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Cell phone notifications serve as a primary distraction for students. 

Motivation has dwindled for most students as first exams, papers and projects begin to appear on the course calendar. Distractions affect even the best of students, but there are ways everyone can combat them.

The environment can be crucial to a successful study session.

“I always go to the library because I find it’s hard to study at the house, and my friends say the same, too,” said Rebecca Escamilla, a junior in environmental science. “The library is like a bath of wisdom; you just get smarter when you go there.”

Preferred study locations are different for everyone, so the library could work for your friend but it may not be the place for you. Each building at Iowa State has hidden study gems waiting to be discovered. Natural lighting, secluded corners and quiet corridors are some of the best places to study. Finding a place you feel inspired is key.

If you prefer to study at home, it’s important to shut your door and let your roommates know you need some peace and quiet. It's also important to be aware if your room is a conducive study area for you — if you study in your bed, it may be tempting to turn on Netflix instead.

Cell phones are one of the most basic distractions, and putting your phone on silent is not enough to keep it from distracting you. Place your phone in another room or turn it on airplane mode so it’s guaranteed to stay out of your mind.

If you are working on a paper or studying downloaded notes, it is useful to turn the internet on your laptop off. Notifications will not come through until you turn the internet back on, making it easier to hone in on your work.

Background noise can help with a restless mind. Different kinds of music work for different kinds of people. It’s best not to play your favorite kind of music, or it might be tempting to sing and dance rather than take notes or read.

“I play music without any words,” said Sarah Lagomarcino, a junior in accounting. “My favorite playlist on Spotify is called ‘Acoustic Coffee Shop.’”

Like any good study session, it’s important to incorporate some kind of a break. Go for a walk around campus, enjoy time with friends or do something that makes you feel creative and inspired to keep working!

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