Studying Tips With A Sustainable Twist

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So it’s the night before your big exam and you have that “oh crap” realization that you haven’t looked over any of the material.  So after just one more episode of Battlestar Galactica, you decide to grab your books, paper, and laptop and have a go at it.

But wait… Is this really a sustainable way to study? The GPA’s of most crammers would indicate it’s probably not.  Aside from sustaining a healthy GPA, there are other ways changing your study habits could reduce the impact of college exams on your health, wallet, and the environment.

For example, one of the best ways to prepare for an exam (especially for engineering, math, science majors) is to work out problems. But instead of working these problems out on paper (which you’re probably not going to look at again anyway), consider using a 9” x 12” dry erase board. Maybe even 2 for the long problems. Another option would be to snag an empty classroom and use the school’s board and markers (bonus points for getting your friends together to workout and discuss the problems as a group!).

This simple alternative means you don’t have to worry about having enough paper or buying extra lead for your pencil (that’s easily an extra beverage or two on Friday night). Using a dry erase board to work out problems is not only more convenient, but it’s also easier on the planet and your wallet.

In fact many good study habits can have benefits beyond good grades, such as not pulling an all-nighters to finish that English paper or study for your Calc exam.  Not only does staying up all night affect your performance the next day, but these cram fests also take a toll on your wallet! Just think of all the money you are spending on electricity to keep the lights on and jam out to Spotify. Did I forget to mention the coin you are dropping on fueling your body: pizza, five-hour energy, and coffee can start to add up. So make this whole studying process easier on you and your wallet studying during natural daylight hours, and meet up with friends in one central location.

So now that your study habits are more sustainable, what about arguably the most necessary component for a healthy GPA – your textbooks? Some people, like myself, insist on having their own textbook. This preference is fine, but why not consider buying a book to share with your classmates.  If all you really want to do is ditch the backpack load though, eBooks are the way to go. Not only does making the switch put all your books on one convenient device, but eBooks also are usually much cheaper than their analog ancestors.  And while I don’t condone this (cough cough) some books can even be downloaded from the internet (there are actually a lot of great open source eBooks – meaning download is legal and encouraged).

These are just a few good environmentally friendly study tips.  Will making these switches save the planet? No, not alone. But it’s a start, and we have got to start somewhere.

-Justin Uyar

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