Changing My Study to Help Me Learn Effectively.
“You cannot open a book without learning something” Confucius.
Somehow this was not working for me. I had trouble learning anything even after opening the book and pouring over it for hours. I had taken time off from everything to concentrate on my studies with the assessments fast approaching, but somehow I had a terrible time learning anything.
I checked out the ambiance of my study. It had the perfect setup for learning. Fully insulated, no noise or disturbance, properly lighted, a comfortable chair and desk for studying, the books I wanted at my disposal, along with my laptop. What else does one need to study? I recalled that I had no trouble in a classroom setting. There must be something missing from the arrangement that was hindering my learning. I decided to get to the bottom of it, instead of getting stressed out!
A few hours of online research gave me a clue. Some recent research has shown that color, lighting, and other interior design choices impact student progress.
Unfortunately, my study did not match the description that enables the learning process. One of the major drawbacks was the absence of natural light in this room, which was fully utilized in the classrooms I had been to. I wondered that this could make such a huge difference! My old study was overflowing with books, which made it appear too cramped for space, and dour. I decided to shift my study area to somewhere brighter as my study showed that daylight or natural light can affect one’s health, relationships, mood, learning ability, performance, concentration, and the ability to carry out visual tasks. But at the same time, care had to be taken to prevent the harmful UV rays from damaging our body and interiors, as well.
I paid attention to light, sound, temperature, air quality, color, and every other aspect of the space in which I would sit down to study. It would take some time to get the new design I’d visualized up and running completely, but t I knew it would be worth it. After all, these positive effects are connected with a better quality of learning that is human-centered and sensitive towards the environment – I couldn’t possibly go wrong.
I decided to use one of the spare bedrooms for my new study. First, I had to get rid of the bed because that would beckon me to lay down every time I sat down with the book in hand. This spare bedroom has a different design with large French doors covering almost the whole wall on the west side. It had beautiful light blocking drapery covering it to prevent sunlight from disturbing sleep and also from damaging the interiors.
The sparingly used bedroom had not seen much daylight since the drapes were always drawn closed, and the doors were never opened. Now that I pulled the drapes open, I was amazed at the beauty of the outdoor view. It was a shame to keep something so beautiful always shut away from my view. As the doors led an unused patio, I decided to have the 3% Motorized Exterior Solar Shades installed on my patio to protect my new study from the harmful UV rays, heat and glare of the sunlight. I opted for the motorized option so that I could operate them without any hassle. The effect of these motorized outdoor shades was amazing. They lit my room with naturally diffused sunlight for proper illumination while providing a sustainable amount of privacy for my comfort. I observed that though I had the drapes completely open, I did not have to worry about the glare on my computer screen, even with the sun at its zenith. It is an added advantage that the exterior solar shades are Green-Guard certified for a healthy air quality, because they emit chemicals and particles way below accepted limits. They are also Microban certification to ensure safe and worry free environment by creating a barrier for the pervasive mold and mildew.
I loved the change in ambiance I had created so far. I made full use of the French doors opening to my patio by using it for the purpose it was intended to. I got my air conditioner serviced so that it would function smoothly without emitting the noise that was very low yet somehow disturbing. I set up few Pothos (or devil’s Ivy) in the study. These indoor plants, characterized by their golden, heart-shaped leaves can survive even in lower light and colder temperatures. They made the room come alive and would also rid the air of carbon monoxide and formaldehyde.
I set up a music system to play soft music in the background occasionally, for relaxation. I went shopping and filled my bare pantry and refrigerator with healthy food, and set up a chart for an entirely nutritious diet that I decided to stick to. Instead of being completely isolated from the world, I decided to have some entertainment and social life as well. Instead of burning the midnight oil, I decided to study during the day and have a peaceful sleep during the night.
Now with the changed atmosphere and surroundings, I settled down to learn with the diffused light streaming in through my huge doors. The research was right. I felt more alive and alert with the new ambiance I had created for my study. Being in natural light for most of the day and in dark during the night set my diurnal cycle of light and dark in proper rhythm for a restful sleep at night. Every morning I woke up early and sat down at my study table to watch the light brighten up the outdoors.
With the change in indoor atmosphere and my lifestyle, learning was easier than it had been ever before. I am gearing up full-speed for my coming assessments with complete confidence.