Category: Tips & Resources

Mindful Eating

Part of mental health and well-being in college includes looking at mindful eating. Mindful eating is being aware of what you are consuming and being attentive during the act of eating. While this is easier said than done, one Netflix special may make it a little bit easier to process.

Cooked on Netflix is a short series looking at how food can shape our world. The narrator and host, Michael Pollan, is an acclaimed writer who is known for taking extra steps when doing his writing. In his series Cooked, he meets with masters of the field, to take a deeper look at the relationship cultivated between themselves and food. Between old-world cheese-making and the time and care put into making bread dough, it can be an inspiration to take a closer look at your food.

As a college student who puts effort into everything other than cooking and as a person who hates to cook – I found this series inspirational. Something I’ve always wanted to improve on was what foods I was consuming and how I was consuming them. Getting home in the evening after classes and work, sometimes I make the quickest thing, so I can just simply eat. I am not taking the time to make a meal out of what I am eating and just consuming it as quickly as possible instead. Watching Michael Pollan talk with people who were so passionate about the time and energy put towards what they were making, made me want to take a second look at how I eat.

If you’re interested, check out the trailer here or visit the resources below to find out more on mindful eating.

*Some other great sources that explain more about mindful eating can be found below!

  1. Mindful Self-Talk Leads to Mindful Eating
  2. UCookbook from CampusWell
  3. 8 Steps to Mindful Eating
  4. Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat

*Thank you to Meredith Raasio for contributing to this article and finding the above resources.

Let’s Talk About STI’s

September is National Sexual Health Month, so what is a better way to end the month than talking about STIs (or also known as STDs).

Practicing safe sex is essential to our physical and mental health, but what is “safe sex?” We hear this phrase a lot, and it simply means taking steps to protect yourself and your partners during sex. There are many options and methods to ensure healthy and safe experiences with sex. Whether this is through open communication with our partners, using contraceptives or other forms of protection, and regular STI testing. Today’s post is focusing on all the resources available to students and non-students here at Michigan Tech, along with the surrounding community as well. 

First, let’s cover exactly what STIs are. STIs are sexually transmitted infections that are passed from individuals through sexual contact. Sexually transmitted infections are a very common and important aspect of our sexual health. Many STIs can be treated, and some are even curable! However, if they are left untreated they can cause significant problems to our body’s health. This is why it is important for us to practice safe sex, not only for ourselves but for our partners as well. Therefore, it is important for us to be keeping track of our bodies and seeing medical professionals if or when we notice changes in our medical conditions.

So, what are the best ways we can prevent STI transmission when we are sexually active? This is where communication, use of barrier methods (external & internal condoms), and regular STI testing come into play. Communication is attractive, and so is practicing safe sex! Being open and honest with sexual partners can be the first step to safe sex (after consent). Discussing things like barriers and past testing can be great steps to practicing safe sex. Speaking of barriers, using things like condoms can do more than prevent pregnancy, they can also prevent STIs. However, this is ONLY the case for barrier contraceptives. Contraceptives such as the pill, patch, IUD, and a few other contraceptives work to solely prevent pregnancies and do not prevent STIs. Making sure we are informed on which contraceptives keep us protected from each circumstance is essential. Finally, getting tested frequently for STIs is the next step to taking care of your sexual health. By seeking out testing, you are ensuring healthy sex for you and your sexual partners.

But what if you don’t have access to barrier protection, or aren’t sure where to get tested? No problem! There are plenty of resources open to the Michigan Tech community from free condoms to accessible STI testing. 

In search of protection or resources? Check out these places below.

  • The Center for Student Mental Health and Well-Being carries free condoms that are available to everyone. Just head to the campus administration building on the 3rd floor.!m/368429?ct/39008,36886

  • The Center for Diversity and Inclusion also carries free condoms that are available to everyone. 
  • If none of these options work out, try out the local Walmart, Walgreens, or any other drugstores you may be located by. Drugstores often carry a plethora of sizes to surely fit anyone’s needs or preferences.

In search of STI Testing? Check out these places below.

  • Western Upper Peninsula Health Department offers testing for all major STIs. Fees are offered on a sliding scale based on an individual’s income. Students receive a reduced or waived fee. (Yes, free testing is an option!) Located at 540 Depot St, Hancock, MI 49930.
  • Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center provides STD screenings and HPV vaccinations. Call ahead for a face-to-face appointment. Located in the Student Development Complex.
  • Aspirus Houghton Clinic provides STD testing. Call ahead to schedule an appointment. Located next to the Houghton Walmart. 

In search of other resources? Check the ones listed below.

  • If you are looking for sexual health advice or information check out the Center for Student Mental Health website or walk down to the administration building on the 3rd floor for face-to-face help.

  • If you are looking for more medical information on sexual health talk to your primary physician!
  • If you are wanting to research more on this topic check out the CDC website for more information.

Happy National Sexual Health Month! Go get tested.

What is NAMI?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI for short is just that.

Providing support, education, signs/symptoms, and much more, NAMI focuses on providing support to those who are affected by mental illness.

Recently on our Instagram page, we put up some stories with questions from NAMI’s StigmaFree quiz. Our goal was to help engage our student population and get people thinking about what they can do to support their friends, family, and community members who are affected. NAMI is a great resource that we wanted to make available during this time, as it is Suicide Awareness Month. Educating ourselves and others and providing resources is a small step we can take to help build a StigmaFree environment on campus. Not only does NAMI offer a quiz to help individuals think about their actions, but they also have an online pledge that can be taken. This pledge allows you to help facilitate the change in which NAMI is hoping to achieve – ending stigma and creating positive environments for those affected by mental illness.

It is rare that any of us are perfect and will walk around without a bias on the occasion, but participating in the quiz and taking the pledge, can help us put a little more accountability on one another to work on creating safe and inviting environments around our campus. If you would like to learn more about who NAMI is and what they do, go to this link.

Surviving Life Off Campus

In our most recent Husky Hour on 11/18, we discussed the in’s and out’s of surviving life off campus. This is everything you need to know when you’re trying to find a place that best suits your needs. 

*All italicized words will have descriptions at the bottom of the post.


  • Figure out who you want to room with for the next year or six months.
    • But how do you find them?
      • Ask your friends, people within your associated student orgs, Greek life – someone or a group that you will feel comfortable with.
  • Meet with this group or person and discuss your needs
    • what do you want in a rental?
      • Make sure you’re all on the same page in terms of noise, payments, cleaning, etc.

Rental (wants/needs):

Here are the following aspects to keep in mind when looking for a rental, based on the needs/wants you have either discussed with roommates or if you are living on your own need//want out of a space.

  • While looking at all of these aspects, you will need to keep in mind the triangle of renting (cost, quality, location). The triangle of renting only allows you to pick two out of the three options available. To elaborate, if you are looking for something lower in cost you may have to look further away from campus or if you want to be near campus, you will need to sacrifice the quality of your living space. For example, you may only be a 10 minute walk from campus and be right downtown, but your bathroom ceiling might also leak every few weeks causing your apartment to flood. So, vice versa for the other options – if you’re looking for something nicer quality, you will either have to bite the bullet and pay more to be closer to campus or you will have to look further away like in Hancock or Chassell for a nicer quality place. However, if it’s over in Hancock or Chassell, it will most likely be lower in cost, so there’s a silver lining of wanting something nicer quality.
      • Type:
        • Apartment
        • Townhouse
        • House
        • Duplex
      • Location:
        • Near campus?
          • If you are closer to campus, you can walk there, but you will most likely be paying more.
        • Downtown?
        • Elsewhere in Houghton?
        • Hancock or further?
          • Do you and/or your roommates have a car? This would allow you to look further away from campus, but you do need to keep in mind that you will still be paying for gas roughly once a week or so. You will also have to purchase a parking pass for campus or will be paying the meters, as well.
      • Price:
        What can you and/or you and your roommates afford collectively? Consider that you may not just be paying rent but also:
        • Water
        • Electric
        • Heat
        • Internet

While some of these may be included in the rent, most of the time not all will be. Also, consider the following costs that you will all be responsible for either individually or collectively that will influence your decision:

        • TV/cable (which can usually be lumped in with the internet via Charter, but will still be more pricey).
        • Plowing
        • Lawn Care
        • Trash
          • Is there a dumpster, do you have to buy city bags, will you be responsible for taking it to the dump?
        • Maintenance

Lease Dates:

  • Almost all leases in this area will be for 1 year and can start anywhere from early May to late summer.
    • Think about the time frame you and/or your roommates will need to be moved in by.
  • Signed is usually completed by early November, but there will always be places available after this first deadline.
  • If subleasing, keep in mind the lease you will be taking on from the previous tenant and how long you will sign on to be there.
    • Are you taking on the rest of the year or are you taking on 2 months?

Where to look for rentals:

  • USG website
  • GSG website
  • Facebook marketplace
  • Houghton Off Campus Housing website
  • Craigslist
  • Class year Facebook group
  • Ask friends/ask around
    • Ex. I asked my friend the other night if he knew any graduate students going back home after this semester and he countered back and told me that he would have two rooms opening up in the spring for my roommate and I to move into.
  • Call landlords or property managers/look at their websites to see if they have anything available.
    • Ex. the Houghton Off Campus Housing website

When you Find a Potential Rental:
When you find a potential place or places, contact the landlord about doing a tour/walk-through of the property.

  • Keep in mind that with COVID-19, they may have more precautions or want to send pictures instead, be accommodating.
  • You can ask for a picture of the blueprints/floor plan, which will help you get an idea of the layout and what you’re in need of.
  • Ask all questions you have about the property, such as:
    • Laundry
      • shared, in unit, free or coin operated, not on site?
    • Furniture
      • Is the rental furnished at all, if so, with what?
    • Parking
      • How many parking spaces if any are there on site, is there a lot down the street?
    • Plowing
      • Again, make sure you have a clear idea about this, as we have snow 6 months out of the year.
    • Payments
      • Do you have to mail in a check, pay online? What day of the month is rent due by?

Keep the following things in mind when receiving a lease:

  • How to get a lease from landlord
    • Do you need to apply? How do you request/receive a lease?
  • Once receiving a lease, landlords should give you an appropriate amount of time to sign the lease, don’t feel pressured or obligated to sign something right away.
  • There will always be something else available, whether or not it is your first choice.
  • Ask questions if you have any.
  • Leases are legally binding documents, once you sign it, you are held to completing the terms.
  • Is it a joint or individual lease?
  • DON’T sign more than one lease, DON”T sign something you don’t understand, DON’T sign something you can’t afford.
  • Don’t be afraid to propose addendums if you feel comfortable.
    • Ex. If you agree with your landlord that you will take care of lawn care during the summer months instead of someone else in exchange for money off your rent, you could propose that would be in the addendum to make sure that you both are under legal obligation to uphold this.

Landlord/Tenant Etiquette:

  • Treat your lease like a business contract.
  • Don’t ask your current landlord about other landlords or properties that aren’t theirs.
    • Ex. you wouldn’t go to a Subway and try to order McDonald’s. Or you wouldn’t go to Rhythm and ask them to sell your old Walmart bike for you.
    • Either way, don’t put a landlord in a situation where they are selling someone else’s product.
  • Pay attention to emails/notifications from your landlord. These will include information you need to know, such as moving-in and moving-out, and other pertinent information such as plumbing issues or construction.


  • Triangle of Renting
    • The triangle of renting is composed of (cost, quality, and location) of your rental. It only allows you to pick two out of the three options available, depending on which aspects are most important to you in a living space.
  • Subleasing
    • Subleasing is when you are extending your lease out to a new person to take over already said lease. However, the original tenant on the lease will still be reliable for obligations within the initial lease signed.
  • Joint Lease
    • This is when all tenants sign the same lease, meaning that as a collective everyone is responsible for all rules, regulations, and payments agreed and signed on.
      • Used most commonly.
      • NOTE: If you need to break a lease for whatever reason and are in a joint lease, this means both you and your roommate(s) are ending the lease and can be liable for damages or may forfeit your deposit.
  • Individual Lease
    • This is when all tenants sign individual lease’s, for the same shared unit. However, the lease if for their bedroom OR their own personal share of the lease.
  • Addendum
    • Any additional material added to the lease that is not on the initial document.
    • Remember to communicate with a landlord if you would like to add an addendum.

Additional Resources:

Sample Lease

A Practical Guide for Tenants & Landlords

Helpful Apps for Students

Free Apps for Students to Download:

Here are some smartphone apps that will aid you in getting the most out of your college experience. 


  • Canvas:
    I myself did not realize there was a Canvas app until my 3rd year of college and let me tell you, this app is one of the only I have that sends me notifications. It is super helpful to see when announcements are made, be able to double-check assignments and due dates, and keep track of everything when you’re on the go and don’t have a computer open and on you.
  • Chipper:
    Not a fan of planners or want to save the trees one piece of paper at a time? Chipper is an electronic planner that you can sync up directly with your calendar to keep track of assignments, classes, work, and your personal life all in one place. While the initial start-up of the app takes a little bit of time to input all of your classes, work schedules, and such it is a life saver. Most of us have our phones connected to us 24/7 already, so why not make sure you’re staying up to date on everything going in your hectic schedule.
  • DuoMobile:
    This app helps a ton, as we have DuoSecurity integrated throughout all of our systems and applications for the university. With this app installed you will get the acceptance prompts right away to your phone, so you can then log in to whatever campus program needed, whether it be for the Michigan Tech app or for Canvas.
  • Google Applications:
    If you are a google person, these apps and others are great to have with you on the go. You can quick check-up on things like your email or a shared doc for a group assignment. While the apple calendar is good, we already have a Gmail for our school accounts, so why not just link everything together?
  • Michigan Tech App *only for Apple:
    With the new provisions enforced on campus this app is a game changer. Offering the MTU Flex Portal in their main drop-down menu, you no longer have to go click through a bunch of pages to find it. This app also includes your courses, any holds, your “Tech Express”, and all News sources based on campus. Having these things in one place, makes your day just a little bit easier.
  • Zoom:
    We all have become quite familiar with Zoom over the last few months of quarantine and school from home. One thing that has been helpful especially this semester, is downloading the zoom app for phones. When you are rushing between online classes at home and in-person class and only have a few minutes to spare, you can switch your online class over to your phone so you can still be present, but book-it to your class on campus.

Career/Job Search:

  • Career Fair Plus:
    This is what you need for fall and spring career fair. All of the companies coming in are located on this app, allowing you to book times with them (now with the new age of Zoom being our life), and get a feel for what they do and what they are looking for. When the career fair goes back to “in-person”, a map will be located on the app, to show where specifically you will find each company’s booth.
  • Handshake:
    This app is a lifesaver during Career Fair and can be used as a platform for finding jobs. Created by two MTU students, it can connect you to alumni, put you in contact with recruiters, and give you career options geared towards your degree and interests listed on your profile. So, not only is it great during Career Fair, but also at any other point in your life.
  • LinkedIn:
    This is a great resource for connecting with others in the job field. It will automatically refer you with others at the university and people who you might be interested in within your field. You can also access it online through a desktop version, but if you’re at career fair and want to connect with a recruiter or someone you meet right away, you can pull up the app and get it done then and there. 


  • DoorDash:
    The Houghton area now has DoorDash! Looking to order in one evening, so you don’t have to go out in the elements? You can now order from select restaurants around town, such as the Ambassador and Baby E’s BBQ.
  • JoyRun:
    Looking to grab some t-bell, but you don’t have a car? Request a runner who’s already out and about to go pick something up for you! JoyRun allows you to either request or pick up things for other users in the immediate area. If you’re stuck in quarantine and are running low on toothpaste and shampoo you can see if anyone on the app is heading to Walmart for their daily grocery haul and able to pick up a few things for you. Or if you’re out and about taking a cruise and want to make a few extra bucks, let others know you’re able to be a runner for them and be available to make some pit stops while you’re out and about.


  • #Mindful – Daily Motivation:
    While most meditation and mindfulness apps require you to pay for a subscription, I haven’t found this one to. It allows you to set up times during the day when you would like a motivational message and a reminder to check your breathing.
  • Health *only for Apple:
    I believe that this app is already installed on Apple products when you purchase them, but I personally didn’t realize the amount of resources it has. While you can track your steps or activity, there is also the ability to look at your sleep and mindfulness. Both are great resources at the touch of a button, that are free to use without any subscription or further download. 

Insights from Faculty and Staff

Director of Programming for the Roszā, Mary Jennings answered the following questions about self-care:

  • What do you like to do after a long day to relax?

Sleep! If it’s been a long day, I’m usually wiped out. The thought of adding anything to my to-do list, even in the name of self-care, is unappealing when I’m mentally or physically exhausted. On those days, the kindest thing I can do for myself is prioritize sleep.

  • Do you have any favorite books/podcasts/music that helps you get in the right headspace?

Listening to music, all kinds, is so cathartic. I’ve been listening to a lot of Lianne La Havas and Florence and the Machine lately. Before that I was listening to a lot of jazz. Spotify is a treasure trove and there is so much good music out there to discover. Mixing up what you listen to is a great way to shift into a new headspace.

  • How do you listen to your body? What signs tell you that it’s time to take a breather or let yourself recharge?

Start by feeling your breath – feeling it in your nose, in your chest, and in your ribs as you breathe in and out. Pause and concentrate on how it physically feels as you breathe. Then expand your awareness to notice whether you are clenching your jaw, or holding tension in your hands or neck or anywhere else in your body.

Listening to your body can also mean noticing your aches and pains, or paying attention to your emotions. For me, minor aches are usually reminders that I need to drink more water. Making sure your body is adequately hydrated is an often overlooked self care practice.

  • What do you like to do to recharge?

My first priority is making sure my most basic needs are met – nutritious food, enough water, enough sleep. If I’m still feeling a little drained or crispy I try to prioritize some alone time. This can look like taking yourself for a walk, reading a book, doing some yoga or simply laying on the floor staring out the window.

  • Do you have any advice for setting intentions or creating routines?

Start small and commit. The discipline of following through with your intention or goal can be uncomfortable, but also, know that you can do it. See setbacks as opportunities to resolve to keep at it, to try again next time. For instance, if your intention is to wake up 15 minutes earlier each day, but you happen to sleep in one morning, that’s okay. You can still wake up 15 minutes earlier tomorrow, you don’t have to throw out your goal because you didn’t make a permanent change immediately. Or maybe your intention is to be mindful of negative self-talk, or to gossip less. When you eventually get caught in a negative thought about yourself, or you notice that you are fixating on other people instead of yourself, don’t beat yourself up over the slip. Instead, can you acknowledge that your ability to be aware of the slip is a sign that you’re making progress? This can help you stay motivated and keep going.

  • Are there any spaces on campus that are nice and quiet, that allow for clearing one’s mind?

Yes, the Tech Trails! We are so lucky to have beautiful, spacious trails right here on campus. Being in nature is proven to reduce stress, and there are so many mental and physical health benefits to getting outside.

  • Do you have any advice for people who are new to yoga or mindfulness/meditation practices?

You’re off to a good start simply because you’re open to trying something new. When you’re just starting to meditate, do yoga or practice other forms of self care you might feel unsure if it’s “working.” Making time to tend to your physical and mental health is so important and patience is key when you’re first starting out. Be patient with your body by not stretching yourself too far too fast, and be patient with your mind if you find you’re constantly getting distracted or losing focus.

  • What do you wish you’d known or done in college that you know now? Or, what’s a piece of advice you have for your college-self?

It feels like you’re crazy busy (and you are) but this phase of life goes by so fast. Enjoy your friendships and make new ones frequently. Learn to be a beginner by trying new things often – you won’t be good at all of them and that is part of the fun (it’s also a really valuable lesson to learn – how to be okay with being bad at new things). Learn who you are, what you care about and what you value. This is a time to discover yourself.

Websites for Self-Help and Trainings

Knowing where to go for self-help, training, or tips, is something we believe is extremely important. Listed below, are a few resources to get you started that we really like and think will be most helpful for you. You can also reach out to any of our counselors in the office too, if you you would like to look further into any of these resources.

  • The website called “Seize the Awkward
    • If you click on the name, it should bring you straight to the link. The intention of the website is to learn about how to have those awkward conversations about mental health. It’s not easy or fun, but we do it, because we care about others and this will help teach you how to do so.
  • The website for the QPR Institute
    • If you click on the name, it should bring you straight to the link. This site is for training of QPR Gatekeepers. QPR stands for “question”, “persuade”, “answer”. It allows you to become a gatekeeper of suicide prevention. The school access code is: MTU
  • Our website is full of great resources, as well.
    • Here we have tabs pertaining to different resources you may be looking for, such as “Mental Health Resources” or “Well-Being”

The following is our office’s contact information:

Student Mental Health
3rd Floor Administration Building
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931

Ph: 906-487-2538
Fax: 906-487-3421

If it is an emergency, here are some following resources to contact:

Title IX Coordinator
Kirsti Arko, PhD
Location: Administration Building Room 306
Call: 906-487-3310
Website: Title IX Information

Dial Help, Inc.:
Call: 906-482-4357 or toll free 800-562-7622
Text: 906-356-3337
Instant Message: Dial Help

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Call: 1-800-273-8255
Instant Message: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter Home:
Call: 906-337-5623 or toll free 888-337-5623
Website: Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter

UP Health Systems-Portage
Emergency Department
500 Campus Drive
Hancock, MI 49930

Aspirus Keweenaw
Emergency Department
205 Osceola Street
Laurium, MI 49913

Self-Help & Motivational Books You Should Read

While it can be difficult to find time to read, especially during the school year, reading can give you a break from the daily routine of homework and classes. Here are a few great books for all types that are not only entertaining, but also helpful in terms of organization, relationships, school, and life.

Meditation and Mindfulness
Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus
The Secret Art of Being a Grown-Up
A Tribe Called Bliss
Work Rules
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
The Obstacle is the Way
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a #!$&
How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks

Making Friends in College

Making friends in college is daunting to say the least. As a freshman, I remember life in the dorms and being intimidated by all that was available. I was even nervous and confused on how to approach others in my hall. With the vast ability to do whatever and whenever and being a semi-shy individual at the time, it was hard to find what I wanted my niche to be or know who I even was. One part of me would like to think it’s easier to make friends now, but I think that I’m still in the same boat; I just know how to navigate the playing field a little better.

I advocate highly for creating a relationship with your roommate(s). I know that sometimes things don’t always work out, but they are the person that you will always see at the end of the day and be there when you wake up in the morning. You don’t have to try to be someone you’re not, they’ll already see the real you by being in such close proximity, which can be nice in a way. You don’t have to break down any barriers or walls, you’re already being your authentic self in your very little space you now call home.

My Aunt Kim, who works at Northern (I know, I know, it’s our rival), has always given the best advice for making friend’s while in college. She always had something to say, as this is something she deals with quite often in her line of work on campus. “Don’t wait for an experience to come to you or for a great experience to happen. You need to make it happen.” This has been ingrained in my mind since day one of college. Constantly participating and putting yourself out there per se in terms of joining orgs. and attending events is crucial. How are you going to make friends by sitting in your dorm all the time? Which is funny to say, because that’s the boat we’re all in right now!

Despite being stuck inside due to the global pandemic, the university and all of the different orgs. have been really proactive in finding ways to still stay connected. It’s also nice, because everyone is in the same boat. We’re all figuring this out together, which has been making relationships even stronger, from what I’ve noticed. While you can’t physically go out and meet others, there are still zoom events and different orgs. on social networking platforms to connect with. There’s also E-sports, which I always forget about due to being busy with school and work, but I have only heard great things about it thus far. If you’re into video or computer games, that would probably be something really neat to check-out. I also know that Greek life is still doing recruitment at a safe distance, if that is something you’re interested in.

All in all, the message is – we hear you. It’s tough enough to make friends without the presence of a global pandemic putting a damper on just about everything face-to-face. In the meantime, give it all you got and attend all the zooms and introduce yourself to everyone. It might be terrifying to put yourself out there, but I promise you that the relationships you will create will be some of your most treasured. Thus far, I can say that the friendships I’ve gotten to make in college are ones that I know will be lifelong despite distance, pandemics, and time-zones.

Study at Home, Effectively

Welcome to a new age of school! Many of us are going back to school by staying right at home. I know that for myself, it can be so hard to stay focused and get work done when my bed is calling my name for a nap or my phone reminds me that Netflix just released a new season of my favorite show. I have had to implement new habits into my life to be successful in school, and I want to share those with you.

Pick a spot that isn’t your bed (or the couch)

I know how tempting it is to pick the comfiest spot in your home to get work done. But the bed is for sleeping, and you might be tempted to do so if you pick that spot for studying. The same goes for a couch. It can be far too easy to sink into the couch and get lost in your favorite TV show.

Insted, pick a spot where you have to sit upright, just like you would if you were attending class in person. Perhaps you already have a desk, a vanity, or even a kitchen island. The regular old kitchen table works well too! By sitting in a spot that mimics regular school, your mind will subconsciously prepare itself for learning better than it would in bed.

Make sure the area is decluttered and distractions are minimal

Take just a few minutes to clean up the area you will be working. With a clean space, your mind can be more clear and you have maximum space to work. It won’t be very helpful if you can’t put down your laptop or notebook down flat. By having a clean work space, you can also spread all of your resources out in front of you so it is all easily accessible. It takes up a lot of time to constantly be flipping and shuffling through everything that you need to be learning the material.

Additionally, by removing distractions, you can stay focused for longer. I beg of you, move your Nintendo Switch out of your line of sight, you will be far less tempted to play Animal Crossing that way. This also includes other objects such as fidget toys, footballs, yoyos, and any other random things you may have obtained over the years.

Find a time ratio that works for you

There are a lot of time ratios for studying and taking breaks. If you can work for hours without taking a break, that’s fantastic and we’re all jealous of you. If you are not that person, a very popular time ratio is 25 minutes of work, with a 5 minute break. Maybe you function better on a 50/50 split. Maybe you can work for 45 minutes and only need a 10-15 minute break. Just make sure you hold yourself to the restricted break time. Remember, the sooner you get your work done, the sooner you can truly relax (or take a nap).

Additionally, get competitive with yourself. When you set that timer, challenge yourself to see how much you can get done in the time-frame you’ve chosen. That’s how I clean my room so quickly. It is also how I stay on track and hold myself accountable.

Now that you’re actually ready, set goals for yourself

There are two main ways to set goals: qualitatively and quantitatively. Setting a qualitative goal mean you’re setting goals that have to do with improvement, and quantitative goals are goals that you want to get a certain amount of something done. It is also possible to have a combination of these goals.

Some examples of qualitative goals would be: editing the paper you wrote, reviewing your notes, understanding the learning objectives from the chapter. With goals like these, you aren’t necessarily getting a set amount done, but rather doing a task that improves your recollection of the information or improves the quality of the work you did.

Quantitative goal examples include: doing 1, 2, 3… or even 10 more problems on your homework (or just finishing it). Reading a set amount of a chapter, and completing a certain number of paragraphs for that paper you have been putting off.

Music isn’t the best, but…

If you need music and simply can’t get work done without it, I understand your struggle. However, if I may, I have a few suggestions to improve your work ethic.

Try and pick music without lyrics. Whether you know the words or not, your brain wants to focus on what it’s hearing and it will jumble up the words your reading or writing with what you are listening to. There are plenty of instrumental playlists and channels are various services such as Youtube, Pandora, and of course, Spotify. I sometimes find instrumental music to be far too sleepy. Additionally, if it is the instrumental version of a song I already know, I find myself singing along anyways, so my personal recommendation is the genre lofi. It is free of lyrics, but also upbeat. It helps me tune out the outside world, but doesn’t put me to sleep.

Test yourself, again and again

It has been proven through many studies that testing your knowledge helps you learn and remember the important information better. There’s four easy ways to go about this, among many others. Those four easy ways are learning objectives, end of chapter review questions, example problems, and practice exams. Very often, teachers will provide learning objectives for the course material, or they will be laid out in the beginning of a chapter. Most textbooks have questions at the end, and you can copy problems like math equations with new numbers. Some teachers provide practice exams before the real deal. By the time you get done working on notes and homework, quiz yourself!

If you can effectively explain a concept or define something (bonus if you can do it without referring to your notes), then you likely have a deeper understanding of what the chapter was referring to. Ever hear “teaching something is the best way to learn it” – it’s so true! Practice explaining things to friends or even to an imaginary student. For problems such as math or chemistry, testing your abilities repetitively will help reinforce the steps to solving the problem. Both end of chapter questions and practice exams are direct ways of testing your knowledge of definitive answers. And practice exams are great on their own because they are a direct example of what your teacher’s exams look like.