As finals week approaches, the stress level in every college student goes up. The library and office hours are always packed full of students. Finals week is crammed with stress and tension. Taking breaks during these high-tension periods can help relax the mind and make studying more efficient.
Taking a break can range from going to the bathroom to going to the gym. People relax their minds in different ways all the time. These study breaks can help students refocus and stay focused for longer periods of time. In the article “5 Strategies to Demystify the Learning Process for Struggling Students” one of the strategies that Barbra Oakley suggests to students who struggle academically is Francesco Cirillo’s “Pomodoro Technique”. The Pomodoro Technique “uses a timer to help the learner work and break at set intervals”. The Pomodoro Technique emphasizes the importance of stepping back from the screen or paper and just letting your mind take a break. This strategy can be used in the classroom setting as well as in studying.
A while back, our class was reading Descartes and Beth encouraged the class to take a five-minute break while reading the passage. The majority of the class reached for their phone and checked social media, text messages, etc. while others got up to stretch or go to the bathroom. This minor exercise demonstrated how a short break can help generate new ideas and keep the class focused. This short period of time can also be used to allow students to take the time to let the new information sink into their minds.
Personally, I take too many breaks when working. When it comes to writing, I get easily distracted by my phone, my favorite Netflix show and/or my comfortable bed. Now a second-semester freshman, I’ve learned when I have a paper or blog post I need to work on I need to go to the quiet floor of the library otherwise nothing will get done. Studying and balancing workload takes a bunch of trial and error but once a happy medium is found it’s bearable.