The Power Of Study Groups, And How To Do It Well Without Leaving Your Room
by Sarah Tibbitts
In this era of all-Zoom-everything, study groups can be a really important way of staying connected to friends and remembering that you’re not going through school alone. Successful, active studying often includes examining notes and concepts from multiple perspectives. Bouncing ideas for class material off of one another on Zoom is a great way to accomplish this.
Here are a few helpful tips and tricks that can take your study groups to the next level, all without ever leaving your room:
Clear your room of distractions. You will obviously need your computer for Zoom, but plan to turn off notifications on all your devices and set up a specified break time to check your phone. In addition, make sure you are not distracted by your room itself by working in a separate space than you sleep or relax in (such as your bed).
If you are friends with your study partner(s) outside of class, honor that! From doing hundreds of study groups over the years, I know that it’s inevitably impossible to have a long study session with friends without some additional fun convo. Start your study session with a catch-up window: take 10 minutes to hear about each other’s weekend or personal life. At the 10-minute mark, turn to school-mode and buckle down.
Take it one subject at a time. If you are in a learning pod or study group that covers multiple subjects, chunk your time by subject rather than jumping around. If your learning is self-guided, you and your study group can decide if you’d like to pre-determine a set amount of time per subject or leave certain subjects to certain days.
Build in 5-10 minute “bio breaks” each hour to use the bathroom, get water, or grab a snack. If it’s nice outside, consider stretching your legs in the sun for a few minutes. Long days of studying can be productive, but only if they’re broken up with intentional pauses.
Be patient with yourself and your situation. Zoom, Facetime, or Skype will inevitably be glitchy at some point, and seeing your friends virtually will not be the same as gathering in person. Despite all that, you’re all in it together, and you can still have an experience that’s rewarding both academically and socially.
Sarah Tibbitts, a 2020 graduate of The Ohio State University, currently works as a Social Justice Fellow at Stanford University’s Hillel.