Where you learn, really can affect how you learn. You’ll have time to learn independently, outside of your teaching time and it’s really important to choose places where you are most motivated and where you feel the most pleasure.
At university, you will find yourself learning in many different spaces, this could be because of your timetable or it could be because you want to grab a coffee and study with your friends.
Embrace flexibility too, try out new areas and locations - you might discover somewhere that really suits your learning, that you might not have previously thought of.
You’ll soon discover where you focus best, and where makes you feel the most energised.
Shannon (Second Year Sports Therapy) “There are so many places to study around the uni campus! You can study on one of the many levels of the library: some floors are silent, some for quiet study, a level full of computers and laptops to loan and a floor for group study. Situated across campus are modern social spaces with tables, bean bags and plug sockets.”
Our five senses come alive in different spaces, and thinking about how you can appeal to all your senses, might be a good place to start when you are choosing your environment to do your independent learning in.
What do you enjoy looking at?
For example, it could be that nature is calming and motivating to you, in that case, find a space where you can look outside, or bring the outside in, with a house plant or a photo of your favourite places to visit. That way, in between your study, you can look up and see something which makes you feel good.
What do you enjoy listening to?
Think of ways that you can bring a sense of quiet and calm to the places that you study – you could listen to classical music (it has been proven to help with concentration, regardless of your personal music taste), or perhaps some rainforest noises – dulling out background noise without being a distraction. It could be that you enjoy listening to music while you work, if so, put together a playlist which will get you going and focus your mind.
What smells do you enjoy?
Perhaps a slightly unexpected question but thinking about what smells you can surround yourself with, can influence your learning too. Do you love the smell of fresh coffee? Is there a certain aroma that makes you feel particularly energised? Even in the smallest of spaces, you can influence the atmosphere with what smells you surround yourself with.
What tastes will keep you motivated?
Keeping hydrated and making sure you have enough fuel from food is important. Think about what you can bring with you to your physical space to ensure that you are all set up to be fuelled throughout your independent learning time slot.
Are you comfortable in the space?
You can think about your sense of touch in relation to your learning space too. Have you got a comfy chair? Are you wearing clothes that are comfy? Is your device positioned in a way that is easy to see and interact with? You can even get a bit more creative and try walking around as you study – for example listening to audio versions of your books, or listening to podcasts related to your subject.
Olivia (Final Year BSc Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation) “If you are living at home, I would suggest setting out an area in your house if you have space. Make the space your own by making sure that it is well lit, calm and comfortable. If you’ve just got your bedroom, make it a place where you can relax and take some time out, as well as somewhere where you can be productive if necessary.”
As well as considering your learning space and preferences, it’s also just as important to think about time away from work and study. UCLan is a diverse and friendly community with a wide breadth of social and leisure activities to engage in. The Students’ Union, large number of clubs and societies and sports facilities provide countless opportunities for fun, interesting and relaxing pursuits, or you may prefer to step away from the campus and enjoy the wider area. What ever you choose to do, taking time off will mean you approach your academic life feeling fresh and rested.
Maria (First Year BA Journalism) “As well as working, you also need breaks! So, when you’re settling in, find a way that you can relax. Maybe that’s walking around park or maybe going on a trip with flat mates or course friends.”