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Photo Friday: Master Your Midterm Stress

Library staff greet students in front of the library at Falvey's pop-up stressbusting event.

Photo courtesy of Shawn Proctor, Communication and Marketing Program Manager.


Falvey Library staff hosted a pop-up midterm stressbuster on Tuesday, Oct. 5. Students were treated to some fun snacks, feel-good music, and helpful Library essentials. Have a great fall break, Wildcats!


Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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Cat in the Stax: Answering All Your Study Questions

By Ethan Shea

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It might seem like the semester just began, but believe it or not, in just a couple weeks it will be time for midterm exams. Luckily, that also means Fall Break will be at our doorstep in no time.

I hope everyone’s had the chance to get into the rhythm of their new daily routines. If so, we can all take advantage of this relatively calm time of the semester and prepare for the trials to come. One habit that’s crucial to surviving midterms is a productive study routine. At least for me, when it comes to lining up my idiosyncratic study tendencies neatly in a row, I’m always left with questions and concerns.

In general, I can never decide how I want to study. Where should I be studying? Should I be listening to music? What time is best to study?

For this week’s “Cat in the Stax” I decided to answer these questions once and for all. I hope you’re able to use the answers I found to improve your academic experience here at Villanova. Enjoy!

Does listening to music help or hurt study sessions?

A study carried out by the University of Wollongong in Australia concluded that the answer to this question depends on the music you’re listening to. Because music tends to reduce stress, students will be more likely to buckle down and focus with greater intensity when aurally occupied. This revelation disproved the complex theory that classical music stimulates specific parts of the human brain that make studying more efficient. Contrarily, just about any instrumental music can help you study if it improves your mood. Songs with lyrics tend to make reading comprehension a bit more difficult, so if possible, stay away from vocal performances.

Where is the best place to study?

At the risk of sounding a bit biased, I’ll posit that all the best places to study are located right here in Falvey Library, but I’m not just saying that because this is a Falvey blog. In fact, I’ve got science to back me up. The ability to retain information and concentration levels are increased when studying in new locations. Being in the same place over and over again does not stimulate the brain to the greatest possible extent in the same way that focusing on one subject for too long can lead to burnout. Studying in an area with very few distractions and relative quietude is also important to learning efficiently. Stimulation overload prevents you from focusing intently on anything because your focus spreads too thin.

Thankfully, Falvey Library has plenty of quiet spaces, such as Third and Fourth Floor Stacks in addition to the Reading Room. There are also many different places to study in Falvey, so you can try a new one everyday without rendering your mind weary!

When is the best time to study?

Odd as it may seem, research has shown that studying when you’re tired is actually helpful. For example, if you study right before bed, your brain will essentially be reviewing the material in your sleep, causing the information to soak in a bit deeper. On the other hand, studying after a workout session has its benefits as well. Because of the increased flow of oxygen and blood that exercise causes, our brains get neurological boosts immediately after exercise. With that being said, feel free to take a jog over to Falvey Memorial Library when it’s time to hit the books!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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'Cat in the Stax: Curing the Midterm Blues

By Jenna Newman, Falvey Memorial Library’s Cat in the ‘Stax

 

Even writing this post, I’m still in denial that midterms are actually in full swing, which is probably a bad thing considering I have an exam in a couple of hours! It feels like we were just meeting professors for the first time and adjusting to taking some of, if not all, our classes online. But here we are—the leaves are changing color, the weather’s getting cooler, and—as much as we all just want to get outside and enjoy spooky season and all of the fun activities fall brings—midterms are upon us. 

Below I’ve shared my top three tips for staying sane during midterms, as well as some super helpful resources that will help you ace your exams, papers, and presentations.

#1 Balance is still important: It can be tempting to spend all of your time studying, but cramming is actually not the solution. You don’t need to cancel all of your plans and have no fun, but you do need to make a plan to study effectively. Spend a couple of hours each day studying for your exam and then take brain breaks doing things you enjoy—going for a walk, getting in some exercise, hanging out with friends, curling up under a blanket with a book, or binging your favorite show. Even short breaks to grab a snack or fill your coffee cup are good ways to rest your brain and reset before the next study session.

#2 You’re not going through this alone: As another famous Wildcat team once said, “We’re all in this together!” Right now everyone is dealing with midterms in some form or another, so don’t be afraid to reach out to other people because they get what you’re going through. There are lots of ways to band together amidst midterms, even with many of us being physically apart. Host a Zoom study session or study with your roommates in your dorm room or apartment. Even if you aren’t studying for the same exam or writing the same paper, being around other people being productive always helps me! A good phone call or vent session can also be beneficial, just make sure complaining isn’t taking up all your study time. 

#3 Eliminate distractions: Believe it or not, studying while watching Netflix is not the most effective way to get things done. As hard as it may be, it’s important to put aside all distractions in order to get focused study time. Thirty minutes of focused study time followed by a 15-minute break is just as, if not more, effective than half doing work while watching the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars for 45 minutes. Turn off notifications on your phone and laptop, and really focus. Personally, I’ll put my phone in a different room so that I’m not even tempted to grab it because “checking one text” can so easily turn into 30-minutes scrolling through content you’ve already seen on Instagram.

BONUS TIP: Take advantage of available resources! Below is a list of resources that Falvey has to offer, both during midterms and all semester long!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Contemplating taking my own tips and studying for my midterm exams.

 

 

 


 


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Last Modified: October 7, 2020