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Studying tips for organized, healthy start to Spring 2020 semester

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As we head into a new semester and a whole new decade, college life will only get busier and more stressful in the months to come. Spring into the Spring 2020 semester with confidence and make sure to be on top of your academics, without neglecting your physical and mental well-being. Here are some helpful study hacks to help you efficiently handle your course load this semester.

Plan ahead of time

Setting up a planner, Google Calendar or Bullet Journal takes a matter of minutes and can really set you up for success this semester. 

Having everything u2013 your class and work schedule, university events, midterms, quizzes, deadlines, final exams, textbook rental returns u2013u00a0listed in a digital or written repository will help you maintain your work-life balance by giving you a visual summary of the semester. 

The early bird gets the worm: Start this planning process at the very beginning of the semester by highlighting important dates on your syllabi and promptly inputting them into your planning tool of choice.

Find your happy place

Your physical space greatly affects your mental state, so it's important to know what you like when it comes to creating a productive, distraction-free study environment. Whether you're intensely writing out an essay, doing a long assigned reading or taking down notes for a difficult class, make sure you have everything you need within arms reach: books, headphones, stationery, snacks and water. 

Sit at a clean and well-lit desk in your room, or head to a local cafe for a change of pace. In the city of New Brunswick, I'd highly recommend Hidden Grounds Coffee on Easton Avenue and Caffe Bene on George Street. 

Timing is especially important. Once you've endured the Add/Drop week at Rutgers and finalized your schedule for the semester, identify substantial chunks of time where you can comfortably fit in some quality learning. Also, take into account if you're a morning person or night owl and plan life accordingly.

Take a break

Giving yourself a moment to breathe every few hours during a long day of studying is the ultimate form of self-care and can help prevent burnout in the long run. 

A productive break could simply mean stepping away from your desk to grab a bite to eat, or socializing with your roommates and friends. Doing some meditation or exercise, or even a 20-minute face mask in between study sessions, are great ways to treat yourself for working hard. 

Try to minimize your screen time during breaks, as it's almost too easy to get sucked into your infinitely entertaining social media feeds. Since much of the 21st century studying happens through the means of a laptop, you might be putting more strain on your eyes than you need to if you keep periodically looking at your phone. To avoid this most accessible form of procrastination, put your phone on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode when you need to study.

Ge to Sleep

College culture often romanticizes binge eating and all-nighters and hypes up being overworked, underfed and sleep-deprived. But, getting six to eight hours of sleep is an incredibly viable lifestyle and should be a no-brainer for most. 

In order to sustain good grades, try to get your sleeping schedule in order alongside consistent hydration and a balanced diet. There are plenty of sleep alarm applications available that can help you curate and maintain a healthy sleep cycle.

Naps are also a great way to take a pause, but be aware that long naps can set you back in terms of productivity by making you groggy. The ideal nap time is around 10 to 20 minutes, according to an article on The Huffington Post. The article also explores the concept of a caffeinated nap, which suggests that a healthy dose of coffee before a nap of the aforementioned brief duration can enhance the benefits of an afternoon coffee and siesta.

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