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‘Cat in the Stax: Get Organized, Crush Finals

Thanksgiving may be a little more stressful this year given that finals are upon us, but like I’ve said before, balance is important, especially during finals season. Today, I want to break down a couple of different ways to structure your to-do lists and study times. Everyone studies differently, and it’s important to find the way that works best for you. This list is definitely not all-encompassing, but if you’re looking for a new study plan, this might be a good place to start looking for inspiration.

Keep your to-do list to no more than 10 things. Or five things, or three things, or whatever works best for you. When I have a list of everything that I need to accomplish and it’s over 10 items, I find myself getting overwhelmed. That’s why I keep a list of the 10 most important things that need to be done and that’s my to-do list that I tackle for the day. I have a master list of to-dos somewhere separate and then when I do my prep-work for the day, I pull that out to pick out the top 10. 

Put self-care items on your to-do list. Every day I add items like free-reading for 30 minutes, workout, and do my daily devotion to my to-do list. That helps me make self-care a priority and forces me to take a break from homework each day, while still feeling like I’m accomplishing something by crossing an item off of my to-do list. That being said, make sure everything on your to-do list isn’t self-care related because unfortunately your assignments and exams won’t complete themselves. Find the right balance for you. 

Prioritize your top three to-do items. At the top of your to-do list write down three nonnegotiables: three things that absolutely need to get done before you go to sleep at the end of the day. This helps prioritize what is the most important and helps you not procrastinate by doing other tasks, but not the paper that’s due at 11:59 p.m. When at the end of the day you’ve crossed off those three things, you know you’ve accomplished a lot and made good progress to your overall goals. 

Grow a tree to stay focused. If you haven’t heard of the app Flora before, it may be something worth checking out. Flora is a study app where you grow trees and other plants if you stay focused for a certain amount of time. If you stay focused for a certain amount of hours, or want to pay for an in-app purchase, a real tree will be planted because of your study time. If you pick up your phone and exit the app during your study time, the tree will die. This app only really works if the thought of killing even a hypothetical tree makes you upset, but I have found it to be helpful. You can also set up group focus times with your friends through the app.

Change up the scenery. I know changing the scenery can be hard when everyone is pretty much just stuck inside their houses all day everyday. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and find different places to get work. Sort out your tasks based on things that you need to do sitting at your desk versus things that can be done curled up on the couch. Then, when you feel yourself starting to become unproductive, change scenery and try working someplace else. Sitting in a different place or having more natural light might be all you need to be productive.

Rotate tasks you’re working on. As much as I wish I had the focus to sit down and study for five hours for one exam, that’s just not the case. When my brain is scattered and cannot focus on one task for very long, I set a 20-minute timer and then just rotate down my to-do list. If I haven’t finished my top three to-dos for the day yet, I’ll rotate between the three of those things for 20 minutes each until I get one done. Usually, I’ll throw in five-minute breaks either between 20-minute sessions or when I finish a task as an added bonus. It helps me make progress on lots of my to-dos and cuts down the time I’ll need to spend on them when I go to finish them up later. 

Most importantly, listen to yourself and do what works best for you in the moment. I’ve used all of these different study tactics and organization methods depending on the semester, month, week or even hour! Just because something doesn’t work for you at one time, doesn’t mean it’s something that will never work. Be patient with yourself and find a routine that helps you crush your study goals!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Checking writing this post off my to-do list.

 

 

 

 


 


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#TBT: Falvey During Finals

two pages from 1991 Belle Air yearbook, article entitled "All You Need Are Pillows"

With Reading Day right around the corner and classes coming to a close, let’s throw it back to the 1991 Belle Air and Falvey during finals. Author of this article and alumna, Rachel White, writes about how around finals time the library is filled with “thousands of last minute crammers and a number of truly studious people.” Maybe you recognize yourself in one of these two groups. And although in an ideal world the library is the perfect quiet place to study, between the thousands of books and hundreds of people around you, it can be fairly easy to get distracted. 

Falvey offers a productive space to study if you’re in the right mindset. Which is unfortunately the case for studying pretty much anywhere. If you want more study or presentation tips, check out some of my recent ‘Cat in the Stax! 

Although studying in the library looks a little different 29 years later, there are individual study seats in the Dugan Polk Family Reading room and on all floors of Old Falvey. Come in with a focused mind-set and you can still find a productive place to study at Falvey.


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: In the mind-set for a nap.

 

 

 

 


 


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‘Cat in the Stax: Study Spots without Coffee Shops

The thought of starting a new semester without the option to camp out at your favorite coffee shop can be daunting (it is for me!), but here are four ways to make any space feel like perfect study space.

Tip #1: Set the mood with good music. I have a wide variety of music I listen to when I study depending on my mood – anything from The Little Women movie soundtrack to some throwback Fall Out Boy. But laid back folk music is what really gives me those small business, coffee shop vibes. Some go-to artists are Lord Huron and Mumford and Sons, but sometimes I need to listen to more obscure artists to ensure I’m studying and not just singing along. Accidentally writing your favorite lyrics into a research paper is not the move. If you’re looking for a good playlist you can check out my Coffee Shop Spotify playlist here.

Tip #2: Bring your coffee or drink of choice with you wherever you go. Make it at home in a travel mug or pick something up on campus before you settle in for the day. Refills can sometimes be tricky, but if you’re studying at Falvey, just swing by Holy Grounds. 

Tip #3 Sit at the right angle. So this one may seem a little odd, but trust me on this. Sometimes I work better when I can see other people around me also working. If I think they’re being productive then that’s more motivation for me to be productive as well. On the other hand, other times, I get completely distracted by everything and facing a wall or away from people is the only thing that will actually keep me focused. Don’t be afraid to change it up mid study-session – do what works best for you!

Tip #4 Scope out your spot ahead of time and have some back-ups. It can be hard to find a spot that fits all of your study needs, but with a little research ahead of time you can know exactly where to go. I also always recommend having a back-up spot, especially during busier points in the semester when everyone’s trying to get out of their dorm to study. Here’s a list of some places open for studying in Falvey that have the potential to be your new favorite spot:

  • Speakers’ Corner (1st Floor)
  • Old Falvey Classrooms
  • The Reading Room
  • Viewing Room 3 (Ground Floor)

The best part is that all of these Falvey locations are just a short walk away from Holy Grounds, so your coffee fix is just around the corner.

Do you have any COVID-friendly study spots we missed? Let us know in the comments!


Jenna Newman is a graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library and a graduate student in the Communication Department. Current mood: Craving a hazelnut, oat milk latte from Holy Grounds.

 

 


 


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Poll: Silence or White Noise in the Reading Room?

white noise machineStudies have shown that “sound masking,” or introducing white noise, into completely silent library spaces can help students study or read with less distractions.

Students who need to talk quietly can do so without feeling self-conscious. Nose-in-the-book readers won’t hear every pencil drop either. It’s a win-win, especially with final exams looming.

To help our students, Falvey Memorial Library has introduced white noise machines in the Dugan Polk Reading Room on a trial basis, and the staff welcome your feedback.

So, let us know…to quote Depeche Mode, do you “Enjoy the Silence?”

Comment at the bottom of this post, chat us up on social (Twitter and Instagram), or leave a note in the comment box!


Shawn Proctor Head shot

Shawn Proctor is Communication and Marketing Manager at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Do you know these library study spots?

 

I’m Daniella Snyder, a second-year graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics– from research to study habits and everything in between– and how the Falvey Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!

Hey, Wildcats!

I constantly hear from students that it’s hard to find a study spot in the library, especially during stressful times like midterms and finals. So I sent one of our undergraduate student workers, Liam Brassington ’23 VSB, on a mission to find some lesser-known study spots all around Falvey. Use this list as your guide for the final few weeks of the semester!

Falvey Basement:

studying in falvey basement

studyign in Falvey's basement

 

All of these spots are down by the Idea Lab. It’s a pretty quiet hallway with little foot traffic, and the perfect set up for long-term studying.

 

Falvey West Stacks:

Studying in Falvey's West Stacks.

I know the Falvey West Stacks can be a little scary sometimes, but if you want the most isolated and quiet spot in Falvey, this spot is for you.

 

Old Falvey Basement:

Studying in Old Falvey

Look at all of these! comfy! seats!

 

Main Floor:

Studying in the Griffin Room

Whenever there isn’t a class in the Griffin Room, it’s open for studying. Use it!

 

3rd Floor, Old Falvey:

Reading in Falvey 301

Reading in Falvey 301

The third floor of Old Falvey houses the the Graduate Student Lounge, but there are a ton of additional quiet study spots in the hallway.

 


DDaniella Snyder Headshotaniella Snyder, Graduate Assistant in the Communication and Marketing Department, loves to study in Holy Grounds.  


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#TBT: Quiet Study in the Stacks

1968, 1968 dedication book, dedication book, upper floor

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY

With this week’s #TBT picture we are taking it all the way back to the ’60s, when two students took advantage of the quiet atmosphere on Falvey Library’s third floor. Many students have studied in that same spot in the stacks over the years, especially when they have a paper due or finals looming!

This picture was included in the program for Falvey Memorial Library’s dedication ceremony, which took place on Saturday, Nov. 16, 1968. You can view the program in Falvey’s very own Digital Library.


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Last Modified: May 30, 2019