Study Breaks (Posted on behalf of John Arthur)

With exams now, you’ve probably been spending a lot of time in the Priddy Library studying. You’ve probably realized that you haven’t gotten up for the last few hours and need a change of location.

I personally like to move around campus every so often to make myself more productive. Studying indoors can make you feel like a vampire, and it’s nice to see people going about their daily business outside to give you perspective. There is life after school is done. The SG III building actually has some great views if you know where to look. If you go high enough up the stairs on the west side of the building, you can get a nice skyline view, with the Human Genome Sciences building reflecting the daytime sky. The green roof garden is also visible from the stairway landings. A change of scenery can break up the monotony of student life.

When you find your mind slipping away from your studies, take a break. When the notes on the page begin to run into each other, and when you’ve reread that sentence maybe five times, it’s time to stop and take a deep breath. It’s not only good to step back and gather your thoughts, it’s also good for your health.

In fact, research has shown that an excess amount of sitting can lead to many different disease states. Dr. James A Levine of the Mayo Clinic has noted that there may be a link between sitting, insulin sensitivity, metabolic dysfunction, and cancer. (Levine JA. Sick of sitting. Diabetologia. 2015 May 24; 58: 1751-1758).

So put down that work. Spare a few minutes to take a walk around campus. Go outside and breathe in some fresh air and help oxygenate your brain. It’s too cold outside, you say? Take a jacket. I’m sure you didn’t drive to campus in shorts and a t-shirt. Have you ever seen photos of Russians and Eastern Europeans who practice naked ice swimming? If they can do it, your five minute clothed romp should be absolutely refreshing.

And while you’re out there, see if you can look to the sky and take in some stargazing.

From Canis Major in summer to Orion and his fancy belt in winter, there is always something to see in the night sky. Often times, the first star you see in the night sky is actually a planet. Venus, Mars, and Jupiter are frequently visible throughout the year and often at sunrise or sunset. Use the publicly funded Stardate website, courtesy of The University of Texas McDonald Observatory, to get a heads up on astrological events that are happening through the week.

So, study hard, take breaks, and good luck on your exams!

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