A typically beautiful evening glow over the Green
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A photo of the Connecticut River from the bank. There are rocks and trees in the foreground.

I've never been the best at studying. I often find myself distracted, unmotivated, or unable to concentrate on the topic at hand. When it came time to start preparing for my first final examination period at Dartmouth, I knew that I would have to use several study strategies to set myself up for success.

The first strategy that I used was creating a detailed study plan. This term, I had a traditional final exam for Latin 1 and a final paper for Writing 5. This means that I had to study Latin vocabulary and grammar while simultaneously writing a 2,500 word research paper on a sports technology topic. Making a day-by-day study plan improved my time management, increased my productivity, and reduced my stress. It also helped me ensure that  I covered all of the material for my Latin exam and met all of my deadlines for my Writing 5 paper. 

Another strategy that I employed to reduce my stress was spending time outside! I have always enjoyed surrounding myself with nature, and I am so grateful for my ability to continue doing so at Dartmouth. During the final examination period, I made sure to make time each day for a jog at Pine Park, a Woccom (walk around Occom Pond), or reading outside on the Green.

A photo of a trail at Pine Park. There are many leaves covering the dirt trail, and tall trees on both sides of the trail.
A view from one of the trails at Pine Park!

I find that I study better when in the presence of others. Thankfully, some of my friends are the same way! I think that I enjoy studying with friends because it allows me to gain a different perspective on the topic. Seeing how my friend thinks about something often improves my own understanding of the subject, and discussing difficult concepts is mutually beneficial. Shoutout to all of my friends who sat through me reading draft after draft of my final paper out loud to them!

A selfie of me, Lauren, with my friend Tom in the library.
Tom and I working hard!

My most successful study strategy was finding a location I felt comfortable in. Dartmouth's campus is full of wonderful study spaces, from the elegant Tower Room to the stunningly modern Irving Institute. Despite these grand spaces, I found myself gravitating towards a little nook in Wilder Hall. Sometimes it's difficult to find a space on campus that's truly "yours." While I'm not claiming ownership over this table and set of chairs, I've certainly put my hours in here.

A photo of a table in Wilder Hall. On the table, there is a water bottle, laptop, and notebook. In the background, there are two doors and a bulletin board on the wall.
My study view

One final strategy that I used during this final examination period was breaking down tasks and setting goals for myself. If I had chosen to simply jump into the material, I would have quickly become overwhelmed by the amount of material I had to study and research I had to complete. Instead, I incorporated specific and achievable goals for each of my study sessions into my aforementioned study plan. Achieving these goals helped me feel a sense of accomplishment, and motivated me to continue working. 

I won't mislead you–my first final examination period at Dartmouth was challenging. However, I'm incredibly proud of my efforts and results. Now, I have a better understanding of how to approach studying in a way that works for me. I hope that my tips help you in your studies!

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