’re doing — studying, reading, learning and growing. Plus, if you’re at SNU’s R.T. Williams Library, there’s a wide variety of learning environments and collections to aid your studies. Our library staff work diligently to ensure their work integrates within academic disciplines, offering information literacy support and research consultations. If you need quiet and zero distractions to do your best work, the library is an option you can count on.
The Great Outdoors
Weather permitting, getting outside while you study can do wonders for your mood and your focus. Your local park — or SNU’s campus if you’re nearby in Oklahoma — are the perfect locations to find a picnic table or a shady patch of grass and settle into your assignments with some fresh air. You probably won’t have wifi, but you can use your phone to set up a hotspot or unplug with your notes and textbooks for even less distraction. Our jobs and daily routines often keep us indoors, so take advantage of your studies as a chance to mix it up and get your fill of nature for the week.
Yes, even the gym can be a trusty study spot to add to your rotation. Most gyms have free wifi and a sitting area (and even coffee!) where you can knock out some study time before or after a workout. If you workout after you study, you can use that as an incentive — soon you’ll be free to move around, get a brain-break and shake out the stress. Or you might prefer studying after you workout — when your mind is cleared and your body is relaxed. Studying at the gym can be a helpful hack for folks with a commute — you can knock out two important rituals while you wait for rush hour to die down. Plus, you won’t regret staying committed to physical activity, even when you’re super busy. It may feel like it’s taking time away from other things — but in reality, it’s helping you thrive in all areas of your life.
A Friend’s House
Heading to a good friend’s house to study is a great way to maintain your social life even when you’re busy. Call up a close friend who’s also in school or working on a big project. You can eat together and then get to work — all in the comfort of their home. It’s just as important for your study environment to foster comfort as it does productivity. When the days are long and there’s much to do, it’s crucial to lean on your community even still, rather than becoming isolated. You’ll be amazed how encouraging it is to have a buddy (quietly) cheering you on as you work to reach your goals. Pro tip: decide ahead of time exactly how much work to finish by the time you leave, and enlist your friend to hold you accountable!
Need to squeeze in dinner while you study? As long as you’re purchasing food and drinks, plenty of restaurants have free wifi and a good atmosphere for studying while you eat. This is a great option if you’re traveling or simply need to get out of the house. And it never hurts to invite a friend who also needs to work on something. Get there a little early, settle in, enjoy the food break and maybe order a coffee if you need it. Having nearby sustenance while you study is a game changer as you burn those mental calories!
At Home (but not just anywhere)
Last but not least, the option to study at home is a huge perk and maybe even your default location. While it’s a great benefit and super convenient, it’s important to still be thoughtful about the space you use to study at home. It may be tempting to study on the couch in front of your TV or maybe even in bed after a long day — but neither may be what’s best for you. Your couch might be too comfortable, and distracting if you have a TV nearby. Studying in bed can make it hard to feel asleep when the time comes by associating the environment with stimulating activity instead of relaxation.
If you can, create a space at home that’s specifically for studying, or at least use a space that’s quiet and away from your bedroom. If you have a family or roommates, let them know your plans so they can support you by being quiet and keeping the space tidy. It may feel over-the-top, but you’ll see just how helpful it is to have structure. Then, when you’re done, you can close your computer and walk away — giving your mind a sense of closure so you can be present at home afterwards.
Setting you up for success
With the flexibility SNU offers, fitting a degree program in your life has never been easier. There will always be reasons to keep putting it off. But with built-in support and a determined focus to reach your goals, you have what it takes. When it comes to balancing a busy life, you don’t have to compromise. Choose a university that enables you to live life more fully with a degree program you can manage.