As hardworking students, you’ve rounded the corner into that time of the school year that can be laden with academic demands. The middle of the semester can keep you busy writing papers, studying for midterms, and maybe even preparing a senior thesis. A heavier workload usually translates into longer nights in the library, yet as important as scholastic success is, don’t forget to step outside every now and then. According to child environment and behavior researcher Andrea Faber Taylor, our directed attention, which we use when concentrating on tests and work, is not a limitless resource. Cracking the books day in and and day out leaves you with a serious case of both physical fatigue and mental fatigue.
So, what’s the cure? Go outside. Taylor’s theory of attention restoration argues that “walks in nature and views of green space capture our involuntary attention, giving our directed attention a needed rest”. Your physical environment has a significant effect on your mental state, and perhaps locking yourself in the basement of the library isn’t really the answer to your quest for academic accomplishment. Make a point to sit in the sun, walk around campus, or even eat lunch outside. Mother nature might just be your best study buddy yet.